One of the key factors identifying a successful podcast is a large and engaged listener base. Some shows may be lucky enough to find success early on. They launch, and it seems like “bam” they already have a large, healthy audience.
But this, by and large, is the exception. Most hosts need to put in a bit more work to grow their audience.
Growing your podcast’s listener base can seem like a daunting task – you know how important a large, active audience is to a show’s longterm success, after all – but it doesn’t have to be.
Fortunately, there are a few tried and true methods for attracting new listeners to your show!
And while it may take some time and effort to build up your listener base, the 13 steps we’re sharing today will undoubtedly help you attract new podcast listeners!
So, let’s start with step 1…
1. Sound Matters!
If you’ve read our blog for awhile, you’ll know we’re pretty focused on sound quality! But it is really important! In our opinion, it’s the linchpin of literally any tip, trick, strategy, or step we share! And it’s no different in a post about attracting new podcast listeners.
Because if your show doesn’t sound amazing – your audio isn’t high-quality, rich, and crystal clear – there is no way you will attract and attain those new listeners.
2. Content Matters!
Second to great audio is great content. If you want to attract and keep those new listeners, you have to create great content. Again, this seems obvious, but it’s important! If your podcast is interesting, informative, and engaging, people will want to listen.
Make sure each episode is jam-packed with content that speaks to your target audience, and you all those new podcast listeners you’ll attract with the following steps will stick around and become part of your loyal podcast community. #podcastgoals!
3. Submit To Directories
Step 3 is to submit your podcast to directories. Again, this is seemingly a given, as it is the podcast directories that get your amazing-sounding, high-quality episodes out there in the first place.
But the reason that this is a step is because you need to make sure you’re submitting to all the possible directories for your audience. The more directories your show is featured in, the wider you’re casting your net for attracting new listeners.
Also, different directories offer different features and cater to different audience’s listening preferences, so by submitting to as many directories as possible, you’ll put your podcast in front of more eyes and ears of your target audience, no matter where they choose to listen.
Related read: 21 of the Best Podcast Directories
4. Build Your Network
When you’re looking for new ways to grow your podcast, don’t just think outside the box. Think inside…by reaching out and collaborating with others in the podcast community.
We’ve found over the years that a fundamental characteristic of the podcast industry is a general spirit of collaboration. And so networking is a key step for attracting new podcast listeners as you connect with other podcast hosts.
As you invite other podcasters onto your show, or you share the mic with them on theirs, you’re opening up your podcast to attracting new listeners.
But how do you ‘network’? Well, we do have some ideas…
Network Ideas to Attract New Podcast Listeners
Attend podcast meetups or conferences. These are great opportunities to meet new people within the podcasting space, besides all you’ll learn about the latest trends in podcasting!
Join online communities or forums. There are many online forums devoted to podcasting, and these can be great places to connect with other podcasters. And from these connections, you could set up interviews or other cross-collaboration opportunities.
Reach out to other podcasters directly. If you’re a fan of a certain show, reach out to the host and let them know! Not only is this a nice way to connect with someone whose work you admire – and something most hosts would really appreciate! – but it’s also an opportunity to open the door for collaboration.
Besides all the opportunities for attracting new listeners which networking can provide, networking is also just a really great way to connect with other podcasters! A network is gold! So don’t neglect building one!
5. Choose A Good Podcasting Host
The next step is to choose a good podcast hosting platform. A good host will provide you with everything you need to create and distribute your podcast, including storage space, bandwidth, the appropriate publishing tools, media hosting and delivery, your RSS feed, as well as tools for promoting your show.
They’ll also make it easy for new listeners to find and subscribe to your podcast. So if you’re looking to attract new listeners, don’t skip this step and be sure to choose a good podcast hosting platform
Related read: 7 Free Podcast Hosting Platforms
6. Maximize That SEO
In the Golden Age of Podcasts (which is now, btw) if you’re looking to attract new listeners, you need to do maximize that SEO so your show stands out from the crowd!
But just why is SEO important? Well, because a podcast that appears on the first page of Google will undoubtedly draw in more first-time listeners than a podcast that shows up on page 10. (Let’s be honest, have you EVER clicked past the 5th page of search results? I thought not…)
Likewise, a show that gets listed among “New & Noteworthy” sections on Apple Podcasts, for instance, gives them an edge over other podcasts fighting it out in the respective niche.
So, the advice is to optimize your podcast for the good ol’ Google searches, as well as for the search engines of the different podcast directories.
There are a number of strategies to help you accomplish this. But one key way is using the keywords you want to rank for in your titles, descriptions, and your show notes.
Related read: Top Ways to Boost Your Podcast Discoverability
7. Say “Yes” to Ads
If you want to attract (and keep!) new podcast listeners, the next step to take is to actively start advertising your podcast. And that means ads!
Ads can be a really effective way to gain exposure for your podcast, and attract many new listeners. And this step is particularly geared to podcasters just starting out. Running ads on a variety of platforms can really help get the ball rolling and help you gain traction with your audience as your show is finding it’s feet.
Ads are most effective when you figure out the keywords you want to target, as well as the type of audience you want your ads to reach. Once you’ve got the logistics, start placing your ads. Facebook and Instagram are good places to start, but you could also consider paying for ads on other platforms, such as Google or Reddit.
Casting the net wider, you could also pay for ad spots on popular blogs, or other podcasts whose target audience is aligned with yours.
8. Grow Your Brand on Social Media
Effective, consistent, podcast promotion goes hand-in-hand with successful podcast growth. You have to promote your podcast and your brand if you want to see an increase in your audience.
And the best way to grow and promote a brand is through social media. Social media and all it’s features make it easy to really connect with your audience, and through your posts, stories, lives, or reels you also build your brand. And as your audience on social media grows, you should be able to convert that growth to growth in your podcast audience too, as you can share sneak peeks of upcoming guests, audiogram teasers of upcoming episodes, or just fun posts that let your audience know your new episode has dropped!
Want insight into promoting your podcast on social media? Check out Twitter’s new features here.
9. Cast a Wider Marketing Net
The next step we have on offer is building upon the marketing strategies mentioned above, but now casting a wider net to attract more new listeners.
Now it’s time to get creative! Look at cross-promotion with other brands, podcasts, or blogs. Submit your show to podcast newsletters, (Take a look at some of our favorites here!) or engage other influencers in your specific niche to tap into their audience.
Think of all the places your target audience has contact with, and find creative, engaging ways to get your podcast showing up in that space. And you’ll find you’re attracting a whole host of new listeners to your podcast!
10. Start a Blog
Turn readers into listeners by starting your own blog! This is a great ‘next step’ for a number of reasons.
First up, an optimized blog means even greater SEO! Search engines are able to crawl your text, and with the right keywords, your blog could pop up right on top for topics searched within your niche. And as your blog should be aligned to your podcast, you can then direct your readers to your show. Turing your readers into listeners as they jump at the chance to engage with more of your valuable content.
A blog in addition to your podcast also helps you build greater authority in your niche. More authority could lead to more guest spot opportunities on other podcasts. And this, in turn, leads to more listeners for your show.
11. Encourage Listener Interaction
One of our favorite things about the podcasts is the relationship that forms between listener and host. Podcasting is a really personal medium – you feel you know the host personally as each episode feels like they’re in conversation just with you.
But the real magic happens when you, as podcast host, take that initial connection and build upon it by encouraging and fostering listener engagement.
And again, social media is the perfect tool for the job. You can use the many different platforms to interact directly with your listeners. You can ask them questions, let them ask you questions, delve deeper into episode topics, or just have fun conversations.
But how exactly does this count as a step towards gaining new listeners? Because this interaction gives you excellent insight into who your audience is and what type of content they are hungry for. You can then use this insider info to reach more of your target audience!
12. Encourage Listeners to Leave Reviews and Ratings
Even if you only listen to a handful of podcasts, you’ve no doubt encountered the phrase, “Be sure to leave us a rating and review!” or even worse, “Leave us a five star review!”
And for the most part, I don’t think that outright appeals like this are having the desired effect. So why do we think that asking for ratings and reviews is a step for attracting new listeners? Because reviews are important.
I’ll give you a personal example. I’m always on the hunt for new podcasts. I’ve signed up to all the podcast recommendation letters, and I’m always looking for blog posts which recommend podcasts in the genres I’m interested in. But in all honesty, unless it’s someone I really trust giving the recommendation, I go to the reviews to see what people are saying before investing my time in a new podcast.
And that’s why encouraging your loyal listeners to leave reviews and ratings is a step in attracting new listeners. Because the honest opinion of someone other than the host can be what tips the scale in favor of following and hitting ‘play’…or not.
So, encourage your listeners to leave you ratings and reviews. Just don’t ask outright for five stars! Rather explain to your listeners why reviews are helpful to you, and let them do their thing! If you’ve created a high-quality podcast, and you’ve taken the time to build and foster interaction with your listeners, then this should be all it takes to get them to leave positive reviews.
13. Run Giveaways
The final step is giveaways, a tried-and-tested method of growing a following! Use signing up to your newsletter, leaving ratings and reviews for your show, subscribing to your podcast, or tagging a friend and sharing a social media post a requirement for entry, and you’ll see those audience numbers climbing upwards.
Match the prize to something your audience will find enticing, and create hype around the giveaway, and you’ll find this is a really effective way to really create a buzz around your show, which will attract new listeners to your podcast.
And that’s it! Our 13 tried-and-tested steps for attracting new podcast listeners. Yes, the thought of having to consistently find new listeners for your podcast can be daunting! We totally get that! But if this post has told you anything, it’s that there are many ways attract new listeners for your show.
Make sure you’re consistently creating something worth following, then work your way through these steps. You’ll then be able to attract new listeners and with your high-quality audio and your valuable content that meets your audience’s needs, you will be able to turn these new listeners into lifelong fans of your show!