How to market your podcast, part 2: Audience strategy

Podcasting is hot. The business world wants a piece of a huge and ever-growing audience. I’ve been podcasting for 10 years, and it’s never gotten as much attention as it is today. In this series, we’re examining how to market your podcast.


Posts in the How to Market Your Podcast series:

Interested in a real-life example? Check out my marketing podcast, Marketing Over Coffee!


In order to achieve your business goals, ultimately your podcast has to have an audience. No audience = no results. So how do you get a podcasting audience? That’s our discussion topic for today.

Building audience is composed of two core components: audience strategy, the who, and content strategy, the what.

The Who: Audience Strategy

Who is going to tune into your show? Who is your audience? How are you going to find them? These are not existential questions. These are at the heart of your audience strategy. Audience strategy is composed itself of two parts – the handles and the outreach.

First, let’s talk about the handles. This is a colloquialism: putting handles on something means making an item portable, giving people the ability to pick something up. Your podcast needs handles, and that’s principally built into the name. Is your podcast’s name shareable? Without share ability, your show will not reach new audiences.

Here are two easy tests to determine your potential share ability:

Test 1: Pick up the phone and make a voice call to a friend (not a text!). Ask them to remember something but not to write it down until 5 minutes after you hang up. Then tell them the name of your podcast and its associated domain name.

Contact them in 5 minutes. If they get the name and domain name right, your show might have solid handles. Remember, you’re dealing in audio and video media – any calls to action will have to be recalled from memory by your audience. If the name of your show isn’t obvious, easy to spell, and memorable, people will not remember in order to refer your show to friends.

Repeat this test with a different friend, but wait a full hour. If you get the same positive result both times, you’ve really got something.

Test 2: Pick up a smartphone and ask Siri/Cortana/Google to go to your podcast’s domain name. If it gets the domain name right more often than wrong, you’ve got something with handles. If the robots can’t get the name right, then your show name might not have strong enough handles. Remember that podcasting is deeply tied to mobile, which means you’ve got to be findable in the ways that people search on mobile devices:

Finding by voice

Next, let’s talk about building the audience persona and outreach. This is NOT the same thing as a sales persona in which you identify a potential buyer. When you’re talking about media and growing audiences, you’re much higher up the funnel than a purchaser. Who will listen to your show? Who will gain benefit from it? If you’re not sure how to find your potential audience online, do some basic media research and find out how big the potential audience is. Google your top discussion points:

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In the search for digital marketing above, we see lots of news about the topic. News is a positive indicator that people want to hear about the topic. That’s the first step, understanding if there’s even demand.

Next, let’s look for people. Search Twitter for your top discussion topics:

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Based on this very basic research, you should be able to determine if people are actually talking about your topic, what they’re saying, who they are (by checking out bios), and how much conversation there is.

Next, look in Facebook’s free Audience Insights tool for your topic to get a sense of what the audience demographics and makeup are:

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With these free tools, you’ve now built a basic idea of your audience. You know if people are interested in the potential content idea from Google. You know if people are actively talking about it on a grassroots level from Twitter. Finally, you know what that audience looks like from Facebook Ads. If your show idea and content are still viable after this audience profile, you’ve set yourself up for potential success.

You’ve now got a good idea of what to call your show and where to start building your audience. The other half of audience building is your content. Stay tuned for the next post in the series as we discuss content basics for your podcast marketing.


Posts in the How to Market Your Podcast series:

Interested in a real-life example? Check out my marketing podcast, Marketing Over Coffee!



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How to market your podcast, part 1: Where to start?

Podcasting is hot. It’s the latest darling of marketers (again), owing to the dominance of mobile devices and the decline in quality of mainstream media. In this multi-part series, we’ll be learning how to market your podcast.


Posts in the How to Market Your Podcast series:

Interested in a real-life example? Check out my marketing podcast, Marketing Over Coffee!


If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, there are 3 major tasks ahead of you:

  1. Creating the podcast.
  2. Getting people to listen to the podcast.
  3. Getting some business impact out of the podcast.

Guess which category marketers and podcasters spend 90% of their time on? #1. Marketers and podcasters fall victim to the “build it and they will come” mentality around podcasting. It’s easy to understand why: podcasting is a labor of love. It’s incredibly resource intensive. When you’re done creating an episode, you’re so smitten with it that you assume everyone else will be, too. Thus, you invest a lot of time in creation, but give short shrift to marketing.

How should you allocate your time?

I’d say 40/40/20. Spend 40% of your time creating a great show with unbelievable content. That’s important. Spend 40% of your time marketing your show and promoting it. Spend 20% of your time on analytics and measurement so that you know the podcast is working.

Where do you start?

At the end! What are the business goals that the podcast will achieve? You might want lead generation. You might want brand awareness. Back in the day when I did a financial aid podcast, the show was partially about lead generation but mostly about thought leadership. There are lots of business goals you can strive for, but the key is business. Podcasting for podcasting’s sake is fine if you’re doing it as a hobby. If you’re doing it to bolster your overall marketing, then it needs to be tied to down-funnel business impact.

For Marketing Over Coffee, John Wall and I set out the goals of generating revenue through sponsorships, securing speaking gigs, and building a large, reliable database for rainy days. Once we knew what our goals were, we could work backwards to determine the intermediary steps needed to achieve those goals.

For example, generating revenue through sponsorships is all about building an audience that advertisers want. We needed to show that we have high-quality listeners. To build that rate card, we needed data about our listeners. We created a LinkedIn Group which analyzes our audience and presents data that’s useful for rate cards. For example, we can see how senior our group is:

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Or what job function they hold:

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Since we don’t actively promote the group anywhere else except the show, it’s a reasonable conclusion that the group is representative of show listeners. This gives us a solid rate card to use in marketing the group to advertisers.

Having the framework for a rate card is great, but having a credible rate card requires having an audience. How do you build a podcasting audience? We’ll cover a little bit of that in the next post in this series.


Posts in the How to Market Your Podcast series:

Interested in a real-life example? Check out my marketing podcast, Marketing Over Coffee!



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Should your marketing have a podcast?

Podcasting’s golden age wasn’t 2004 – 2007.

Podcasting’s golden age isn’t even now.

Podcasting’s golden age is yet to come.

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Above is the latest data from Edison Research’s study, The Infinite Dial.

  • One third of Americans 12+ have listened to a podcast.
  • One out of six listen monthly.
  • One out of ten listen weekly.

Getting one third of Americans to do anything is significant, but getting them to tune into a relatively new form of media? That’s exciting. It’s taken a long time to get here; podcasting’s renewed success owes much to mobile devices and the fragmentation of media. As mainstream media has reduced quality in order to stay profitable, new media has filled the gap. Netflix and Amazon are producing independent TV shows and movies. Podcasts are occupying listeners with shows like Serial and repurposed terrestrial radio content.

Does this mean a podcast belongs in your marketing plans?

The answer is a definite maybe. Why? In comparison to blogs and photos, audio podcasts are second only to video in resource demands. For every minute of audio you hear, there’s between 15 and 60 minutes of production behind the scenes. This is time spent interviewing, gathering material, recording, editing, and publishing. Podcasting is resource intensive, so success or failure comes at a higher cost.

Here’s the litmus test for whether you should podcast: If your existing content marketing is succeeding wildly at its goals, such as your blog, your email newsletter, etc. then a podcast is probably worth trying. If your existing content marketing is mediocre or failing, a podcast isn’t going to make anything better. Succeed at simpler forms of content marketing first. Once you’ve mastered the art of creating great content in text and images, then branch out into audio and video.


Posts in the How to Market Your Podcast series:

Interested in a real-life example? Check out my marketing podcast, Marketing Over Coffee!



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