3 Incredibly Creative Ways To Promote a Branded Podcast

When we launched the first season of “Hackable?” An Original Podcast From McAfee, we had a comprehensive integrated marketing plan behind it. A big part of our success at launch was the combination of in-podcast advertising in shows like “Reply All” and “Sincerely X” as well as highly targeted social advertising. As we approached Season 3, the promotional budgets dwindled and we had no choice but to get highly creative on how to continue to promote the show and build listenership.

Here’s what we did:

1). IN-PRODUCT MESSAGING. The McAfee consumer marketing team aligned with the mobile (MMS) product team to test pushing “Hackable?” messages to their Android MMS users. We sent traffic to Radio Public to test out the concept and optimize the messaging. Then, on June 19, 2018 Google announced a new standalone podcast app for Android, Google Podcasts. This happen to be in between our seasons 2 and 3. We continued to test and tweak to understand which messages (series vs. episode, episode vs. episode, etc.) drove more clicks and listens on both Radio Public and Google Podcasts. The really cool thing is that we could see the tests working, as downloads on both Radio Public and Google Podcasts climbed with each push. We ended up getting feature placement during Season 3 on both apps which gave Hackable? a great deal of additional, free exposure driving up listenership.

McAfee MMS Impact on Downloads from Radio Public and Google Podcasts

2. IN-EPISODE CROSS PROMOTION. We reached out to other Tech podcasts that have similar content to “Hackable?” and presented an in-kind offer. We suggested that we would run a :60 authentic endorsement for their podcast in Hackable? in return for the same in their show, with an equal and agreed to number of downloads for each. We ended up swapping promotional endorsements with both “Zig Zag” and “Endless Thread.” This gave us exposure to their audiences and them to ours. It worked because they were not executed like “promotions” and more like endorsed content that our listeners might enjoy.

3. IN-FEED EPISODE SWAP. One of the most successful, out of the box, ideas we had was to do an episode swap with another hacker podcast. We put an episode of “Darknet Diaries” in the “Hackable?” feed and vice versa. Dan Misener from Pacific Content wrote a great article about how this worked and why it was effective. It’s a must read, as it shares some great insights including the data Jack Rhysider complied and analyzed to see if it was effective…. and it was to the tune of 100,000 in one month. The interesting thing is that the swap was just as effective from McAfee’s perspective, with over 100,000 incremental downloads:

Impact of Hackable Episode Swap with Darknet Diaries

While it’s never easy to be challenged with increasing listenership with little to no budget, it’s not impossible. Thankfully, we were able to leverage the early success of “Hackable?” in creative, new ways that perpetuated its continued success. We are now gearing up for Season 4 and we have more proven promotional tactics to use than we ever did before. Here’s to creative thinking and strategic partnerships at their finest!