Originally posted on https://medium.com/sounder-fm/the-ultimate-guide-on-how-to-significantly-grow-your-podcast-listeners-29516841ba40
The popularity of podcasting has been rising in the last couple of years. The amount of people who listen is increasing, too. Now, around 144 million people in America listen to podcasts.
Competition is high, and to get access to that huge pool of listeners, you’ll need to have more than just a good podcast. You’ll also need to use the right marketing strategies. In this post, we’ll tell you how to do that.
Read on to find out how to grow your podcast listeners.
Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash
15 Tips to Grow Your Podcast Listeners
Having great content and a show that’s produced well isn’t enough. Check out our handy guide to take your podcast to the next level.
1. Choose the Right Host
The first place to start is with a podcast hosting service.
This is where your podcast will live and how people will listen to it. Since the host is the foundation of your entire show, it’s crucial that you select the right one.
Here are a few things to look for in a podcast host:
- Flexible storage space — Your podcast may start out small, but it has the potential to grow and generate a huge audience. Make sure you have flexible storage space from the start, so you don’t have to switch hosts later down the line. Free podcast hosting that offers unlimited storage is better than those that just give you a little bit of storage for free.
- Unlimited downloads — Don’t put a cap on how many times people can download your show, unlimited downloads is a must-have feature.
- An RSS feed — The host should have an RSS feed for you and syndicate it automatically.
- Sufficient bandwidth — If your podcast goes viral, you need to make sure you have the bandwidth to accommodate all those plays and downloads. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on listeners.
- Distribution — The host should automatically distribute your show to podcast applications, so you don’t have to.
- Embedded players — So people can simply click to listen and you can embed the players on your website.
- Analytics — To show you how many people are downloading and listening to each episode.
- Podcast Transcription — So you can turn your audio into text for a better listening experience and SEO when search engines crawl your pages.
2. Build a Website
A website will act as a central location for everything related to your show. It will attract new listeners and give them everything they need to know about the team behind it, the episodes, and how to get involved.
Here, you can also host a blog about the show. Create regular posts to give people more information about episodes and guests, let people know about live shows and competitions, and keep people up to date on what’s happening.
The site can also act as an easy-to-access archive of all your episodes.
3. Use SEO
Good SEO is crucial for any business, and you’ll have to make sure you know how to use it in order for your podcast to be successful.
There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts on the internet these days, so how are you going to make yours stand out? First of all, you’ll need to increase its ranking on Google so that people can find it easily.
You can do this by starting out with some keyword research. Find out which search terms your audience is using and use these to create a list of keywords you need to rank for. These keywords should be placed strategically in your podcast descriptions, blog posts, and the titles of your episodes.
Use both short keywords and long search terms to make sure you’re covering all your bases.
Then, start building some links. Create new pages or posts for each episode, with links to other pages on your site as well as places where people can listen. You can also include links to related content, the social media pages of your guests, or other episodes you recommend.
This mixture of internal and external links will improve the Google ranking of your site. However, your work isn’t done there. You’ll also need to optimize the site, too.
If a site is too slow to load, users will abandon it rather than waiting around. You only have a second or two to make an impression, so speed up your site to make sure it doesn’t lag.
Make it mobile-friendly, too. These days, we spend more time on mobile devices than we do using computers, so your site will need to look good and be easy to use on a smartphone.
4. Make Your Podcast Available Everywhere
People find and listen to podcasts in a number of different ways.
Apple Podcasts is probably the most popular hub for podcasts, but there are lots of other podcast apps that people use, too. Stitcher, Spotify, Catcher, Pod Wrangler, Soundcloud, and Castbox are some of them to check out.
To give your podcast the best chances of building an audience, you’ll have to make it available on all these apps. Make sure it’s available for Android users and well as Apple customers so that you’re accommodating everyone.
The more apps your show is available on, the more listeners you’ll get. Lots of people find new podcasts by scrolling through the new or recommended shows on these apps, so don’t limit yourself.
Find out how people are listening to podcasts and then make yourself available on those platforms.
5. Use Videos
Not everyone likes to listen to podcasts. Some people prefer to watch videos.
When they can see their hosts and guests, they feel more connected and engaged. To appeal to those people, record videos of each episode you make. This can be done by recording your screen if you’re conducting interviews over Skype, or by setting up a camera in the studio to capture everything.
If you prefer, you can even live stream your podcast recording on Facebook or Instagram.
If you’re not comfortable putting up videos of yourself, you don’t have to. You can simply upload an audio-only file to Youtube or set the audio to an image.
If you put your podcast in video form, you’re expanding your reach even further.
6. Write a Press Release
Before the official launch of your podcast, write a press release.
This will give you the exposure you need when you’re first starting out. It will get people talking about the anticipation of your show and build links to your podcast site, increasing your web presence. It will cost you some time and money, but it’s worth it.
If you’re not sure how to get started, do some research on how to write a press release.
7. Use Advertising
It doesn’t matter how great your podcast is. If people don’t know about it, it will never grow. That’s why you should think about using advertising.
It can be hard to build your initial pool of listeners, so make sure you advertise it to get the word out.
Start by using Google AdWords, creating Facebook ads, or paying to boost your social media posts. This will help to get your name out there when you first start out. Depending on the type of podcast content you are producing, you can buy keywords like “comedy podcasts,” “real estate podcasts,” “business podcasts,” etc.
You can also record ads for other podcasts. Reach out to other podcasts that you think your listeners might be interested in and see if they’ll agree to feature your advertisements.
8. Create a Fan Page or Discussion Group
Your audience will drive the success of your podcast, so give people as many opportunities as possible to do that. One of the best ways is to facilitate online discussions.
Start a fan page or a discussion group on Facebook. People can post about their favorite episodes, connect to other fans of the podcast, and discuss the show together.
Don’t just create the group and then leave it, expecting it to flourish on its own. You’ll need to make sure you engage with listeners, find out what they want, and give them a reason to post and comment.
You can also create hashtags that people can use when they post about the show. This will encourage people to post more and help to link posts together, so people can find your show easier.
This way, you can build an online community of podcast fans, from brand-new listeners to die-hard fanatics.
9. Ask Listeners to Interact
One of the reasons that podcasting is so popular is that it feels so personal. When people spend hours listening to you talk, they start to feel as though they know you on a personal level. You can use this to your advantage.
Build on that personal relationship by asking listeners to engage with your podcast by doing more than just listening. You can do this in a number of ways.
The easiest is to use social media. Ask your listeners to comment on your posts, give feedback, and meet other fans of the show on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
You can also add a Q&A feature to your podcast. You can take questions that listeners post on social media and answer them on the podcast or even ask them to call in with questions over the phone.
Then, you can record voice messages, play them on the show and answer them. If people know they have the chance to hear their own voice on your podcast, it gives them an extra incentive to get involved.
10. Find Out What People Want to Hear
Do you know what topics your listeners want to hear you talk about?
It doesn’t have to be guesswork. You can use tools and strategies to find out which stories people want you to explore and which guests they’d like you to interview.
First of all, you can check out what topics are trending online. Use trend-tracking tools like Buzzsumo and Google Analytics to see what people are searching for and talking about online.
You can also check out your competitors to find out which of their episodes are the most popular. That will give you an idea of what kind of content you should be producing.
11. Get Ratings and Reviews
When existing listeners leave reviews, it helps new ones find your podcast.
It also gives them an idea of what to expect. If you have lots of five-star reviews, people will be more likely to listen and you may even find yourself climbing the ranks of top podcast lists online.
At the end of each episode, kindly remind your listeners to rate and review your podcast. Make sure they know that they can review individual episodes as well as the podcast as a whole, and you’ll have better chances of success.
Whether they write an in-depth review or simply give it some stars, every little review will help.
12. Collaborate with Other Podcasts
Other podcasts may be your competition, but you’ll improve your chances of success if you work together.
Do you have friends in the podcasting industry? See if you can work together by being guests on each other’s shows.
When you appear as a guest on another podcast, you open yourself up to their audience as well as yours. The same goes for when you invite other podcast hosts to feature on your show.
13. Remind People to Subscribe
It may seem tedious, but in each and every episode you make, you’ll need to remind people to subscribe to your podcast.
If listeners enjoy your show, they’ll want to get access to as many episodes as they can. Subscribing allows them to do this without any effort at all. Instead of seeking out each episode and downloading or streaming it individually, they’ll have them automatically synced to their podcast apps.
With subscriptions, you can turn one-time listeners into loyal fans who never miss an episode.
14. Invest in Great Podcast Artwork
You need to choose the right logo and artwork to represent your show.
When people are scrolling through different podcasts, the artwork is often the first thing they see. If it’s not eye-catching enough or doesn’t represent your show the right way, it will put people off. Remember, it needs to look great on a mobile device, too.
15. Create Great Show Notes
With the help of podcast transcription, you can create amazing show notes to help summarize what your episode is about. This not only helps with SEO but helps your listeners quickly find what they are looking for or what interests them. Within show notes, you can also add links to other sections within your site to sell products or offer additional information to your listeners.