Apple's iTunes is a huge source of potential listeners, so make sure to add your podcast to the iTunes podcast directory. In fact, if you only take one step to promote your podcast, this should be it.
There are some hoops to jump through before your file will be accepted on iTunes, however. For example, your podcast must be in one of the following file formats: .m4a, .mp3, .mov, .mp4, or .m4v.
iTunes does not encourage you to use too many keywords when submitting a podcast. It will only index the first 12 keywords you provide. iTunes also advises that the best approach for keywords is to include common misspellings of your name or title, to ensure your podcast is findable by search engines.
Each submission to iTunes is checked by Apple staff. The most common reasons why a podcast is rejected are:
- Technical problems - usually the lack of episodes or the inability to download or play episodes.
- Requiring a login or password to access the feed or any of the episodes.
- Apparent misuse of copyrighted material or other violation of third-party rights.
You should also consider listing your podcast in some of the many podcast directories available online (see 'Useful links' below).
Make sure to visit the directories you have submitted your podcast to and subscribe to your own podcast. This is an important step, because sometimes the submitted content will not show up until at least one person has subscribed to the feed.
Use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to talk about your podcasts. Simply mentioning that you have something new to listen to will attract some new listeners.
Set up a blog to promote your podcast. Not only will this increase the chances of your podcast being found in search engines, it will also provide listeners with an opportunity to leave comments. Remember to write blog posts to accompany each podcast link. Consider putting a transcript of your show - or at the very least a summary of the show - in each blog post. This will help potential listeners find your podcast through search engines.
Once your blog is up and running, make sure to submit its RSS feed to as many RSS directories as you can. RSS feeds automatically send updates out to subscribers whenever content is updated. Instructions for using RSS feeds will be provided by your blog software provider, for example, Wordpress or Blogspot.
Also, take the time to comment on blogs and forums relevant to the subject area of your podcast.
Another great way to increase traffic to your podcast is to use social bookmarking. Sites like Digg, Reddit, Delicious (and many others) allow for quick and easy sharing of links to your podcast. Adding your podcast to these sites will make it much easier for people with an interest in your show's theme to find your podcast.
Listener competitions - promoted via your company's Facebook or Twitter profile, for example - are a good way to get people to spread the word about your podcast and will encourage extra traffic.
You can also upload your podcast to YouTube and other video sites. You do not have to have a full video to upload to these sites. The 'image' you upload to accompany your podcast can be as simple as a line of text with the name of the podcast and your company URL.
During your podcast, remind listeners to sign up to your Facebook or Twitter page and encourage them to send in emails with questions and comments.
Remember to take advantage of your (permission-based) email list by using it to promote your podcast and send subscribers links to where they can download and/or listen to your show.
Consider writing a press release about each show and submitting it to one of the many free press release services available online.
It's easy to promote your podcast online, but remember that all promotional tips and tricks aside, the best way to ensure a large audience is to have great content. So, make sure your podcast is filled with compelling content to engage your listeners and keep them coming back for more.
Popular podcast directories: