New Media Conversations on with Christopher Penn


8 Step Guide to Podcast Marketing Basics With Christopher Penn

Mr. Gomez: Hi, I'm Miguel Gomez, the Director of You're listening to "New Media Conversations with". This podcast series brings you highlights from our conversations with some of the country's new media experts.

Mr. Penn: Welcome to the eight-step guide to podcast Marketing Basics. My name is Christopher Penn, author of the short ebook, 8 Step Guide to Podcast Marketing Basics.

There's a lot more to podcast marketing and marketing in general than this short little eBook guide can offer. This guide is intended only to give you a broad overview of some of the basics of podcast marketing. This guide also assumes that you have a podcast that you've already created, at least one episode, and that you have a website and a blog to go support your podcast. Are you really to get started?

Question number one: Is your podcast worth talking about? Nothing can replace great content. No amount of marketing will improve your content, and if your content stinks it doesn't matter what you do to market it because you'll lose people just as fast as you gain them. Your content has to be compelling, unique, and remarkable or nothing else matters. In the words of marketing guru Seth Grodin your content has to be worth talking about, worth sharing, worth spreading or your marketing will be for naught.

Question two: Is your podcast syntactically correct? More podcasts are killed, broken, or otherwise unusable by bad RSS feeds. If you're producing a podcast use FeedBurner, FeedBurner will automatically clean up your podcast's RSS feed to make minor corrections and alert you to major corrections that need to be made for it to be accepted by most podcast listening software and major directories like iTunes. You can use your own brand, URLs, and everything with FeedBurner so that if you choose to one day leave them and no longer use their services you don't strand your subscribers. But FeedBurner is the bees' knees for podcast feeds. On the web you'll find them at Exit Disclaimer and they are free to use.

Question three: Can you find your podcast easily? A podcast is not text or a document so the usual rules for publishing text don't apply. You can't rely on Google to index your podcast audio and video files to make them findable in search results the way you can with a regular webpage. Thus, make your podcast obvious on your website. How obvious? Painfully obvious. If you have the ability and option to do so, dedicate an entire website just to your podcast so that it’s free from the distraction of other content that your organization, company, or agency wants to promote. Consider buying a domain name that reflects the nature of the website, such as Exit Disclaimer If you go to you'll see that the whole site is dedicated just to the podcast. is a clear unambiguous name that tells you exactly what the site is about.

Question four: Can you subscribe to your podcast easily? Not everyone knows what an RSS feed is or what it does. Not everyone uses iTunes to watch or listen to podcasts. There's still plenty of folks whose interactions on line are confined to browsing web pages and reading e-mail, and there's nothing wrong with that. To get the most number of people to enjoy your podcast, provide as many options as practical for them to get to your podcast. Offer your podcast through iTunes, through Google Reader, with straight RSS for the tech savvy, and by e-mail for those you want to use their e-mail software service to be notified about new shows. FeedBurner, mentioned in the first section, offers a "subscribe-by-e-mail" option that you can offer to your audience. As much as possible, work to insure that subscribing to your podcast is as close to "one-click" as possible. Do all the hard work on the back end for your audience, on your server, so that your audience has to do as little work as possible; and, when they refer friends to check out your show, their friends can all find and subscribe to your show very, very easily.

Question five: Is there a free sample? Even with a multitude of options for subscribing to your podcast not everyone will choose to subscribe. The best way to insure that as many casual visitors to your website subscribe as possible is to make each episode downloadable and consumable right on your website. Once a potential audience member visits an episodes page they should immediately see obvious ways to listen now or watch now with nothing to install and nothing to subscribe to. Immediate gratification and fulfillment helps greatly to get someone to commit to being a subscriber, to joining your audience. Give your audience members detailed show notes for each episode. This will help those who are skimming the web to look quickly at the content of your show and determine if it's right for them; and will also give Google a chance to read your site and make it findable in their catalog. Audio and video plug-ins exist to make your show literally one click away from a listen or a view.

Question six: Are you marketing where your audience is? "Build it and they will come" doesn't work anymore in social media. There are just too many channels, too many options for someone to randomly stumble onto your podcast. Today marketing your podcast is about finding out who your audience is, where they congregate on line, and letting them know about your show. Start by doing a buyer persona. This is a marketing term. Develop an idea of who is in your current audience and who you want to attract. Consider the different buyer personas for your particular podcast, who they are, how those people interact with your show, what problems they have that you can solve, and where they congregate on line. Then go find those people in their online communities and make sure you let them know about your show.

Question seven: Are you reminding people to share? One of the easiest ways to attract new audience members to your show is to ask your existing audience to tell a friend about the show. Take the time in every episode to remind your audience of your website and ask them to recommend the show to a friend or two. Encourage them to help their less tech savvy friends get set up with Google Reader, iTunes, or the software service of your choice. Give people the tools to share your show such as graphics, text links, widgets, and other options. Word of mouth is one of the best means of marketing your podcast, but you must be vigilant and persistent in telling people what you want them to do and making it as easy as possible for them to do so.

Question eight: Are you measuring your success? Without a metric for understanding your progress you won't know what marketing efforts are working or not working. Statistics for measuring podcasts can vary wildly from visits to a website to downloads of an episode to non-media metrics. Whatever statistic you choose to measure on it's important to pay attention to trends rather than any individual discrete data point. If you choose, for example, to use FeedBurner subscriber numbers are your numbers in a thirty-day period going, on average, up or down? If you choose downloads, are episodes being downloaded more or less in a ninety-day period? If you use website traffic, do you have more or fewer visitors over the last thirty days and how many of those are new visitors versus returning visitors? As much as possible try to focus on a metric that involves some form of commitment from the audience whether it's signing up for a mailing list or a newsletter, buying a DVD, taking out a student loan, volunteering at an event, or whatever your business or organizational equivalent of a sale or a conversion. You want to measure commitment as often as you can as opposed to just random website traffic or random visitors. Remember, metrics are trend indicators telling you whether you're going in a general right direction or wrong direction. Don't pay too much attention to any one specific point because it can occasionally be misleading.

For more resources on analytics check out; Google's Google Analytic Software Exit Disclaimer, which is free; and Exit Disclaimer

This concludes the eight-step guide to podcast marketing basics. I hope you've enjoyed it and if you have any comments or questions please get in touch with me via my website, Exit Disclaimer, or Exit Disclaimer

Thanks for listening.

Mr. Gomez: For more information about using new media in response to HIV/AIDS join the conversation on our blog at And for more information about HIV/AIDS please visit

This is Miguel Gomes for Thanks for listening.

Last revised: 08/25/2008