Podcast promotion is a hot topic these days… but do you see it as a form of content marketing?
Everybody (naturally) wants more eyes on their show’s cool cover art and more ears listening to their show. But I have to give you the hard truth about podcast promotion.
There’s no silver bullet. There probably never will be.
Like anything else in life that’s worth doing, you have to dedicate yourself to learning how to do it well.
- You don’t get returns without investment.
- You don’t get crops without planting seeds and cultivating them.
- You don’t get bulging muscles without some kind of exercise routine.
And you don’t get huge download numbers without some kind of dedicated, well-planned promotion of your show.
This episode is a deep-dive into content marketing for podcast promotion.
Here’s a rough outline of Podcast Promotion as Content Marketing…
- [1:30] We all need to know how to promote our podcasts well.
- [2:36] Why podcast promotion is closely related to content marketing.
- [4:00] The 3 main goals most podcasters have – and why they matter.
- [6:22] The benefits of viewing your podcast as content marketing.
- [10:34] Understand: content marketing takes a while to work well.
- [16:30] Why I recommend written show note summaries rather than transcripts.
- [20:55] The power of truly great content: and how “lazy” has no place.
- [26:40] The power of offsite content marketing.
- [36:50] The key parts of an effective, well-planned content marketing strategy.
- [41:08] What we know from the history of promoting online resources.
My assumption is this:
Your podcast is content – great content.
Therefore the principles and best-practices that have been learned in the content marketing realm apply to the promotion of your podcast.
In this episode I give you the full-scoop as I understand it right now (Sept. 2017) and will continue to do so on future episodes.
This stuff is important – and it changes all the time.
But one fact remains constant, no matter what changes…
Your podcast promotion is only going to work if you commit yourself to making it work.
Very few shows out there automatically “get” a huge audience.
The creators behind those shows have spent tons of time (that you and I haven’t gotten the benefit of seeing) doing what it takes to promote that show in ways that work.
And that doesn’t mean putting it out on social media with a quickly typed line like this…
“Here’s the latest episode of my podcast. Check it out!”
Nobody typically clicks on those links.
Except your mother. Maybe your grandmother. No, she doesn’t even know what a podcast is.
So yeah, only your mother – and that’s just because she loves you.
It’s time we podcasters quit believing that podcast promotion can happen with the click of a button, or a new social media app, or a hack or technique or tip.
If we want to produce valuable content and get it out into the world to help people, we’ve got to do the hard work of learning HOW to get it out into the world so it CAN help people.
That’s what this episode is about.
Podcast promotion IS a form of content marketing that requires GOALS
Your podcast is content in audio or video form.
Therefore – all the principles of content marketing that have applied to the industry over the years (and that have been proven, by the way), SHOULD apply, right?
So what is your GOAL when it comes to publishing a podcast?
I think there are 3 goals MOST podcasters are shooting for…
#1 – You’re trying to build credibility (expert status)
This one is powerful. More than most people know.
You’re not publishing podcast episodes week after week for your health.
You’re doing it to help people. And people typically only listen to others they deem to be credible.
Think about your particular niche for a moment…
WHO are the BIG NAMES in the industry that everyone listens to? Who are the people YOU respect and listen to.
Your podcast can be a channel by which you become one of those people.
Not for the sake of having the big name, but for the sake of having the platform whereby you can influence others positively.
#2 – You’re trying to build trust
One element of being the respected authority in any field of study or interest is TRUST.
It’s a common mantra in the sales world that people only buy from those they “Know, Like, and Trust.”
The credibility in step one accomplishes the KNOWING and LIKING part, which leads to this one – the TRUST part.
Through your podcast people get to know you in a personal way.
You might even say it’s an intimate way.
You know what I’m talking about… I KNOW you do.
Just look in your own podcast player and think about the people who publish those shows. There are some of them you feel CLOSE to, even though you’ve never met them.
Why is that?
It’s because you HAVE built a relationship with them – albeit a one-sided relationship – in which that podcaster has established a decent level of TRUST with you, their listener.
Isn’t that what you’re going for as a podcaster?
I think it is.
#3 – You’re trying to bring in qualified leads or customers
I can just hear it now…
I’m not selling ANYTHING! I don’t want qualified leads or customers!
Yes. You do.
A qualified lead is someone who…
(a) has interest in the things you podcast about, and
(b) has self-selected your podcast as one means by which they will learn about such things
You’re trying to get those people to CONVERT into…
- regular listeners to your show
- subscribers to your podcast
- opt-ins on your email list
- attendees at your next event
- users of your new thingie-ma-bobber
So you DO want to bring in some qualified leads via your podcast, don’t you?
You get distinct benefits from viewing your podcast as content marketing
You may have heard the phrase “long-tail” more in relationship to keywords than to a certain “type” of content – but hear me out, here…
The shelf-life of your podcast episodes, even beyond the benefits of text-based content, is that people can LISTEN to it for a very long time.
In the car.
As they exercise.
Mowing the lawn.
It’s easily consumable and will be for a long, long time.
The people who are listening to your content are self-selecting your resources. THEY have determined that you have something they need.
What better opportunity could you have than that?
Your products, your services, your offers are much more likely to be seen as helpful rather than “sales-y” for that reason.
Which means their defenses are down and a genuine conversation about YOU helping THEM (your listeners) is possible and even likely.
And when you do all these things well – it’s almost automatic once it’s in place.
How long does it take for a good content marketing strategy to start working?
We need to be thinking about this issue rightly – to avoid disappointment and to set our expectations rightly.
There are two types of content marketing: on-site content marketing and off-site content marketing.
And each of them has a different time frame in which you can expect results…
On-site content marketing applies to a web property that YOU own or have control of ultimately. Not Facebook. Not Twitter. Not Youtube. It’s a resource that is yours, one that nobody else can make you change. And for on-site, effective, well-planned content marketing you can expect to wait 6 months for it to start having any impact. And it’s going to have to be…
On-site content marketing applies to a web property that YOU own or have control of ultimately.
It’s a resource that is yours, one that nobody else can make you change.
And for on-site, effective, well-planned content marketing you can expect to wait 6 months for it to start having any impact.
And it’s going to have to be…
Effective content marketing must be well-planned
You can’t just throw your episodes onto the internet and expect content marketing to happen.
It takes work. It takes time.
It takes a well-considered plan, implemented systematically.
This is something I’m working on – and it’s hard stuff to not only figure out in terms of what will be effective – it also takes multiple tries and tweaks to get it right.
I haven’t got it figured out yet, but I see why it’s got to be done.
Just like a surgeon researches how to perform a surgery before they do it, we’ve got to figure out how to promote our podcasts through content marketing.
That’s the only way we’re going to effectively get the word out and help the people we aim to help.
My suspicion is that how each of us goes about it will be at least a little bit different because we serve different audiences or industries.
But however it winds up… someone on your team needs to be dedicated to making it happen.
Your podcast content marketing should include good SEO (search engine optimization) practices
And this is not referring to so-called iTunes SEO (getting your show found on iTunes – now Apple Podcasts)
I’m talking about the actual text on the page – on your website (remember, we’re talking about on-site content marketing).
You want your content to be optimized so the search engines find it easily and find it valuable.
You do that through effective keyword research and web writing practices.
That’s how you’re able to draw in people who are searching for the exact things you’re podcasting about.
And again, that’s going to take some time, firm dedication, and a “figure it out” attitude.
I’ve produced a number of episodes about how to create show notes that are effective for SEO… you can find them below in the resource section of this page.
Good content marketing should include engaging writing on your show notes pages
Yes, a transcript can have a great SEO benefit.
And if you decide to use a transcript you won’t have to do keyword research at all – because every possible keyword is going to be on the page naturally.
That is, once you finish correcting the transcript. 😉
BUT – there’s a drawback to using a transcript (my opinion, here)…
You are giving away every single bit of content that is in the audio of your episode. Why is that a big deal?
Think of it this way…
Why would someone take the time to LISTEN to your episode if they can quickly scroll down the page and see the content for themselves?
See what I mean?
But you can create show notes in a way that presents an accurate summary of the content and is aimed at appealing to the reader in a way that prompts them to listen to the episode.
You’re trying to start a domino effect. Here’s how it goes…
#1 – A searcher finds your show notes page in Google search via your good on-site writing and SEO practices
#2 – Your engaging, well-formatted show notes summarize the content they find in an appealing way and intrigues them enough that they hit the “play” button
#3 – The great production and content in the audio they hear prompts them to subscribe
That’s what you’re going for – and it all starts with knowing how to do good, effective SEO.
Have truly great content
It’s easy – way TOO easy to fall into a habit of laziness and just getting by.
And the ease with which tech these days enables anyone to publish anything makes it appear that easy is all you need.
But it’s not.
Truly great content has ALWAYS required diligent work by people who care.
And it still does.
Your audience deserves the best you have to offer. So don’t skimp.
Don’t try to short-cut this. You won’t truly add value to people if you do – and you’ll wind up with the reputation of a person whose podcast is “Meh.”
You don’t want that.
I don’t want that for you.
Create TRULY great content.
Great podcast promotion through content marketing requires L-O-V-E for your listeners
Yes you want to monetize your podcast.
Yes, you want to get leads into your funnel.
But beneath all of that you’ve got to have genuine concern for your listeners.
Your audio content should reflect it, as should your on-page efforts to create great show notes that truly serve your audience.
I’ve come to this realization in my own podcasting and business efforts – and it’s making me sweat!
Because it’s hard work.
What am I doing?
I’m making a concerted effort at the show notes piece (I hope you can tell from this super-long post).
And I believe it matters so much that I’m going back through my older episodes and updating them one by one.
One a week should get me there in a year and a half.
But it will be WORTH it because I’m adding great value with each episode I update.
But back to the point.
I want to add that kind of value because I truly care about YOU, my listening audience.
I want you to create the best podcast you can because if you don’t, you’ll be adding to the noise and helping nobody.
And the world will never change for the better when that’s the case.
You also need to TRULY desire to BE an expert in your niche.
Be careful here – I’m trying to make a very fine point.
It’s one thing to be SEEN as the expert in the niche and another thing to truly BE the expert.
- You know if you’re really the expert or if you’re just a poser
- You know if you’ve put in the time or if you’re just regurgitating someone else’s work
- You know if you’ve really studied your topic and know it like the back of your hand
Please, PLEASE don’t try to fool people and especially don’t try to fool yourself.
BE the expert your audience deserves. Do the work it takes to become that person.
And guess what? Google and the other search engines will favor you – because the content you’re producing demonstrates that you are the go-to person in your niche.
Does that make sense?
Humility is powerfully important for effective content marketing
People are drawn to authenticity, not perfection.
So it’s important to BE YOU.
Don’t try to imitate the voice or style of other people.
Don’t put on a show thinking that’s what you’ve got to be.
You just need to be who you are.
Mistakes and all.
One of the reasons Pat Flynn has become so popular, at least from my perspective, is BECAUSE OF his authenticity.
He’s real. He tells you about his mistakes.
In fact, he demonstrates them in things like his “Niche Site Dual” of years gone by.
So if you’re going to imitate anything, imitate that. 😉
And finally, on-site content marketing requires consistency
Keep. It. Up.
The more content you produce, the more Google has to find.
The more SEO optimized content you produce, the more Google and searchers WILL find it.
The more GREAT content you produce, the more you’ll build a following that is truly helped by you.
By you – did you get that part?
You’re able to do this. I know you are.
By off-site content marketing I mean places you can promote your content that you DO NOT own.
That’s places like…
- iTunes (Apple Podcasts)
- Google Play
- Other people’s websites
Believe it or not, you DO have some power to impact those things.
And for off-site content marketing requires SIX TO TWELVE MONTHS to see results – because you have less control over it.
And just like ON-SITE content marketing, there are some vital things that go into it.
Again, effective off-site content marketing must be well-planned
Go back to the section about on-site content marketing and understand that all I said there applies here.
And beyond that… I have some ideas about how you can go about this…
You don’t have to do all of these but the more you do, the better your results will be.
And there are likely a lot more than I’m going to mention here.
Get strategic about being featured on other people’s podcasts
You know how important it is for YOU to have great guests on your show.
Why can’t you be that guest for someone else in your niche?
You don’t have to be competitors. You can be friends.
You have an audience they don’t have and vice versa.
And you’ve got to be strategic about it – make a plan, figure it out.
Find the people.
Figure out how to connect with them.
Reach out with kindness and a genuine desire to help THEIR audience.
You’ll find great opportunities to expand your influence and get more ears attuned to your message.
Guest posting on important niche websites is powerful. Here’s why.
There’s a very influential blogger in your niche who writes consistently about the topic you podcast about.
He becomes aware of you, a podcaster, and invites you to write a blog post for him to present to his readers.
Is that a good opportunity?
You’d better believe it is. In fact…
There’s probably not a better scenario you could dream up.
Why? Because that blogger DOESN’T to audio like you do, they write. You don’t write like they do, you podcast.
You’re complementary to each other.
That makes each of you an asset to the other.
So why not go looking for that blogger?
Yes, I know – you don’t like to write.
But begin building the relationship anyway.
You might find a good guest for your show at the very least.
And best-case, you may find a friend who bends over backwards to help you promote your podcast even without a guest blog post.
80% of podcasters do social media content marketing wrong. Don’t be one of those people
Don’t simply drop a link into social media and ask people to listen.
Add value first.
Interact with people about your topic.
It will take more time and more concern for the people you’re interacting with, but that’s the point.
And you’ll find yourself getting opportunities because the things you share are obviously valuable.
Ask for links to your podcast on other people’s websites – these are called back-links – and they work
They are a way for someone influential in your niche to link from their website to your website as a resource for their readers/listeners.
And Google and the other search engines take that stuff very seriously.
Why would they do that? Why would they link to your podcast?
Hmmmmm, let’s see…
- Your podcast is great content that speaks to their audience?
- It’s relevant to the topics they discuss?
- They know something about SEO and realize that an outbound link to a reputable site like yours will help them?
- Because you ask them to?
Nahh… none of that could be the case, could they?
Actually. Yes. A BIG yes.
Learning to collaborate with others in your niche – and to ask them to do so – is an amazing way to help BOTH of you up your game.
And somebody’s got to take the initiative.
It takes a bit of work to learn who you can reach out to for this type of thing, but you’re not afraid of a little hard work, are you?
You can do this… and once you do you’ll be amazed at the impact it can have.
You don’t have to do it all at once. Make a plan. Follow it step by step. Get there in time.
I’ve just backed up the dump truck – and now you’re swimming in stuff to do.
But don’t sweat it.
The first thing you need to do is to make a plan of how you’re going to go about content marketing for your podcast.
Then start where you are.
Do what you can. Don’t kill yourself. But at least get started.
It happens one thing at a time, consistently done.
And over time, it builds momentum.
What are the key things to do for effective podcast promotion through content marketing?
As in all things that are effective, you’ve got to do more than take a stab in the dark.
You need to be smart about this content marketing thing.
You need to plan.
What goes into that plan?
Know your podcast listeners
Figure out who your audience is.
Find out where they hang out online.
Go there and get involved in conversation.
You’ll be amazed at the things you can learn about the people you are trying to serve with your podcast.
They will actually TELL you their pains, problems, and passions – and you’ll get plenty of ideas of things you can produce for their benefit.
But not if you don’t look for them and get to know them.
Don’t wing it. Don’t think you know your audience already.
Take the time to invest in the relationship with your future listeners.
They’ll be glad you did.
Spend time deciding a systematic way to talk about the things important to your audience
Once you know what your audience wants to learn about… you need to plan out a way to give it to them.
Bullet point outlines and brain dumps do a great service here.
You can listen to find out more about how I go about this but in short, you write out everything you could conceivably talk about in a bullet point list.
Then you drill into that list to mine out the best topics.
Then you reorder it into the best sequence.
And you have a page or two of podcast topic ideas.
Determine a publication and promotion schedule and method – and stick to it
Once you’ve got the content you need to have a consistent way to put it out, to get it in front of Google and your listeners.
It takes time to figure out – and organization to keep track of how you’re doing it.
But as you see what works and what doesn’t you’re able to refine your process.
And one of the most beautiful things about this one is that you can get help to do it.
A virtual assistant may be just the thing to help you get this done week after week.
So… there you have it. A truckload of thoughts about podcast promotion via content marketing
I’d love to hear how you get on with this.
Keep at it. Don’t let yourself be discouraged.
Don’t let yourself give up.
Step by step over time, you’ll get there.
- Dave Jackson
- Show notes that work (episode that tells you everything you need to do)
- Episode 20 – Why you need good show notes
- Episode 21 – Step one to epic show notes
- Episode 22 – Step two to epic show notes
- BOOK: Mastery
- PODCAST: Thinking In Public
- Episode 23 – Creating social media elements FROM your podcast show notes
- Thinking In Public – a show I love
- Episode 59 – How to get influencers to be guests on your show
- Neil Patel article about backlinking strategy
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