Some of us podcast on a national or International level. But what if you want to keep your show local? What if your podcast is based on local celebrities, eats, and more. I believe this actually is easier to promote than something on a national level. In the United States alone, you have 320 million people to try and give your voice to. An average city is less than 1% of that and a lot easier to promote simply because you are on-premises. Even if you live in a large metroplex such as New York or Los Angeles, by dividing and conquering, getting at least a thousand fans is a very reachable goal.
Here are 10 things you can do to bump up your audience at home. Keep in mind – even if you are a national podcast, these tricks still can help boost your numbers.
Let’s start with the top 3 conventional advertising methods. After all, your podcast might be more of a business than anything. Spending $1,000 on these methods could be justifiable and bring a good ROI (Return on Investment).
In the ad game, a billboard still has a lot of weight. One on the side of a busy road could get your name or podcast across to millions. A vinyl billboard can cost $500-$1,000 in some markets. Digital billboards are popping up more and they could cost less since you share time with other businesses.
Newspaper ads cost less. When I used to book bands, I would get some great deals with multi-month advertising. The same $1,000 can go 6 months or more, but the viewers are a lot less. If you do this option, make sure you get both a digital ad and a print.
Finally, radio and TV ads can be had at some great prices. If there are local shows in your market that fit your genre, ads on those programs show you are part of the community. I had more success putting ads on local content over any random ad spot.
Get on the Air – Collaborate
Ever thought of dropping by your local radio or TV station and getting interviewed? Maybe become a regular community guest to talk about your genre. Being a regular guest on these shows is free advertising and the reach is even better as these segments not only broadcast over air, they usually are up online for people to watch or listen to later.
Even with local papers your quotes or recommendations can carry weight. To be “Your name at yourpodcast.com” in an article is not only something you can post-promote but can also be something you refer to when looking for other gigs.
Ever see those websites where the person says “As seen on MSNBC, Fox, CNN, etc”? That is a promotional tool that can also bring credibility to the person. If you get interviewed or printed, show it off!
Another thing to realize – there are others like you in your area. You might be living 2 doors down from another podcaster. How easy would it be to start collaborating on each other’s shows? When either of you needs help in doing something, you have instant support. Most important, their fans can become your fans and vise-versa.
Every city has kiosks and ad boards. Whether on the street or inside the grocery store, putting together a one-page poster for your show is not that expensive. You just have to go out once a month to each location and put up a new poster (as most places clean the boards regularly).
In my early days I worked for a live concert venue. One of my jobs actually was to poster the area. If you have high populated areas with kiosks, there is one person whose job it is to put posters up. Find that person, give them a box of 500 posters and $20-50 per job.
And printing can be pretty easy. Color copies can be as low as 6 cents a page. Get 1,000 or more copies and that drops significantly. According to Staples, I can get 1,000 single page color copies for $20.
Business Cards, Stickers or even “Podcast Cards”
Instead of a conventional business card, why not print up a Podcast card? These are cards you can hang anywhere or hand out when talking with someone. Some local businesses have a business card wall – your podcast card easily could be up there.
Stickers also work really well. The best decision I made two years ago was to get a few hundred stickers made. Some people just love stickers and will plaster yours on their laptops, walls, or whatever. Stickers are more permanent than a card and how cool is it if you’re somewhere and you see your sticker on someone’s laptop?
There are also events where a card/sticker table is available. You can drop 25-50 of them and people you never meet will pick them up because they like stickers.
Podcast cards can also be used in mailings. Companies like Valpak send local mailers monthly. I know even though I don’t keep them, I will open the Valpak and flip through the coupons and adverts. Depending on your location, that is 2-3 cents a home. If you live in an area with 10,000 homes, that is $200 a month.
But you can get even more organic. Every three months I get a newsletter for my area neighborhood association. It’s most likely B&W on someone’s ink jet printer, but the cost will be low. My neighborhood consists of a couple hundred homes. All of these people that not only can become fans, but also help out if you need it.
Most of the time people hit up local businesses for sponsor money. But what if you work out another deal with them? Back at the concert venue I worked, I would strike up local deals to businesses for a lot of barter opportunities. A food vendor might provide eats on occasion in return for some promotion. If you have the cards, posters or more, they might allow you to put them up in their shop.
Join the Club – Chamber of Commerce – Local Business Groups – More
All cities have one of these. They might also be called “Business Alliance”. Nonetheless, being a part of this community gets your name out to the other businesses that are members. There is a personal link between you two. When you can connect with a CEO or President that gets excited with what you do, you can work on a whole new level.
Other groups in social media and local business can be found in any city. Make sure you are a part of them and visiting the meetings. Not sure where they are? Simply check events on Facebook, Eventbrite, Meetup, or search “Networking events near me”.
There are many locations where you can take the show to them. Whether creating a pre-recording or going live, audio or video, these shows could boost your audience simply by curiosity. When I go out to trade shows and turn on that camera for an interview, there are times where crowds gather to see what’s going on. They might even pull out their phones and snap photos or video for Facebook.
One bar I did social media for would get a live sports show from time to time. They would set up a table, mics and mixer, then send the audio back via phone line. Of course nowadays, an Internet connection and VoIP service will work and most businesses have something you can connect to.
Podcasts on USB
Ever thought about getting a bunch of USB drives and putting your show on it? When you are talking with someone that wants to know more about your podcast, hand them the USB drive. It will contain an episode or two, and a link to your website.
It also gives them a gift from you. USB drives are great to have lying around. Even if you have a generic drive with your website written in Sharpie on the side, that can keep your brand in their mind.
QR is Still Alive
Another method would be a scanable QR code. This is a card you can have in your wallet and pull out when someone shows interest. The QR code puts the link right on their smartphone and it’s rather inexpensive to print up. If they use iTunes, you can scan your iTunes link into their phone so the podcast is set up.
You Are Your Best Resource
If you haven’t visited every neighborhood in your city talking about your podcast, then you might want to start now. Put up a poster in a grocery store. Hand out cards at the local sporting event outside. Gorilla market whenever you can. Make up T-Shirts and wear them or even give them away. Get on the local restaurant’s place mats or glasses.
Join a group or even start a new group. Promote yourself going to events around town. Send comments to your local paper, TV or radio station. Do a live remote from somewhere. Hand out swag.
When its all said and done, and you have a solid podcast, your numbers will grow to levels you might not have expected.