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Authentic Growth: A Genuine Approach to Engaging Your Podcast Audience

May 21, 2024 Deciphr AI
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You've been nurturing your podcast for two years or so, and now you're ready to take it to the next level. But the common advice of engaging in social media gimmicks feels like a betrayal of your authentic self. Caught between the desire for growth and the dread of inauthenticity, you're standing at a crossroads. Navigating this dilemma can feel like a tightrope walk, but fear not.

Here's what we'll cover:

  • 4 alternative strategies to grow your podcast audience
  • 3 ways to leverage on your existing network

Read on and discover how to transform your dread of inauthenticity into a powerful tool for genuine growth. 


Overcoming the Dread of Inauthentic Engagement

Ever felt a chill down your spine at the thought of 'selling out'? You're not alone.

It's this fear of losing your listener’s trust and support. But it’s time for a reality check - it's often a self-imposed blockade. 

You've been told time and again to engage in online conversations, start polls, ask open-ended questions, and be generally online. But it feels inauthentic, like you're just trying to bait people into listening to your podcast. You're not alone in this. 

Many podcasters dread this approach because it feels like a departure from genuine communication. It's as if you're putting on a show, rather than having a real conversation. And this can feel draining and counterproductive.

However, 33% of listeners actually don’t mind ads or sponsorships, according to a DISQO survey.

Why? Because they know that it funds the content they value and enjoy. This shows that listeners appreciate authenticity. They are willing to support content creators who provide value.

Now that we've set the stage, let's dive into the heart of the matter. Here are some authentic, value-driven strategies to grow your podcast without compromising your principles. 

5 Alternative Strategies To Grow Your Podcast Audience

Ready to break away from the pack and chart your own course? Let's explore five alternative strategies that veer away from the beaten path of typical social media tactics. 

These strategies are not about quick fixes or superficial engagements such as likes for likes. They are about building a genuine connection with your audience and delivering real value. 

Deliver Value-Driven Content

Instead of resorting to gimmicks, focus on creating content that adds value to your listeners' lives. This approach not only increases listener engagement but also builds trust and loyalty.

According to a study by Edison Research, podcasts that provide value to their listeners tend to have higher engagement rates.

Listeners are more likely to invest their time in content that is meaningful and beneficial to them.

Follow these tips to create value-driven content:

  1. Use content research tools to gather data and information that help create educational content. Here’s 30 research tools to get the ball rolling.
  2. Leverage AI-powered content creation tools like Deciphr AI to save time and do more with less. Deciphr automatically repurposes your podcast episode, transforming them into captions, articles, show notes, summaries, even audiograms and reels.
  3. Focus on creating in-depth discussions, interviews with experts, and actionable tips. Here's a couple more pointers:
  • Dive deep into topics that your listeners care about. Don't just scratch the surface – explore different perspectives, challenge common assumptions, and provide insights that your listeners can't find anywhere else.
  • Bring in experts to share their insights on your podcast. This not only provides value to your listeners but also helps to build your podcast's credibility. Try using BuzzSumo to help you research popular topics and find influencers and experts to interview.
  • Give your listeners practical advice that they can apply in their own lives. This could be a step-by-step guide, a checklist, or tips based on your own experiences. The more actionable your content, the more valuable it is to your listeners.

Forge Collaborations with Fellow Podcasters

Collaborations with other podcasters can be a powerful way to grow your audience. By appearing as a guest on other podcasts, or inviting other podcasters to appear on your show, you can expose your podcast to a new audience.

Three Australian podcasters launched motivational career-based shows that consistently rank on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher. They have done this by collaborating with each other and sharing their knowledge and expertise.

According to a report by The Podcast Host, podcast collaborations are one of the most effective ways to grow your audience. This is because listeners are more likely to check out a podcast if it's recommended by a podcaster they already listen to and trust.

Try collaborating with other podcasters by following these tips:

  1. Identify potential podcasters for collaboration. Look for podcasters who share a similar audience but offer different content. Podchaser Pro allows you to discover podcasts that speak to your target audience with detailed demographics and location information.
  2. Reach out to potential collaborators with a proposal. Be clear about what you can offer in return. 
  3. Plan a collaborative episode that provides value to both your audiences. This could be a joint discussion on a relevant topic, an interview, or a guest appearance.

Harness the Power of SEO for Podcasts

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn't just for websites. They are a powerful tool that can help your podcast reach a larger audience. By optimizing your podcast for search engines, you can increase your podcast's visibility and reach a larger audience.

Podcasts that are optimized for SEO are 3 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results. 

This means that when someone searches for a topic related to your podcast, they're more likely to find your podcast if it's optimized for SEO.

Push your podcast’s SEO ranking by doing these:

  1. Use relevant keywords in your podcast title, description, and episode titles. Keywords are the words and phrases that potential listeners might use when searching for a podcast like yours. Tools like SEMrush can help you identify what increases your podcast's visibility.
  2. Transcribe your podcast episodes and publish the transcripts on your website. This makes your content accessible to search engines. Deciphr AI automatically transcribes your podcast and even repurposes it into captions, articles, audiograms, show notes, and more.
  3. List your podcast on all major podcast directories. This increases your podcast's visibility and makes it easier for potential listeners to find your podcast.


Engage Your Audience with Live Events

Live events can be a powerful way to engage your audience and build a stronger connection.

According to a survey by Pew Research Center, 67% of podcast listeners said they would be interested in attending a live podcast event.

Start interacting with your audience live by following these steps:

  1. Plan a live event that provides value to your audience. This could be a live podcast recording, a Q&A session, or a meet-and-greet with your listeners.
  2. Choose the right format. Depending on your audience, some formats might work better than others. For example, if your podcast is about a specific topic, a live discussion or debate might be interesting. If your podcast is more entertainment-focused, a live performance or game might be more engaging.
  3. During the event, engage with your audience. Answer questions, ask for feedback, and make your listeners feel valued and appreciated. CrowdPurr is a free audience response software that allows you to create interactive experiences for your audience, including polls, trivia, and word clouds.

As you implement these strategies to grow your podcast audience, remember that your existing listeners are an integral part of this growth. They are your first line of promotion, your most loyal fans, and the building blocks of your podcast community. Now, let's explore how to leverage this existing network to amplify your growth efforts.

3 Ways To Leverage Your Existing Network

Now that we've explored alternative strategies for growth, let's shift our focus to a resource you already have at your disposal - your existing network. Your current listeners are not just passive consumers; they're your advocates, your community, and your most valuable asset. 

Here are three ways to leverage this network to fuel your podcast's growth.

Foster Listener Engagement

Encouraging your listeners to engage with your podcast can increase word-of-mouth promotion. This could be leaving a review or participating in a listener survey.

According to a study by Hubspot, word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family are still the most influential.

To do this, follow these tips:

  1. Encourage your listeners to share your podcast with their own networks. You can do this by asking them directly during your podcast, providing incentives like shout-outs or giveaways. The key is to make the incentive valuable and relevant to your listeners.
  2. Regularly host activities that encourage interaction. This could be virtual meetups or exclusive contests. This engages your listeners but also encourages them to share these activities with their networks. Slido can help you create these interactive experiences.
  3. Thank your listeners for their support and acknowledge their efforts on your podcast. This could be a simple shout-out during an episode, a thank you note on social media, or even a special episode dedicated to your listeners.

Build a Community for Your Listeners

According to Mailchimp, creating a community for your listeners can foster a sense of belonging and loyalty. 

By providing a platform for your listeners to interact with each other, share their experiences, and ask questions about your brand, you can create a space where people feel connected and valued. This can lead to a stronger emotional connection with your podcast and a greater sense of loyalty.

The Pharmacy Leaders Podcast used podcasting to cultivate a community of practice among pharmacy leaders. The podcast created a space for listeners to share their experiences and ask questions. It successfully built a community and created a platform for pharmacy leaders to connect and learn from each other.

Here are the steps to help you build your own podcast community:

  1. Choose a platform for your community. This could be a social media platform, a chat app, or a forum on your website. Here are some platforms you can explore:
  • Patreon. This subscription-based tool allows you to build a community among your audience and connect with your most loyal listeners. Listeners can support your podcast by becoming a patron and get access to exclusive content and perks.
  • Discord servers are perfect for real-time chat and can be organized into different channels for various topics. 
  • are designed specifically for building communities and offer a range of features to facilitate engagement.
  1. Don't just create a community and leave it be. Regularly engage with your community by starting discussions, asking for feedback, and responding to comments. You can also host special events like live Q&A sessions or community challenges to keep the engagement high.

Give Recognition to Your Listeners

Recognizing your listeners on your podcast can make them feel valued and appreciated. This could be reading a listener review, giving a shout-out to a listener, or featuring a listener question on your podcast.

PwC's accounting podcast is a great example of a podcast that recognizes its listeners by discussing today's most compelling accounting issues, regulatory updates, and financial reporting hot topics. 

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Find ways to recognize your listeners. This could be reading a listener review, giving a shout-out to a listener, or featuring a listener question on your podcast. Conduct listener interviews. Invite listeners to participate in interviews and share their experiences or opinions on the topic of your podcast. 
  2. Make recognition a regular part of your podcast. This could be a dedicated segment in each episode or a special episode dedicated to your listeners. 
  3. Thank your listeners for their support. This could be a simple thank you during an episode, a thank you note, or a special gift or reward.

Wrapping Up

Growing your podcast doesn't have to involve inauthentic social media gimmicks.

There are alternative ways to grow your audience and leverage your existing network. Remember, authenticity is key in podcast promotion. So, forget the gimmicks and start building real connections with your audience.