I recently launched Women of Color Podcasters in February 2023. Since then, the podcast has gained 1,100 downloads in two months. Because podcast growth is an important topic (and my specialty), I wanted to peel back the curtain and share the podcast marketing strategy that led to a successful podcast launch. As a podcast marketing coach, I understand promoting a podcast can be quite difficult and a lot of information shared online is based on theory vs what’s really working for smaller shows right now.
Could I have done more to grow the podcast? Absolutely; however, what’s important is that I did not have to. With a long-term focused podcast marketing plan, I created several promo assets, lightly promoted four episodes, and intentionally took my foot off the gas. Focusing on what I know works meant having more time to devote to the creative process and rest.
When launching a podcast, it’s important to know your success metrics. A lot of people rely on downloads as the golden standard. However, the goal of Women of Color Podcasters is to create a searchable library of content highlighting Women of Color in the podcasting industry. We also use the podcast to build brand awareness, drive affiliate sales and boost enrollment into our podcasting community.
I measure other things, such as keyword ranking, sales, and website pageviews, to determine how easy it is for people to discover and join our community.
In my podcast marketing course, I teach how to gain more listeners using three proven strategies: SEO, newsletter marketing, and collaborations. Putting my methodology to the test, if you are looking for podcast marketing examples, here are the five strategies I used to promote Women of Color Podcasters.
As a disclaimer: Every podcaster has special podcast marketing strategies that only they can pull off depending on their network and luck. It’s hard to replicate that. However, in this article, I will highlight the universal things that anyone, regardless of their network and connections, can use to grow their podcast.
5 Podcast Marketing Strategies
(That Actually Worked To Launch a New Podcast)
1. Create search-friendly show notes
My favorite long-term podcast marketing strategy is using searchable podcast show notes, where every episode gets a dedicated page on our website.
I typically call this page “show notes,” but it is technically a blend between a blog post and show notes.
I recommend listening to Michelle Jackson’s episode on The Brand Building Lab, where she distinguishes the difference between podcast show notes and blog posts.
The main difference between podcast show notes and blog posts is their focus and length. Podcast show notes are meant to be a concise summary of an episode, while blog posts are usually longer pieces that explore a particular topic in more depth.
For the sake of simplicity, I use these terms interchangeably, but they are technically different.
Again, each episode gets a dedicated show notes page which I optimize for search using keywords. Through keyword research, I choose keywords I can rank for based on the episode’s content and add those keywords in important places such as the post title, the URL, scattered throughout the post, and more.
For a full breakdown of creating podcast show notes optimized for search, I recommend my workshop, High Converting Podcast Show Notes. This workshop details how to write show notes and get found leveraging Google search traffic. Another time-saving option is using AI show notes copywriting tools like Capsho or Swell.
Having a dedicated page generates interest in the podcast, serves people who prefer reading over listening, and allows listeners to read a full writeup with digestible takeaways and access resources mentioned in the episode.
Overall, podcast show notes improve discoverability and searchability on Google and podcast players, which have their own search engines. It also allows listeners to share your content directly from your website, driving traffic to your domain.
2. Send weekly newsletters
An email list can be valuable for promoting your podcast and keeping listeners engaged. Specifically, we use our email list to announce new episodes.
Instead of emailing my list the day an episode airs or even the week of, we send this dedicated email the week after, so it offers a chance for people who may have missed the announcement (and our social posts) an opportunity to tune in.
An additional strategy you can steal: automatically resend emails to subscribers who did not open the initial newsletter. Choose to resend between 24 to 72 hours after the initial broadcast.
Want to extend the life of each newsletter? For even more juicy newsletter marketing tips, access my podcast marketing training here.
3. Draft newsletter copy for guests
Sending guests copy they can send to their newsletter is another great way to attract new listeners.
While most podcasters encourage guests to share on social media, I do the opposite.
Social media is an indirect way to gain listeners. The chance that someone will go and listen to an episode after a post is slim vs. a mention and link in a newsletter.
A guest may not share your episode on their social profile for many reasons, including branding, time, and effort, or maybe they dislike posting on social media. Don’t take it personally.
However, if they have a newsletter, they are likely looking for new content to share. Newsletters continue to be an effective way to build brand awareness and generate leads, so draft a newsletter template guests can share in their newsletter and engage with an audience you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
Write a pre-made newsletter blurb your guest can copy, paste, and send to their people. Include a summary of the episode and a direct call to action to encourage listeners to tune in and follow.
Of the three guests I created blurbs for, one shared it in their newsletter, which I’m so thankful for. I gained new listeners while making it easy for guests to promote the episode to their tribe, who may be interested in the behind-the-scenes of their work.
4. Share on social media
While posting on social media is probably my least favorite way to market the podcast, I still do it because it’s a great reminder to follow or listen to a specific episode of interest.
Promoting a new podcast on social media, I primarily share a universal link via Podlink so new listeners can easily follow the podcast on their favorite podcast player, which is the call-to-action I really want to drive home.
Of course, I want listeners to check out specific episodes, but more importantly, I want them to follow the show so they get new episodes sent straight to their phones.
With new podcasts, the goal is to gain lifelong followers, not occasional listeners.
To streamline my social sharing process, I use an eye-catching graphics template where I can swap out different text and add in guest photos, so it’s easy to share and takes less than five minutes to edit and customize. I have also shared teaser video clips to entice followers to listen.
Again, social is not my favorite place to promote the podcast because of the lack of longevity of posts and changing algorithms, and only a fraction of my audience will see it. But it helps build brand awareness and let people know the podcast exists.
Read Next: 6 Habits of High-Growth Podcasters
5. Paid advertising
Early in our launch, we utilized paid advertising to be placed front and center within the Podbean app. Throughout that week, we saw an influx of Podbean followers and listeners.
Paid advertising, especially in the indie podcast space, is underutilized and sometimes carries a bad reputation, but I saw a significant increase in listenership during that week.
In the future, as we develop revenue streams, podcast advertising is something I would strongly consider.
After interviewing Stacy Reed and learning more about how to create successful Facebook ads to reach a larger audience, I am more inclined to consider paid social as a future growth strategy.
Listen to the podcast episode here.
Overall, I’m really happy with the growth of this niche podcast which serves an engaged group of podcasting creatives and audio professionals. In the coming months I’m looking forward to implementing additional podcast marketing strategies and comparing the results.
Are you considering launching a podcast? Which of these podcast marketing strategies are you planning on implementing? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.