How to market your podcast, part 2: Audience strategy

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Podcasting is hot. The business world wants a piece of a huge and ever-growing audience. I’ve been podcasting for over 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:


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:


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:


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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