Everyone and their brother seems to have a podcast nowadays. The question is, how can you make yours a successful venture so that you keep showing up with new episodes? For any show to succeed, clear and direct messaging is the most critical step to gaining and growing an audience. However, you also need to include some kind of message that compels the audience to do something that can help you in your efforts to grow your show and make it profitable. This is where a podcast call to action comes in.
What is a Call to Action?
Simply put, a podcast call to action, or CTA, is a request for listeners to do something. It could be something like requesting they visit your official website, buy some merch, write a review on iTunes, or just tell their friends about the show. Word of mouth is still one of the major ways that podcasts gain listenership, and that’s why including a request to tell others is still the most popular CTA.
Anyone who’s ever listened to a few podcasts, visited somebody’s webpage, or watched videos on YouTube has already been witness to countless calls to action. A few examples include:
- “Check out the link in the description”
- “Subscribe to my show”
- “Click the notification button”
- “Comment on our website”
- “Visit this episode’s show notes”
The varieties are endless.
What Should You Ask Your Listeners to Do?
The most important reasons to include a podcast call to action are as follows:
- Grow your audience
- Get your audience’s contact information to add them to your email list,
- Make a sale
- Endorse a product/service
Failing to include a CTA means missing out on these opportunities completely.
A large portion of shows are able to stay in business solely due to their sponsorships, eCommerce store, affiliate offers, and/or other products or services they are selling. For podcasters using their show as an avenue to direct listeners to their website to make a purchase, their CTA is sure to include something reminding you of these special offers.
Other podcasters focus on signing up for an email list so their listenership stays informed about the latest live events, news, or even giveaways. Finally, show hosts often include a CTA asking for a review of their show. Reviews help a podcast to stay on the “good side” of the algorithms that directories like iTunes run on. In other words, more reviews tells the directories that people like your show, and therefore they might boost your visibility to new potential listeners.
What Should Your Podcast Call to Action Look Like?
Your CTA is going to depend on your show’s goal. In all likelihood it will be a combination of things. For example, it’s not uncommon to ask for reviews and a visit to your website to read the show notes. However, you may decide the most important thing for you is to get people to your website to opt-in for some kind of freebie so that you can get them on your email list.
You CTA should be attention-grabbing, but also short and sweet. It doesn’t have to be long and complicated – in fact, making it too long will have your listeners moving on to something else before you can finish what you want to say. Keep it simple and you’ll have better results.
Here are some examples of real CTAs in other people’s podcasts that you might want to mimic:
- “Remember to head on over to the show notes amy.online/352 to grab the template for a pitch email that you can use.” – Amy Porterfield
- “I highly recommend you go to BloggyFriends.com to look at the episode three show notes where I do a full breakdown of everything that I just discussed here today.” – Bloggy Friends Show
- “Make sure you hit subscribe if you haven’t already. And, if you’d like to check out my YouTube channel, it’s not quite as big as Matt’s, but hopefully just as great – you can check it out at YouTube.com/PatFlynn” – Smart Passive Income
How to Make a CTA that Works
You want to avoid constantly nagging your already devoted listeners. Because of this, you may want to save your CTA for the very end. While mentioning your website or show notes organically throughout the episode may make sense, asking for reviews or explaining how they help you is best saved for after you’ve delivered your main message.
You also don’t want to ask for too much, or drone on too long about why you need them to act. In other words, if you spend five minutes of your 15 minute episode begging for reviews it can feel demanding and turn your listeners off as a result.
This tactic is also recommended by thepodcasthost.com. People love to hear their names, and receive appreciation from the host, so this may be something you want to consider. A few hosts we’ve seen do this at one point or another include the Screw the Nine to Five Podcast, The Flipped Lifestyle Podcast, Chalene Johnson, Natalie Sisson, and many others.
One great way we’ve seen podcasters ask for reviews is by reading real reviews from listeners within an episode. People love to hear their names, and receive the appreciation from the host, so this may be a tactic you can consider.
If sales are your goal for affiliate offers or your own products and services, providing a special discount is often the best way to get your audience to visit your offer page. They want an incentive to click! Of course, you need to keep in mind that not everyone will be listening to your episodes when they are released, so you may need to use discount offers that don’t expire quickly.
How Often Should You Have a Call to Action?
Every. Single. Episode. No exceptions!
While you might feel silly repeating a podcast call to action for every episode, you need to include one in all of them if you hope to find success in your podcasting venture. The reason? Not everyone will listen to every episode you release. Skipping your CTA in a single episode means that you could miss out on the opportunity to get someone new to your audience to do what you want them to do if they don’t listen to your other releases!
If it helps, you can always record a couple of variations on your CTAs and simply drop them in like ads into your episodes while you’re editing your show. Or you could create an editing template that already has your intro, a CTA, and an outro ready to go so that all you have to do is add the meat of your episode to make producing your show a little faster. How you go about this will be up to you. Some podcasters prefer to say the CTA every time they record so that they can tweak it just slightly.
Remember – your podcast call to action can help you grow your audience and your revenue. After a while it will feel normal, and will become routine, and when your numbers start increasing you’ll be glad you included them in your show.