Whether you’ve been running your podcast for a month or a year, there are always steps you can take to invest in your podcast. Sometimes our budgets don’t want to accommodate things like investing in new equipment. However, there are ways to grow your podcast without breaking the bank, whether or not these are financially based.
1. Explore A New Social Media Platform
You need to build platforms for marketing and promoting your podcast. Social media is extremely important for various reasons. They’re fantastic for promoting your podcast, and for building your audience into a community. In our conversation with the Gravity Beard Podcast, they utilize Facebook as a way for fans to come in and interact with each other.
Also, take the time to explore different platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, Livejournal, or Youtube. See which one suits your desires and needs as a podcast the best. Work to incorporate that platform into your posting/interaction schedule. By expanding where you post your content, you increase the ways that new listeners can find your shows.
There are also ways to automatically post your content to social media as you upload it to your host site, cutting down on what sites you need to personally visit and upload to. Not only can you utilize scheduled posts (using platforms such as Tweetdeck or HootSuite), some hosting platforms feature an auto-share features that will post your content across multiple platforms.
2. Increase The Amount of Time Spent on Each Episode
You might have your recording/editing process down to such a science that you can do it in your sleep. Consider this to be an opportunity to tighten up your production. Pick a couple of your last published episodes and listen back to them. Is there a persisting issue that you might not have noticed before? Is your audio sound but missing something to crank it to eleven?
Here are some ways to change your recording and production situation and make it more effective:
- Dedicate a space just for recording, such as moving your desk setup so that your microphone/interface can sit out and not have to be put away because you’ve got other projects on your docket.
- Declutter your workspace. However, you don’t have to go overboard. Empty space facilitates echoes in your recording. Having some items on your desk will break up the bouncing sound waves.
- In that same vein: hang up towels, quilts, or some sort of soft wall-hanging to help curb echoes. You can invest in inexpensive soundproofing, such as acoustic foam wedges that can be mounted to your walls. Even if that’s a goal that you’d like to have in the future, hanging something will improve your sound immensely.
- Set up your routine to give you plenty of time before your intended publish date to record and edit without feeling like you have to crunch. For example, if you publish on Tuesdays, set up your schedule to record on Sunday or Saturday to ensure that you are giving yourself time to create amazing content, instead of recording Monday night. (If you’re wondering if we’re speaking from personal experience . . . we are.)
- Creating a template for your production can save loads of editing time. Have your intros, transitions, outros and ads preloaded into your session. Many DAWs like Logic Pro will allow you to even create and save custom templates.
3. Expand What Your Show Covers
How does your podcast cover your chosen topic? Do you feature reviews, or interviews, or report on gossip within the topic’s industry? You can search within your podcast’s topic and expand your podcast to include new segments.
Say that your podcast is a movie review show. Expand your scope of coverage. Tell your listeners what’s happening in the industry, have a special segment that goes over classic movies or listeners’ choice in movies, or even expand into more interviews with industry professionals. This shows more passion for your topic, but also increases your podcast’s impact on your listeners. They’ll see you as a source of news and other information, not just reviews.
4. Expand Your Posting Power
Touching on social media again: what social media platforms are you on? Do you have a posting calendar? How do you utilize the tagging system of each one? Feel free to post about your content more than just at the time of launch. You can also re-tool your older content, or even create posts related to trending tags.
CoSchedule’s Nathan Ellering highlights a few helpful posting guidelines for the bigger social media platforms:
- TWITTER: Algorithms tend to pick up accounts who post between 5-15 times a day, and work best when tagging with 2-5 tags. Only insert one or two tags in the main text of the tweet to keep from keeping it illegible.
- FACEBOOK: Algorithms tend to pick up accounts who post 1-3 times a day, and work fine with any amount of tag. Facebook is a platform that loves video, so this is your chance to work in a new format for your content.
- INSTAGRAM: Algorithms tend to pick up accounts who post 5-6 times a day, with a hard limit of 30 tags (although 5-10 are recommended). Be wary of using software to schedule posts on Instagram. Some cases have shown Instagram to flag accounts using software as bots.
5. Upgrade Your Recording System
You might be soundproofing the room you record in and spending hours on editing your content. You’re wondering what you might need to put your sound over the top. It’s at this point that you should consider what upgrades you can make to your recording and editing pipelines.
You don’t need to change out everything at once. Decide what you’re using that could use an upgrade. Perhaps your recording and editing software, your interface, or even your XLR cables…start from there. If you’re using a USB mic, maybe this is the time to step up and explore what you’d need for an XLR mic.
As you change things in your setup, make sure to run recording tests to ensure that everything is hooked up properly. Part of investing new equipment into your podcast is making sure that you know how each piece works, and that it meshes well with your podcasting style.
6. Set A Monthly Advertising Budget
There’s nothing stopping you from running your own ads for your podcast. You can easily set the ads to direct to your podcast landing page, specific directories or your own personal site.
When it comes to the cost of your ads, it can vary across the different platforms. According to Falcon.Io, ad clicks can cost anywhere from $0.51 to $5.61. These platforms have different costs for different reaches. They also have options to direct your audience to various actions (go to a specific website, etc). Choose the platform that works best for your podcast, and choose parameters that work best for your budget. Our examples are from Instagram, but your mileage may vary depending on the audience you market to.
When it comes to what you want to advertise, ensure that it’s eye-catching and intriguing. Make viewers want to click the link to learn more. We’ve found that making your ad something that can be interacted with – such as asking a question or a ‘this-or-that’ type of choice – increases your chances of interactions and link-clicking.
7. Explore Your Options For Merchandising
The rule of 1000 (often found in the modern music industry) is that if you have a thousand fans all willing to spend $100 on you in one year, you’re able to make $100,000 for the year. You can easily apply this attitude to your podcast and create the opportunity for people to spend money in the form of merch.
You can go as low-tech as you want, from creating a text graphic from one of your most iconic podcast lines and posting it to a site like Redbubble, all the way to commissioning a design from an artist and getting it printed on shirts to sell from your own online storefront (or at conventions/in-person meetups). Ideally, you should start small – maybe with sticker designs on Redbubble, or purchased through Stickermule – to gauge interest and pave the way for further merch items you’d want to offer to your fans. If you still find yourself at ends of what you could use as a design, remember that you do have a podcast cover that could easily be turned into a sticker. There’s also nothing stopping you from starting off with a commissioned sticker design – Twitter is a fantastic place to find professional-level artists that would gladly love to help you create a design. Just remember to keep your manners on and if you stiff an artist on payment, not even god will save you from me.
If you’re more artistically inclined, you could even create merch to sell yourself – we’ve seen everything from painted bookmarks, sewn coasters, and hand-carved stamps for podcasts.
Investing into your podcast, whether it’s time or money, shows a new level of dedication that will shine through your content and draw more attention. Learn more about Podbean’s tips for further promotion here and check out more of our tips and tricks here!