Blog

How to Promote, Grow, and Monetize Your Podcast in 2021

Content

How to Promote, Grow, and Monetize Your Podcast in 2021

Now that you know everything about starting your own podcast, you may be wondering what the next step is. How can my podcast stand out? How can more people know about my show? How can I earn money from it? All these questions will be answered in this article.

Looking for some quick tips? Watch the video below to learn about 6 ways to help your podcast stand out.

Designing a Podcast Cover

designing a podcast cover

You may have worked hard in producing a unique, high-quality podcast, but if people don’t click on “play”, this is no help at all. You need to convince your potential audience that your podcast is worth their time. A catchy name and interesting concept are a good way to start, but sometimes these are not enough – you also need a good podcast cover. 

Appealing cover art will likely attract more people to your show, as this is often the first thing potential listeners notice when they discover new podcasts within an app. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to pull out a nice design for your logo. You’ll find some websites and apps that allow you to design your own for free, such as Canva or Adobe Sparks. Do make sure to check your directories’ podcast artwork specifications, as your image will have to meet certain technical requirements (such as resolution or file type) to be displayed correctly.

If you’d rather let someone do it for you, consider hiring a professional designer. Some options to consider are Fiverr (budget), The Podcast Design Company (medium-range), and 99designs (high-end).


Using Podcast SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the practice of increasing quantity and quality of traffic to a website, blog post, or video through non-paid search engine results. Projected to podcasting, SEO entails optimizing your content so that your podcast can be found by those who want to find it. Ultimately, SEO will help you reach a wider audience and stand out. There are several actions you can take in order to optimize your content. 


Audio Transcription

Transcribing your audio will increase your podcast searchability by giving search engines like Google an accurate idea of everything discussed in the episode. Transcriptions also allow these sites to index your podcast for improved search results. By transcribing your audio it’ll also be easier for you to explain to your audience what the episode is about in your show notes (see below).

Sonix, Trint, and GoTranscript are all tools worth looking at to transcribe your audio. Alternatively, Microsoft word has recently incorporated an online feature to facilitate audio transcription.

Related: How & Why You Should Get Started with Podcast Transcription


Show Notes

While the audio (and video) is key in a podcast, having additional virtual and written content will add more value to your episode as a whole. Show notes include a written description of what happened during an episode and any additional resources that complement the content discussed during the podcasts (e.g. social channels, link to articles, bios of guests…). Using show notes can greatly improve your SEO efforts, as they will rank for relevant keywords and searches, thus making it easier for others to find your podcast.


Websites

website view

A podcast website will serve as a hub for all the content you’re creating: audio and beyond. Having a website for your podcast will increase the discoverability of your show by making it easier for Google or other search engines to index your podcast. 


Episode Keywords

It is important to be intentional about your podcast’s keywords. Even if your episodes are thematically similar, using a different focus keyword for each episode will further your reach. How can you choose keywords wisely? Search for “high density” keywords (i.e. those keywords which are used often on a webpage). Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner will help you with that. 


Promotion – How to Stand Out?

how to stand out

There are over 1,000,000 podcasts out there, so if you want yours to attain some attention, you may want to spend some time working on its promotion. Above anything, you’ll want to create high-quality content.

If you’re going serious about podcasting, invest in good equipment to improve your audio and video. Spend some time researching, and aim to deliver value to your audience, whether this means to teach them something new or to entertain them. Furthermore, be patient. It may take several months until your product starts getting substantial attention, so don’t feel discouraged in the beginning.

Consistently producing valuable and engaging content will pay off in the long run. That said, there are different ways in which you can increase the reach of your show. Below, we have listed some of the most common practices. 


1. Use social media

It may sound obvious, but using social media is becoming an essential step to promote creative content. Social media is cheap, easy to use, and has an enormous reach. Use an online video editor to repurpose your recorded video podcast into sharable clips.

Facebook and Twitter are among the most popular social media platforms used by podcasters, but your choice depends on your target audience and the podcast itself. For example, for business- or marketing-related podcasts, LinkedIn is key. If you are looking for a more visual approach, consider using Instagram.

A great way to be seen by more people is to ask your guests to share the podcast on their own social media channels. Chances are, people that who follow them will listen to your podcast and start following it if they like it (especially if you also feature other guests that appeal to them).


2. Interact with your audience

Once you’ve decided on the platforms you will use, start posting updates:

  • Let your followers know when the next episode is due for release
  • What they can expect
  • And which topics will it cover.

After the episode, post some of the best quotes or lessons discussed, ask your followers what they liked about the episode, and create a discussion thread about a certain topic (“What do you think of…?”).

Let people interact and express their opinions, and when they do, reply to their questions and “like” their comments. Active engagement with your followers will make them more likely to follow the show! 

Another way to interact with your audience is by creating giveaways and contests. Using your social media channels, you can incentivize your followers to participate in different activities in order to win something.

For example, you can ask them to share the podcast with x number of friends, mention their favorite episode, or answer some questions regarding your show. The prizes could be anything from merchandise, exclusive content with special guests, or products from a sponsor company (see below).

These types of promotions can be very effective because they promote your podcast in two ways: they advertise through your audience’s network, and they create an opportunity for your followers to interact and engage with you. 


3. Try out sponsorships

Are you using a specific brand or equipment for your podcasts, or have you talked about a certain product? Then it is definitely worth asking for sponsorship. The most obvious sponsorships to ask for are money or free equipment and merchandise. Free merchandise will also give you an opportunity to host giveaways for your audience, which is also in the sponsor’s interest.

The companies that will sponsor you will most likely also advertise you on their own channels, therefore giving you further promotion and a greater audience reach. Struggling to find sponsors? Platforms such as Acast enable you to sponsor your podcasts through their marketplace.

Note that not all companies you contact will be willing to pay money or give products away that easily. If this is the case, you can also try asking them to promote you on their social media. Although not as attractive as money or free equipment, a simple mention from a notable company about your podcast can easily generate a wider audience and further promotion opportunities. This, especially in your early stages as a podcaster, will prove very useful.


4. Get in touch with fellow podcasters

Being featured in a (preferably) more popular podcast will help you reach people that might not yet know about you. Bringing other podcasters onto your podcast as guests can also be helpful. In these cases, make sure to tag them on your social media and share relevant content regarding the collaboration.

Not only will this make the podcasts more diverse and bring new ideas to the table, but promoting each other will offer an opportunity for audience crossover, thus allowing for wider sharing of your content. Ultimately, this will help your listenership and the promotion of your show.


5. Advertise your podcast

Paid advertising is a good way of collecting traffic and connecting with your target audience. If you are willing to spend some money to get your podcast to more people, this may be an interesting option to look at.

Ultimately, you can think of ways in which people search for new podcasts and try to promote it accordingly.


Key Podcast Analytics to Measure Success

podcast analytics dashboard

It is in your own interest to learn how to make the most out of your podcast content. A key step in doing so is understanding the most important metrics of your podcast. By adjusting your show to the statistical feedback, you’ll be able to improve your episodes show and accommodate them to your niche.

Whether for planning your next episodes or for improving your content, podcast analytics can provide valuable information if understood correctly.

What are some general metrics you can look at?

  1. Episode downloads
  2. Listening platforms and apps your audience is using to listen to your show
  3. Geographic and demographic information about your listeners
  4. Total time listened to each episode
  5. Percentage of your audience who is subscribed

Of course, as you grow the reach of your podcast, you’ll need to measure further metrics. For example, if you have a website you may want to know the number of visitors, their behavior on your site, and the ways in which they found your website.

If you have created several social media accounts, you may want to know the number of social shares, likes, recommendations, and feedback.

Generally, any trustworthy media host will have reliable analytics tools to measure the success of your podcast. However, do note that podcast media hosts, by definition, are not stand-alone podcast analytics tools.

Some of the most popular hosting sites with good analytic tools are Sounder.fm, Simplecast, and Buzzsprout. You may also need to track your podcast metrics on the different directories you have your podcast listed. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher offer each certain unique insights that can be valuable to improving your podcast.


How to Monetize Your Podcast

Once you have your podcast all set you may be wondering how you can get something in return for all the efforts. Making a successful podcast requires understanding your audience and delivering what they want. Making it profitable, however, requires some further actions.

Let’s go through some of the main steps you can take in order to monetize your podcast.

1. Sponsorships and affiliate marketing

Sponsorships won’t only promote your podcast, but they may also pay well for it. With affiliate marketing, you’ll get a commission when referring people to other companies.

While these methods can be quite lucrative, they with some potential limitations to your creativity – brands may set certain conditions on the kind of content they want to be associated with.

2. Subscriptions and exclusive content

Another way to earn money is to directly ask your audience to subscribe to a paid membership. The drawback of this approach is the increased workload: you’ll need to find an appealing reward system for your donors, be it exclusive episodes or free merchandise.

3. Selling paid content

You can also use your podcast to refer your audience to your own paid content. Whether you’re selling merchandise, an online course, a book, or coaching sessions on your area of expertise, your podcast can be an intermediary in connecting your services to those who may be interesting in purchasing them.

Do keep in mind that too much “sales” will turn your audience off. Your podcast should still provide your audience with something they are willing to trade their time for.

4. Crowdfunding and donations

Alternatively, you can ask your audience for donations to help support your podcast. Patreon has become a popular donation site among content creators. This method, however, works best when you a solid audience base. 


Final Thoughts

No matter if you want to try out podcasting for fun or if you are considering it as a part of your career, we hope this second part of our Beginner’s Manual helps you in growing your podcast and achieving your objectives. Still unsure how to begin a podcast? Make sure to read our guide about creating and launching a podcast!

And if you liked this article, share the infographic below with your friends.

Infographic podcast growth and promotion

Subscribe to our newsletter

Highly curated content, case studies, Riverside updates, and more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related articles

11

min read

How to Record a Podcast like a Pro (The Easy Way)

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

8

min read

Automatically Transcribe Video to Text With Riverside.fm

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

7

min read

Starting a Business Podcast in 2021: What You Need to Know

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.