James Cridland

Why you only need two buttons to promote your podcast

A while ago, I gave some thoughts on how to effectively link to your podcast.

Editor’s note: this article is quite old, and I’ve now changed my mind. You’ll want to go here instead.

In short:
1. Always link to your website, never anywhere else
2. Give visitors a “bloody big play button” so they can listen immediately
3. …and only two buttons: one for Apple Podcasts and one for Google Podcasts.

The reasons I gave were one of the least amount of friction between a listener and your podcast. Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, are both pre-installed on mobile phones. Hitting the buttons will always work. *

A few people said “Ah, yes, but I’d include Spotify.” In July, Spotify was responsible for 7% of all downloads of Libsyn podcasts: it’s a growing platform. So, should you link to them too?

Here’s why I wouldn’t do that.

The Apple Podcasts charts might be easily manipulated, but they’re still one of the more important ways for new listeners to discover your podcast.

Every time you link to a different platform, you lessen the chance that someone will hit ‘subscribe’ in Apple Podcasts. Hitting ‘subscribe’ in Apple Podcasts is the only way to appear in those Podcasts charts.

So if you push people over to Spotify, and they subscribe there, then you will do worse in the Apple Podcast charts than you could have done. Is that what you want?

(And there are people who don’t have Spotify installed; and those who think you need to pay to use it; just like I advise against using the word “subscribe”).

“Why not just link to Apple Podcasts?” is the obvious next step. If a reason to remove all the other apps to channel your podcast traffic towards Apple Podcasts is for the benefit of the chart, surely you should only have a link pointing to Apple Podcasts?

Well, it’s obvious, but it’s astonishing how many podcasters haven’t understood this: Apple Podcasts is not in competition with Google Podcasts.

It is literally impossible, on an iPhone, to listen via Google Podcasts. It’s an Android-only thing. Similarly, Android users can’t use Apple Podcasts.

These buttons are not in competition with each other.

Google Podcasts — which Libsyn say was already a top ten podcast app within three weeks of its launch — has its own trending charts, and other recommendations. You will appear higher in those charts the more consumption you have on Google Podcasts, too. To take advantage, it’s important to channel your Android users to Google Podcasts.

“But I want listeners to be able to listen to me on all those other apps,” you say. You’re right. And they can. Power users are clever enough to have installed additional apps; and they understand how the search functions work on them by now. If they use Spotify, they’ll absolutely know how to search on it.

So, yes, make sure your podcast is on all of those podcast apps. But your strategy to ensure you appear as high in the charts as possible should be to link, consistently, to one app. For Apple, that’s Apple Podcasts. For Android, that’s Google Podcasts. They’re not in competition.

So: just two buttons: Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. That’s all you need on your website**: both to make it easier, and ensure you appear higher in the trending charts in both apps.

PS: Search for your podcast in Podnews.net, and use the “Link Badge Generator” for the buttons you need. No image uploads needed. Here’s mine.

PPS: While you’re at Podnews.net, you should get the daily newsletter.

* Unless, it transpires, your listener is unfortunate enough to use the Samsung Internet Browser. They’ll unfortunately have to install Google Podcasts and find you themselves, like every other app. If your listeners have any sense, they’ll either install Chrome on Android, or, better still, not buy a horrid Samsung bastardised version of Android next time.

** Podnews podcast pages also show every other single podcast app in a big cluttery mess. That’s the point of those pages — they’re aimed at Podnews’s audience of podcasters. But you’ll notice that the Apple and Google buttons are big and on the top of those pages; and on every single other page, the Podnews footer shows Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. In fact, I go one further — if you view those pages on a phone, you only have one button —the one that works.