Podcast SEO for Independent Podcasters: Tips, Tools, and Truths

Subscribe to Smarter Podcasting

The Truth About SEO For Podcasts

Sneak-peek moments you don’t want to miss in the full episode:

  • How does Ian’s agency utilize podcasts and multi-purpose one piece of content across different assets?
  • Empowering advice on how podcasters can turn their episodes into dynamic, shareable assets that boost their online presence.
  • A conversation on innovative tools like Podcast Marketing.AI and Vidyo.AI, and the ever-changing landscape of podcasting.

Niall Mackay: [00:00:00] If you’re a podcast that like me, you’ve heard these three words over and over again. “Optimize for SEO.”


Niall Mackay: But what does that mean? How do you do it and does it even work? My name is Niall Mackay, the podcast guy and the host of Smarter Podcasting. I started my first podcast in 2019. And it’s now in the top 10% of podcasts worldwide, and we’ve just hit another massive milestone. 50,000 downloads. I lost my job during the pandemic. And I decided to make my hobby a full-time business by helping other people build their audience and connect with their community. I know, work with people around the world, from the Netherlands, to the UK, the US, and even here in Vietnam. To help them do exactly that. I even designed my own online course called “How to Start Your Podcast, Get Your Voice Out and Share Your Story.” Now, that course is for beginner podcasters, but if [00:01:00] you are not beginner a podcast or don’t shut off just yet, this episode is for anybody who wants to grow the show.


Niall Mackay: Now, one of my first ever students who’s already successfully built his podcast into being also in the top 10% of podcasts worldwide and outpacing mine is Ian Paynton from “We Create Content.” Ian really wanting to start a podcast, but didn’t know how to, so enrolled in my course and got it started immediately. Now, initially I wanted to talk to Ian about why my course is so amazing and why you should go and join it right now. And if you haven’t started your podcast yet, go and join it right now, the link is in the notes.

But I love it when an episode goes in a different direction. Ian creates content for a living. So he knows a little bit about SEO. In fact, he knows a lot about SEO. And we started talking about this and he had so much amazing information to share. We’re going to be talking [00:02:00] about that. As a podcaster, you want to grow your audience? We all do. And one of the tips we read over and over again is optimized for SEO. And then, nothing to tell you how to do that. Just a throwaway line, but no explanation of what to do or how to do it. And does it even work? So as I go talking to Ian, we delve deep into those topics and I’m excited to share them with you today because it’s either going to help you build your audience quickly or save you a lot of time or both.

Also, don’t forget the usual cliche rate, review, subscribe, share it with everyone, you know, so that I can share this amazing information with more and more people and help them build their audiences too.

If you have any questions for me or any feedback, I always love to hear from people so you can get in touch. The link to my website is in the notes and you can find the contact there. All right. That’s enough for me. Let’s go and hear from Ian. There is so, so much valuable information in here that I’m so excited to share with you. Let’s go.[00:03:00]

 Ian, thank you so much for coming on Smarter Podcasting Today. I’m so excited to hear about your podcasting journey. And Ian is one of the first students of my podcast course. How to Start a Podcast, Get Your Voice Out and Share Your Story.

So what was your experience of podcasts? What did you listen to? Podcasts and why? Why was that important? Why did you think, “Right, we’ve identified this. We want to fill that gap with a podcast.”

Ian Paynton: my experience with podcasts was just listening to them. I’d never made one. And I always felt that it was a little bit above and beyond my resources and what we could do. I learned that it wasn’t actually, I think with the help of your course, the person that we’d done this brand positioning course is called Louis Grenier, who’s got a podcast called “Everyone Hates Marketers.”

So I’ve [00:04:00] always listened to his podcast. It’s in a really good sort of actionable “No Bull Marketing” podcast. But that wasn’t why we chose to do it. We just realized that there was a kind of gap as well in terms of the podcasts that are available about Vietnam for global audiences in terms of business.

So we saw that there was a gap in the market and we realized that. It could be our pillar content that could then filter down into many different types. So if we could nail that off, then it actually helped our content flow, across all the different channels. Seemed like a bit of a no-brainer in that sense.

Niall Mackay: And that is so amazing to hear that you’d identified that because it’s something that I tell clients to do and it’s something that I do with this podcast as well.

Ian Paynton: I mean, as a content agency we were already like fully aware about the power of content as a brand building device. But [00:05:00] also we were aware like how much time it can take to create different content for different channels. So I guess with regards to working out a content flow with a podcast, if you can create one big piece of content.

That becomes, like the top of the waterfall if you like. And then you can break it down into many different types of assets. So the podcast can then go on YouTube and work for search and you know, you can include the transcription, and that will help as well. You can then take that transcription and you can write social media nuggets using pull quotes.

And put, you know, different types of social media posts on LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram. You can cut it for reels, you can do YouTube shorts, you can then sum it all up in an email newsletter. Not to mention, you know, you could use it in your sales and [00:06:00] marketing content as well. So you could have your SalesForce actually using the podcast to generate conversations on LinkedIn with potential customers.

So it’s all about giving value really. I think from our point of view, we want to give value to our potential customers with this podcast and all the different assets that we can use from it.

Niall Mackay: If you take one piece of information away from this episode and apply it, this might be the most important. You take one asset and that’s your podcast, but that’s just one asset. That’s the main asset. And then you use the tools at your disposal, and I would recommend AI to speed that up. It means you can do it as an independent podcaster, but you take that one main asset and you use that to make so many more assets to share with your community. A podcast isn’t just about downloads. It’s about building a podcast universe. We want to create our own podcast [00:07:00] universe. So you want to have it on your website. Then you want to have a blog. Then you want to break it down into reels and TikToks and Shorts.

And you want to share that content everywhere. I have thousands of people that watch my short form content a hundred times more than amount of downloads on my podcast, but you know what? I’m okay with that. I love that. I think about things like Seth Miles and The Daily Show. I watch them nearly every day on YouTube. I just watch the little 5 to 10 minute clip. I never watched the show.

I’m not even in the same country as where that airs, so I can’t even watch it if I want to, but I love watching these little clips. And guess what? Those YouTube videos get millions of views. And what does that mean? Monetization. They make money off those little clips. It seems counter-intuitive, but don’t get too caught up on the main podcast. That’s just the main asset, filter that through to lots of different assets and build your audience, build your community in that way. I really hope [00:08:00] you’re enjoying this so far from Ian. It’s so useful. It’s so valuable.

So let’s go hear what he has to say about building those assets.

So when you create all these assets from your podcast, how are you doing that right now?

Ian Paynton: So essentially, I’ll create the podcast and as a content agency, we do have team members, we have Journalists, Editors, Video Editors, Designers. So I will set the editorial direction, you know, what we wanna do on LinkedIn, what we wanna do on Facebook, what we wanna do on the website. And then we will have different Content Creators, edit content, create images, create sound bites.

Although Buzzsprout usually does the sound bite stuff for us. But it’s quite a lot of work, you know, like it takes some experience in journalism, storytelling, editing, design, again, like content creation I think is quite a lot of work. Something that people might not quite [00:09:00] appreciate before getting started.

Niall Mackay: Biggest misconception, right? People just think, I’ll just start a podcast. I mean, I did that as well. And then they don’t realize how much time and effort and you’ve got a team and it’s still taking you time. And so any independent podcast, they’re listening, they’re obviously like this, it can be so overwhelming. And so I do need to give a plug. If you go back and listen to an episode I’ve just published a few weeks ago, about “Unleash the Power of AI”. AI has just revolutionized everything. I use it for so much now with my, with my podcast. Go to “Podcastmarketing.ai”. I dunno if you’ve heard of this too.

I’ll put the link in the notes. Podcastmarketing.ai, you upload your episode and it will give you all of that. It will give you titles, show notes, newsletters for your email, sound bites, quotes, and they’re adding more and more, and more, and more. I interviewed the Founder of that company on the episode Pravin. He’s amazing. He actually messaged me last night with a whole list of things that they’re gonna be updating. I haven’t even looked at it yet. And so that again, takes 10 minutes instead of taking you [00:10:00] hours. And so definitely go check out “Podcastmarketing.ai”.

Ian Paynton: Yeah, I will.

Niall Mackay: And the other one that I’ve just started using is called “Vidyo.ai”, which is “V I D Y O . A I” I think, again, I’ll put it in the show notes, and if you’re doing video, you upload your video and it will pull out, Reels, TikTok, short sized bites already with templates designed and I’ve been using them and, it’s incredible. All by AI.

Ian Paynton: that’s crazy, isn’t it?

Niall Mackay: I absolutely love this. And I hope anyone who’s listening is really taking notes and listening to what everything you’re saying here because, as a podcaster myself, this is something I’ve developed over years and I’m learning all the time. And so to hear somebody like yourself who works in content marketing say, basically everything that I’m doing as well with this podcast too. And so you do you have that the podcast is the main asset? Exactly. And if anyone’s following Smarter [00:11:00] Podcasting, you see that we are doing exactly the same thing. We’re having pool quotes. We post them every Wednesday. We use Canva.

We make them into a nice, beautiful image. Take quotes. We’re doing Instagram Reels, Shorts, not TikTok yet, but I do want to do TikTok. It’s just a reach too far. LinkedIn. And you create this massive universe, almost just from that one podcast. One of the things that is one of my biggest bug bales with creating podcasts and just content in general is three words that I read all the time, “Optimize for SEO.”

With no context of what that is or what that means. And I’ve had clients talk to me and say, “Oh, you know, I want to optimize my seo. How do I do that?”

And then when I break it down and tell them what that involves; the cost, the time, they’re like, “Oh, I just read it. That it’s like, you know, optimize your titles for SEO.” I think this is maybe gonna be the most crucial part [00:12:00] of this episode. And for someone like yourself who obviously knows about SEO, break that down in as much detail or as little detail as you want.

But when I read that and I read it all the time, and it the list of what to do to build your podcast, “Optimize for SEO.”

What does that actually mean? What does that involve? Why does it not make sense? Those three words. And how do you actually do it?

Ian Paynton: Whoa. There’s a lot there. And, yeah. Seo, I mean.

Niall Mackay: exactly. It’s a new podcast. We could create a podcast on this, those three words alone and that they’re thrown about all the time.

Ian Paynton: The thing is I think like to reverse engineer something to optimize it for SEO is like gonna be quite difficult and may actually damage the integrity of your content. I think if you’re gonna do any type of SEO research, I think it should be in advance of anything you do. So you know what content themes, content, queries or search queries you’re going for, you know, but also [00:13:00] it’s so complicated because do you want to get short tail, high volume keywords, or do you want to get longer tail, low volume, high intent keywords? So it is not just as simple as, “Let’s get optimized for SEO or for search engines.”

Niall Mackay: Just a quick note. If any of this sounds intimidating, it is intimidating. Don’t let it freak you out a little, just keep listening. We’re going to explain what all of this means and how you can use it, or whether to use that at all.

Ian Paynton: What do we wanna achieve with this? What are they searching for, like for us? Our podcast stuff on our website isn’t getting searched for, we know that. We are not really doing it for a search play in terms of our website. It’s more like a brand building, Thought Leadership exercise. People are coming to our website through other articles that are optimized [00:14:00] for search.

So how do you do it? Well, I think the first thing to do is. Do your keyword research like really, really thoroughly, and understand where in the buying journey your customers are, what they’re searching for. The difference between high volume, low intent keywords, which bring a lot of traffic, but might not bring you any business straight off the bat versus long tail, low volume keywords with a lot of intent and they’re ready to buy. And these key words change all the way down the marketing funnel from mass awareness, consideration, and purchase. So it’s a whole job. It’s someone’s job to sort of optimize for SEO. And the other thing to be careful of, I think is like just thinking you can tweak a few things, tweak a [00:15:00] few key words, and then all of a sudden you’re gonna start having floods of traffic visiting the content.

I think like Google’s much smarter than that these days. And also I was speaking to an SEO agency the other day in Vietnam, and they were like, “Oh yeah, we’ll do this, we’ll do that.” And I’m just like, “Yeah, but what are you gonna do on the CMS because I don’t want any black hat stuff happening because Google’s way too smart for that now. We can’t trick the system actually. We just have to create really, really good original content, and then have people sharing that out, linking back to it, have that content linking to other bits of content on the site that are semantically themed.” But we’ve stopped doing it. We’ve, we’ve stopped doing work. Like it’s, it’s a lot of work.

Niall Mackay: I love it and so, I assume there’s gonna be two types of people listening right now, and and I sit right in the middle. There’s gonna be one type of person who is just like, [00:16:00] “What the hell did he just say? I heard him speak in English, but I don’t understand a word he just said.” And then there’s the other type of person listening who’s probably like applauding and being like, “Yeah, yeah, this is on the nose.” So just interpret it for those both types of people. To go back to what I said, it is something that annoys me because this word is just, these three words are bandied about so often and so easily optimized for seo. And one of the things you said there is you spoke to an SEO agency and it’s somebody’s job. So those three words optimize your podcast for SEO is a f-, somebody has a career on this. This is a full-time job for somebody. So to just tell some, a podcaster who’s doing it independently or just starting and saying, oh yeah, no, just optimize your podcast for seo. It, it means nothing. And then you’re talking about doing the other one that, frustrates me is something you said doing keyword research.

And this is another one. So it will be like, the title will be “Optimized for SEO.” Then it’ll say, make [00:17:00] sure you do your keyword research. What does that even mean? So for somebody who doesn’t know what that means, can you explain what does that mean and why is it so difficult to do? How would somebody with no SEO experience go and do keyword research?

Ian Paynton: Yeah, I mean it’s, it’s quite a big job. You know, you need tools, you need softwares, perhaps sometimes they’re paid. But other times you can get free software like “Google Trends.” So keyword research, broadly speaking, is really trying to understand what people are searching for. What questions do they ask in Google?

What’s the difficulty to rank for those keywords? Because a lot of the time, especially if you’re going for like mass traffic and masks sort of, or mass volume keywords, then a lot of people are competing for that, so they’re quite difficult. If you nail it, you get a lot of traffic, but it’s quite difficult to


rank So [00:18:00] it’s all about taking your business goals. Let’s say it’s a business, cause it might not be, it might just be a hobby, but your goals. And then mapping those against your keyword research, what people are searching for, which of those people searching for these things, do I wanna pull to my content and why?

And how am I gonna do it? Once we’ve done that research, we can then start mapping out our content strategy, but to try and do it afterwards, I think it’s all the wrong way around.

Niall Mackay: And I know from my own experience right now, if an independent podcaster is listening, they might have turned off already because they’re like, I can’t do this. So my next question is, should an independent podcaster spend any time worrying about SEO? Should they do SEO? Or is it just pointless?

Ian Paynton: I mean, there are simple things you can do, I think, you know, like writing your headline with some key [00:19:00] words in it, but, and using H1 headlines in your articles and things like this, you know. I think it really depends on what your goal is, you know. Who you’re trying to attract? Is it a business?

Are you investing a lot of time and money into this in order for a return? Because SEO is probably something you might want to look at in order to help you with that. Or if it’s just a pastime that you’re doing for fun and enjoying, then I wouldn’t get wrapped up in it too much. I would write stuff that feels right, that is coming from the heart is original content and distribute it in in other ways. And I think people will still enjoy your podcast and subscribe and follow it. And so I wouldn’t let it bog you down for sure, as an independent podcaster.

Niall Mackay: I think that’s just great advice that people need to hear because [00:20:00] again, I guess just frustrates me cuz I see it on so many blogs. I see so many places. “Oh, optimized for SEO, and I’ve got caught up in it in before.” And it’s like, you know, do the keyword research. And then my next question is, how do I do keyword research?

What tools are there? Many of them do cost a lot of money. I have looked at Google Trends before and you’re still, as you get bogged down in it, And you’re like, I’m spending so much time on this. Is it even worth it?

Ian Paynton: Yeah, I think this and, and you know, these bloggers have to write something.

Niall Mackay: I’ve probably written it in one of my blog posts to be Beverly honest as well, I’m probably a complete hypocrite.

Ian Paynton: Let me ask you a question. How much traffic to your podcasting pages on your website has come through search?

Niall Mackay: I mean, I don’t even look at it to be honest, but I know not much because this podcast itself is just new. But I know the number one article on my website is a post I made about two years ago called, “The Top 10 Comedy Podcasts.” And it’s [00:21:00] literally just a list of 10 comedy podcasts. And I forgot about it.

And then when I did look at my traffic, I was like, “It’s the number one search.” It’s number one on Google. So if anyone Google standup comedy podcasts, my website is number one.

And it almost serves no purpose to my business goals because comedy podcast is not my thing, you know?

So, yeah.

Ian Paynton: it’s, it’s, it is really easy to get caught up in this stuff. For no real reason.

Niall Mackay: Yep.

Ian Paynton: Um, so at our agency for example, you know, we produced a bunch of content a few years ago that’s still ranking really highly, and yet it brings us numbers, but it doesn’t convert.

Niall Mackay: Yep.

Ian Paynton: So what’s the point?

Niall Mackay: Exactly. When I think about any successful podcast, I doubt that they got to where they were through SEO. They got to where they were through great content. [00:22:00] When I think of one of my favorite podcasters called, “Sounds like a Cult,” which started in lockdown and it’s now had millions of views and it’s made the, the horse famous and I assume a lot of money. I doubt, I I almost certain that they didn’t get to where they were, by worrying about SEO or creating any of that stuff. For someone who is listening, just give them, you mentioned something like do H1 titles, right? Again, I kind of, I’ve, I’ve been through a big podcasting journey. I didn’t know what that was a couple of years ago. And then obviously someone like yourself just rolls that off the tongue. Like, you obviously know what an H1 title is. I now know what it is. For someone who’s listening and thinking, what the fuck is an H1 title? What is that? Just give some quick wins for somebody with a podcast if they’re, “I really wanna do SEO.” What would just be some quick things that they could do?

Ian Paynton: Okay, so I think the first thing is create good original content. That’s the first thing. Not copied, not plagiarized, not [00:23:00] borrowed, like good original content. That’s the first thing we need to do as Content Creators.

Google likes that for a start, right? The second thing is to think about H1 and H2 tag.

So their pieces of HTML code in the backend. It’s like a H1 is the headline. H2 are the subheads, and it’s the thing that like the Google spider will kind of crawl through and pick up and a good thing to do here is, I found, is to write headlines with, you know, some keywords that you think people might be searching for. If you’ve not done the research, don’t worry, really, as a independent podcaster, just

Niall Mackay: Can I jump in? Because I often think when you read about this, “Do your keyword research.” I’m like, I mean, “I kind of can guess what people are searching for based on what is the content. Like, do I really need to like?” So do people really need to go or can you get by? By just being like, “Okay, this podcast is about how to grow avocados.” I’m pretty sure I can put in the keywords, like [00:24:00] someone’s gonna search, how do I grow avocados? Or, I dunno where that came from, but..

Ian Paynton: Yeah, yeah. And and I think you can do that, but something that you might do for the subheads, cause that might be in the headline, right? a question people ask is, you know when you go on Google and it’s like questions people ask and you tap it down and it’s got another question and you win a little snippet and then you tap it down again and there’s more and more questions appear.

You can look at those questions and perhaps think about, “Does my content answer these questions?” And if so, maybe I will use these questions as my H2 headers. Because then there’s quite a big chance of you winning a snippet. Which pulls you up in search?

Niall Mackay: I can already tell that we’ve probably lost anyone listening who has, like, “Why are they talking about this?” We’ve missed a really, really important step here. You need to have a website.

Ian Paynton: yeah.

Niall Mackay: We’ve not even mentioned that, so [00:25:00] I would you agree that that is the number one thing that you need to do for any podcast is to have your own website?

Ian Paynton: Well, I mean, I learned that from your course. But I think certainly it should have its own page or section on a website for sure

Hmm. That’s by .

Yeah, it needs to be housed somewhere that can be ranked and crawled by the Google spider.

Niall Mackay: And, you know, and I’m still learning on this podcasting generally all the time. And I just had my, had what I, I’d already was aware of, backed up recently. The number one thing you can do to build your podcast is have a website or have it housed on a website, as we’ve just mentioned. And again, this optimized for SEO gets so lost because it’s thrown about. And I’ve had clients ask me like, “Oh, how can I redo my titles so I can optimize for SEO?”

Ian Paynton: Hmm.

Niall Mackay: So people that Google will not find, [00:26:00] just think about people’s Google habits. When you go on Google and you set something. I’ve never seen a podcast come up and in fact, Google used to show Google Podcasts and they’ve taken that away now. I don’t know if you’re are aware of that. They don’t show Google Podcasts anymore. They’re not gonna show Spotify. They’re not gonna show Apple. They show content, right? They show websites. So it doesn’t matter what the na, the title of your podcast is, if somebody searches for that, your podcast will never show up. What will show up on Google is your website or your webpage with that content, correct?

Ian Paynton: Correct. And that’s why it’s so important to have it housed on a website. Once you’ve got that, then you can start thinking about writing things like tweaked for search, you know, or tweaked with search in mind. You can think about subheads questions or questions that your podcast answers, you know. But you might not wanna give it all away in your website either. If you want people to kind of watch the podcast, or listen to the podcast.[00:27:00]

Niall Mackay: So the key takeaway, the key takeaway is you need to have a website somewhere for your podcast if you want to worry about SEO. Otherwise, just don’t worry about SEO, make great content and build your podcast from there.

Ian Paynton: I would say so.

Niall Mackay: If you are an independent podcaster, stop worrying about SEO right now. It takes too much time, too much effort, which means too much money for marginal gains. If you want to grow your podcast, there are so many more ways to do that, and that will be more effective.

You heard Ian, even with a team it’s difficult. The number one thing you need to do is have your podcast on it. Own website or host on an existing website that you own don’t use the default website provided by your horse platform. You don’t control any of the SEO on that, on any of the analytics. You want to control that asset. So if you don’t have a podcast [00:28:00] website, the number one way to grow your show is to have your own website. Get that set up, that will be the best use of your time.

Niall Mackay: now we mentioned at the top of the podcast, and you’ve mentioned it a couple of times, so you were a student of my podcast course. Why did you join that course and what were the challenges that you were facing? You’d had the idea, you were like, “We wanna start a podcast. We know the value of that. We know we’re gonna put it on our website. We’re gonna optimize for SEO. We’re gonna create all this other great content.” So what stopped you from doing that, and how did the course solve that?

Ian Paynton: I think honestly, like I just felt a little, so we knew we had the idea. We knew exactly what it was gonna be called. We knew who our guests were gonna be. We knew it was what it was gonna look like, but then it was like, “Right , start doing it.” And I just felt [00:29:00] like a little bit alone. You know, I didn’t have like a production team. So, and I didn’t want to go through all these different websites from different people with different ideas.

Talking about, “You know, what we just talked about, do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that.” I wanted to hear from one person that I knew, knew how to do this. In one voice, in on one platform, and I could go through it at my leisure and just feel confident, like from A to Z that I knew exactly how to take the next step.

Because also I’ve got a tendency to like be quite a perfectionist over stuff. And something that I’d learned on this brand positioning course that we’d just done with Louie Grenier was that like, “I just need to ship stuff. I need to get it out. I need to not be perfect and improve it as I go.” So I was able to do that, I feel like after [00:30:00] doing your course, but there was a missing part.

Like I didn’t know really what equipment to use. I didn’t know, you know, what a digital audio workstation was, or which ones to use. I didn’t know how to host them. I knew a little bit more about what a podcast was. You know, how the topic in the niche, the cover art, and things like this, I had that in mind completely.

I just didn’t know the technicalities of getting it done. So it was great timing when I saw your course and just felt like the right thing to do.

Niall Mackay: It’s so affirming to hear because one of the biggest blowbacks that I see, not just from my course I see online as well, is I can just find this all on the internet. Why do I need to do this course? And yeah, sure you can. There’s, there’s not, there’s not. I’ll be completely honest, there’s not really much on my course that you probably couldn’t find on the internet. But the whole point of me designing it [00:31:00] was, I’ve been doing this for years and I’m gonna put everything all in one place. And I love that there you can get it from one person and it’s not an exact sign. So someone else might disagree with me. Most of it’s pretty exact. Like if you’re gonna, there’s a whole, um, topic on choosing your name, right, the name of your podcast. I’ll simplify it really easy. Make it three words, make it short, make it catchy. It’s not that difficult, and you can find that out. You’re gonna have to go through lots of different webpages, find lots of different voices to find that one answer. So you can do that all on the course.

Ian Paynton: Yeah. And you gave options. You gave different ways of doing things. You weren’t like, you must do it like this, you know, which was nice, but it just felt more simplified and like I trusted that course. More than like from one one source of truth rather than like multiple bloggers who I don’t know.

Niall Mackay: No, that’s great to hear. So if you hadn’t done the course, where would you be at right now with your podcast.

Ian Paynton: I think it would’ve just taken a lot longer for me to get [00:32:00] to where I am. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it, and I probably would’ve. Not started as quickly and not ship stuff as quickly and not improved as quickly and not got these listeners as quickly. I think it would’ve been a lot slower and I would’ve been a lot less confident.

And that’s, that’s 100% the goal of the course, which if you’ve done it, you’ll hear me talk about it through the course. So I’m the opposite to you, which I think is too, is bad as well. Like, I’m very much like I will just do things. This podcast is the exact same. And it can always improve and it will improve.

Niall Mackay: And if you are listening and you think this is rubbish, send me a message and let me know how to improve.

I’m very much of like, I will just do it and I don’t wait, and then it can be improved later on. So part of my course, and you will, and I say it in the course, was like, don’t wait, just do it. I write it in a lot of my blog posts.

You know, just, just get it done. Because otherwise a month will go by, two months will go by, six months will go by, A year will go by and you, and you’ve not done anything yet.

Ian Paynton: [00:33:00] Yeah, that’s definitely how it would’ve been for me. I’d still be here like trying to do my first episode, I reckon.

Niall Mackay: And I know the power of podcasting, and I don’t say this lightly. Podcasting changed my life. Like I’m gonna be doing a TV commercial this week.

I did a voiceover last week. I do standup comedy. The people I’ve met, the skills that I’ve learned, the doors that have opened all from starting a podcast for me personally, I know the clients that I’ve worked with have instantly got business as soon as they’ve started a podcast, I know that they’ve been able to, again, open doors for you. What changed for your business? What have been the results of starting a podcast?

Ian Paynton: It meant that we could start doing some brand building, like as a content marketing agency. Our own content marketing was terrible. We were so busy working for clients that we neglected our own content marketing.

So for the first time ever, I’ve been able to start speaking confidently [00:34:00] on LinkedIn. Not only talking about the podcast content, but just talking about Vietnam under this kind of brand message of, you don’t know Vietnam. I do. I’m the Vietnam guy. You know, that’s kind of the idea on LinkedIn. It’s kind of a bit of a game actually, and LinkedIn really troubles me.

But I have to play it in order to build the brand, my personal brand, the agency’s brand. So we are back active on Facebook. We are very now, We’re back active on Facebook. We’re super active on LinkedIn. We’ve got more content going onto our website, which again, isn’t really search content. We know that it serves a different purpose, but it’s there.

So it’s really helped our agency create content and start building our brand, which we had completely not done for many years cause we are so busy with our clients.

Niall Mackay: There’s just so many great things you, you keep mentioning. One is being the guide, which I completely recommend and it’s how I [00:35:00] coach my clients as well, is you are the guide. You’re gonna share with the listener. You’re gonna take the listener through whatever genre that you want to take them through.

So that’s amazing that you’re already doing that. And then also taking that content and using it on things like LinkedIn and things like this. This is where it really, really get really, takes it to the next level. So that’s so great to hear. You mentioned to me before this call your download numbers and with a little bit of like a almost disappointment, and this is again another thing. I’ve been through this as well. Many people don’t understand what their numbers mean. Whether they’re good or not. And I’ve already shared with you, your numbers instantly put you in the top 10% of podcast worldwide and your numbers are incredible. Another thing you may not realize, you’re, you are like, “Oh, I’m only 11 episodes.” And I think you said. That’s a major, major milestone. So between 50 to 80% of podcasts that start don’t make it past 10 episodes, and it’s called “Pod Fade.”

And you would’ve heard this in the course, and it’s one of, again, of [00:36:00] goals of the course, is to avoid pod fade. I, uh, the reason that podcasting changed my life is ’cause I was able to do it so consistently for so long, I’ve just gone over 250 episodes on my main podcast. Just hit 50,000 downloads. These are major, major milestones and I want everybody who does my course, everyone I work with to do that because like anything, if you just do it, if you just dabble and you don’t get to 10 episodes, you’re not really done a podcast. I’ve seen people say, “Oh, I’m a Content Creator. Or I’m a Podcaster.” And they’ve done like five episodes two years ago. And I’m like, “No, no, you’re not.”

So congratulations on avoiding pod fade.

Getting to a live episodes is amazing and as a, as a close creator, as a podcaster, that makes me so, so happy. Um, so what are your downloads? Do you wanna share them?

Ian Paynton: Yeah. Yeah. I, I think last time I checked, it was about 1,700 downloads. On 11 episodes. So yeah. Thank you. I mean, I’m not disappointed. I’m quite aware that that’s quite a lot of people. [00:37:00] But of course, and I can see that the graph like getting bigger and bigger and bigger, with every episode that we publish.

So I’m actually quite happy with it. But yeah, like it certainly hasn’t gone gangbuster viral, which I’m fine with as well.

Niall Mackay: Well, this is a term that everyone wanna try to go viral. And, uh, again, that’s kind of a, if you, and I’m sure you’ve probably done this, and I tell this to everybody, imagine so 1700 downloads, that’s like a, imagine if you’re in an auditorium with 1700 people, or if you average that out, about 170 downloads per episode. If you had 170 people that if you wanted to put on an event and you wanted, I want to tell people this thing.

Ian Paynton: Hmm.

Niall Mackay: And 170 people showed up in a room to listen to you. You would be blown away. And those people are around the world and they’re doing the dishes, or they’re in the car, or they’re at the gym and they’re listening to every single thing you say.

They may even be falling asleep. I, I know one of my listeners listens to my podcast to fall asleep, and not in a negative way. They enjoy falling asleep, [00:38:00] listening to my podcast. That’s incredible. Imagine the engagement that you’re getting to talk to people through this medium of podcasting.

Ian Paynton: Yeah. I’m so pleased with it. And recently someone from Singapore messaged me on LinkedIn saying, “Oh, I’ve seen your podcast, I’ve seen what you’re doing in Vietnam. We’ve got this project coming up, and I know nobody in Vietnam, apart from you. Can we talk?”

You know, so it’s serving the exact purpose that we wanted it to serve. It’s not trying to sell anything, it’s trying to position us. It’s trying to build the brand and make us visible really as people that are on the ground in Vietnam that can help people enter the market, and build an audience.

Niall Mackay: I can’t think of a better reason to start a podcast. So Ian, this has been unbelievable. So much value in here. Thank you so much.

Ian Paynton: Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

advice. think we both have notebooks in front of us tonight, right? We're both talking taking my notes right now. Exactly.

 Make sure you follow Smarter Podcasting [00:28:00] wherever you get podcasts, obviously Spotify, apple Podcasts, all of that stuff.

You can check out my website, Seven Million Bikes dot com. the blog on there. We're updating that every week with more and more information, so that will hopefully be able to help you out on your podcasting journey.

 Now, if you are just starting out and you're ready to start sharing your story and launch your own podcast, Don't let fear, lack of knowledge, or any of these technical barriers hold you back. I started a comprehensive course called How to Start a Podcast. Get your voice out and share your story that will help you take the first steps towards creating a successful podcast that reaches and resonates with your audience.

You'll also gain exclusive tips, tricks, and a whole host of things, including things like a guest prep form, an intro template, show notes template and, and way, way more that will help you stand out from the crowd and grow your. You can get all of this today and you can start your [00:29:00] podcast now . The link is in the description for this episode.

So thanks very much and I'll see you soon. Cheers.

Key Times To Listen To

03:20 – Sneak-Peak Moment: How does Ian’s agency utilize podcasts and multi-purpose one piece of content across different assets?

06:46- SEO optimization for podcasters: Niall highlights the importance of keyword research and on-page SEO.

09:25- Creating a content strategy: Understanding where customers are in their buying journey and providing value through podcasts

12:03- Sneak-Peak Moment: How can podcasters create various assets from the podcast and distribute them across multiple platforms?

5:29 – Quick wins for podcasters: Emphasizing on original content, using H1 and H2 tags, and finding guidance through podcast courses

18:09 – The future of podcast marketing: Tools like Podcast Marketing AI and Vidyo AI, and thoughts on the evolving landscape

How Do You Use SEO For Podcasts? Should you?

Do you want to learn more about optimizing your podcast for SEO but don’t know where to start? Look no further than my latest episode featuring Ian Paynton, a business-focused podcaster who learned about the power of podcasting through my course and identified a gap in the market for a podcast about Vietnam.

Ian’s content agency uses the podcast as a pillar of content that they can distill into other assets like transcriptions for YouTube and social media quotes, and my advice is to use the tools at your disposal like AI to create more assets to share with your community. We also discuss the importance of creating various assets from the podcast such as images and sound bites to distribute across social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook and the website, as content creation requires experience in journalism, elements of storytelling, editing, and design.

In our conversation, we also dive into SEO optimization, tackling topics like keyword research, original content creation, and the importance of having people share and link back to your content. Though Google’s search algorithm is much smarter now, don’t worry too much about SEO if you’re an independent podcaster – focus on distributing original content and using H1 and H2 tags.

We share our experiences of how podcasting changed our lives and opened doors for our business ventures, encourage listeners to share and review the podcast, and even give quick tips on how to handle Perfectionism and Podfade. To top it off, Ian’s 11 episodes put him in the top 10% of podcasts worldwide, averaging 170 downloads per episode – equivalent to 170 people showing up to listen to you in an auditorium!

So what are you waiting for? Listen to our latest episode to discover more tips, tricks, and inspiration on how to build your audience and connect with your community through podcasting. Don’t forget to leave a review and check out my course for even more guidance on podcasting success. Happy listening!

More Episodes of Smarter Podcasting…



Year established





Top 10%


Get Your Voice Out and Share Your Story

From planning your content to monetizing your podcast, Niall covers everything you need to know to create and grow your own successful podcast. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the technical side of things, don’t worry – Niall’s got you covered with his comprehensive course, Get Your Voice Out and Share Your Story.

But it’s not just about creating a podcast for Niall – it’s about making a difference. He’s helped businesses like Delta MV reach high-value customers and individuals like Dee share important stories through their own successful podcasts.

So if you’re ready to take the leap into the world of podcasting, follow Niall’s advice and listen to Smarter Podcasting. Have a look at our past projects for more inspiration and resources.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Niall’s shows for future episodes.

In the words of Niall Mackay himself, “My mission is to help you on your podcasting journey, whether you’re at the beginning, the middle, or the end. So I hope these episodes can provide lots of interesting information for you.”

Thanks for listening to this brand new show, Smarter Podcasting. I’m Niall Mackay, the podcast guy and founder of Seven Million Bikes Podcasts. 

I’m a podcast fanatic, stand-up comedian, and teacher. My mission is to help you on this podcast journey with me!

Don’t let fear, lack of knowledge, or technical barriers hold you back any longer. Take the first step towards creating a successful podcast that reaches and resonates with your audience.

With my comprehensive course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about starting, recording, editing, and publishing your podcast. Plus, you’ll gain access to exclusive tips, tricks, and strategies that will help you stand out from the crowd and grow your audience.

podcast course
Niall Mackay, The Podcast Guy

Leave a Comment