Since the term was first coined in 2004 as a hybrid of iPod and Broadcast, podcasts have enjoyed a meteoric rise and become a fixture of modern media consumption.
Close to half of the US population have listened to podcasts, with over a quarter doing so at least once per month, and 17% listening to podcasts every week. And these numbers are only going up.
There are a lot of people out there listening to podcasts, and subsequently a lot of room for you to find an audience of your own.
But, just as there are a lot of people listening to podcasts, there are a lot of people producing them. Putting together a consistently engaging podcast is vital to standing out from the crowd and carving out a niche for yourself, but it's still a challenge to get people to check you out in the first place and make room for you in their regular rotation.
One of the best tactics you can implement to build awareness and grow your podcast is running a promotional contest. Keep reading to find out all the best ways you can grow your podcast with contests.
How to Promote Your Podcast With Contests
One of the easiest ways you can run a contest to promote your podcast is by posting Tweets or other social media posts that give users the chance to win a prize by following you on the platform and sharing your posts.
These types of contests are quick, easy, and great for building awareness. However, a major downside of them is that they won't necessarily translate into an increase in listens or subscriptions.
Ideally, your giveaway should reward users for listening or subscribing to your podcast, but manually validating entries and jumping through hoops to get users to prove that they're subscribers is an incredibly arduous task.
That's why we recommend running your contest with a 3rd party app like Gleam. Running a 3rd party contest will make things infinitely easier for both you and your fans. You'll be able to direct traffic to your contest from social media and your podcast and drive all sorts of highly valuable actions ranging from social media follows and shares all the way to podcast listens and subscriptions.
Check out this demo to see how you can use contests to promote your podcast with Gleam's Competitions app:
When you run your contest with Gleam we'll automatically validate and monitor entries for you so you don't have to wait countless hours manually checking subscriptions and figuring out who has entered. All you have to do is encourage users to enter via our widget and we'll handle the rest for you.
Now, let's take a look at the best ways you can easily run a contest with Gleam that will promote your podcast, build awareness, and grow your audience.
Using Contests to Drive Podcast Subscriptions
One of the best ways you can use contests to promote your podcast is by putting together a campaign that awards entries to users who subscribe to your podcast. You can set this type of contest up in a matter of minutes with Gleam's Competitions app.
Check out this demo to see what your own contest could look like:
Getting users to subscribe to your podcast is an outstanding way to encourage listens by giving you prime placement on any platform you're targeting and allowing you to constantly remind users of your presence, announce new episodes and encourage listens.
This is a brilliant way to boost loyalty and increase listens from occasional fans, as well as kick-start new audience relationships by driving first-time listens and giving yourself a chance to grab people's attention and convert them into avid fans.
Plus, by driving listens and subscriptions you'll be able to move up the charts wherever you host your podcast and gain exposure from the countless users looking for new podcasts to check out.
When you run a contest to promote your podcast it's important that you're connecting with listeners through all your distribution channels. This might be a single platform like Apple Podcasts, or it could a whole range including Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, or any of the other countless platforms you might host your podcast on.
No matter where you host your podcast, using contests to drive subscriptions is a walk in the park with Gleam's Competitions app.
You can use our Podcast Action or our Spotify Follow Action to drive traffic to your podcast and prompt users to answer whether or not they have subscribed. The action itself will automatically award entries to users who visit your podcast's page, so it's important to ask entrants if they have subscribed to ensure that users are properly completing their entries, and to help you validate winners.
Additionally, if your podcast is available on Spotify, you can use our Spotify Action to drive listens directly from our Competition widget. This is a great spot for inserting your podcast trailer so users can get a feel of what kind of content you offer.
Reward Podcast Listeners With Secret Codes
Encouraging users to subscribe isn't the only way you can promote your podcast with contests. With our nifty Secret Code action you will be able to provide a code word during your podcast and award entries to anyone who can provide you with that code.
Take a look at this demo we put together to see how you can use secret codes to drive listens:
Using secret codes to validate entries is the best way you can ensure that contest entrants are actually listening to your podcast.
The excitement your contest generates will allow you promote your podcast and build hype, and the secret codes will give users a great incentive to give you a listen, which will provide you with the perfect opportunity to win them over and turn them into fans and subscribers.
As well as helping you find some new listeners, this type of contest is also great for rewarding your current fanbase and making them feel valued. This is great for boosting listener loyalty and giving people more reason to keep tuning in.
You can run a contest where you distribute the same secret code every episode, or you can try giving out a different code every time and awarding extra entries to users who are listening regularly.
Secret code contests work outstandingly as a strategy of their own, but you can also combine them with subscription contests and simultaneously drive both listens and subscriptions.
Driving Other Actions
As well as using contests to directly drive listens and subscriptions, Gleam also provides you with a huge selection of other actions that you can use to help promote and grow your podcast.
This includes incentivising users to:
- Follow you on Twitter
- Tweet about you, or Retweet one of your own posts
- Visit your other social media profiles
- Visit your YouTube channel
- Subscribe to your newsletter
- Share your contest with friends
Check out this demo to see the wide range of actions you can drive to help promote your podcast:
Make Sure You're Promoting Your Contest
Running a contest is an outstanding way to promote your podcast by spreading awareness, encouraging listens, and driving subscriptions. All this upside is, however, reliant on your ability to put your contest in front of an audience.
If no one knows you're running a contest, no one will enter and you'll miss out on your chance to find new listeners and solidify your fan base. This is why it's so important to always ensure that you're actively promoting your contest.
Here are a few of the best ways you can spread the word about your campaign:
Announce It In Your Podcast
One of the easiest and most effective ways to promote your podcast is to announce it during your podcast. You can announce and explain the contest during your podcast, and then link off to it in your description.
Making sure your listeners are aware of the contest is important for a few key reasons. Firstly, it can help you convert incidental or occasional listeners into subscribers. Secondly, it's a great way to reward your loyal fans, get your campaign in the hands of your evangelists and kick-start the social sharing of your contest with Tweets, Retweets, and Viral Shares.
Spread the Word On Social Media
Announcing and promoting your contest on social media is a highly effective way to build awareness and drive entries from existing fans and newcomers alike.
When you post about your contest on social media always be sure use eye-catching imagery, clearly explain how users can enter and of course, link off to your contest.
The bigger your social following is the more effective these promotional efforts will be. If your podcast hasn't built up much of a following yet it's a good move to use your personal account to help spread the word. And remember, you can also use your contest to incentivise follows and bolster your social following.
Incentivise Social Sharing
As effective as these strategies can be, they're a lot better at driving entries from your existing fans than connecting with new ones. If you want to expose your contest (and your podcast) to a relevant new audience then you'll need to get users to carry some of the weight for you.
You can do this by simply asking users to Retweet or share posts promoting your contests, or you can take things up a notch and award extra entries to users who successfully share your campaign with friends using our powerful Viral Share action.
This is the best way to gain exposure from a huge new audience and give your contest viral potential.
Hosting Your Contest
When you start running a contest and promoting it through various channels you will need to have a landing page for your contest that you can drive traffic to and allow users to enter through.
If you have your own website the best place to host your contest is there. You can easily embed your Gleam campaign on any page on your website, or even mirror our hosted landing pages on your own website if you don't want to design your own landing page.
This approach is incredibly advantageous as it gives you the opportunity to give your contest a simple and memorable landing page that listeners will be able to rememeber and access if they are listening to your podcast whilst driving, or doing something else that prohibits them from immediately accessing your contest. Try using a URL like this:
If you don't have your own website, don't stress. You can easily host your contest on one of our hosted landing pages. Even if users can't click through immediately this isn't a huge issue, as if they're interested they can easily find the link in your decription.
Give Away the Perfect Prize
The prize you give away will be the single biggest driver of contest entries that you have. People who want to win your prize will enter your contest, and they'll happily complete the actions required to do so.
This makes choosing the right prize a crucial component of putting together your contest. The key is to give away a prize that is valuable enough to encourage mass entry, and relevant enough to your target audience that the people who want your prize are highly likely to take an interest in your podcast and check it out.
The best prize you can offer completely depends on the topic of your podcast.
No matter what niche your podcast covers, there are always loads of great prize ideas for you to use. Anything from exciting products in your niche to books on a relevant topic can make for excellent prizes.
If your podcast has its own merchandise then adding that to the mix can be a solid way to add some extra value and help get your name out there.
A particularly effective strategy you can use to increase your prize's value is partnering up with a sponsor to run a joint giveaway.
Partner With Podcast Sponsors
A great way to get your hands on an awesome prize that will drive a whole lot of entries without breaking your budget is to partner up with a relevant sponsor and have them provide you with a prize in exchange for some dedicated actions in your campaign, the promotion and exposure you can offer them, and even the distribution of exclusive discount codes with our powerful Coupon action.
Take a look at this demo we put together to get an idea what your own contest could look like when you team up with a sponsor:
If you already have an established relationship with a sponsor they will make an excellent candidate for a contest partner. If not, you should try reaching to potential sponsors that offer products or services that are relevant to your niche and target audience.
With Gleam you'll be able to start putting together your own powerful promotional campaigns in a matter of minutes. So if you're ready to take your promotion to the next level and start driving more listens and subscriptions then there's no reason to wait, check out Gleam today.