Podcast marketing can mean two things.
First, it can mean “marketing ( = growing listenership of) your podcast. And secondly, it can mean the strategy of turning your podcast into other marketing content ( = turning every episode into social content, articles, etc.).
In our view, both are important. They also play well with each other.
For example, if you were to ask us what the most effective way to grow your podcast is, the first thing we’d tell you is, “take the best moments of your show, and share those moments in the places your ideal audience pays attention.”
So that’s where we’re going to start: how to create valuable content from your show, step by step.
The Molehill Method is essentially taking a small thing (an individual episode) and turning it into a mountain (of valuable content). Here’s a quick overview of how it works:
Let’s dig a little deeper into the process.
Podcasts can either dictate or supplement your brand’s content strategy. What do we mean by that?
Is one better than the other?
While we’re totally empathetic to both strategies, we personally think it’s harder to squeeze the right juice out of each episode to fit a specific calendar or content agenda, versus letting the free-flowing nature of a podcast drive your content. That said, we’ve seen companies execute both strategies well.
We find that the free-flowing nature of conversational podcasts brings out so much unplanned, unexpected value.
And in our opinion, if you use the Supplemental Strategy, you’re leaving two-thirds of that value on the table, simply because it doesn’t fit with that month’s “content theme”.
It’s like taking a perfectly juicy orange, squeezing the juice out of it, but only capturing one-third of it in your glass.
When you let your podcast run your content strategy, you can better capitalize on the unprompted and unplanned value spontaneously erupting from your guests.
The Dictate Strategy also:
As one of our favorite marketers, Dave Gerhardt says: “You can either be the expert or the guide.”
When you give your team an open book of expert-level content to pull from, you make it 10x easier for them to share your unique message with your audience.
Regardless of your strategy, the overall goal of turning your podcast into marketing content is the same:
Take the best, most valuable moments from the show and share them natively and contextually in places where your audience hangs out.
When you listen to an episode, you should always look for the best, most valuable moments to use as your base from which to create marketing content. The term “valuable” could mean a number of things:
The ultimate definition comes down to what your audience deems valuable. Do they want practical tips they can apply to their everyday life? Do they want insights into a specific career path? Or do they simply look to you for daily entertainment?
Learn what content your audience values, and look for as many takeaways within each episode that deliver that value. These insights can either be from the guest, the host, or both.
Pro Tip: Don’t be rigid with the number of takeaways you gather from an episode. We like to strive for 20, but it really depends on how much value your guest and host provide.
Sometimes, episodes are full of hot takes while others feel like you’re pulling teeth. If you find yourself in the latter, focus on how you can turn snippets of insights from the guest into your own branded opinions.
For example, if your guest talks about the power of AI in the finance industry, think about why and how this impacts your company, what you think the future of AI looks like, and pull a list of tactics your audience can implement themselves to get ahead of the curve.
Moral of the story: use guest insights as your podcast marketing content catalyst.
You can use Google Sheets, Notion, or Airtable, to create a repository of takeaways from each episode. The first step is to create a transcript of the episode (Descript is great for this) and highlight your golden moments as you listen.
Once you have your top ~20 takeaways identified, add the following info for each takeaway to your repository:
This gives you a growing list of source content (the root insights from your episodes), which your marketing team can pull from to create content for blogs, social posts, videos, etc. You’ll never have to stare at an empty content calendar or a blank page again.
Pro Tip: Use this sample Airtable base as a starting point. You can copy it into your own base or turn it into whatever format best fits the workflow of your team.
Once you have your takeaways, the next step is to ask yourself: “How can I communicate these contextually on all the places my audience hangs out?”
What we mean by “contextually” is how you translate each takeaway into a format that matches a specific platform’s best practices.
Here are some examples:
In all cases, the goal is to create unique content that resonates with the style of the platform.
The beauty of podcast marketing is its fluidity. You can take one simple message and turn it into 5 creative posts, each fitting the platform’s demands and what your audience expects within each.
This one is simple, but it’s also the hardest step for brands to embrace.
What we mean by “natively” is don’t ask your audience to leave the platform they’re on to learn from you. Don’t make them click the link. Don’t tease. Don’t say things like, “You’ll never guess what we said in this episode!” and then not tell them. Instead, give it all away on the platform they’re on.
Give, give, give, and give some more and over time, one of two things will happen.
At the least, you’ll build followers, trust, and attention on that platform because of all the great value you’re giving away.
At best, the listeners who want to “drink from the source” and dive deeper will start listening to your podcast.
Sharing natively requires humility because it assumes the following:
And the people who really care to listen will make the effort to find you on their own terms.
Isn’t that what the goal of the podcast is, anyway? The point isn’t merely to build subscribers for the sake of building subscribers. The point is to have their attention and trust. You want them to know you exist, and to trust you.
So sharing your best takeaways natively allows you to achieve that goal, on every single platform or place your audience is spending time.
We recommend you create these types of podcast marketing posts for each episode:
The goal of a summary post is to give your followers an overview of all the great takeaways and insights you gathered from the episode.
Example: On our latest episode, Jane Doe, product lead at Adobe, shares her thoughts on how design can impact ROI. Here are the top 20 moments from the episode:
[20 punchy headlines with a 1-2 sentence summary for each]
This can be a thread on Twitter, a full post on LinkedIn, or a summary video on Instagram. You want your audience to see the post, learn 20 memorable insights from it, and scroll away satisfied.
Pro Tip: Make sure you always tag your guest and the company they work for in your summary posts to help encourage guest engagement and re-sharing. More on this later!
As for the link, as tempting as it is to add it to the end of your caption, save it for the comments or the absolute last post in your Twitter thread. The people who are truly interested will make their way to the comments or to the end of the thread to listen.
Again, the goal isn’t for your audience to click off. The goal is for them to consume your content on the platform they’re already on so they:
It’s the slow and steady “value” game that will organically lead to increased episode downloads.
Unlike the summary posts, the goal of individual takeaway posts is not to reference the podcast in each post. Instead, it’s your own, in-depth brand take on a specific topic you and your guest covered.
Ask yourself, “What are 20 valuable moments (by what my audience defines as value), and how can I say each of these in a way that is unique to my brand?”
The potential with these types of posts is endless. The key is to, again, deliver it natively and contextually on the platform your audience is paying attention to, without asking them to leave that platform.
20 valuable insights could easily become 60 social posts if you break each one down into very digestible information.
For example, you could take that episode on ‘how design affects ROI’ and distill it down to an in-depth breakdown of how to sell design thinking to leadership teams.
How do you sell design thinking to the higher-ups?
Speak to both the financial and marketing benefits using concrete measurements of growth and improvement.
Remember, your leadership team is struggling to balance their wants and must-dos, so be empathic to that. The more you can prove design thinking positively affects ROI, the better chance you have at gaining leadership support.
Here are 3 ways a design-first approach helped us scale our business:
Now, take these three examples and apply them to your own business. Are the results compelling enough to sway your leadership team?
The post starts with the problem, gives a straightforward answer, explains the why and how, and gives examples of your own experience.
Note that nowhere do you mention the podcast, the guest, the episode number, or the link to listen.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t ever mention the podcast.
For example, maybe in one of the 20 posts, you say something like “in our latest interview with Jane Doe, we talked about the ROI of design…”, then go on to share your point of view.
But the main point of the takeaway posts is to find moments that are educational, valuable, insightful, interesting, contrarian, etc., and to put each in your own words – sharing your brand’s unique point of view on that topic.
While competitive research is a great source of inspiration, be careful not to copy what everyone else is doing.
A lot of what you’ll see in the industry are:
These are great, but don’t create them just because everyone else is doing it. Ask yourself what kind of content your unique audience enjoys the most, and find a way to package the takeaways you find in an engaging way that aligns with your branding.
Otherwise, you’ll get lost in the shuffle.
Here are some tips on how to level up each of these podcast marketing assets.
We believe audiograms are quickly becoming the stock photos of podcasting – they’re overused and promote laziness.
Yup, we said it.
Audiograms fail because they’re hard to consume and have little to no supporting visuals.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What will make you stop your scroll?
The correct answer is #2.
If the content is all the same, captivating visuals always win.
Instead of defaulting to the basics, spend time creating unique posts that will resonate with your audience and showcase the value of your brand. Even though it might take a bit more manpower, it’ll be worth the higher engagement in the end.
Videos are absolutely essential and perform very well on all platforms.
Long story short, video can be a powerful way of capturing your audience’s attention. However, the way you execute your podcast videos can either make or break your post. Our rule of thumb is to always add a static text header summarizing the main point of the clip along with captions.
This makes it a lot easier for your audience to make a quick judgment call on whether they want to invest the time in your video or not.It also allows viewers to watch your video without turning their sound on (very important if they’re watching in an office work environment or a quiet shared space!)
And if you really want to take it up a notch, have your marketing team record themselves talking about each takeaway in their own words. Or better yet, make reels out of them with very tangible value props.
Make the viewer want to watch your videos 5 times because there’s an overwhelming yet must-know level of information.
Podcast marketing images typically fall into 1 of 3 categories: slide graphics, quote graphics, or headshots of your guest with text.
While these are definitely overused, you can still make them your own.
Rather than sharing a carousel of top quotes from the episode, take one important point your guest made and turn it into a swipe-worthy post. Something your audience can learn from. Think along the lines of: “Top 5 ways to ________”
Another great way to spice up your image posts is to use abstract designs to illustrate an idea. Posting a picture of your guest with a quote is just not cutting it anymore.
How can you illustrate those golden moments in a way that matches the overall theme of your podcast?
Again, make someone want to stop dead in their tracks, engage with what you have to share, and instantly recognize your brand the next time they see your content.
Finally, you could consider using images to illustrate abstract ideas. For example, maybe a core takeaway from your latest episode was about the power of delegation. Rather than using a stock photo, or an image of words against a background, you could illustrate that concept visually.
A great example of this is Visualize Value.
Make your podcast marketing memorable.
We recommend distinguishing between an episode’s show notes, and long-form articles. Your show notes may contain a simple summary of the episode, top highlights or quotes, and guest information.
If they’re going to spend their time on your blog, they want to learn something from you. They don’t want a recap of something they can listen to on their own.
So when you plan your next podcast-related blog post, focus on a core theme (or a set of related takeaways) from the episode and elaborate on your perspective on the topic.
Think of ways you can teach or entertain your reader enough to want to come back for more.
You can also spice up your posts by adding:
Your posts should be more than just 5 headlines and some supporting copy. Think of what makes you want to read an entire article and emulate that in your writing and layouts.
People aren’t averse to long emails. They’re averse to bad copy.
Your rule of thumb for sharing podcast episodes through an email newsletter should simply be to give away as many takeaways as possible in a well-written way.
If that means your email is long and covers 20 important topics, great. If it means your email is short and covers 5 punchy subjects, that’s also great.
The key is to not be long for the sake of being long or short because some articles you found say that people don’t like long content. Just focus on giving your reader as much gold as possible without making them jump through hoops to learn more.
You need to know your customer better than anyone. If you know for a fact your audience detests long emails, listen to them and give them the short and sweet. If they enjoy in-depth, detailed content, provide that to them.
In the end, all that matters is they are getting what they want from you, when they want it, and where they want it.
If your company has only been doing gated content or using social channels to promote yourself, it may take some time to get your team to invest in this type of “generous”, value-centered approach.
And if that’s the case, you’ll need to deeply believe in the value it’s going to yield.
We’ve already mentioned this, but the main value you’re going to get is awareness, trust, and audience growth.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen.
Here’s how we think about it: if you go to your audience on social, and say “hey, come listen to our podcast,” you may get a small percentage who are willing to check it out.
But if you go to your audience and say, “no need to go anywhere – we’re going to bring the most valuable moments of our new podcast to you, right here, so you can get insights whenever we post,” then you have their attention.
And over time, the audience members who want to go deeper and get even more insights will find and subscribe to your show.
But either way, your podcast has accomplished its job.
So even if they never subscribe to your show, they’re still building affinity for your company. Your brand will be top of mind, they’ll share you, follow you, and be more likely to stop their scroll and see what you’ve got to say.
For a deeper dive on this topic, listen to this episode of “Brands that Podcast” for more tips on how to make the most of your podcast marketing strategy.
Now that you know how to build a podcast marketing strategy and have the inside scoop on how to create killer assets, it’s time to move on to the last step: growing and promoting your podcast.
First, you need to define your podcast’s value props:
The most important one is, “Why should your audience care?”
If you’re running a show for travel enthusiasts, and you’re 1 of 50 shows targeting this market, why should your podcast grow? What reason are you giving your audience to choose to listen to your show over the other 49?
This doesn’t mean you have to be the defacto podcast in your category (a la Joe Rogan), but it does mean you have to bring a very unique perspective to the table.
Example: If you’re a travel blogger, you could start a podcast for people in their 20s who want to travel to exotic places for less than $2,000.
So before we jump into the specifics of marketing and promoting your podcast, make sure you feel confident about your value props.
Because, let’s face it, no amount of marketing can fix a bad podcast.
Sometimes we’re so focused on promoting our podcast to our target audience that we forget about promoting it within the company itself.
Make it a habit to share new episodes with your team on a regular basis. This could mean including it in a monthly internal newsletter, sending an announcement in Slack, or recruiting a group of internal “podcast champions” to spread the word.
Ideally, your podcast champions are people on your team who fit your target podcast audience. They are genuinely interested in the topics you cover and have a desire to become experts in those fields as well.
How do you incentivize internal groups to share with their own networks?
Empower them to grow their personal brand through the use of your podcast.
Give them access to the takeaway repository we talked about earlier, and treat it like a company wiki so they can use your takeaways and turn them into their own insight posts.
Not only will they see your podcast as a helpful resource (and in turn want to talk about it), but they will use it as a way to benefit their personal careers. And as a bonus, the people who follow them will start to get to know (and trust) the people behind your brand.
Your podcast might actually be the secret sales weapon you never knew you needed.
You can use it as a way to spruce up communication with stagnant leads or even as a way to broach points they might be apprehensive about.
For example, let’s say you’re in the process of closing a sale and know there are certain points the prospect is hung up on or wants to learn more about. You can send them an episode of your podcast where you talk about these particular topics and your stance on them.
This gives them the ability to listen to your perspective without being on “defense” as they would on a sales call. They can consume your point of view and thought leadership on the topic asynchronously, and get to know you better in the process.
We’ve personally seen great success with this here at Lemonpie.
During the sales process, we’ll often recommend certain episodes to prospects who want to dive deeper into things, like podcast ROI. They often end up listening to multiple episodes, sharing them with their team, and later, telling us how helpful the episodes were in helping them make an informed decision.
Chances are, the point of contact who had a sales call with you wants to be equipped with reasons to buy from you. All you have to do is arm them with the language to answer those decision-making questions.
But even if one-on-one communication isn’t part of your sales cycle, there are still ways you can use your podcast.
Like in abandoned cart emails to add a more human element to what typically feels like a cold email.
“Looks like you’re not ready to buy just yet. And we totally get it!
While you master the “should I” or “shouldn’t I” game, listen to this episode of our Retail Therapy podcast to help you navigate the craziness of the holiday shopping season.
Your #AbandonedCarts crew.”
In both cases, you’re giving them an asynchronous way to learn from you and build up their trust in your brand.
When we say “feature”, we really do mean feature.
Don’t bury your podcast under your “Resources” section or in your footer.
Promote it loud and proud for everyone to see. Remember, this is the best way for site visitors to get to know your brand on a personal level.
You could add it as a section of your homepage or even use an announcement banner at the top of your site to promote the latest episode.
We also recommend you create individual pages for each of your episodes that include show notes, video interviews (if applicable), and the full episode transcript.
It might seem like a lot but adding all this content to your site will:
All this to say, put in everything you’ve got when it comes to promoting your podcast on your company site.
The benefits are real.
We talked about this point in-depth above, using the “Molehill Method”. But here’s a helpful little tl;dr summary:
Remember, you can turn any episode into 20+ social posts. The potential is there. You just need to dig deep into those takeaways and turn each of them into value-driven content for your audience.
Once you start to build up a community, it’s important to engage with them and make them feel heard.
After all, the show is ultimately for them, so give them a voice in it:
You might also consider making a “live” version of your show where you use Zoom or streaming software, to allow listeners to chime in, or ask questions while you’re recording.
Your audience is your podcast’s livelihood, so give them the attention they deserve.
Find out where your ideal audience persona hangs out (outside of the typical social channels), and engage with them there. This could be Facebook groups, Quora, or Reddit, for example. The most important thing to note here is that nobody wants to be sold to.
So this isn’t really a time to promote your podcast like, “Hey! It sounds like you’re a cat lover. I think you’d really like my Fierce Felines podcast!”
Leave the promos at the door. Instead, offer up those valuable insights from your podcast where relevant.
If you’re in a forum about cat food and there’s a specific episode of your podcast that talks about why it’s important to switch between wet and dry cat food, then give away all the knowledge you gained from that episode.
Once you offer up enough catnip, they’ll want to jump right in. And that’s when you drop a note about the podcast.
Pro Tip: Be transparent with the moderators. If you have a killer episode you chopped up into a 1-minute video and would like to share it with their audience, ask for their permission to do so and explain why you think their group would benefit from it. If you’re genuine about it, they will likely allow you to share.
Your goal with this tactic is to pull valuable insights from your show (using the molehill method we detailed above), and then share those insights with the community you’re a part of.
But this means you have to actually add value.
It requires patience, and you’re likely to get booted from the community if they feel you’re doing too much self-promotion.
Done right, it’s a great way to share the value of your show, and you may even see other community members recommending your podcast as a resource.
You don’t have to do all the heavy lifting.
Your guests can help too.
The key here is to make it as easy as possible for them to share the episode with their network.
Sometimes we assume the guest will just know or remember when their episode is supposed to launch.
But the truth is, most of them don’t.
That’s why sending an “episode is live” email is crucial (and something a lot of podcasters typically forget.)
In your email, make sure you:
Any time you share an episode summary post on your channels or even an individual takeaway post attributed to your guest, make sure you always tag them and their company.
This way, they (or their team) will get a notification and can very easily reshare on their profiles.
You can also tag them in a comment asking them to elaborate on a specific topic in your post. This will encourage more than just a like and reshare.
It’s important to see your fellow podcasters as friends, not foes.
The more you network with them, the more likely they are to share your podcast with their audience.
And what we mean by “network” is give, give, give without asking for anything in return.
At the end of the day, you want to build authentic relationships with them and make them feel like you have their back.
They’ll eventually return the favor without you having to ask.
If your marketing budget allows for paid promotion, let’s talk about the best ways to use that money.
Make a video trailer for your podcast, just like you would to promote a new product or feature, and share it as an ad on social channels.
A few things to note when making this video:
Think about who this video is for and what will compel that person to want to click over to listen to you.
Take one of your best-performing podcast marketing posts and pay to increase its reach.
One thing to keep in mind here is the post should be purely educational. Don’t make it about clicking off to subscribe.
Think of this as an awareness campaign so you get more eyes on a post that you know for a fact is valuable to your audience.
There are 2 ways you can leverage the power of an influencer in your niche:
Whichever route you choose, simply look for influential people in your space that you know your audience looks up to and connect with them to see how you can work together.
You can also pay to advertise your show on relevant podcast platforms, like Spotify ads or Overcast ads, or on specific shows you know your ideal audience listens to.
The great thing about advertising your podcast on another podcast is you’re reaching an audience that already listens to shows similar to yours.
You don’t have to convince them to jump on the podcast bandwagon.
You simply have to compel them enough to want to add your show to their rotation. Again - make sure you’re making the value proposition clear. In your ad, detail what your show is about, what they’ll get out of it by listening, the kinds of topics you cover, and where they can find you.
Another way to promote your own show is to appear as a guest on other podcasts.
Pro tip: Our definitive guide to podcast guesting covers any and all details on what podcast guesting is, how your brand can benefit from it, how to find the right podcasts to guest on, how to properly pitch podcasts, and so much more.
The main benefit of podcast guesting in this case is, once again, you’re talking to podcast listeners. This helps eliminate the hurdle of having to convince a non-podcast listener that your show is worth adding podcasts to their current content rotation.
It also gives you the opportunity to end your interview with a very specific CTA, which is a great way to share your own show. Instead of only asking them to find you on social, or your website, you can invite them to listen to your show.
If you gave strong insights throughout your interview, you are now giving listeners an opportunity to learn more from you, for free, on their own terms.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to measuring the success of your podcast marketing strategy is to be patient.
Building trust takes time. It takes time for people to get to know your voice. It takes time for them to really see you as a valuable source of information.
They might have to see your posts and listen to 7+ episodes before they convert into a paying customer.
Don’t get discouraged if your download numbers are slow to grow, or if you don’t see a sudden increase in leads and revenue.
Simply be consistent with your content strategy, focus on delivering quality 100% of the time, and the rest will follow.
Making the Most of Your Podcast: Listen to Jeremiah and Erik talk about how to get the most juice out of your podcast strategy.
Market Your Podcast Like You Do Your Website: Why the “if you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work.
Direct Marketing vs. Brand Marketing: The #1 mistake marketers make and how to solve it.
Measuring Podcast ROI: This episode of Brands that Podcast dives deeper into the burning question all podcast marketers are dying to solve.
How Refine Labs Podcasts: Listen to Refine Labs CEO, Chris Walker, talk about the importance of investing in content marketing.