Countless lawyers and law firms have dived head-first into podcasting to leverage one of the fastest-growing content platforms in the world. If you are among them, congratulations! But now comes the hard part.
Growing your audience, avoiding the “podfade” phenomenon, and generating returns on your investment quickly become priority one. After all, you likely set ambitious goals and strategic objectives that need to be met, and the only way to do that is to keep building upon your early momentum.
As popular as the medium is, podcasting is not a field of dreams. You must do more than build it to reasonably expect that “they will come.” It takes marketing, persistence, and creativity to stand out and stand the test of time. Here are some suggestions to help you market a podcast and grow your audience.
Create Micro-Moment Gateways
If you are promoting your podcast on social media and via email — which you should be! — I urge you to be careful and cognizant of what we’re asking your audiences to do. Busy executives, finding mere moments between tasks, quickly scan social media feeds or skim inboxes looking for reasons to interrupt their flows. Or, more likely, they are avoiding those interruptions.
Be honest: How likely is it that someone thumb-scrolling through LinkedIn is going to see a post about your podcast, stop what she is doing, click a link to open and/or download a new app, and listen to your 20- to 30-minute podcast right then and there?
But what she may be willing to do is watch a 60-second video/audio snippet of an episode, to get a taste of what your show covers, check out the quality of your production and content, and make a determination as to whether it’s worth her full attention going forward. She may even bookmark it to return to later.
Over time, those micro-impressions will aggregate and foster conversions to full-episode listenership and even subscriptions.
While you may not get every one of your connections to instantly subscribe to your first episode, you can offer micro-content to serve as the gateway to a future, longer and more immersive engagement with your podcast. If you don’t offer up the appetizer, you may never get the chance to serve the full meal.
If you follow our advice by focusing on a narrowly-defined audience niche, this next step becomes a whole lot easier. If you’re producing valuable content on your podcast, and that content offers true insight and expertise to a given segment of some broader industry, that content holds true value.
It is likely that the niche market you’re looking to influence has its own set of content communities, trade associations, websites, media, and even social media groups. Such websites, media, and content communities are looking for great content to serve up to their audiences to reinforce their own value proposition before the same constituents you are looking to serve.
If you have great content, of genuine resource and value to a market segment, and you’re not overtly selling your services in your content, who wouldn’t want to tap into that expertise and serve it up to its membership or audience?
Look for those opportunities. Find the content gatekeepers. Reach out to them to see if they might be interested in syndicating an episode or two (or in perpetuity, if they wish). And be sure to contextualize for the gatekeeper why you think their audience might benefit from listening to a particular episode. You just might be surprised who is willing to syndicate your podcast, before an audience way larger than you could hope to build on your own in a short period of time.
Use Visual Stimuli
Similar to the video snippets referenced above, anything you can do to interrupt the pattern of mindless feed scrolling or glazed-over eyes skimming an inbox is worth your time and effort. We live in a world of constant overstimulation…one featuring a wealth of information but poverty of attention. No matter what kind of content you’re looking to call attention to, it’s not enough anymore to simply post a link and feature a trite stock image alongside some meta text. There’s just too much of that out there for the next one up to effectively compete for an audience’s attention.
This is especially true of long-form podcasting content, which is competing in an arena of micro moments. It takes time and effort to record, edit and finalize a single episode. Simply posting a link to an episode online and allowing it to wash away in the streaming onrush of information is a tragic missed opportunity.
Instead, use visual cues to capture the eye and stimulate the attention of the user on the other end of the device. Use graphics to distill a complex concept that you might spend 10 minutes on in your podcast but can visualize graphically in an instantly accessible way that will jump off of the proverbial page. Even better, create animations that are sure to call special attention and stick out in an otherwise static, two-dimensional news feed.
If you can get someone to stop and take notice, you’ve accomplished the critical first step toward engaging a listener and ultimately building your audience. There’s just too much noise out there to leave those engagements up to chance…or to allow a competing voice to win over your constituents in the same way.
Many people overlook the opportunities for business development that having a podcast offers, such as allowing you to reach out to prospects you might otherwise avoid cold calling and inviting those prospects to be guests on your podcast. Being strategic about your guest list also allows you to grow the podcast itself.
When you publish an episode featuring a guest, it’s likely that your guest will help to co-promote the episode, sharing it on social media feeds, posting it to a website, or emailing a link to subscribers. This broadens your reach and exposes your content to an entirely new audience that might not otherwise discover your podcast.
Think about who you’re inviting to the show. Guests should offer unique and valuable perspectives and insight to your audience. Ideally, they’ll have large platforms of their own. For any prospective guest, consider: Do they have a large audience? Are they influential among the circles you wish to influence? How big is their megaphone? Seek out great guests that will enhance the quality of your show, but also turn an eye toward “influencers” when building out your desired roster of potential guests.
Pod-Fame, Not Pod-Fade
Yes, building an audience for a podcast is a challenging endeavor. But if it was worth your time to produce audio content, it’s certainly worth your time to attain audience affinity for it. Unless you’re already famous, your podcast will launch largely unnoticed. Whether it stays that way is up to you. Your willingness and commitment to making the extra effort to promote your podcast beyond the intuitive and low-hanging-fruit tactics available to everyone with an internet connection might just be the difference between pod-fame and pod-fade.