Podcast Marketing: How to Grow Your Audience with a Marketing Plan, Social Media & Metadata Tips | Amanda McLoughlin | Skillshare

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Podcast Marketing: How to Grow Your Audience with a Marketing Plan, Social Media & Metadata Tips

teacher avatar Amanda McLoughlin, Podcaster and Internet Businessperson

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is a Marketing Plan?


    • 3.

      Defining Your Audience


    • 4.

      Finding Your Audience


    • 5.

      Succeeding with Social Media


    • 6.

      Connecting with the Podcast Community


    • 7.

      Using Metadata to Your Advantage


    • 8.

      Pitching Your Show


    • 9.

      Content Marketing


    • 10.

      Putting Your Plan Into Action


    • 11.

      Now Go Forth and Market Well!


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About This Class

Podcasts are the next great medium. They’re intimate, creative, diverse, and endlessly adaptable to new genres and ideas.

But how do you get the word out about your podcast? How do you find your audience and connect with listeners as passionate about your show as you are? And most of all, how do you convince strangers on the internet to add another podcast to their listening queue?

Great podcasts need great marketing. In this one-hour course, you’ll put together a comprehensive and actionable marketing plan for your show. Learn how to develop an online voice for your show, where to find potential listeners, and how to add your voice to the broader podcasting community—all on your schedule, using methods you feel great about.

Who should take this course?

Anyone with a podcast! Whether you’re an individual creator or a member of a larger team, you’ll learn marketing strategies and tips relevant to your show. Content is designed to welcome entry-level podcasters while also challenging more experienced producers to augment existing strategies.

If you’re still developing your podcast idea, you will also benefit from the principles discussed in this course. Great marketing starts with great planning, and it’s never too early to start!

What You’ll Learn

  • What marketing means for podcasters
  • Why marketing matters for podcasts of all sizes and genres
  • How great podcast marketing helps shows succeed
  • How to optimize your podcast metadata for growth
  • What your show’s voice is, and how to translate that to social media
  • How to do proactive, targeted, non-annoying outreach to potential listeners and reviewers
  • Which data points matter when measuring success—and how to know when to change tactics


Meet Your Teacher

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Amanda McLoughlin

Podcaster and Internet Businessperson


Hi, I'm Amanda! I'm a podcaster, business builder, and queer martini aunt. I run Multitude, an independent podcast collective and consultancy based in New York City. Multitude produces original shows, publishes free resources for podcasters, and helps clients of all sizes create, market, and grow great shows. My career is dedicated to helping other creators make a living by making great stuff online.

Just type 'Multitude' into your podcast player to check out our shows!

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1. Introduction: Hi. I'm Amanda McLaughlin. I'm a podcaster, internet business person, and marketing consultant. That means I make podcasts, help other podcasters make a living, and teach people how to market well. This course is about how to market a podcast. As you watch along, you'll be building a marketing plan for your own show. Whether you are an indie producer with a show of your own, a member of a larger team, or someone with an idea for a podcast, this course is for you. Anyone brave enough to make something and put it on the internet needs to know how to market, and that's what we're going to learn today. Now, before I got into podcasting, I thought that marketing was something giant companies did when they bought billboards or magazine ads. What could I possibly need to know about that? But here's the truth. Marketing is just learning how to tell your story to people who might want to hear it. That's all. Over the next few videos, we will learn what a marketing plan is, and how to make one. How did identify, find, and talk to your audience. How to be really good at social media, why and how to pitch your podcast to journalists, and a few other tips and tricks to help get your show into as many earbuds as possible. As you watch, definitely take notes. Every video is going to include a prompt for you to answer in your marketing plan document. Now, I made a template for you to use. You can find that in the project tab of this course, or just use a notebook, spreadsheet, a blank document, whatever you want. If you ever have any questions, just use the community tab. Your classmates and I will be around to answer whatever questions come up. Let's get going. 2. What is a Marketing Plan? : I don't have to tell you how much work making a Podcast is. With everything that you have to do and worry about just to publish an episode, you need to really make sure that you're spending your time wisely. I know from first-hand experience that it can be really easy to just focus on the essentials of recording, editing, and posting your episodes, putting everything else on the back burner. But if you're here taking this course, you know that marketing is essential. You can make an awesome show, but just being good isn't necessarily enough to find an audience. You need to figure out how to talk about your show and do a little bit to try and bring in an audience. If you use a marketing plan, you'll make sure that you know exactly what you're doing and when. You won't waste valuable time. Marketing plans don't need to be fancy. All they have to do is tell you what you're going to do and when to help grow your show. You can use a notebook, word document spreadsheet, or the template that I provided. Whatever you use, the parts of a marketing plan are simple. There is audience, location, tasks, and timing, as well as a section for the information and copy about your show that you're going to be using again and again. Let's get into the first part. Audience. 3. Defining Your Audience: Before you can figure out how to reach your audience, you have to figure out who exactly that is. This is the first section of our marketing plan. If you already have a strong idea of who is listening to your show, who you're making it for, go ahead and write that down. If you've multiple people as listeners, go ahead and write them each on a different line or bullet point in your marketing plan. After you finish that or if you have no idea who your audience is or might be, we're going to use a tool called audience profiles to try to figure that out. An audience profile is just a sentence describing a specific listener that you want to include in your audience. This shouldn't just be demographic like women between 18 and 24 or men over 55. We want to get specific. For a food podcast for example, an audience profile might be couples making over $50,000 a year who go out to eat one or two times a week, or Instagram users looking for new restaurant recommendations for when they travel. You need more than just age or gender. Your audience profile sentence should say something about what that person does, wants, or likes. Here's another example. For the podcast. I co-host, spirits, one of our audience profile sentences might read, LGBTQ teens interested in history. Another might be mythology and folklore geeks interested in mental health and social justice. We're going one step beyond a basic category, like LGBTQ people or teams and talking about what they want, who they are, and what they like to do. Don't worry about whether or not these profiles include podcast listeners, this exercise is all about finding people who share something in common with you, who will be drawn to the show's tone or subject matter. Later on, we'll address how to convert general podcast fans into fans of yours. Take some time and try to come up with five profiles you might want to ask your collaborators or friends who have listened to the show if they have any ideas after you've exhausted your own imagination, list them down in your marketing plan, and then join me in the next video to figure out how to reach these people. 4. Finding Your Audience: Now that we've identified some potential listeners with our audience profiles, were going to try to figure out where these people hang out. That might be a particular website. A social media community. A store or venue or maybe the audience of an influential artist, writer, or a leader in your community. You're going to try to brainstorm some locations for each of the audience profiles you list it. Do a first-pass through each profile, listing some locations that that person might hang out. As you do this, start to notice if there are any commonalities between these profiles. If the same location shows up more than once, highlight, or underline it. Now spend some time in those places. Who is making awesome stuff? What do people love about it? How did they talk to each other? What gets them really excited? If you're already pretty familiar with some of these places, these locations, all the better. Jot down your observations or the things you love most about them in your marketing plan. You might also start to have ideas about how you can market to or participate in this community for your podcast as you go through. Definitely feel free to write these down, but don't force yourself to come up with them right away. This step is all about observation and discovery. But once you've gone through and explored and surveyed a few different locations, we are going to turn our attention to how you might be able to participate in these communities, and I do mean participate, and not market. Think about how you can contribute to these communities, what you can give, not what you want to get. This might sound counter-intuitive, but it's my cardinal rule of marketing. Give, don't take. Think of these locations as opportunities to connect with other people about a thing that you love. Let me give you an example. When we were first starting our podcast Spirits, we would use Spirits' Twitter account to post about the audio dramas that we were listening to escape from our crappy day jobs. We loved these fictional podcasts, and we wanted to connect with others who loved them too. We used the hashtag, AudioDramaSunday, to share our recommendations and convince our listeners to check out these podcasts. We ended up forming friendships with other podcasters this way. Now, our show was not an audio drama. We're not asking people to listen to us, and yet that is a side benefit from being a conspicuous fan of other people in your community. When you contribute, when you connect, when you let love of a thing be your driving motivation in using social media or marketing, you're going to start to form friendships. The people that you meet will be driven to check out what you're doing. Not because you ask them to, but because they're curious. Think, what can I give? Take your time, write down some notes, check out some more locations on your list, and when you're ready, join me in the next video. 5. Succeeding with Social Media: In the last video, I talked a little bit about how spirits used social media when we first started. Namely to do things other than posting links to our new episodes, I want you to think about your podcast social media in the same way. Namely, what can you give your listeners? How can you add to their experience of your show? How can you tell more stories, share more advice, or otherwise deepen your bond with these people? Make a section in your marketing plan titled mission, and start to write down some of your answers to these questions. At the top of this section, right down five words that you want people to think of when they think about your podcast. These are going to be your guiding values on social media. For spirits, these words might include empathetic, curious, irreverent, and loving. This will be your mission when posting us your show. Not to be viral, not to be funny or not to sound like your favorite podcast. It's to be authentic, as corny as that sounds. Your listeners will want to hear you when they follow you on social media. New people who find you through your marketing want to think, yes, this is what I signed up for when they eventually listened to your podcast. They don't want to be confused or disappointed because your tone is mismatched. You're trying to find your listeners, not just some listeners. Be yourself, sound like yourself. If it's helpful to write posts by saying them out loud first or to send them in a text to a friend, absolutely do that. Listen to your show while you write, make your five words your phone background. Start a mood board. Do whatever you have to do to keep your vision on your show and not to be distracted by other people's posts and advice and all the noise out there. Let your voice shine. Beyond original posts, you can also encourage your listeners in your existing audience to interact with you the way that you want. When someone comments on or replies to a post you make in a way that makes you smile, raise it up. You can quote, tweet it, screenshot it, or otherwise re-post it with permission from that person. This will model the kind of feedback that you want from your audience, and encourage them to give you more of the same. It also helps establish the tone and voice of your social media presence. It gives you one fewer post to write for the day. Make sure to use every field available to you to establish your tone and voice on social media. Consistency is really important. So use your logo for your profile picture across all of your accounts and do your best to get the same username on all of them. Even if you don't plan on using a certain platform, just go ahead and grab that username, put up your profile picture, take a couple minutes to set it up even if you will never log into it again. The reason I suggest this is that, listeners will try to tag your show on whatever platform they use, not just the ones that you use actively. You want at least to be present and have a link that works if they do decide to tag you. Again, you don't have to post actively. Just set up your profile, put in a link to your website, and make sure that you're there in case someone does tag you. It is okay not to be active on every social media platform. You want to be excited at and good at the marketing you do. It shouldn't feel like homework. Choose one or two platforms you're really stoked about and record in your marketing plan how often you're going to post to each one. I recommend at least one post per day on Twitter, and at least one per week on Instagram and Facebook. As for the platforms you don't plan to use, just set up your profile, pin a post to the top directing people to your website, and then don't log into them again. Just focus on what excites you. 6. Connecting with the Podcast Community: Our last exercise with audience profiles, identified people who have something in common with you, that might want to listen to your podcast. But there's also another huge pool of potential listeners out there and that's podcast fans. Believe me, when I say that podcast fans are super fans. Most of them listen to more than one show or even dozens and dozens of them, and they're always looking for more recommendations. That's why other podcasters are your colleagues and not your competition. There is plenty of room and plenty of listeners out there for all of us, and we're a lot more powerful if we tried to help each other succeed. Becoming a member of this community of podcasters, will help you find more listeners, and it's also a lot of fun. Using your podcasts social media accounts, follow shows that you love, follow podcasts that you love, follow podcast recommendation websites, podcasts journalists, and even your hosting platform. As you start to interact with them, keep in mind my cardinal rule, give, don't take. Complement other podcasters in a sincere way. Share shows or individual episodes that you really love with your followers, and respond to as many comments and replies as you can. This is your chance to become a citizen of the podcasting community. Once you start to make friends and colleagues in the space, people will start to check out your show and see what you're all about. But convincing people to listen to your show is only half the battle. You also want to keep them as audience members, and this is where you get to do what you do best, using audio to build connections. Somewhere in each episode, ask your audience to do one thing to help the show grow. What that thing is can rotate and vary over time, but my favorite one is to ask the audience to text one friend who would love the show and convinced them to listen. I like this one so much because it's way more specific than just saying please share or tell your friends. It's saying, "hey, right now, pause the podcast, text the friend that you know would love the show, and convince them just one person to listen." This also helps forge loyalty and connection with your audience. People love helping a thing that they like to grow. It makes them feel more invested and more like they're a part of the podcast. I wrote a lot more about calls to action and this one in particular in an article that I will link to you in the class notes. When your listeners are moved to listen to you and to help share the show, make sure they have all the information they need to do it. This means that your episode descriptions or show notes should include links to the podcast on social media and to your website. Please include a useful summary of the episode too. Inside jokes are great when you get them, but they can be really alienating when you don't. So, default to information over humor in your podcast descriptions. This also makes it really easy for listeners to scan old episodes and figure out which one is the best one to send a friend. It helps your searchability, more on that in the next lesson. 7. Using Metadata to Your Advantage: You're going to be doing great work to help listeners find your show. Once they do, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to understand what you are, what you're about, and how the show functions. Before you begin implementing your marketing plan, let's turn our attention to metadata. First, you need a great one-sentence summary of your show. This should also be how your podcast description begins, front-loading the most important information for potential new listeners. Spirits, for example, is a boozy dive into mythology, folklore, and urban legends that tells you about our concept, which is that we have a drink and tell stories, and the subject matter of those stories, as well as something about the format. The fact that an episode can be about mythology, folklore, or urban legends in a given week. That's also how we start each episode, it serves as a quick explanation of what the show is and gives us a chance to introduce ourselves, and tell people which voice belongs to who. This serves as a much needed orientation for new listeners who might be coming into the show at Episode 130 instead of Episode 1. For longtime listeners, it's a fun inside joke. They are used to those words, they like saying them along at home some of them, and it helps to build loyalty, connection, and routine with your audience. Long-time listeners are used to this introduction. They like the structure, they like the repetition. New listeners get a much needed orientation into what the show is and who each speaker is. Don't worry about including the word podcast or your episode release schedule in this one-sentence summary. Focus on what makes you special. Look over your audience profiles again and ask yourself, what would make these people really excited? If you're stumped a link to a great lecture in the class notes that helps you develop a 10 word pitch for your podcast. Once you settle on a great one-sentence summary, go ahead and plug that into your marketing plan. You're going to be copying and pasting the sentence a lot. From here, it's time to build this one sentence summary into a full podcast description. This paragraph, shows up in every podcast player and next to your podcast title and logo, so it's really valuable real estate for telling people what you're all about. Keep the momentum going from writing your one-sentence description and try to convey the tone and feeling of your show in your writing. Choose words that are exciting, enticing, and lively, as well as words that people who are into your subject matter, might try to search for. This is another opportunity to improve your searchability, your SEO, and to use metadata to your advantage. Spirits, for example, we say the words mythology, folklore, and urban legends in every episode description, and in our podcast description. People search for mythology podcasts all the time and now we show up when they do. I realized that you have to keep a lot in mind while you're writing this paragraph, but it really is foundational and it's going to be so helpful to you down the line. Take this time to try to really convey your show and its feeling and to optimize for discovery. Once you have your description, you are well equipped to move on to the final piece of our marketing toolbox, the press kit. 8. Pitching Your Show: One of the best ways to build momentum for a new or existing show is to get reviewed in a podcast recommendation website, or newsletter. Lots of podcast fans use these tools to find out about new shows, and it's also really exciting to see your logo included in a roundup of great new podcasts. Sometimes the authors of these articles just stumble across your show, but you can increase your chance of appearing in one of these by putting together a great press kit. This is basically just a really awesome About page. It's a document or a web page that gives a potential reviewer all the information they might need to talk about your show. Your show summary is a great starting point for the press kit, but a potential reviewer will also want to know information like who you are, when the show started, how often it comes out, details like that. They'll also want to download your artwork, stream a trailer, and know how to get in touch with you if they need to. Spirits includes all this information on our website, but you can also make a slide deck, a PDF, or a Dropbox folder. However you do it, your press kit will make it really easy for anyone interested in writing about your show to do so. If you want more inspiration, I will link to a comprehensive guide to podcast press kits with examples in the class notes. With your press kit in hand, you can now send proactive e-mails to editors and journalists. Sites like the Bello Collective and Discoverpods have really clear submission guidelines on how to submit information about your show. If you read a podcast review or article that you really like, look that author up, see on their website or Twitter bio if they have guidelines on how to contact or to pitch them. Compose a polite, concise e-mail describing your show and linking to your press kit, and then save it as a template. That way you can access it easily again. Remember, give, don't take. You are giving, you are offering information on a show and not demanding or taking up a spot in their next article. Keep your tone really friendly, really professional and end the e-mail by thanking them for their time. These editors and journalists get way more e-mail than they can possibly respond to, so if you don't get a response, don't take it personally. I know how disappointing it can be to send an e-mail you're really excited about and then never hear back, but the more you do it, the more normal it will seem. Just make sure to always end on a positive impression, and leave the door open for future collaborations. You never know how your paths might cross in the future. Your pitches don't need to stop with podcast review sites though. Let's move on to the next lesson, content marketing. 9. Content Marketing: I started doing content marketing long before I knew it had a name. By documenting the process of starting a podcast, writing up lessons I learned, and sharing resources with my fellow podcasters, I was getting my name out there, and the name of my show. By creating stuff that content in content marketing that serves the people in your communities, you are raising your profile and the stuff you make. The best part is that you're not constrained by your medium. The host of a history podcast, can write a guest blog post for history website, give a lecture at a historical society, or even turn the research they did for a given episode into a feature, for a website or magazine. Revisit your audience profiles and locations, and ask yourself what you can contribute that will help people get to know you, your work, and what you have to offer a little better. Contributing to other podcasts is also a form of content marketing. By going on to show you really like as a guest, asking the host of a show onto your own, or collaborating on an episode, you are gaining exposure to a whole new audience by making something awesome for them. As always, remember to give, don't not to take, focus in your pitches on the value you would bring on what you have to offer and the idea that you're genuinely excited about, and always keep the door open for future possibilities. It might not be the right time now to work together, but if you're professional and friendly and understanding in your response, you might be able to do so down the line. This is definitely time consuming work and it is not by any means a must do for all podcasters. But if you're trying to build your portfolio, make a little extra money, or meet new people in your field, it can be a great way to accomplish those goals while promoting your podcast. Now, let's move on to putting your plan into action. 10. Putting Your Plan Into Action: Congratulations, your marketing plan is now ready to go. I say ready and not done because the plan is never going to be done. It will change over time. Sometimes that means doing more of what's working, like your show gets weirdly popular on Instagram, so you spend more time on that platform. Maybe your content marketing goes super well, so you carve out the time to write a regular column or to contribute more interviews to other podcasts. Other times it might mean rethinking an element entirely, like maybe your audience includes people you never expected it would, so you get to learn a whole new community. Sometimes you might have to scale back or cut an element entirely in the social media lesson, I mentioned that none of this should feel like homework. I want you to pay attention if you end up dreading or procrastinating on certain parts of your marketing plan. If this happens, I give you full permission to let that thing go. Marketing is a full-time job, not to mention social media management search and metadata optimization and making a podcast. You are wearing so many hats and your long-term sustainability and excitement about this podcast is the most important thing to that end. It's also important to document your successes. I want you to start a document called nice things people say about my podcast. Yes, I really mean it and to populate it with screenshots of compliments and feedback and community discussions than you really proud, if someone compliments a part of your editing or sound design that you've never thought anyone would notice, put it in there. If a tweet sparks and incredible conversation that helps your listeners get to know themselves or each other better put it in or my favorite, when I debate cutting something that ends up being peoples favorite part of the episode, I always screenshot those and they go in my document. I want you to refer to your nice things file without shame. Anytime you need a pick me up or when you're trying to figure out what's working and what you should do more of. You can also use quotes from reviews or public social media posts on your website or in your press kit. They're like testimonials that help new listeners understand what is so special about what you make. You might notice that we haven't talked a lot about metrics yet. Every social media platform and podcast host have a ton of data about followers and downloads and click-through rates. None of which I really care that much about. Don't get me wrong. It's important to keep an eye on these numbers over time as an indication of if your podcast is growing and how much, but don't get lost in the weeds. Don't check your download numbers when you get up every morning and definitely don't get notifications if someone unfollows you. Make sure the data you spend time measuring is what you actually care about. For us that's the number of comments and replies we get to our social media posts, not the number of followers we have. It's the trend of our episode download counts, whether they are growing or staying steady that we care about, and not the absolute number of downloads in a given week or month. We analyzed which tweets and Instagram posts performed the best in a given week or month instead of the number of likes we get overall, your follower count and download numbers are not a definitive measure of you, your work or how much your audience cares about what you mean. As you implement your marketing plan, remember to measure thoughtfully, to iterate often and above all else, to have fun. 11. Now Go Forth and Market Well! : Great work. I hope that having a marketing plan makes the idea of promoting your show a little bit less daunting. You are doing great stuff and you deserve to have an audience that cares about what you make. You can connect with fellow podcasters right here by looking at your classmate's work. Go ahead into the project tab of this course and post your marketing plan. Read other people's as well and compliment great ideas, give them constructive feedback and get inspiration for your own. If you'd like to learn more about my podcasts and their resources I make for podcasters go to the website and multitude dot productions were also at multitude shows on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you so much for watching. Good luck, and I can't wait to see what you make.