Ok, so first off, I want to apologize for being a jerk last week with the cliffhanger of an ending to the blog post. That wasn’t cool, and I’m sorry.
I also want to apologize to myself for building up the hype and putting the pressure on to deliver with this article, so if this post fails to live up to your expectations, I will welcome your hate mail. I’ve earned it.*
* Actually, you’re welcome to send hate (or love) mail anytime. But if so, at least be creative with it. Give me a haiku of hate, or write me a song, do something to stand out…
Today, we’re continuing the conversation on how to effectively promote our podcasts. In part 1 of this series we focussed on our social media promotion, and today we’re going to move off of social media and into some other promotional streams, one of which happens to be the single biggest boost I believe you can give your podcast, and one with which many of you have probably already seen the benefits, but aren’t working on it to see those results consistently.
But first, we’re going to talk about repurposing content.
So we all know that podcasting is the ultimate form of media bar none, right?
But while podcasting will soon dominate all forms of content consumption the world over, squeezing out tv, movies, books, newspapers, magazines, and yes, even this blog*, that day is not here yet. While we wait for that glorious day, there are a number of ways that we can actually use the content we already have and spread it across multiple channels and media with very little extra work.
*I hope my sarcasm is coming across here…
Let’s start with what to me is the most obvious alternative stream, but one that I still find a surprising number of podcasters skipping out on.
A unique show notes page on your website for each episode.
So while this is standard practice among established podcasters, I’m surprised by the number of beginners who haven’t paid any thought to creating a show notes page, and in some cases, even a website for their shows*!
* This topic is a whole post or series of posts in itself, stay tuned. I’m on it.
Now I’m guessing one of the reasons you chose podcasting as a content production platform in the first place is that you don’t like writing, and you didn’t want to start a blog.
That’s cool, your show notes pages don’t have to be full-length blog posts, but rather summaries of the key points of your podcast with links to anything you mention in the podcast and maybe a bit of bonus visual content that doesn’t work on an audio program.
But let’s take a look at why you should even care about a show notes page in the first place:
Google doesn’t index audio content (yet), so putting up some text-based version of the content you’re sharing that Google can index provides another platform through which people can find you, and ultimately the podcast.
- Product (or anything else) Linking
So we established above that podcasting is basically the one media to rule them all, but that’s not to say it’s without fault or weakness. In my opinion, one of the foremost limitations of the medium is how hard it is for you to get listeners to engage with any products or resources you mention in the audio content.
This becomes especially concerning if those mentions revolve around anything you’re trying to sell or promote, either a product you’ve created, or an affiliate product you’re advertising for.
Hence having a show notes page so listeners can easily look up that life-changing widget you mentioned and click through to it without having to listen back through the entire episode later.
- Building Your Mailing List
As we’ve discussed before, if you hope to monetize your podcast at any point, your mailing list will be at the center of those efforts. It’s hard to convert podcast listeners to sign up directly to your list without a website or show notes page to which you can direct them. See the linked article for more info on that.
I don’t know about you, but I find the easiest way by far to share my podcast episodes is by sharing the show notes pages, rather than the iTunes podcast page.
Through the show notes page, I can customize the graphic that gets shared, the snippet that goes along with it, and include links to the iTunes page on the show notes page, as well as an embedded player on the page so listeners have the option of either downloading the podcast, or listening right then and there.
Without a show notes page, sharing is just a whole lot less streamlined.
Like I mentioned, you can get as in-depth as you want with your show notes pages, the more work you put in, the greater value they’ll give you in the long term, but put up something at least.
If you want to get really serious with your written content, I would highly suggest repurposing the show notes you’ve already repurposed from the audio content by crafting an article to share on a website like Medium.
The content you post there will likely be formatted differently than the content on your show notes page, but depending on how you approach your show notes in the first place, it doesn’t have to be a ton of work, and you’ve opened yet another channel through which people can find their way back to your podcast.
Before we move on, I want to mention that these text-based content repurposing strategies are by no means silver bullets that will increase your listenership overnight. They are long-term plays that, if done regularly can have huge impacts over time as you climb the Google ranks.
Much like every other aspect of podcast growth, it’s a matter of being consistent in your efforts and letting the incremental gains add up.
Ok, enough with text, let’s move on to another content stream*.
* Yep, that’s a pun…
Now before you freak out about how you don’t know what you’re doing with video and that it sounds confusing and you’re already up to your eyeballs in the workload of a purely audio podcast, hold on a minute.*
* In fact, take ten minutes, pour yourself a glass of scotch, do a couple yoga poses, take some deep breaths and then come back to the article…
While putting out a video version of your podcast is undoubtedly a great idea if you possess that capability, I wouldn’t recommend you make the change just for the sake of it.
Rather, I would start by taking the audio you already have and set up a YouTube channel for your podcast to publish it to. If you’re with Libsyn this is actually so easy that you’d be crazy not to do it.
Seriously, you can set up your Libsyn account to publish your episode to YouTube with the cover image of your choice with little more work than you already do when publishing your podcast.
Now, again, don’t expect huge surges in your listenership, I’ve heard of podcasters who have seen anywhere from a handful of video plays to several hundred per episode depending on the show. But for the amount of work it takes (almost none), you might as well do it.
Other Video Platforms
We talked briefly about strategies for Instagram Video, Stories, and Facebook Live last week, but let’s touch on it once more.
Social platforms are in love with video right now, and their algorithms are promoting live content particularly heavily. Basically, you need to get onboard the video train, at least a little bit.
My favourite, (and very manageable) way to do this is to make a short live video recapping the content of your podcast every time you release a new episode (or even more often if you want to really go nuts).
If you want an example to use as a template, just look at Amy Porterfield. She’s pretty much the master of podcast promotion and using her podcast to promote her business. I’ve referred to her before, and I will gladly do so again.
Go check out her Facebook page and see how she’s using live video to promote her podcasts.
Then start doing it yourself. Repeat (or repurpose) for your Instagram Stories.
Ok, enough with the repurposing, let’s get to what I think is the biggest thing you can do to get the word out about your podcast.
Leveraging Your Guests
Alright, here it is, the main event. What you’ve had circled on your calendar and been waiting for all week. This is most applicable to interview based podcasts, but before you non-interview podcasters get all up in arms, I’ve got something here for you too.
Whenever I talk download numbers with a podcaster, I find the same story play out with almost every single one of them. They’ll mention their average number of downloads, and then point to a few spikes that might be double or triple the average and say “this episode I actually had x-number of downloads, but that was because my guest shared it with their list.”
Ok, that’s great. In fact it’s amazing! Look at that new audience that we were able to gain exposure to!
But why do so many of us treat that as the fluky outlier?
What we should be doing is recognizing that this is clearly a strategy that has yielded results for us in the past and we should be doing everything we can to replicate that in the future.
The reason we don’t, to me, boils down to two things.
- We don’t recognize the value of an email list.
We touched on this earlier in the article, and this is the reason that many of us as podcasters are slow to start lists of their own. Again, refer to this article to get started.
If you’re in this camp, asking to have your interview included in your guest’s next newsletter doesn’t even cross your mind as something worth asking for.
- We do recognize the value of an email list.
If you’re someone who does recognize the massive value and power of an email list and are already actively using one of your own, you might fall into a different trap.
In this case, you know how much value people place on their lists, and how protective list owners are of that carefully nurtured list, and so we feel awkward about imposing on our guest and making the ask.
After all, if they’re a big-time guest, they’re already kind of doing us a favour by agreeing to come on our podcast, we don’t want to push our luck or seem greedy, right?
Whichever camp you fall into it doesn’t matter. You absolutely should be asking to be included in your guest’s newsletter (if they have one) as well as asking them to promote your episode across their social streams. But crafting the ask will take some tact so as not to appear like you’re just using them to get in front of their audience or list. Trust me, they get enough of those requests as it is.
Setting Up Your Ask
Ok, so there are three stages I like to follow when bringing up an ask to be included in a newsletter:
1. The Soft Ask
First things first, you might have seen an article I posted a while back on improving your guest’s audio during your interviews. In that article, I suggest you come up with a standard guest brief that you send out to all your guests.
This should include techniques to get the best quality audio, details about your show and audience, and your expectations of them.
It’s in this guest brief (or in the email portion of the brief if your actual brief is an attached document) that I like to first mention my hope that they would be willing to share the interview with their list.
It doesn’t have to be a hard ask at this point, but make sure to mention something to the effect of:
“I’m so excited for this episode! I know we’re going to deliver a TON of amazing content and I want to make sure it reaches as many people as possible. I’m going to be sending it out in an email to my list as soon as the episode is published, including links to all of your projects and will be sure to tag you across all of my social channels as well.
I’d really appreciate any help you could provide in promoting our chat as well, especially if you’d consider sending out a link in your newsletter following the release of the episode.”
You’re probably sending out this initial email and brief at least a few weeks before your record date, and the publish date could be a month or more in the future, nevertheless, plant the seed now as something to refer back to.
2. Jog Their Memory In Person
Alright, it’s time for step two. You’ve just finished having an amazing conversation on your podcast with said guest and are chatting after you’ve ended the recording.
It’s now that I want to thank them for all the amazing insight they’ve delivered and tell them the plan for publishing the podcast. Tell them when the podcast is going to air and what you’ll be doing to promote it.
Then it’s time for another passing mention of the newsletter:
“I know I mentioned this in our initial email, but it would be awesome if you could include a link to the conversation in your newsletter the week this goes live. I know that’s still a week or two out, but I’ll send you an email with all the applicable links once it goes live so you can share it if this is something you think your audience would benefit from.”
Again, it’s not a super hard, confrontational ask, and you’ve given them an out by stating you’d love for them to share it “if they think this is something their audience would benefit from.”
You’ve shown that you respect their list and don’t want to impose on it, but that it would mean a lot to you. Keep in mind that throughout this process you want to be sure you’re emphasizing what you’re doing to help promote them. People are much more likely to help you out if you’ve proven you’re doing everything you can to help them out.
3. A Tale Of Two Asks
Here we are, the week of the episode release. It’s a few days before the episode goes live and it’s time to send them an email detailing the links to the episode and any auxiliary content you’re putting out.
Keep the email short and to the point, but after you’ve laid out once again how you’re promoting the episode and the applicable links, it’s finally time to make the ask, or rather two asks.
They go something like this:
“I’m really excited about how this episode came out, I know people are really going to dig it. We talked briefly about this after the episode, but would you be willing to share the episode in your newsletter this week? I’d really love for as many people to hear it as possible, and it would mean a lot!
I totally understand if you’re promoting something else this week and it’s not a good fit, but if that’s the case would you maybe consider including it as a short ‘P.S.’ at the bottom of the newsletter?
Once again, thanks for the AMAZING chat, can’t wait for people to hear this!!!”
In my experience, people can be reluctant to include your show in the main body of their newsletter, often simply because they’ve got a lot of stuff going on and can’t promote everything.
But, I’ve found that even if they reject the inclusion in the body of the newsletter, there is a high likelihood that they’ll agree to add you in at the bottom of the letter. Sure this isn’t the prime real estate that you were hoping for, but it’s still highly valuable for your show and people will generally have fewer reservations about including a podcast link at the bottom.
Note that in your ask you’ve presented an out of sorts, a lesser ask that still achieves basically what you want. This is the key here.*
* For a TON more insight into how to structure our asks in pretty much any situation be sure to check out the fantastic book Rejection Proof on Amazon or pick it up on a free trial of Audible. It’s really, really great and has changed the way I approach life entirely after reading it this year.
(Note: Those are affiliate links yo!)
Adapting this Leveraging Technique to Non-Interview Shows
So this has all been well and good for shows featuring regular guests, but a lot of us have shows that don’t feature guests.
One of my readers pointed out a strategy he uses on social media that is quite similar to the one described above. It’s actually a better fit for part one of this series, so I’ve amended that article to include his strategy, but I’m also going to include it here.
I’m going to let him show you how he uses Twitter and Facebook to leverage the existing audience of people or company he mentions during his episodes.
If you’re a real keener, I would take this a step further and actually reach out to the people or companies via email to thank them for whatever impact they’ve had on you and let them know how excited you are to feature them.
In this situation I wouldn’t ask to be included on a newsletter, but I firmly believe that if you put good will and positive energy out into the world, it’s only a matter of time before it finds its way back to you.
Another Article Ending with an Apology
Speaking of putting stuff out into the world, this has turned into a monster article. So if you’re still with me… I’m sorry? I guess? I hope it was helpful and that you took something away. If so, I’d love to hear from you, shoot me a comment with what’s working for you to promote your show.
At the very least, the length of this one makes me happy I didn’t try to add this onto Pt 1 of this series on promoting your podcast, so for that, you’re welcome.
I had a bunch of other ideas regarding promotion come to me while writing this, but I think we could both use a break. You’ve got enough to start with, and remember, track your results, find out what works, and do more of that.
In the mean time, pick up your copy of my Podcast Promotion Checklist, an easy reference for all of the strategies I’ve outlined in the past two posts on promoting your podcast.
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