Podcasts are becoming one of the most popular mediums for obtaining information. Before 2013, podcasts were that grey area that startups and podcasts may or may not have used to relay information to the public. However, they are now becoming the leading platform for unregulated, uncensored conversation.
Since there is an upward trend of dedicated listenership, podcasts help the people who dedicate themselves to creating content through the platform, but it is also the best way for startups to reach their target market through them.
What is a podcast?
Podcasts are a series of talks or conversations that are generally released episodically with one or more recurring hosts that discuss or debate different topics. They are a great way to build genuine connections with an audience.
The success of podcasts generally comes from the number of subscriptions and repeat listeners. When listenership gets to a large scale, podcasts can run paid ads or endorsements from other businesses and begin building a revenue stream. Podcasts are also a great public relations benefit for businesses because they generally share information about new products, company information, or general information related to an industry in a relatively informal way. A podcast can provide a format for sharing expertise in the industry, inject enthusiasm and can add an air of authority to the information that may be lacking in the written word.
Since a huge part of public relations is about developing relationships and trust, podcasts are great for potential customers because they want a company that knows the industry.
Hearing the voice of a presenter actually gives the audience a strong connection rather than just reading the information on a webpage. If a company creates regular podcasts, listeners become familiar with the voice and presentation style.
The familiarity of it will keep them coming back and will keep the company in their minds. Companies are able to integrate information about their products and services as they relate to the information in a podcast. It is definitely a more personal way to reach out to potential customers.
With traditional print content, people generally need to focus on the task of reading while podcasts allow the audience to listen while doing other things and can almost be considered subliminal messaging.
Podcasts can be considered as a type of advertisement for a business.
The PR podcast checklist
Step 1: Develop a podcast concept.
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when beginning a podcast. Firstly, podcasts can be as varied as the people creating them; they can range from history, pop-culture, neuroscience, etc.
You need to identify their podcast goals especially from a startup position even before choosing a podcast name, format, or show length. Common goals for a podcast include: generating leads for a business, being recognized as a leader in a specific industry, sharing and important message, and having fun.
Once the goals have been set, it is time to personalize the podcast by picking a podcast theme and naming the podcast. The theme of a podcast can be as broad or as focused as you want it to be, depending on your company’s area of specialty. The only important thing is that it needs to be something that they are passionate about and excited to research and regularly discuss.
Naming the podcast is equally important because it needs to be catchy and something that will catch potential subscribers’ attention. A word of advice from prominent podcasters is not to stuff the title with keywords because it needs to be easily found.
Step 2: Choose ideal podcast format
There is no one right answer when choosing a podcast format. Nevertheless, it is essential to find one that fits the podcast’s needs and what makes the podcaster and their audience comfortable.
Some common formats include; interview podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience that feature a single host who interviews individuals, scripted non-fiction like Serial Podcast that have a single theme for an entire season, or news recap like The Daily that summarizes news within a specific industry. There are also educational podcasts like TED Radio Hour that focuses on teaching their audience, and scripted fiction like The Magnus Archives that are often scripted and highly produced.
However, other podcasts combine different formats and have proven to be quite successful, like The Trypod featuring The Try Guys from Youtube.
There also is no optimal length when it comes to a podcast episode. A podcast should be as long as it needs to be while also maintaining the interest of listeners. If a podcast produces quality, engaging content, people will likely keep listening regardless of the episode’s duration.
Depending on the goal of the podcast, it can be a full-time job or something that companies do on the side. Regardless of the schedule, it is important to remember two things: developing a connection with listeners and creating a habit.
Releasing consistent episodes can help people continue podcasting even if the excitement is gone because if episodes keep getting published with engaging content, listeners will start to schedule the podcast into their day and companies can build a better connection with their listeners.
Step 3: Recording the podcast and software to use
Sometimes even the best podcasts start with a few bad episodes; every show and show host needs to find their footing and figure out the best way to improve. Rambling is one of the most common mistakes that podcasters can make, so the best way to deal with that is by writing a podcast outline.
Use the outline as a guide and write essential bullet points. So that you can touch on them through the episode. The next step is to figure out where the podcast should be recorded. Whether it is a physical space or ideal software to be used. When it comes to a physical location. It is better to record in a quiet, large room so that there is no echo or reverberant-sounding noises.
Picking the right place to record is more important than buying the right equipment because the best way to deal with audio problems is to prevent them altogether.
Once you have found the ideal physical location to record, it is time to figure out the software to use. Some recording and editing software can include; Audacity, Garageband, Hindenburg, SquadCast, Zoom, and Skype.
Audacity is a free and open-source audio editor that allows users to make changes to the original code easily and customize their experience and make improvements if necessary. Garageband is software that generally comes pre-installed on most Apple computers and is a naturally more intuitive interface than Audacity.
One downside is that it is not available on Windows computers or Android phones. There may be situations that require podcasts to set up a remote podcast interview, and Squadcast is excellent for that situation because it is straightforward to set up that kind of talk and get the most high-quality audio possible.
Step 5: Editing and uploading the first episode
Once the recording is complete, the editing process is where people segment their podcast, remove audible distractions, and insert pre-recorded ads, voiceovers, intros, and outros. With the software listed about, even the people that do not have editing experience can create a quality, well-edited podcast.
Step 6: Promoting your podcast
Once you have some content on your podcast, you need to promote your podcast. With the right promotion strategy, you can reach your target audience and grow your listeners quickly. In order to do this, you need to create a profile of the ideal listener you are trying to reach. Once you have this information, then you’ll know where to find this listener.
The Joe Rogan experience
There are so many podcasts now, but one of the most famous ones is American comedian, actor, sports commentator, martial artist, and television host Joe Rogan. The Joe Rogan Experience was launched on December 24th, 2009, and by 2015. It was one of the world’s most popular podcasts receiving millions of views per episode.
The question is: how did it become so popular?
Joe Rogan is famous for many things, and even though his podcast is pretty low key. It has become one of his most successful projects. The reasoning behind it is because he broke all the rules of a “traditional” podcast.
Being in the entertainment industry for quite some time, he had many connections at his disposal. However, he did not use his links and decided to start and produce his podcast himself, without joining a network, even though he didn’t need to.
By joining a network, artists get the support and infrastructure required to grow a following. Since Rogan opted not to join a network, Rogan needed to do a lot of the work himself, from creating content to the podcast’s marketing.
Rogan’s podcast was indeed his passion project; while most traditional podcasts announce their launch on every possible platform they might have, Rogan did no such thing. It did not pay any marketing team to promote his podcast or even try to monetize his podcast.
Instead, he let his show grow organically, letting the listener come to him. He never asked for reviews for his podcast, either. His time went into creating content and making it so that people enjoyed his discussions and came back for more.
Here are a few things which have helped Joe Rogan stand out in the industry:
Controversial podcast content
Rogan made a name for himself by hosting buzz-worthy interviews which were followed religiously by his listeners and shared widely with the rest of the world. An example of one such interview is his 2018 interview with Elon Musk, where they smoked weed together on air and went on to discuss a range of topics.
It wasn’t the extraordinary ideas that Rogan and Musk were exchanging which made the interview go viral. Rather, it was the fact that they shared a joint in front of the whole world. The interview went viral and created a storm among the media, who were up in arms criticizing Musk’s behaviour. As a result of this podcast episode, Tesla’s stock dropped by 9%. Even so, the episode was No. 6 on YouTube’s trending page, and the number of daily new subscribers to The Job Rogan experienced increased by 250%.
In the same interview, Elon Musk attracted a lot of attention when he made the interesting claim that the world we live in is a simulation.
“The argument for the simulation, I think, is quite strong. Because if you assume any rate of improvement at all, over time, 1%, 0.1%, just extend the timeframe. Make it 1,000 years, make it a million years, the universe is 13.8 billion years old. Civilization, if you’re very generous, is maybe seven or eight thousand years old. If you count it from the first writing. This is nothing. So if you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will be indistinguishable from reality… or civilization will end. One of those two things will happen. Therefore we are most likely in a simulation. Because we exist.” ~ Elon Musk
In another controversial move earlier this year, Joe Rogan drew fire after stating – on air – that young people do not need to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In response to this comment, critics disparaged him for spreading misinformation. Likewise, Fauci appeared on NBC’s “Today” show a week later, emphasizing that young people could also get and spread the virus to family, friends and colleagues.
In response to this criticism, Joe Rogan apologized and retracted his comments. Additionally, he stated that he is not an anti-vaxxer.
“Their argument was, you need [the vaccine] for other people. That makes more sense. When I say something stupid, I’m not thinking about what I’m going to say before I say it […] I’m not a doctor, I’m a moron, and I’m a cage-fighting commentator who’s a dirty stand-up comedian… I’m not a respected source of information — even for me.” ~ Joe Rogan
Despite his controversial comments, Spotify resolved not to delete this episode of the “Joe Rogan Experience” as they have done with questionable episodes in the past. This decision by the streaming platform was based on the fact that Rogan hadn’t explicitly told people not to get the vaccine.
Despite such inflammatory comments, or maybe because of them, “The Joe Rogan Experience” is currently the No. 1 podcast on Spotify in the U.S. In fact, Spotify has stated that Rogan outperformed the expectations for Q1 in terms of new users and engagement.
The Spotify Deal
Unless you do not read the news or get alerts, you would know that Rogan signed an exclusive deal with Spotify that is reported to be worth $100m.
The podcast will be housed on Spotify exclusively by the end of the year and removed from all other podcast platforms. Essentially, it will remain free and be the same show and this is just a licensing deal so that Spotify won’t have any creative control over the show.
There is so much significance behind it because the figures involved in the deal are incredibly rare in the podcast world. Rogan will earn more money than most musicians on Spotify, which means that the platform values his podcast concept more than any musician in the world’s history.
While the podcast will remain free to access, Spotify is hoping that the increased traffic to its service due to his podcast will significantly increase in their subscriber numbers.
While this deal was under way, eMarketer was also predicting that Spotify listeners in the U.S would exceed Apple podcast listeners for the first time ever. The company predicted that 28.2 million people would listen to Spotify podcasts every month, against 28 million for Apple Podcasts. This is a big deal, especially since Apple Podcasts’ market share was also predicted to fall by almost 11% to 23.8% in 2021.
How to promote a podcast
Rogan promoted his podcast mainly through his fairly large audience by the time he started. However, many podcasts have used different podcast promotion strategies to drive more traffic.
Here are some podcast promotion strategies to consider:
1) Leverage the existing audiences of previous guests
In order to successfully promote a podcast, you must know the audience you want to reach. Beyond that, you need to know what you want beyond download and traffic spikes. Without proper podcast planning, podcasters can spend a lot of time or money promoting a show in the wrong place or way and end up with a significant but temporary increase in listens.
The two most common podcast promotion mistakes are overlooking those who are already listening and wasting calls to action. It does not matter if your podcast only has 20 regular listeners; those 20 listeners are the ones who can help your podcaster reach a much bigger audience. Another way to get more attention is to use calls-to-action effectively.
A good call-to-action helps you to ask your listeners for something at the end of every episode. After hearing great content that they have enjoyed and benefitted from, listeners are usually happy to do the podcaster a small favour in return. For example, you could ask them to share the podcast episode or follow you on social media. Even so, while reviews could potentially help a podcast grow, they might not offer much help in increasing listenership.
Audience feedback and referrals
Rather than urging an audience to review a podcast, podcasters should try to implement other calls-to-action that could make more of an impact. You could try encouraging engagement through your calls-to-action by telling your fans to recommend the podcast to a friend directly on social media and to mention the show in a post. Then, when the next episode airs, thank them with a quick shoutout.
Another way to leverage existing audiences is through audience surveys. Of course, this is not a strategy that generally works for brand new podcasters who do not have an audience yet. However, if a podcast has been running for some time, podcasters can get valuable growth insights through surveys. Existing fans offer great opportunities for feedback because they can share how or where they discovered the podcast, what things they like about the show, and what topics they would like to hear being covered. Collecting this data gives audiences a place to tell podcasters about their likes and dislikes. From there, you can tailor your content around these preferences in the future.
You should make it easy for guests to share by creating images and quotes to attract new users. It is a right way for guests to share and promote a podcast episode, and companies can send a blast the day that their podcast goes live and include shareable media like; pull-quotes, images, links, and prewritten tweets and status updates.
2) Create a Podcast Landing Page
In the first month of 2020, there were over 850,000 active podcasts and over 30 million podcast episodes. This means that it has become increasingly difficult to be heard above the noise. So, to get through the competition, it is wise to create a podcast landing page to make it easier for listeners to get to a podcast.
When done correctly, a dedicated landing page can generate a list of email addresses from website visitors who you can then market to directly in the future. Some successful podcasters have even published landing pages before launching their podcast to build an audience ahead of time. Secondly, while many people use different streaming services to host podcasts, having a landing page can establish a “home” for all podcast episodes, making it easier for an audience to find the relevant information.
Last but not least, creating a landing page is an excellent way to encourage engagement. This tactic works great regardless of whether the goal is to promote a podcast or get social media shares. An effective podcast landing page should offer engaging headlines, visuals, copy, and strong calls-to-action.
3) Optimize for Web Search and SEO
If your goal is to promote a podcast, then you need to pay attention to the SEO elements. As with any other web content, you need to optimize your content with keywords so that people can go directly to Google and other search engines to find you. Other valuable techniques that you can use to optimize your podcast include; claiming the podcast on Google Podcasts Manager, researching podcast keywords, improving your online presence with social media, transcribing your episodes, and repurposing your content.
4) Promote on social media
Cross-promotion is another effective way to build an audience for podcasts. This marketing tactic can be applied in different ways. One way to do cross-promotion is to share content across platforms from blogs and websites to social media. Another is building partnerships and having other podcasters share content on their channels and vice versa. Much like public relations, podcasters can reach out to the other podcasts and content creators to ask them to share content related to their show, which allows them to reach entirely new audiences. Another way to do this is to create lookalike audiences and remarket the content of the podcast. Platforms like Facebook allow podcasts to build and target lookalike audiences for remarketing content to people who have shown interest in the business in the past.
A good social media outreach campaign is one of the best ways to get the word out. You can get creative about the content you are trying to promote. The best podcasters use various social media platforms to update listeners on when an episode will go live.
5) Do media outreach
Before the Internet, businesses would cold-call customers and prospects to sell their products or services. Nowadays, email marketing allows them to use messages to get in touch with people vital to their business.
Due to the changing PR landscape, podcasters need a solid PR outreach strategy to reach media professionals, influencers and bloggers to gain media attention. It is for this exact reason that PR agencies like Pressfarm exist. Pressfarm is committed to helping individuals and companies to create newsworthy content and come up with an outreach strategy to get the word out about their products and services.
Pressfarm helps to create everything from email pitches to press releases, guest posts, and press kits. Aside from creating this quality content, Pressfarm can help you to put it in front of the right eyes. Our content distribution strategy is designed to help you boost online visibility for your brand. By submitting your content to respected media outlets, we help your brand to feature in relevant search results across search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing!
Once you sign up, an account executive will build customized media lists to help you connect with the best media professionals, social media influencers, and bloggers in your niche. Moreover, with our comprehensive media database of over 1 million journalists across different industries, you can continue doing media outreach for your brand long after we’ve finished with your campaign at Pressfarm.
With a personalized campaign at Pressfarm, you can finally generate the publicity you’ve been dreaming of for your brand.
6) Convert the audio file into a YouTube video
Many podcasters already use this tactic. When converting an audio file into a Youtube video, there are multiple benefits like; having a video to share on social media, closed captioning and transcripts automatically from Youtube, and SEO benefits.
7) Submit the podcast to podcatchers and aggregators
In a highly saturated industry, it is not enough to create a podcast and hope for the best. So, to gain more listeners, you should distribute your podcast to other places where people are likely to be looking for new podcasts. Podcast directories are significant in this situation because they help to distribute podcast content to a wider audience. In order to be more accessible, you should submit your content to directories because the real success comes from getting the podcast heard by people who matter.
With your content listed on the right platforms, you can access audiences that you may not have been able to reach in the past. Some good places to start include iTunes, Google Podcast, Spotify, TuneIn, Soundcloud, and Podcastpedia. The options are endless, but it is essential to use the right platform to produce maximum results.
Submitting a podcast to podcatchers gives you a better chance of getting discovered because they exist to collect and play podcasts.
8) Transcribe the audio
Offering a full transcript of an entire show has also proven to be highly successful for podcasters. The transcripts are significant for SEO benefits and a place to collect leads; companies can add lead capture forms and links in the show notes page.
9) Run a giveaway contest
Running contests where podcast listeners can have a chance to win prizes in exchange for completing a specific action can be an excellent promotional strategy for podcasts. Podcasters can ask their listeners to share their podcasts or leave a review to enter the contest.
The possibility of free stuff and discounts will get anyone motivate to do something, including listening to a podcast. Asking for reviews on any platform that the podcast is published on can be part of the giveaway’s entry requirements. Hopefully, doing this will earn companies more reviews and boost social proof for the podcast and get platforms like iTunes and Spotify to take notice.
10) Find partners to mention the podcast
When it comes to content marketing, partners and affiliates play a crucial role. The most successful brands know how the reciprocity principle works and therefore focus on building relationships with like-minded businesses in their industry. Ultimately, this turns into a two-way strategy because when a company mentions a brand in their podcast, the other brand might do the same. From that point, you can take further steps to convert those initial mentions into a profitable relationship. Much like media outreach, a well-written email and good email marketing are enough to get started.
Along with finding partners and getting mentions, you can also partner with affiliate marketers who promote different products on podcasts. This way, podcasters can monetize their podcasts, and the ideal way to find affiliate partners for their podcast is via an affiliate network.
This strategy generally would have a reciprocal effect if companies were to mention another business. It provides an opportunity to create relationships and reach out to brands that have featured the company in their content.
11) Be a guest on other podcasts
As mentioned before, creating and developing relationships with other brands can help boost visibility. Once you establish a relationship with another podcaster. You can make a guest appearance or invite other companies to appear on your podcast. Many podcasters appreciate this proactive approach, and anyone who takes up the offer to appear will provide an excellent promotion opportunity for a company’s podcast.
Other creative ideas for PR campaigns
While press releases are great for getting media coverage, startups and existing businesses also need to be creative with their PR campaigns.
1) Free stuff
Regardless of who they are and what industry they are in, people are always drawn to anything free. Distributing unique merchandise that fits the brand to any media outlet, from journalists to influencers, is an effective way to build brand recognition.
2) Guest posting
Approaching publications read by a company’s target audience by offering insight and analysis of anything related to the industry is another way to develop a relationship with media outlets. With a guest posting strategy, not only can you build your network but you can also win potential listeners over by connecting with the audience from a different publication.
Providing expert insight on big new stories will also get journalists and various media outlets interest in what companies what to say. They are always looking for sources, and by offering insight and advice. It is another excellent way to get press coverage.
3) Social media chat
Internet forums and social media chats are becoming the new way to communicate with followers in real-time. If companies have something to share that they think will engage with their audience or people reading said forums. Starting a chat of any social media platform will get people engage and get them to go directly to their website possibly.
We can learn a lot from what Joe Rogan has done so well at The Joe Rogan Experience. If you’re doing your PR in-house, the tips outlined in this guide will help you to drive your podcast to the next level.