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Westwood One’s Fourth Annual Fall 2020 Study offers new podcasting insights and food for thought on the podcasting industry, listeners and podcast content creators. Westwood One is America’s largest audio network. Their reports evaluate several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.

As a former app developer and current podcast production and marketing agency owner, I am easily fascinated by trends and changes in content consumption behaviors. So what follows are merely some of the highlights that stood out for me, personally.

Podcasting Insights Study — Table Of Contents

Podcasts Used To Be For Geeks: In Other Words, Mostly Men

But no more. One of the most encouraging podcasting insights for me is the fact that women are rapidly entering the space. And this is driving innovation and content diversity in the podcasting industry at large.

"Women continue to close the gap in podcasting: For the third consecutive year, podcast listenership is up among women. Compared to July 2017, weekly female podcast listeners are spending +27% more time with podcasts.”

Skewing Young and Female

Podcasting Insights - Women Listening
Source: Westwood One's Podcast Download – Fall 2020 Report.

For me, equally exciting are the podcasting insights around new listeners heavily skewing young and female.

“Women represent 67% of weekly podcast listeners who started listening in the past 7-12 months”

Since 2017, the greatest growth comes from female listeners

Insights on female listeners
Source: Westwood One's Podcast Download – Fall 2020 Report.

Here Are Some Reasons Why I Thinks This Is A Great Development

  1. Greater diversity of podcast content, genre and topics being produced
  2. The rise of female entrepreneurship in podcasting tech – as evidenced by a slew of women led podcast networks, apps, events and conferences (more on this to come…)
  3. Overall greater inclusion of minorities. This is leading to greater awareness of podcasting, and increased listenership in new communities and countries.

Apple’s Dominance in Podcasting Continues To Fade

A 2nd generation iPod podcast player being held up by hand.
Photographer: Cartoons Plural | Source: Unsplash

The fact that Apple has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to podcasting is not exactly news. Having been the original inventors of the devices, Apple coined the terminology, innovated listening devices and drove the content involved.

Do young people even realize that the term “podcasting” was originally derived from Apple’s iPod?

This typical closed platform “Apple Walled Garden” approach is coming to an end. And that can only be a good thing. Podcasting industry insiders have long called for more rapid innovation in the space. Apple rested on their laurels. They have allowed Spotify, Youtube and a slew of podcasting innovators to improve and diversify the app listening experience – including smart speakers, smart watches, smart TVs and automotive listening experiences.

The same is true for the podcast creator experience. Apple could have easily dominated this space with more podcast friendly versions of audio production tools like Garageband and Logic Pro. Instead we are seeing a variety of innovative podcast recording platforms crop up elsewhere.

Apple Podcast’s Fundamental Lack Of Discoverability

Another typical aspect of Apple’s iTunes and Apple Podcast environments is the fundamental lack of discoverability, something that I am familiar with from my app development days. Apple pushes the biggest podcasts, but makes indy content hard to find. The good news in this is that other platforms are doing a better job at curating and providing podcast discovery solutions.

“The podcast platform wars are heating up. In this year’s report, Spotify is closing in on Apple as the most used podcast platform, and YouTube is growing as well”
– Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Marketing for CUMULUS MEDIA and President, Westwood One.

Insights on Spotify's Rise To Power
Source: Westwood One's Podcast Download – Fall 2020 Report.

I am not saying that this trend is due to better discoverability in Spotify. I think it might be because of Spotify’s investments in content large show acquisitions like the “Joe Rogan Experience”. But for me, there is a connection between new (mostly female) podcast listeners, music listening habits and recommendation engine innovations inside the Spotify App that positions it as a viable listening and discovery alternative.

Alternative Listening Platforms Are Popular Especially Among Young Listeners

Source: Westwood One's Podcast Download – Fall 2020 Report.

Among heavy podcast listeners, Millennials frequently use 3+ different platforms to consume podcasts on. This might be an indication that better listening apps and platforms are emerging. And this is also encouraging in terms of innovation and discovery overall.

YouTube Is The Preferred Podcast Entertainment Platform For Many

For me, one of the most fascinating insights and finding is the fact that listeners are using more platforms: Weekly podcast audiences are increasing the number of podcast platforms they’re using to listen. But YouTube is in a class of its own.

Podcasting Insights: YouTube Moves Up To The Most Frequently Used Podcast Listening Platform

Insights on YouTube For Podcast Listening
Source: Westwood One's Podcast Download – Fall 2020 Report.

“More than 4-in-10 (43%) say they went to YouTube for podcasts in the past year, ahead of Apple Podcasts/iTunes at 34% and a strong showing from the new arrival, Spotify, at 23%.”

This might strike many a “veteran” podcast listener as strange. But the report goes on to clarify some reasons this is likely happening:

  • Entertainment and Learning are the most frequently cited reasons that people listen to podcasts
  • YouTube is a popular, if not dominant, platform for both.
  • This is especially true for Gen-X and Millennials, who prefer YouTube for their entertainment choices

How Are People Consuming Podcasts on YouTube?

Discover the YouTube Trending page
Podcasting Insights For YouTube Listening – Photographer: CardMapr | Source: Unsplash

The rise of YouTube as an apparently viable podcasting platform raises many unanswered questions for many of us “podcasting veterans” and producers. For example:

  • How can YouTube views count towards podcaster download stats used for advertising analytics?
  • Do people listen to the audio only or do they expect video content?
  • Should I produce Audiograms or post original video content?
  • Can YouTube “listens” help drive listens on other platforms?
  • What is the Best Tool for YouTube SEO Growth (Disclaimer — This is an affiliate link)

There is an excellent article by @CanadianPodcastListner on Medium that delves into YouTube usage some more.

Insights on YouTube Statistics for Podcasting
Source: @CanadianPodcastListener

Conclusion

If you are interested in the space, I would encourage you to download your own copy of the Westwood One’s Fourth Annual Fall Study. I think there is much good news for the podcasting industry in general, and for female podcasting entrepreneurs in particular.

Having said that, us “pioneering” male podcasters have our own assumptions to challenge, as well as some new tricks to learn. My own podcasting insights and take-aways from the study:

  • Having a YouTube Channel is becoming a compelling proposition for podcasters these days, and there are many good ways to utilize this to build a greater digital presence, outside of “just posting podcast episodes.”
  • My own preference for YouTube Channel formats is for LiveStreaming and original video content, not for audiograms.
  • Experiment With Listening Apps and Podcast Discovery Platforms — and make sure your podcast is submitted to Spotify.
  • Polymash has been encouraging the growth of diversity among podcasters. As such we have been engaging with more women, black and Hispanic entrepreneurs and podcasters at conferences and online, and we are continuing to offer our free SEOsaturdays.com Livestream events to help growth their shows and websites.

In this episode of the SEO Saturdays show we focused on the impact of the latest Google Core update and what it means for podcasters. Our central question was this: How Might We Design Podcast Interviews For SEO Success?

SEO Saturdays
Join Us for free SEO Done For Your Podcast – Live!

Design Podcast Interviews TOC

Recap: May 16 Livestream Replay Video

Remember, if you missed the LIVE stream, all of this is viewable on our You Tube channel.

How Might We Design Podcast Interviews For Seo Success?

That was the central question we inquired into was around whether it is feasible to use SEO based preparation and research to create better and more in-depth podcast interviews.

Content Briefs and Content Grading / Optimization Special Feature: Ryo Chiba from “Topic”

Ryo Chiba
Ryo Chiba, Co-Founder of “Topic”

The Co-Founder of the content optimization tool Topic, Ryo Chiba, was our special co-host. He personally walked us through a demo of his brilliant tool. This tool helps content creators design and produce quality content that uses are looking for, using content briefs. Topic enables a step by step approach to identify the content that is most relevant to readers or listeners. It facilitates a content planning process based on comprehensive coverage of a subject, including the most relevant questions being asked on-line.

Topic “Content Briefs” suggest how to cover a topic in a way that is likely to appear near the top of the search results. The built in “Content Grading” tool evaluates your draft show notes or blog articles against these briefs for instant feedback and suggestions.

We are incorporating the regular use of “Topic” as a content planning and content grading tool in all our podcasting processes.

We recently posted our own case study on how we increased Website Traffic by 351% with this method. Just google “podcast website traffic” – or click here for the case study.

Topic Special For Podcasters

Special Program For Podcasters: 25% Off For All “Topic” Content Grading Tool Plans

A Shoutout To The Podcasts We Featured

Thanks to those applicants wanting to be on the show. Each of you is unique and while you may think you’re alone with your issues, we find that with all the excellent teaching moments that surface during the LIVE, we recognize we are not so alone. Learning together is truly valuable.

Social PR Secrets

Social PR Secrets podcast is your trusted source for actionable and relevant ways to combine the superpowers of public relations, social media and SEO. Each week, join Lisa Buyer, entrepreneur and author of Social PR Secrets and Digital Detox Secrets. If you are an entrepreneur, a struggling parent, intrepreneur, a student, a teacher a marketers or just want to hear some secrets to creating some mindfulness and awareness, this podcast is for you.

Minimum Viable Podcast

MVP: Minimum Viable Podcast shares the stories black technologists and entrepreneurs successfully navigating the startup world. Join marketer turned app entrepreneur Amanda Spann for actionable insights from real and relatable black founders finding the fortitude to build what’s new, now and next. MVP: Minimum Viable Podcast features interviews with leading black innovators.

Positivity Strategist Podcast

An interview show with thought leaders on social construction, appreciative inquiry and other leading positive change methodologies, helping you grow personally, in community and professionally.  Author, teacher, Robyn Stratton-Berkessel talks with thought leaders at many levels across the world help us all make sense of and give meaning to our respective worlds.

Livestream Time Stamps Reference

Livestream Introduction

  • 08.27 Agenda outline
  • 09.00 How might we design podcast interviews for SEO success?
  • 10:00 What is comprehensive content and content grade?
  • 13:00 Value of questions to tell a story comprehensively

Case Study Recap

  • 18:00 Recap of Polymash’s case success using the Topic platform

Our Co-Host Ryo Chiba

  • 24:30 Meeting Ryo – co-founder of Topic
  • 27:45 Conceptual overview of Topic – quality content your users get value from

Social PR Secrets Podcast

  • 31:20 Lisa Buyer – her story of starting Social PR Secrets – 65 episodes in one batch and her inspiration
  • 44:00 Key phrase research for Facebook SEO
  • 44:50 Ryo interviewing Lisa Buyer about her process –
  • 47:15 Content briefs are tied to a specific focus key word “Facebook SEO” – are integrating search intent with planning process – look for headers- and then subcategories
  • 50:24 Questions to answer
  • 57:50 Using Topic as research tool, enabling podcaster to zero in on their unique value
  • 1:02:00 Competitor analysis
  • 1:04:00 Commonly sited links
  • 1:04: 30 Content grader

MVP Podcast

  • 1:14:30 Amanda Span. MVP – her show – Tech enabled entrepreneurship
  • 1:24:00 Ranking with names of celebs
  • 1:26:00 Topic overview starting with the Content Brief Report Card
  • 1:35:11 example of the topic “serial entrepreneur”

Positivity Strategy Podcast

  • 1:38:30 positivity is key – using Topic to upgrade an existing post

What is Podcast SEO Saturdays?

We keep developing the show format and hope to be growing in ideas and guests and innovative ways to help connect podcasters and content creators design and deliver the content audiences love.

Currently, our guests are podcasters who apply to be on the show. We do some research based on their podcast topics and episode ideas. and then during the LIVE they do a show and tell of their content. They opening share what their mission is, what they offer and what they aspire to. We engage in conversation about the issues they would like to address. They range from the strength of their podcast website, podcast name, episode titles or podcast articles. In these livestream sessions we help

  • New podcasters optimize their podcast names & websites based on SEO
  • Existing podcasters by researching great episode titles for their show
  • Demonstrate tools and techniques we use to help content rank more organically on Google search
  • Answer your Podcast SEO questions live

Participate live as my partner, Robyn and I demonstrate our entire Content Marketing Workflow. It has elevated our clients’ podcasts and their episode notes drive traffic to their websites and show up high in the Google search results. This strategy alone has is the most effective ways of attracting listeners to the websites and gaining new subscribers. In our free SEO Saturdays LIVE streaming event, we show you how to do this. Just apply to have your show SEO’d in real time live.

Remember, you earn great backlinks when we feature your show on our site. Each week our featured podcasts, as demo’d above are enjoying that benefit – and that’s just one! Join us next time to find out why this is a GREAT SEO tactic that can flip your script!

Special Program For Podcasters: Free Trial and 25% Off 1st Month For All “Topic” Content Grading Tool Plans

Ryo and the team over at Topic have created a special “secret” program tailored to podcasters! I pleaded with them that many podcasters need fewer episode content briefs than “normal” marketers, and so they created a special program.

  • The initial sign up is free, so you can try and plan an episode just like we demo live.
  • Once you realize how awesome a way this is to plan your episodes and interviews, you can sign with a 25% discount for the first month. Use the code POLYMASH25.

The RodeCaster Pro 2.1 Firmware Update introduced a lot of new features. While some may seem like minor upgrades, others are massively important in the way podcasters as well as live-streamers can utilize this console. It is great to see that Rode keeps raising the bar. Here is our live review of new features introduced in the latest firmware update, and while this is still a beta release, it has been one of the most reliable betas I have ever encountered. 2 weeks and counting and not a single issue. (Well, perhaps one issue, but it’s a minor omission…)

If you are interested in trying these features, you can download the beta here. So let’s dive in:

If you find value in this post and like our videos, please subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Table Of Contents

New Firmware Update for Rodecaster 2.1b

Rodecaster released a beta firmware update for their Rodecaster Pro 2.1, and this update is significant. Let's explore some of the new features with a demo walkthrough of a few of the new main features and also explore ways that live streamers may take advantage of this device.

What is the Rodecaster Pro?

For those unfamiliar, the Rodecaster Pro 2.1 is a podcast oriented production mixer that allows you create a professional sounding podcast from one device, without needing a computer. It of course does connect to your PC or Mac and serves as a super capable audio interface, allows you to connect to your devices, have several people in the room, record and mix down a podcast, including intros, outros and music snippets.

You have the four audio channels, and your USB, which is the audio that's coming in from your PC. You have an extra input labeled "phone" to connect a phone with Bluetooth. Record your Livestream and have an instant podcast from your video. This device has music banks that you can overdub and create on the fly intros, outros, and repeatable snippets of audio that you may use over and over again.

A fantastic benefit is the ability to connect your phone via Bluetooth. As a result, you can play music, sound effects, plus people can easily dial into your show. For creators and live-streamers who are not on Zoom or Skype, this is an easy additional alternative with fantastic sound quality.

The old Rodecaster Pro console had channel preset; now however, you can edit the presets of each channel for broadcast rich sound on your microphone.

Most Significant Features of Rodecaster Pro 2.1 Update

Let's look at a quick overview of what's included in the 3rd major Rodecaster Pro firmware update, and why I think this is a significant update.

Editable Effects

Rodecaster Pro 2.1 Update Editable Effects
Rodecaster Pro 2.1 Update Editable Effects

A past complaint that Rode fielded was the fact the effects on their Rodecaster Pro 2.1 through 2.0 consisted of presets and weren't editable. With this new Rodecaster Pro 2.1 firmware update, they are now editable, and these effects can be edited in 2 places

  • using their software, and
  • the device itself.

Not only can the sound effects be edited on the console itself, but also there is a fantastic new software feature part of the Rodecaster Pro Software, which allows you to shape your sound much more conveniently, by editing the effects on your computer.

Mp3 File Export

Also new is the ability to export directly to .mp3. You can, for example, record a live-stream, and then publish a podcast in .mp3 format asa finished episode on the fly.

Global Ducking

An additional change they've introduced is global ducking. This feature lowers the volume of background music when you're speaking.

  • At the time or this writing, it appeared this was one of the few features not quite working in the beta yet.

Console Meters Mode Display Option

Rodecaster Pro 2.1 Update - Console Meters View
Rodecaster Pro 2.1 Update – Console Meters View

The display can now be changed to indicate db volume level indicators and looks and functions more like a pro console display. Previously these meters were still visible, but without any reference db indications.

Rodecaster Pro for Livestream Use

You can produce NPR quality livestream audio as well as podcasts right out of the box.

  • Soundbanks in the form of colored pad buttons are pre-programmable when recording into your Rodecaster and by overdubbing over a piece of music.
  • With the newly programmable soundbanks, you can now overdub sounds and create instant intros and outros, sponsor segments, while you're on the air.
  • With a mix-minus function built in to remove guest echo for people dialing in from Skype, Zoom or other apps, click the USB settings and mix-minus should automatically be applied along with ducking across all tracks, including guest tracks. (As I mentioned the ducking feature was not yet working in my beta)
  • Every channel can have its own mic preset along with generic presets. You can also set the levels for vocals on any mic that you hook up. These XLR inputs can also serve as 1/8th inch inputs with an adapter. When we are doing location productions, we have wireless mics and can plug these into the board just as easily.

There are a variety of new effects, and they've really added a lot of flexibility and capability in production.

  • In the advanced settings under the extras, you can enable the ability to edit the sound effects.
  • This gives the user the ability to create a custom sound or specific production settings such as compression, Aphex aural exciter, high pass filter, and reverb.
  • You can save this preset so that the device produces your sound preset right out of the box.

This feature allows you to just hit the record button and create a podcast that would be on par with the produced Adobe audition post-production workflow.

Up Next – Optimizing The Noise Gate

We are workin on a series of videos to explore how to get the most out of the editable effects. The first one of these videos is about how to optimize the noise gate for live-streaming, and it is live on YouTube Now, with a full write up coming up soon.

How to promote your podcast main image

The current podcast ecosystem is a challenging one to promote your podcast in, admittedly. First: as of mid 2020, there are currently north of 1,250,000 shows that have produced over 29 million episodes. Assuming an average length of about 1 hour, it would take you 2,111 years to get through all the current episodes on just Apple Podcasts. It's a crowded space, for sure.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Podcast Marketing

And the challenges are accelerating during the year of COVID-19. 49,000 new podcasts were released in April 2020 alone, but listener growth lags behind, in fact many podcast experts and platforms experienced a 10-20% drop in listens during the months of March and April 2020. Our theory is that this is being caused by changes in podcast consumption behaviors – fewer people driving, commuting, listening at the gym. One other interesting statistic that has emerged is that while mobile listening trends are down, web based listening trends are up.

  • All of this makes it even more important to promote and market your own podcast with solid footing.
  • We would argue that podcast websites and creating a great web-based listening experience has increased in importance.

How do you promote and market your podcast in 2020 and beyond?

  1. Reaching Your Target Audience
  2. Basic Podcast Promotion Tactics
  3. Submitting Your Shows To Podcast Directories
  4. Podcast Guesting On Other Podcasts
  5. Using Paid Ad Strategies
  6. Leveraging Your Own Guests
  7. Make It Easy As Pie To Share Your Episodes
  8. Contests and Promotions To Gather Apple Podcast Reviews
  9. Leverage Email Subscribers With Social Media Share Gates
  10. Promote Your Podcast Organically With SEO
  11. Content Strategy & Patience
  12. Plan Interesting Topics
  13. Join a podcasting community or network
  14. Use your email list
  15. Make Your Your Podcast Homepage Design Less Egocentric
  16. Figure out your audience and engage it
  17. 5 Mistakes to AVOID when promoting your podcast
  18. Conclusion – And How Polymash Helps

Introduction

The increasing role of Chinese click farms have had an outsized impact on the top 200 ranking for Apple Podcasts. The charts are gameable, hackable, and a lot of people are doing just that. The Youtube video above was put together by LimeLink, and if you're a podcaster you owe it to yourself to check it out. Careful, you might get depressed, or worse, be tempted to try the same for your podcast. Don't! This post is here to help.

Compounding that: launch algorithms have changed, and reviews don't matter as much as they once did. The older (still common to many) model of giveaways and contests won't work as well as it did even 1-2 years ago.

As a result of the overall landscape, promoting your podcast has to come from newer sources. But what exactly are those sources?

This is why I put together this (pretty exhaustive) post, and hope that it will prove useful for beginning podcasters, but also that the veterans will find some podcast promotion tips and tactics they may not have considered yet.

Oh, and there is now also an entire Podcast and Youtube Channel about this. It's called "The Podcast Growth Show", and if you find some of this material useful or have podcast promotion tactics you can share with us, I'd love it if you joined our community.

Reaching Your Target Audience

Understanding the target audience for your podcast comes first, and then reaching them comes second. Doing analysis of your target audience is a pre-requisite that should come with launching a podcast in the first place, before any podcast promotion even begins.

  • Try to build a solid understanding of who your podcast listeners are, the topics they like and what else they listen to
  • You can research the most popular podcasts in your niche on Apple Podcasts
  • You can use PodNews.net, which has a good search feature that delivers useful information about each show. For example, here is a search for “real estate podcasts” on podnews.net.
  • You can roughly gauge the popularity of each podcast by the ratings and number of episodes you find, and look through the episode topics of the most popular shows for inspiration.
  • Your job is to create episode content that is the most relevant for your target audience

Basic Podcast Promotion Tactics

Your First Episode, And Your Trailer Episode

Pay attention to your first episodes, and consider having a “Trailer” episode you can promote that will help people understand what your podcast is all about.

  • If you have a website, this trailer episode can be featured in a “New Listener” section of the podcast home page. This way your new listeners have an easy way to get oriented.
  • Some people record a brief trailer episode, and then expand on the concept and origins of their show in the first episode. I like this approach, and would then recommend featuring both episodes in the “New Listener” section.
  • Consider re-recording your trailer once you’re 10+ episodes into your podcast, usually we can think of ways to improve it and make it more relevant as we get the first few episodes under our belts. And perhaps re-recording your first episodes is even more important for veteran podcasters with a lot of episodes.

Launch With At Least 3-5 Episodes

If you have created a trailer episode, and assuming Episode 1 is about your show, then I would recommend launching with 5 episodes.

  • This allows your target podcast audience to binge-listen once they discover your show

Create Time To Stay Ahead Of Your Publishing Cadence

In addition to the first 3-5 episodes, it is a good idea to have 3 more episodes completely done and scheduled. It takes the pressure off during your launch cycle.

You want to create the mental space and the time to focus on promoting and marketing your show.

You don’t want to get stressed about producing your next episodes or lining up your next guests.

Invest In Basic Marketing Materials Like Business Cards For Podcast PR

Create a business card specific for your podcast so you can hand it out in conversation. If you are hiring someone on Fiver, 99 Designs or UpWork to design a podcast business card for you, don’t stop there.

  • Have the designer also create Facebook page headers, Website Page Headers, Twitter Page Headers and other basic social media PR material for you to use online as well as in print.

Word Of Mouth

Word of mouth is not to be under-estimated, especially when first starting out. Sure, in the age of Covid-19, socially distant ads and social media presence seems somehow both sexier and more possible. But word of mouth doesn’t only mean “in person”. Calling some old friends to tell them about your project can give you a wonderful initial boost. Depending on your podcast topic, you can also engage family, coworkers, virtual meetup and Facebook groups in your niche.

Submitting Your Shows To Podcast Directories

The place to start? Promote your podcast by submitting to podcast directories…

This was also the topic for episode 1 of the podcast growth show, called Podcast Directories – The Best Ones To Boost Your Podcast.

OK, this is basic, but also necessary, so let's start here. Ensuring your podcast can be easily discovered by listeners on existing platforms is key. It may be a passive promotion method, but still, it is worth it, especially doing during your podcast launch phase.

This is also one of the easiest marketing approaches you can take. You're looking to make sure your podcast has the most reach possible. Being in as many podcast directories as possible is a great start towards that end.

Now, I've seen some good blog posts about this topic alone, but that's why I'm including web stats for each directory: For each directory below I'm including sign-up links as well as web traffic stats from Similarweb. I'm doing this to provide a relative measure of popularity for each platform. I'm adding this research as a form of encouragement.

You can decide for yourself if the traffic to these directories is worth your submission effort. My own approach: if the platform has more than 50K visits a month, it's worth submitting. Many have 100s of million visits a month. So, let's get to work, and if you're a veteran podcaster, use the list below to double check.

Apple Podcasts (AKA iTunes)

Listing your show on Apple Podcasts is pretty obvious, and I'm just listing it here for completeness. It is the most important directory. But perhaps not for the reason you think.

Most people focus on submitting to Apple Podcasts or iTunes in order to be in the "New and Noteworthy" section. But for me the most important reason to submit to Apple Podcasts is that most mobile apps (AKA podcatchers) use the Apple Podcasts directory to list all available podcasts inside their app. This means you need to submit to Apple Podcasts if you want your podcast to be found on a majority of podcatchers out there.

Spotify

Spotify is a relatively new player, but has been growing fast. Most podcast hosting services now provide integration with Spotify. In Libsyn, for example, you can define Spotify as a target publishing destination. Libsyn also provides detailed "how to" guides on setting this up in the first place.

  • Submissions to Spotify are handled inside your podcast hosting platform. This should be the preferred way to publish on Spotify, as I understand it "preferred partner hosts" like Libsyn integrate with Spotify so that you get analytics.
  • Spotify also just launched their Podcast Portal, which means you can submit your podcast manually if you are not with a preferred partner. However, your episodes will be cached on Spotify, and this means your analytics won't reflect listener credits in your hosting platform. This is why you should submit via your Spotify preferred podcast hosting platform if possible.
  • Web Stats: 251M visits a month

Stitcher

Formerly the #2 podcast promotion and listening destination. Lately I feel the platform has become somewhat ad saturated, and there a lot of other listening apps and platforms have emerged. Stitcher requires it's own submission process.

Google Play

Google play is putting a lot of effort into developing their podcast app and overall podcasting ecosystem. This is good news, and if your show is not on Google Play yet, I would definitely add it there.

  • Google Play has a podcast portal where you can submit your show.
  • Web Stats, including podcasts and music: 1.4B visits a month

What about Google Podcasts, and what's the difference between it and Google Play?

Google Podcasts is a relative newcomer, and Google Play has been around for longer. Here's an article explaining the difference. You don't "submit your show" to Google Podcasts as such. As far as I can tell, you must have your own podcast website, where you need to include a <link> to your podcast RSS feed as well as your website. Sounds confusing? Podnews.net has a good tutorial on how to get listed on Google Podcast here.

TuneIn

TuneIn has been around a long time, with available apps for almost all operating systems and mobile devices.

  • Their process is straight forward using their submission form.
  • Web Stats: 24M visits a month

iHeart Radio

iHeart Radio is another podcast directory that gets your podcast information from your hosting platform. In Libsyn, for example, you can define iHeart Radio as a target publishing destination. Libsyn also provides detailed "how to" guides on setting this up in the first place.

  • Submissions to iHeart Radio are sometimes handled inside your podcast hosting platform. For example on Libsyn.
  • Here is a direct link to submit your show
  • Web Stats: 27.72M visits a month

Blubrry

Blubrry is best know as a podcast hosting platform. So if you publish your show on Libsyn or one of the other podcast hosting services, Blubrry may not be something you've considered. However, Blubrry has a very popular podcast directory not limited to only Blubrry hosted podcasts. So as part of promoting your podcast, you should consider adding your show to this directory.

Podbean

Mainly a podcast hosting company, but also has an extensive podcast directory

Spreaker

Update December 2o19: No longer available, unless via email request to rob [dot] greenlee [at] spreaker [dot] com

Like Blubrry, Spreaker is both a hosting platform as well as a podcast directory. You used to be able to submit your show even if it is not hosted there. You sign up for an account, and then supply your RSS feed there. If you are not hosted on Spreaker, see above.

Player.fm

Player FM is the multi-platform podcast app that helps you find shows on the topics you care about and play them at your convenience, even when you're offline.

Acast.com

Update December 2019: With recent podcasts launches, I have noticed that the current ACAST submission page is no longer available. I am hoping it will come back, because this was a terrific directory, but it could be that they are requiring your podcast to be hosted there now.

(Formely) a podcast hosting service with it's own app and directory. You can submit your show to be featured on their site and inside their app.

Digital Podcast

Digital podcast is a directory that will help you promote your podcast by listing it there. Their submission process is really simple, all you need to do is to create an account and then paste your podcast RSS feed URL.

Radiopublic

Handpicked podcast playlists from people who love podcasts.

  • Click here for the submission process
  • Web Stats: 378K visits a month

ListenNotes.com

Podcast search engine that claims to have audio transcripts of 542,280 podcasts. Their web stats seem to indicate a good level of activity, so I am listing it here.

iPodder

  • iPodder has a simple submission process on their site, you suplpy name, email and your podcast feed.
  • Add your podcast to iPodder
  • Web Stats: unavailable, may indicate the platform is no longer active

Good Pods

Good Pods is a little different in that it is a podcast curation platform. This means you need to apply and provide a brief justification why they should promote your podcast and why it should be included in their directory.

More detailed instructions?

If you would like to promote your podcast by submitting to each one of the above directories, each of the links provided are pretty intuitive. But are looking for more detailed instructions, a good start would be here.

Podcast Guesting On Other Podcasts

Guesting is a great way to promote your podcast
Guesting on other shows is a great way to promote your own podcast

Steve Olsher 's Profiting from Podcasts is a program for non-podcasters and podcasters alike to appear on other people's shows. As part of his site he gives away "lead magnet". This is a currently free directory and contact information for 670 podcasters whose show you could appear on. So that is one useful resource for this.

We also dedicated an entire episode for a deep dive into this topic, especially if you are the DIY type and want to avoid spending money on expensive programs.

In our tutorial video we show step by step how to automate a highly personalized "podcast guesting" outreach campaign.

So read on for some summary tips on this topic, but if you are interested in our deep dive and ready to explore details on how to execute podcast guesting outreach campaigns, please check out episode 2 of the Podcast Growth Show called Podcast Guesting – A Cure For Stalled Subscriber Growth [S1E02]

Here is the short version:

Work the bigger players in your space

Listen to full episodes of some of the bigger players in the space you're podcasting in. Make notes. Find their contact info and email with feedback. Be open and honest, saying something like

"I'm very interested in podcasting in this space. I particularly loved how, in Episode XXX, you talked to Guest XXX about Topic XXX and got him to admit Fact XXX. I'd love to know more about your process for guest selection, guest prep, and more. Would you have maybe 20-30 minutes for that? I'd be willing to help you out with elements of your show in return for your time."

A message like that articulates what's in it for the bigger-name show. Now you might get to work on their show, learn from them, or maybe eventually be a guest or get intros to their previous guests. You're on your way.

Steve was very gracious in making this list available, so please do not abuse it.

What do I mean by that? Do not send cold mass emails to all 670 big name podcasters! besides not getting on any of these shows, your name will be dirt in the podcasting community.

Instead, do this: Ask yourself if you're 100% ready. If you can answer "yes" to 4 out of these 5 questions, then you're good:

  1. Have you already been a guest on at least 20 other shows?
  2. Have you already added value to the person you're reaching out to in a meaningful way?
  3. Do you have your own show, or a substantial online presence, and have you already connected with, or had a podcaster on my show?
  4. Have you made your presence felt in their community?
  5. Do you know this person, their interests, likes, dislikes and have a solid affinity for them?

Work the smaller players in your space

Steve's Olsher's "profiting from podcasts" list features some pretty big podcasters with established audiences, and that's great. However, if you are in a smaller niche, you may have an even better success rate by doing some of the initial leg work yourself.

Reaching out to other relevant podcasters in your niche is easy, and Apple Podcasts is the perfect tool to look up interesting shows in your category. Each show lists a website, and you can quickly get a sense how professionally each podcast is set up. Almost all podcast websites have a contact form or other way to get in touch, and again you can send a templated email requesting to be on their show.

You will want to listen to the show you want to appear on, and comment on something that you heard and liked about it. This gives you a much better chance of being accepted than sending what may look like a templated mass email.

The more personal you make your inquiry, the better the results.

To promote your podcast, guesting can be a crucial part of the ecosystem. When you appear, you inherently get to promote your podcast and other work (provided you're interesting, which we'll take as a given right now).

If some listeners like what you have to say, they will jump over to your own podcast and subscribe.

Using Paid Ad Strategies To Reach Your Podcast Audience

Marketing your podcast using paid ads
Marketing your podcast with paid ads can be very effective – especially on other podcasts

Using paid ads for promoting a podcast is not for everyone. But appropriate if you have a budget, for example for business podcasts where lead generation and email list building are part of the overall objective.

And don't just think "ads don't work" – not all platforms are alike. When it comes to promoting your podcast using paid ads, there are a few options.

Paid ad strategies is the topic of our Podcast Growth Show video episode called Paid Podcast Advertising – A Look Behind The Scenes [S1E03].

It explores 3 platforms in greater detail, and also offers our simple 5 step process to better target podcast listeners with Facebook Ads:

Promote your podcast with Facebook ads
To promote your podcast with Facebook ads, you will want this 5 step quick guide

But read on for the Cliff Notes summary of our deep dive, here's my take on 3 platforms.

Google Adwords

Generally speaking AdWords is expensive. So the question you'll want to ask yourself is this: Can I afford driving traffic to my podcast at $5-$20 per click?

My own view is that you need measurable results for this, and for most businesses this means sending traffic to a good landing page that features a gift or give-away and collects an email address. Sending ad traffic to Apple Podcasts and hoping that people subscribe is difficult to measure, and not worth it in my opinion. On AdWords you cannot even target podcast listeners easily. So we don't use it except for corporate podcasts (as we are producing several)

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most affordable paid choices for promoting a podcast. It may seem easy to simply "boost" an episode specific post on your podcast site, and then hope people listen and subscribe.

But I would not recommend this approach when first starting out. Instead, I would recommend sending traffic to a dedicated podcast landing page that features an incentive for signing up. Boosting a post is a quick solution but rarely converts as well as a carefully crafted visual and ad specifically outlining the listener benefit and value proposition of your overall podcast.

Consider combining these ads with "Share Gates" covered later in this post.

If you have not done so before, getting started properly with Facebook ads can be intimidating, so consider taking a Facebook ads course or hiring someone experienced to help you get started.

In Podcast Advertising Networks

With both AdWords and Facebook you will mostly be advertising to non-podcast listeners. It is difficult to target podcast listeners only on Facebook, and next to impossible on Google.

But this is why in-podcast advertising networks are so effective. By default, your entire audience consists of podcast listeners.

One great way to get new listeners is to advertise on other existing podcasts in your niche. Most podcasters only think of podcast advertising networks as something to help them monetize their own show. But placing an ad inside one of the most popular podcasts in your niche can be super effective. According to Midroll, 61% of podcast listeners have purchased from such podcast ads.

The real benefit of this approach is the fact that you are advertising on your medium. if people are listening to your ads, that means they are podcast subscribers already. It is much easier to convince them to check out your show, than to show your Facebook or AdWords content to people who may not even listen to podcasts at all.

So how much does this cost? Here is some information from Midroll, by far the best known podcast advertising network.

All Midroll podcast ads are priced on a cost-per-thousand downloads model, or CPM. For instance, with a $25 CPM, a spot on a show with 10,000 downloads per episode costs $250; with 100,000 downloads, it’s $2500.

So let's do the math. If your ad is highly relevant to the audience of the podcast you place your ad into, and assuming 3% of listeners take action and subscribe to your show, your cost per new listener would be $0.83. If only 1% of listeners take action, then it would be $2.50 per subscriber. Either way, these numbers compare very favorably to advertising on Facebook or AdWords.

How To Promote Your Podcast By Leveraging Your Own Guests

Your own guests need to play a role in growing your podcast
Make sure your guests help you by sharing episodes they appear on

If you have an interview show, you might expect that your guest will help you promote your podcast. But make sure this is not an unspoken assumption on your part. After having launched over a dozen shows, I've found that getting your podcasts guest to share episode links with their own social networks can be like pulling teeth.

And the more connected and "famous" your guest is, the less likely they are to do this without being prompted.

Go Through Lengths To Present Your Guest In A Good Light

For example, we have an on-boarding sequence when we book guests on our shows. During this phase, we ask them to fill out a simple form, and to provide social media links, books they are promoting, short bios, profile pictures etc. This is so that we can create a great looking guest section with pictures and links to their work. In other words, you want to create great looking show notes that your guests would be proud to share and help with promoting your podcast.

Make your expectations clear from the beginning

But in our guest on-boarding sequence we already make it clear that we expect podcast guests to share the episode on their social networks, in a nice way. And we tell each guest that when the show goes live, they will receive ready made sharable links and notifications.

Create macros and scripts for sharing links

What you need to be doing here is leveraging the power and networks of your guests to promote episodes, but also promote your own episodes. Again, this needs to be done sparingly to an extent; you don't want to be seen as a self-promoter. That usually gets you silenced algorithmically on Twitter and other sites. But if you have scripts for yourself and your guests, it's an easier process.

Some Example Scripts

Use something similar for Facebook/LinkedIn and/or Google+

“I was just on the [NAME OF PODCAST] with [YOUR NAME] and talked about [WHAT YOU TALKED ABOUT]. If you’re [REASON WHY SOMEONE MIGHT BE INTERESTED], listen here: [PASTE THE LINK FROM STEP #1)

Use something similar for Twitter and include a service like ClickToTweet:

“I was just interviewed by [YOUR TWITTER HANDLE] and talked about [WHAT YOU TALKED ABOUT]. Listen here: [INSERT SHORTENED LINK FROM STEP #1]”

Automate This Process Using Text Expander Or Email Macros

Scripts are designed to make your process easier. You can even make them a Macros in your email so that deployment is just a matter of filling in the brackets.

A great tool for this on Mac is an application called Text Expander. This will allow you to enter templates like the above and recall them at the touch of a button or shortcut key. And a popup will prompt you to simply fill in the blanks with the needed information.

Beyond Guests, Make It Easy As Pie To Share Your Episodes

Ensure your podcast episodes are easily shared
Ensure your podcast episodes are easily shared

This means having social share buttons on your episode landing pages that are bright, high, and prevalent. You don't want people having to dig around to share with their networks. Make it easy. We over-complicate so much in marketing (and, well, life). Why over-complicate this?

There are dozens of helper platforms out there that place attractive social share buttons next to your episodes.

Look for the type of share buttons that float on the side of your podcast. This way your social share icons are always "above the fold" and visible in the browser window.

Contests and Promotions To Gather Apple Podcasts Reviews

Podcast launch promotion contest
Promote your podcast and get reviews with a contest

This used to be a very popular launch tactic. The idea was to launch a contest, and ask people to enter the contest by leaving an Apple Podcasts review, and then emailing the iTunes ID to enter the contest as proof.

iTunes and Apple Podcasts Have Changed

Since then, the algorithm to rise to the top of Apple Podcasts has changed. It is no longer driven by the number of reviews. Instead, at the time of this writing, the number of new subscribers have the most impact, followed by the number of episode downloads. Therefore the number of reviews no longer contribute to being at the top of the "New and Noteworthy" section.

Therefore the "Launch Contest" is less common now. Besides no longer being as effective, setting up a launch contest usually takes a good deal of time to set up. You need landing pages, marketing automation capability and time. But if you have the passion, time and effort to spare, a launch contest will still give your podcast launch a great boost, for some of the below reasons:

But Reviews Are Still Important

Reviews are still important and should not be ignored. They lend credibility and social proof to a podcast. Seeing that dozens of people are leaving great reviews for a podcast you might enjoy might tip the scale for you to take action and subscribe. On the other hand, seeing a podcast on Apple Podcasts with no reviews at all also tells you something.

Adding The Right Incentives

The tactic of offering some kind of incentive, give-away, or lead magnet for leaving a review still works well for getting reviews.

The selected give-aways don't have to be expensive. It is more important that they be relevant, related to the podcast topic or context. So for example, for a customer experience podcast you might have a contest to win free tickets to the biggest yearly Customer Experience conference. That beats offering an iPad as a prize, simply because your subscriber and contest participants are much more likely to actually care about your podcast and topic, instead of just trying to win an iPad.

Promoting your podcast with social contests is also the topic of our video episode 6 of the Podcast Growth Show: Podcast Marketing With Social Contests [S1E06]. We examine and recommend both free and paid platforms to do social contests right.

Leverage Email Subscribers With Social Media Share Gates

market your podcast launch with GoViral
The idea is to try and promote your podcast launch to go viral.

The contest launch tactic described above has a sister. You can run this campaign as a variant of the more traditional launch contest. The difference? Much easier and less time consuming to set up.

Introducing the GoViral Tool

Bryan Harris over at GrowthTools has a great free tool called GoViral. GoViral gets you more quality traffic and shares by offering a free gift to your new subscribers in exchange for sharing your site with their friends.

GoViral automatically gets people to share your content – it’s instant word of mouth.

A Dead Simple Setup

The cool thing about GoViral is that it creates the social share landing and download pages for you behind the scenes, and this makes it dead simple to set up. So the sequence is as follows:

  1. Susan signs up for your email list
    This could be on your homepage, for a webinar or in a blog post.
  2. GoViral offers her a gift for sharing your site
    This could be anything from a free PDF, to a discount, to a free course.
  3. GoViral gives her the gift and you get free traffic
    Works with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and 16 other services.

GoViral is integrated with most social media platforms, and checks behind the scenes that someone actually shared your podcast link before making the gift available.

We have used this system extensively to increase our webinar registrations by ~35%.

Want to see GoViral in action? Great!

Here is a live example of this: You can download a PDF version of this entire Podcast Marketing Guide by sharing it on Facebook. For one thing, if you are enjoying this post, I'd appreciate it! Plus it makes a handy reference.

How to promote a podcast GoViral Demo image
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Just click the download button above to see the GoViral system in action.

How To Promote Your Podcast Organically With SEO

Promoting a podcast with SEO is a long term strategy
Promoting a podcast with SEO is a long term strategy

We actually have an entire dedicated SEO course on how to promote your podcast, but realize most podcasters are probably looking for quicker solutions when first launching their show. The rest of this article has been covering all sorts of other promotional approaches, but overlooking organic search is short sighted and a strategic mistake.

Getting Long Term Traffic

In the rush to launch a promote a podcast, this is often overlooked, or placed on a back-burner, and before you know it you're 25 episodes in without taking advantage of the long term benefits of SEO. Optimized episode landing pages tied to long-tail, low-competition keywords will drive valuable traffic to your site.

Consider How People Actually Find Podcasts

Have a look at the below chart from Edison Research. It makes my point: The most popular discovery for podcast is not Apple Podcasts, not Google Play or Spotify, but Internet search.

How do people find podcasts?
Edison Research 2019

The lesson?

Google Search Is What Really Matters

We are big fans of using SEO tools to research podcast topics, and utilizing your podcast’s website (and more importantly, episode specific articles AKA show notes) to attract traffic and interest. In fact we presented this form or promotion at the PodFest conference in early 2020, and here is a free mini-course on podcast promotion using SEO research, which outlines why and how this works.

Transcription Services Are Your Friend

Transcripts are your SEO friend, and increasingly affordable. The reason you want to use transcripts in your show notes is that Google will index this content, and attribute more rank to your episode because of the length of the episode show notes post. Machine based translation is getting more accurate, and costs around .10 a minute. 100% accuracy comes at a slightly higher cost, about $1.00 per minute. Still, considering the time it would take you to write bespoke show notes, this is an easy time saver investment. It's a nice 1-2 punch of automated services and human narrative context.

When you do this, pay attention to readability. Transcripts are almost always hard to read, and often look line dense, run-on text. And people on the internet like to "skim" content. Plus, from an SEO perspective, Google's new search algorithms values content quality, and this means readability in addition to length.

Our "best SEO practice" is to break said transcribed shows notes into readable chunks with H2/H3 headers for the main themes of the episode.

Ideally the H2 and H3 headers tell the story of the episode for someone just glancing and skimming.

Content Strategy & Patience In Promoting Your Podcast

Invest the time to promote your podcast
Content marketing takes time

This is a broader content problem in marketing. Anything with content takes time to develop, but if it's tied to a business that needs to show short-term results, leaders often lack that time.

Embrace The Time It Takes

If this is a solo effort, you need to make the time and you need to embrace it.

Being passionate about your podcast is almost a pre-requisite.

For example: we know two gym owners who launched a supplement business and, at the same time, a podcast. It took about 75 episodes consistently week-to-week before their traffic started to go way up, and that was largely because one episode in the 60s-range was about the Keto Diet, drew a lot of attention, and helped them out getting noticed for other episodes. But 75 episodes weekly is about a year and a half. It will take time.

That Said: Plan For Great Content and Interesting Topics

podcast marketing takes time
Interesting topics can come from researching your audience

Look at BuzzSumo and similar sites to see what has interested people in your niche before. Ask people on LinkedIn. Ask people on Twitter. Ask your email list. (More on that in a second, as the email list is somewhat the holy grail of this process.) Have conversations with people.

Let's go back to that small business example again. Supposed you pose a question like "What episode topics would you like to hear?" on LinkedIn and several say they want to know how to improve hiring on a budget. Well, find a good guest for that (again it's about research), produce the episode, and when it's produced, GO BACK TO THAT THREAD and share it with those who asked for it.

They'll find value and are much more likely to share it around more. Interesting, consistent, relevant-to-core-target content is going to help any podcast launch well. It takes time, but you'll get noticed faster on that approach.

Join a podcasting community or network

Podcasting networks actively help cross promote, but can be difficult to get into
Podcasting networks actively help cross promote, but can be difficult to get into

What are "Podcast Networks"?

A podcast network is a collection of podcasts that are produced, distributed or made available to advertisers through a single company, or network.

Some bigger podcast networks include Panoply, Maximum Fun, PodcastOne and Gimlet Media.

The advantage of being a member is that these networks frequently have agreements to cross-promote other podcasts on the network. Therefore the ability to attract advertisers is better for the entire group as well. Be prepared that you will be asked to promote the other participants as well, often you don't have much of a choice about who gets promoted. So joining one of the big players is a no brainer.

However, in order to join a network, the burden is on you to show that you can bring existing audience equity to the table (this audience could be from a different medium) or your product is so good, that given the megaphone, you will quickly build equity for the network (this could be in the form of a unique vantage point, expertise, or refined production skills).

Be careful about smaller podcast networks

Think twice about joining a smaller podcast network just to save time and effort, or because they promise you to build a site. And especially if they ask you to give up your feed and offer to host your show from their own feed. You will want it in writing that your podcast feed will be given back to you once you leave the network.

The ideal situation is to join a network that allows you to keep your own personal website and hosting arrangement.

Use your email list

email list building is underated for engaging with your podcast audience
Email is underrated

This is where we recommend you focus some energy and effort.

People opt-in to your lists because they care about some element of what you've put forth. So, now you've got a podcast (or you built the list with the podcast). Well, if they opted in, they are somewhat interested. Keep them interested. That starts with good subject lines. Use the same techniques already covered in episode title development.

Your Guests Make You More Interesting

Think of the most interesting, different-sounding point that your guest made. Figure out how to spin that into an emotional subject line. You can use Headline Analyzer Tools (CoSchedule and others have this) to see how powerful a headline is, and then use said headline as the subject line for the email about a specific episode.

Every so often, engage with your people about guests they want to see, topics they want covered, how they feel about the show in general, and more. Be human. Respond to these emails directly. Marketing automation is the bee's knees but people want to think they're having a convo with the actual creator. You might drum up some business for yourself as well in this process.

Many do email marketing wrong because they just blast out the latest thing they have with a generic subject line and limited context. That gets you low open rates and high unsubscribe rates. At that point, why even have an email list? Be interesting and different. It takes work and sitting down and thinking about the most intriguing thing said on an episode, even if it was just one tiny nugget, but it's worth a ton if you do this with every email send.

Make Your Your Podcast Homepage Design Less Egocentric

Make it more about your audience than your podcast

How do you design a podcast site to engage your audience? Make it more about them, and less about you and your show. And while you do that, you will increase conversion and list-building opportunities.

The Definitive Guide To Design Podcast Sites For Conversion & Engagement

How can you do that? Glad you asked. We have a full long-form article on how to design podcast sites for list-building optimization, where we discuss The Upside Down Podcast Homepage — and we also debate the relative merits of 1,000 Apple Podcasts subscribers vs. 100 dedicated email list subscribers. (Hint: the latter is more important.)

By the way, there is a free design pattern for the optimal podcast home page to download.

Figure out your audience and engage it

Finding your ideal podcast audience
Finding your ideal podcast audience is the start

Even though we did not list this at the beginning, this is where almost everything marketing-and-sales-related needs to start, and it's no different with podcasts. It's just that it's time consuming. And anything time consuming often gets overlooked. But OK, let's assume you've got some time.

Let's say you want to target small business owners; that's actually a relatively common target for podcast producers in the business genre. You need to start by thinking this out loud to yourself:

Where do small business owners hang out?

Well, scaling a business is hard. Very few do it successfully. In all likelihood, then, a small business owner would be hanging out on his/her:

  • LinkedIn overall
  • Specific LinkedIn groups
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • HBR and similar sites comments
  • Facebook groups about SMB/entrepreneurship
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Their own email looking for emails that seem helpful (this goes to a point later on)

Make a list of where your audience is or would be. Find groups connected to said audience. Join those groups.

Your Contributions Are Key

And now, this is the part many people miss. It's not about joining those groups and just blasting every episode. That won't work — and on Reddit, it might even get you shadow-banned.

What will work is this: join those groups and contribute to discussions. It's time-consuming, yes. But it's important. Add value to discussions and respond to the comments of others.

After you do this about 20 times, you can start sharing episode links — but this is a big one — ONLY share the links if they are relevant to a specific discussion.

In short, you want to make your sharing conversational and not forced. If it's part of an ongoing dialogue about, say, doing taxes as a small business and you have an episode about that, it's totally relevant and within the knowledge flow people need, they will click on it and listen. But if you just blast that episode devoid of context, it's a much steeper hill to climb.

5 Mistakes to AVOID when promoting your podcast

Podcast marketing mistakes to avoid in podcast promotion

Apple actually recently launched their own podcast marketing best practices, and since Apple is where about 500 billion hours of podcasts have been streamed, it seems like a great place to get some tips on what to do — and maybe more importantly, what not to do.

A few things Apple says to avoid include:

Mistake #1: Long Flowery Intros

  • Skip the vague, flowery intro and let the people know what they can expect to hear.

Mistake # 2: Non Relevant Show Notes Content

  • After you tell listeners what to expect, make sure they know how to find what you’re talking about. Whether it’s a specific episode or your show in general, give them a link to go to.

Mistake #3: Poor Images and Screenshots

  • Pick screenshots wisely. If you want to display a screenshot of your show as it appears on Apple Podcasts, capture it from the Podcasts app using a mobile device, like iPhone or iPad. (If you don't know how to take a screenshot from an Apple device, read this.)

OK, and here are some mistakes we often see

Mistake #4: Lack of Content Strategy

  • It is much more difficult to promote your podcast episodes without planning ahead. This means scheduling and producing episodes a couple of weeks in advance. This will allow you to dedicate more relative time towards ideas for promoting the show, thinking of good episode titles, and writing show notes.

Try not be in a rush

  • Plan and research your episodes ahead of time. If your show allows it, plan for content themes. This can enable you to implement a powerful SEO ranking technique called "cornerstone content", where several related episodes share links to one primary episode about the theme. We have consistently used this to SEO boost blog posts and episodes onto page one of Google search results.
  • Research a bunch of potential keywords for an entire season. Then you can craft your episode titles and show notes to be optimized around high value keywords. These are long tail keywords with low difficulty scores, but that still attract search volume. Use a utility like KWFinder to do the research.
  • Make sure your show notes are of sufficient length. If your show notes are less than 300 words, the likelihood that your content will appear in Google search result is close to zero. You will want to have show notes that are at least 700 words or longer to give your content a chance visibility.

Mistake #5: Weak Episode Titles

  • Don't create boring episode titles. Avoid titles that start with "This week our host XXXX talks to our guest YYYY about ZZZZ". Don't start episode titles with "Episode nnn:" Within Apple Podcasts and all podcatchers, space for your episode title is at a premium. So don't waste it with obvious, redundant or irrelevant. Podcast listeners increasingly consume podcasts on a per episode basis, by searching. So your episode titles have a fraction of a second to attract a listener.

Make sure your episode titles pop.

  • Write down 7-20 versions of your planned episode titles – do this every time, and I can almost guarantee that the quality and click-worthiness of your episode titles will improve. We use a tool called CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to craft our episode titles. 
    • For examples of this, search for "podcast content strategy" – polymash shows up on page one, or google "customer experience podcast" – our client Customer Bliss shows up on page one, or "appreciative inquiry" – our client Positivity Strategist is on page one, or "podcast SEO course".
  • Learn a bit about SEO – think of it as an investment that will pay dividends for years to come. I offer an SEO for podcasters course, take advantage of this, or learn the basics of SEO elsewhere. The importance of titles, as well as how to create more interesting ones, is covered there in detail.
  • DIY or Done For You? If the concept of doing SEO yourself makes your eyes glaze over, invest in some help to make your show grow.

Conclusion – And How We Help

How do we help? Why are we writing this article, even?

Years ago, we were helping a client with her overall content strategy. If you've worked in digital at all, you know that people from previous business model generations often don't initially "get" how to market with content, and this client — while great overall — was no different.

Ultimately, we convinced her to try podcasting as a content strategy, and the results have been amazing. It has bolstered her brand within her expertise area, and allowed her to build a community through her podcasting.

Perhaps more importantly, she just loves being a well known podcaster now, and meeting all the people she gets to impact with her show. (Think about the impact of the first season of Serial and you'll probably understand what we mean.)

And this has been true for everyone we have helped launch a podcast as a content strategy. We design a very-targeted, very-contextual, and very-successful approach to launching podcasts. We also help with podcast promotion and subscriber (email!) growth, too.

And our clients eventually prefer podcasting to blogging, since the content ideas and content strategy emerges much more effortlessly. Plus, they are more likely to advance to video and multi-channel content models.

All marketing is two things:

  1. Storytelling
  2. Effectively building a community

All great podcasting is those two things as well. It's a different landscape than it was even in 2018/19, but you can do this.

You can help us by downloading a PDF version of this post

If you'd like to have a downloadable version of this podcast marketing guide for reference, please share it on Facebook:

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I have to admit my Podcasting Microphone Pet Peeve: The Blue Yeti Mic. Recently I attended a coaching group meetup, and the presenter was a consultant who also considered herself a podcasting expert. And it was put to us in dogmatically certain terms that "The Blue Yeti Podcasting Mic Is Simply The Best Microphone For Podcasters". And in this post it is my solemn duty to disabuse our dear prospects and Yeti fans of this notion.

First of all: There is no such thing as a Blue Yeti Podcasting Mic. It is simply the Blue Yeti Mic. At the coaching meetup I kept my mouth shut, but it was hard. And, this is not the first time I heard this, and we have worked with lots of podcast clients who approach us with initial Blue Yeti podcasting pride.

Microphone talk is a favorite topic among podcasters, and mostly beside the point.

Great microphones never guarantee a great podcast.

But the blind devotion that the Blue Yeti seems to inspire among novice podcasters has always been a source of mystery for me. The Blue Yeti may be an excellent microphone, technically speaking. But it is usually the wrong choice for podcasting, for the following reasons:

Why the Blue Yeti Podcasting Microphone Is Often The Wrong Choice For Podcasters:

Blue Yeti Podcasting Microphone Is Often The Wrong Choice
Photographer: Jon Tyson | Source: Unsplash
  1. It is a condenser mic, not a dynamic mic. Condenser mics will pick up sounds a mile away, and there are indeed valid concerns around air conditioners running etc. 
  2. This also means they pick up the sound of the room. If you are recording in a kitchen, bathroom or basement, the sound of the room, and the reverberations in it, will be super apparent. There is no way to remove reverberation once recorded. So for your ghost story podcast the "basement sound" might be ideal. In most other cases, not so much.
  3. The Blue Yeti in particular, in spite of its sexy switches and cardioid pattern option, is “roomy” sounding, not what you want for distraction free and intimate sounding audio.
  4. The Blue Yeti is heavy, large, and cannot easily be mounted on a boom arm, which is necessary to move it close enough.
  5. Most people make the mistake of leaving the Yeti on its stand positioned on their desk, 1-2 feet from their mouth – instead of having it inches away from their mouth. A desk stand Yeti is never going to sound great, unless you are in a sound isolated booth or purposefully built studio. 
  6. The Yeti is an expensive choice, once you buy the shock mount and boom arm and pop filter needed to use it in a “podcasting setup” – in other words close to your mouth.

The Advantages Of Dynamic Mics

Dynamic mic advantages compared to Blue Yeti Podcasting Mics
Photographer: Bogomil Mihaylov | Source: Unsplash
  • Dynamic mics on the other hand reject much of the background noise and are ideal for podcasting.
  • They are also less costly.
  • They are easy to mount on a boom arm, a must have for podcasters in getting their mics close enough while also being comfortable.
  • Lastly there are options with BOTH XLR professionally grounded cables, as WELL AS USB connectivity.

One last thing: USB connections will seldom be enough for a strong enough recording signal, for either dynamic or condenser mics with built in USB connectivity.

Better sound comes from a XLR condenser mic not directly connected to your PC or Mac directly, but going through a small desk USB pre-amp like the Focusrite in the equipment list below. Here is a direct link to what most of our podcast clients use (a budget conscious version, the mic is $79): 

Podcasting Starter Pack
From our Podcasting Resources Guide, the One Person Solo (or Interview) Starter Package

So I am sorry if some of this is unwelcome news. 

And if you are committed to using a Blue Yeti, feel free to ignore this advice.

I do not know why the Blue Yeti inspires such devotion among some people. I have yet to meet a podcaster with more than 10 episodes under their belt that still has it. But for podcasters that inherited the device , or are not able to spend money on a new mic, here are some tips to make the Blue Yeti work better:

Tips to Make The Blue Yeti Work For Podcasting

Recording in a closet with a Blue Yeti
Photographer: Adrienne Leonard | Source: Unsplash
  • If you have a sound proof, purposefully built studio to record in, ignore this post, your Blue Yeti will work fine. Then again, if you have a purposefully built studio, you are extremely unlikely to own (or want to use) a Blue Yeti in the first place.
  • If you have a small closet, are not claustrophobic and comfortable in small spaces, your Yeti will work.
  • Actually, I’m serious about working in (or near) a closet. But here is the thing: You should not be facing the closet, you should actually have it close behind you. This is because when you speak into a mic it will pick up your voice and noises and sound from what’s BEHIND you – so that is where room reflections and reverb are most noticeable. Therefore having a closet (or sound proofing materials) BEHIND you works better than facing a closet head on.
  • If you have lots of furniture and carpets in the room, and few reflective surfaces, and can position yourself close to the mic, your Yeti might just work.
  • I mean REALLY close to the microphone, your Yeti recording might result in something called the “proximity effect” – where your voice is being picked up much more loudly than the “room sound” – and all this allows you to reduce the gain during the recording. Try it out and see if you can hear the improvement.
  • Getting really close might also cause more “pops”, so addressing the mic from a slight angle or using a pop filter might help with that.
  • But be sure to do a test recording and listen to it – before recording that epic 1st one hour episode.

End of rant.

Things are always changing, and this is especially true in content marketing. Podcast content strategy is still wide open to get your brand, message, or business out there. If you're in this field, you'd be aware that the internet runs on content. With regards to lead generation and attracting the right traffic with SEO savvy, the rules change often.

Add to this a bewildering array of potential channels for content, it's no wonder that navigating this terrain can seem difficult. With so many bright shiny objects everywhere, many of us lose our way.

I. A Podcast Content Strategy Avoids Digital Sharecropping

We've seen exhausted clients pour all of their efforts into “rented” social media platforms, posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Medium, Twitter, YouTube and other channels. To them, it seems like they are doing the right thing. They gravitate to where they feel their audiences' attention is.

Nothing seems wrong with that. But often there is a lack of underlying strategy. More on that in a minute.

Digital sharecropping
Digital Sharecropping – building you online presence on platforms you don't own

Meanwhile, our clients' website's content often lies neglected. It is no longer at the center of their efforts or content they publish. For most clients, social media seems so much easier than blogging. The occasional viral attention gained appears more attractive than building a body of authority content – a convenient and sexy shortcut.

The issue is that social media content has a limited life span. It disappears up Facebook's or Twitter's timeline. Thus it serves no real purpose in growing a website, domain authority and SERP rank. The social posts need to refer to and drive traffic and engagement back to the central website.

The social networks fight this tooth and nail, they want ALL engagement to take place on their own platforms.

So what's the solution?

I won't pretend to have all the answers, but in the last couple of years we have discovered a self-generating content strategy that seems to works well for the “content marketing” challenged: Podcasting as a Content Strategy.

This might surprise you, or you may think of it as another content fad; but hang on for a minute and allow me to explain the often surprising benefits.

II. Podcasting is a Self Generating Content Strategy

Instead of laboring over creating blog content, our clients interview other people in their field. They love doing it, it’s fun, energizing and not as time consuming as blogging. They jump on a Skype call, hit the record button and discuss a topic they and their guest find energizing, and voilà: original content.

I’m not saying it’s easy or less work, but it’s a less intense effort for clients. They focus on recording a meaningful conversation, and we, as their podcasting partner, take care of the rest. For example, we use a transcription service and edit these conversations, and have an almost instant 5,000+ word article. We then apply both technical and other SEO optimizations – in fact the topics and episode titles are based on SEO research and low competition key phrases in the first place.

Podcasting can serve as the missing center for a multi channel strategy

Once a podcast is recorded, the show notes become the central business asset from which all multi-channel and social media efforts emanate. So yes, we still do “traditional” social media content distribution campaigns to share and boost the podcast show-notes. But that’s only the beginning.

Podcast content strategy as a multi channel approach
Podcast Content Strategy as Multi Channel Content Distribution

We often produce videos from our podcast episodes. There are some automation tools that help us. These transform audio into video. Later, we publish these episodes on YouTube, DailyMotion and other social video channels.

For an example of this audio video combo, check out our episode about "Podcast Guesting".

And for a completely automated tool that converts audio into video, check out a tool called “Headliner”. It produces audiograms and even adds relevant images and slides to the videos. In our previous post, Podcast Audiogram Alternatives For Promotion and Visual Storytelling, we are excited to show how we now use the Invideo platform as our video platform of choice.

Social Content Platform Syndication:

We syndicate the content to platforms with existing engaged audiences and built-in internal search engines, for example Medium, Blogger, Facebook Stories or LinkedIn.

Snackable Videos:

Michael Seltzner’s “Social Media Examiner” team recently cancelled 3 Facebook video shows. He moved them from Facebook to YouTube. Why? Because the data shows that videos longer than 1-2 minutes penalize your Facebook page rank. So when publishing video to Facebook, the idea is to take 15-45 seconds from the podcast video episode and publish it as “teaser content“ with subtitles. I’m still working on automating this part of the process.

Syndication And Content Distribution Automation:

We use a smart and affordable content syndication and distribution platform from a Belgian company called StoryChief. The reason I like it so much is that it can publish natively to multiple platforms (like WordPress, Drupal etc.), and supports podcast player embeds.

What’s smart about it is their use “rel=canonical” tags. You get to decide where your primary content should live. For those unfamiliar with this tag, it lets search engine indexing bots know where to apply the SERP rank credit and link juice. This way, your podcast show notes will rank pointing to your site, NOT to Medium or other platforms.

Podcast directories RSS syndication:

Promoting a podcast requires submission to dozens of podcast directories. These directories will automatically link to each published episode and your primary website. This results in a valuable SEO benefit, namely, links from high domain authority sites.

III. Podcasting as SEO Cornerstones

A lot of podcasts tackle content themes. In podcast parlance, these can be thought of as "Seasons". For example on an SEO podcast, you might focus on "Technical SEO" in Season 1, and "Link Building Techniques" in Season 2.

This is the genesis of a cornerstone strategy. You cross link this content to other important long form content pieces on your site. Such content will naturally rank higher because of the relevance of all participating articles. Furthermore, we have seen this content rank very quickly.

Podcast Guesting as a Lead Generation & SEO Link Building Initiatives

For people not interested in launching their own podcast, “Podcast Guesting” is an alternative. It results in effective link building, lead generation and launch strategy for any business. For example, this method has become a very popular book launch technique. The idea is that you find relevant podcasts in your niche and then run an outreach campaign to approach the hosts of these podcasts to invite you on as a guest.

Benefit: Intimacy With Your Ideal Audience

The first set of big benefits include getting to talk to your ideal and relevant audience when they are in a receptive mode. Think about what people are doing when listening to their favorite podcast, the one you are appearing on. They are likely commuting, working out, going for a walk. The modality is very different from interrupting an audience in the middle of browsing through their Facebook feed.

This is why Podcast Listeners are such a lucrative audience. And you get to present your core ideas to them.

Benefit: SEO Back-Links

The second big benefit is SEO related. Each podcast you appear on will create show notes that feature highly valuable back-links to your site and product or launch. SEO agencies charge a lot for high Domain Authority back-links. And the link building process can be onerous.

You can automate the outreach campaigns, or you can hire agencies to do this for you. We have a free downloadable podcast guesting outreach automation system for this, including outreach email templates and mail merge tools. To learn more how these campaigns can be automated for free, check out our podcast guesting system and templates.

Podcasting Benefits Summary

Our clients love having a podcast. It helps them re-connect with content as their own business asset. “Having a show” re-introduces a strategic purpose and promotes content discipline. Our clients keep on a weekly schedule much more easily than when they were just “blogging”.

The ROI behind podcasting as a content strategy

The ROI is in lead generation and list building and SEO. A year into their podcasting journey, most our clients with medium sized shows get 65% of their traffic and leads from organic search and podcast listeners. These are for keywords they would otherwise have to pay $1,000's a month for on Google AdWords.

Guest post by author and SEO expert Andrii Gorh. Podcasts are one of the hottest content types right now. Recent acquisitions by Spotify in podcast media hubs just prove this point. It can be super challenging to create a high-quality podcast, which will gather the attention of millions of listeners, but SEO and search engine discoverability can help. In this blog, Andrii presents some SEO tricks, which might help you grow your podcast to be discovered in different mediums.

7 Methods to Grow Your Podcast

In short, you need to know how to grow your podcast and leverage it for SEO, but also how to rank well on the platforms, where you publish it.

  1. Catchy episode titles
  2. Use your website
  3. Optimize RSS feed
  4. Use Youtube
  5. Recycle your content
  6. Try Pinterest
  7. Link building with podcasts

1. Catchy episode titles

Catchy Episode Titles Help Grow Your Podcast
Photographer: chuttersnap

Start with a well-written title. This is how one can find your episodes on iTunes or Google Play. These marketplaces put a heavy emphasis on keywords, which are in your title.

Of course, also if the title is catchy and engaging – there is much more chance a user will click on it. For Youtube videos it is thumbnails, but for podcasts – it is all in a title. Check out Polymash's own post about 4 Ways to Create Amazing and SEO Savvy Episode Titles.

Certainly, don’t try to clickbait or stuff your podcast title with keywords – you might be punished by the algorithm of podcast search engines.

2. Use your website

USe your website for Podcast SEO
Photographer: Austin Distel

If you own a website – use it to earn more traffic to your show notes, and increase your episode downloads at the same time. If your show does not have your own website – I highly recommend creating one on your existing domain, or with your own new domain name. It is the entire idea behind creating a podcast as an inbound content strategy.

A podcast is a fantastic content type, which can attract a lot of organic traffic and backlinks to your site. Don’t waste this opportunity.

To get more organic traffic to your site, you can use a standard SEO playbook: original content, link building, on-page optimization, keyword research, tech setup, etc.

I would really recommend transforming your audio content to text, SEO optimizing it and using it on a blog for show notes entries.

Also, consider expanding your podcast's blog beyond episodes, additional content ideas for your podcast blog could be:

  • Some key takeaways from recent episodes;
  • Introducing a new series of episodes and explaining why;
  • Additional supporting visuals (especially infographics);
  • "Best of" recaps and themes;
  • Include lead magnets or some downloadables – e.g. checklists, e-books – a great way to collect e-mails;

But, don’t just copy paste your transcript – make it more engaging, readable – so it can produce a long session time on your website. We have an entire workflow to transform your show notes into an SEO asset for your site.

Another reason to have a website – it is an insurance strategy against algorithm changes on podcast networks. Let me explain. If you host your podcast only on third-party mediums – you are completely dependent on their rules. If one day something happens (e.g. Spotify doesn’t want to rank content about pets :) ) – your website would be a supporting channel to distribute your podcast.

3. Optimize RSS feed

Optimizing an RSS feed for podcasting SEO success
Photographer: Taras Shypka

RSS feed might sound like an old-school phenomenon, but it is really important for podcasts – this is how your content is distributed to iTunes, Google Play and most other platforms.

So, you need to keep best practices for titles, descriptions, images, category updates as well as your latest copyright information etc.

The best way to have full control of your RSS feed is to use services similar to Libsyn or free Powerpress WordPress plugin.

4. Use Youtube

Use Youtube to promote your podcast
Photographer: Christian Wiediger

Youtube is the second biggest Search Engine in the world after Google. You should obviously use the power of Youtube to bring more traffic to your podcast.

Create a channel and post highlights or full recordings of your podcasts. Maybe they will gather millions of views and subscribers!

Also, there are many services, which can convert your audio podcast to Youtube video.

5. Recycle your content

Recycling your content for podcast growth
Photographer: Lacey Williams

High-quality content might take a lot of effort and time. It would be a shame to use it only once. Repurpose your content in different forms. For example, from one podcast episode you can make:

  • Infographics and visuals
  • Slide decks
  • Blogs and articles
  • Videos
  • Downloadables and so on.

With more content, you will definitely increase your reach.

6. Try Pinterest

Using Pinterest to grow your podcast with SEO
Photographer: Charles

Pinterest is the fastest growing visual search engine in the world. Personally, I like Pinterest more than Instagram – because it brings evergreen traffic. It means, that even old posts bring traffic to your podcast or site, unlike Instagram or Facebook.

Learn Pinterest tactics, test different pin designs, see what works for you. Ideal pins are those, which bring click-throughs and traffic. Try to solve a problem within a pin text: e.g. “Find out 10 ways to save money in our new podcast episode”.

7. Link building with podcasts

Link building is an integral part of growing a podcast
Photographer: Bryson Hammer

A viral podcast episode can bring a lot of backlinks – other sites linking to your site. It will be a huge benefit for your website, where you embed podcast episodes (check out advice #2). Backlinks are one of the most important factors in Google ranking – the more you have the higher you are on SERP (Search Engine Result Page).

A Tool For Link Building Campaigns

Link building campaigns work best when SEOs use strategies based on insight as opposed to guesses.

Check out Linkio. It is a software platform that helps you run more successful link building campaigns as a podcaster or blogger. The tool provides everything you need for effective (and enjoyable) backlink campaign management, and they offer a free trial.

Collaboration

The easiest way to get backlinks is to collaborate with guest speakers, publish content on their sites and get free backlinks, mentions to your site. Also, try outreach – email other bloggers, influencers in your niche, mentioning your podcast and asking for a backlink. You can also ask for a guest contribution on their blog, in exchange for a backlink.

About our guest author:

Andrii Gorh
Andrii Gorh: SEO ninja

Andrii Gorh: SEO ninja with 10+ years of experience. He LOVES keyword research, rank tracking and tech SEO tricks. Check out his advanced SEO blog: Online Hikes and other tech hacks at MrHack.io. Featured image credit: Web Hosting

As a podcast production and marketing agency, we have run into several anonymous podcasting situations where someone wants to launch a podcast, but may wish to remain unknown rather than revealing a personal brand or identifiable information.

A Disclaimer About Podcasting With A Pseudonym

A disclaimer about podcasting with a pseudonym

Please be advised that what follows is in no way a suggestion, endorsement or recommendation. Depending on the situation I strongly suggest getting professional legal advice if you are launching an anonymous podcast with a pseudonym. After having talked to several podcasters who want to do this, I have come across perfectly legitimate reasons for doing so. But there are also cases where podcasters are trying to circumvent employer guidelines or even legal requirements, and this could cause serious trouble down the road.

Some podcasters may wish for their employer to remain un-aware of their podcasting efforts, for any number of reasons. For example, would you want your employer to know that you are running an alcoholics recovery podcast? Or a raunchy comedy podcast? So some of the reasons may simply be reputational or privacy related. But others may violate your employer's stated policies and put you at risk of dismissal.

More serious even would be industries where one cannot provide advice under a real name, such as in financial services or investment advisors, or for certain government or legal organizations.

Is Launching An Anonymous Podcast it Worth It?

In most cases the drawbacks, extra work and many questions that arise around launching and marketing such podcasts simply make it not worthwhile to pursue the effort.

However, while it may take a little extra work, it is possible to launch a podcast anonymously. Here's how to set that up.

Anonymous Podcasting Is A Special Situation

A special situation for podcasting anonymously
Is it unusual to podcast anonymously? Photographer: Tom Roberts

At first glance it might strike us as an unusual situation.

And you may wonder, well, what, under what circumstances does that happen? That seems like a really disadvantage, right?

I mean, most of us podcast in order to be found, in order to communicate something about our businesses or to be contributing something to a community where we are a known entity.

It takes a little bit more work, but basically I think with that extra work, it's totally possible to launch a podcast anonymously.

Considerations for Creating An Anonymous Podcast

Considerations for anonymous podcasters with a pseudonym
Considerations for anonymous podcasters with a pseudonym – Photographer: Tachina Lee

Before we delve into possible solutions or suggestions, let's talk about some of the areas where we might want to think more carefully about what the impact is.

  • You will need a separate Apple Id – and that implies having a different email address
  • With podcast hosting companies, Libsyn for example, you probably would not want to have that tied to your personal identity
  • The same goes for social media profiles, your email address and your websites
  • There are also some questions around promotion and discoverability
  • There are considerations for what branding of an anonymously hosted podcast looks like
  • And if you are receiving sponsorship or are monetizing your show, there are legal questions to consider

So I thought I'd give some thoughts to all of these.

Email Address And Domain Setup

Email address setup for an pseudonym podcaster
Email address setup for an pseudonym podcaster – Photographer: John Schnobrich

Creating a pseudonym for anonymous podcasting starts with creating a new email address. And in order to create a new email address that's completely separate from your existing sort of identities, really what we're talking about is creating a different domain for your both your website and for your show.

This is something that you should need to promote your show anyway, and that new domain will determine your pseudonym's email address: for example info@myanonymouspodcast.com

In order to establish such an email you want to take out and register a domain for your podcast with a domain registration company like GoDaddy.

But when you do that, be sure to select all of the privacy options offered during the domain registration process with GoDaddy.

The point where you need to use your real email address is when you register your domain in the first place.

But there's a thing called WHOIS lookup, a service where anybody can look up who owns a particular domain. Every year, millions of people, businesses, organizations and governments register domain names.

Each one must provide identifying and contact information which may include: name, address, email, phone number, and administrative and technical contacts. This information is often referred to as "WHOIS data."

And so just the fact that you might have a domain for your podcast doesn't mean that it remains private. But if you pay the extra to remain anonymous in the DNS lookup space, then your real name and email address is protected. From that moment onward, you basically will start to establish all of the other things you need for your podcasting under your pseudonym.

Web Hosting For Podcasting Anonymously

Web Hosting For Podcasting Anonymously
Web Hosting For Podcasting Anonymously – Photographer: Jordan Harrison

Establishing a website then is part of establishing a pseudonym, in my book anyway. So once you have a domain registered for your private podcast, go ahead and sign up for some web hosting.

This is because most web hosting plans actually come with a bundled email plan, where they provide you with a free email account that's tied to the new domain that you just took out.

So when you get your hosting account, create your email account there, set it up with your new domain, set up a new basic website.

Configure Your Email Client

Setting up an pseudonym email account for podcasting anonymously
Setting up an pseudonym email account for podcasting anonymously – Photographer: Brooke Cagle

Configure an email client on or application on your PC or a Mac or mobile device so that you can actually start receiving emails that are sent to that new anonymous podcasting related email address.

One additional step you could do for the podcast itself is setting up a coming soon page. And basically now you will have a functioning email address as well as a website for the new name of the podcast. Once you've tested that, basically it's on to the next steps.

Branding

Branding considerations for anonymous podcasting
Cartoon branding can work for anonymous podcasters – Photographer: Doug Maloney

Thinking about branding, obviously you don't want to use your real profile photos or anything personally identifiable. A cartoon style podcast icon could be an option where you still have a likeness that kind of looks like you, but isn't really identifiable.

This allows you to still come across as a real person or a hosting personality.

Some of the places I can recommend in creating podcast graphics like that are 99 Designs and Fiver. Fiver will be a little bit cheaper, but with 99 Designs you can send a picture in and graphic artists will send you a bunch of drafts and proposals back and you only pay for the one that you actually wind up liking.

Apple ID

Podcasting anonymously requires a separate Apple ID – Photographer: Kotagauni Srinivas

You do need to create a different Apple ID in order to eventually submit your show to Apple Podcasts, and you need to use your desktop iTunes application for this step.

I think in the future there will be push-back around setting up what might be considered "fake" accounts, and I expect for this to eventually become harder, but currently it is still possible.

In practice that means you might have to explicitly log out of your iTunes or Apple Podcast desktop app in order to go through the process of creating a new Apple ID.

It's because it's important to do that on your desktop because when you're submitting your podcast to Apple Podcasts, if you originally created the Apple ID on a mobile device, currently your podcast submission will fail. I don't know that it's a bug, but Apple currently requires you to create your account using your desktop app.

You do need to provide a mailing address at some point in the process, but this is not publicly visible.

Podcast Hosting

Podcast hosting should also be set up with your pseudonym
Establishing a Podcast Hosting Account using your pseudonym – Photographer: Austin Distel

Podcast hosting should also be set up with your pseudonym. The idea is that everything related to your podcast from this moment on uses your pseudonym and pseudonyms email that's associated with your podcast.

Social Media

Establishing a Social Media Presence for a podcasting anonymously
Establishing a Social Media Presence – Photographer: Jakob Owens

And it's a good idea to establish a social media presence. I guess this is where it gets into doing a little bit of extra work, but I think this is really worth it.

At a minimum you anonymous podcasters should create a new Twitter profile, using the pseudonym email address. Also it will be good to create a new Facebook account in order to set up a Facebook page and group for that show.

And that can be a little bit extra work because if you are very active on Facebook, you're going to have to manage two separate logins.

When you want to interact with the Facebook community and page that you're establishing for your podcast, it's important that you switch to the pseudonym account and login from scratch.

Email List Service Provider

List Building and Email Service Providers for anonymous podcasts
Email Service Providers are key for list building – Photographer: Host Sorter

Capturing email addresses is part of modern podcast growth, and so you will need a list building tool like MailChimp or ConvertKit.

Several of these have "free to get started" options, for example Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor. If you're just getting started, you may not want to spend anything until your show grows. Again, you can start building an email list where people basically subscribe to your podcasts to receive episode notifications and any other resources that you want to share with your community.

Promotions and Discoverability

Photographer: JJ Ying

Once you're set up with consistently using your pseudonym, it really shouldn't make that much of a difference when it comes to promotion.

Of course you will most likely not be well established on social media in terms of followers and fans. You're kind of starting from scratch when it comes to promotions, and this is why it's important to create those social media accounts early on, and to engage with your social media audience heavily to establish a presence quickly.

You might use your real profiles to then retweet or cross-promote.

Sponsorship and Monetization

Photographer: Pepi Stojanovski

You can still create a sponsorship page on Patreon for the podcast to allow people to sign up for that.

But in general terms, I think that once you start accepting money, it gets into some more tricky areas.

And I think that brings us to sort of the legal aspects.

Getting Professional Legal Advice

Legal advice for accepting money
Seek Legal Advice – Photographer: Giammarco Boscaro

I am not in a position to give anything resembling legal advice at all. You need to consult with your legal advisor and get some professional advice.

Typically what is involved is to actually establishing a separate business identity so that there is liability separation. You personally being responsible or being held to account versus you operating as a separate legal entity.

People usually do this through an LLC, and that constitutes a separate business and a separate tax structure.

You could set up a separate bank account and credit card. I mean it depends on how far down the road do you want to go. I'm assuming that, when first starting out this isn't a primary concern.

Conclusion

So I hope these thoughts are helpful for anyone looking to get into anonymous podcasting. Let me know what you think, and if I'm leaving out anything here. If you can think of other aspects that might be very important or if you have questions, feel free to reach out and contact me.

Guest Post by Milja Milenkovic, community manager at DesignAdvisor.Net: The colors you choose for your podcast cover art can greatly influence listeners’ first impressions and could even affect whether someone takes the all-important step and presses “play” in the first place. You might be thinking, ”Podcasts are audio, and the minimal visual aspect is not the main point at all so why bother with it?” The very fact that the visual element is so small means that you need to make it count!

Table of Contents

The Impact of Color

Color choices for podcast cover art can be a science
Color choices for podcast cover art can be a science

Human beings are such visually wired creatures that even the small bit of cover art on your podcast can set the tone for the listening experience. Various color choices can trigger a whole host of different emotions and convey different meanings to the observer. The impact on color is more significant than most people realize. In fact, Design Advisor claims that 62-90% of product assessment is based on color alone!

So let’s take a look at how you can enhance the impact of your podcast logo through the colors you use for your icon and podcast cover art, your podcast background and even your website.

Color Impact For Your Podcast Logo vs Podcast Background

Depending how your podcast logo is designed, podcast background color can be even more impactful and influential in setting the overall tone of your podcast artwork than the logo itself. This is because the background color of your podcast takes up more real estate than the logo itself. In general terms your logo versus the background will benefit from contrasting color choices, which make the design “pop” or stand out.

  • So our advice is to view the final design from a distance and judge the overall impact of the color combination.

Podcast Logo Design With Color In Mind

When you start the process of designing a logo or hiring someone to do it, the below sections should help you understand which colors will work for your podcast logo, and to create a design brief to satisfy Apple Podcast specifications as well as any other platforms.

  • A helpful resource is to use the free Adobe Kuler tool which lets you browse, preview and define your own color schemes and combinations. You can then pass these along your podcast logo designer.

Apple Podcast Podcast Icon Specifications

Wether you design your podcast cover art yourself or wether you hire someone, the Apple Podcast specifications are an important consideration. Apple recommends a resolution of a minimum of 1,400 x 1,400 pixels and a maximum of 3,000 x 3,000 pixels at 72 dpi (dots per inch). The files should be .jpg or .png formats. the color space should be RGB, and the color profile should be embedded in the .jpg file.

At Polymash we prefer top have the artwork created at 3,000 pixels, but we then downsize it to 1,400 px and .jpg format in order to reduce the podcast logo file size to somewhere below 250KB.

In the past we have had issues with 3,000 pixel .png cover art images being too big for some podcast platforms.

  • When you hire someone on Fiver or 99Designs or Upwork to design a podcast logo for you, be sure to clarify your expectations
  • You should ask for the “Apple Podcast Ready” files in both the above formats
  • But you should also request the original artwork in Adobe .ai (Illustrator) or .psd (Photoshop) format. This is so you can use your podcast logo design original artwork and concept in other formats, such as for page headers, Facebook / Twitter profiles and your website.

A Word About Licensing and 3rd Party Components

We also recommend ensuring that you will be the exclusive and full owner of the podcast cover art license.

  • So do not accept Creative Commons licensing, or icons and components you may not own outright being used on your podcast artwork.
  • You should own the copyright exclusively, including all elements used for your design. Ask your designers to include all licenses for icons or artwork that they used in the creation of your podcast logo.

What Kind of Message Does Each Color Convey?

In this section, we will break down the messages conveyed by each color and follow that with a few questions you should be asking yourself when deciding what colors will work best for your particular podcast. Color psychology can be a significant ally in web design as well not only in terms of aesthetics and mood but also when choosing the color of CTA buttons and other elements. To learn more about how the psychology of color can boost your website conversions, take a closer look at the infographic below.

Green: Growth and Health

Podcast pover art closeup photography of green leaf plant
Photographer: Hello I'm Nik | Source: Unsplash

This calm and peaceful color gives a sense of health and harmony, but also symbolizes nature and growth. Depending on the topic of your podcast or business, green could be a great cover color to attract your listeners. It’s a popular choice within the energy sectors as well as finance, household, technology and some subsections of the food industry.

Blue: True and Trustworthy

podcast cover art blue wall and shadow image
Photographer: MAURO BIGHIN | Source: Unsplash

There’s a reason why they say ‘true blue’ for something that is tried and tested. Blue is a tranquil color that is a worldwide favorite across the board. If you want to send a message of stability, reliability and trust, you can’t go wrong with blue. Remember, there is a myriad of different shades of blue available, so don’t be worried about not standing out.

Red: Bold and Passionate

podcast cover art person wearing red running shoe
Photographer: Martin Widenka | Source: Unsplash

There’s no denying that red stands out. That’s the reason it’s used for anything from clearance sale signs to stop signs. The sight of red has also been shown to increase people’s heart rates, and it is undoubtedly the color of emotion and passion. If the content of your podcast is bold and passionate, maybe red is the right color for your cover design.

Orange: Ambition and Confidence

orange fruit with orange background
Photographer: Holger Link | Source: Unsplash

Orange comes between red and yellow on the color wheel and is a warm and enthusiastic color. Orange gives a feeling of confidence and is said to stimulate the logical areas of the brain and also to encourage creativity. It is a favorite with kids and young people, as well as those who are young at heart.

Yellow: Bright and Sunny

podcast cover art headphones on yellow
Photographer: Malte Wingen | Source: Unsplash

This warm and cheerful color has a powerful effect, especially when set against a dark or contrasting background. Yellow stands out in the crowd and works well for the food industry, household and energy sectors. It is a symbol of joy, cheerfulness and optimism.

Purple: Rich and Regal

photo of ice cream
Photographer: Sharon McCutcheon | Source: Unsplash

The color of kings and queens, purple is indeed associated with royalty and wealth. It is a favorite in the beauty industry and for anti-aging products. Purple suggests eternal youth and wisdom, with a whiff of mysticism. Does the message of your podcast fit with this image? Then perhaps purple is the color for your cover!

Pink: Pretty and Positive

pink balloons
Photographer: Amy Shamblen | Source: Unsplash

As a lighter shade of red, pink is also a passionate color, but with a much softer touch. There are many different kinds of pink, from pastel salmon to bright fuschia. In color psychology, pink denotes compassion, nurturing and hope. The feelings which tend to be evoked by the color pink are usually positive, warm, comforting and calming.

Grey or Silver: Stylish and Sophisticated

The color silver as it applies to podcast cover art
Photographer: Robert Haverly | Source: Unsplash

Silver and its close cousin grey are very useful as neutral colors that bring balance and give that sleek accent, much like the proverbial silver lining. Silver and grey can be beautifully matched with just about any other color.

Black: Classic and Elegant

silver headphones on top of black surface
Photographer: Frank Septillion | Source: Unsplash

Black is in a class of its own. It speaks of luxury and elegance, as well as power, authority and strength. If you want a professional and timeless look to your podcast cover, you might want to choose a simple black and white design.

White: Pure and Perfect:

Photographer: Verne Ho | Source: Unsplash

White is such a versatile and useful color, whether you use it as a background for your podcast cover art or as part of your icon. White gives a fresh feeling of cleanliness and perfection, and can also stimulate creativity.

Questions to Help You Choose Your Podcast Cover Art Colors

What is the topic of your podcasts?

What are your podcasts about? What is your message and what industry or sector do you identify with in terms of your product or service? Given the above basic messages associated with the different colors, which one most closely fits for you?

Who are your listeners?

Do you anticipate that most of your listeners will be men or women, wealthy or budget conscious, professionals or amateurs, younger or older folks? Bear your demographic in mind when making color choices as different groups of people tend to respond differently to colors.

Do you have a logo or brand color?

If you already have a logo or brand color, then you are more than halfway there. Let your listeners identify you immediately when they see your logo. Make sure that the format you use for your podcast cover art and icon will look good on any platform you might choose to use.

What about color combinations?

Once you’ve identified what your main color should be, you may want to add an accent color or two. You could choose a shade or tone of the same color, or go for a different, complementary color. Try to limit yourself to no more than three colors to avoid an over-the-top appearance.

What kind of impression does the overall look leave?

With the limited space available for your podcast icon, you need to make sure that your overall look is not cluttered or messy. Keep it clean and simple with fonts and images that stand out, are easy to read and recognizable.

Now that you have some ideas and pointers about the power of color in visuals, it’s time to choose that icon and cover art for your podcast! Let them be a fitting visual complement to your amazing audio content!

Infographic: 40 "Psychology of Color" Facts

Infographic: 40 "Psychology of Color" Facts

Spotify is well on its way to becoming the Netflix of podcasting. They single-handedly propelled the business of podcasting into the big leagues this week. Spotify announced they are planning to spend a cool budget of $500,000,000 (That's 1/2 a billion!) on podcasting acquisitions. For starters, they purchased Gimlet Media, reportedly for some $230M, as well as the Anchor podcast platform for $60M.

From the Spotify perspective, I agree with the analysis of the Wall Street Journal and others: This model means a focus on premium content and acquiring exclusive podcasts only available on Spotify. I think this theory covers both Gimlet as well as Anchor acquisitions.

Of course there are more questions than answers at this point. So what follows is speculation:

Does Netflix of Podcasting Imply Exclusive Content?

I could see that if their strategy succeeds, exclusive versions of the best and most desirable podcasts may only be available on Spotify, driving new subscribers to their overall platform.

So yes, I anticipate that Gimlet Media will produce some bespoke content for Spotify.

But I also I think there are a lot of variations on how this could play out when it comes to exclusivity – for example offering ad supported versions of exclusive podcasts outside of Spotify, meaning iTunes and elsewhere.

The Future of Podcast Monetization?

Also, I would predict that podcast hosting, ad platforms, monetization and reimbursement models will be routed through Spotify. Could they be going for a model of reimbursing premium podcasters as they currently reimburse musicians?

This could mean a democratized monetization model for mid-level podcasts, with micro payments to podcasters that are not currently commanding enough downloads to easily run ads inside their shows. I see this as a positive alternative for podcasts that don’t have any monetization options outside of Patreon.

However, the emphasis being on MICRO-payments, as in “Podcasters, don’t quit your day job”.

Symbiotic or Competitive?

I am also wondering if this is symbiotic with Apple and iTunes, or competitive when it comes to discoverability?

Will Spotify finally be able to break up Apple’s quasi monopoly in the podcast discoverability space?  

Just considering my own  behavior: I happen to have a Spotify music account. I NEVER search for any music on iTunes anymore. I search in Spotify directly. So just imagine a future to where Spotify would be the first place to search for interesting podcast content to listen to.

Considering Anchor

If you want to be the Netflix of podcasting, you need content. Content you develop, or acquire. My understanding is that Anchor owns the podcast content hosted on their platform, and so I am assuming that with this acquisition Spotify will acquire direct ownership of a massive amount of transitioned podcasts, leaving them to be able to decide on monetization and subscription and discoverability models.

Considering Gimlet

From the Gimlet perspective, this is the best exit their investors could expect now or in the future. In my opinion, I think there may also be an opportunistic element for Alex Blumberg to get his life back and move forward in the best possible way.

I imagine him being able to move towards more fun and meaningful opportunities within Spotify. Gimlet with its storytelling chops should be the perfect podcast content strategists. I think Alex and his team could be focused on developing interesting content – rather than Gimlet being a money making entity beholden to investors. 

One of the most compelling aspects of Startup as a podcast has been the intimacy of sharing of his journey, including the stress on work life balance. Listening to the last few episodes of that, combined with the show WithoutFail, it seems like the stress levels have not lessened, so with this exit perhaps the pressure from keeping investors happy will be eased.  

More acquisitions coming?

I am again speculating for now, and I think the picture will become clearer over time.

But yes, Spotify's CEO Daniel Ek's  $500 million budget leaves room for additional deals. In addition to new acquisitions of  podcast networks and content I would not be surprised if Spotify will also start to acquire podcast specific technology and ad platform companies. Not naming any names at this point. And rumors are afloat that Netflix might acquire all of Spotify.

So as a podcast producer, how do I feel about this all?

I think any movement within the podcasting industry that rivals Apple, or makes them move a bit faster on the innovation front, is a good thing.