To sum it up, audience growth is hard. Building a podcast audience is time consuming, sometimes slow-moving, and requires an effective growth strategy. In fact, 91% of podcasters say that audience growth is the hardest thing about podcasting.
Typically, after the first few weeks of launch and the initial buzz, it can feel like your audience growth slows down. And so, the number one question on really any podcaster’s mind is, “how do I grow my podcast audience?”
There is no silver bullet for success in podcasting, but there are a few tricks you can use to grow your podcast audience. If you want to keep scaling, continue reading because we’ve got you covered with our 8 proven ways to successfully grow your podcast audience.
1. Dedicate 15 minutes a day to engaging with your followers
Sometimes the best tactics are the simplest tactics. Engaging with your audience on social media on a regular basis can make the difference between whether or not your audience stays loyal to your show.
Remember, a huge part of podcasts’ success is that listeners feel it is an intimate experience – one where they feel connected to the host. So, any opportunities you can create a two-way form of communication where you’re engaging with your audience can help to make them feel connected to you and your content.
Engaging with your audience doesn’t have to be hard. Suggestions for engaging with listeners on social media:
- Have a conversation on Twitter
- Ask or answer a question
- Respond to comments on Instagram
- Ask listeners to leave voice messages on your podcast website
Making your audience feel like your friend vs. simply consumers of your show will pay off in the long run.
2. Take advantage of social media to stand out
Be creative when sharing your episodes on social media. There are several ways you can ensure the launch of each new episode is memorable:
- Create short, catchy soundbite clips from your podcast (we love using Headliner to create audiograms for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!)
- Develop quote images from guest interview soundbites
- Promote podcast reviews
- Create teasers for upcoming episodes
- Share videos or stories from behind-the-scenes
3. Network with other podcasters and build a community
The podcasting community is a friendly one and it’s great to get involved! There are many podcasting Facebook groups, Reddit threads, Discords, or Slack Channels that are filled with engaged podcasters sharing their advice, asking for support, and trading tips. Join communities that are relevant to your show and participate by providing value. Answer questions and propose discussion topics.
Sample podcast communities
Attend conferences and meetups related to podcasting or your specific niche that you cover on your podcast (say, business, health or spirituality).
Sample podcast events
Reach out to relevant podcasters
Conduct research to find other podcasters that are either in your niche or relevant to your topic. Create a list of these podcasters and reach out to them directly to discuss collaborating or establishing some sort of partnership. Either way, it can’t hurt to get your name out there!
4. Add your show to podcast directories
This is a simple tip, but it’s arguably one the most important when it comes to podcast discovery. Obviously, you want to make it easy for people to find your podcast. You’re probably on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major listening apps, but ensure that your podcast exists on all podcast directions.
Some popular podcast directories
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- Amazon Music
- iHeart Radio
- TuneIn Radio
- Podcast Addict
- Player FM
While you’re adding your podcast to these directories, do a quick audit to ensure it’s easy for your audience to find you anywhere.
Do you have a landing page or a website for your podcast? Does it have full episode lists or an audio trailer? These are simple practices that are easy to forget about, but they can make the difference between someone finding your podcast and becoming an avid listener and someone never discovering your show.
5. Invest in email marketing
Add sign up boxes to the end of your posts, your social media profiles, or an overlay to your entire site, in order to capture the contact information of your fans.
Many podcasters use email to notify their subscribers of new episodes but remember that isn’t all you can do with email marketing.
Use email marketing to nurture your audience. Give them more value than you expect to get in return from them. Go beyond the scope of your show to offer your subscribers relevant information. For instance, if your show is about start-ups, you can introduce your subscriber to the latest NYTimes bestseller business book or the most recent founder documentary on HBO that you think they’ll love, even if you don’t benefit from the promotion at all.
Adding value keeps people coming back!
6. Transcribe your episodes for discovery and accessibility
Creating podcast transcripts can take some extra elbow grease, but in the long run it pays off. Because transcripts are text-based content, they play an invaluable role when it comes to SEO,improving search results, and growing your podcast audience. In addition to better SEO, they make your content more accessible to people who have partial or total hearing loss.
There are several different ways to approach transcription, including:
- Manual transcription
- Hiring a transcriber
- Using a podcast transcription service (either fully automated with AI, manual or hybrid)
7. Cross-post your episodes
Remember it’s important to be everywhere to get maximum exposure for your show. That goes for social media too! Cross-post your episodes to every social channel – from YouTube, to Instagram, to LinkedIn – to ensure maximum promotion. And there’s no rule claiming you can only promote your newest episode. Share your older ones too because some of your newer listeners may have missed that content.
Find ways to use your fellow creators as a resource too and create a network to support each other. If you find a podcast you really like, share it with your audience because they might like it too. You’re creating goodwill with another podcaster and creating your network of support (and chances are they will promote your show too!).
Take it a step further and invite other podcast creators to be a guest on your podcast. Look for opportunities to go on other podcasts as a guest yourself to potentially attract a whole new audience of different listeners. Engage with other creators online and build a wish list of podcasts you want to land a guest spot on. Then, pitch the idea to the creators of those podcasts, including why you want to be a guest and the value you could provide for them in return.
8. Add video to your podcast to increase your podcast audience size
Some people simply prefer video or YouTube as a content consumption medium. With video, you can open yourself to a wider audience. More and more listening apps are adding video features to their products such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
There are basically three ways to do this:
- Add a static image to your audio file to convert it into a video file
- Film yourself recording your podcast with your guests and co-hosts
- Create a custom video content with graphics and other unique footage to compliment your show (whatever you go with, make sure to post the result on YouTube since it has a massive audience!)
As podcasting continues to grow in popularity, it’s the perfect time to master the art of growing your podcast audience.
Now that we’ve laid out some top tips, it’s time to put these learnings into action. And remember to be patient! Scaling a show and building an audience doesn’t happen overnight, but if you stay consistent, continue to add value and are creative about getting your content in front of new eyes, you will not only grow your podcast audience, but you will build a loyal fanbase who will in turn also promote your show.