How To Help Audiences Find Your Podcast: Q&A With The Audacity To Podcast's Daniel J. Lewis
November 3, 2015
Several weeks ago, I started publishing backstage conversations that I recorded at the 2015 Worldwide Radio Summit as a podcast series. You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, in Stitcher, in AudioBoom, or by RSS
One of my goals is to use this series to show radio broadcasters how they can enter the world of podcasting. Daniel J. Lewis, host of The Audacity to Podcast, is an expert of search engine optimization for podcasts. In fact, he created an entire online course called SEO for Podcasters.
I asked Daniel to tell me how well optimized my podcast is for search engines so that you can learn from my mistakes. Lucky for you, I made a lot of them. -Seth Resler
1. When you publish a podcast, one of the most important things is making sure that people can find it. What are the key things to think about here?
Remember this one, most important piece of text: your titles… the title of the overall podcast and the titles for the individual episodes. These titles are what, by default, display on your website, show in Google search results, share to social networks, and list in your episodes in iTunes.
The title is not only important for findability, but also for enticing people to click through and consume your content. Thus, make the title engaging and with the most important information first.
2. When we talk about search engine optimizations (SEO) for websites, we're talking about making sure your site is found through sites like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. When we talk about SEO for podcasts, how is that different?
Podcast SEO builds on top of standard website SEO. Thus, each podcast episode should have high-quality show notes that traditional search engines can index. Transcripts are a cheap way to get low-quality show notes. Instead, think of consolidating your content to several paragraphs and making it readable like a blog post.
The benefit podcasts have over bloggers is that we can put our content on more platforms, thus giving us more opportunities to dominate the search results. For example, your listing on podcast apps like iTunes shows up in Google search results; you can post videos on YouTube for findability there, and being in iTunes is a platform where no blogger can be for episodic content.
3. What are the key things to think about when naming your podcast? How well did I do choosing a name for my All Access podcast?
Try to avoid being clever with your title. Be upfront and descriptive as much as possible. However, when this isn't possible, add a tagline to your title.
For example, I have a podcast called The Ramen Noodle. No one will search for that without knowing me, and it doesn't describe my content. But I can expand the title to The Ramen Noodle: Clean Comedy Podcast; now its purpose is clear and it is more findable for the term "clean comedy."
How'd you do? Not great. "2015 Worldwide Radio Summit: All Access Interviews with Seth Resler." Having the name in there is unnecessary, since the author tag is already searchable. Also, it doesn't communicate anything about the content. Are they interviews about Microsoft Access? Are they interviews with attendees, or speakers? Are these interviews related to radio in any way?
4. What do people need to think about when writing the description of their podcast? How well did I do with the description for my All Access podcast?
Few people realize this, but your podcast description in iTunes is not searchable, so don't bother stuffing it with keywords. Instead, focus on answering mostly the "Why?" and a little of the "What?"
- "Why should I subscribe to this podcast?"
- "Why does this matter?" "Why should I trust you?"
- "What can I expect from this podcast?"
These are all questions potential subscribers might ask. Use the description to compel someone to click subscribe.
How'd you do? Again, not great. "Seth Resler, the Digital Dot Connector for Jacobs Media and author of the Next Steps column at AllAccess.com, sits down with the top thought leaders in radio broadcasting to discuss the state of the industry. Recorded at the 2015 Worldwide Radio Summit in Hollywood, California." This communicates more about who you are than why anyone should be interested in the show. It's not very personal or compelling.
5. What should people be thinking about when they create their podcast artwork? How'd I do with the artwork for my All Access podcast?
Think about the theme of your podcast and communicate it with the filters of "simple" and "relevant."
Design your cover art to be simple: big text, very few images, very little text.
Design your cover art to be relevant: colors, fonts, imagery, and language that clearly connect with the theme of your podcast.
How'd you do? Pretty good, although the text colors clash a bit and make them hard to read, and the hand-written font is too small and close together for reading a more complex font.
6. Anything else we should do to make it easier for people to find our podcasts?
Get involved in the existing places where your target audience hangs out. Don't go only for the purpose of promoting yourself. Join and start conversations. When it's relevant and appropriate, you can mention your own stuff (sometimes, this is acceptable in an introduction post).
The best way to grow your audience is to connect more with the audience you have so that they become your evangelists for bringing in more people.
Daniel J. Lewis is an award-winning podcaster who helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success. Daniel creates training resources (like SEO for Podcasters) and podcasting tools (like My Podcast Reviews); he offers one-on-one consulting and group training (like Podcasters' Society); is a keynote speaker on podcasting and social media; and Daniel hosts a network of award-nominated shows covering how to podcast, clean comedy, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time. Daniel also writes about entrepreneurship and technology.