3 Things To Master Before Promoting Your Podcast [Episode 298]
Every time someone requests a proposal from my firm to help promote and or market their podcast, I always politely decline.
I turn down those jobs because I know the only predictable way to make a podcast successful is to nail the basics first. I know that spending money on promotion before the basics are in place is a waste of money. And I don’t like wasting anyone’s money.
Before you spend any marketing/advertising/promotional dollars on your show, you have to get these three things nailed down.
Thing One: Foundational Fundamentals
There are actually four parts of Thing One, and they are equally important. No corner-cutting:
1. A web presence for your podcast. I mean a real and functioning website for your podcast. I do not mean an automatically generated website that is powered by your podcast’s RSS feed. Your RSS feed is designed to distribute episodes of your podcast to directories and apps. It is not designed to propagate a website.
2. Complete distribution of your podcast. The right way to use your podcast’s RSS feed is to send out your episode to various apps and directories. Yes, that means Apple Podcasts. It also means Spotify and Google Podcasts. But it also means a dozen or so other directories and apps that maintain their own list of podcasts. You don’t get to control where people find your show.
3. Don’t forget listenability! Before you throw money at getting people to sample your audio, make sure the sound quality doesn’t drive them away. No, “good enough” probably isn’t. Not when you’re talking about investing ad dollars. Listenable audio files are table stakes, and I’m a little ticked that I have to keep saying that.
4. Rinse & repeat & repeat & ... You have to be able to repeat your processes with every episode. You have to be able to do that and meet your self-imposed release schedule. And if you can’t, then you need to make an adjustment.
Thing Two: Remarkable Content
“Advertising is a tax paid by the unremarkable.” Everything I just said above is moot if the contents of your episodes aren’t remarkable. You can have the best-looking and most-optimized website in the world distributing pristine audio files to every single platform on tight schedule… and still fall flat if the content is “meh”.
Thing Three: Leverage Your Network
Before you try to bring in people from the outside (ala advertising), you have to start at home. Notice I didn’t say leverage “a” network. I said leverage “your” network. If you honestly have no network: start building one! And if you can't build your network, then you borrow one.
You have to do all three of those things before you spend a dime marketing your podcast. But here's the cool thing: If you do all three of these things really well, you probably won't need to spend any money advertising or promoting your podcast.
You may still want to spend money to grow your show even more, and that’s fine. Especially if you can draw a straight line from more listeners to more income. But don’t do that before you have all three of these things nailed down.
I know you’re probably busy with things, but if you could spare a minute or two telling me about your experiences as podcast living through the novel coronavirus pandemic, I’d love to feature you on Thursday’s episode of the show. Put a minute or so worth of audio on Dropbox and then send the link to email@example.com, please?
And if you have one more minute for me, please use that minute to tell one friend about Podcast Pontifications. It really makes a difference when you personally reach out to someone and tell them why you think they should listen. It's great when you retweet me and you share my content on Facebook, of course. But nothing beats an individual outreach to one person.