When I launched my first podcast, I thought that an audience of thousands would be waiting with anticipation to listen to my first episode.
But I was met with the reality that if I didn’t put work into growing my audience, my show would disappear without reaching those I was meant to reach.
I was able to turn things around with a simple five step process that will have you growing your podcast audience steadily and in no time.
If you’re feeling frustrated, I get where you’re at! You’re thinking about starting a podcast, or maybe you have a podcast already, and you’re experiencing the slow growth that happens in podcasting.
And sometimes, this comes as a shock because we see shows that appear to become popular overnight.
The truth is that there’s no such thing as overnight success when it comes to podcasting or content creation in general, and in most cases, what you perceive as an overnight success is the product of years of work building a podcast brand and growing an audience.
Now, there are those that come into podcasting with an audience already made over the years because they’re celebrities or influencers in their field, and it’s easy for them to transfer that audience or at least a portion of it over to their podcast.
But if you don’t have an existing audience, you will have to start from zero, and that’s okay.
We all start from zero.
It takes grit. And I know you’re up for the challenge, so let’s get to work.
Step 1: Define Your Audience and Articulate Your Message
It’s very hard to grow a podcast that doesn’t have a defined audience.
The problem is that if you don’t know who you’re making your podcast for, you’re not going to know what to create or what episodes to record.
And yes, you can guess, but guessing can only get you so far.
When you know your audience, you know what kind of episodes they’re more interested in, you know what social media platform they spend their time on the most, and you also know the topics that generate interest and spark conversation and engagement with your audience.
Growing your audience is easier if you know who they are.
Let me give you an example.
You want to make a podcast for men to talk about different topics.
How do you find your audience?
- Are they men in their early twenties starting careers?
- Are they men interested in football?
- Are they men in tech?
- Are they single or married with kids?
- Or are they retired empty nesters?
And how do you find them on the internet, or what events do they attend?
So get familiar with your audience when you’re planning your podcast.
Your message is also important when it comes to growing your audience.
Ask yourself, What is the value that you will provide with your podcast?
Here I want you to be specific, and I don’t want you to be afraid. Your message is not written in stone. It will evolve and change as your podcast and your audience grows.
But you need something to start. Something to articulate.
Maybe your podcast is about having conversations with experts about the holistic approach to women’s infertility to help them find the latest treatments, resources, and support they need.
Or maybe your podcast is meant to help couples who work from home to keep a healthy relationship while they share the same working space and routines.
You should be able to have a clear idea of who your audience is and clearly articulate your message.
If you do these two things, you’re ready for step number two.
Step 2. Build a Cohesive Online Brand for Your Podcast
And this sounds more complicated than it is.
Here, I want you to think about what your listener will see if they try to find your website or on social media.
Is your podcast brand clear and consistent throughout your social media channels.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Is the message the same?
- Are the colors and fonts you’re using the same?
- Is your podcast easy to find?
- Do you have links to your podcast on your social channels so people can easily access your episodes?
Having an online presence for your podcast will help you grow your audience because people will have different ways to find your podcast besides the podcast players.
It’s hard for listeners to find new shows on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or other podcast players, especially those that are new and not very popular. Listeners browsing for new shows only encounter those at the top of popularity lists.
There are many incredible podcasts about any topic, but they are hard to find. This is why it’s common to find people on Twitter or other forums asking for podcast recommendations.
So make it easy for your people to find your podcast by creating an online presence and also making sure you include links to your podcast in your social media bios to bring traffic to your podcast.
Do an audit of your social media, your website, and any other place online where your podcast exists and see if the message is clear, and make sure links are placed strategically so people can discover your podcast.
Step 3. Use All the Available Features on RSS.com
One of the features is the distribution of your podcast to podcast directories. The more places your podcast is available, the more options your listeners will have to access your content.
RSS.com makes the distribution of your podcast super easy to podcast directories like Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music, Samsung Podcasts, Podcast Index, Listen Notes, and RSS.com Community, giving your listeners the option to use their favorite podcast player to enjoy your show.
Another great feature you can find on RSS.com is the social sharing feature which simplifies the process of sharing your episode on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
If you use this feature in combination with a social media strategy that includes sharing quotes from the episode, or vertical videos of interesting moments, graphics, and also a lot of engagement, you will be unstoppable in growing your podcast.
RSS.com allows you to embed your episodes on other websites for easy listening.
This is so great! If you maybe have a blog post that goes along with your podcast episode, you can embed the episode in your article so people can listen to it right from your website.
They wouldn’t have to go anywhere else.
Even more powerful, if you’re website already has a lot of traffic, you can bring some of that traffic to your podcast by simply embedding the episodes in your website.
Huge opportunity here to grow your audience!
And finally, a feature that is sometimes overlooked, is your podcast analytics and what they can tell you about your listeners and what they like or don’t like.
Among all of the cool data that RSS.com can provide you with, like download numbers or where people are listening from all over the world, you can also find out what are your top episodes or the episodes your audience likes the most.
And what do you do with this information?
Well, you make more of those episodes, maybe adding more information or taking a different approach. This will help you keep your current listeners engaged with the podcast, and also, when used in combination with the next step, it will help you grow your audience.
Step 4. Include Calls to Action in Your Episodes
One of the most effective ways to grow your audience is by word of mouth.
Podcast recommendations are still the number one way to discover new podcasts.
So make sure you ask your listeners on each episode to share your podcast with other people.
Don’t assume they’ll do it. We’re all busy and ADD, with a mile-long to-do list, so remind your listeners to help you that way. If your podcast is amazing, which I’m sure it is.
They will recommend it to everybody and their dog.
Step 5. Marketing & Networking
Marketing can be a very intimidating term, especially if you’re new to the world of content creation and podcasting.
But think of marketing as a way to connect with your intended audience and start conversations.
When you know your audience, it’s easy to know their worries and frustrations, what brings them joy, and little pieces of information you can use in your messaging to start conversations and connect with them online.
Marketing is about sharing your message with visuals so other people resonate and connect to it.
This is the type of marketing I want you to do.
No complicated formulas or strategies. The only thing you need to know is to start sharing your episodes with your email subscribers, on your social media, and at events opening the channels for communication and access to you.
Be curious, ask questions, share your message, and engage with your listeners on your social media channels.
You can use a graphic design tool like Canva pro to create all sources of cool graphics, gifs, and even videos to share with your followers.
You’ll get more sophisticated with your marketing and content strategy later down the road, but for now, that’s all I want you to do.
And finally, networking.
Reach out to podcasts that share your audience and pitch yourself to be interviewed on those shows so you can share your podcast with their audiences.
This is a very effective way to grow your podcast because you’ll be pitching your podcast to people who are already podcast listeners.
Remember earlier I told you podcast recommendations were the number one way podcasts get discovered these days?
Well, this is exactly what I want you to do.
I want you to go on other podcasts to talk about what you do and share your podcast. I cannot tell you the many times I have found new shows this way.
And if you haven’t set up your podcast yet, I have a video on how to start a podcast where I’ll walk you through my seven steps framework. I hope you enjoy it.