Three Common Pitfalls of Podcasting

You put a lot of effort and time into your podcast, crafting it to be the best it can be.  However, sometimes you find that your engagement might not be where you want it to be, or that your audience is more stagnant than you would like.  We’ve identified three common pitfalls for the modern podcaster, and what you can do to avoid them so that your podcast can flourish.

Three Common Pitfalls of Podcasting

1. How Active Is Your Audience?

Challenge: While you are creating and publishing content, your audience is passive and doesn’t do much beyond just listen to the episode – no reviews, nothing on social media, etc.

Solution: Activate your community.

While your podcast exists to inform and entertain, you can also make it a conversation. Actively invite your listeners to answer questions or submit things they’d like to hear about on your podcast, and make a point of mentioning their questions or topics in your next shows.  By responding to them in your podcast, they’ll see that you’re really listening, and looking to make your podcast more collaborative.

Think about the “why” behind your podcast and how this relates to building a community. Create reasons why listeners would want to engage and be part of the community as active participants. Make it easy for them to do, for example taking comments various ways and even having a podcast voice mail where they can leave messages or occasional live streams where they can chat or call.

The same thing goes for your social media channels.  While having these accounts allows you to spread the word about your new episodes and content, they also allow you to connect with your listeners and fellow podcasters.  Post fun pictures, jokes, questions, or other pieces of content that invite interaction. Social media feeds in which you post nothing but updates about your latest episodes create the atmosphere of an account that’s strictly for updates and nothing more.  By posting content that asks questions or invites interactions from other users, you show that you are a podcaster that truly wants engagement and a good experience for the listeners.

We’ve spoken of this before in one of our articles giving tips on podcast promotion, but keep in mind that first impressions are crucial.  Your social media channels make you the public face for your podcast, so how you handle interactions and conversations on these platforms will color how potential listeners think of your content. 

2. Where Is Your Audience Located Online?

Challenge: You’re spending more time than you’d like on crafting posts for social media, which is detrimental to your content. You may not be spending enough time on your actual content: your podcast

Solution: Consider what your personal bandwidth is and where your listeners engage most online. This is different for different podcast audiences.  There comes a point in which you need to take a step back and take into consideration what social media accounts you prefer working with, which ones can be automated, and how you might need to adjust your posting schedule to balance efforts.

Previously, we’ve published content regarding the best times to publish on the top social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and the amount of times you should be posting per day.  While keeping these things in mind, we definitely recommend post-scheduling tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite for Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.  These tools allow you to schedule posts so you can prep your podcast’s social media for the week (or even the month) and not worry about having to go in and type out new posts every morning. Some will even automate repurposing content for you.

Podbean also has built-in social share tools that automatically push posts to various social media platforms, and other sites like WordPress offer similar automatic sharing tools.  Explore your chosen platforms, and investigate the settings to see where you can automatically cross-post and push to other platforms when you post to your main ones.

In cutting down your social media channels (or converting where you can to automatic posting), do ensure that you still take the time to check interactions on your main platforms. By focusing efforts, you can actually free up more time for meaningful interactions where you get the best results.  

3. How Do You Organize Your Content?

Challenge: Your audience varies; this week’s episode gets hundreds of views while last week’s only delivered a dozen or so.  You try to change topics to drive more people to your content, you’re not sure what method works the best.

Solution: Consistency can be what your listeners are looking for. This doesn’t mean that you need to rehash the same episode topic for the next batch of episodes, but it does mean that you need some sort of regularity within your show. It helps listeners know what to expect and to gain a sense of familiarity with your podcast.

Figure out your main areas that you cover, and turn them into segments that your listeners can come to depend on appearing in the show.  If you do a sports podcast, cover news in relation to the sports, then cover your opinions on what’s happening.  If you do a book podcast, cover new releases, industry news, and reviews. Some podcasters even name these segments (clever names that almost make listeners feel like they’re “inside your circle” can be fun) and use transitions to distinguish them and build a flow.

By segmenting your podcast episodes, you’re giving  your audience a roadmap by which they can navigate your content, and creating a level of dependability.  Your listeners will know that you’ll  have a segment on news and a segment on you and your cohosts’s opinions, for example. Some podcasters even name these segments (clever names that almost make listeners feel like they’re “inside your circle” can be fun) and use transitions to distinguish them and build a flow.

This will also help streamline your show when you record and edit it – it gives direction for you to write your shownotes, and keeps you on track if you happen to lose concentration while you’re recording.  Rather than being restrictive, episode uniformity can help you stay creative within a formula that works for you and your listeners.

Podcasting is a wild and varied form of media, with room for all sorts of podcasters and podcasting content.  What works for one podcaster might not work for another.  However, these pitfalls are something that any and every podcaster can be on the lookout for, and the solutions are methods that can be implemented by all content creators, regardless of experience or content genre.  By taking advantage of these solutions, you can ensure that your podcast takes as smooth a path as possible to your podcasting goals.

Click here to learn more about how you can engage and activate your audience in our Promote Your Podcast webinar!

Podcast Marketing Plan: 5 Tips to Grow Your Podcast

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Rise Above the Noise With These 5 Techniques

Let’s face it: Maybe nobody’s heard of your podcast.

It’s not entirely your fault.

With over 660,000 active shows and 28 million episodes, it can be difficult to cut through all of that noise, both literally and figuratively.

Besides, up until this point you were probably preoccupied with more important matters—that is, making a great podcast, finding your niche, and working out the kinks.

But now it’s time to introduce your baby to the world, and see if it will sink or swim.  

Fortunately, we’ve got some tips to make sure your podcast not only swims but climbs its way to the top of the podcast rankings.

Tip 1: Podcast SEO is Critical. Here’s How to Do It.

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” or as I like to call it: The art of making Google love you.

Basically, Google indexes every webpage on the internet—including your podcast website—and ranks them based on how well they answer user search queries (also known as “keywords”). And rankings matter – the top ranking post on Google gets 36.4% of SEO traffic.

Your goal: Tinker with every page on your website so that Google recognizes it as a worthwhile result for the keywords you want to rank for.

This is a multi-step process, with the first step being figuring out which keywords you wish to rank for. Based this on keywords with high monthly search volume and low competition.

This should already be fairly obvious, as your keywords are related to whatever your podcast is about. So if you have a podcast where you review Game of Thrones, you’ll want to rank for terms like “Game of Thrones review,” and “History of Westeros,” and “Winter is Coming” and “Jon Snow knows nothing” (okay, maybe not that last one):

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Another great strategy is to figure out keywords your competitors are ranking for, and go after those keywords. This way, users will go to your website before your competitors. You can do this using a service like SpyFu, which not only gives you your competitors’ most profitable keywords…

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…but also where they get backlinks from (i.e. other websites that link to their site).

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Armed with this information, you can campaign to those websites to get more backlinks to your site—another important part of SEO.

You can use a free website builder or a podcast host site to build posts around the keywords you wish to rank for. This can be done in a few different ways, including adding the keyword to your podcast episode titles and descriptions, using it in well-crafted blog posts promoting your podcast, and using it in the meta description for your webpages.

With the SEO Meta Tags PodBean app, this can be done in seconds without any coding knowledge:

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One of the best examples of this is from Copy Weekly, a marketing podcast that not only lists their audio on their site but accompanies said audio with a long-form blog post transcription:

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Boom, now that’s podcast SEO.

Another important approach to improve SEO is enhancing your website’s behavior metrics. This includes things like the amount of time a user spends on your website, and the number of pages they view each time they visit.

An easy way to improve behavior metrics is by adding a knowledge base to your site.

What’s that? It’s defined as:

“A knowledge base software helps you document tutorials, DIY guides, and answers to frequently asked questions in one place. A well-indexed Knowledge Base empowers customers to discover answers and fix easy problems by themselves allowing your business to focus on the tough problems.”

Knowledge base software providers like FreshDesk allow you to build an area on your site where you can house FAQs, guides, and tutorials that give users a better on-site experience.

Plus, knowledge bases are indexed by Google, meaning users Googling questions related to your field can discover you and your podcast.

Win-win.

Tip 2: Get Social

SEO is the foundation of any good podcast marketing campaign. All your other tactics should build upon it—including your social media strategy.

Creating social media posts consistently builds your brand and gets the word out about new episodes.

It helps your brand awareness, reach, and social footprint.

The first step in creating a social media strategy for your podcast is to know which networks to leverage. If you’re a business podcast, you’ll want to use LinkedIn, whereas comedy podcasts are probably better off sticking to Twitter and Facebook.

Depending on what podcast type you are, you’ll want to tailor your messaging strategy to that, too. For example, serious business podcasts will probably want polished grammar and a formal tone. Meanwhile, comedy podcasts can be more relaxed and informal.

Always be sure to schedule your social posts in advance and post whenever you publish new episodes—and don’t just do it on your main social media account. Everyone who participated in the podcast should share it on their account. If you had a special guest, be sure to include their handle in the post (and encourage them to share it too!):

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As for the content of your social media posts, interesting quotes from episodes are always a good way to draw a reader’s attention. Those who leverage PodBean’s video podcasting platform should post video clips, as video posts get 48% more views than regular posts.

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Finally, stick to the tried and true social media tactics: Use hashtags to promote your content, and be sure to follow other accounts related to your brand. Plus, you can use Facebook Messenger and other live chat tools to talk with your listeners quickly.

If you host your podcast with PodBean, you can leverage the built-in sharing tools to post your podcasts automatically to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr and more.

Tip 3: Slide Into Your Listener’s Inbox

Social media is a key tool for promoting your podcast, but email is still the most direct route to a majority of people.

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing channel, is cost-effective, and is not beholden to algorithms like most social media networks.

As far as what to put in your emails, it’s important to consider your audience and what might be valuable to them. Ask yourself what questions your customers might have, or what you can do to enhance your relationship with them. They’re allowing you into their inbox, which is more personal than their social media feed, so reward them with special promotions and early access to events:

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Emails are an especially good space to distribute your blog content, too.

As for frequency, there is no right or wrong answer to how many emails you should send out. What matters more is that you do it consistently. So if you send an email every time you publish a new podcast, stick to it.

One great podcast I listen to is the Side Hustle Podcast by Ryan Robinson. In Ryan’s personalized emails about his podcast episodes, he provides links to his website, a link to his podcast episode, and a preview of what the listener should expect.

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In terms of best practices, set expectations when a user signs up for your email. Tell them how often they’ll get your email and what to expect in it. Also, A/B test all of your emails: Send out two different versions of your email to a small portion of your audience with different subject lines. Track which subject line readers open more, as this can give you valuable insight into how to craft future subject lines.

Fortunately, email marketing services like MailChimp have A/B testing built into their platform:

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What’s more, MailChimp integrates with PodBean, allowing you to automate email marketing for your podcast episodes.

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Tip 4: Don’t Forget About Youtube

Google is the most popular search engine, but Youtube is the second most popular.

That means you need to be posting your podcasts on Youtube and optimizing them so they rank highly.

If you’re already using PodBean’s video platform, you have podcasts ready to upload to Youtube. You can also turn your audio files into video files by uploading them to iMovie or Final Cut Pro.

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Once your video is live on Youtube, add a description to it using keywords you want to rank for. It’s also a good idea to include timestamps, allowing users to jump to specific sections in the video. Another technique is to use what are known as “Cards”—clickable elements you can pepper throughout a Youtube video to increase engagement. This is a good way to add relevant links to your website and other calls-to-action during the video.

Tip 5: Add Your Podcast to Directories

SEO is extremely important, but arguably more important is adding your podcast to directories where people go to find podcasts.

We all know these places: iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and TuneIn. In fact, over half of all podcast listeners get their podcasts through Apple Podcasts (iTunes’ podcast app).

Getting your podcast on these platforms is an absolute MUST if you want to have any level of distribution.

Fortunately this comes built in with PodBean: The platform provides your fully functional RSS feed for distribution on all the major podcast platforms, ensuring listeners will be able to find your podcast wherever they prefer:

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Conclusion

The podcast market is exploding and competition is fierce. If you want to rise above the crowd, you need a dynamite podcast marketing strategy that encompasses:

  • Choose the best podcast hosting and follow SEO best-practices, including keywords, backlinks, and a great user experience.
  • A consistent social media strategy that is engaging and matches the tone and style of your brand.
  • An email marketing campaign with content that will resonate with your target audience.
  • An active Youtube channel where listeners can come to “watch” all your podcasts.
  • Distribution of all your podcasts on major podcast directories

Guest Author Byline

Adam Enfroy is the Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at BigCommerce and a blogger. He lives in Austin, TX and writes about blogging like a startup at adamenfroy.com.

You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How to Promote Your Podcast

There are a million ways to promote your podcast. Some are effective, while others might be a waste of time (and money). Join us as we give you eight ways on how you can promote your podcast.

How to Promote Your Podcast

1. Submit your podcast to various platforms (directories and apps).

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The more places your show can be heard, the better, as you want to make it as easy as possible for listeners to find your podcast wherever they go. Start with Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Play and Spotify. From there, you can check out numerous other directories and apps, though many podcast apps pull from Apple Podcasts.

2. Create a website for your podcast.

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You should have a podcast website, whether one provided by your podcast host or one you create on your own. This serves as the hub for your podcast and you can provide additional information and ways to connect with listeners. By building content here, you can practice search engine optimization to be found easily to promote your podcast If you decide to create a website from scratch, make sure your web host is the best in the market and ensures the highest quality.

3. Make good episode descriptions.

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Focus on making good episode descriptions with keywords that will help potential listeners find you. Think about podcast/episode titles as well (Apple podcasts are monitoring for the keyword “stuffing” so don’t artificially do this, but make titles clear and appropriate for what they’re about/what people might search).

4. Promote/share on social media.

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Create social media accounts (if you haven’t already) and build your social media community. Focus on creating community and sharing, not just posting your own things/self-promoting. Find like-minded people/communities on social media, follow them and engage. Share your episodes on social media.

5. Convert to video to share on YouTube.

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Instead of just recording the audio version, record a video or turn it into an “audiogram”. This could attract new attention from people who prefer videos or primarily use sites like YouTube. You can make this even easier by choosing a podcast hosting platform that already has an auto-share to YouTube function (such as Podbean).

6. Leverage the influence of guests.

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Inviting guests on your podcast can help broaden your audience since the fans of the guest will often listen to the podcast and may turn into regular listeners. Influential guests help build awareness for your podcast. Seek out guests and create a solid pitch for why they should come on the show. Also, make it convenient for them, treat them with respect and make it easy for them to share the show.

You can also be a guest on other podcasts. It’s a great way for new listeners to get to know you and to build a network with other podcasters.

7. Advertise on popular podcast apps.

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Podcast apps can help you grow your podcast audience by reaching passionate podcast listeners right in their favorite podcast app so that they can subscribe/download your show right away. Podbean app has banner ad spots so that people see your ads on front and center right after opening the app.

8. Cross-promote.

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Cross-promotion within other podcasts is effective. You’ll likely hear such promo spots in most of your favorite podcasts including the big ones like NPR. However, it takes a lot of time to find and contact podcasts and set this up. A more efficient method might be using one of the podcast advertising platforms such as PodAds. You’ll need to spend some money but you’ll save valuable time. You can also reach a broader range of listeners than via personal connections.

How to Automatically Share Podcast Episodes to Social Media

When publishing your podcast episode posts, you may want them to be auto shared to Facebook or Twitter rather than doing it manually every time.

Set-up:

1. Log in to your Podbean account and go to the ‘Settings’->’Social Share’ page. Then click the ‘Connect to Facebook’ or ‘Connect to Twitter’ button. We’ve clicked the ‘Connect to Facebook’ button this time.

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2. Follow the instructions and connect your Podbean account to Facebook. After the connection, the system will show the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts you’ve connected under the ‘Connected Account’ section. Now your post will be auto shared to these connected social media accounts every time you publish (unless you make an exception, as per below).

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Customizing:

If you don’t want something to be shared, you can click the button under the ‘Publish new episode’ section to un-check the selection. You can also customize the text that displays when sharing by clicking the pencil icon.

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