How to Promote Your Podcast on Spotify

How to Promote Your Podcast on Spotify, Illustration by Michelle Kondrich
How to Promote Your Podcast on Spotify, Illustration by Michelle Kondrich

We’ve gathered some best practices for grabbing (and keeping) the attention of an eager audience.

The fact that you’re reading this means you’ve already done a good, good thing—you’re thinking about bringing your podcast to Spotify. That gives you access to over 200 million listeners in over 75 countries,on dozens of devices: iOS and Android, desktop, cars, smart speakers and TVs, game consoles, and more. We’re everywhere that audio is, and now you (and your podcast) are, too.

But you’re hardly alone. There are over 450,000 podcasts on Spotify, so finding your audience requires a little bit of work: Promoting your show is important. But by sticking to the best practices below and signing up for Spotify for Podcasters to get stats about your show, doing so can be easy, fascinating, and kinda fun.

“Obviously the first most important thing is creating a great show that expresses your artistic vision and resonates with listeners,” says Spotify’s Head of Creator Product Marketing, Sam Duboff. “But it’s not like music, where people only have to take a few minutes to sample your song. With a podcast, you're really asking a lot of that first listen, so you have to convince them it's worth the effort.”

Communicate who and what you are

Let’s talk presentation basics. First, you’ll need to identify categories for your podcast. These range from broad (music, games, sports) to a little more specific (the ever-popular “true crime”), and they help new fans find your show as they browse the podcast genres they love via category pages, or explore Spotify’s recommendations, which are generated based on users’ listening habits.

Art is important, too. A strong visual identity that’s both eye-catching and true to your show’s tone helps draw listeners in and keep them there. But Duboff points out that too few podcasters take advantage of the fact that they can upload unique art for each episode, bolstering the show’s aesthetic and grabbing further attention by highlighting that week’s guest or topic. This goes hand-in-hand with episode titles, which need to walk a similar line between compellingly clickable and accurate.

“You want to make sure you're putting your best foot forward, but if you’re misrepresenting or overselling what's gonna be in your episode, people will turn it off pretty quickly,” says Duboff.

Figure out your elevator pitch

The same applies for episode descriptions, but there’s a bit more room to experiment here. Consider two audiences. Write the first couple of lines (which appear in your episode preview) for new listeners who will decide quickly whether or not to click Play on your show: Get right to the point and pack in vital info. Write the rest for fans who want all the details. Include formatted timestamps so they can jump into big moments or revisit memorable bits. And add outgoing links to connect to your website or social channels, or expand on in-episode references.

One of the main goals for any podcaster is to convert listeners to followers. All of the above helps with that, but don’t overlook the obvious: an in-show call-to-action for fans to follow your podcast on Spotify. Following ensures your next episode pops up in listeners’ podcast library, to be downloaded or streamed at their convenience. Following also begets more followers, as Duboff explains. “Our system's always looking at which shows retain listeners,” he says. “If you do a clickbait title that gets a bunch of people in but no one’s finishing the episode, that’s not a great sign. But if they’re following your show, we know people are interested and we’ll find similar listeners who we think will like the show.”

In addition to native social-sharing features built into your show and episode pages—another key way to encourage followers—you can use Spotify Codes to create a scannable image in custom colors that links directly to your show. The QR-style code can be added to your website, as well as printed on flyers, event posters and programs, or business cards. (And if your show has a website, you can embed episodes by following these instructions.)

Become a numbers geek

So you’ve made it this far. You’ve mastered the art of podcast promo. What’s next? At last, you’re ready for the science. With Spotify for Podcasters’ analytics dashboard, you can see how your audience is responding to your presentation and outreach. Are they hitting Play? Are they finishing the episode? Are they coming back for more? At a glance, you can learn which episodes are outperforming others and, with these insights, consider tweaking your approach.

You can also get to know your listenership: where they’re from, their age and gender, how they stream, what they listen to. “Podcasters always tell us they’re surprised by how global their audience is,” says Duboff. “If you don’t realize your reach, you might miss out on some really great content opportunities.” Since Spotify users are logged in 100 percent of the time, our demographics are robust and accurate. So much so that creators often use that data to pitch potential sponsors of their shows.

Of course, that’s a subject for a different article. For now, take heart that if you build it—and promote it, and fine-tune it—they will come.