Knowing how to grow your podcast audience does not come automatically. Growing your viewership entails building a base of listeners who continuously consume your content and help you spread the word about it. It also means boosting downloads, increasing reviews, and maximizing the value of your material across various platforms.
However, building a following can be tough and overwhelming, especially if you are new to recording. So in this article, we talk about everything you need to know – tips, tricks, and processes – for how to grow your podcast audience.
Why grow your podcast audience?
Every podcaster needs to be heard. If you are just starting, you might still be confused about how to grow your podcast audience. Frequently, podcast promotions rely solely on word of mouth— a listener recommending a show to their friends or relatives.
However, making your podcast known to the public must not end there. There are plenty of ways to amplify your presence in the audio space. Most of these means are costless yet need your full attention and effort.
Podcasts are one of the ways to promote your product offerings. Some authors use this platform to introduce their book to the readers. Choose your market well. The moment you learn how to grow your podcast audience, it will all be worth it.
Your brand will be known to the market. And, your product or service offerings will sell like crazy!
Where is the podcast industry now?
According to Neil Patel, a famous entrepreneur, analytics expert, and investor, podcasts are starting to go mainstream. Research shows that there are already between 250,000 to 450,000 listeners nowadays.
According to Insider Radio, the percentage of Americans who listen to podcasts every week has increased by 17% in the last year.
If you are still skeptical about the possibilities of having a stable audience, then take, for instance, Gimlet Media. Today, it has monetized its network for $27 million with popular podcasts like Startup and Reply All.
Edison Research and Triton Digital’s annual Infinite Dial survey says that 28 percent of listeners aged 12 and older use podcasts each week, corresponding to about 80 million Americans.
13 Ways How to Grow Your Podcast Audience
Growing your podcast listenership is not complicated. The podcast industry can be considered one of the less crowded spaces in which to produce content. While the competition is just starting to rise, it is vital to take the early player advantage.
Your approach must primarily revolve around the two processes or categories. These are the earned media such as the core audience, guests, influencers, and paid media like Google and social media advertisements.
1. Maximize earned media
Earned Media versus Paid Media
The main distinction between earned media and paid media is, of course, the cost. The former is free, and the latter incurs an expense.
Earned media includes core audience, guests, and influencers. However, it is significant to tick the core audiences off the list first. Your relatives, friends, and acquaintances belong to this circle. They can be considered your foundation.
These are the people whose trust you do not need to earn. They already know you, and they like and adore your characteristics and personality. Thus, let them be the first listeners of your podcast.
Since reviews in Apple podcasts stay for the longest time on the platform, let your rabid fans speak positively about your show. Aside from being your primary audience, allow them to write a solid review about your debut or trailer episode. Reviews can serve as a hook to earn your prospect’s trust.
Let the reviews be as comprehensive as possible. A good review must speak in detail about the show, who will benefit, and what you will take from it. Remember never to pay someone to do reviews.
Guests and influencers
Well-known guests and influencers are the second proven way to attract many listeners. You can bring in people who have social or other sorts of influence in addition to having visitors. Those individuals are highly beneficial to the growth of your podcast.
Now, various types of influencers can help your podcast gain traction. So, if it’s someone else who already has a podcast, your appearance on their show will bring listeners to yours. Getting them to you will also increase the number of people that will listen to your podcast.
With the addition of YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles, you will see a lot of growth. Different people are attracted to other mediums. So, if you bring on a well-known author who isn’t strong on audio or video and doesn’t have a social media presence, they might not be able to help you build your podcast.
However, if you bring on someone with significant LinkedIn followers and has a lot of videos but isn’t a podcaster, they will undoubtedly bring listeners to your program. In this case, we want to be strategic. Getting you on podcasts and having the correct guests is a terrific way to get your name out there.
2. Make use of paid media
Launching campaigns through paid media may incur a cost, but it is also vital. In addition, video and audio adverts will be displayed on your podcast. That might include Spotify advertisements, as well as ads on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Quora, and other platforms that will help you develop your podcast.
Another feature of Ad campaigns that aren’t generally discussed is placing ads on other people’s podcasts. And there will be a direct connection when we reach out to another podcast host and negotiate ad deals.
3. Know your audience and reach out to them
Without knowing your audience, you cannot hope to know how to grow your podcast audience. You also cannot move on to other steps, such as creating value and developing content plans. Every action you take must be geared towards these targeted sets of people.
Your podcast cannot be for everyone. To grow, it is important to focus only on a specific market. Then you can curate custom content that will serve their needs. Aside from that, it is essential to create a comprehensive email list to start connecting with them.
When sending emails, you must also plan out a strategy. Do not flood your targets’ inboxes by sending every day. This makes you look like a spammer. Send out useful newsletters as needed, or in other words, as it serves them.
Another best way to connect with people is through social media platforms. Make your presence known by posting about your podcast, especially on Facebook and Reddit. Use relevant hashtags alongside your posts. When you do this diligently, your posts will earn comments.
This is the start of engagement. Make sure that you reply to every comment sincerely. This will create a notion in people’s minds that you are accessible. It increases your credibility and connection with your audience.
Next, we recommend that you create a website for your podcast. It will serve as the place where every listener can touch base. The website will contain all the information about the show, snippets for each episode, and other relevant data regarding your company. It will create an opportunity for indirect communication between you and your audience regarding your brand.
4. Create value before launching
In content marketing, finding value for your target audience is significant. Always ask yourself, “What is it for the people?”, “How can they benefit from my podcast?”. For success to kick in, the value must first be established.
Quora is an excellent way for podcasters to gather and research on most relevant topics. There you can find a plethora of queries that you may answer in your podcast. However, even though Quora is an excellent pool of ideas, do not be overwhelmed by the immense amount of data. Decide on which niche you are going to play in and aim to dominate that in the audio space.
Having no niche at all will make you disorganized. As a result, you will have a hard time finding and defining your genuine brand in the market. Think of a topic or a unique offering that people will associate your podcast with instantly and maintain that.
5. Have a content strategy plan
A content plan helps you have direction in terms of where you want your podcast to go. It will also make sure that you have a smooth transition from one episode to the next. Before actually launching your podcast, have several episodes ready ahead of time.
It is recommended that you should prepare eight to ten of these episodes before going live. That way, you will land more credible listeners. You don’t want your audience to be left hanging after an enticing debut episode.
Your content plan will allow you to launch the correct number of episodes for them to binge-listen and be hooked on your show. Get that queue ready so that satisfaction is more likely and you’ll see a lower chance of agitated listeners.
It is better if you have a scheduled time or day of the week when releasing new content. Moreover, try to make shareable posts on your social media channels regarding each newly released episode. This will hype the audience even more. But, do not make them wait for too long. Consistency is key!
Aside from the production side of the plan, it is also important to focus on the quality of each episode. This includes better audio. People will stick to a clear and audible podcast that is free from unnecessary background noise and dead air.
6. Have a good podcast host
Aside from having good content, it is also essential to have an excellent host to store all your data. Although there are some free hosting websites, you need to have fast and reliable hosting.
It would be best if you had a solid host for publishing tools, RSS for Apple Podcasts and iTunes, media hosting and distribution, a website, metrics, and a platform that will support you as you progress as a producer.
If you desire to become a pro in this field, you need to think like one. Start investing in a podcast host with large bandwidth and flexible storage. This will make your company more scalable as you learn how to grow your podcast audience even more and keep churning out great episodes over time.
7. Create a trailer
A trailer is a short audio clip about your show. This will inform the audience about what they should expect from your podcast. With the help of the trailer, you can provide your potential listeners with a hint of flavor for your show.
Trailers are one way to pitch the podcast to new people, too. It will excite them and get them to tune in regularly. A good trailer must be kept to under one minute. It must also contain relevant information about yourself as a host, the show and its strengths, and a call-to-action in the end.
8. Have compelling intro and outro
Your introduction is as important as the bulk of your content. It should provide the audience with a wake up shotgun bang. Catching their attention in the first minute of the episode will keep them hooked until the end.
Good background music at the beginning of each episode is a game changer. Stitch an interesting tagline to it, too. Note that it should be uniform across all episodes. This will then serve as a form of branding; a kind of signature for the whole podcast. A good introduction will make people remember you.
The outro should contain a summary of everything that you have discussed all throughout the show. What are the key points, messages, and insights you want to leave your listeners with? Also, this part should contain a glimpse of what to expect for the next episode.
You may also want to leave rhetorical questions for listeners to ponder. This will boggle their minds and set the tone for upcoming episodes.
9. Incorporate a call-to-action at the end of each episode
A CTA can also be considered one of the most effective ways of advertising. At the end of every episode, ask a favor from your audience to share your podcasts with someone they know. Let word-of-mouth be one of your ways to expand and make your presence to a broader public.
CTAs can also be inserted in the podcast summaries or snippets. Usually, clickable links and buttons at the end say “Listen Now” or “Share.” Don’t miss out on taking advantage of this free form of advertising!
10. Be knowledgeable about how SEO works
Search engine optimization is something that serious content creators posting on the Internet never take for granted. Results that come out on the first page of Google, especially the top three listings, are the most likely to get the bulk of searchers’ attention.
Make use of reliable SEO software. Transcribe your shows. Make sure to incorporate the right keywords, curate on-point content, and add meta titles and descriptions to your show notes.
This will help you beat the competition since Google will more easily recognize your content as authoritative and useful. If you have played the algorithm well, Google will place your podcasts at the top of the list, attracting more traffic.
11. Set KPIs and track them
Key performance indicators are fundamental. Aside from the content plan, this will provide direction for your podcast. Your KPIs must answer the question, “What is your measure of success?”
The definition of success may vary depending on the goals that you set. One great indicator is the number of followers, likes, and subscribers you have, and the level of engagement you get from them. This can be through your social media accounts or the traffic to your website.
Do not forget to track your KPIs. They will also serve as a warning when the needle is not moving. That way, you can pose solutions to the problem right away.
12. Use LinkedIn to expand
LinkedIn is the place where you can find many people you can leverage for growth. Connect with these people. Comment on their posts. Then post updates regarding your new releases. Share insights and snippets about them. Don’t go over one or two sentences. Make sure to promote rather than tease the audience.
13. Leverage YouTube
We also recommend that you open a YouTube account. YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet. Hence, you can upload the full version of your podcast content there and take advantage of their large pool of listeners.
To do this, convert any MP3 episodes to MP4s. Next, add an enticing and well-designed YouTube thumbnail. This will show for the duration of the audio.
Another option is to upload videos instead of audio only episodes. People will be able to see you and the guest talking live as they follow, which is more interesting than just listening.
Post links to your social media profiles, website, and podcast platforms in the descriptions of each upload. On your website, include your YouTube link in the show notes of each episode right alongside the links to the other places where people can listen to your show.
Through this, more people will be led to watch the episodes. Don’t forget to add a call-to-action at the end of each episode that prompts listeners to check out other versions or other episodes.
When you are just starting your podcasting career, knowing how to grow your podcast audience can be overwhelming. Investing time and effort into this step is worth it, though, because it is one of the most important factors in podcasting success. Make sure you can pinpoint:
- Who your ideal audience members are
- Where you can find them
- What type of content they want
- How to make your content readily accessible to them
- How to gauge their response to your content
When you do your brainstorming sessions, focus on understanding the people who listen to your episodes. The rest will follow as you learn more about how to grow your podcast audience.
Mary Achurra is a freelance content marketer. She helps business owners and entrepreneurs attract and retain customers by creating quality, engaging content.