Do you have a burning desire to start a podcast? You have this amazing idea which you just know will make for a great show!
But you see one glaring problem to your plan…
You don’t have an audience yet!
We’re here to tell you that you definitely don’t have to wait until you have an audience before you launch your podcast! Yes, a ready audience would be great. Being able to launch and hit 1,000 downloads in the first few hours is the dream! But the reality is that unless you’re a celebrity, or already have a big following based on your social media presence or some other aspect of your career, you won’t have a large audience.
But like we said, that is a-okay!
It is entirely possible to find podcast success, even if you don’t have an audience.
In this blog post, we will give you tips for starting a podcast even if you don’t have an audience yet.
Before we dive in, a few things this post won’t include.
It doesn’t include finding your niche, picking your podcast name, or finding the right equipment and set up. We have a great post for all those basics here. This post is here to offer tips and strategies for growing your audience after you’ve covered all the basics of creating a high-quality show.
And with that all out of the way…
Let’s get started!
1. Start Your Podcast!
The first tip for starting a podcast with no audience is to start! The biggest mistake is to think that no audience means you have to wait until you’ve grown a following before you launch. And that’s simply not true!
You really can launch with no audience. Yes, it does require consistent, diligent work. But that’s just what is required to make a podcast successful, whether you launch with an audience or not. You are always going to have to put in a lot of work to have a successful show. You just need to put the added emphasis on building an audience if you’re launching without a ready audience.
So don’t let that stop you! Start your podcast!
And then put these tips into practice to help you build that audience!
2. Appeal to Your Friends and Family
At first glance, you may not think you have an audience for your podcast. But I’m sure, if you take a step back and evaluate, I think you’ll find you actually do have a ready audience for your podcast…your family and friends!
Your family and friends are likely your biggest supporters. They want to see you succeed, so they will be more than happy to help you out by being your first listeners!
And if you’re worried about what they might think…don’t be! If you’ve put in the effort to craft stellar episodes – both in terms of content and value – you have something to be proud of! And something your family and friends will definitely enjoy!
So, spend some time thinking about your circle. List everyone you can think of who falls into that category. Your family, friends, colleagues, team mates, your book club members, even your favorite barista – they’re all part of your circle, and so they could all be part of your initial audience!
See, you’ve got an audience after all!
3. Leverage Your Existing Social Media Followers
Are you on social media? Do you have followers? Then, BINGO! You have the makings of a podcast audience!
Social media is a great place to start gathering your podcast audience. If you have been using social media for any length of time, you likely have at least a few hundred followers (if not more). These are people who already know, like, and trust you. They are the perfect foundation on which to build your podcast audience!
The key is to leverage your existing social media followers by promoting your show on your platforms. Share teasers and your trailer, create audiograms and eye-catching posts to promote your podcast.
The bottom line is that if you have social media followers, you have the perfect start to a podcast audience. Hone in on your target audience within your followers, and you will have the foundation of your podcast community!
4. Submit To All Directories
Our next tip for building up your audience is to submit your podcast to directories.
All of the directories!
Directories are designed to help people find new and interesting podcasts to listen to. So when you submit your show to a directory, you are opening up the opportunity for new listeners to discover your content. Which is why you need to submit your show to them all. The more directories your show is featured in, the wider you’re casting your net for attracting new listeners.
And besides the traditional directories, there are a number of fun, podcast-centric platforms that are great places to scoop up more audience members. Platforms like Goodpods, Podcast Alarm, and Podchaser are three such platforms that you should submit your show to as a way to grow your audience.
5. Submit to Podcast Newsletters
One of our favorite ways to grow an audience or get new listeners on your show is to use podcast newsletters. Podcast newsletters are a fantastic way to get your show in front of new potential listeners.
Podcast newsletters are a phenomenal resource for all involved in the podcasting space. There are those that offer advice and tips, the latest news taking place in the audio space, and, most importantly for the topic of this post, many have a segment where they share podcast write-ups and reviews.
And because they go out to people who already love podcasts, you know that if your show is featured in one of these newsletters, you’re reaching an audience that is primed and ready to join your audience.
Not sure which newsletters you could use to promote your podcast? Here are some of our favorites! 18 of the Best Podcast Newsletters for 2022
6. Use Podcast Ads
Another really effective way to potentially reach more of your intended target audience is to advertise on other podcasts.
A very large part of my podcast collection came about because of an ad I heard on some of my favorite shows.
So create a great trailer or ad, and hunt for podcasts that are popular within your niche. This is important! You need to know the type of listener that would make up your audience, then do some more thinking to figure out the types of shows that are already popular in your niche – and then you need to make contact!
Simply ask what would be a required to have your ad appear on their show. Come to an agreement, and get your captivating podcast ad out there!
7. Join Podcast Communities
Podcast communities are another fantastic way to grow your audience! They’re incredible spaces where podcast hosts and podcast enthusiasts can network with others in the industry, learn from others on the same journey, and, of course, where they have the opportunity to share a bit about their podcast, or offer their show as a recommendation.
But one word of caution when it comes to joining communities. You need to remember to stick to the rules! You won’t be able to constantly post about your show. Most podcasting communities have a protocol that must be followed when interacting in their community. You might be able to share your podcast when you first join. Or, there might be specific days or circumstances where you’re able to promote your own show.
But don’t let the rules and regulations stop you! These communities are still an incredible opportunity to gain more listeners, and you will more than likely gain some great connections and amazing friendships along the way!
Related read: 14 of the Best Active Podcast Communities To Join Today
8. Get Keyword Clever
Another really effective way to grow an audience is to get your podcast in front of the right eyes and ears. Sounds easy enough, right? But how do you practically accomplish this?
You get keyword clever! Knowing the keywords you want to rank for, and optimizing things like your episode titles and show notes with the right keywords will boost your SEO, and will help get your show in front of your target audience. All that’s left then is from them to get hooked by your super cool artwork and perfect podcast description (just some of the reasons why even these aspects of your podcast are so important!) and they’ll be hitting “follow” or “subscribe” in no time! And “Hey, Presto!” you’ve got yourself a budding audience!
9. Share Content via Other Channels
And finally, our last tip for starting a podcast without an active audience, share content via other channels. Most of the previous tips involved focusing on gathering your audience from within the pool of podcasting or social. But your target audience is all over the internet! You’ve just got to find them!
And a really effective way to do that is to share your content via other channels or mediums.
Blogs are a great way to diversify your content and get your name out there. Once readers are hooked on your amazing content, there should be a very easy conversion from reader to listener.
Does your content lend itself to tutorial videos? Then start a YouTube channel and find new audience members there. The more your name shows up in relation to your niche, the easier it is to steadily build an audience. And once they get hooked on your amazing content, they’ll want more! And you can direct them to your podcast.
And those are our 9 top tips of what you can do if you’re starting a podcast without an audience.
What should be clear is that no audience equals no problem if you’re wanting to start a podcast! Yes, it is definitely easier to make a name for yourself in the podcasting space if you already have a healthy following, but this shouldn’t be something that stops you from launching!
By using these tried-and-tested methods, and through consistently putting in the time and effort to make these strategies work, you’ll be able to consistently grow and strengthen your audience. And soon, you’ll be one of the shows that has a healthy, buzzing community supporting you on your podcasting journey.