When weighing up whether or not to launch a new podcast, what’s the biggest challenge that springs to mind?
For aspiring podcasters who haven’t launched their show yet, new data suggests the biggest barrier they see is podcast marketing. It’s the fear of promoting their podcast and growing their audience that puts them off.
We surveyed more than 2,500 aspiring podcasters through our Podcast Planner Tool. Nearly 60% of the respondents said this was the biggest obstacle standing between them and their launch.
After promotion fears, the main challenges people cited were whether they could make money from their podcast (32%) and fears about podcast editing and production (32%).
With such a large majority of people viewing promotion as the biggest challenge, this is worth exploring. Why does marketing scare new podcasters so much? And are these fears founded?
Why Does Podcast Marketing Scare New Podcasters?
Let’s look at a few reasons why new and aspiring podcasters might fear marketing, and if there’s any justification for these concerns.
1. They’re not confident they can create great content
Thinking that no one will want to listen to your podcast – or any type of content you create – is just part of being a creator. In fact, it’s so common, there’s a whole bunch of different names for it.
If this is something you struggle with, our guide on how to overcome podcaster imposter syndrome should help you out.
A lack of confidence can signify that you haven’t fully nailed your podcast topic or USP quite yet, either. A quick tip is to write down a list of your first 15-20 episode titles and put yourself in the shoes (earbuds?) of your target listener discovering the show for the first time.
Do you think it’s compelling? If so, a big chunk of your marketing is already in place.
2. They think podcasting is particularly hard to grow an audience for
This point is not without some justification, to be fair. Indeed, success in growing a podcast doesn’t happen overnight; there are no quick wins. But is this really such a bad thing?
What makes podcasting different from other mediums – and why it’s so attractive to advertisers – is the loyalty and trust you can cultivate with your audience. Podcasting isn’t about pulling in large swathes of followers (who might only tune in to one episode then forget your show exists). It’s about slowly nurturing an audience who want to become part of your podcast community.
If you know exactly who you want to reach, why you want to reach them, and you’re prepared to spend a couple of years patiently building your catalogue of episodes, you can definitely grow a solid, loyal and lucrative audience.
If you don’t, even the best marketing tactics in the world can’t help you.
Unsurprisingly, in a world where instant gratification is everything, this long game naturally puts some people off. We have social media platforms to thank for that, which make us obsess over empty vanity metrics. But podcasting isn’t TikTok; you’re never going to become “famous” in the podcasting world overnight.
Coincidentally, in our 2022 independent podcaster census (results will be published shortly – sign up to our newsletter to get them straight to your inbox), established podcasters said having the patience to play the long game with your show is the single most important key to podcasting success.
Naturally, this is going to put some people off of podcasting, and that’s absolutely fine. If you’re not prepared to put in any work and spend time on your podcast, you’re just wasting your time by starting.
For others – who know their “Why” (the ultimate reason for doing this) – it’ll only motivate them more to build a consistent and sustainable show on solid foundations.
Remember that if it was easy, everyone in the world would be running a top podcast.
3. They think they need to be a marketer to do it well
Often, new podcasters think they’re just not getting the numbers they want because they’re not in on some exclusive strategy. Strategies that experienced podcasters (and marketers) know about.
They obsess over “the best” promotion strategy and look for that silver bullet that they’re convinced will grow their numbers – if they only knew what it was! There are so many promotion strategies that podcasters just assume they haven’t tried the “right one” yet.
But the truth is, there is no silver bullet in growing a podcast.
The best approach you can take is to focus your time and energy on the content. Then, you can pick out a handful of marketing tactics to work on, using the 80/20 rule.
80% on creating great content, consistently
20% on promotion and marketing
Skew this number any further towards the marketing, and you might succeed in getting more ears on your underdeveloped content, and those listeners aren’t going to stick around for long.
Some marketers might tell you that you’re wasting your time creating great content if you don’t tell anyone about it. There’s a truth in this, but can be misleading. It can send us off to twitter to shout about our latest episode, (which almost everyone will simply ignore and scroll right past). Or, we go looking for that magical silver bullet tactic elsewhere.
Instead, here’s the most effective podcast growth strategy that doesn’t add a single minute on to your existing workflow.
- Make your podcast searchable and discoverable, both in its name and episode titles
- Make it available everywhere
- Create tailored, engaging, and consistent content
- Make it easy to share
- Ask your listeners to share it in your Calls to Action
Bottom line? Don’t underestimate word-of-mouth marketing, either. Focus first on your early core listeners – no matter how small you think that group is. If you take care of them, they will tell others. And as a result, they’ll do the leg work in growing your podcast for you.
And as for that 20% allocated to marketing and promotion, there’s no shortage of tips and tactics to pick from. In fact, we have an entire book on the subject called Podcast Growth. Grab yourself a copy if you’re looking for a helping hand on this front, because this stuff doesn’t need to stand between you and launching your ideal show.