Effective Podcast Marketing for Growth and Engagement

Goals

To understand some effective strategies to best market and then grow a podcast. Specifically to know what tools should be used for evaluating a strategy, the types of hosts that are best, the best length for a podcast episode, the best places to advertise, and the channels people use to discover podcasts. An ideal response would surround best practices for a non-profit company that broadcasts podcasts.

Early Findings

  • Before commencing with the initial hour of research, a review was done on the provided non-profit that produces their own podcasts to better inform the research.

Marketing Best Practices for Growth

  • In 2019, Facebook premiered a new original podcast called Three and a Half Degrees. The show was the result of Facebook's desire to bring the world closer together. The marketing plan for the series has been called, by one very prominent industry leader, “the best podcast marketing plan I’ve seen.”
  • Throughout the production of the show, Pacific Content worked very closely with Matt Sutton, Global Brand Marketing Manager at Facebook. His strategy and tactics are: the show shouldn’t be explicit marketing for your products or services, use the medium for what it’s designed for and turn audio into video, targeting based on guests and content, targeting based on subject and content themes, market to new and existing podcast listeners differently, market to iOS and android listeners separately, rethink how to use Instagram for audio, creative out of home (OOH) on a budget, and paid podcast ads.
  • In order to promote a podcast effectively, focus on the audience. Aggregate everything known about the listener into an audience persona document so it can be referred to when crafting marketing copy.
  • Experiment with and measure the podcast. It's smart to add tracking codes to any links posted online to determine how many people ultimately land back on the podcast site. Without any tracking parameters, it’s difficult to decide if a tactic is successful or not.
  • A podcast can get double the exposure from one episode by repurposing its content for YouTube. Creating a video asset from an episode can take a few forms but all have the same goal: putting the podcast in front of YouTube’s 2 billion worldwide users.
  • Submit the podcast to podcast aggregators and directories. A podcast aggregator, called a podcatcher, is an app that plays podcasts. The most well-known podcatcher is Apple Podcasts, the default podcast app that comes with iOS.
  • Optimize the podcast website for search. A podcast website is important. From SEO benefits to being a platform that is fully controlled, all shows should have their own site. However, the site must be updated constantly. Each time a new episode is uploaded and distributed to every listening app, a new post should e created on the website as well. The post should have an embedded player, transcriptions, and show notes to make the biggest impact. Recently, Google started crawling audio material and including podcasts in search results. To capitalize on this update, try targeting episodes to a few keyword phrases for the intended audience. Include those same keywords on that episode’s post for double SEO benefits.
  • Prompt podcast listeners to subscribe, share, and leave reviews. Ask listeners to subscribe, share, and review the podcast at the beginning and end of each episode. The best way to position these calls-to-action is to be authentic instead of pushy. Many listeners rely on the psychological phenomenon of social proof to decide if they’ll give a podcast that first listen. If there is a lot of positive reviews, there will be more listeners.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • Our initial hour of research was spent scanning to ensure all the questions could be answered publicly, which they can. Additionally, we were able to provide multiple insights surrounding podcast marketing best practices for growth.
  • We want to caution that we found no studies and no independent white papers surrounding these topics. All information is going to be gleaned from reputable blogs from industry experts. We also found nothing that segments out non-profit companies that produce podcasts so we are discouraging that research avenue.
  • We had a question surrounding this aspect of the ask: "the types of hosts that are best". We need a direct clarification on that. We are assuming that means a web hosting platform. If the intention is instead to find a host (the best person to host a podcast) that will clearly have to be communicated to us in any reply.
  • We are assuming a US focus for all the research. If a more broad approach is desired, for example, a global focus, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
We are suggesting research that continues to build upon the initial findings and provides 5-7 more best practices surrounding marketing for podcast growth. For each best practice we will provide what it is, and why it is a best practice. Please check this box if we should proceed with this research.
Additionally, we are proposing research that provides 3-5 hosting platforms that are best for a podcast. For each hosting platform, we will provide the name, a description of it, and why it is considered a good platform. We are also suggesting research that provides 3-5 of the best channels that potential podcast listeners are using and therefore would be the best place to advertise a podcast. For each channel identified, we will provide what it is, and why it is considered a good place to advertise a podcast. Channels might be, hypothetically, social media platforms, digital sites, and/or printed mediums. Please check this box if we should proceed with this research.
We are also suggesting research that provides an overview on how to determine the best length for a podcast episode. This will examine and explore how that is determined with industry experts weighing in. Please check this box if we should proceed with this research.