Think of a website for your podcast like a Welcome Home sign for new fans and potential collaborators. It shows your style, your voice, and your story. It provides your community with a hub of free content and a direct line of communication. It gives you the ability to present your podcast to the world exactly how you’d like fans to receive it. What may seem like an extra step in setting up your show is actually something that can make or break your growth.
Social media is a great way to promote your show, but as a creative, you need the space to build something that YOU own. We can’t always be boxed in!
Since social media changes on a dime, a website allows you to establish your brand, build authority, and grow over time. Just imagine if you funneled all of your fans to your MySpace page back in 2005! Owning your brand is one way a website will help you grow an engaged listenership. Here are six more reasons why creating a website for your podcast can increase listenership.
1. Tell your origin story to attract like-minded fans
An “About” section goes a long way with fans. It’s a story they don’t fully get from your show page on Spotify or social media accounts. A juicy, on-brand origin story bridges the gap between host, show, and listener. It’s a chance to show your credibility on a topic in a friendly, non-threatening way.
Did you work in retail for eight years and now teach people how to find the best seasonal deals? Have you played Yahtzee for the last decade with your family on summer nights and started a show about board game strategy? Give them the details and soundbites so they can feel part of your show and talk about it with friends.
A juicy, on-brand origin story bridges the gap between host, show, and listener.
When preparing an “About” page, put yourself in the listeners’ shoes. They may be wondering: Who are these hosts? What made them want to start this show? What are they passionate about? Can I see myself being friends with them? What are their quarks? Opinions? Values? It’s almost like getting coffee with a new friend. All of this information will help build a listener-base that is in alignment with you and your show—meaning life-long stans.
2. Build a newsletter list to talk directly with fans
As much as we love social media, the tides (cough cough, algorithms) are always turning. Building a marketing strategy solely on social media is a little like building your house on a tiny island. You never know when the weather is going to wipe you out. Enter: email marketing.
Now, let’s take a step back before you scroll your way out of this “marketing talk.” You’re not about to turn into some used-card salesperson by collecting your fan’s emails. Instead, you’re securing a line of communication if they decide to take a break from social media or simply don’t have it. They’ll love seeing a regular email in their inbox from their favorite host because it brings a level of closeness. Don’t forget, they’re listening to you for hours throughout their week. Having another point of contact with you makes your relationship more dynamic.
Don’t forget, they’re listening to you for hours throughout their week. Having another point of contact makes your relationship more dynamic.
How can you collect emails? When listeners visit your website, encourage them to sign up for your mailing list by offering an unreleased episode or behind-the-scenes audio. They get more free content from a host they love, and you get their email to send them even MORE free content straight to their inbox. Plus, an email marketing list will allow you to immediately notify subscribers when a new episode, blog, update, or rambling is released—all things they genuinely want more of.
Due to email marketing regulations, you’ll want to ensure that your listeners are actively signing up and know what to expect. If you’re operating in Europe, you’ll want to make sure you’re up to speed on GDPR regulations, but the rules are mostly just disclosure-related.
3. Embed each episode to maximize your content
Sure, lots of people listen to podcasts via Apple Podcasts or Spotify, but embedding your show on your website has quite a few advantages. For starters, it allows you to produce more content. Instead of just pushing your new episode out to listener platforms, embed it in a blog post and include a short introduction or show notes. This helps listeners choose what to listen to AND helps you rank higher in SEO. (Google can’t crawl audio just yet. More on this below.)
If people find your podcast through a tweet, it’s awkward for them to keep that twitter window open just to listen to it. And if they’re on mobile, forget it. Embedding your podcast on your website allows listeners to easily stream it via an efficient plugin that doesn’t require keeping an unrelated page open. It also cuts down the noise for listeners. Plus, by directing fans to listen on your website, you don’t have to worry about sending them to a platform with competing podcasts.
With Sounder, your podcast can be easily embedded in your website so fans can listen while browsing your archives. All you need to do is click “Share” from the episode page and then “Copy the Embeddable Code.” The plugin will easily fit into your page’s HTML, and many website building services will integrate it automatically.
4. Host transcriptions and blogs to boost visibility
If you have a podcast, you have an archive of content, much like a library, thanks to something called a transcript. This word-for-word archive of each episode can quickly be turned into text content, like blogs, that Google can crawl.
Whether your podcast focuses on money management or orcs and goblins, you want it to come up in search results when people look for those terms. But, as we mentioned earlier, search engines are only starting to figure out how to crawl audio files. Text content created from each episode will factor heavily into SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, increasing your page rank and the visibility of your show.
Search engines sort their results based on how common and relevant phrases are, the structure of the post (if it’s broken down into easy-to-read headings), and if it provides a full answer to the search query. More and more podcasters are opting for transcription to widen their listener base, and it’s easier than ever to get started.
Another fun fact: Google dislikes showing social media in its results. Try searching for a keyword! Tweets and Instagram posts are often nowhere to be found. That’s because long-form content provides a more complete answer to a searcher’s question. Websites are weighted much more highly than tweets or posts when it comes to SEO.
5. Look professional to land potential advertisers and guests
Anyone who listens to a popular podcast is aware of popular advertisements. Mattresses, stamps, undergarments — the list goes on. If you’ve grown enough to begin conversations with advertisers (rock on!), you’ll need a website. First, it looks professional. It gives off the impression that you’re in this for the long haul and don’t half-ass projects. Hosting a website with your contact information, about section, and episode archive will provide an opportunity for advertisers to see what you’re about.
It gives off the impression that you’re in this for the long haul and don’t half-ass projects.
When advertisers look for potential podcast spots, they’re trying to make a connection with a unique segment of the listening population. If you make listener stats available on your website and have data (revenue, listeners, spec sheets, etc.) ready for potential advertisers, you’ll be way ahead of the curve. You don’t have to publish everything publicly on your site, but ensure that advertisers know it’s available upon request. The same goes for potential guests and collaborators.
6. Keep a running list of tour dates, live events, and merchandise
Not everyone’s podcasting goal is to be famous, and that’s a-okay! But for some, it’s a big part of what fuels their late-night editing sessions. Whether it’s intentional or not, when your show starts picking up steam, fans are going to want to interact with you via live shows or events. According to data from Vivid Seats, the live podcast industry will be worth over $55 million in 2020.
That means stepping out from your recording studio (closet?) and interacting with fans. Introverts, put down the brown paper bag. Live events can be small can intimate or large and loud, depending on your audience, niche, and marketing. Let your fans know all the details via your website, where you can also pre-sell tickets.
Another fun website perk? Merchandise. Putting your loved-logo on totes, hats, and shirts is an easy way to give fans access to your brand, passively promote your show, and recoup some of your podcast investment. The best option is to create a merch link on your homepage.
Building a website is pretty drag-and-drop these days, thanks to sites like Wix and Squarespace. If you’re on a tight budget, try Weebly or WordPress.com, which are totally free. Once everything is up and running, maintenance is easy. Your show is a platform for others to connect with each other and with you. Building out a website early on will help you grow that community-base. Even if it’s bare-bones, kind of like a starter home, you can always improve the quality later.