Welcome back to the second blog post of my three-part series on mind mapping for your new podcast! We’ve already examined the ways that MindMeister can help you establish the 3 P’s of Purpose, Process and Production when starting your new venture. In this post, we’ll dive into branding and marketing for podcasters, looking closely at the mind maps that can help you plan out all the options available to you.
Hello again! If you didn’t read my first post, my name is Espree Devora, also known as the Girl Who Gets It Done. I started podcasting in 2013 and quickly reached the top of the charts on Apple podcasts. My shows, Women in Tech and WeAreLATech, have been featured on the homepage of major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Castos, and I’ve even featured in huge publications like Harper’s Bazaar and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Mind mapping has long been an important part of my process, both for establishing new podcasts and optimizing my existing range. I know as well as anyone that it can be tough to know where to start when it comes to podcast marketing. With over 2 million podcasts on the Apple Podcast App alone, it’s easy to feel like your content will never be noticed. That’s where MindMeister comes in, helping me clarify my objectives and get eyes and ears on my show.
This guide will help you use mind maps to establish your podcast brand, set up a successful social media strategy, touch on some SEO basics, and get the ball rolling when it comes to listings and reviews for your content.
Map #1 Establish Your Brand
If you read my previous post, you’ll already know that finding a name for your podcast is an important first step and one that mind mapping can help you achieve. However, branding needs to go far deeper than just the title of your show: your visual and musical identity will play just as big a role in attracting and retaining listeners as your name does.
The process of obtaining the elements needed to build your podcast’s brand identity comes down to two key steps: what materials you want and how you plan to get them. This is where MindMeister shows its value, enabling you to structure your ideas using a clear hierarchy alongside bright colors and images.
Start by creating a podcast branding mind map. List your “big ideas” as the first-level topics of your mind map, in the form of questions. What should your podcast artwork and music say to your audience? Which themes, moods and colors can help you achieve that? Once you’ve decided on a creative direction, you can expand the map to cover the more practical aspects, such as how you’re going to create the materials. Canva is a good tool if you’re not a design expert but want to do things yourself, otherwise, you’ll have to work out how much you can spend on sourcing outside help.
I suggest including links to contractors on freelance sources such as UpWork or Fiverr, or even DesignJoy if you’re thinking high-end. While researching designers, you can embed examples of a candidate’s previous work into your mind map for a rapid overview of their artistic style. The same goes for musicians too: link straight to the artist’s soundcloud clips, then include some brief contact information for the artist to make it easy in case you decide to get in touch. You can even play their sound directly in your mind map from YouTube!
Find out more about embedding multimedia materials into your mind maps with this helpful tutorial video:
MAP #2 Website and Social Media Accounts
Your social media presence should be an extension of your podcast’s brand. It should be a congruent experience that leads potential listeners straight to your episodes. Similarly, your podcast’s social pages should be easy to find, well thought-out, and bring value to your listeners’ social media feeds. Use your branding map in order to plan eye-catching artwork for the pages on each platform.
An official website is also a great idea. Some podcast distribution companies, like Simplecast and Buzzsprout, even include one in your hosting plan. However, owning your own URL and having the ability to create dynamic content can really give you an edge when it comes to getting discovered on Google.
You can use a content planning mind map to collate all the information you need to populate your website and social media feeds with magnetic content. Expand the map further to include timelines for creating content, calculations of how much maintenance live content will require, and lists of services you can use to boost community engagement.
In my opinion, the most important element is an email signup form: this gives you a direct link to your listeners that you can use to drive growth. Newsletter services, such as ConvertKit, Aweber and MailChimp, are helpful in getting your message across.
In your mind map, be specific when it comes to content you can’t produce yourself, such as artwork and photography, as this may affect your budget later on.
Video content is important too: Headliner Video is a simple way to create social trailers for each episode you make. I use these Headliner trailers to send to guests after each interview is published, which allows them to easily share the episode on their socials as well.
Map #3 Find Good Keywords
If you want to grow your podcast and gain more visibility, it’s important that you understand how search engine optimization (SEO) works. Not only will this help people find your podcast via Google, but it gives you the best chance of ranking highly in podcast directories too. Focusing on a few, well-chosen keywords can bring you a long way towards improving search results. You can use mind mapping to help you plan out which ones are best to use.
You’ll want to be mentioning your keywords often in any written materials you publish, especially on your website, but in a logical, natural way that maintains the integrity of your content. You should also think about authority in this regard too: talking about subjects you know. This is essential to ensuring that any keywords you use correspond to the main themes of the podcast.
A keyword mind map is a useful way to make sure your content stays relevant from an SEO perspective. Start with the themes you have authority on as your first level topics, then brainstorm a selection of keywords that best suit that purpose.
You can then use MindMeister’s formatting options to highlight strong candidates. An element of analysis is needed at this stage: Answer The Public is a fantastic way to know what people are searching for on the internet, whereas Google Trends allows you to compare search volumes between different search terms.
MAP #4 Get Some Reviews!
When it comes to podcast marketing, word of mouth is one of the best ways to grow an audience. Although online podcast rating is still a little tech-heavy, a few, well-placed reviews can really get the ball rolling, especially in the early stages of your show’s development. Any little bit of traction helps tell the podcast algorithms that your show is worth being promoted in the rankings.
You’ll probably want to enlist a few friends and family members to help, especially if you don’t have a large social media following yourself yet. Fortunately, MindMeister’s easy collaboration makes this really simple. Map out 30 people you know, on your “sharing is caring” mind map, then ask them to screenshot the review and add it to your mindmap when they’re done so you can keep track.
As time goes on, you’ll find that your listeners are the best source of reviews. Sometimes I ask my email list subscribers for their feedback on what they liked or didn’t like in the various episodes, which helps boost review numbers and helps me to continually improve.
Find out more about inviting others to mind maps in the MindMeister help center.
MAP #5 Submit to Podcast Directories
In terms of getting your name out there, podcasting is probably a little more complicated than blogging. One of the reasons for this is because with podcasting comes various podcast directories. There are thousands of directory sites out there, so you’ll need to get yourself onto as many as possible to ensure maximal coverage.
MindMeister makes it easy for me to keep track of which directories are out there and which I have already submitted to. A simple, color-coded podcast directory map will help you in managing this task. Accepted submissions in green, pending in yellow and rejected in red — you’ll have an overview of exactly what needs to be done in no time!
Directories all have different requirements for submitting content, including guidelines on links, cover art and more. Make sure to include these requirements in your map!
Most importantly, they all want an RSS feed that they can pull from (you get this from your podcast distribution host). Your host will submit you to a ton of directories automatically anyway, so you’ll want to check to see where you are already listed in advance so you’re not working double time.
Themes are an efficient way to make your mind maps beautiful and consistent. Find out more about them!
That’s all for now. Take the time to get the marketing basics of your podcast mind mapped: this will make your action steps logical and easy. It’ll also save you a lot of time in the long run. In the third and final post of the series, we’ll discuss various ways to leverage your podcast for business. Whether you’re an author looking to market your book, a company looking to increase customer retention, an artist looking to sell your art, or you’re simply looking to get paid to podcast, the next post will cover it all!