As podcast enthusiasts, creators, and marketers, one might ponder why some podcasts amass a significant, engaged audience while others struggle to resonate.
It’s no surprise that the answer doesn’t come down to high-quality content; it hinges on transforming that content into an irresistible, engaging experience that retains listeners. When you focus your efforts on providing value, you not only build trust and credibility but also foster a community that champions your brand. What brand doesn’t want this?
In this article, we explore 7 strategic tips to enhance your podcast content and captivate your target listeners as a brand.
1. Understand your audience
We know, as marketers you hear this constantly, but there’s a reason for it.
Understanding your audience is a non-negotiable first step in creating a successful podcast. Comprehensive knowledge of your listener demographics, listening habits, and interests informs the content you create, ensuring it resonates with your target audience.
Now you likely already have a target persona for your brand, and typically there won’t be much change between your brand’s target persona and your podcast’s ideal listener. But sometimes you may see this change if your podcast is targeting an even more niche demographic within your audience.
For example, maybe you’re a MarTech company and your podcast is about women in MarTech. This narrows down your ideal listener to targeting women working in the MarTech field specifically.
Understanding your audience lays the foundation for building an engaged community around your podcast and fostering a sense of belonging among listeners. There’s an array of softwares and tools that you can use to gather insight into who your podcast listener is.
Common sources for this data include:
- Podcast hosting platforms: Depending on the platform you choose, your podcast hosting provider will likely have an overview of who your listener is such as their age, gender, location, and which apps they listen from.
- Podcast distribution platforms: Podcast distribution platforms or podcast directories are apps where you can listen to a podcast such as Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google, etc. The platforms have data about who your listener is but remember that it’s only taking into account a portion of your audience.
- Social media analytics: If you’re actively promoting your podcast on social media platforms you can gather information about the audience that’s typically engaging with content related to your show. And if you wanted to uncover which platforms are bringing in the most downloads, you can use tools like CoHost’s Tracking Links.
- B2B Analytics: Discover which companies are listening to your podcast along with key characteristics such as their size, industry, location, and average revenue with B2B Analytics. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, knowing the type of companies that are tuning is helpful when developing any podcast strategies.
2. Maintain consistent content delivery
Maintaining consistency in your podcast's delivery schedule is vital.
This doesn’t mean you need to publish your podcast episodes daily, instead, it's about establishing a predictable rhythm for your audience. Give listeners the ability to add your podcast into their routine, for example, if they know you release new content on Friday mornings, they can develop a routine around listening to your podcast every Friday morning while they work.
Without consistency and predictability, your audience will be confused about when to expect new content and likely become frustrated and drop your podcast altogether, I know I would.
Now an important piece of this puzzle is to make sure that your cadence aligns with your production capabilities. If your team only has the ability to produce 2 episodes per month, no problem! Publish your episodes bi-weekly. There hasn’t been any concrete research to show which cadence is best for brands but the State of Branded Podcasts 2022 report found that weekly episode releases are the most common schedule.
So whether you’re opting for a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly release, adhering to a schedule nurtures audience anticipation and fosters listener loyalty.
3. Engage actively with your audience
Active engagement with your audience is instrumental in not only establishing and nurturing strong relationships but also improving the quality of your podcast content.
This engagement could be manifested in various ways:
- Responding to listener queries: Whether these queries come through DMs, lead forms, or newsletter replies, always respond to questions that your audience may have. Dedicate someone on your team to manage this process so a message never gets lost in your inbox.
- Acknowledging feedback: Podcast feedback is a powerful tool to establish trust signals with new listeners (positive feedback or reviews, of course). But it’s also a way for you to better your show and tailor it to the needs of listeners. Maybe you keep receiving feedback that states your episodes are too long, acknowledge this, even thank your audience, and test out a shorter episode.
- Interacting with audiences on social media: Podcasts are a one-way communication channel with you speaking directly to listeners. However, you can open up a two-way communication dialogue using social media. Actively interact with audiences by liking their content, replying to their comments, sharing and tagging them in posts, etc.
By making your listeners feel valued and heard, you’re more likely to convert casual listeners into loyal followers and improve your content along the way. A win-win for both you and your audience.
4. Generate unique and valuable content
In the world of content marketing, creating valuable content is an ongoing discussion. But what does valuable content actually entail?
It's content that’s not just engaging and informative but also resonates deeply with your target audience. It addresses their needs, solves their problems, and enriches their knowledge or skills. Valuable content provides a meaningful experience, fostering a sense of connection and trust between your brand and audience, ultimately driving them to take a desired action.
When it comes to your podcast, creating unique and valuable content should always be top of mind. Even if your goal is brand awareness, thought leadership, partnership building, and lead generation, I can almost promise you that you won’t achieve any of these without unique and valuable content.
A podcast that’s consistently offering fresh perspectives, sharing novel information, or challenging conventional thinking will naturally attract and retain a dedicated listenership. The uniqueness of your content differentiates your podcast in a crowded market, while its value ensures listeners return for more.
5. Promote your podcast strategically
Even the most compelling content needs strategic promotion to reach its potential audience, and podcasts are no different.
As with many marketing mediums, there’s not a one-size fits all approach to podcast audience growth. And unless you’re a celebrity or influencer, audience growth for your branded podcast will likely take some time. As we always say, podcasting is a marathon and not a sprint.
When it comes to your podcast promotion strategy, put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What platforms do they typically live on? What type of content do they enjoy consuming? How can you stand out?
Each branded podcast’s marketing strategy is different but here are a few tactics we find effective:
- Collaborate with other podcasters: Collaborations have always been a staple in podcast marketing strategies. These collaborations can be with fellow podcasters, brands, or creators that either cover the same topic as you or are adjacent in some way. Collaborations can look like advertisements, feed swaps, guesting, content promotion, and more.
- Appear as a guest on other shows: Building a podcast audience becomes even easier when you’re featured on other podcasts and get to promote your own show. This also gives listeners an opportunity to get to know you, your personality, the topics you cover, the value that you provide, etc.
- Be strategic about your own guests: We’ll admit that it can sometimes be challenging to have guests promote their episodes. But if you make it as simple as possible with media kits, you can potentially have an entirely new audience find your show through a guest’s episode.
- Leverage social media: Of course, social media comes into play with your marketing strategy. If your brand already has a strong social media presence, you don’t necessarily need to create new podcast-specific channels. In fact, we don’t recommend it if you know you don’t have the time. But either way, share your podcast across your social channels with your existing audience.
- Advertise on podcast platforms: We’re big supporters of advertising on podcast platforms rather than other social media channels or search engines. A reason for this is that users on podcast platforms already have podcasts in mind and are guaranteed consumers. Popular platforms to advertise on include Player FM, Podcast Addict, Overcast, and Stitcher.
To get more insights into the performance of these different tactics, take advantage of tools like podcast tracking links. CoHost’s tracking links allow you to see click-to-download data, meaning you can track which marketing channels are bringing the most downloads to your podcast and which ones are underperforming.
As a final reminder, tailor your promotional efforts to your target audience. Don’t waste your time on tactics that aren’t going to hit or interest your audience.
6. Offer high-quality audio
While content is king, audio quality is equally crucial in the podcasting world.
Your podcast is a representation of your brand, so of course, you want it to be high quality. Whether consciously or unconsciously, how your audio sounds will impact the way a listener perceives your brand, so let’s make it positive.
Investing in good recording equipment and editing software can significantly improve your podcast's overall listening experience, keeping your audience hooked and supercharging your content.
A few pieces of equipment we recommend:
- Microphone: Consider where you’re recording your podcast. Is it echo-y? Is there white noise? Some mics do a better job of removing background noise. We always like to recommend the RODE Procaster.
- Headphones: Seems simple but you’ll want to invest in a pair of good quality headphones. Noise-canceling headphones are preferred here but if that’s not an option, AirPods or typical headphones will still work but just allow more noise in.
- Recording software: It’s more common that podcasts are recorded remotely, even if you’re in a studio and your guest is somewhere else in the world. Because of this, investing in good recording software is going to be key. We typically recommend Riverside.fm, we’ve seen the platform have fewer tech glitches since the recording is done locally rather than dependent on your internet connection.
7. Incorporate listener feedback
Finally, always be open to audience feedback. I know we mentioned this briefly above, but incorporating listener suggestions can make your audience feel valued and part of your podcast's journey.
If listeners are frequently providing feedback and you tend to ignore it or push it aside, it can make it feel like they’re shouting into the abyss. If I was that listener, it would frustrate me for sure.
Listener feedback also helps you continually refine and improve your content, ensuring it remains relevant and engaging for your audience. We’ve seen brands receive some pretty powerful feedback and suggestions from audience members that only elevates the content and drives more growth.
Supercharging your podcast content and keeping listeners hooked
Creating a successful podcast that captivates and retains listeners involves a strategic blend of understanding your audience, consistent delivery, active engagement, unique content creation, strategic promotion, high-quality audio, and incorporating listener feedback.
By giving each of these principles the attention and time they deserve, you can supercharge your podcast content and create an engaging experience that keeps listeners returning for more.
Branded podcasts are a growing medium and there’s still so much for marketers to explore and experiment with when it comes to audio. If you’re interested in gathering deeper insights and data on how your podcast is performing, chat with us over at CoHost.