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6 Pre-Launch Strategies to Market Your Podcast

Launching a podcast can feel like swimming uphill through mud some days. Everything is new, from processes to software to any outsourcing you may do, and it is always slower than you think it should go.

And then the magical day arrives when you publish your first episode. Confetti falls from the ceiling as celebratory trumpets blast and bleat the victorious launch . . . and you get two downloads for the first week (one of which belongs to you).

What happened? Two main problems.

The first is unreasonable expectations. Unlike seven or eight years ago, there are a plethora of podcasts out there, and listeners already have their favorites. Getting into their list takes time and effort.

Second is podcast discoverability. It is better than it has been in the past, yet it still can be categorized as horrible. The likelihood of people randomly stumbling across your show is low.

The good news is that you have the power to market your podcast so that once the first episode launches, people will know about it and look for it.

Ah, but how do to this? I am glad you asked. Let's look at ways to market your podcast before your first episode is available, starting with the podcast trailer . . .

  • Podcast trailer

Let's start by looking at an industry that does this well--the movies. Movie studios release trailers and teasers months in advance (sometimes even a year or more). Why?

To whet your appetite and get you looking forward to the day when the movie will be available in the theatre.

With your podcast, you have the ability to create a trailer. Script and record an episode approximately 60 seconds in length that tells the listeners why they should listen to your show. Tell what it's about, who would benefit from listening, and how often you will publish it. This lets people hear your voice and learn about the show through a short preview.

Side note: in your trailer, encourage listeners to make it part of their favorites so they will be notified when it is available in their podcast feed.

  • Share to your email list

If you have an email list, this is the first place to tell about the podcast. The moment your trailer is available, share it with your email list. Your list could be 10 or 10,000--doesn't matter--share it here first. The readers signed up so they have interest in your content, which means they might haven an interest in your podcast.

It's important to remember just because someone reads your newsletter or your emails, it doesn't mean they will listen to your podcast. Podcasts are a different content medium than reading. Knowing this ahead of time will save you frustration along the way.

  • Share through social media

Begin sharing the trailer through social media. Ideally you will know where your listeners live in the social media space (Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, etc). Don't try to be everywhere, but wherever you normally engage with social media, make sure to share it there.

Just like emails, everyone who engages with you on social media is not a podcast listener. That's okay. Some are.

  • Share on other podcasts and other newsletters

Can you do a newsletter swap with someone where you promote their newsletter in yours and they promote your podcast in theirs? It is a win for each of you and puts you in front of a different audience.

If you can promote it on other podcasts either via a podcast swap, where you do a 30 second promo on your podcast for theirs and they in turn do a 30 second promo for yours, it can be very affective. First, because podcast listeners are more likely to listen to other podcasts than people who read or who engage on social media. Second, you gain the benefit of a host familiar with their listeners encouraging them to check yours out.

If you can guest on someone else's podcast, that's another huge opportunity to let their audience know about your show.

  • Tell about it more than you feel comfortable doing

This is not a one-and-done thing. You must mention it frequently. If you have a newsletter, note it in each newsletter you send out. Mention it multiple times a week on social media. Go above and beyond what you think is "adequate" or "enough". If you don't feel uncomfortable with how much you are telling people about it, you haven't gone far enough.

  • Give yourself as much lead time as possible

Rarely does this happen, but if you can promote it for four to six weeks before the first episode, it is a good start. Any feedback you receive ahead of time can be used to tweak the end product.

Bonus: if you can record some episodes ahead of time during this promotional period, you can let people know a few guests which they can look forward to hearing once your show is available.

Now what?

It's important to still keep expectations in check. Your first several podcasts will not have many listeners--that's normal. Any promotion you can do ahead of the launch will be helpful.

One last thing--if you don't have a trailer yet, you can still do the rest of this.

What didn't I cover this week that you would like to know more about?

Till next time!

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