Podcast marketing

What are the key essentials for promoting and marketing a podcast to grow listeners so you can improve monetisation?  This article runs through some of the fundamentals and also asks some important questions so you can find out if a podcast is the right marketing tactic for your brand.

Brand suitability for podcast marketing

Here are some simple questions for you to review before deciding to start a podcast.

Microphone for podcast: Photo credit Neil Godding on Unsplash

  • Who is the target audience?
  • Are they are already listening to podcasts?
  • What does your brand want to get out of the podcast (leads, brand awareness, thought leadership etc)
  • Which channels to market do you already use?
  • What headcount / analytics are in each of the existing channels?
  • What will success look like?

These are all questions worthy of a full day workshop.  Now, assuming you have robust answers to each of them, let’s dig into the tactics suitable for marketing a podcast.

Podcast marketing tactics

  1. Cross-promote through all existing channels controlled by the brand
  2. Select guests who have a large audience on the understanding they will cross-promote
  3. Add listeners by adding podcast into existing marketing tactics e.g. record a live episode at a trade show / a conference stage
  4. Get other podcasters to do a mutual episode with each broadcasting the same episode to their feeds
  5. Record in video and audio so you can use YouTube as a distribution channel
  6. Advertise
  7. Use clips and short video as content for social sharing
  8. Run campaigns which include the podcast e.g. contests where you have to listen to find out how to enter
  9. Use the podcast shownotes on your website and blog as SEO

Plus take a look at all the Quora questions I’ve answered and articles I’ve written about podcasting.

Apple Podcast analytics beta

Apple has launched a beta service to analyse listenership of your podcast episodes on Apple devices and via Apple services.

I took a quick look – log in to iTunes Connect and select the drop-down next to the header. [Note the URL – since podcasts are being split off from iTunes, it’s now got its own URL podcastsconnect.apple.com]

The service obviously only works on Apple devices and so this will in all likelihood be a small segment of your audience. But the data has all the normal data points [#devices, #total time listened, time listened per device] defaulting to a past 60 days view.

The most interesting data point for me is the percentage “Average Consumption” measure defined as

The average percentage of the episode that was played across all devices. Playback duration is compared against the episode duration as reported in the podcast feed. If a device plays the duration time of an episode more than once, the consumption from that device will be greater than 100%

Apple podcast analytics beta

Trends, episodes and overview

Neatly summarising most of what you’ll want to see – the Apple Podcasts Analytics beta has a nice dashboard showing Total time listened, a country analysis and split of subscribers and ‘not subscribed’. This is neat as I’ve always wondered about the proportion of my listeners who are not subscribers but do listen.

Partial audience analysis

In the analytics help documentation I noted the following:

  • Podcast Analytics begins gathering data as soon as users play content in the Podcasts app (iOS 11 or later), in iTunes 12.7 or later (macOS and Windows), or on HomePod. [NOTE only recent app versions]
  • Apple only displays data from users who agreed to share their diagnostics and usage information with providers. [NOTE Reduces total audience size]
  • To collect data, the duration of a play event must be at least five seconds. [NOTE fair enough]
  • To display data, more than five unique devices must play the show or episode content. [NOTE fair enough]

Final thoughts

Get on to Apple and take a look at your stats. Compare it to other analytics services [I use Podtrac] and compare the data points and your absolute numbers.

My Apple numbers and Podtrac numbers are not directly comparable as one is included in the other. But for me the average consumption metric is pretty neat and will be something I add in my media pack for advertisers.

The images below show the respective analytics for 7 recent episodes.

Podtrac podcast analytics
Apple podcast analytics

Podcast RSS automatic update

The RSS feed helps people subscribing using a podcast app (like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts etc) to receive your episodes.

Each time you upload a new episode, the RSS feed updates the app.

Then the listener downloads a local copy of your episode to listen to.

So you don’t need to do anything else.

NOTE: I always subscribe to my own podcasts so I can check the feed is working. I had a client recently whose feed stopped working and I logged into Apple Podcasts Connect [https://podcastsconnect.apple.com/] and you have the option to refresh the feed manually.

This “force refresh” re-started the downloads for my client.

How to refresh the RSS feed in Apple Podcasts
podcast, economy watch, interest co nz, David Chaston, NZ Economy

Another Podcast launched

Today we announce the Economy Watch podcast by Interest.co.nz has launched. It’s a daily summary of the key overnight news that affects the New Zealand economy.

Short podcasts for news

In scoping the content and audience for this podcast, we decided that a short format podcast was a good choice. Listeners are on their way into work and can catch a 6-10 minute update quickly during their commute to work.

Authored by David Chaston, Editor and voiced by me (Rebecca Caroe), we are really pleased with the early listener feedback.

Please go and listen and tell me what you think. Appreciate it!

Tongue twister podcasting

Now here are the things I’ve found hard to say coherently in the episodes so far. See if you can spot them in the audio

German government bonds sold at a record low yield overnight. They sold 10-year Bunds [bund / bond]

India imposed higher retaliatory tariffs [why was retaliatory so hard?]

China’s Central government coffers [coffers was the issue here]

at the Japanese-hosted G20 summit [not sure why I can’t say summit]


New Music Band for a podcast:

How to market a podcast

I got asked to give a high-level answer to this question on Quora. 

My response is quite generic – the process applies to any marketing project – the detail of the methodology in each step is where each will differ.
The questioner was asking about a “new music podcast”.

Who is your podcast audience?

New Music Band for a podcast:
New Music Band for a podcast: Photo by Alex Zamora on Unsplash
  • What type of music, where do people find and listen to this music already e.g. live gigs, Pandora / Spotify, radio shows. Find named bands who represent this genre; find discussion forums (Reddit, Facebook, Quora) where people discuss this genre.
  • Create a persona for your ideal listener – age, type of music liked, why they listen, how they listen, when they listen.
  • Research media you can use for advertising (paid); content sharing on social (earned) and media you create like a blog or newsletter (owned).
  • Draw up a list of collaborators and joint venture partners.
  • Create a media pack for your podcast; download media packs from other media you want to use.
  • Plan your pre-launch; launch and ongoing marketing tactics so that you get your podcast name, branding, content in front of your ideal persona listener at a price point you can afford.
  • Measure what you do and the return on investment of your marketing.

In summary, you have a choice to either work it out for yourself as you go along or to buy advice from a marketing expert who understands podcasts is going to shortcut your learning; improve your outcomes and save you money in the long term.

If you scope the engagement well, you can collaborate with an advisor on the understanding that knowledge transfer is part of the project – you are being taught how to do the marketing yourself.

podcast, interview request, podcast guest, podcast host

Pitching podcasts

I wrote this answer to What is the best way to pitch podcast hosts on being a guest. This process works for being a guest or as a host, inviting people to be your guest.

As with any sales job:

  1. Find out what the podcast host’s topics, influences and areas of interest are
  2. Judge whether what you can offer aligns with 1
  3. Write a short, succinct proposal that ties up 1 & 2

Then keep good records of what you write, to whom and follow up within 1 week of the original message.

Always be polite, and thank them even if you get a rejection.

Following up the pitch

Now this is what too few other sales people do – add them to a mailing list and message them again within 3 months. Don’t write a pitch in this message. Just tell them what you have been working on and link to other podcasts you have guested with or articles you have published.

Then 6 months later, approach them with another pitch.

Rinse, repeat.

Pitching guests

Here is a sample pitch message I used. It starts by focusing on the guest and their need for book publicity, then it introduces the podcast and its track record and audience appeal, and lastly suggests a timeframe for the interview.

Dear Annie,

I saw your Facebook post about your book, Mind Games, being published next month and I wondered if you could come onto the Rowing Chat podcast to talk about it?

Rowing Chat is a monthly interview podcast focused on the sport of rowing – we have been publishing since 2013 and the network includes other podcast hosts talking about strength training, masters rowing and the US scene.

Do have a listen to some past episodes, and let me know if you have time during April 2019. My colleague, cc above, will do the scheduling.

Best wishes in rowing, Rebecca

Tax podcast, B2B marketing, Content marketing podcast,

B2B Podcasting rises

The rise of podcasting as a medium to reach and influence audiences, grow brand awareness and promote your business continues.

I’m delighted to announce that Terry Baucher, a self-confessed “Tax Nerd” has launched his podcast – The Week In Tax with the help of Creative Agency Secrets.

Terry has long been a broadcaster called on by news media to be an expert commentator on tax matters – working with radio and TV stations in New Zealand. This heavily influenced our recommendation that he move on from a written weekly summary of tax news which had been drawn from his twitter feed, to an audio podcast.

Podcast set-up

We chose both an audio and a video medium for this podcast. [Note, this is not suitable for everyone] and SoundCloud is the distribution medium for the RSS.

The client blog hosts embedded audio files (easy for people to listen to who aren’t comfortable using RSS or Podcast apps) and remains the central source of all content. We also chose to add in a transcript for those who prefer reading to listening.

Tax podcast, B2B marketing, Content marketing podcast,

Could you be podcasting?

The medium is growing fast and many people now prefer to customise their listening and viewing to fit times of day they choose. Growing your brand reach through podcasting can be very effective.

Just ask Terry Baucher!

PodCon 2 logo

Podcasts for event promotion

PodCon conference logo 2019

Podcasting is going mainstream – it’s the newest part of content marketing and frankly it’s about time!

Many people have been producing independent shows in voice format for years – I started one for my sport in 2013 – but only in the past year have brands started to get on board.

So why podcast in 2019?

There are three reasons – firstly, the pioneers are no longer alone – the mass appeal of storytelling podcasts like “Serial from This American Life” and “Under the Skin with Russell Brand”, Freakonomics and anything to do with Harry Potter has meant mass downloading of podcast listening apps onto devices.

Secondly, niche content marketers got in on the act early (like me) and so if you are a sports fan or a maker or follow politics there are now many different podcasts to choose from – all easily accessible.

And lastly we are short of time.  Yes, even more than before.  The on-demand nature of podcasts means you can listen in the car or while exercising or walking the dog.  It’s easy to play, pause and then pick it up again later.  And for the super-busy person, there’s the 1.5x and 2x speed playback settings!

Events lend themselves to podcasting

When planning the build-up to an event or having regular recurring events, there are already ample ways of communicating with your target audience.

But introducing the prospective attendees to the key themes of the event, the voices of your speakers and ramping up excitement about the day is really easy to do in a podcast format.

The Change Management Institute got its event speakers to answer 3 questions on a video call ahead of the event giving them unique content and a great preview of their international keynote themes to send round to members ahead of time.

And PodCon2 whose logo is on this article went one better – they allowed remote access at a cheaper ticket price by publishing all their event content afterwards in and audio feed as a stand-alone limited time podcast series.

Double down on success

Plus, if you choose to record video you can easily rip the MP3 audio file from the video and you have two birds with one stone.  We then use the video for Instagram and YouTube advertising promotions.

But should YOUR event or brand podcast?

The answer is up to you but we’ve got a quick checklist of 5 questions to answer before making your deacon to move into podcasting for content marketing.

Adoption curves for MarTech

This past week has seen a “Sweeper Wave” of coinciding reading and researches which tell me one new thing – podcasting for business content marketing is now going mainstream.

First let me explain the sweeper waves – I was on holiday on the Coromandel Coast and a sea swell off the west coast caused occasionally huge waves to come right up the beach nearly to the high tide mark – even when the tide was half out.  These had large volumes of water inside them and so had great forward momentum and a strong undertow when they receded.  While I watched, people paddling knee deep got caught off guard and swept off their feet and the wave also soaked their clothes higher up the beach – one lady broke her hip being tumbled by the wave and the air ambulance was called out.

podcast studio, auckland podcast, podcast for business, NZ podcasts

I reflected on the sweeper waves and see them as a metaphor for change in marketing and business.

Hemingway’s insight into change (or bankruptcy) is that it happens slowly and then all at once.  They key is knowing whether what you are seeing is at the early-adopter or just-going-mainstream stage.  I have followed the rise of electric vehicles assiduously since watching Tony Seba’s illustration of Fifth Avenue, New York.  These two photos are taken 13 years apart.  What happened in between?  Change.  Disruption.

[Side note, Tony is an investor in New Zealand startups]

Like a sweeper wave, some people get caught unawares.  My attempt to avoid this is to watch out for “recurring themes” in tech, marketing, and business.  The rest of this article is about my recent finds.  Some connect, others are remarkable for different reasons.  

I’ve been podcasting since 2013 and during the latter part of 2018 I saw major brands using the medium for their content marketing – McKinsey, The Economist Intelligence Unit and CapGemini.  This tells me that content marketing is expanding into the audio medium.  There are advantages and disadvantages to this.  Few brands have enough to say that doesn’t involve their competitors (which they are probably unwilling to discuss in public forum) compared to independent commentators who can speak more freely.  And this fact alone will deter many brands from podcasting.  There are other opportunities for content marketing using audio which are less ’traditional’ than a weekly radio show which brands can usefully use.

My podcast interview with Bob Weir author of “Why Businesses Fail” was published by Access Granted NZ.  His book is a must-read for founders, investors and board members for the insights into the human psyche and how it contributes to business. Business failures are usually preceded by identifiable problems.  Analysing problems at the macro level was an observation which led to me writing Problem Solving for Marketing. The insight connecting these is that correctly identifying the type of problem first, aides finding the right solution.  Is your business situation a “mess”; a “problem”; or a “puzzle”?

If you use email marketing and CRM in your business, here is a very nicely written summary of how one startup uses funnels, lead nurturing, and incorporating Net Promotor Score too.  I don’t know the team but they are a young venture and so starting from scratch has advantages.  A word of warning; anecdotally, Active Campaign is said to be less user-friendly than other comparable software.  [If you want to compare software user views, always check out Trust Radius run by Vinay Baghat – it’s independent and user-led.] 

And although this case study looks amazing, very few brands that I meet use automation, business process flows or sales funnels to this extent.  How does this reflect on the adoption curve for CRM, which I was working on with Peppers and Rogers back in 1997?  Maybe some firms will never use marketing automation or sales lead scoring.

Writing a presentation for the Penrose Business Association brought me to confront my lack of skill using traditional presentation software.  I have found two alternatives Beautiful and Stun, one American and the other Kiwi.  

Finally – the joke’s on you for the Mars Rover whose batteries may have died after 15 years – Brendan Boughan’s Cartoons by Jim captures it perfectly. and flashes back to 1997 when we first got Mars fever and the creatives at HP had a similar vibe going.  One of my favourite laugh-out-loud adverts of the time.