Every podcast has the goal of growing both in quality and in quantity. Your listener base is what determines your show’s success. So naturally, a big listener base means a more successful show. However, not every podcast is destined for immediate success, in which case groundwork is required! There are a few very effective methods available for you to use that will assist in growing your podcast’s listener base!
1. Network, Network, Network!
A very easy and fruitful way to grow your podcast is to reach out to others within the podcasting community. Rather than view this as helping the competition, use it as a way to expand your listener base. Tap into those contacts you already have and use them to your advantage. An interview with someone else in your space can be used as quality content while also cross targeting audiences. Collaborations with others can have the same effect and can definitely be used as a way to learn new tips and tricks. Who knows, maybe a partnership is in the cards? Either way, your network is gold; so don’t forget to use it!
2. Choose A Good Podcasting Host
Every podcast needs a good host to get for the appropriate publishing tools, media hosting and delivery, RSS for Apple Podcasts and iTunes, a website, stats and a platform that has your back as you grow as a producer. As your podcast grows, your host needs to be able to provide a fast and reliable network, plus the bandwidth and flexible storage space that can handle your podcast as it grows over time. There are several hosting companies where you can upload your podcast for free. However, if you are serious about really growing your audience, you need to think like a pro. This comes back to having sufficient bandwidth in case one of your episodes go viral. Otherwise, all those downloads will be stopped in their tracks, you’ll lose listeners, and you’ll miss out on your plunge into making it big.
To find out more about which hosting company is right for you, check out our post on 21 of The Top Hosting Companies.
3. Maximize That SEO
Making your show easy to find on a very cramped and crowded internet is crucial. This can be done by using the right keywords, titles, descriptions, and content. A podcast that’s featured on the first page of Google is obviously going to attract more first-time listeners than a podcast who shows up on page 50. Likewise, a show that launches on iTunes and makes it into the ‘New and Noteworthy’ section will see the same success. The key is to optimize your podcast for both for typical Google searches and for the search engines of each respective podcast directory that your show is listed on. This means including target keywords in your podcast name and description, as well as each individual episode’s name and description. The ultimate goal is to hit iTunes top podcasts, a goal that requires time and a combination of great content, strategic marketing, and great SEO optimization.
4. Interact With the Internet!
To become a successful podcaster, you definitely should not be aiming to do it all alone. There is an abundance of amazing community platforms available online that can be used to network, converse, and discuss. Use these platforms to interact with listeners, potential new listeners, and even possible future guests. Just remember, be cautious not to be guilty of ‘spamming’ the groups and make sure to follow their guidelines. Build real connections! You have a bank of knowledge which many are seeking. This can be a very genuine and organic way to spread the word about your show!
To find out more about which podcasting communities are out there for you to join, check out the post on 16 Active Podcasting Communities.
5. Opt For Classic Advertising
Sometimes the most classic form of advertising is just the way to go. Facebook and Instagram are two obvious places to invest in advertising. Once you’ve figured out what keywords to target, consider paying for paid advertising on Google Adwords, Reddit Ads, Facebook Ads, and Stumbleupon Ads. This is just an initial strategy, a sort of temporary measure until you see the growth you are looking for. Your first listeners are going to be the hardest to get, so it’s worth the money you’ll spend on getting those early listeners. Other than classic advertising methods, some less obvious places could be on a relevant blog or even being featured on someone else’s podcast. Of course, this method does carry some financial risk as a return is not guaranteed. But the reward can definitely be worth it!
For other advertising opportunities, check out our blog post on the 9 Best Podcast Advertising Networks.
6. Effectively Use Social Media
As podcasters, we know that it takes time and commitment to produce and publish a podcast but don’t forget to spend as much or more time promoting actually it! When it comes down to it, many of your podcast listeners and subscribers are also social media participants. The use of social media is essential for spreading a podcast. Switch up your strategies; rather than just posting or tweeting out new episodes, take a chance and record a sneak peek of the episode with your guest on Facebook Live. Or perhaps turn a section of your episode into a YouTube video. Getting your episodes out on as many different platforms in various different forms is a great way to find those new listeners and draw them in by trying new things.
For more tips on using social meida to promote your podcast, check out our blog post on 18 Social Media Tips To Grow Your Podcast.
7. Get On the App Scene
Smartphone apps for podcasts are on the rise and many people find shows they want to listen to by browsing through categories in podcast directories. In order to grow, you have to submit your podcast to as many of these directories as possible to have a better chance of being discovered. Apps for iOS and Android not only help you to extend the reach but also increases the monetization capabilities of your content.
8. Turn Readers Into Listeners
Often times the best way to grow your podcast is to leverage an audience that you already have. Do you have a blog or email list? Well, there’s no better way to get more listeners than by simply letting your readers know about your podcast! At the same time, you should also let your podcasts listeners know about your email list. Being a podcaster, your listeners will feel as though they are connected to you on a personal level. That means they’ll want to hear from you as much as possible, including through email. Having an email subscription option on your website also broadens your audience beyond those who use iTunes or who subscribe to your RSS feed. So turn those readers into listeners, and listeners into readers and you’ll have yourself a win-win situation!
9. Encourage Listener Interaction
Podcasting is such a personal medium, which allows your regular listeners to feel like they know you as a friend. This makes podcasts ideal for fostering engagement with your fans. Encourage engagement by letting your listeners ask questions on social media platforms, and then take time to either answer them directly or by creating a Q&A section on the show. Not only does this interaction strengthen the bond between you and your listeners, it also gives you a better understanding of what your audience wants, needs and expects from your podcast. Your listeners will give you the inside view on exactly how to improve your podcast. Another great way to encourage engagement is to set up a Facebook Community for your show. This provides a place for your audience to come together, discuss the episodes, and really explore the topics in greater depth. This is also a way to give your listeners a more personal connection to you as the host.
10. Market Your Product
When it comes down to it, your podcast is your product. It is crucial that you market your “product” in order to increase your reach. As we discussed earlier, start by supplementing your podcast with blog posts, microblogs or even youtube previews. Next, focus on cross-promotion with other brands, podcasts or newsletters. Engaging other influencers in your specific focus area is another means of reaching out to more potential listeners. Whenever you publish a new episode, promote it through your social media channels and have your guests promote the podcast on their personal and business social media accounts as well. The key is to ask for shares and recommendations early on. Make this happen faster by deliberately asking for shares and recommendations early on, whether it’s on air or off air, or perhaps as a call to action in your blog post or show notes.
11. Hold Contests and Giveaways
Finally, host contests or giveaways where your listeners can win prizes in exchange for leaving a review of your podcast on iTunes. Offer further entries for listeners who share your podcast with others or tag a friend in the social media post. Don’t forget to promote any posts you run for these giveaways – just because it’s a contest doesn’t mean it’s off limits for running a quick Facebook Ad campaign or two! The most important part is to have fun with it and get your audience engaged in the excitement to really create a buzz around your show.
Networking as you mentioned and giveaways have always been our go to methods for ANY promotion & marketing. With the right offer and value given on your podcast, people naturally will be attracted and want to work with you. So, when you incorporate giveaways and networking, it does even better! Great article Carli.