Should you tell people to ‘subscribe’ to your podcast?


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Should you tell people to ‘subscribe’ to your podcast?

How to get more podcast listeners with the words you use

Getting more podcast listeners is important if you want your show to last but you also want those listeners to subscribe or follow your show.

This is because the more subscribers/followers you have the more chance you’ve got of ranking in the podcast charts.

It also makes it easier for people to come back and listen every week because they’ll get a new episode delivered straight to their podcast app.

So how do you get more podcast listeners and, in turn, subscribers?

Well, the best way is often to avoid using the word ‘subscribe.’

Apple Google Spotify

A lot of people still don’t listen to podcasts

When you’re promoting your podcast you’re going to be talking to a mix of people.

Some will be avid podcast fans, some will be aware of podcasts but might not have listened and others might be totally unfamiliar with them.

So it’s important to remember this when you’re promoting your show because a blanket message isn’t going to work for everyone.

How to promote your podcast


‘Subscribe’ means different things to different people

To a podcaster ‘subscribe’ means free episodes of their favourite show delivered straight to their phone but for non-podcasters, it often means something else…money.

Think about it.  Every single subscription service we’ve ever come into contact with requires us to hand over our hard-earned cash EXCEPT podcasts (unless you decide to become a paid subscriber).

So, if you don’t know how to listen and you see the word ‘subscribe’ you might assume it’s going to cost you something.

If that’s the case you could be turning listeners off by telling them to subscribe because they might not understand your content is free.

How do you grow your podcast audience?


Podcast apps are now using ‘follow’ instead of ‘subscribe’

Since podcast apps like Apple Podcasts have introduced paid podcast subscriptions they’ve also moved away from the word ‘subscribe’ and are now using ‘follow.’  This is a term also used by Spotify.

This terminology fits better with what most people are used to but a lot of apps still use ‘subscribe’ and it’s a term that’s been around for so long I doubt it’ll disappear from podcasting forever.

You just need to know when to use it.

How to submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify


How do you get non-podcasters to listen to your show?

Tell people to ‘listen’ rather than ‘subscribe’

In a lot of your communications, like social media or your show notes page (if they’re found via search) your words will be seen by people in all the groups mentioned above including podcast fans, people who’ve heard of podcasts but haven’t listened and people who have no idea what a podcast is.

So, when you’re coming up with copy to encourage people to listen to your show remember not everyone you’re talking to is a podcast aficionado.

That’s why it might be better to tell them to ‘listen’ in these places rather than ‘subscribe.’

Listening makes sense to everyone and feels much less intense than telling someone to subscribe, especially if they think it’s going to cost them money.

Asking people to listen encourages them to check out your show and then when they’re listening to your content you can give them more information about how to subscribe.

What are show notes and why do you need them?


Point people to your website or use a dynamic link

We’re constantly telling people to find us in their favourite podcast app but what if people don’t know how to do that?

Instead of telling new listeners to go somewhere they’re not familiar with why not point them to your website?  If they haven’t used a podcast app before they’ll definitely be familiar with a website (one would hope).

I should point out this is only effective if it’s REALLY easy to listen to your show on your website.  And you also want to make sure the links to where people can listen, follow and subscribe in different podcast apps are clearly visible.

Alternatively, you could share your podcast using a dynamic link that opens your show in the app on their phone (Apple Podcasts on iPhone and Google Podcasts on Android).

This will reduce friction by taking them directly to where they can play your content.

How to share your podcast to iPhone and Android with one link


Is there an exception?

Isn’t there always?

The place to use the word ‘subscribe’ is anywhere you’re speaking to podcast listeners.  It’s hard to tell who you’re speaking to when you’re blasting out on social media so in that case, it’s probably best to stick with ‘listen.’

But if you’re talking to people inside a podcast, you can assume they know how to find one (unless they’re listening on your website but then you’ll have the links clearly labelled…right?).

It might also be worth mentioning, if you do use the word subscribe, that it’s free so new listeners who’ve found your show know it’s not going to cost them anything to click that button.

Whatever you do, think about who you could be talking to and try to be as inclusive with your language as possible.

Because, if you want to grow your podcast audience you can’t leave anyone out.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!