How to Grow Your Podcast Following (and Help Listeners Find You)
Podcasts have become the ultimate form of modern-day storytelling. Whether it’s a gripping true crime case, discussing marketing strategies or a back-and-forth chat between guest and host – there is something for everyone.
Today, over 2 million shows are currently in production, and that number is set to increase drastically year over year. Finding a way to grow a podcast following amongst all that noise is one of the hardest challenges podcasters face today.
Let’s take a look at how you can boost your podcast’s visibility and grow your audience using these simple tactics.
Listeners Crave Quality
To build a successful podcast, begin by focusing on the listener experience. Aim to create a show that not only sounds great but provides value for your target audience too.
Yet, quality content shouldn’t be the only clincher for your listeners. Being a great podcast host is just as much part of the fabric of a great show as the content itself. In some cases, a host’s personality, points of view, and expertise can be the difference between someone subscribing or walking away.
Know Your Audience
It can be tempting to think that your podcast will appeal to everyone. And that casting a wide net will grant you thousands of followers. But, as Meredith Hill said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
Establish your existing and potential audience before you begin promoting your podcast. Put yourself in your ideal listeners’ shoes. Think carefully about who they are and what they spend their time doing. Consider their interests and hobbies. Where they go for information, and who could be listening, but currently isn’t?
Once you have a better idea of your listener and their needs, you can get really involved within these communities. Whether that’s Facebook groups, news websites, social media channels or Reddit threads, aim to become an active contributor.
Answer their questions, create targeted blogs, spread your knowledge and provide value. By showing the world your expertise, you’ll create trust, which will naturally draw eager listeners towards your show.
Submit To Multiple Podcast Directories
Being visible is crucial for any podcast. If listeners can’t find you, they won’t tune in.
Directories (also known as aggregates) are easily accessible podcast apps that are used to find, listen, rate, and download podcast episodes.
By submitting your podcast to all the major directories, you’re putting yourself in a prime position to reach millions of potential listeners! The number one place to start is Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes). They are the granddaddy of podcast aggregates, with an incredible 70% – 80% of all podcast listeners using their app.
But, before you can sign up for any of those, you need to register with a trusted podcast hosting site such as Buzzsprout, Castos, or Libsyn. These hosting sites store your episode’s mp3’s and provide a podcast RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed link. Remember, your RSS link is essential.
To register with any podcast directory (like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify), you need to submit this RSS feed link. The simple reason is that directories use this link to automatically update your information on their apps- especially when you publish new episodes on your hosting site.
Promote Your Podcast
Once you have a solid idea of who your audience is, you can start building and distributing targeted promotional materials.
Create a Podcast Website
Podcast websites are a powerful promotional tool. For most brands, a website becomes the central landing spot where they try and convert visitors into customers. But for podcasts they act more like a unique content bubble. Active and potential listeners can browse your site and enjoy additional offerings that they can’t get elsewhere.
On your website you can:
- Publish and catalogue new and older episodes
- Showcase in-depth show notes
- Provide useful resource links
- Create blog posts that explore episode related topics and themes
- Post your episode transcripts for those who need/prefer to read rather than listen
- Upload YouTube videos of behind-the-scenes content or full video podcast episodes
- Build your email list by encouraging visitors to signup for updates
- Share links to your social media channels
Investing in a content-rich website provides search engines, like Google, with a wealth of valuable keywords. All this can boost your SEO efforts and rank your site higher in search results. This strategy will help increase your organic listener traffic- for free!
Utilize Social Media
There are more than 3.8 billion people on social media platforms today. So, if you’re not utilizing these channels to promote your podcast, you really should be.
You’ve already identified your core audience, now you should think about the best places to meet with your ideal listeners. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even YouTube are all great places to start.
Once you’ve thought about where to meet your audience, it’s time to set up your podcast social media accounts and get posting!
So, what kind of content can you create to promote your podcast?
Why not announce new episodes or recap old ones? Talk about future shows by posting beautifully designed quotes and audiograms. Go live and get chatting with your community. Be accessible by engaging with listener comments. You can even browse forums and groups related to your podcast topic. Engage in discussions, answer questions, and leave meaningful comments.
Get creative- it’s all about engagement and piquing people’s interest.
Create Paid Social Media Ads
Investing in paid social media ads is a fantastic way to promote your podcast and increase brand awareness. Unlike other time-consuming content marketing channels, paid advertising can grow podcast audiences in no time at all.
To maximize results, you’ve got to target the right audience in the right place. If you want to appeal to a younger crowd, TikTok and Instagram could be an excellent option to focus your efforts. Meanwhile, parents and women over 30 interact more on Facebook.
While most marketers say that social media advertising for any business is a must, there are some things to consider. A great advertising campaign usually needs a knowledgeable team to create the content. Advert campaigns can become costly depending on your needs. Also, if you miss the mark with your messaging, it could be detrimental to your brand.
Build An Email List
Email lists aren’t just a valuable promotional tactic. In fact, they are a great way to communicate with and nurture an already engaged audience. Think about it; someone has handed over their email address because they want to hear more from you.
Many successful podcasters use their email lists to send subscribers all kinds of valuable content. A regular newsletter, new episode previews, show notes, updates, guest information, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, blogs, exclusive offers, competitions and so much more. All this content can add a greater depth to your podcast and keep listeners thinking of your show in between episodes.
Building your list is reasonably straightforward. You just need to add an email signup form on your website and direct potential subscribers towards it. Create an enticing, hard-to-refuse call to action and tell your listeners to subscribe to your email list. You can do this within your podcast episodes or across social media. Also, be sure to mention any special offers they may get as a welcome gift.
Growing your podcast audience does take time and effort. It might be months or even years before your podcast gains any significant traction, but don’t let that discourage you. If you are creating engaging content that your listeners love and promote your show strategically, you will see a rise in your podcast following.