How to Make 2022 Your Year 🎊
10 Marketing Tips to Get Your Podcast More Ears
Whoa, I can’t believe 2022 is almost here. The whole year has flown by, but especially this last week between Christmas and New Year’s is a blur of bad TV (hello, Yellowstone), dealing with a broken washing machine, stewing beets, and researching ayahuasca in preparation for an upcoming trip. I’m trying not to judge my downtime, but hobbies like these might explain why I’m a workaholic 😂. Anyway, I have big goals for my podcasting endeavors in the new year — as I’m sure we all do — so this edition of the newsletter is meant to provide a collective jumpstart as we hit the ground running next week. See you on the other side!
Have you ever thought to yourself, “My show is great, why isn’t it attracting more listeners?” (I have!) Well, one key ingredient you’re probably missing is a real marketing strategy. That’s something I’m actively trying to improve on in the new year.
So to set us on the right path, I’ve enlisted Lauren Passell, digital strategist, marketing maven, and founder of Tink Media, to give her top ten tips to make 2022 our best podcast marketing year yet. ⬇️
P.S. Lauren is #podgoals for me: she is super well-connected in the podcasting community, she has not just one, but TWO fabulous newsletters for podcast creators and addicts (check out Podcast The Newsletter and Podcast Marketing Magic for more… well, magic), and her marketing instincts are spot on. Enjoy!
Tip #10 - If you're pitching a newsletter, don't just send them a cold pitch. RESPOND to the last newsletter they sent (after reading it) with a personal note.
LP: I have a newsletter and am flooded with so many pitches that I don’t have time to read them all. However, when I send out a newsletter, I’m paying close attention to who responds to it. Responding to that newsletter means I’ll definitely see it, and I’ll be grateful that you gave my newsletter a click. It’s the difference between pitching to someone with open arms vs. pitching to someone who has a wall up.
LP: This will allow people to go to your podcast with whichever podcasting platform they prefer. Plus, if you only feature your Apple Podcasts link, other platforms will be less likely to promote you.
Tip #8 - Apply for in-app placement.
LP: Apply to be featured on Apple and Stitcher (and others), and do it regularly. But remember when you're submitting to answer the question: why should they feature you now? Peg your pitch to something newsy, timely, or HAWT. These platforms want to feel like a news feed. They want to show off timely content, big guests, and unique episodes. Each time you apply, make the pitch a little different.
Tip #7 - A good pitch letter should take you at least 15-20 minutes to write.
LP: Taking time to write these letters is worth it in the long run. If you can't dedicate at least 15 minutes to write someone, you probably shouldn't be pitching them, anyway. Make sure to listen to the show, research past episodes, and the host, and make sure what you want fits into the podcaster's content.
Tip #6 - Your pitch needs to have a direct ask.
LP: I get pitches that are just like, "here you go! Look at what I made!" Tell the person exactly what you want them to do with the information you are giving them. Do you want to do a special episode? Do you want to do a promo swap? Do you want this person to write about a particular episode? Make it easy, cut to the chase, and tell them what to do.
Tip #5 - What's your show's collateral? Structure your podcast for great partnerships.
LP: When you reach out to a show asking for something, you should have something to offer in return. This is your collateral. Can you feature them in your newsletter? Social media? Can you give them a shout-out? One of my clients, How to Do the Pot, has a weekly segment called "The 1st Time I Bought Legal Weed," where the host just plays a 5-minute or so voice memo of someone telling the story of the first time they bought legal weed. When I go out to a show asking for something, I can say, "would you like to be part of our '1st time' feature?" This is great content that's easy to produce and makes your show easier to work with. What's your version of "The 1st Time I Bought Legal Weed?" Read more here.
Tip #4 - Make your CTA specific. Make it stand out.
LP: Your show's CTA (call to action) is when you tell people to subscribe to your show or rate and review it. I hear so many of these that I sometimes don't notice them. So ask for something unique that catches their attention, and say the CTA in your own words. Fine but boring: "listen and subscribe." Try: "text a friend right now if you liked," "screenshot the episode and tag us on social," "ask us a question in our Apple Podcasts review section," etc.
Tip #3 - Cross-promote episodes of your podcast ON your podcast.
LP: Story Worthy's Christine Blackburn always teases her previous episode on her current episode. This inspires listeners to go back through your library and discover an episode they might not have found on their own.
Tip #2 - To find good shows to partner with, explore the podcast universe with Rephonic.
LP: When you're setting up promo swaps (or any sort of partnership), you need to find the best people to work with, where your audiences will overlap. Rephonic is a website that shows you your podcast's neighborhood using Apple Podcasts data. Type in your podcast and watch in awe as you see a galaxy of shows, all with similar listeners. I always show this to my clients and get really sad if they don't act at least a little in awe. It's a beautiful thing to see and also a helpful tool in finding your people.
Tip #1 - 46% of people surveyed said they discovered a new podcast by hearing about it on another show. Promo swaps work!
LP: Setting up one promo swap probably won’t move the needle. You need to set up a healthy, ongoing schedule for them. Make a big list of all the people you want to work with and reach out, see how many people respond. Host-read promos (promos that the host reads in their own voice) work because they feel like personal podcast recommendations, which is the number one way people discover new shows.
Anything else you’d like to add about how podcasters can make 2022 their year?
LP: In 2022, I'm hoping to see more podcasters working with others to grow and start thinking about their marketing earlier and earlier in the process. Like How to Do the Pot (in example 5 above), how can you fold marketing into your content? Great ideas like this blur the lines between marketing and editorial and will make your show better and more marketable. What I want everyone to know is that a lot of marketing is all about partnerships and working with people in the wonderful podcast community. At a panel, someone once asked me, "why should I send my listeners to another show? I don't need the competition." I didn't even know how to respond. I thought, boy, oh boy, are you in the wrong industry. I didn't know how to help this person who was coming at marketing from such a bad place. Working with people, especially people with niche audiences, is the best way to expand your own audience.
Thank you, Lauren!
COVER STORY: POWER TRIP - People have long been searching for relief from the suffering of this world, and increasingly, many have been finding it in psychedelics. This investigative series from The New York Times takes a look at the underbelly of the psychedelic revolution in hopes of answering the question, “What are we overlooking in our rush to feel better?”
ALMOST 30: LINDSEY SIMCIK ON HER AYAHUASCA EXPERIENCE + THE IMPORTANCE OF CEREMONY - In 2019, Almost 30 co-hosts Lindsey Simcik and Krista Williams traveled to Rythmia in Costa Rica to experience their first ayahuasca ceremonies. Lindsey and Krista each flew solo for an episode to detail their very different experiences with plant medicine.
P.S. As I mentioned, I’m preparing to do ayahuasca for the first time in a few weeks, so I’m all about the drugcasts right now. Any recs? (Or personal experiences you want to message me about?)
I interviewed some of our favorite local sex workers for this two-part series. Part 1 features Onyx Black, AM Davies, and Adrienne Airhart offering their unique perspectives on life as a sex worker during the pandemic, the current state of sex work in LA, and the challenges and opportunities faced by the local community — plus their predictions for 2022 (like the future of OnlyFans).
In the last issue, I announced this new section I'm calling Play It Forward, where podcasters can recommend their favorite episode of ANOTHER podcast. And if I run the rec, I'll also feature their favorite episode of their own podcast.
And the inaugural edition comes from Saswat — thank you, Saswat!!! — who recommends:
This episode was recommended for the confluence of voices and the background music used. It’s also beloved for some of the artistic visualizations, such as "grains of sand stitched." Okay, this writer is sold! I’ll definitely be adding that episode to my podcast queue.
And make sure to check out Saswat’s SaaS it Up podcast. Start with:
Saswat says, “I love what Justin is building. You may be using Slack, but yac.com can help you keep the audio pulse in your workplace conversations alive.”
➡️ Here’s the link to submit for the Play It Forward feature. I look forward to hearing from you!
So… ROLL CALL! 🗣
What's your biggest podcast goal for 2022? I'll go first: Perhaps the most tangible of my many podcasting goals is to have Private Parts Unknown consistently reach 20K listeners per episode.