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A Practical Guide to Growing Your Podcast Audience

May 17, 2024 Deciphr AI
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IN A GIST

Podcasting is a journey, and like any journey, it begins with a single step. For many of us, that first step is the most daunting - starting from scratch. Zero audience, no followers, just you and your passion for sharing your voice with the world. But don't worry, we've got your back.

Here's what we'll delve into:

  1. A 3-point guide for quality content
  2. 3 strategies for podcast promotion
  3. 3 ways to engage your audience

Read on and learn how to turn ground zero into a thriving community of listeners. Let's start growing your podcast audience.

MAIN ARTICLE

The Fear of Starting From Zero

Starting a podcast from scratch can feel like standing at the foot of a mountain, looking up at the peak. It's intimidating, and the fear of failure can be paralyzing. But, every successful podcaster started where you are now. They all faced that zero and turned it into a thriving community of listeners.

The reality is, starting from zero is not a disadvantage, but an opportunity.

It's a chance to shape your podcast without preconceived notions or expectations. It's a blank canvas for you to paint your unique voice, ideas, and personality.

Here's a surprising statistic: according to Edison Research, 75% of Americans are familiar with podcasting, and 50% have listened to a podcast. That's a potential audience of over 165 million people. The listeners are out there, and they're looking for new content.

Take Joe Rogan, for example. His podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, didn't become a sensation overnight. It took consistent effort, quality content, and smart promotion to build his audience.

Explore the practical solutions that will help you create engaging content, promote your podcast effectively, and build a loyal community around your show:

Creating Quality Content

The first step to growing your audience is to create content that people want to listen to.

Quality content is the foundation of any successful podcast.

Without it, attracting and retaining listeners becomes a challenging task.

According to a survey by Pew Research Center, 88% of podcast listeners say learning is a reason they listen to podcasts while 55% of podcast listeners say learning is a major reason they tune in. This shows that listeners are actively seeking content that can provide them with new information, insights, or perspectives.

Here’s a three-point guide for quality content, plus tools to get you started:

1. Identify your target audience and their interests

Who are you creating your podcast for? Understanding your audience is the first step to creating content that resonates. Think about what interests, concerns, or questions they have that you think you can address. 

One tool that can help identify your target audience and their interests is SparkToro. This audience research tool allows you to filter information and export your searches and lists into .CSV files. It crawls over 80 million social profiles and web pages to find what and who your audience reads, listens to, watches, follows, shares, and talks about online.

2. Plan your episodes around topics that provide value to your audience

One way to get your audience interested and respect their time is to organize your episodes around themes. This could be anything from interviews with experts in your field, to deep dives into specific topics, or even Q&A sessions where you answer listener questions.  

Dynalist is an outlining tool that can help you manage your ideas and consolidate them into an overarching framework for your show. It's free and easy to use, with powerful features that can help you stay organized.

3. Invest in good quality recording equipment

The quality of your audio can have a big impact on listener experience. Poor audio quality can be distracting and can turn listeners away, so it's worth investing in good quality recording equipment

Try Rode PSA1 and the Heil PL-2T. These equipment are recommended for podcasters due to their superior build quality, flexibility, and ability to reduce microphone handling noise, ensuring a clear and professional audio output.

Promoting Your Podcast

Once you have quality content, you need to get it in front of people. This means promoting your podcast on social media, podcast directories, and your own website. Promotion is key to reaching a wider audience and attracting new listeners.

A study by Nielsen found that 64% of podcast listeners discover new shows through social media. 

To leverage the power of social media for your podcast, follow these strategies:

1. Create social media accounts for your podcast and post regularly

Contrary to popular opinion, you don't need to be in all the social media platforms to get results. Select platforms that your target audience frequents. 

Post regularly to keep your audience engaged and attract new listeners. Use social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance and save time.

2. Submit your podcast to directories

Podcast directories are where many listeners go to discover new shows. Make sure your podcast is listed in these directories to increase your visibility. Popular directors include Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

Riverside.fm provides a list of popular podcast directories. Once you've uploaded your podcast to hosting platforms like Riverside.fm, submitting your RSS feed to these directories is a one-time action.

3. Create a website for your podcast

A website can serve as a central hub for your podcast, where listeners can find all your episodes and show notes, learn more about you, and even contact you directly. 

Wix is a website builder that offers podcast-specific templates and strong SEO capabilities. It is ranked as the best website builder for podcasts.

Engaging With Your Audience

Building an audience isn't just about numbers, it's about creating a community. 

Engaging across all your platforms builds a strong relationship with your audience. This can lead to increased loyalty and word-of-mouth promotion.

A survey by Edison Research found that 54% of podcast consumers would consider buying products advertised on podcasts. This shows the power of audience engagement in driving action.

Engage with your audience using these tips:

1. Respond to comments and messages, ASAP

Engaging with your audience on social media can help build a solid community around your podcast. Try to reply as soon as possible, since it's proven to boost your posts.

According to Sprout Social, there are four main types of social media comments that you'll face, and each needs its own separate approach–the positive comments, the neutral comments, the negative comments, and the comments related to crisis.

2. Consider creating a newsletter

An email newsletter can be a great way to keep your audience engaged between episodes. 

As Buffer suggests, a newsletter can include updates, behind-the-scenes content, or even exclusive previews of upcoming episodes. This can help keep your listeners excited and invested in your podcast.

3. Mention listeners in your episodes

Recognizing your listeners in your episodes can make them feel valued and part of your podcast community. This could be anything from answering listener questions on air, to giving shoutouts to active members of your community. 

Extra tip: Use Deciphr's free plan to help you create engagement touchpoints for your audience. Generate show notes, captions, articles, and more with just one click.

Wrapping Up

Starting a podcast from scratch can be daunting, but with quality content, smart promotion, and audience engagement, you can turn that zero into a thriving community of listeners. 

Remember, every successful podcaster started where you are now. It's not about where you start, but where you're going. So, shake off the fear, embrace the journey, and let's start growing your podcast audience.