In the previous posting (Social Media Marketing: Podcasting to Build Your Online Community) we discussed how to create a podcast and how you can use it for developing your online community of raving fans! In this posting we will discuss how you can market that podcast, so you can start growing your audience. Without an audience, you won't have much of a reach to spread your message!
The most obvious place to start is the most popular directory for podcasts in the world, iTunes! iTunes is the first place you should list your podcast, in order to take advantage of the massive number of potential subscribers who sync their iPods to it every day! The first step you should take to add your podcast to the list is to link your podcast RSS feed to Feedburner.com. When you sign up to Feedburner, you will receive a custom link (such as http://feeds.feedburner.com/AdayInteractiveInc). Feedburner allows you to track subscribers, statistics, optimize your feed, and monetization via Google adSense. After you have your RSS feed setup on Feedburner, you can redistribute your content (text, audio or video) in a format that can be used in iTunes and the Zune Marketplace.
Once you have your Feedburner link set up, you can submit it into iTunes. First you will need to create an iTunes account, and download the iTunes software. You can go to Apples support site where they provide detailed instructions on how to publish a podcast on the iTunes Store. Remember that the iTunes team does review every podcast submission, so it may take a day or two before you finally get it approved. After you have submitted your podcast and get it approved, you will receive a special iTunes web address that you can share on your site for people to subscribe to.
Along with iTunes, the next place you should submit your podcast is the Zune Marketplace, which is the Microsoft version of iTunes. People who own a Zune audio player, or a Windows 7 Phone use this to download podcasts, music and other content. Similar to iTunes, you will need to create an account and download the software in order to submit your podcast to their Podcast Marketplace. Once you download the software, you can go to "Marketplace>Podcasts", scroll down to the center and "Submit a Podcast". This is where you will fill in the same RSS feed as you submitted to iTunes.
In addition to these two directories, there are many other websites where you can submit your Podcast feed to publicize. These include Podcast Alley, Zen Cast and Yahoo Audio. There are many other directories you can check out as well. Just look up "podcast directory" in Google and see what you find. Remember the more directories you can post your podcast in, the more exposure you will get for your podcast!
Once you have submitted your podcast to at least iTunes and the Zune Marketplace, you should start promoting it on your blog. When posting to your blog, you should include your title, description and link to the podcast. You should also include show notes, which you can reference when recording your actual blog (i.e. see the notes for more information). This is not only great for a listener who wants to learn more about the topic of your podcast, but it is also great for search engine optimization (SEO), as it adds additional content for Google and other search engines to index.
After your blog, you should promote your podcast on social media networks, starting with your your Facebook fan page. I would suggest you create a fan page specifically for your podcast, but you can also add a custom tab for it on your current fan page as well.This tab can be branded with your podcast icon and logo, include an archive of past podcasts and you may even be able to embed your podcast directly into your page. You can also post each podcast onto your "Wall" and ask your "fans" to share that post on their walls, to get exposure to their Facebook friends. If you are more advanced using Facebook fan pages, you can also import your RSS feed using a custom add-on application, like "RSS Feed" from Involver, or some other RSS feed connector. If you have your Twitter account connected to Facebook, when you post the podcast to your wall, it should also post to Twitter automatically, to promote to your followers on that network. Finally, if you have that Twitter feed automatically updating your LinkedIn profile, it will Update your personal profile as well, exposing it to your LinkedIn connections! Finally, if you have done all of that, and are on Google+, you should also share across your various Circles, and ask them to share with their circles.
After publishing on your blog, and promoting on social networking sites, you should start promoting your podcast via email. This includes your e-mail subscriber list (if you have one), your e-mail signature, and any email auto responders you have set up for people who e-mail specific accounts or fill out forms on your site and have opted to receive e-mailed updates. You can send special one off e-mail blasts specifically to let subscribers know that you have published a new podcast, or you can include it in any current newsletter campaigns you are running. The newsletter can also be used to hype your future podcasts, especially if you have special episodes with expert guests who are well known in your target audience’s community. In each case, you should try to include the title, topic and a short description, with teaser copy on what your podcast is about. You should also include a link to your podcast archive or RSS feed, for people to download older podcasts, or to subscribe to the RSS feed to receive them automatically.
Now hopefully after some time, you will have grown an audience and increased your reach, if you are executing the above tactics well. If you have achieved some level of recognition for your podcast, you will likely gain fans who are enthusiastic about what you are doing. You should build relationships with these audience members so you can nurture them further, with the goal of turning them into raving fans of your podcast. These extremely happy listeners can help market your podcast for you (or any other service for that matter), extending the reach of your potential audience members. Don't be shy to ask your audience members to invite their friends, or to encourage them with contests, promos or some other exchange of value that will motivate them to share your message with others. This also goes for partners and guests on the show. Make sure they are promoting the episodes they are participating in to their own social media networks, email lists and on their blog. This will not only maximize their own exposure, but also promote your podcast to a whole another network of people.
For more information on promoting your podcast, check great podcast on marketing your podcast by the Podcast Answer Man. You can also read up on the subject with these books: Podcast Academy: The Business Podcasting Book: Launching, Marketing, and Measuring Your Podcast, Promoting Your Podcast: The Ultimate Guide to Building an Audience of Raving Fans and Podcast Church. Of course, feel free to call or email with any questions you may have about this topic: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In conclusion, promoting your podcast will not only help spread your message, but it will also help you build an image of being an expert in your field. Don't be shy about promoting your hard work, and don't forget the great tools available today to share your message. Utilize social media, email newsletters, your blog and word of mouth marketing to reach the largest possible audience, at the lowest possible price!
Next post, we will discuss the ORIGINAL social marketing: Word of Mouth Marketing!