If you’ve read Part. 1 of this podcast marketing series, you did the hard part: plan. You have your listener profile, a unique concept that brings your brand ethos to life, and a realistic business goal for your podcast. Kudos! Now you may be wondering how to actually fit podcasting into your busy schedule. In part two of this article, we’re going to discuss streamlining processes and finding a strategy that works for your time, budget, and skillset.
(Missed Part 1? Read it here)
Many business owners feel overwhelmed when they realize that podcasting includes a lot of moving parts, such as strategy, episode planning, editing, distribution, promotion, and more. But take it from me. You don’t need to master it all. You can find a management platform (like Sounder) and remote professionals (like myself!) to help you with just about everything you need to get your podcast out there, all within your budget.
1. Get Smart About Free Tools
A busy business owner can’t work in chaos, so just like in your business, it’d be smart to use a few key (and free!) tools to help you organize and streamline your podcast.
First and foremost, you’ll want a project management tool to help schedule each episode’s to-dos and deadlines, plan ahead, and keep track of topic ideas. I currently use Asana to run my business since its inception. It allows me to communicate with my podcast clients and delegate tasks to my team. It helps me both plan the nitty-gritty projects and the big picture goals, like following-up with upcoming guests, tracking episode downloads, and mapping those against quarter goals or partnerships. I also suggest finding a booking system to schedule communication with guests (more on this below). I like calendly.com— it’s free and easy to use!
Equipment functionality runs the gamut. This is where most of your investment will come in. Know that sound quality matters, but also stay within your budget. Here’s a good list to help.
You likely have free editing and recording software right on your computer, or you can check out downloadable free options like Audacity. For hosting, look for a free platform, like Sounder, that has multiple tools to offer. For instance, they offer free transcriptions, discovery tools, and monetization. Not to mention their custom Sounder Player that will cut specific sound bites or snippets of your episode, and distribute it to multiple podcast platforms and social media channels.
As for the style of your show, there are platforms out there that have a selection of free music for you to choose from. Pixabay, Pond5, Epidemic Sound, or Storyblocks are some of my go-to places to find royalty-free music. Be sure to check the fine print, as some platforms have restrictions of use (some will work on YouTube but not on audio platforms, etc).
Get creative with Canva, a free design tool, to create your cover art and social posts. Speaking of social, you can even automate and simplify publishing on social media with Later (also free) rather than doing it manually for each episode.
(Need help creating your cover art? Let Sounder’s graphic designer help!)
2. Template Recurring Communications
To help streamline guest communications, I suggest writing a template email, as you’ll probably get the same questions over and over again. My clients have one template for reaching out to potential guests and another for setting up recording sessions. You can check out my free template examples, where I provide guidance on exactly what information you should include to save time and convert leads into guests! The example below will also provide context:
Email Subject: Interview request
Hi, [guest’s name],
My name is [your name], and I am the host of [your podcast’s name hyperlinked], a podcast about [relevant information to your guest or your podcast’s mission]. I’d be honored to invite you to my upcoming episode about [relevant information to your guest]!
[2-3 lines explaining why you’d like to have them on the podcast, and how they can benefit from your exposure. Also, include links to your business and socials (if it makes sense), and examples that could be relevant to your guest, such as media coverage, high-profile guests, or relevant episode topics that may peak their interest]
The podcast episodes are about [time] minutes long and conducted through [Location: Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, phone call]. Interested? Please reply to this email with your available times or use this link [Calendly or another booking system link] to book a convenient time for us to chat further!
3. Upcycle Every Episode!
Think of it like this: Your business podcast becomes the basis for all of your promotional content. One episode can yield multiple resources, such as emails, social posts, blogs, or promotional material. You can stretch out each episode to cover multiple platforms over 1-2 weeks. This strategy not only saves you time, it ensures your content gets seen by your customers. Repetition is key to sales.
Let’s refer back to Case Study A from Part. 1, my client who owns a corporate gifting company and hosts a podcast called The Good Office. Her show is all about how to do good with your business. She used her brand’s ethos (giving back) and spun it into a “how-to” podcast that educates others to do the same, all while strengthening her leadership in the space of giving back.
We turned one of her episodes titled ‘How Corporate Gifting Will Grow Your Business and Strengthen Relationships’ into multiple resources for her communication and marketing strategy. Here’s exactly what she got out of one episode:
- Multiple blog entries: After the episode was edited, approved and scheduled, we wrote a blog post using the same copy that we had carefully crafted for the episode, and added an embeddable player and an image. The work we put into a script became a simple yet engaging blog post, boosting her SEO. Note: If you write an article and don’t embed the episode, you’re missing out on downloads! Good hosting platforms, like Sounder, provide you with a player to make sure that your clients can listen to the episodes wherever! Remember to always provide a path of least resistance.
- Short soundbites for social media: Any episode can provide up to ten (or more) soundbites that either tease or promote an episode. In my client’s case, she uses the audiograms that I cut for her while editing. If you’re hosting with Sounder, you can use the Soundbite Audio Share feature to effortlessly post Soundbites directly to social media. My client also uses the takeaways that my team creates (good quotes from each episode) for social media image quotes and Instagram stories.
- Newsletter features: Unless you have new products out there ALL THE TIME, it can be hard to come up with email topics. But guess what? Each new podcast episode can be sent in much the same way a newsletter would. For instance, by talking about the business’ mission in a podcast episode, my client is able to dive deeper and in a more personal way about the true impact that her business has in the local community. You can mention product launches, sales, and teasers in a more natural way. Not to mention promote your podcast!
4. Use Show Notes To Boost Your Website’s SEO
A lot of businesses overlook Audio SEO as a way to improve organic searchability. For starters, show notes (or podcast descriptions) help your podcast get indexed by crawlers. And Apple Podcasts allows up to 4,000 characters! You’re missing a HUGE opportunity by writing just one line with the topic of your episode and your guest’s name. Instead, transcribe your podcast’s audio into the show notes by using platforms such as Otter.ai or Sounder’s free transcription feature. Edit your show notes to include:
- Timestamps of key takeaways or statements
- Direct links to your website, products, and official social media accounts
- Your contact information
- Your guest’s social media account and website
- Any resources mentioned in the episode (such as books, worksheets, quizzes or products)
- Any discount codes or exclusive content
By adding all of this information, you’re giving search crawlers links, keywords, and content so they can properly index your episode. And, you’re making it painlessly easy for listeners to take action and stay in your business’s web loop.
5. Get Smart About Promotion
When it comes to online promotion, be strategic and always ask yourself, “where is my audience?” Start by promoting your new podcast everywhere (social, email, website) then use those metrics to double down on hot spots. Focus on the platforms that foster the most interaction and community or where you do your most successful business communications.
I often see podcasters with a business-related podcast (sales, marketing, etc.) do well on LinkedIn. Those that skew wellness perform well on Instagram. At first, try being everywhere then quickly get smart. You’ll save time and money by focusing promotion efforts on two places instead of five.
I get asked about making separate podcast accounts for social media. Personally, I think it’s a ‘must have vs good to have’ situation. You can create social media profiles for the podcast or promote each episode through your business account. I’ve seen success cases in both situations. If you have the time (and resources) go ahead and create accounts with the podcast’s name and keep engaging with the community there. If you already feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin, then use your personal or business accounts. One of my clients can only do the latter and it works because her audience isn’t very tech-savvy and likes to engage with her personal posts, so a podcast-only account would be a bad idea, as they wouldn’t be willing to make the move to another account.
6. But Always Include Pinterest!
It blew my mind too. Even though Pinterest isn’t used as a social media network, it’s a powerful search engine that can make an impact on your business and your podcast. How? Unlike social media platforms, Pinterest’s timeline isn’t chronological, which means your content has a longer shelf life (compared to Instagram, which is ~24 hours if the algorithm is in your favor).
Content uploaded on Pinterest has a life cycle of months, if not years. 70% of the traffic coming into my business, The Podcast Space, originates from Pinterest. Two of my podcast clients have at least 20% of ongoing monthly business website traffic through pins they did 3+ years ago! So make sure you include Pinterest in your promotion efforts. Pin blogs, graphics, episodes, and soundbites. They will work for you time and time again.
But know that Pinterest’s traffic isn’t about instant gratification, like social media networks normally are. It’s about staying in the race for the long haul. For instance, a big percentage of the 70% web traffic I get from Pinterest comes from a few pins I created back in April 2020! Trust me, it’ll pay off.
You’re wondering if you should start a podcast to help grow your business, and the answer is yes. Podcasts will soon become like social media and video: a must for businesses that want to stay relevant. Podcasts help you connect with listeners and provide value to your audience in a way that no other platform can. The return on investment is the highest in the content creation industry, and it doesn’t need to weigh down your routine if you are smart about it.
Remember that your podcast should be managed just like your business. Create a smart plan, use free tools to maximize your time and effort, and know your end goal. You can plan your show in a way that best suits your personality and your availability, and you can automate almost everything or invest a small fee to save you time.
The best part about podcasting is that it basically becomes your promotion material for every channel. One episode can provide multiple content pieces for your website, social media, and newsletters. Episode show notes will improve your website’s SEO and your online footprint, and you can use Pinterest to drive free traffic to your website for years!The sooner you start podcasting, the bigger the head start you’ll have over your competitors! If you’re looking for a one-on-one strategy session to maximize your podcast’s impact, you can reach out to me via The Podcast Space.