5 Underrated Techniques for Getting Your Podcast Found
Before you can be heard, you must be discovered
As we now know, podcasting is a booming industry.
But unlike other creator platforms like Medium, YouTube, Instagram, etc., podcasting has one unique difference: it’s completely decentralized.
Whereas YouTube is the place to go for user-generated videos and Medium is the place for user-generated written content, podcasting doesn’t have a natural home.
You can listen to podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, Spotify, Anchor, and a dozen other podcast players.
For listeners, this is great. You can listen to your favorite podcasts from the app/ecosystem of your choice.
But if you’re a podcaster, this is actually really bad for three main reasons:
By far, the biggest problem you’ll face as a podcaster is discoverability. This means that once you’ve gone through the steps of creating, recording, editing, and uploading an episode, you need to find a way to get your show discovered.
YouTube and Medium will automatically distribute your content to specific audiences that they think will like it, but there’s nothing in the podcasting world that’s doing the same thing on a similar scale.
However, this is being actively worked on. Lookout for Spotify to be the leader in podcast discovery in the coming years.
A second problem that arises is distribution. Unlike Instagram, where you can simply upload a picture, edit, and then post, podcasting has an extra step.
You have to get your podcast on the platforms where your listeners are — whether that’s Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, etc…
If your podcast isn’t on a listener's player of choice, you might just lose them altogether.
There is a silver lining here: thanks to podcasting hosts like Anchor and Transistor, distributing your podcast to a wider audience is getting a whole lot easier.
The last problem that you should be concerned about (indirectly) is growth.
Being a decentralized form of content means that your podcasting stats are going to be spread out across every single player. In turn, to get an accurate picture of listens and engagement you’ll have to aggregate data across all your podcasting platforms.
All growth marketers know one simple fact: Data is power.
The less of it you have, the less informed you’ll be when making decisions about your marketing efforts.
A Disclaimer About Growth and Prioritization
While all the following techniques are no doubt going to get your podcast exposed to a larger audience, you need to understand one thing:
It won’t matter if your podcast isn’t very good.
If you have to choose between improving the quality of your podcast or marketing it, always choose the first option.
A great podcast, no matter what, will grow on its own. Meanwhile, a low-quality podcast won’t see substantial growth, no matter how much marketing you throw behind it…
With that said, let’s dive in. Here are five underrated growth tactics I’ve learned from top podcasters in the industry:
1. Google indexing
If you Google search “how to build an internet business,” not one result on the first page will include a podcast episode. This is kind of mind-boggling considering how many podcasts actually cover the topic.
But the reasoning is quite simple. Google can’t understand audio… yet.
In any given episode, it doesn’t know what topics are being mentioned despite the episode title, description, and metatags that are provided.
Also, podcast content (as mentioned before) is widely distributed. This means a search engine, like Google, has to be able to identify when it’s looking at duplicate content. The result? Google doesn’t index specific podcast episodes.
But you can use this to your advantage.
So much is talked about SEO for podcast players, but very few people talk about leveraging Google, the world’s largest search engine, for growth.
Here’s what you can do:
- For every episode that you upload, create a blog post on your website with the full transcription (you can use Descript or similar tools to help with this).
- You can then ensure the metatags for that page accurately reflect the content in the episode. And, va-la! Individual podcast episodes can now be picked up by Google.
- You can go very deep into the topic, but doing the bare minimum will already boost your exposure quite a bit.
2. Overcast ads
I spoke with a podcaster recently who was able to get to 13,000+ listens in under four months. When I asked him how he did it, he said: “Overcast ads.”
“The way I see it, I can either pay hundreds of dollars and learn a bunch of social media tricks to get organic reach or pay to see the same results. ”
Most people’s first instinct will be to spend ad dollars on Google or Facebook. However, if the goal is to get someone to listen to your show for the first time, why not go straight to the source?
Overcast ads let you reach people who are already on a podcasting player and ready to discover new content. From my research, the return on investment for Overcast advertisements is 10x that of generic advertising platforms for the simple reason that there are fewer steps to get someone listening to that first episode.
There are hundreds of podcasting communities on the internet. Here are a few that I could find right off the bat:
It’s natural to try to promote your show here, but it’s the wrong approach.
You don’t want to share your podcast with other podcasters. You want to share it with an audience that actually cares deeply about the content that you’re producing.
If you’re working on a show about forest preservation, find a climate change activist group. If you’re working on a show that covers the American Civil War, find a community of history junkies.
Tap into your true fans and they’ll be your best engine for growth.
4. Social media distribution
One of the most interesting podcasters that I’ve had the opportunity to talk with is Bridger Pennington, host of “Investment Fund Secrets.” Something that really struck me about Bridger is how I quickly I was able to figure out that he ran his own podcast after visiting his Instagram page.
His profile is filled with video thumbnails of him in front of a mic. Within seconds, I knew exactly what his show was about and could start listening right away.
Bridger understands that podcasting is decentralized, and as such, leverages other social media platforms for growth (i.e. Instagram + IGTV). This exact technique is what allowed him to reach over 10,000 monthly listens within six months of getting started.
Instagram and YouTube both curate content to users. Posting bits of your podcast there, along with a visual component, is a great way to create an additional channel of discovery.
5. Other podcasters
The last method you can employ for better exposure is to leverage other podcasters. One of the best ways I discover new podcasts is through the podcasts that I already listen to!
Podcasters often invite other podcasters on their show. When this happens, listeners get a taste of the guest podcaster’s personality. If it’s one that resonates with them, it’s quite easy to look them up and subscribe — especially since they’re already using their favorite podcast player.
But where can you find other podcasters to collaborate with?
My recommendation is podcasting conferences. Conferences are hands down one of the best places to find collaborators in the same industry. While many of these can be far and quite expensive in terms of tickets and accommodations, there are a few that are a lot more accessible to the masses.
PodUp Virtual Summit is an example of one of these conferences that takes place online and is 100% free to attend. For a list of in-person conferences, you can see a full list here.
Grow On… With Patience
That’s all I’ve got.
After having conversations with a dozen or so top podcasters, these are the five most underrated techniques for podcasting growth that I’ve discovered. But there’s one more that I’ll leave you with.
And it’s… patience.
I recently saw an excellent post by Jordan Paris (host of Growth Mindset University) on his LinkedIn:
Here he gets across what I think is the most important element for growth: patience.
It doesn't happen overnight.
Growth comes from putting yourself out there often and consistently for an extended period of time. It took Jordan three years, but it takes some people much longer. Some of the biggest names out there went years without seeing results to only blow up “overnight.”
After talking to highly successful creators day in and day out, you start to see a pattern emerge for success.
It comes from showing up, day after day, even when most others quit long ago.
This article was originally published on medium.