How to Market a Podcast

How to Market a Podcast without an Audience

A lot of guides out there will tell you how to leverage your existing followers to grow your podcast audience. But what if you don’t have any followers yet? What if you’re starting from scratch? This guide will show you how to market a podcast with a proven podcast marketing framework – even if you’re starting from zero.

Marketing a podcast takes time, and it can be frustrating in the beginning. You’re putting together great episodes, but no one is listening. That’s OK! It’s how most people get started.

You’re broadcasting into the abyss, but you have to keep throwing episodes in there until you fill it up so people can walk over to see what you have to offer.

The 5 Ps of Podcast Marketing

If you think marketing is all about social media and digital advertising, you’re wrong. And so are most podcasters. Your marketing mix, also known as the 5 Ps of marketing, is a useful framework to organize your thoughts when you’re working on your marketing strategy.

By understanding the 5 Ps of marketing, you’ll have an edge on your competitors who think that marketing is all about blogging, TikTok, and Facebook ads. Those are part of the marketing mix, but only one element.

They are:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • People
  • Promotion (this refers to the marketing channels that many people think make up the whole of marketing)

Each of these components is comprised of different elements which you can adjust to position your podcast for success. Now, I’m going to explain how they apply to marketing a podcast. Then, we’ll talk about how to optimize your podcast marketing mix.

Product

Your product is your podcast of course. Here are some questions to answer to get a handle on this component of your marketing mix.

  • What need does your podcast serve? Entertainment? Education?
  • How does your podcast meet that need?
  • What’s the experience like? Is it video or audio-only? Are there different segments? Do you have guests or a co-host?
  • How is the quality? Is the podcast edited well? How’s the audio quality? If applicable, how’s the video quality?

Price

Most podcasts are free, but there are also podcasts that require subscriptions. Even if the listener doesn’t have to pay to listen, there’s a price to pay in terms of time spent listening. If you have ads, that’s another factor to consider.

Place

Where can people find your podcast? This includes podcast directories like Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, but also video-based social networks like YouTube.

People

What does your team look like?

  • Do you have an editor?
  • A co-host?
  • Someone to respond to listeners on social media channels?

Promotion

Where are you marketing your podcast?

  • Are you promoting the show on social media networks? Is your audience on the networks you’re using?
  • How big is your following on those networks? How are you going to grow your following?
  • Are you promoting the show through organic search? How much search traffic are you seeing for your target keywords?
  • What keywords are you targeting? What’s your plan to improve your rankings?

How to Use the 5 Ps to Market a Podcast

Whether you’ve published 100 episodes or you haven’t recorded anything yet, you’ll use the marketing mix in the same way. The following five steps will enable you to optimize your marketing mix so that you can grow your audience quickly.

Then, I’ll include a more detailed podcast marketing framework.

Step 1. Product

First, break down your podcast. The format, the topic, the episodes, the guests, everything. Are there any adjustments you can make so that your show is more appealing to your target market? Is there anything you can do to make it easier to promote?

For example, having guests on your show can be a good way to get the word out, because many of them will likely share the episode with their networks.

Step 2. Price

What does it cost people to listen to your show right now? Just time? Or do they have to listen to ads? Or do you make them sign up to receive episodes by email?

When you’re starting out, it’s important to keep the price as low as possible. You probably shouldn’t have any ads until you start to see sustained growth.

Step 3. Place

Where are you distributing your podcast? There are many platforms that will automatically distribute your podcast episodes almost everywhere. Take a look at Anchor and Riverside. Each one has a free plan.

But you can also publish your podcast on YouTube and other channels. Don’t waste time adding episodes to places where your target market doesn’t hang out, but it’s worth running a test anywhere that shows potential.

Step 4. People

At first, it might just be you, but you might want to partner with someone as a co-host if they’ll add value to the podcast. You can also find people to improve the quality of each episode (e.g., audio and video editors) as the show begins to gain traction.

If you want to have guests, it’s important to know how you’ll get them. If you have a website that gets a lot of traffic, you can source guests through Help a Reporter Out. Otherwise, you can reach out to people on LinkedIn and other social media channels.

Step 5. Promotion

If you do a video podcast, social media can be a great promotional tool. You can edit compelling clips of your show with a tool like Descript to add some polish and subtitles. Clips like that are a great way to spread the word about your show on social media.

(You can do the same thing with an audio-only podcast, but people love video.)

You can also experiment with things like YouTube Shorts and Facebook Reels. If you decide to run some ads, you can simultaneously promote your show and your social media profile so that you have a larger following to target with future organic campaigns.

Podcast Marketing Framework

Former VP of Growth at HubSpot Brian Balfour talks about Four Fits needed for growth on his blog:

  • Product
  • Channel
  • Model
  • Market

In its Growth Program, Demand Curve adds one more: brand.

  • The market is your listeners.
  • The product is the podcast.
  • The model is the way you’ll make money.
  • The brand is how your show is perceived by the world.
  • The channel refers to the marketing channel or channels you’ll use to grow your audience.

The reason these frameworks are called “fits” frameworks is that they look at how each element of your marketing mix fits together.

Seven Critical Fits for Podcast Marketing

Each element of the framework is important, but I’m going to go into detail on seven of the fits that I believe are most critical when you’re starting out.

1. Market-Product Fit

You have market-product fit (or product-market fit) when your product serves the needs of your market. For example, if your audience is stay-at-home parents who are busy with kids all day, a shorter podcast might be best. On the other hand, if you’re targeting a group that likely has a long commute, a longer podcast could work.

2. Market-Model Fit

You have market-model fit when your business model is suited to your audience. If your audience is high schoolers, requiring a subscription may significantly limit your audience. If your audience is investment bankers, the subscription probably won’t matter.

3. Market-Brand Fit

You have market-brand fit when your brand appeals to your target audience. For example, if you’re targeting traditional church pastors, an extreme brand image probably won’t be appealing.

4. Channel-Product Fit

You have channel-product fit when your marketing channels are a good fit for your product. Will you be able to reach people who are interested in listening to podcasts? Will you be able to reach people who are interested in a podcast like yours?

Use These Tips to Market Your Podcast Better Than Your Competition

Most successful podcasters just hit record, publish, and share their podcasts on social media. But with the tips and podcast marketing framework in this article, you know how to market a podcast like a pro. Let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help.

Just email me at [email protected].

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