It’s hard to have a podcast that gets a lot of listeners without a podcast marketing scheme.
Whether you want to call it a podcast marketing scheme, podcast marketing plan, podcast promotions schedule, or anything else that tickles your fancy, the bottom line is that it is incredibly hard to launch a podcast that people will listen to – especially on a regular basis – without a ton of money or a lot of small ideas that you work diligently.
According to an article published by Variety in February of this year, there are more than 500,000 active podcasts on iTunes alone.
Apple Podcasts, as the recently re-branded platform is now known, features more than 500,000 active podcasts, including content in more than 100 languages.
We have discussed what qualifies a podcast as active in previous posts and podcast episodes so we won’t be covering it again here. It’s almost a non-issue, other than to prove, yet again, that if you want to launch a podcast that only the crickets listen to, then you should just launch a podcast without a podcast marketing scheme and no thought to how you are actually going to get people to listen to the darn thing.
Oh come on, plenty of people launch a podcast without any marketing.
You know, just like DIY and foodie bloggers do… at least the unsuccessful ones. And if you just want to produce and record a podcast because you want to have a podcast, then hey, go for it – there are a million articles that tell you what the best microphone to use might be, or what recording slash conversion slash editing software is the best in your price range.
I’m not suggesting that you put your plans on hold and wind up wishing you had recorded that series about your pet frog when you are in your 60s, broke and trying to figure out why you didn’t turn into the next Garrison Keillor (god, I hope you do not turn into a toad like him no matter what you decide to do), and blaming it on not recording at least three episodes so the world could find your work.
Let’s think this one through before you go off on a journey without a map.
Yes, I understand that “the journey is supposed to be the most important part” and all that good stuff, but in reality if you walk off into the woods without a map, a GPS, or something a bit more durable than breadcrumbs, you’re going to find yourself lost in the wilderness and that can be a very scary thing.
In order to have a moderately successful podcast – for anything besides vanity – you are going to need these things:
It’s a simple, basic list, but the importance cannot be stressed enough. I’d be willing to jettison the subscribers element on a moments notice, especially if the subscriptions are done via iTunes or Google Play Music, since the episodes just stack up, unheard, if the user doesn’t actively go looking for them. Some of the other platforms like Spreaker do a bit of push notification to your audience, but sometimes that’s not enough.
Quite often, frankly, that’s not enough.
You need a podcast marketing scheme so you can decide when, where, how and how frequently you want to promote. You’ll need to budget for the promotion – let’s get real, you can’t sit on Twitter for ten hours a day, retweeting the latest episode URL or iTunes link, that’s a crazy idea.
Hooking up your promotions, marketing and the like is pretty simple, especially if you use mobile to bring them all into a central control space and distribute your notifications and updates – directly to mobile lockscreens – from there.
- Elements of a well thought out podcast advertising plan include these things:
- Podcast episodes as single pages – this way you can create SEO friendly summaries and excerpts for each episode, and include links to previous, related episodes
- List of like minded sites, podcast series, etc that can exchange links
- List of potential places to submit podcast for review and article inclusion
- List of trade or other publications that offer inexpensive ad rates
- Social media plan and means to schedule/promote posts on relevant platforms
- Mobile ‘central hub’ to draw it all together
This is a partial list, obviously you can advertise on other podcasts, on the radio, and so on, but those tend to be more expensive than the starter package for a good podcast marketing scheme, so I left them out for the moment.
What’s the takeaway here?
Easy enough – if you are serious about starting a podcast, and you actually want to have people listen to it regularly, you have to do more than just toss up a few episodes on iTunes and call it a day. You’ll need to create an advertising and marketing plan that includes multiple elements and from there you are going to need to schedule your promotions and stick to the scheduling.
There are plenty of software platforms that can help make it easier on you, ranging from Buffer, which is an online service that schedules social media posts, to SNAP, which is a WordPress plugin that updates your social media and other online networks when you create and publish a new podcast episode.
Podcast Broadcast is your go-to for sending out mobile updates to subscribers and having them land directly on the lock screen, where they are unlikely to be ignored. You can also use the platform to get current subscribers to recommend your podcast series to their friends, neighbors and co-workers with single tap recommendation functionality.
Whatever direction you go, and no matter what your topic is, if you’re going to take the time to build a show, shouldn’t you build an audience for the show at the same time?