Podcast Alchemy: How to Get the Most Out of Your Podcast

Evergreen podcasts episodes are not meant to be a single moment in time but should be seen as audio versions of content-rich web pages. Viewing them as long-term content unlocks additional value and opportunity.

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Podcasts are great marketing tools for both the host and guest. What makes them more powerful is that podcasting readily lends itself to derivative content. A single episode can generate multiple pieces of content beyond the audio file itself. This content, along with other things a host or guest can do, will provide even more value to the audience and more marketing benefits to the participants.

Note that guest rights can vary. Some podcasts readily let the guests use the content. However, others will have a lot of restrictions, or even have a model where the host makes money by selling access to the content (so the guest can’t easily use it herself; we’ll cover this more in Podcast Alchemy: 9. Who is Helping Whom? Podcast Hosts, Guests, & Audiences). All of the below can be used by podcasts hosts, while some of it may be used by podcast guests.

I’d generally recommend podcasts give guests free rights to use the podcast, or at least derivatives (e.g., video clips). If the guest isn’t as well known as the host, it’s not going to hurt your SEO if there’s another copy of some of the content elsewhere. If the guest is better known, then it will increase your exposure, which is one of the reasons you want high profile guests on. (But check with your lawyer on giving away content rights and how, since I’m not one.)

We start with the more commonly known advice but then get into some less well-known, and potentially more powerful, techniques.


Have a website. It’s amazing how many podcasts simply don’t have a website. The hosts rely on their LinkedIn profile or Facebook page. If this is a hobby podcast, that’s fine. If it’s part of your business strategy make sure there’s some website associated with a podcast. You can buy a domain for a handful of dollars and hosting will cost around $100 a year for a very basic website. Even a one-page website is fine. You just want a place where people can find you and get in touch with you.

Detailed Show Notes

Consider the strategy of niching your content. There are literally thousands of podcasts on common topics like leadership and parenting. Among them there are thousands of episodes with titles such as “Leading through change” or “Parenting tweens.”

You’re probably not going to be the first result of a search on parenting tweens. If you can make your content more niche, however, you can be the first result. For example, use titles such as, “Leading through change, turning round a failing SaaS business” or, “Parenting tweens, how to get them more engaged at school.” Now someone looking at “parenting tweens school” is more likely to find your content.

You still may want a general title like, “Parenting tweens” but even then, you can put more details in the show notes. By doing so you’ll now start to be found by people looking for very specific terms.

Personally, I recommend being very detailed. “[16:24] Tweens and tests” is good, “[16:24] Reducing tween test anxiety using breathing techniques” is better. (Some shows will even put timestamps as shown here.) Now you’ll still be in search results for competitive searches like “parenting tweens” but you’ll also get to less competitive ones like “tweens tests” and niche ones like “tweens test breathing”.

Will you get a lot of traffic from “tweens test breathing”? Of course not. But you’ll have five or six of these per episode and then scores of episodes. I’d suggest that it’s better to be page one of a hundred infrequent searches than page one hundred of a single common search term.

Webpage per Episode

Podcasts are audio. Creating a written page for the episode helps with SEO as this page will have information and keywords from the episode. These pages on your website also cross link, even if just previous and next episode, or better yet link to related episodes to create more links to pages (as we’ll get to below).

Often you can do this with a blog; many website builder tools include a CMS (content management system) which will let you easily create blog posts. Even if you don’t have a full transcript, it’s still one more page on your website with a title and description driving SEO; better still, include the show notes.

(This is written in 2024 and this may change when the traditional search engines include audio and/or video content as part of their ranking algorithms. It’s not clear if audio search—meaning content being searched, not the interface of the search process—will be a different category from text search or if they will be combined.)


Many podcasts also have YouTube channels. Some even told me this is their primary channel even though they call themselves a podcast and don’t have video episodes. If you don’t want to do video you can have audio only against your logo or the episode imagery (e.g., the unique image created per episode that includes your logo, the guest’s picture, and title of the episode). Or you can generate a transcript of the show and put the words on the screen timed to the text.

I’ve already seen nascent companies that can generate images based on audio transcripts. In the coming years I suspect we’ll find more AI generated images, and maybe even AI generated video, generated against an audio clip to make a richer experience.


You can cheaply generate a transcript of the podcast using automated tools. If you’re going to use this transcript on a blog post, you’ll probably need some cleanup beyond what a basic transcription program can do. You may want to remove filled pauses (um, uh), discourse markers (like, you know) and do other cleanup where the transcription wasn’t quite clear. This is because spoken language is different from written language. The tools to do this should continue to improve over the coming years. Even if you don’t invest in cleaning it up, having the transcription on the web page can greatly help SEO.

Word Frequency

Word clouds came to prominence around 15 years ago. Whether you do a traditional word cloud or a frequency count, keywords for an episode are helpful for both the listener and for SEO. If you have a transcript, you can generate this easily enough and it’s something else to show on the webpage and/or social media. (Those top words can also go into metatags for the web page to help with SEO.)

Social Media Posts

A given episode can easily generate one to five social media posts. There’s the episode drop itself. Then you can have quotes from the episode as separate posts. They can be done as text images, audiograms, and/or video clips. These can come out before or after the episode drops. Some people like to also post teasers (before the episode drop) or reminders (after the episode drop). There’s also one more post if you post the blog page separately from the episode drop.

Create a few templates with your logo into which you can drop these clips and quotes to make them easy to generate. Once you have a process generating a bunch of social media makes it easy. (And if you put the key ideas from an episode into Brain Bump, we generate the branded social shares for you automatically, so you can just click to post.)


I know hosts who have taken their interviews and turned them into books. A thirty-minute podcast has about 4,500 words. If you strip out the intro and exit and some of the small talk, and then clean up the dialog you still have a solid 1,500 words (at least). After forty episodes—less than one year for a weekly podcast—you have a 60,000-word book (that’s about 200 pages for a standard 6x9 trim size book). Even better, you have forty people all featured in the book who will likely help you promote it. More content for your audience, more revenue for you, more exposure and benefits for your guests; everybody wins.

Topic Tagging

Podcasts are based on radio, which due historical technological limitations are chronologically ordered. Back then we didn’t record and play back the episodes, so Tuesday’s broadcast always came before Wednesday’s broadcast.

Contrast this with your library. Are books laid out in chronological order by when they were published? No, they’re organized primarily by topic through the Dewey Decimal system.

If you have evergreen content, then you want people in the future to find episodes from the past. Release date ordering isn’t going to cut it. Unless it’s news (which is timely, not evergreen) most people want information by topic. A simple way to do this is by tagging, which most CMS systems support. You can see an example of how I do this with The Career Toolkit blog at https://www.thecareertoolkitbook.com/blog.

I go into this in more detail in The Future is Context Dependent Content (if you prefer listening to reading—you are in podcasting after all—you can hear me speak about this as a guest on various podcasts linked from the Cognosco Media, LLC media page). The blog tags are a simple example of what I believe will be a shift in information consumption. It’s also why we created Brain Bump, since that allows for non-linear evergreen content access, letting content producers automatically serve up timely, relevant content to their audience with no additional effort.

(For those wondering, the podcasts on both my websites are not tagged because my web designer put them on a webpage and not in a CMS. At some point we might go back and put them in a CMS with tags. Whereas my blog posts are unique, no two posts are the same, the podcasts episodes get very repetitive, so it’s less likely any one person is going to be listening to many of them anyway.)


This is a specialized version of topic tagging. This article is part of The Cognosco Media Blog which focuses on media. Ten of those blog podcasts are part of the Podcast Alchemy series. While you can find all the articles on the website under the articles https://www.cognoscomedia.com/articles (and also on Medium at https://medium.com/@cognoscomedia) they will eventually be buried further down the list under more recent content.

To help keep focus on this particular evergreen content I also call it out as a series. On the Cognosco Media website there’s a special Podcast Alchemy page with an overview and direct links to all the articles. There’s also a link directly to it from the menu. In the future I may have more subseries of special topics. You can do something similar for subseries of content.

Next Steps

In my book at the end of each chapter I have next steps, for how people can get the most out of what they read. Kim Thompson-Pinder who runs the Author to Authority podcast taught me you can do that with your own content. At the end of each episode, she directs the listeners to a related episode. You can see an example by listening to an episode of hers. The Career Toolkit blog does something similar at the bottom of each blog post, although we have the system suggest blog posts, which aren’t always as on target.

This requires some post editing work. She doesn’t know exactly how the episode will unfold until she records it. Afterwards, she goes back and adds a few extra seconds where she directs people to the other episodes, as well as adding it to the show notes.

Highlights Episode

I unfortunately forget who first taught this to me, but this is an easy and brilliant way to repurpose your content. Everyone hates when the TV show does a flashback episode, but they love podcast highlights. Why? For TV shows you want ingenuity (the laughs, the drama), and the recycled clips are ones you’ve seen. For a podcast you’ve probably forgotten what you heard three months ago and want to be reminded of the great ideas.

Many hosts have a standard question, something like, “What would you say to your eighteen-year-old self?” or, “What’s one budgeting tip you want to give to our listeners?” The answer is typically about sixty to ninety seconds in length. Suppose you have a thirty-minute program. If you strip out the answer from all your guests the first half of the year of a weekly program, that’s twenty-six episodes, poof, you have a thirty-minute episode. It’s pure content, without the “overhead” of an episode’s intro and wrap up (although maybe you’ll add a one-minute intro and outro for this highlight episode). I’ve been told by the hosts who do it that audiences love it. If you have more than one standard question, you can do multiple highlight episodes.

Brain Bump

If you like the idea of recycling your content and reminding your guests using highlights, you’re going to love Brain Bump. We created Brain Bump because we realized most people will forget the episode within a day or two (if not hours) of hearing it. That doesn’t help the audience make use of the content (or their time invested in listening). It also means podcasts don’t get word of mouth marketing (it’s hard to tell friends to listen to something you don’t remember) and they miss out on brand building (you’re not likely to value a brand if you don’t remember the value that brand provided).

With Brain Bump you can upload the key points in a podcast (think quotes you’re already sharing on social media or putting into show notes) into the app. Whereas social media is ephemeral (no one is looking at the episode post you made six months ago on social media), Brain Bump uses tagging to let users access the content they want, when they want it. It’s organized by topic, not time, which means your audience is just as likely to get advice from an episode three years ago as three days ago. This helps continually recycle your evergreen content without you having to continue to repost over and over (you upload it just once and are done). It also is all hyperlinked so it will drive traffic to your back catalog and continue to drive episode plays and website traffic.

Disclaimer, I created Brain Bump, but it’s completely free for everyone. It’s free for podcasters wanting to put their content on it (as well as authors, speakers, bloggers, course instructors, newsletter authors, or anyone with content). It’s also free for their audiences who want to use the app to remember what they heard and read. (For podcasters, authors, or others wanting to learn, take thirty seconds to get in touch with us about getting your content on Brain Bump.)

Polls, Questions, Contests, & Audience Engagement

Podcasts tend to be unidirectional. Even the live shows I’ve done have had very few live listeners asking questions. If you can make it interactive, that better engages the audience.

A poll is a great way to do this. You can even have your guest suggest a poll question, so you don’t have to come up with one each episode. For example, if it’s a marketing podcast you can have questions like, “How much of your marketing budget do you spend on SEM? a) 0%, b)1-25%, c) 26-50%, d) 51-75%, e) 76-100%” and “How do you see AI impacting your marketing strategy in the next twelve months? a) not at all, b) a little, c) a lot, d) total disruption.”

(If you’re not sure what to ask, consider using generative AI to help you with poll questions. If you do use AI, be sure to check out Ever After: Why Large Language Models Aren’t Designed for Instant Creativity and What to Do about It to see how to use it effectively for this purpose.)

It might not be interesting if you only get a handful of responses but once you’re getting dozens of responses the results will start to feel meaningful (even if not truly statistically accurate for the general population). Poll results are also content that you can release independent of the episode, so there’s yet more promotion. You can encourage engagement by having everyone who responds be entered into a drawing for something related to the show (e.g., a copy of the book, a free consultation session with the guest).

The National Speaker Association’s podcast Speakernomics used to ask a question and then ask listeners to call in with answers; one or two would be played as part of the episode. It’s a great way for your audience to feel involved. (Typically, the answers to last episode’s podcast are played at the start of the current episode.) Even if you can’t put many clips (or no clips) in the episode, you can put those responses onto the episode web page, creating yet more content. And when you share, you can tag those people whose answers you included. They’ll be likely to reshare the post.

Community Building

The prior engagement tips are still somewhat asynchronous. You put out supplemental content, such as a question, and collect responses. You could go a step further and build a community.

The most obvious way is to get some forum software (e.g., Discourse, Discord) so people can comment on and discuss the topics your podcasts focus on. When I helped run CodeRanch, a global community for software developers (formerly JavaRanch) we used to do a weekly book promotion. The author was asked to be active on the relevant forum that week (basically check in at least one a day for any questions he could answer). People posting in the forum that week were automatically entered into a drawing for the book.

This may sound daunting, but you can just create one thread per episode. You only need half a dozen people or so asking questions and commenting for it to start to have value. (Of course, if it grows, you then get into content moderation and it’s a whole thing, so this makes sense only as part of a larger strategy.)

As a bonus you get massive SEO. Now instead of just an episode page, you have additional user generated content. The discussion will naturally continue to use keywords from the episode as part of the dialog. This will strengthen your SEO around that topic, all while your audience feels more engaged.

Some guests may see this as a burden but it’s a gift. Podcast guests like me write blog posts and do talks; others provide a product or service and need market feedback. This type of interaction does that. Sometimes I’ll get a guest from a podcast host or audience member that will inspire a future blog post, or even talk. Likewise, a question can inspire a new feature or service offering.

One variant on this is a community not of your audience but of guests. In Podcast Alchemy: 5. How to Get on Hundreds of Podcasts (or Find an Ideal Podcast Guest) I mentioned podcast communities as a great place for hosts and guests to meet and mentioned that the relationship building from podcasting is one of the best benefits I get. I know a few hosts who have created communities of their guests.

Think about it; their guests are smart, accomplished people. Many podcast guests are also hosts. If your community is about a specific topic, say manufacturing, then all your guests have something in common already. Sometimes it’s just a quarterly zoom call. One podcast host I know has an email list for former guests. It’s an interesting idea and goes what I recommended in the networking chapter of The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You; being an event organizer is very efficient since you expand network by letting everyone bring value to each other, and you get credited for being at the center of it.

Email Lists

Many podcasters would like to have an email list but may have trouble building one. To get people to sign up you need to provide value. One way is with supplemental information. Maybe there’s another question or two you ask the guest that doesn’t go into the podcast but gets shared by the email list (as text or audio). Maybe the drawing for the giveaway is only for email list subscribers.

This technique also works for community building. You can do an online community / login for the same type of additional information.


This tip isn’t so much how to get more out of your content, but how to make the process less stressful. Queue up some episodes. I see so many early hosts scrambling. At some point you will get busy, sick, or just need a vacation. Have some episodes in the can so you don’t scramble to get an episode out.

This is especially important for new hosts. I’d recommend having at least five episodes fully recorded and edited before you launch the first one. If you get tired of it within the first five, you’re not going to make it. Having no podcast is better than having a podcast with three episodes that ended; people will see that you quickly gave up. (While I don’t have a podcast this was my rule for both of my blogs, I wouldn’t launch my blog until I had at least five articles ready to go. It took me some months, but I finally got the engine going.)

Services & Software

There are lots of third-party services which can do many of these things for you, like generating transcripts and creating audio and video clips and quotes. Traditionally (meaning the last ten years) this would be included as part of a podcast management service. Those services would outsource the work to low-cost labor markets around the world.

Today we are seeing automated tools which can do most of the work for you. (PodIntelligence is a great example of one.) These tools will continue to be more common and more powerful, putting downward pressure on pricing. There will still likely be some service component (meaning some human involvement) but the manual time per episode will continue to drop, even if labor costs rise.

At the time of this article in 2024, pricing by third-party services often works out to tens to hundreds of dollars per episode to generate transcripts and create social media assets. This pricing should start to come down rapidly in the coming years. Amazon currently charges $0.024 per minute to transcribe. This means a thirty-minute episode would cost $0.72 and an hour-long episode $1.44. As noted above there needs to be some cleanup of the transcript but that should become more automated, too, in the coming years. Generative AI like ChatGPT will generate summary descriptions and or key quotes and other software will pull the corresponding audio and video clips. In a few years software should be able to automate much or even all of this for $1-5 dollars per episode. The companies will need to build in margin, amortization of development costs, and other operating costs, so it will likely go to $5-30 per episode depending on how much service is provided.

Many podcast episodes generate evergreen content. Unfortunately, the default distribution channel, podcasting platforms, put the content out chronologically. This is not good for timeless content. The advice above lets you not only cheaply create derivative content (e.g., clips), but increases the accessibility and extensibility of the content you created.

Most people think of podcasting as temporal, an episode is created, shared, heard, and then it’s in the past. Rather, we need to think of podcasts as the audio equivalent of webpages, content made to last, simply done as audio instead of text. When you switch to this mindset, you uncover more possibilities and more value.

By creating derivative assets and deploying them in non-transient channels you can maximize the value you get per episode. The hard part is creating good content and getting the episode itself. The marginal cost of this additional work is often well justified by the long-term benefits of discoverable, evergreen content.