You can use QR Codes to do EFFECTIVE podcast promotion…
They can direct potential listeners to your show in a convenient, quick manner.
But you’ll have to do it in a savvy, smart, user-friendly way.
This post is designed to help you do EXACTLY that.
Keep reading… and befor the post is done, I’m going to provide you with a…
DEMO QR CODE to show you how it works.
#1 – Think through WHERE you can place QR codes that people can easily access with their phones!
Social media might be OK… IF you can conceive that a person might be able to use their smartphone to scan the code while consuming social media (on their computer).
But these days, it seems most social media is consumed ON mobile devices.
That means they can’t scan your code WITH their phone if they see the code while USING their phone!
Real-life, tangible things are a better fit for QR codes in most instances
Think through the options that fit your typical publication or promotional methods…
- Business cards
- Direct Mail
- Signs or posters
- Advertisements in trade publications
- Paper goods you supply to customers
- T-shirts, caps, swag, water bottles
What OTHER print-type media options could include a QR code to your podcast? (there are brilliant ones out there, I just can’t think of them right now)
#2 – Be strategic about WHERE your podcast promotion QR code points.
Every QR code goes to a URL as of this post’s publication (August 2021).
That means you need to tell your QR code where to take people.
What are the options?
- Your website
Sure, you can send people who have paid attention to your QR promotion to your website.
Consider that it might not be the smartest place to send them?
Yes, you want them to see all the goodies you have available there.
But those goodies (as good as they are) MAY distract them from what you’re trying to get them to do… to FOLLOW or SUBSCRIBE to your podcast.
So I don’t typically recommend this option.
If you just HAVE to send your QR-code-clickers to your website, send them to a page that has all the podcast subscription/follow options RIGHT AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.
- Your social profiles?
Hmmmm… I’m not quite sure why you’d want to do that.
Social media is even MORE distracting than your website. You’ll be lucky if they pay attention to your profile at all… much less following or subscribing to your podcast.
I’d avoid spending your precious podcast promotion efforts pointing people to social media.
- Apple Podcasts? Spotify? Google Podcasts?
These options are definitely better than social media or your website. But only IF you do it in a smart way…
If you’re going to promote your podcast by linking promotional QR codes to a specific podcast platform, ONLY do so if you have a good REASON for doing it.
Here’s an example:
Say you are considering sending QR-clickers to Apple Podcasts in hopes they will subscribe to your show there.
What if they are not Apple users? It’s pretty likely… right now (August 2021), 87% of smartphone owners ers worldwide own ANDROID devices.
So… sending QR-clickers who are interested in your podcast to Apple Podcasts or iTunes will NOT serve 87% of the world’s population.
That means they’ll be a bit frustrated with the experience of signing up to follow your show… and MAY not do so as a result.
When SHOULD you send people to a specific platform?
When you know HOW MUCH of your current audience listens on that platform.
And how do you know that?
That data can be found on your media host podcast stats page.
Here’s an example… taken from Libsyn’s interface. The data here is for one of my podcasts…
As you can see… Apple Podcasts and Apple Core Media are the two highest-used platforms by listeners of this podcast.
So doing podcast promotion that utilizes a QR code that points to Apple MAY NOT be such a bad idea for this show.
But IF I did that, I’d make sure I have ANOTHER way to drive non-Apple users to platforms THEY can use.
I might even include TWO, clearly-labeled QR codes so they can choose the one that works for them from the get-go.
But all that aside… what’s the absolute BEST PRACTICE regarding where to point a QR code for promoting your podcast?
I ALWAYS suggest an all-in-one subscription “smart link.”
You don’t know about smart links? Let me fill you in…
A smart link will automatically point out platforms the USER’S DEVICE can actually use.
SO FOR EXAMPLE:
When an Android user clicks a smart link that leads to your show’s subscription options, it will NOT show them Apple Podcasts as a listening/following/subscribing option at all (unless they DO have Apple Podcast’s Android version installed on their device).
But it WILL show them every other option that pertains to that specific device.
That’s ingenious… that’s why I LOVE it.
What are the best options for creating SMART LINKS to point your QR code to?
There are FOUR pretty good options that have some sort of “free” offering.
Let’s look at them one at a time.
You can find plink at: https://plinkhq.com/
The user interface for Plink is pretty simple… but a bit confusing the first time you use it.
Scroll down the page until you see THIS section…
Enter the EXACT name of your podcast in the first field indicated with the RED ARROW. Hit return.
Where you see the second RED ARROW, the smart link for your show will appear.
Pretty easy, huh? But keep in mind, Plink may (often does) add advertisements to the page where those clicking the link (or your QR code) land… but the MAIN thing they see ARE the subscription options for your show.
Here is a screenshot of what THAT page looks like, from Plink.
Podlink works very similarly to Plink, and you can find it here: https://pod.link/
But it’s WAY simpler. So simple in fact, you only have one thing to do on the page – enter the name of your podcast.
Once you enter the EXACT name of your show… it does the same thing as Plink — it provides you a bunch of options to pick from (the first one is my show).
Then when you click on it.. you get a smart link with all the subscription/follow options for your show.
You can find podfollow here: https://podfollow.com/— and you will find it SIMPLE to use, just like pod.link.
Again, you input the exact name of your podcast, and it immediately begins searching for your show.
Once you see it below the field (see the image) you click on it.
Then you get a TON more options on one page. Some of them are instant, others require you to to create an account and login.
- Copy the Podfollow smart link with the click of a button (cool)
- Get smart links to specific episodes (the last 5 are available when not logged in – cooler)
- If you login, you can set the specific software each type of device will redirect to (not so cool — I feel users will like it better if they get to choose)
You can find Chartable’s smart link functionality here — https://chartable.com/publishers/smartlinks
But the company is really about a WHOLE LOT more than just smart links.
You can set up your account to integrate with Apple Podcasts Connect, Spotify Stats, and even your media host to see all those user stats in one place. It’s honestly pretty cool.
But getting back to podcast promotion using QR codes…
For this one, you have to sign up in order to get your own link. The “Try It Out” button creates a prepopulated DEMO so you know what you’re getting into.
So.. go ahead and set up an account. It’s free and is pretty benign.
Once you’re logged in, you have a lot of account setup to do, including claiming your podcast.
But after jumping through all the hoops, you get a pretty cool smart link landing page like this…
Like Chartable, Podnews is MUCH more than a smart link service. It’s a podcasting news website. If you are not subscribed to the 5-day-a-week Podnews Newsletter, you should be. You can find Podnews at https://Podnews.net
The Podnews smart links are nothing more than a link to your show, displayed on their website (which all of these are, in a way). It also includes lots of techie and geeky stuff about your show.
I find this page helpful to ensure all my stuff is working properly… you might find it helpful too. See the image below.
As you can see, the Podnews page for your show offers Apple, Spotify, and Google follow/subscription links right at the top. That’s OK… but the podcast player links (Castbox, Overcast, Pocket Casts, etc.) are quite a bit down the page.
If I’m going to use this as a “smart link” thing to connect my QR code to, I want it to display ALL the options for listening and subscribing/following immediately. It should be EASY to find the options… and though it’s physically easy to scroll, it’s not common sense to think of subscribing to a show by NOT seeing those options as the very first thing on the page you’ve come to.
For that reason, I don’t use the Podnews page for my smart links.
Here is the DEMO we promised… it leads to our podcast > Podcastification!
Go ahead and scan it to see how it works.
I’m using the Podlink option for this QR code. I just like the layout and ease of use it provides. And it’s free.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN QR CODE
For this demo, I used the tools available at
There are many similar tools available. Google it!
Typically, they are very easy to use.
- Enter the URL you want your QR code to take people to (your smart link)
- Hit enter/submit
- Download the graphic version of your QR code that is provided
Do you have OTHER places or ways to use a QR code to promote a podcast?
Reach out to us if you have questions regarding QR codes or if you would like help thinking through your show concept, equipment setup, anything!