So, you’ve produced a high-quality, beautifully produced podcast doing all the things we’ve said you need to do to keep an audience engaged. But what next? How are you going to get it heard?
You have to host a podcast so it can be found. There are lots of places to do this such as WordPress, SoundCloud, Libsyn, Amazon, Podbean and Podomatic. Some are free, others charge a small fee but come with extra features such as the ability to play your podcast directly from Facebook and Twitter feeds. At Shout! Communications we’ve used the first two for ease and cost effectiveness.
The most important thing you want from a host platform is to set up an RSS feed for your podcast. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication – merely a way of distributing content from an online publisher (you!) to other internet users (your listeners!). A podcast is really just an audio file and an RSS feed will ensure that anyone subscribing to it will get your work of art.
As with host platforms, there are many choices when it comes to podcast directories, the most popular of which is iTunes. Over 80% of all podcasts are downloaded from there, so obviously this is THE directory to get listed in. It’s free to do, but HOW you do it can be the difference between success and oblivion.
When uploading make sure your podcast is tagged correctly. This will mean that if people search for a key word related to your podcast, it should show up in the results. This is known as the metadata.
Be clever about what category you upload your podcast into. Some categories will have hundreds of podcasts. If you can choose a category with less competition then there is more chance of people finding it.
iTunes advises producers to pay close attention to the title, author and description tags because the platform uses these fields for search.
General advice is to release several podcasts together. One single podcast looks a little lonely, as if it was such a flop that the producer didn’t bother with another one. Plus it’s harder for people to remember to listen one week later if they’ve only heard the one episode. The strategy works for Netflix – they release full series in one swoop and it can work for podcasts too. You’re more likely to be selected for the new and noteworthy section on iTunes too.
Make your podcast stand out
A podcast is obviously audio, so the fact it matters how it looks to a user, may come as a bit of a surprise. It is a bit like browsing in a book shop; you don’t need to be a marketer to know that the design of a cover can attract attention. So having a strong image – ideally a colourful one – as your podcast mark, does help.
The design needs to be strong but any art work much also be of a high specification; iTunes says to be eligible for featured placement there artwork must be a 3000 x 3000 pixel JPEG or PNG file. You need to make sure that when scaled down to thumbnail size for mobile devices the artwork still looks good!
Equally important is to have a strong name. It depends what your podcast is about of course, but a catchy or quirky name will stand out from the crowd. Even better if you can think of a title that sums up the essence of your podcast, giving a clue as to what it might be about.
Personally I think identifying when a podcast was recorded is appropriate – you don’t want industry news for example if it was recorded several years ago.
Make it part of an integrated campaign
This is a bit chicken and egg. iTunes suggestions work on algorithms (details of which are hidden to the public) but one massive factor is how many listens and subscribers the podcast has. To get the listeners you want to do well on iTunes. To get out of that loop you need to promote a podcast on every platform you have available; this includes social media, website and word of mouth.
Make sure people rate your podcast; the more subscribers, listeners reviews and ratings your podcast has the more chance it has of getting on the hallowed ‘new and noteworthy’ section of iTunes, which in turn gets you many more subscribers.
Take advantage of Google SEO. This means you could write a blog post for your website and include a link to the podcast on it. If done correctly then this post will appear higher up on a Google search thus giving the podcast more exposure.