Someone once said, “A podcast without an audience is just a roundabout means of talking to yourself.” It can be incredibly disheartening to spend hours and hours creating podcast episodes, only to find they go mostly unheard or receive little engagement. The bottom line is that you need to have an audience to make your podcast worth the time, effort, and money you’ve invested into it. While many podcasters can successfully launch a show without too much difficulty, the same can’t be said for growing an audience. Since podcast discovery is still largely dependent on word of mouth, attracting new listeners can feel like a difficult, if not unachievable, goal. While it's undoubtedly true that the best way to grow an audience is to create great content, it's rarely as simple as that. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of various options and strategies you can implement to drive listenership for your podcast:
1. Create your ideal listener profile.
It’s almost impossible to know how to target your listeners online if you have little clue who they are, what they want, and which sites they spend most of their time online. Information like this can help you understand where to advertise most effectively, and how to tailor your content to be most impactful.
2. Maximise distribution.
It’s very possible that potential listeners simply don’t have access to it or your podcast isn’t sufficiently discoverable. Most podcast listeners are very loyal to one specific podcasting platform. You can maximise your reach with tools like Linktree , cross-promotional PR efforts with other podcast hosts, and by ensuring your podcast is available in as many as podcast directories as possible.
3. Increase engagement.
There are various strategies you can utilise to encourage listener engagement, whether via live streaming, designing audiograms for your social media posts, repurposing content or creating trailers.
4. Track your marketing channels.
It’s no use implementing a wide variety of marketing channels if you have no idea how successful they are. Tools like SmartLinks from Chartable are able to collect data not just on the number of clicks on a particular link, but also actual downloads , regardless of which podcast player the listener uses. This will allow you to figure out which marketing channels are driving the most downloads, and where you should prioritize your efforts.
5. Rent RSS feeds from other podcasters.
This strategy allows your podcast episodes to be featured in the RSS feeds of other, more popular podcasts in the same genre or category. Although this can be expensive, it allows access to a dedicated listener base similar to your own and can be very cost-effective over the long term.
Growing an audience takes time, effort and, above all, perseverance. For more in-depth strategies, we’ve pulled together a 12 tactic guide that you can follow to continue growing your audience and increase the discoverability of your show. You can pick a few strategies, try them over time and see what works for you and what doesn’t.