There’s no doubt that podcasting is incredibly popular. However, as a format, podcasts have one major disadvantage when compared to blogs or video: it’s incredibly hard to make them go viral.
Think about it. When was the last time you saw something from a podcast on the news or in your social media feed?
Maybe it was a week. Maybe it was a month. Even if it was today, you’ve probably seen dozens of videos and articles go viral since then.
Why is this the case?
Well, first off the internet is built to privilege visual and text-based content. We navigate by looking for eye-catching images and intriguing headlines.
For an audio clip to catch our attention, it needs to be presented in a very visual way with a lot of context.
Secondly, sound can be disruptive in many situations (and most people don’t want to permanently have headphones on while they use their phone or laptop).
This means that listening to an audio clip often takes an added effort. And with so much amazing content available, if it’s too hard, people will quickly move on to the next post.
In this situation, it’s easy for an audio clip to get lost.
If you want your podcast to go viral and reach and new audiences, you’re going to have to come up with a systematic strategy to overcome the limitations of the format.
Here are a few tips for enhancing your chances of going viral with a podcast.
1. Focus on Noteworthy Guests and Exceptional Content
Before we get to tactics, let’s take a moment to talk about content. Face it, if you have a boring podcast with no real hook or “Aha!” moment, how can you expect people to care?
The answer is: you can’t.
When you’re planning out your editorial calendar or the structure of your shows, take a moment to think about how you’re going to try and get at least one memorable comment or quote out of each episode.
This might involve booking a famous (or even controversial) guest, throwing a curveball question into your interview, or including some surprising facts or stats in your script.
2. Create Short Video Clips
Since the main problem here is that you’re limited by the audio format, there’s one simple trick you can use: convert your clip to video!
In fact, most of the viral podcast moments you’ve seen probably involved video. Think about the time Elon Musk smoked pot on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Almost immediately, the internet lit up with memes and articles about the incident. Without the video and that visual of Elon’s face, it may not have even gone viral at all.
The clips don’t need to be super short, but consider the medium and make sure you really highlight the best part of the show. Longer clips are fine for YouTube but won’t work as well for sites like Twitter or Instagram. Also, captions are essential on all your videos, as most people scroll social media without sound.
3. Use Pull Quotes on Social Media
If you find a good quote, of course your should share it on Twitter. But remember that if you can pair that quote with a striking image, it’s likely to get much more traction online and be easier to share on image-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
Pinterest in particular is an underrated medium as it attracts a lot of influencers who can make or break viral content. Create boards on different topics to pin your podcast quotes, or see if you can become a moderator of a group board on a topic related to your podcast.
4. Create a Blog Post
In addition to pulling out punchy quotes and converting them into videos or images for social media, you can also repurpose each episode as a blog post.
This is a great idea for longer segments or information that needs some context around it.
Make sure you pick an article format that is suitable for the material, for example, did your guest tell a surprising story with a twist ending? A narrative-style article might work best. Did your guest mention several tips or hacks related to a particular topic? Consider a listicle.
Before you sit down to write, again make sure you have worked out what the hook is going to be. Your hook should frame the content in a way that is going to intrigue your readers enough to click on the article.
5. Create an eBook
Viral content doesn’t always have to consist of pithy, short-form segments or quotes. Longer content that offers real value can also drive traffic and shares.
One great example is ebooks. Say you run a podcast on a particular topic over a number of years. During that time, you will have collected dozens, if not hundreds, of valuable tips and insights from your guests.
By picking a theme and sorting through old episodes, you will inevitably come up with a wealth of powerful content on that topic. Then, all you need to do is convert it into an ebook format and write a quick introduction.
These are just a few of the ways you can improve your chances of going viral with your podcast. For best results, try and incorporate them into your podcast marketing in a systematic way.
For more great podcast tips, tune in to my interview with Nicole Holland on the Marketing Speak podcast.