Neil Patel

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Podcast Marketing: How to Effectively Market a Podcast

A graphic that says "Podcast Marketing: How To Effectively Market A Podcast."

It can be hard to compete against the millions of blogs that clutter the internet. But in podcasting, where you face just a fraction of the competition, things are a little different.   

No wonder podcasting is seen as a viable marketing channel for businesses of all sizes, from fewer than ten employees to over 500. 

The real challenge isn’t launching a podcast, though—it’s making a mark. 

How can you make your podcast stand out? How do you ensure your voice is heard?

To answer these questions and learn more about podcast marketing, my team at NP Digital commissioned two surveys. The first surveyed 1,000 U.S. marketers who used podcasts to promote their business. The second gathered insights from 1,000 podcast listeners in the U.S. 

Whether you’re wondering how to market your podcast more effectively or looking for ways to kickstart your podcast promotion, you’re in the right place. 

In this article, I’ll combine my agency’s independent research with marketing best practices to help you learn how to market a podcast and amplify your reach.

Key Takeaways

  • Finding an alternative way to reach their audience is the most common reason for marketers to start a podcast (picked by over 30 percent of respondents).
  • The top three challenges for podcast marketers was standing out in a crowded market (27 percent), creating engaging content (26.9 percent), and reaching the right audience (26.6 percent).
  • Listeners said they care most about podcast subject matter (57.2 percent), content quality (44.8 percent), and host personality (40.5 percent) when choosing to subscribe.
  • A strong, consistent brand identity is key to making your podcast memorable and building listener loyalty. But make entertaining listeners a priority. 70.1 percent of listeners said entertainment was their most common reason for listening, ahead of staying informed (63 percent). 
  • Networking with other podcasters can expand your reach and introduce your podcast to new audiences. It will help you achieve the primary goal of 43.5 percent of our survey respondents: increasing brand awareness.
  • Utilizing social media and interactive content can significantly boost listener engagement and foster a community around your podcast. Over 60 percent of listeners said they use social media to discover new podcasts. 

#1: Know Your Audience and Niche

The most common motivation for marketers to start a podcast (picked by over 30 percent of respondents) is to find an alternative way to reach their audience. 

If that’s the case for you, then you’d better understand who you’re talking to and how you can serve them. This isn’t just about demographics or interests—it’s about knowing their pain points, why they listen to you, and what they want to get out of your podcast. 

Our research found the most common motives for listening to podcasts were entertainment (70.1 percent) and staying informed (63 percent). Exploring personal interests and passions was also a common reason chosen by over 55 percent of the 1,000 listeners we surveyed. 

A bar chart asking the main reasons why people listen to podcasts.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your podcast audience wants the same thing as your blog readers or YouTube viewers, though. They may be interested in the same topic or genre, but looking for you to deliver the information in a vastly different way. 

How do you pinpoint your audience and niche? Start with the basics: conduct surveys within your existing audience, engage in social listening to understand what topics resonate, and analyze competitors to identify gaps in the market. 

The “Women in B2B Marketing” podcast is a prime example—it’s dedicated to motivating marketers at all levels in their careers through real-life stories of victory and defeat, challenge, and triumph. This is made for a niche audience that craves practical tips on thriving in a competitive world. 

The Women in B2B marketing podcast page on Apple Podcasts.

Source: Women in B2B Marketing

Remember, the more precise you are in defining your audience and niche, the more targeted and effective your podcast marketing efforts will be. This clarity allows you to create content that resonates, engages, and, ultimately, converts your listeners into loyal fans.

#2: Create Episodes That Resonate

Once you clearly understand your audience and niche, the next step is to craft episodes that resonate deeply with them. This means going beyond generic topics and diving into your audience’s specific interests, challenges, and questions. 

Our research found that the top three factors in a decision to subscribe to a podcast were:

  • Subject matter (57.2 percent)
  • Quality of content (44.8 percent)
  • Host personality (40.5 percent)
A graphic describing reasons that impact decisions to subscribe to podcasts.

Social listening is a great way to find high-quality and interesting topics to talk about. Platforms like Twitter, Reddit, AnswerThePublic, and even niche forums can be goldmines for understanding what your audience is talking about, their concerns, and what they’re eager to learn more about.

This can inspire episodes that answer those very questions, positioning your podcast as a valuable resource. For example, if you’re running a podcast on digital marketing, discovering that a large segment of your audience is curious about SEO for small businesses can lead to a series of episodes dedicated to that topic, instantly making your content more relevant and engaging.

Great topics aren’t enough to separate you from the crowd, however. When it comes to creating engaging content (the most important part of a podcast marketing strategy according to 53.2 percent of marketers) you need a unique approach that offers real value to encourage people. 

After all, how many of the 250,000+ health and fitness podcasts do you think cover the same range of topics? Probably a lot of them, right? But it’s people with first-hand experience or unique insights like Andrew Huberman and Rhonda Patrick that come out on top. 

A profile of the Huberman Lab podcast.

Source: Huberman Lab

Having a personality for podcasting helps, too. You can’t just switch on your mic and hope to build a captive audience by droning on about your topic of choice. Treat your podcast like a presentation, a stand-up routine, or a conversation with a close friend to build rapport with your listeners.  

#3: Develop a Brand Identity

A strong brand identity does more than just make your podcast visually appealing—it communicates your podcast’s essence, values, and what listeners can expect from your content. 

This consistency in branding helps your podcast stand out in a crowded market and fosters a stronger connection with your audience. From your podcast logo and cover art to the tone of voice used in your content and social media, every element should reflect your unique identity.

This will also help you achieve one of the central goals of podcast marketing: increasing brand awareness. Our research found that almost half (43.5 percent) of marketers are primarily focused on building their brand through podcasting. 

Take “The Daily” by The New York Times, for example. Its distinctive sound logo, consistent quality of journalistic reporting, and the host’s recognizable voice contribute to an instantly recognizable brand identity.

The Daily Podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Source: The Daily

Listeners know exactly what to expect with each episode: timely, insightful news analysis in a format that respects their time and intelligence. Developing a strong brand identity for your podcast aids in marketing and builds loyalty and trust with your audience, encouraging them to come back episode after episode.

#4: Implement SEO Best Practices

In the digital age, SEO is not just for blogs and company websites—it’s crucial for podcasts, too. By implementing SEO best practices, you ensure your podcast website and content are discoverable online, attracting more listeners through organic search. 

Start with optimizing your website content with relevant keywords related to your podcast topics. But don’t stop there—show notes and episode transcripts are powerful tools for boosting your SEO efforts. They make your podcast content accessible to search engines, increasing the chances of your episodes ranking for specific queries.

Including keywords in your episode titles and descriptions also helps search engines understand your content, making it easier for potential listeners to find you. Building backlinks to your podcast website from reputable sites can significantly enhance your SEO rankings, driving more organic traffic to your site.

Take it from me—utilizing SEO in your podcast is crucial. That’s exactly what we’ve done with the “Marketing School” podcast. My co-host Eric Siu and I dive deep into the tactics that help your podcast get found.

Neil Patel's Marketing School podcast.

Source: Marketing School

Each episode’s show notes are thorough, optimized for keywords, and often include links to further resources, which helps with SEO and provides additional value to their listeners. By prioritizing SEO, your podcast can achieve greater visibility, attracting a larger audience organically.

#5: Collaborate With Other Podcasters

If you want to know how to promote a podcast for free, consider collaborating with other podcasts. Collaboration is a powerful strategy in the podcasting world. Working with other podcasters, whether through guest appearances, co-hosted episodes, or promotional swaps, can significantly expand your reach. 

It can also help you solve one of the biggest challenges for podcast marketers in our survey: reaching the right audience. Over one-quarter (26.6 percent) of respondents said this was their biggest challenge, behind standing out in a crowded market (27 percent) and creating engaging content (26.9 percent).

A graphic that says "What Is Your Biggest Challenge When Marketing Your Podcast?

Each collaboration introduces you to a new audience that is likely interested in your content but may not have discovered your podcast yet. It’s a win-win: you get access to their listeners, and they get access to yours, resulting in mutual growth through shared audiences.

An innovative twist on podcast collaboration is creating content on alternative platforms, like YouTube, or guesting on other podcasts, and then featuring that content on your own show. Of course, this requires prior consent from the content owners.

A recent partnership between AppSumo founder Noah Kagan and author Hal Elrod is a great example. The pair got together for Noah’s podcast at the end of 2023, where they shared Hal’s story and promoted his book. 

The Noah Kagan Presents podcast.

Source: Noah Kagan Presents

Hal returned the favor early in the New Year, hosting Noah and promoting his new book, Million Dollar Weekend. 

An episode page for the Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod Podcast.

Source: Achieve Your Goals With Hal Elrod

This cross-pollination of content provides value to listeners and exposes your podcast to a broader audience, enriching your podcast’s community with diverse perspectives.

Remember, the key to a successful collaboration is relevance. 

Partner with podcasters whose content aligns with your niche and values, ensuring that their audience is likely to be interested in what you have to offer. This approach expands your reach and enhances your podcast’s credibility by association.

#6: Use Social Media

Social media platforms offer a direct line to your audience, enabling you to engage with them, share content, and grow your listener base. 

In fact, our survey finds social media is the most common podcast discovery method. Over 60 percent of respondents found podcasts on social media, compared to 52.2 percent who found them by browsing related topics and 51.5 percent who used podcast directories.

A pie cart asking how people discover new podcasts.

It’s clear you need to be promoting your podcast on social channels, but make sure you’re not just posting episode links. To reach new audiences on social, you need to create a mix of content that entertains, informs, and invites interaction. That’s why it’s so important to have a defined strategy for your social media marketing efforts. 

Consider leveraging video clips from your episodes, behind-the-scenes (BTS) footage, blooper clips, and even live streams to create a varied content strategy. This strategy was used by three quarters (76.3 percent) of podcast marketers we surveyed. 

These types of content can humanize your brand, showcase your podcast’s personality, and keep your audience engaged between episodes. Only 4.5 percent of the marketers in our survey said these videos weren’t effective, while 40.6 percent said they were very effective. 

A bar chart asking how impactful short-form podcast clips are for marketing plans.

Additionally, don’t overlook the power of paid ads. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to target very specific demographics, helping you reach potential listeners who are likely to be interested in your content but haven’t discovered your podcast yet.

A podcaster who excels at using social media is Jay Shetty, the voice behind “On Purpose.” He utilizes video clips from his interviews, inspirational quotes, and personal reflections to engage his audience, driving traffic back to his podcast episodes. 

A post from Jay Shetty on Instagram.

Source: Instagram

His approach amplifies his reach and helps in building a community around his podcast’s core themes of mindfulness and purpose.

Integrating social media marketing into your podcast promotion strategy can significantly enhance your podcast’s visibility and listener engagement.

#7 Engage Your Audience

Engagement is the heart of building a loyal podcast audience. It’s also the primary metric of success, used by 29.7 percent of the marketers we surveyed. 

Podcast marketing is all about attracting listeners and turning them into a community that actively participates in your podcast’s journey. In other words, don’t settle for listeners who tune in once in a while. Go after the respondents in our survey who said they tune in multiple times per week (38.2 percent) or daily (37.9 percent). 

Engaging your audience can take many forms, from responding to comments on social media to incorporating listener feedback into your episodes. Interactive elements like Q&A sessions, listener shout-outs, and community challenges can also foster a sense of belonging among your audience. 

Social media is a particularly powerful channel for engagement. 74.2 percent of the listeners in our survey were extremely likely or moderately likely to engage with a podcast’s socials or other supplementary content. 

A pie chart asking about the biggest challenges with marketing a podcast.

A great way to engage and inform is to create dedicated spaces for your listeners to gather, such as Facebook groups or Discord channels. These platforms can serve as a hub for discussions, feedback, and even content ideas, deepening your relationship with your audience.

A podcaster who masterfully engages their audience is Brene Brown with her podcast “Unlocking Us.” She regularly features listener questions, shares stories submitted by her audience, and creates episodes around topics her listeners are passionate about. This level of engagement keeps her audience coming back for more and encourages them to share the podcast with others, naturally expanding its reach.

The Brene Brown website.

Source: Unlocking Us

Remember, engaged listeners are your best advocates. By nurturing a relationship with your audience, you enhance their listening experience and turn them into a powerful marketing force for your podcast.

FAQs

How important is podcast marketing for growing my audience?

Podcast marketing is crucial for audience growth. It helps you reach potential listeners beyond your existing network, making your podcast more discoverable and accessible. Utilizing SEO, social media, and collaboration strategies can significantly increase your audience size and engagement.

What role does SEO play in podcast marketing?

SEO enhances your podcast’s visibility online, making it easier for potential listeners to find your content through search engines. Implementing SEO best practices, such as using relevant keywords in your show notes and episode descriptions, can drive organic traffic to your podcast and website.

Is it necessary to have a niche for successful podcast marketing?

Yes, having a niche is essential. It allows you to tailor your content and marketing strategies to a specific audience, making your podcast more relevant and engaging to those listeners. A well-defined niche can also help you stand out in a crowded market.

How can I engage with my podcast audience and build a community?

Engage with your audience by responding to comments on social media, incorporating listener feedback into episodes, and creating interactive content. Building a dedicated space for your listeners, like a Facebook group or Discord channel, can also foster a sense of community.

Conclusion

Podcast marketing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It requires a mix of understanding your audience, creating resonant content, leveraging social media, accurately measuring progress with podcast analytics, and engaging with your listeners to build a community around your podcast. 

By implementing these data-driven strategies, you can enhance your podcast’s reach, engage your audience more deeply, and stand out in the ever-growing podcast landscape. 

Remember, the key to successful podcast marketing is consistency and a willingness to adapt and evolve with your audience’s needs and preferences.Which podcast marketing strategy are you excited to try next?

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