Podcast promotion is the best way to get your podcast heard by the masses. While some very popular podcasts claim that "if you put out good content, people will eventually find you," that is not always true. There are certain places people look to find new shows. Once they find the show, they need to see from the website or promotional material exactly what they should expect to find while watching or listening to your show. Deliver exactly what your podcast promotional material advertises.

These top ways to promote a podcast are not in any particular order since each part of podcast promotion is just one segment of a whole promotional package.

Podcast Promotion – Podcast Directories

It is important that you promote your podcast in the places people will be looking. Podcast directories exist to make it easy for people to browse and search for new shows. Some directories are general in nature, while others are genre specific. You can find podcast directories that are focused on your topic by doing a search for 'YOUR-GENRE podcast directory' on the web.

Besides the specific podcast directories, you should not ignore the four biggest directories: iTunes, Zune, Miro and BlackBerry.

Podcast Promotion – Show Notes

Posting show notes on each of your episodes is an indirect way to promote you podcast. Not only do show notes help your current audience, but they will be the easiest way for people to find your show using a search engine. This is true even if they are not looking for a podcast. But if you talk about a subject in your podcast, your show notes should reflect that. Show notes drive search engine traffic to your site presenting your content to new consumers.

Your show notes don't have to be full transcripts to be effective. However, the more you can include in the notes, the better your podcast promotion efforts will be. Give at least enough detail that someone searching for a topic you covered will know that they may be able to find what they are looking for in your show.

Podcast Promotion – Web Site

It is possible to produce and distribute a podcast without a website, but not if you want to gain many listeners or viewers. Your podcast website needs to contain the name of your show and a good description of what consumers might expect when downloading your program. Then deliver on what your website promises. If your show has changed through the months or years you have produced it, then update your website to reflect that.

It is frustrating to podcast consumers to go to a podcast website that they heard about and not be able to figure out what the show might contain.

Podcast Promotion – Press Release

There are many places you can submit press releases about your show. Some are free, but most cost a bit of money. The strength of a press release is that there are many sites which comb press releases for certain keywords and re-release the information on their site. It is a quick way to build several links to your podcast as well as make others aware of your show.

Writing press releases is sometimes difficult. If you need help there are professional writers who specialize in press release writing.

Podcast Promotion – Online Forums

Podcasters are usually very passionate about their subject. Therefore, they are already involved with forums and email lists that deal with their topic of discussion. You may already have authority established in different online locations. Many online forums will allow you to put a link or two in your forum signature. Don't abuse this privilege, but use it to your advantage. By adding a link to your podcast in your forum or mailing list signature you are doing very targeted promotion of your show.

Keep track of your website statistics and find out which forums or mailing lists are driving the most traffic and become more involved in those. If it is appropriate, post links to specific episodes that will help answer a person's questions they might have about your topic.

Podcast Promotion – Facebook and Other Social Networking

If you are already a user of Facebook, you know that there are people sharing all kinds of links and information. Dropping links in your status about your show, particularly to individual episodes, is a great way to promote your podcast. You can also set up a Facebook Page to promote your show.

There are many different applications within Facebook that you can use to pull the contents of your RSS feed directly into your show's Facebook page or your personal profile.

Any of the many social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are excellent places to promote your podcast.

Podcast Promotion – Graphics

The RSS standard allows you to define a picture that is used in your RSS feed. You should look at getting a graphic that will be the face of your show. Currently the recommended size for your main podcast logo that is included inside your MP3 file and at podcast directories is 600x600 pixels. Use your podcast graphics as much as possible for branding purposes. You want people to immediately think of your show when they see your brand.

Podcast Promotion – Podcast Reviews

Getting your audience to participate in writing reviews is a great way to promote your show in various directories. The vast majority of your audience will never write a review. Begging them at the end of the show may not be as effective as one would hope. However, any time a listener writes you an email then you know you have a very connected fan. Obviously you should write them back and thank them for writing, but also suggest that they take a few minutes and write a review at a podcast directory. If it is a viewer who you know has their own website, ask if they would be willing to promote your show via a blog post.

Podcast Promotion – Offline Promotion

The fastest way to promote your podcast is through the Internet. More people can be reached in a shorter amount of time. But, the best way to make a connection with the listeners is through real life contact. Have business cards printed with your podcast logo and web address. Talk about your podcast to your friends and co-workers. Your family can become some of your biggest fans, and biggest promoters.

Just because online promotion reaches a broader audience at a faster rate does not mean you should not promote offline.

Podcast promotion is critical for making your show known to your potential listeners. Spending a little bit of time every week promoting your show through these various avenues will pay off big rewards in the future. Podcast promotion is an ongoing process. After your initial surge of trying to get the word out about your show, you need to continuously be in the community promoting your podcast.