Sometimes, you see that there are a lot of other podcasts, similar to yours, and it makes you feel like, “wah. I am a water droplet in an ocean. How will anyone ever notice me?” Sometimes, you see that there are a lot of other podcasts that are similar to yours, and you say, “Hey! I am a water droplet in an ocean, and together, we make a WAVE.” How do you make the most of the similarities and differences between yours and other podcasts? And, how can you use this to help other podcasters? More importantly, how can you help other podcasters to help you? This, my water droplet friend, is where podcast cross-promotion saves the day.
What is Podcast Cross Promotion?
Podcast Cross-Promotion is the process by which producers of different podcasts help each other to promote their podcasts. Some of this is active and some of this is passive.
The most obvious example is trailer swaps.
Another, slightly less obvious example is when podcasters interview each other on their shows.
A passive means of podcast cross-promotion is to share on social media or mention in your show, other podcasts that you enjoy. It's possible that they might appreciate your attention enough to thank you publicly (like on their show or social media), and give your numbers a bump. Don't be disappointed if they don't.
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How Does Podcast Cross Promotion Work?
Firstly, know what your podcast's niche is. Know your audience and their interests.
Rephonic is a cool website that helps people discover new podcasts. You type in the name of a podcast you already like, and it suggests other podcasts with similar attributes. What's really cool (and useful in this case) is Rephonic's graph tool. It shows a visual web of shows which have similar audiences, based on the notion of “people also subscribed to…”
You can also look at other podcasts in your genre on a listening app. Check the podcast's website, listen to an episode or two. Figure out what's similar about their podcast, and what's different.
This is the easiest cross-promotion method. First, have a great trailer, because this is the only part you fully control. Make sure the CTA is simple. Include a short link or a PrettyLink to get people to the “listen now” page of your website. Not only is this easier for the audience to remember, but a PrettyLink can include tracking data.
if you can, get the podcaster you're cross-promoting with to also swap links in show notes. It can be as simple as “if you enjoyed this, you'll like [XYZ.]” If your podcast's title is hard to pronounce, this helps.
If your podcast is an interview show, you're probably cross-promoting all the time. When you find podcast guests, you're probably finding authors with a book to promote, yoga teachers with a class to sell, and so on. Know what makes your shows similar and different. Then, figure out something interesting you can discuss together. If you both have fly-fishing podcasts, maybe you can both discuss what you've learned over time about fishing spots, lures, or bait. Make this about elevating the conversation concerning your show's topic.
Use Reviews for Podcast Cross-Promotion
Listening to similar podcasts is always good. It helps you stay inspired. When you find a podcast that you really enjoy, share what you think of it publicly. Write a review on your podcast blog, or mention it on social media. This shows your audience that you care about your podcast's topic enough to promote other viewpoints and voices. This doesn't involve consent or any effort on the part of the other podcast. If they're nice people and they care about seeing other podcasters succeed, it's likely they will mention your podcast. If they don't, don't be disappointed. Maybe they're just really busy or weren't aware that you wrote about them. Ultimately, a little bit of honest praise about someone else's work (when it's genuine) makes you look generous.
Bigger Podcast Cross-Promotion Campaigns
If you've built a relationship with another podcast, try working together on a project. For example, you can host a live event together. Now that many podcasting conferences have virtual panels, it's easier to host a live-streamed event. If your podcast gives away e-books or informative PDFs to generate a mailing list, work with another podcast to create one. Then, share the mailing list. This is one of those things where you're adding another team to make a bigger project, so the focus really has to be on a combined audience and mutual interest in a larger topic. Stay true to your podcast niche, your audience, and your episodes, but fulfil whatever obligation you agreed to.
Use a Network
Some podcasting groups have opportunities for cross-promotion. if you participate in an online discussion group, and you tell people that you'd like to play their trailers on your podcast in exchange for cross-promotion, you'll get more than you bargained for. Try finding individual shows which complement yours, first. Then reach out to those folks specifically.
What if My Podcast Cross-Promotion Doesn't… Cross?
Anyone who has ever worked on a group project in school knows that sometimes people don't hold up their end of the bargain. It happens. Maybe you edited their trailer into your episode and published it, but they didn't publish your trailer. Maybe you write a great review of their podcast on your website, and they never acknowledge it. If this happens, take it with a grain of salt. Don't trash them on social media. If they agreed to exchange promotional materials and opportunities with you, then check in with them and make sure that everything is all right. If the podcast cross-promotion doesn't work out, then move on.
How to Pitch a Podcast Cross Promotion
This process is similar to pitching to journalists. After all, you're both content creators. In this case, the phrase “what's in it for me,” is more important, and you have to turn it around into, “what's in it for you.”
Find their preferred method of contact. Usually, it's on their podcast website. Sometimes people will post their preferred method of contact on their social media page. Email is best.
Introduce yourself to them, through the lens of their work. For example, write something like, “Dear (Podcaster), your podcast (title) is really (honest descriptor). The episode about (episode topic) was particularly meaningful to me because (genuine reason) . ” Now, they know your point of entry to their work. This tells them a lot about you.
Next, move on to you and your work. “My name is (name) and I make (podcast title), a podcast about (the topic you share). My podcast is similar to yours because (reason,) though it's different because (reason). If we work together, I think we can have a good time cross-promoting our podcasts.”
You don't need me to tell you how to write this word for word, you're a content creator. If you can write a podcast script, you can write a podcast cross-promotion pitch. Trailer swaps are the easiest cross-promotion method to propose. Most podcasters already have a trailer, and it's not a big deal to send one out or edit one in.
How Can I Make This Work For Me?
If they're interested, make a quickly written agreement of what each of you will do to promote the other's podcast. This doesn't have to be a big fancy legal document. You can simply write something like, “if you send me your trailer by the end of the month, I will play your trailer in next month's episode, and I'll send you my trailer to play in your episode next month,” in an email. Then, fulfill your promise. You've already made it easy for them to fulfill theirs.
Think about what your podcast does, that theirs doesn't, and what theirs doesn't, that yours does. Don't think of these as flaws or assets, just think of it like how your podcasts are shaped. See that picture up top, with the two people holding complementary puzzle pieces? It's a great visual metaphor for podcast cross-promotion. You have more than one podcast coming together to make something more interesting.
Lift Each Other Up
There's no single key that unlocks all doors, and no single tactic will make your podcast double its audience. What we do know is that when podcasters work together to help promote each other's shows, they all benefit. There are many ways to grow your podcast audience: so many, we wrote a book about it. The Podcast Growth Book has hundreds of tactics and strategies you can use to help your podcast reach more people. Plus, The Podcast Host Academy has resources, checklists, videos, Weekly Live Q&A sessions, and more to help you with any aspect of podcasting. Join us!