If you’ve started a new podcast, naturally you want to attract listeners and subscribers. But it can be hard to rise above the crowd and connect with an audience, particularly since there are so many podcasts out there.
The good news is that podcast listeners tend to listen to a LOT of podcasts, and are always interested in something new, so there is plenty of opportunity.
Getting more podcast listeners takes a lot of time and work on many levels. Here are some of the best tactics to get more podcast listeners.
Tactics To Get More Podcast Listeners
Step 1: Take Care of Basics
Growing a podcast audience means thinking and planning ahead, from the very early stages of your podcast, so that you’ll be prepared for growth when it comes.
You need a certain amount of infrastructure and preparation in order to get more listeners, and meet their expectations.
Have a Good Host
Make sure that your current podcast host can handle growth over time, and will be there to manage increased traffic if one of your episodes goes viral.
Your host is a crucial partner, because your podcast needs to be accessible to everyone, at any time.
Have a Companion Blog
Start a companion blog for the podcast. Have your audio transcribed and post the transcriptions. This may seem time consuming and unnecessary, but having a blog and transcriptions are crucial for search engines, and many listeners will request transcripts anyway.
Speaking of search engines, podcasters need to do great SEO. Include your top keywords in your podcast and episode titles.
Fill out all the episode descriptions completely, using your keywords and clear descriptors, to help your podcast be findable by as many people as possible.
Share Your Podcast Widely
Submit your podcast to multiple aggregators, apps, and directories. An RSS feed will share your podcast to iTunes, Google Play, and other platforms.
Step 2: Grow Your Community
Successful podcasts become communities, where the hosts and audience can connect and share with each other. Your community will talk about your podcast and share it with your friends, helping to naturally expand your audience.
They may also give you suggestions, inspiration, feedback, and support that helps your podcast grow and improve.
Social media is a natural way to share your podcast, and also to connect with listeners and potential listeners. By connecting with trending topics, building engagement, and expanding your reach, social media will help you get more listeners.
Online Bulletin Boards and Forums
There are online bulletin boards and forums devoted to almost any subject you can imagine.
You can join forums that are related to your podcast subject and expertise, and connect with potential listeners who are passionate about your topics.
Most online forums don’t enjoy a lot of self-promotion, but when it’s natural and topical, people will love to hear what you have to say.
Podcasting can be lonely and sometimes frustrating; there is a lot to do and a lot to learn. There are a number of online communities where podcasters can connect with and support each other.
It’s also a fantastic way to learn new tips and tricks, ask technical questions, and get feedback from a peer community that knows what you are going through.
Create a Community Group
Many successful podcasts have community groups on Facebook or Reddit, where fans can join and talk about the show.
A community group gives your audience a way to maintain their excitement about your podcast and your topics, letting them show support for your work.
These groups allow your listeners to more deeply engage with the topics, with each other, and with you.
Step 3: Expand Your Content
Of course, your podcast should always be growing and evolving, particularly when you are just starting out.
While it’s always good to stay “on brand” and stick to your own unique podcasting voice, there are some types of content that are incredibly useful for getting more listeners, and shouldn’t be ignored.
No matter how obscure your topic is, or how unique your angle, there are probably lots of other podcasters working on related subjects. Instead of viewing them as competitors, try instead to make them collaborators.
Collabs are a time-tested and proven way to grow your audience, because they add a new dimension to your own podcast, while exposing you and your work to the audience of a different podcast.
Working with someone else is a great learning experience, and naturally doubles the success of your marketing and promotion efforts.
Don’t be afraid to find subject matter experts and academics, and ask them if they would be willing to do an interview. Many of them will agree, giving your listeners a new perspective and deeper insights into your podcast topics.
Conducting interviews also gives you a chance to get more exposure, because people who are familiar with your guests’ work will be interested in listening to the episode, many of them for the first time.
Interviews are fantastic content, and a natural way to get more listeners.
Ask for Reviews
If a podcast isn’t highly rated, it may end up buried in the ranks and be hard for new listeners to find.
Ask your supporters and subscribers to give you ratings and reviews that help to increase your visibility and make your podcast easier to find.
Depending on your topic, you may devote an episode to listener questions, or listener-suggested topics.
Involving your audience in your podcast is a great way to show appreciation, build deeper engagement, and get more listeners. It is also a good way to create bonus episodes, special features, or other special content.
Step 4: Promote
Promoting your podcast is a full-time job, requiring at least as much time, energy, and skill as making the podcast itself. In a way, everything we mention on this list, from social media and online forums, to creating community groups and bonus content, is all a form of promotion.
Participate in Events and Conferences
If there is an event that pertains to your podcast subject, you should try to attend.
It gives you the opportunity to meet other people who are interested in the topic, potentially connect with experts and interview subjects, give you content ideas and inspiration, and promote yourself.
Events and conferences are also great ways to invite your audience to meet you, and they are always fantastic material for social media posts.
Cross-Post to Different Distribution Networks
Post your podcast to as many distribution networks as possible. Get your podcast onto iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and anywhere else you can.
Find out how to get listed with the most popular podcasting apps, like Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, etc. The more places your podcast is available, the more opportunities listeners have to find you.
Join a Syndication Network
A syndication network isn’t quite the same thing as a distribution network. A syndication network is a podcast-specific form of distribution, where your site and RSS feed are optimized to be automatically distributed to as many networks as possible.
While distribution focuses on one episode at a time, syndication is a way to promote and get more listeners for your podcast as a whole, with all your content library. Some syndication networks are free to join, but many of them cost money, and should be considered a form of advertising.
Syndicators that typically cost money will perform services like seeking radio stations around the world that may want to carry your podcast, or placing your podcast links on relevant websites where your audience may be found.
You can always invest in traditional online advertising (like sponsored social media ads or search placement, banner ads, and the like), but those methods are usually not as effective for a podcast as syndication.
Building a podcast audience takes time and effort, but it pays off over time. Remember that, the more listeners you have, the more they will help to share, promote, and expand the show for you. Treat your community like team members, and ask for their help.
Keep in mind that there is something of a “snowball effect”: Once a podcast has a certain number of subscribers or positive ratings, it starts to appear higher and higher in search listings, recommendations, and algorithms, which helps to get more listeners, which pushes you higher in the rankings, and so on.
Having a solid foundation and persistence will pay off over time, as your growth accelerates.