Podcast Promotion in 2021: Four Strategies to Grow Your Show’s Audience

In this episode of "The Input," Xavier "X" Jernigan learns about four key podcast promotion strategies from Nicole Buntsis, Podcast Marketing Lead at Spotify.

Welcome to another episode of “The Input,” our video series where we guide podcast creators through every step of their journey. In this episode, our host, Xavier “X” Jernigan, covers how you can promote your podcast on Spotify by speaking with Nicole Buntsis, Podcast Marketing Lead at Spotify.

Podcast creators should promote their podcasts if they want people to discover their work. With over 2 million podcasts available for listeners to choose from, podcast promotion is critical to helping your show get heard.

Podcast promotion comes down to four key strategies: promoting your show on the right channels, creating interesting promotional content for your social channels, leveraging your existing audience, and collaborating with fellow creators and guests.

1. Double down on channels that fit your show’s content

Your podcast has a unique style and approach to content, so it’s important that you promote it in channels that reflect your uniqueness and get your show in front of the right audience.

For example, if you’re a current events podcast, think about engaging your audience on Twitter, where you can share updates on real-time stories. Twitter also has a large audience of journalists and media personalities, so your content might have a higher chance of being shared widely there than on any other platform.

If you’re into pop culture, consider posting on TikTok or Instagram so you can create strong visual components for your show. These channels allow you to use multiple types of interactive media, like stickers, filters, and GIFs, which are relevant to the pop culture topics your show might be referencing.

When you pair the right promotion channel with your show, you can create more opportunities for your episodes to find new listeners and grow your audience. At the same time, you can avoid stretching yourself too thin trying to have a presence on every channel.

“Better to do a few things well than overwhelming yourself trying to be everywhere,” says Buntsis.

2. Create engaging promotional content on social media to generate interest

Once you’ve found the right channel for your promotion efforts, it’s time to build an ecosystem of great content for your audience. One way to do that is to create multiple pieces of content that give new and existing listeners multiple entry points into each episode in addition to posting your episode links.

Here are a few content ideas to get you started:

  1. Tease featured guests in an upcoming episode to get fans excited to tune in. Make sure to tag or mention them on social media—they might share the post or comment on it, giving your show visibility to their audience.
  2. Share highlights of your latest episodes in short clips or audiograms. You can create social-friendly clips for free with Spotify’s podcast hosting platform Anchor, or you can share timestamps of your favorite moments in an episode directly from Spotify.
  3. Remix your show content into channel-specific content pieces. For example, if your guest shares three insights on a particular topic, you can share those insights as a Twitter thread or an Instagram Story series.
  4. Share your big milestones with fans so they can celebrate alongside you, like when you get added to our Podcast Charts or one of our editorial playlists. You can share these milestones by using our Promo Cards tool to quickly create social-friendly promo images.

3. Leverage your existing audience to promote your show

Your existing audience is a powerful promotion channel for your show. A 2019 study found that 66% of podcast consumers rely on recommendations from friends and family for podcast discovery, so word of mouth from your listeners can go a long way.

“Engaging with your current listeners can help create a sense of community and show how much their support means to you,” says Buntsis. “And if they feel more involved and motivated to share their content to their networks, that can help you grow your show’s reach.”

Buntsis recommends that creators use in-episode calls-to-action (CTA) in their shows to ask listeners and followers to share their podcast episodes, or a favorite moment from an episode, with their network.

Some examples of in-episode CTAs include:

  • “Share this episode with a friend”
  • “Share on social and tag us at [handles]”
  • “Follow [name of your show] on Spotify and get notified when new episodes are released”

Don’t forget to add CTAs in your episode descriptions as well! You can add links to your social accounts in your show notes so listeners can easily follow you wherever you share content.

You can also create promotional content built around your audience. Audience-based content can increase your show’s engagement and help build a community around your show.

Here are a couple of ways you can create audience-based content:

  1. Host live recap sessions on Spotify Greenroom with your fans to answer any questions they might have about your latest episode or discuss any of the topics that you’ve shared in your show.
  2. Ask your audience to send you voice messages that you can include in your episodes. These messages could be questions they’d like you to answer on the show or comments about the show that you’d like to share.

4. Engage with fellow creators and collaborate with guests to expand your reach

When you engage with fellow creators and collaborate with your guests, they might share your show with their audiences, increasing your visibility.

Engage with fellow creators on social media by highlighting other shows you love and podcasters you collaborate with. When you engage with fellow creators, you create opportunities for your show and your brand to be seen by their audience.

Another way to engage with fellow creators is to do a cross-promotion i.e. feature them on your show as guests and be featured on their show in return. If they’re further along in their journey, this approach can help their audience learn about you and increase the likelihood that they check out your show.

Your guests might have audiences of their own. Try collaborating with them to promote your podcast with their audience and help you create some buzz around it. Make sure they alert their audience about it, and amplify your own social promotion for your episode with them.

Be as authentic as you can while promoting your show

Buntsis believes that authenticity is a key to successful podcast promotion for creators. That authenticity applies to the channels you choose to promote your show, your promotional content, and how you choose to engage with your audience, fellow creators, and guests.

“Go where your fans will be and where you can stay authentic to yourself and your show,” says Buntsis.

Being authentic involves staying true to what you value and how you choose to express those values—in your show and in your promotional channels. Lean into what makes your show unique and what listeners respond to, and make those characteristics stand out when you promote your show.

It might be tempting to repeat promotional strategies that are working for other creators, but what works for other creators may not work for you. It’s better to build a brand around what makes you unique and what you value instead of presenting yourself differently. It also makes podcast promotion more fun!

Interested in more ways to level up your podcast-creation skills? Here are a few other episodes of “The Input” that you might enjoy: