Podcast Marketing Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

I recently attended The Podcast Show in London, an event busting with a mix of indie podcasters, industry professionals and everyone in between. It was organized chaos as I navigated through a sea of booths and talked shop for two days straight. I attended sessions focused on audience growth, metrics, current trends, and more, and a common theme emerged during every Q&A session: both seasoned podcasters and newcomers alike asked, “What’s the best way to market my podcast?” I heard a range of responses from podcast marketers advocating SEO strategies and social media engagement to salespeople pitching ad placements and sponsorship opportunities. My biggest takeaway? There’s no magic formula.

There’s no one-size-fits-all tactic because there’s no one-size-fits-all podcast. That’s one of the beauties of the medium; every series is different, with a different target audience and set of goals. Because of these differences, a customized (and adaptable!) marketing strategy is essential.

Here are some things I think you should consider when creating your own marketing strategy:

What Are Your Goals?
Before you start navigating, you have to chart your course. What’s your destination? Understanding your own goals is crucial. Are you trying to amass as many downloads as you can? This may be a useful metric if you’re looking for sponsorship. While others, particularly branded podcasts, might focus on fostering meaningful engagement within a niche audience.

If your goal is engagement, get your listeners participating with surveys, polls, and maybe a meme or two. If your aim is downloads, you might invest in more targeted advertising. If your objective is brand awareness, you could prioritize strategies that increase visibility and recognition among your target audience. This might involve collaborations with others in your space or implementing creative content campaigns across social media to enhance your brand’s presence.

Aligning your goals with your strategies ensures you focus on the right metrics and invest in the most effective marketing channels.

Understanding Your Audience
Where does your audience hang out? Knowing your audience is equally crucial for a successful podcast marketing strategy. It’s something we all know: Different demographics are found in different parts of the Internet. Gen Z might prefer discovering new podcasts through social media platforms like TikTok, while professionals might rely more on LinkedIn or industry-specific newsletters. So? Meet your audience where they are.The channels you use to market a true crime podcast targeting millennials will differ significantly from those used to promote a branded podcast aimed at C-suite executives. If you align your strategy with your audience’s habits and preferences, you maximize the impact of your marketing.

Content and Context
Just as your goals and audience shape your marketing strategy, the type of content you produce also plays a role. Different kinds of podcasts will each benefit from distinct marketing tactics tailored to their specific audience and objectives.

For instance, a branded podcast will benefit from being integrated into a broader marketing strategy that includes blog posts, social media snippets, and email marketing campaigns coming from the brand’s larger marketing strategy. On the other hand, a true crime podcast might use suspenseful episode previews and listener reviews on social channels to foster a community of avid and invested listeners.

Resources and Budget
How much can you spend? Your resources and budget are factors in shaping your podcast marketing strategy. High-budget productions might afford widespread advertising campaigns, sponsorships, and collaborations with influencers. But smaller productions with limited budgets and time might need to rely on more budget-friendly strategies like word-of-mouth and building a presence in online communities. The good news is, success can come from either. 

Try and Fail
Finally, podcast marketing is going to change just as the digital landscape continuously is. We’re constantly learning new platforms, tools, and trends. What works today might not work tomorrow, which means successful podcast marketing requires ongoing experimentation and adaptation. 

By understanding your goals, audience, content, and resources, you’ll be well on your way to podcast marketing glory. But remember, success isn’t always a straight line. Allow yourself to fumble, pick yourself back up, and keep moving forward.

(Candice Chantalou is Marketing & Publication Lead at CitizenRacecar)