Starting a podcast is a one-of-a-kind adventure: Deciding what your show will be about. Naming your show. Defining your ideal audience. Inviting stellar guests to join you. And, of course, hitting that publish button.

As you take these huge steps to put your show out into the world, you’ll want to put some best practices into place to get your words flowing through as many headphones and speakers as possible. This includes knowing what not to do with your podcast marketing, which means taking stock of can’t-miss ways to promote your show.

The SquadCast YouTube channel has you covered. Maribel Quezada Smith shares the top three podcast marketing mistakes you need to avoid — and what you should do instead. 

Take five minutes to watch the video, or read on for the key takeaways to ensure your show is set for success.

Mistake #1: Not making the most of in-app opportunities

One of your best chances to reach new audiences just might be hidden in plain sight: on the apps where they already listen to podcasts. 

Think apps like:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Stitcher
  • Castbox
  • Pocket Casts
  • Overcast

Lots of people find new shows on their preferred podcast listening app. They might scroll through “More like this” recommendations that are similar to their favorite show or take a chance on a featured podcast promoted on the app.

Many podcast apps have submission forms where podcasters can submit their shows to be featured in the app. Filling out the submission form isn’t a guarantee you’ll be promoted. But you should definitely bookmark the relevant forms, and resubmit them when you release a new show or series. (Here’s one example form from Apple Podcasts.)

Want some guidance about how to pitch your show for a promo? Apps are always looking for high-quality shows that are buzzy and newsworthy.

Ask yourself this question: What about my show is different from others in my category? Once you have the answer, highlight that key differentiator during the submission process.

The submission form might also ask why your podcast should be featured now. What would make this promo timely? Does your guest have a new book or project out? Is your show celebrating a milestone episode number? 

Look for an enticing reason that your show is the right pick for promotion, and build your pitch around it.

Mistake #2: Not setting up promo swaps or collabs

When podcasters link arms with other podcasters, everyone wins. 

You’ve probably heard your favorite shows take quick breaks to let you know about other shows they think you’ll enjoy. Maybe the other show covers a similar topic from another angle, or perhaps the style and values of the shows overlap. (Or it could be that the hosts are just good friends!)

Whatever the case, there’s a good reason for these cross-promos. Each show can bring an audience already primed for its content to the other show — and this works in both directions.

The beauty of cross-promotion is that it allows you to connect to potential listeners while they’re already listening. That way, you know:

  • They already love podcasts!
  • They already know how to access podcasts.
  • With a well-aligned cross-promotion, they’re likely already interested in the kind of things you cover on your show.

As a bonus, if your listeners also love the new show you recommend, they’ll trust you even more.

Podcasting is a collaborative medium, and it’s far better (and more fun!) when we work together. Promo swaps are one of many ways to spread the podcast love far and wide. If you’re not tapping into their potential, you’re missing out on the chance to market your show and help your fellow podcasters.

Pro tip: Ready to learn more about promo swaps? We talked about some of the best ways to find podcasting friends in another SquadCast video. Also, Tink Media is a great resource to find shows that could be a great fit for a promo swap for your show!

Mistake #3: Not using tracking links

Picture this: Your ideal listener is idly scrolling social media on their lunch break or on a Sunday afternoon. 

They come across a post promoting your podcast’s latest episode that catches their eye. This is the good news — the not-as-great news is that, since they’re on social right now, they’re not exactly primed to find a new show at the moment. (If they were, they’d probably be in their favorite podcast app, rather than their Instagram feed.)

If the post is compelling enough, they might make a mental note to check out your show when they’re at the gym or on their drive to work — and they may or may not remember. Or, they might click the link, look around and save the episode for later. Best case scenario, your post might encounter them at the exact right moment when they want to jump straight into listening to an episode. 

The bottom line is this: If you aren’t using tracking links, you won’t know either way. It’s hard enough to bring people from your social media accounts to your podcast; it’s nearly impossible without data to show what’s working and what isn’t. 

What kinds of content works best with your audience? Are certain times of day better than others? Do certain episodes or guests most effectively entice new listeners? Tracking links can help you answer these types of questions

By gathering data about which links were clicked, on which platform and when, tracking links let you know how well you’re capturing your audience’s attention. Best of all, when you’re armed with that knowledge, you can do more of what works. 

If your audience responds to and clicks on video posts, that’s a sign to make more videos. If short, snappy messaging leads to more clicks, you can shape your posts to match that trend. 

Let the data lead you to more effective posts that bring listeners to your podcast through content that they love and respond to.

Bonus tip: We recommend trying services like Bitly or Chartable for your link-tracking needs.

You have everything you need!

Now that we’ve helped you avoid three of the most common marketing mistakes, we hope that you feel even more confident to put your podcast in front of new audiences.

Hopefully, you’ve noticed by now that everything you need to market your show — in-app opportunities, podcast communities and listener data — is right in front of you. 

You don’t need to have state-of-the-art equipment or deep connections in the industry. All you need is passion for your podcast and the drive to share it with the world — with a little help from your favorite cloud recording studio, of course! Happy podcasting.