Podcasting is a long game. It requires you to consistently show up and deliver great value to your audience.
There are ways though that you can speed up audience growth. In this article, we’ll cover what we feel are 11 of the best ways to grow your podcast audience. Each one will require a different strategy and set of skills but if there’s one thing that podcasters are good at, it’s being able to wear different hats. Where else would you need to act like a journalist, an audio engineer, a production director and a marketer?!
These suggestions are not in order of importance. All should be in place to position your podcast for maximum growth.
Deliver Huge Value – Every Time
Your podcast is only as good as the last episode. To attract and retain listeners, you need to build on the success of previous episodes and make sure you’re bringing your audience the best possible content on a consistent basis.
What’s classed as valuable content will differ from podcast to podcast, niche to niche. For a podcast that’s focused around a particular hobby, think about interviewing guests that you know your audience will want to listen to. This also applies to B2B focussed shows, who would make a great guest based on their experience and profile in their industry. Do they speak at conferences? Are they known for being behind well known projects for a big player within the sector?
If the format of your show doesn’t include an interview feature, think about how else you can bring your audience value. Can you put together a radio style news feature on a hot topic or issue within the niche you cover, or talk about your own experiences of where you’ve succeeded or failed at something they might be interested in. Can you teach them how to do something?
When planning your episodes, put the listener first and think about their wants and needs as opposed to what’s going to be the easiest or quickest way of producing a show.
Attract Guests with a Profile
Related to the point above about delivering value, the bigger the profile of your guests, the more likely people are to discover your podcast. This could be via your guest mentioning it on social media or prospective listeners searching for their name in a podcast app or via a search engine like Google.
It will be harder to attract really big names when your show is still getting off the ground but as you gain momentum, it will get easier. To start with, actively seek out people who might be looking to build their profile or have something to promote. One great tip is to look at the Amazon new book releases category. If you can find a book being released which is related to your niche, it’s likely that the author will be in ‘promotional mode’ and wanting to push the book they’ve just released. A quick email to either them directly if self-publishing or their publishers if a publishing house is involved and you could end up landing a nice interview with somebody who could attract new listeners to your show.
When outreaching to secure guest interviews, it’s always worth dropping in a few names of previous guests, especially when you know the prospective guest will recognise some of the names. This gives you added credibility and demonstrates that people like them do appear on your podcast.
Improve your Audio Quality
It’s all well and good interviewing the biggest names in your niche and delivering great value content to your listeners but if the production quality overall is low, your growth will be impacted. Poor sound is fatiguing to listeners and if it’s not up to scratch, they’ll simply switch off.
We have plenty of content throughout this site to help you in this area so we won’t go into detail here but this is such an important point. You need to aim high, try to get as close as you can to that warm and rich professional radio sound.
Make it Easy for People to Discover your Show
Although Apple Podcasts and Spotify are by far the biggest platforms for podcast consumption, it’s important to have your show on the many other platforms people could potentially discover you on. A good podcast hosting provider (see our top recommendations here) will normally have options within the platform for submitting your show’s feed to various platforms so it’s not a laborious job to do.
Take the time to get your feed submitted to all the places you think your potential audience could be. You could even ask on your show for listeners to email in with any new platform requests.
Stick to a Regular Release Schedule
You need to train your listeners to look out for you next show being released. Yes, some podcast apps will deliver notifications to subscribers telling them when a new episode has gone live but not all do and some people may have notifications turned off.
Commit to releasing a new episode every x days or weeks. Even if it’s once a month, growth will be slower but people will know when to expect you back. Avoid at all costs releasing 6 episodes in a 2 week time frame then leaving it another 4 months before you publish anything else. The only exception to this is if you’re running your show on a series basis, in that case it’s fine to have an off-season as listeners will be aware of the schedule.
Be Active on Social Media
The likelihood is that the listeners you want to attract to your show are out there using social media. Choose your platform(s) carefully based on the demographic of your audience. It makes sense to do one or two platforms really well as opposed to doing four or five platforms badly.
Have a B2B show and looking to attract a professional audience in certain sectors? LinkedIn might be a good choice for this.
Have a younger audience and lots of inspiring imagery connected with your show? Instagram might be a good bet.
Be strategic and do a good job of whichever you pick. Engage with your audience and get conversations started. We’ll cover social media strategy for podcasters in a future article.
Have a Website
Having a website for your podcast comes with multiple benefits. Firstly, it allows you to create a post for each episode and include a transcription of the audio. Great for SEO, great for new people discovering your show via search engines.
Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to build an email list (click to see which email platforms we recommend for podcasters). When you have an email list of people who want to hear from you, you can let them know when a new episode has gone live, give them a preview into future content, survey them to give you data to make decisions or later down the line, start to monetise your podcast. Being able to talk to your audience directly is very powerful for many reasons.
Be a Guest on Other Podcasts
Perhaps the biggest ‘bang for buck’ activity is securing interviews on other people’s podcasts. This may or may not be a road you want to go down but if it is something you wish to pursue, you need to come across well.
It’s important to have a good story to tell, be able to offer value to listeners and to select the right podcasts which align well to you and your podcast.
Run a Competition
Come up with a prize which you know your audience will love and ask them to enter via social media. To enter, it could involve them needing to follow you and tag two friends, asking their friends to do the same if they also want to enter.
You could purchase the prize yourself or ask for a donation from a company in your niche, they may be willing to do it for the exposure on your podcast.
There are regulations around running competitions so be sure to check your local laws.
Reviews can help you to rank better in certain podcast platforms so regularly ask your audience to leave you a rating and/or review on whatever platform they listen to your podcast on.
You may want to just mention it at the most suitable point in each episode or incorporate it into an intro/outro. Either way, be sure to ask in every episode.
If (when) you get some glowing reviews, reading them out on the show is good for audience engagement, but it also reinforces to other people listening that they’re part of a good thing.
Build your Personal Brand
There are multiple ways to start building your personal brand and that’s for another article. However, the more it builds, so will your following and subsequently, more people will discover your podcast.
If you end up doing some writing, speaking at conferences, appearing on relevant YouTube channels or being contacted for comment by the media, there will be many opportunities to mention your podcast which will help you to attract new listeners over time.