Whether you’re just starting out or have a seasoned branded podcast under your belt, the truth is that we all want to discover ways to increase our audience engagement on and off our show.
Listening apps are a great place to start by encouraging your audience to rate your podcast and leave reviews. But podcasts are a one-way, broadcast medium. They don’t provide the opportunity to really connect with your audience via a two-way discussion.
That’s where audience engagement off of listening apps comes in. Discover how you can leverage marketing channels to not only grow your audience but also keep a loyal, engaged fan base.
Let’s get to it!
1. Use social media to build two-way dialogue and engagement
As marketers know, social media is a powerful medium to connect with your audience via two-way dialogue. You can get really creative through platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Branded podcasts can either create their own, separate channels or they can use the company’s social channels if they already have a strong, targeted audience. Below are a few ways we encourage brands and marketers to engage with their podcast audience.
- Invite callers on your podcast or ask your audience to send voice messages, then play recordings of their questions and messages on the show. Everyone likes to get a shoutout on the podcast! This can be applicable to really any branded podcast style in any industry.
- Ask your audience a question during the podcast and encourage them to send you a tweet with their answers that you will cover in the next episode. Again, an easy way to connect with your audience and get them to engage publicly.
- Create a survey or poll and encourage followers to participate The poll can be on potential future topics, guests, formats, or even cover segments for future episodes. For example, if you’re doing a podcast on content marketing, you can create a poll and ask audiences what their favorite content channel is and add the findings to your episode!
- Create hashtags or social media challenges for listeners to participate in. This type of podcast audience engagement encourages user-generated content which is an impactful marketing asset. Plus, it’s a great way for new listeners to find you.
- Pick some of the stand-out comments and read them out loud on your podcast or comment directly on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. You can even choose to tag certain listeners, so they know you’re paying attention which in turn increases engagement. It allows your followers to feel included in your content and that it’s a two-way dialogue. Nothing builds loyalty more than feeling a connection to the host and show.
- Point listeners over to a Reddit or Facebook post about the episode to answer a question, discuss the topic, or share feedback. This creates a surround sound effect where lots of people can jump into the thread and share their POV.
- Run a contest since everyone loves to win something. Contests are a guaranteed way to gain attention from listeners. Partner with other businesses or influencers to really maximize your reach and offer prizes that your specific niche audience would love. Make sure to hashtag “contest” or “giveaway” so your contest has reach. Quote tip: we’ve also seen internal company contests perform extremely well for podcast engagement.
- Posting a variety of shareable pieces of content like photos, videos, and audiograms can encourage listeners to reshare your show’s content on their own personal social media accounts. Loyal fans love to have assets that they can share on their own handles.
- Utilize unique social media platform features like Instagram Stories, Facebook Groups, and Discord Servers which are perfect for hosting Q&A sessions, contests, giveaways, or sharing behind-the-scenes activities for your podcast audience to engage with.
2. Build connections and share impactful content with newsletters
Growing your podcast audience (and keeping them engaged!) and building your mailing list via a newsletter should be done simultaneously. We always encourage podcasters to focus their energy on creating compelling newsletters for their subscribers.
Remember, email is the only way to get a direct connection to your listeners, which should be your potential customers. Connecting with these people will give you the best insights into how to improve your podcast. Newsletters not only help you connect but also creates a sense of community amongst your listeners.
By sending emails, you’re reaching listeners when they’re primed to engage with a specific call to action that would be more challenging if only heard audibly. Clicking a link in a newsletter is much easier than memorizing a specific URL and typing it into Google. Removing this point of friction can generate more conversions off the back of your podcast.
What should your newsletter include?
- New Episode Reminders: Let your subscribers know about any new episodes that have been released and write a one-liner that would entice them to want to tune in.
- Expand on Episode Content: Are there any visual materials or additional reading that could complement your latest episode? You can also consider adding links to your newsletter that give readers additional information on the topics your latest episodes covered.
- List Upcoming Guests: You can take listeners behind the scenes by teasing your upcoming guests. But to get your audience to be even more engaged you could ask readers to submit questions for your upcoming guests. It’s the perfect way to have your audience come on a journey with you.
- Curated Third-Party Content: Include links or resources that are connected to your podcast’s subject matter. This is a great way for your audience to discover other creators and for you to add value.
- Special Occasions: Your newsletter is a great place to let listeners know about and celebrate any recent success stories you’ve had. These may include your podcast winning an award or your show announcing a live event of a personal milestone for the host(s) such as having a baby or getting married. These kinds of additions humanize the show and allow your audience to feel more connected and engaged.
If your brand already has a large newsletter audience, leverage this for your podcast. You can either:
- Add your podcast content to your existing newsletter in a different section
- Add an extra newsletter series to your current newsletter (i.e. you share your typical newsletters on Tuesdays and you share a shorter version of the newsletter that breaks down your podcast episode on Fridays)
- Create a new newsletter series just for the podcast but you promote it and encourage readers to sign up in your existing newsletter
3. Leverage long-form blog content to add value to podcast listeners
Supplementing your podcast episodes with blog posts is a great way to keep your audience interested. We all know that with podcasts, the topics discussed can be limited, especially if you’re doing interviews. Your listeners want to hear more opinions, stories, research, and blogs are a great way to serve up this supplemental information. It’s easy to direct your audience to your blog posts as a call-to-action at the end of the episode or within your shownotes.
Blogs are a great way to communicate with your listeners. When listening to a podcast, unfortunately, there is no place for listeners to really talk about the topic, engage with you directly or leave feedback (aside from listening app reviews).
By writing blogs on the same topic, you have created a space where your audience can leave feedback (good and bad!), reviews, questions and comments that you have the ability to interact with. This will in turn allow you to continue to build a relationship with them by responding back but also keep informed about the things that most matter to your listeners and find ways to incorporate that into your show.
Blogs also serve the purpose of helping your podcast’s SEO. Blogs are much easier to discover in search engines, even though Google recently allowed podcasts to be more searchable. Still, your podcast won’t get the organic push you expect.
Other ways you can use your blog to keep audiences engaged are:
- Outline podcast episodes in blogs: Since the potential audience cannot scan your podcast episodes, you may use your blog to provide a gist of the things you discuss in your podcast episode. A properly worded summary and outline can be a useful tool to invite someone to listen to your podcast.
- Transcribe your podcast: If providing a summary and outline after recording a podcast episode seems too tedious already, another option for you is to transcribe your podcast.
- Ask for suggestions: Are you running out of ideas for podcast content? Connect with your listeners through a blog post and ask them for suggestions. What do they want to hear next? Whose story do they want to know? This way, your blog will grow because of the interaction, and your podcast will grow in content.
- Enrich blog entries with podcast episodes: If an article in your blog is quite long, you may diversify it by adding podcast episodes. You may record some audio summaries for your article so that your reader can have a quick break from the screen without actually leaving your blog. You can also upload a relevant podcast episode in the article to increase the dwell time on your blog.
4. Create relationships via events and live podcasts
Even though we typically see podcasting as an audio-only medium, in order to build an engaged audience offline, a live, interactive venue is extremely powerful. When a host meets their enthusiastic listeners in person, it builds loyalty and leads to word-of-mouth.
If you host live meetings with listeners or organize an event, it will allow your audience to get to know you better. Being in a like-minded community is something that everyone is looking for. You can also change up how your in-person events look. If your listener base is just starting to grow, you can host free events inviting everyone to join. As time goes on and your show grows in popularity, you can organize close events, inviting only your most loyal listeners. This creates a sense of exclusivity too.
As you get more seasoned, you may want to consider a live podcast recording. With built-in tools on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch, it’s now easier than ever to host a live podcast. You may even find that the feeling of being “on-air” motivates and energizes you during the recording, which in turn can lead to better content. Live podcasts also allow your audience to feel they are part of something larger and keep them coming back for more.