There are two predominant schools of thought when it comes to discussing strategies to improve the discoverability of a podcast. On the one hand, you have those in the industry claiming podcast discoverability is a problem because aspects of the technology are lacking, and are calling for the development of new software and better algorithms. On the other hand, there are many others who say that there is no such discoverability problem and if your podcast is not getting discovered, it can be accredited to the quality of your show!1 Ouch!
Whether there is a lack of technology or not, the fact remains that discoverability is vital to the growth of your podcast audience and the ultimate success and longevity of your show. You must, therefore, do all you can to give your podcast the best shot at being easily discovered, and if new technology is developed, well so much the better!
In this post, we highlight some strategies you can employ to improve your podcast’s discoverability. The way we see it, there are two principles of discoverability that your podcast should adhere to in order to grow its audience. Your podcast needs to: 1) Be discoverable, and 2) Be worth discovering.
1. Your Podcast Must Be Discoverable
You become more discoverable when you create opportunities for discovery. While that statement has a Yoda-ish tinge to it, what we are specifically talking about are the strategies you can employ outside of the podcast itself to help make your podcast more discoverable. These strategies include:
Transcribing Your Podcasts
If you’ve read our recent post on transcriptions, you’ll know we are definitely “Team Transcribe”. This is because search engines need text to successfully index content. Creating written content of your podcast is, therefore, one of the best ways to optimize your searchability on the web and maximize your probability of discovery.
If you haven’t read our post yet, check it out here: The Top 5 Benefits of Transcribing Your Podcast
Making Use of Show Notes
In the same vein as transcription, show notes improve the discoverability of your podcast by giving search engines text to crawl and index, helping your podcast show up in the results of a web search. Not only that, but show notes can improve your discoverability by showing potential listeners that your audio content is valuable. If listeners are searching for a podcast on a particular topic, your show notes can help show the listener that your podcast contains the valuable content they are looking for, thus converting a search into a discovery, which hopefully results in a download.
Building Your Brand on the Web
Create a website, write a blog, send out a newsletter, establish and post to an Instagram account – essentially, use any and all social or web-based platforms available to promote your podcast. All of these will greatly improve the discoverability of your podcast, but social media, in particular, is a vital strategy to make use of in your quest to make your podcast more discoverable. The recent results released by Edison Research for The Podcast Consumer 20192 shows that 67% of podcast listeners across America found new podcasts to listen to through social media posts. This is an impressive number! And if you promote your podcast via the different social media platforms, your podcast becomes a beneficiary of those numbers!
Tip: When using social media as a strategy to build your brand, remember to not make it all about you. Use your platform to share interesting clips or audiograms of other podcasts, not only your own. This way, your followers get to listen to some of the cool stuff they might be missing out on, particularly if they are not avid podcast listeners, and you show your listeners that your focus is valuable content, whether your own or a fellow podcaster’s, and you are not just using your platforms purely for self-promotion.
2. Your Podcast Must Be Worth Discovering
This principle concerns strategies to improve the discoverability of your podcast by focusing on the podcast itself – in particular, the worth of the podcast content. I would argue that your greatest responsibility as a podcaster is to create a podcast worthy of discovery. While better algorithms and software updates may improve podcast searchability, it won’t matter one bit if these amazing new technological advancements help listeners find your show and they discover a half-hearted collection of mediocre content. It can, therefore, be said that a large percentage of the onus is on you, as the podcaster, to ensure your podcast is discoverable by making it worth discovering.
You can achieve discovery worth by:
Creating Worthwhile Content
You should ensure that each episode you create consists of worthwhile, valuable content. Time is a commodity that is not in abundance considering the busy lives we lead. Your listener’s time is precious, and you as the podcaster should always treat it as such. If your listeners are giving some of their valuable time to you and your podcast, you should return the favor by giving them valuable content. Take great care to ensure that each and every episode you create is of high-quality and that it caters to the needs of your audience.
Focusing On Your Audience
This follows directly from the above strategy. Your content will be worthwhile if it focuses on your audience. This requires you to know your audience really well – the problems or challenges they are facing, their needs, and their goals or desires. By understanding your audience, and focusing on them, you can then use your podcast to offer solutions. This will, in turn, make your podcast more discoverable, as it will more readily come up as a solution or suggestion in response to the problem or challenge.
As we’ve mentioned many times before, consistency is key to the success of your podcast in so many ways. Consistency in the quality of your content, consistency in engaging with your audience, and consistency in your content publishing schedule. Publishing a podcast regularly helps with discoverability simply because there is more content for potential listeners to discover. It also builds your credibility and helps get you established on podcast directories, giving listeners an archive of great content to explore.
Related read: Why You Should Care About Your Podcast Launch
The End Goal
The application of the strategies under the above two principles will hopefully result in possibly the greatest way to improve your discoverability and get more downloads for your podcast – positive word-of-mouth. This by far is still one of the most popular ways podcast listeners discover new podcasts3. We’ve seen this time and time again. Whether on podcasts that posed this question, in the comment sections of Facebook feeds or through reaching out to fellow podcast listeners, the results were the same – most people found their favorite podcast because it was suggested to them.
So if you want your podcast to be their next suggestion, you need to make sure that your podcast is discoverable. But most importantly, you need to ensure that your podcast is worth the discovery!
Bonus Strategies to Improve Discoverability:
We’ve included some extra ideas or strategies to help improve the discoverability of your podcast:
- Encourage your listeners to rate, review, subscribe, and share your podcast.
- Link to your past episodes in your blogs and mention past episodes in your podcast.
- Look at being a guest on other podcasts, particularly ones in your niche. This can help create the opportunity for your show to be discovered by listeners who already have an interest in your topic.
- Look at having other podcasters in your niche as guests on your show. This has the same benefit as #3, with the added bonus of giving that benefit to your guest!
- Reach out to individuals or businesses who write about podcasts and give them a link to your show. Who knows, you could be featured on the next “Best Podcasts” post!
1. Jacobs Media Strategy – https://jacobsmedia.com/do-podcasts-have-a-discoverability-problem-we-asked-leaders-in-the-space/
2. The Podcast Consumer – https://www.edisonresearch.com/the-podcast-consumer-2019/
3. The Podcast Host – https://www.thepodcasthost.com/promotion/podcast-discoverability/