What Is A Podcast?

A hybrid of the words “iPod” and “Broadcasting,” the word podcast came into being back in 2004.

Podcasts are episodic audio files that creators make to push their content online. They are usually available on aggregators called “podcatchers” like iTunes and Spotify.

Podcasts have become an important form of media in the digital sphere. Currently, there are more than half a million active podcast channels available globally. From cooking to marketing , there is a podcast available for every topic and genre out there.

Podcasts are informative and entertaining, and they are a goldmine of opportunity for both podcast creators as well as marketers.

The marketing spend for podcasts jumped to $479 million in 2018. This is a 43% increase from the past year. The industry is set to cross the $1 billion mark by 2021.

What is Podcast Marketing?

Ads and sponsored posts featured on podcasts form the crux of podcast marketing.

Brands like Sling are some notable beneficiaries of podcast marketing, as it reported improvements in engagement and sales by investing in podcast marketing.

Podcasts offer a personalized touch and can help engage followers for longer periods of time. Certain podcasts even run for as long as 60 minutes; this provides hosts and marketers with enough time to offer engaging, relevant messages.

Why Use Podcasts For Marketing?

Podcasts have a more personalized touch than other forms of media, but that’s not where their biggest USP lies.

Podcasts operate in a niche environment, which allows them to have a better chance at gaining a loyal audience.

Rebekah Bek of Ahrefs seconded this; noting that marketers have a greater window to reach the right kind of audience through this.

Additionally, podcast listeners are loyal subscribers. This creates a high-value relationship between the host and the listener. Marketers can use this powerful relationship to their advantage.

Apart from the loyalty and trust, there is another important factor that you shouldn’t ignore. Around 44% of the global podcasting audience belongs to the younger demographic, i.e. 18-34.


Podcast Marketing Millenials

This works best if your target audience is the younger generation. Through podcasts, you reach your audience where they are – and increase sales.

Are Podcasts Good For Any Business?

The job of any digital marketing strategy is to create powerful brand recall. Along with this, podcasts also need to ensure that people take the right action. As such, podcasts seem to be winning by a big margin in both these categories.

Midroll collaborated with Nielsen to conduct an exhaustive study underlining exactly these factors. The study showed that podcasts generate 4 times more brand recall than display ads.

Podcast ads can increase user’s intent by noticeable margins, and this leads to increased ROI and sales.

These numbers make a strong case for brands to consider them as an effective marketing tool.

The popularity of smart audio devices like Alexa and Google Home has also been rising in recent times. With the market for these devices to reach a whopping $30 billion in the next five years, this can have a large effect on the growing number of podcast subscribers as a result.

If you start using podcasts as part of your digital marketing strategy, you will ensure growth in ROI in the future as well.

How Does Podcast Marketing Work?

A lot of marketers don’t know where to begin and what to expect from podcast marketing.

First, let’s clear things out; podcast marketing is not at all like conventional marketing. From the best placement for ads to defining the purpose, everything is different.

An exhaustive case study compiled by Ahrefs showed how podcast marketing works.

The study found that podcast marketing works best for creating brand awareness. Podcast marketing is not suitable for lead generation and that’s understandable.

Podcasts allow people to get information and actionable tips on a particular topic. If your ad aligns with the genre as well as the content, you will be able to increase user engagement.

You need to know where an ad receives the highest amount of engagement before placing it.

As such, you can opt for three different types of ads:

1- The pre-roll and its duration is usually short, lasting for no more than 15-20 seconds. As the name suggests, it’s played before the episode begins.

2- The mid-roll – this ad can be longer (up to one minute) and is right in the middle.

3- The post-roll ad. This ad can be long. But most marketers tend to keep things short and concise since the user’s attention is waning by this point.

Mid-rolls are the most expensive of the lot because of their placement. Listeners are attentive during the middle of an episode, which leads to engagement.

Pre-rolls are less expensive than mid-rolls. But they are also less effective. The cheapest ad type is a post-roll ad since most listeners tend to drop off by this point.

It’s best to have a landing page dedicated to podcast listeners. This helps if they want to know more about the brand or service you are pushing through. Additionally, don’t forget the use of sponsor codes. They can increase the chance of users following through on your call to action.

The only major difficulty in podcast marketing is the lack of metrics to measure the success of your ad. As such, marketers remain limited to only download numbers to understand user engagement. This also means that they cannot tell for sure whether the user actually heard the episode throughout or the point at which they dropped out.

There are some bright spots on the horizon that will tackle this issue to a great extent.

Nielsen is soon introducing Podcast Listener Buying Power Product. Due to release later this year, the tool will assist marketers in learning more about users listening patterns.

NPR has already released a tool that tells what part of the podcast users listened to and what they skipped on.

The introduction of tools will allow marketers to build a better podcast strategy.

Can I Make Money From Podcasts?

Monetizing your podcasts requires a lot of effort from your end – but it’s not difficult once you get going.

There are a lot of popular podcasts out there on all types of topics, genres, and sub-genres. But the common factor in them is that they have powerful content that their audience wants to listen to.

If you have good content, then you can definitely scale your audience – as this is the right direction towards monetizing your podcast.

There is one more crucial factor that can determine how much money you will make for podcasts.

If your podcast happens to fall in line with a brand’s message, you have a better chance of becoming its partner. It’s quite simple, the more brands that align with your content, the higher ad spend you will be able to secure.

Some creators also work on a subscription-based model. This is one of the primary sources of generating revenue for podcasts – but when it comes to making a good amount of money, you will need brands to collaborate with.

Top Podcatchers to Submit Your Podcast On

Apart from iTunes, which has the single largest podcast directory out there, there are multiple podcatcher apps that you need to post your podcast on.

This is one of the best ways to diversify your reach by allowing your podcast to be much more easily discoverable.

Most of these podcast directories are not crowded at all, allowing you an ample amount of opportunity to really get your podcast going by building a niche audience channel by tapping into these directories.

Here are 10 popular podcast directories out there:

  1. Castro
  2. Bello Collective
  3. PodcastLand
  4. Podcast Addict
  5. Overcast
  6. Downcast
  7. Stitcher
  8. TuneIn
  9. Podcast subreddit
  10. Bello Collective
  11. Podcast Republic

How to Feature my Podcast in The New & Noteworthy Section of iTunes?

A lot of people who are about to launch their podcast often find themselves wishing that they could be featured in the New & Noteworthy section of iTunes. This is because the chances of your podcast being discovered by a major audience grow manifold once you get featured here.

The New & Noteworthy section often works like how snippets work on Google for e.g. your page might not be ranked on the top but if you feature in the snippet, you are already above the rest and your ranking doesn’t matter. This section on iTunes is no different.

If you are featured by iTunes here, your podcast will be able to stay there for a period of 8 weeks and that’s a lot of time anyone can get at such a visible spot on such a major podcast directory and it can work wonders for your podcast’s popularity giving it an unimaginable boost.

Apple, however, doesn’t really release the metrics or criteria on which it picks new podcasts to be featured on its New & Noteworthy section. But don’t worry as there are some common tactics used by those who got their podcasts featured in this section and these tactics are not uncommon and you might already be using them to market your podcast.

Just to give you a quick roundup, here are some of these common strategies that can help you rank in this top section on iTunes:

Have more than one podcast when you launch
Ensure that your podcast episodes are regularly being uploaded on a set timeline
Ask people to post reviews. Initially you can do this by emailing your existing contact list or by reaching out to other podcast hosts.
Have a good presence on social media with powerful collaterals like pictures and videos
Choose podcast topics on ongoing, popular events

How Do I Market My Podcasts on Social Media?

9 out of 10 podcasts get 90% of their lifetime downloads within the first four days of their release and this stat is striking, underlining the value of time in converting your podcast in to a success.

Conventional methods to market a podcast do work well but when you are so bound for time, you need to hack into social media.

Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can provide you with a massive amount of engagement on your podcast, so it’s imperative to learn how to do that.

Here are five top ways to drive audience to your podcast from social media sites:

1- Use Video Marketing

Up to 49% growth in revenue was recorded by those who used video as a marketing tool as compared to those who didn’t underlining the importance of video as an important marketing tool, especially on social sites.

Most podcast owners don’t use video to market their shows because they don’t usually know how go about it. But that shouldn’t worry you as there are multiple ways to do that.

Firstly, you can share your podcast recordings on Facebook Live. This way you can greatly utilize the FOMO effect and compel audiences to engage with your Live videos, giving excellent and timely exposure to your podcasts.

Secondly, you can take out snippets from your podcasts and post them on sites like Instagram and Twitter. Small, shareable videos that carry an important message or quote are powerful engagement drivers so don’t rule them out.

2- Host Competitions and Campaigns

This age-old marketing tactic still holds an immense amount of value. And with the advent of social media, it can really get the word going about your podcast out there.

Here, you are free to choose anything but remember to incorporate elements from your podcast into any campaign so that your main aim is not alienated.

Our recommendation is that you give off collaterals like T-Shirts and mugs with quotes from popular guests on your show to competition winners. This way you can engage people towards the show by making them answer questions about your podcast or gather the most re-tweets.

3- Share Blogs About Your Podcast

Combining content marketing and social selling, you can make immense gains in terms of traffic and future engagement for your podcast.

Blogs are the perfect way to do this.

You can put in crucial pointers from your podcast shows or give a small preview of what your next episode will be about. This will make it easier for users to gather info on what each episode will be about; enabling them to make quicker decisions to come and listen to the podcast.

Blogs can also help you reach organic traffic from search engines if they rank well. Google still gives a lot of value to the written word. With blogs, you will soon be reaching audiences from diverse avenues.

4- Approach Established Influencers

Influencers are an incredible force today and just one single positive tweet or post from them can send a large majority of their following your way.

There are two types of influencer marketing, paid and unpaid. For paid, you will need to dole out some cash to get a featured post and although this method works, it will require you to have a big enough budget for it.

The second way to reach influencers, which is much more efficient, is by either calling them up as guests on your show or mentioning them in your show. This way, you can ask them to share info about your podcast to their audience without having to pay anything in return.

5- Utilize the Power of Hashtags

One major way of making your posts easily discoverable on social media is through using hashtags.

Hashtags are like signboards in the world of social media, allowing people to know where they are going.
If you manage to get in on the right ones, your posts will continue to gain traction by appearing in hashtag searches.

To know which hashtags will work best for you, go for a pro tool that can dig them out for you.

AutoHash, Webstagram, Seekmetrics, Sked Social, Hashtagify and All Hashtag are some of the most powerful hashtag tools, allowing you to search popular hashtags by category.

Using them will shorten the process. It will also allow you to gather the highest number of hashtags relevant to your category.

How Do I Promote / Market My Podcast?

Here’s a brief on the best practices and powerful ways that top podcasts market themselves:

Make sure to release more than one episode on launch. Users need to know more about your tone and content, so one episode is not enough to hook them. The sweet spot is having three episodes go live at the same time.

Your podcast should be available on as many podcatchers as possible. Hosting your podcast on your own website is good, but make sure that it’s available on popular platforms.

Don’t forget SEO. You need to ensure that your podcast website stays in the top results on the SERPs. This is essential towards ensuring a steady flow of listeners. If your site is not in the results, you are missing out on the opportunity to build a loyal following.

Ask listeners to post reviews about your podcast on podcatchers. Reviews are what drive a lot of people towards a podcast. So make sure you have a healthy amount of positive reviews.

Bring on popular guests. A lot of podcasts deploy this hack as it ensures that the audience from the guest’s channel will also tune in. The more popular your guest, the better your reach will be.

If you can’t bring on guests, then start mentioning popular people on your podcast. Once you do, reach out and ask them to share your podcast.

Ask a podcast marketing agency for professional help in promoting your podcast.

Watch This Video from Neil Patel to learn more about getting people to download your podcast:

Wrapping Things Up

Podcasts will dominate the digital sphere in the next couple of years. So if you are sure about promoting your brand or creating your own show, you need to make a move now.

It will help if you can go and listen to the best podcasts out there. This is to see what gets them going and sets them apart from others in their genre.

Remember to not try to imitate other hosts; always try to add your own personality to the show.

Do let me know what podcasts you like to listen to and if you have come across an ad placed in them in the comments below.

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