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How to grow your podcast audience and get more listeners

How to get more people listening to your podcast

Bringing more listeners to your podcast is the mountain we all have to climb and unfortunately, there’s no single path to the summit (so please be wary of anyone who tells you there is).

There are plenty of things you can do to set your podcast up for success BUT even if you’re doing all of them well, it’s still no guarantee listeners will flood into your show.

So what can you do to increase your chances of getting more ears on your podcast?

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Pay attention to the quality of your show

Podcasting is no longer the domain of bootstrapping novices recording a show in their echoey kitchen.  It’s a professional industry and if you want your podcast to attract and retain an audience you have to put serious time and effort into making it as good as it possibly can be.

That means planning your content, thinking about your audio quality and editing your podcast so you’re serving up the best possible version of your show.

How to record high-quality audio at home

Read

Release episodes regularly

One of the biggest influencers on podcast growth is consistency and most of the gains you’ll get in downloads will happen slowly over time.

Unfortunately, when everyone wants to know how to be successful IMMEDIATELY this can be a pretty underwhelming fact but if you want people to commit to your show you have to commit to them. 

That means if you’ve said you’re going to drop episodes every Tuesday morning you need to be there every Tuesday morning so your listeners know they can rely on you.

If an audience knows when to expect your show they’ll start to anticipate it.  And when they start to anticipate it, that’s when they’ll start moving from listeners to fans.

Once they’re fans they’ll start telling other people about your show and that’s still one of the most powerful ways to grow your podcast audience so it’s worth putting in the work to get people to that point.

Should you release your podcast episodes on the same day?

Read

Be creative with how you promote your podcast

No one is going to know about your show unless you tell them about it so you have to get in the habit of promoting each episode multiple times.

Sometimes it’ll take posting about your show 20 times before someone sees it, or before they finally decide to give it a try so sending a single tweet when your episode drops isn’t going to cut it.

Being creative with how you promote your show and trying to come up with different angles for each episode means you’ll increase the chances of someone being interested enough to press play.

To do that you need to come up with as many different ways to share your content as possible…

Create audio promos

Cutting up audio snippets and sharing them on social media gives people a way to hear what they’re going to get rather than you just telling them “Trust me!  It’s great!”

For example, here’s one of the promos I used for my interview podcast, You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere….

I’d create as many of these as I could and share them out across the week of release and in the weeks and months that followed so there were heaps of opportunities for people to hear something that might pique their interest.

How to promote your podcast

Read

Create interesting social media images and videos

There are so many websites where you can create images, videos and audio cards that are way more interesting than just sharing your show logo.

Audiograms are a great way to feature a small snippet of each episode and the moving waveform makes these posts stand out when people are scrolling through their feed…

Quote tiles are also a great way to feature a guest by highlighting something interesting they’ve said in the episode. These are especially good if you’ve got someone on your show people will recognise…

Image of Derryn Hinch with quote from interview on You've Gotta Start Somewhere

And when you’re making content don’t forget about your reviews too because they’re great social proof for new listeners…

You've Gotta Start Somewhere podcast review

Here are a few of my favourite sites for making content…

Wavve & Headliner – Tools that turns audio highlights of your show into shareable social media videos.

Canva – An easy to use site that helps you create images for all your social media platforms.

Hypetype – An app that creates moving text photos.

How to get multiple pieces of content out of one podcast episode

Read

Get to know your audience in Facebook groups and forums

Be warned this is a long term strategy and it’s often better for content ideas than it is for sharing BUT that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Jumping into a group or a forum for the first time and pumping out links to your podcast, or anything else for that matter, is frowned upon because cultivating a relationship with people in those groups takes time.   Members need to see you offering advice, content or comments without the expectation of anything in return for a while until they’ll trust you.

Having said that, a lot of Facebook groups have specific days you’re allowed to share things you’re working on so that can be a great opportunity for promotion.  Especially if the people in your group are your potential audience.

People often sell these as the answer to all your audience problems but I find a better way to use groups and forums is as a source of content.  People often post questions or talk about things they’re struggling with and this can be a great source of ideas for your show.

How to find content for your podcast

Read

Don’t forget hashtags

This is a bit of a no-brainer, but using hashtags when you share your podcast can help get it in front of people who are searching in your niche but who might not know you personally.

Make sure you research which hashtags suit your content best, so you can expand your reach outside your own social feed.

How to promote your podcast before it’s live

Read

Get everyone you know to listen, review and rate it

When you release your first episode, make sure you send a blanket email to everyone you know asking them to rate and review it.  And continue to do this once you’ve launched the show by encouraging your audience to rate and review it as well.

These ratings make sure when people stumble across your podcast, there are plenty of positive comments to reassure them it’ll be worth their time.

How long does it take to put together a podcast episode?

Read

Don’t forget about SEO

It’s important to do everything you can to increase your podcast’s chances of turning up in search.  That means you need to think about including keywords in your show title, description and show notes pages.

An easy way to do this is by transcribing your episodes and including the transcript in your show notes.  When you do this all the important keywords that are usually hidden in the MP3 file are there on your website ready to be found by Google.

If you’re thinking “I’m not going to sit down and type out my episodes!” Fear not!  There are plenty of services on the internet that do the hard work for you…

Trint

Rev

Be warned, these platforms aren’t foolproof and you still need to go through and edit the copy so it doesn’t sound like a robot wrote it if you’re using automatic transcription.

You also want to make sure your show notes pages and episode descriptions are more than just a copy and paste of your show transcript.

This could be how people find your show if they’re coming to your show notes via Google so you want to make sure the copy is compelling enough to get people to give your show a try.

A beginner’s guide to podcast SEO

Read

Bring on high-profile guests

Getting high profile guests on your show with a large social following can be a good way to grow your audience but the truth is you can’t rely on that to bring in the crowds alone.

Getting new listeners through another person’s social account depends on how engaged and interested their audience is and just because someone wants to see someone’s posts on Instagram doesn’t mean they want to listen to them on a podcast.

I’ve had people with huge followings on my show and it’s barely moved the needle.  But then sometimes you’ll have someone with a smaller following of really engaged people and it will make a difference.

It’s a great thing to have in the mix but it’s not an exact science.

How to attract high-profile guests to your podcast

Read

Be patient

The most important thing to remember when trying to grow your podcast audience is that it’s a long term goal and you have to keep chipping away at it.

You will get there but as with everything, it takes hard work and dedication.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? 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.

2 Comments
  1. Kerry Newsome says:

    Lots of gold nuggets here. Really love your articles and your honest perspective. Thanks

  2. Shandon Williams says:

    Thanks so much for these articles – have just spent an hour on here reading to prep myself for the release of the new series of my podcast. Very useful.

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