Is everything just a scam?
Promoting your podcast is important. But for many of us, it’s not a priority. After all, you’ve poured your heart and soul into the content. Shouldn’t the promotion be someone else’s job? Luckily, you just got a random email from someone claiming they can get your podcast to the top of the charts! But is that possible? Can people legitimately promote your show and get you real results? Or are they all just one big scam? Today we’re discussing paying platforms and people to promote your podcast.
Here’s what we’re going to discuss…
- Who are podcast promoters and what do they do?
- How do you know if a podcast promoter is legit?
- What services do podcast promoters typically offer?
- How can you determine if hiring a person or service is right for you?
What should you include in your podcast promo?
The guide breaks down things to consider when creating your podcast promo, as well as ways to use your promo to help grow your audience.
Promoting your podcast is important. But for many of us, it’s not a priority. After all, you’ve just poured your heart and soul into the content. Shouldn’t the promotion be someone else’s job? Luckily, you just got a random email from someone claiming they can get your podcasts at the top of the charts. But is that really possible? Are there people out there who can legitimately promote your show and get you real results? Or are they all just one big scam? Today we’re discussing paying platforms and people to promote your podcast. Take it away, Mister radio man. Podcast Your Business.
Hey, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of podcast your business. I’m Sunny Gault. I’m a podcast coach and mentor and I’ve been podcasting for the last 17 years. I’m also the founder and CEO of a company called Independent Podcast Network (https://independentpodcast.network). And we work with all sorts of podcasts. We put out a lot of free content for people, including this podcast, I have whole courses that are available online, absolutely for free to get you going on your podcast. And then we also help podcasters find advertising. today. I’m here to help you create amazing podcasts for your business. And we do this by mastering the five P’s of podcasting. Yes, sir. The five P’s are prep, plan, produce, promote, and profit. And I thought of these five P’s when I was creating my first podcast course, which again, is available for free and independent podcast dot network. And in each episode, for podcast, your business, we focus on a different P, and there’s different things that you can learn. There’s lots of different topics you can discuss with within each of these different p. So Mr. radio man, which of the five P’s are we focusing on today? Promote.
Yeah, you know, I’ve never met a person that didn’t want to grow their audience. In order to do that, you have to promote it, right. And that can take a lot of work. So the idea of having someone help, you can be very tempting, and you know what to be honest, and maybe worth it. But you have to know which pitfalls to look out for. And that is the whole point of today’s show. And I just want to give a shout out to a client of mine who suggested this topic not actually for the show, but she actually sent me an email because someone reached out to her claiming they could help promote her show, and she wanted my input on this. So thank you, Mary, for giving me the idea for the show. Here’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to talk about what podcast promoters are okay, which is what a lot of people consider themselves when they’re going to market and promote your show. So what are they? And what do they do? How do you know if a podcast promoter is legit, now this, we’re going to spend some time on this section, okay? Because there are legit services out there and people you can hire, that will promote your show. And then there are the people that are kind of the get rich, quick version. And that doesn’t usually work out. So we’re going to talk about that as well. And how you can discern between someone that can really help you and someone that’s just out to kind of make a quick buck, we’re going to talk about the different services that podcast promoted promoters typically offer and it’s not just promotion services, sometimes it’s just promotion. But what I found is a lot of the legit services do other things as well. And then we’re just going to do a little bit of brainstorming at the end to determine if hiring a person or a service is right for you and your show. So I’ll just give you my two cents on that. And we’ll get started on all of that right after this quick break.
So who are these alleged podcast promoters, and what do they actually do? There are different levels, there are people as I’ve already said, that can probably help your show, you know, if you have the means to work with them, then there are people that I would recommend staying away. And then you have people within your own group that may be able to use some of these tactics and help market and promote your show. So first, I want to start with the people that are, you know, having their own companies they have their own agencies to provide these types of services. How can you tell those people apart from someone that may be wanting just to make a quick buck? First of all, there are going to look more established now I know looks can be deceiving. They probably aren’t going to be reaching out to you directly unless you’re a big podcast, okay. So this may be you searching them out. They may have a particular focus so it might be A b2b kind of situation, maybe they just focus on business podcasts or something like that they may just focus on a particular genre, they may offer package deals, in addition to some of those other services that they offer, which again, we’re going to talk about later in the show. But the big thing that I’ve noticed is that they are going to charge and it’s usually either a monthly basis, or sometimes per episode basis. But I almost view this as more like a retainer, okay, it’s not just a one off gig or something like that, this is, hey, we are really going to help grow your show, you’re going to be involved, we’re going to be involved, there’s going to be meetings, right, and that costs money. So how much money you know, this runs the gamut, you know, and doing some research for today’s show. On the low end, for monthly, I saw about $1,000, I saw all the way up to $10,000. And this is just people that are listing their prices, I’m sure you can spend a lot of money on anything, right. So those are some of the monthly fees, I’ve seen as low as $250 per episode all the way up to about $750, again, of what’s being posted, right. But these are people that are more established, these are people that you could probably call up, you know, they list their phone number, they have a street address, I mean, some basic things, right. So that, you know, they’re, they are a legitimate business, and they have some real results behind what they are saying and what they are promoting.
And then we have this group of people, which seem to be rising in popularity over the last five or so years, that are kind of one offs, they’re not really with the company, these are individuals that are reaching out to you. A lot of times, they are promising really dramatic results. A lot of times they’re reaching out through unsolicited emails and things like that maybe reaching out to you on social media platforms, maybe through your website. So that’s a little bit of the difference, okay, not that an individual, you know, maybe, let’s say from one of these big companies, not that they can start their own thing and go out there and you know, Bootstrap and whatever. So I don’t want to, you know, blanket the whole space by saying if it’s just an individual, don’t work with them. But I’m just telling you some of the warning signs, okay, some of these promoters on what I’ve seen. And then of course, you have people, you know, should you choose to do this on your own team, they could be the podcast promoters that go out and do the legit things for your business and for your podcast, that really, over time, help grow your show. So those are the main different groups of what I would call podcast promoters.
So then the big question is, how do you know if a podcast promoter is legit? Assuming it’s not someone from your team? Okay, let’s, let’s put that one to the, you know, to the side, for now, the biggest red flag that I have seen is did they reach out to you through LinkedIn. And those of you who are more established podcasters, you’re probably laughing when I say that, because, again, this is something that probably started maybe five or so years ago, I’ve been on LinkedIn, it is the only social media platform unless you count YouTube as a social media platform, but I do not where I still have an account, okay. And it’s mainly mainly just to put my resume up there. But my title for what I do on LinkedIn says something about podcasts, it’s got the word podcast in there. And I am telling you, there are people that target that, and they find me and they send me these one off emails, and they promise something pretty grand, right? Like, you’re gonna be at the top of the whatever charts, you know, for podcasting, and whatever your genre is. Those are the ones that I want to talk a little bit more about, okay? Because most times, that is not going to be something that you want to explore. So how can you tell if those people are out to make a quick buck? Or are they a legitimate person that is bootstrapping it and just starting their own company, and they’re going to be straight with you, you have to ask questions.
So if you get an email or some sort of outreach like that, it’s a great idea if you’re thinking about pursuing it, learn more about their methods for podcast promotion. So you need to ask them some questions and you need to determine if they’re going to be honest with you. If they are unwilling to reveal what they’re going to do, then that’s probably not someone you want to work with, or most likely, you’re just not going to hear back from them. You’re going to catch them and their little scheme and they’re not going to respond. So recently, people have been doing some research on this, okay, and gathering information about who these people are, is specifically that are reaching out to people On LinkedIn, because I’m telling you what I get bombarded all the time. It’s not quite as much as it was like in previous years. But it’s still a lot. For some reason, the research and information that’s coming back is that most of these people are from Bangladesh. And apparently, they all studied under the same person, because they all kind of say the same thing. And it’s usually with the promise of getting you ranked on iTunes. And yes, they use the word iTunes, which is crazy, because it’s been Apple podcast for I don’t know how long, right? But that’s kind of besides the point. But if you are the lucky recipient of one of these emails, it’s important to know some things, okay. Why are they talking about rankings, because rankings overall are not really that important. Now, it does get you if you have a high ranking, it gets you into what Apple calls there, what’s hot section. But that’s pretty much it, it doesn’t really do anything else for you, maybe gives you some bragging rights, you can say your number one and whatever category. But the truth is, it doesn’t take much to get you to the top of those charts. It takes right now based on the algorithms, and again, they could change this. But it takes about 50 to 60 new subscriptions per day to kick in that algorithm and get you going up the charts. So what a lot of these quote unquote promoters do is they have 1000s and literally says crazy 1000s of Apple IDs that they use to subscribe to your show. So them promoting you is them logging into a new account of theirs, maybe it’s not new, but an account of theirs, and subscribing to your show and doing that 50 times per day. That is how they are promoting you, which obviously isn’t really promotion. Right? We’re being honest here. Fiverr. If you guys know the freelance service Fiverr they have actively started to ban accounts that claim to offer this service, because it is a violation of Apple’s Terms of Service, as well as fivers. And Apple podcasts has banned shows that use these types of promotional strategies. And quite frankly, they just don’t want their algorithm gamed there’s a reason they have it for good or for bad. But they have it and they don’t want you trying to mess with it.
Now, how do they mess with it? They can do keyword stuffing, which is adding additional terms and let’s say your podcast title, your episode, title, your author tags, things, where it really counts to have keywords, well, they could put terms in there that really don’t have anything to do with your show. But it’s what’s hot right now. They could put celebrity names in there, and you’ve never had that celebrity, you know that celebrity is not a co host on your show. Maybe you interviewed them once. And that belongs then in that episode title, but it doesn’t belong in the title for your show, or in your author tag. Right. So that’s one thing that they could do. They could do fake plays or downloads to make it seem like more people are listening to your podcast, then people that are naturally finding your show and listening. They can have people rate and review who aren’t even listeners of your show. So all of this just seems a little icky, right? And you really don’t want to be associated with any of that. I mean, it may seem good in the moment, because you may be struggling with your podcast. Nobody’s listening to your show. But trust me, you don’t want to go down that path. I have a little bit of experience with it if I’m being 100% honest, not with podcasting. But as you guys know, I’m not a big fan of social media. And there have been times in the past where I started a social media account, it was taking forever to grow. And a couple of times I paid to have more followers, the followers, I don’t even know what they call it anymore. But every time I did that, I may have only paid 50 bucks, 60 bucks. But every single time I regretted it, because I had these people that were following me that didn’t care about my content. They didn’t care what I was posting. So I just I was a little embarrassed that the pages didn’t have like hardly anybody following them. So I was just looking for a little boost there and then to grow it from there. But it has never ever been worth it. So just trust me based on that experience. You don’t want anything fake coming through to your podcast either. Just keep it clean, and keep it legit. There is no substitute for what really works for growing your podcast and that is everyone taking notes. produce great calm content, naturally promote your content to the right audience. So every podcast is a little bit different, how you promote and what audience you promote to, and where are those audiences, sometimes that’s in person. You know, if you’ve got a local podcast, you should be going to the grocery store in your store, seeing if you can put up posters. So there’s a million different ways to do this. But it has to be right it has to be good for your audience. And then not just, you know, promote, promote, promote, but it’s also engaging with your audience, make them feel a part of your show, let them know that they’re important. Take suggestions, I always encourage interactivity within the actual podcast, not just on social media or emailing and things like that.
There’s another story that I want to share with you really quickly. And this has to do with trying to get downloads for a specific episode. Because there are companies out there, I believe there’s more than one now, I’m not going to mention any names, but they promote themselves as being a solution. If you are trying to have an episode with a specific amount of downloads, and let’s say you’re just not meeting whatever that quota is. Now, they claim this is to fill like a campaign order. So let’s say you’re working with an advertiser, and you promise them X amount of downloads. And again, these are legit companies. And the way they do it kind of varies, but it usually has to do with just promoting that one episode. So they may create a specific landing page and promote that through Google ads and different things. So this is all legit. But I don’t really see the benefit of this either. And this is just speaking from my own personal experience. So in launching this podcast, I was just trying to get some general, you know, general word out there about this show. And I tried some different things, and they didn’t work. And I tried advertising and some, you know, podcast, email sources, you know, newsletters, things like that. I just really wasn’t getting any traction. And so I decided to hire one of these companies to promote my first few episodes. Now, to their credit, did they meet the quota for delivering on those first two to three episodes? Yes, they did. I had 1000s of people listened to those first couple episodes, which was, you know, ridiculous, because I wasn’t promoting it in any other way. So usually, it takes time to grow a podcast. So it was fantastic. And my hope was that some people that heard it would come back. But I literally went from 1000s of downloads in the first couple episodes to like, less than 10. For episodes like 434, now asked me how much money I spent on that. $2,000, which isn’t a ton of money. For me, that’s a lot of money, because I really don’t spend a lot on promotion for podcasts. And this is why, but this is something I wanted to try. And now I have that experience to share with you guys. So would that have worked if I had promised an advertiser X amount of downloads? Technically, yes. But I still feel like it’s cheating. Because these obviously aren’t people that are really interested in the show. So yes, they did what they said and it is a legit company are multiple companies out there probably doing this by now. But it does not lead to long term growth for your podcast. If you are more focused on the long term goals here, as you would do with any company you’re planning to work with, ask for their stats, ask for their referrals. If they are legit, they are going to provide you with this information. And honestly, it’s going to send all of the LinkedIn people just hiding and cowering from you. But the legit companies will give you the information you’re looking for because they are also looking for more of a long term relationship business relationship with you.
So what other services do legit podcast promoters typically offer? So this is something that I didn’t realize until I started researching for this episode. For many of these companies, podcast promotion is built into their services, but they offer other things. So for promotion, it might be social media promotion website, they do audio, Graham’s various things like that they may get more involved, right? They they may do handouts, and you know, business cards, I don’t know they could do a bunch of different things. But that’s kind of the promotion side of it. Some of these companies also do in house research and analysis. So that may be if you’re planning to do your show and you want to see what other podcasts are out there that may be researching data from years and years of doing your podcast and giving you some sort of an analysis or ports based on the information they find. This could be analytics tracking. So seeing where your downloads are coming from and providing you with reports and information like that, it could be partner development. So connecting you with other resources that can not only benefit your podcast, but the other place as well. They could help you with paid media campaigns, they could even run those campaigns for you, they can do podcast coaching, and then there’s this whole thing with production, they could help you launch your show. That’s everything from the logo, or your artwork, creation to the music, your intro, and outro, and all that good stuff. It could be regular production, meaning they help you with the recording and the editing, and they help publish it for you with the intention of building authority in a specific niche. That’s what we’re talking about here. And especially if you’re doing this for your business, that is usually your goal, right, you have certain people that you want to work with, you’re trying to get information out there, but it isn’t a specific niche. And these people can help you get to that point where, you know, when people think of XYZ, whatever your you know, main topic is that you talk about and what your authority is in that they think of you.
Now, the big question is, how do you determine if hiring a person or a service is right for you and your podcast? Well, this comes down to asking yourself some questions. And the big question is, well, what are your podcast goals? Are you trying? Are you aiming for long term growth overall, for your podcast, if you are, don’t try to game the system, you will lose on some level, I don’t know what it is, maybe you get kicked out of Apple podcasts, please don’t get kicked out of Apple podcasts. I mean, that’s still, you know, I know, Spotify is big, but Apple is still really big as well. So you need to play by the rules. Next, what is your budget, we went through some of the prices earlier of the legit companies and what they typically charge, if you can afford that fantastic. Maybe, you know, for those of you that are doing this for your business, maybe there’s some way to incorporate in your business expenses. So it makes more sense, right? Can you actually afford that and you’re not gonna know that until you reach out till you feel like you know, it’s a it’s a good fit, you know, you have a lot of these places offer some sort of free initial consultation. So you want to make sure that it feels good with them that they get your show, you know, maybe have some experience with similar shows that you just feel comfortable with the whole process. But of course, you have to be able to afford it as well. So know what your budget is. And then the last question I have is, could you also do this yourself? Or again, is this something that makes more sense, maybe you want to spend $5,000 a month, that’s a lot of money, maybe you didn’t want to spend that much to legit legitimately promote your podcast, maybe you want to bring on an assistant who can help do some of these things. These you know, we talk about it all the time in different podcasts that I’ve done different ways to market and promote your show. I mean, it’s not rocket science, it’s just going to take more time. So if you find the right Assistant, you can probably get it done for a lot cheaper. And really slow and steady usually wins the podcast race. Unless of course you’re a celebrity or you have lots of money.
I hope you guys enjoy today’s podcast, I do have a really good freebie for you guys. So if you are planning to do some of your own promotion, I have a handout that you need to check out. It’s about producing podcast promos, because one of the things I always tell clients when I’m coaching podcasters, is you need to create a promo for your show. And you need to do some promo swaps with other podcasts, you promote theirs. They promote you, it usually cost you $0. And you’re helping the industry in general. So when I say that the next question is, well, what do I do, I don’t know how to create a podcast promo. So that’s what this PDF is all about. I will include the link below. So you guys can download it. You don’t even have to give me your email, just go to the link and download it for free. And we have lots of free resources on our website at Independent Podcast Network. We release new blog posts every week. We’ve got all of the archived episodes for podcast, your business, those are there. We’ve got videos, free handouts, and if you’re brand new to podcasting, we have a free how to podcast course. That’s where I got remember the five Ps. That’s where I got that from. And I also launched a course for people that are interested in advertising on their show specifically to talk about dynamic advertising. So dai dynamic ads ad insertion. If you’ve got questions about that, that is my preferred way to insert ads in your show and I give a lot of background on why all of that information is available on our website. Thanks for listening, guys. I really appreciate it. Until next week, remember…you should start a podcast!