All Blogs

5 Tips To Grow Your Podcast: Building Binge Listening Habits

April 11, 2024 Deciphr AI
Blog cover

On this page

Back to top

Ever found yourself deep in a movie marathon? That's the magic of binge-worthy content. It's not just about Netflix anymore. Now, binge listening extends to hours on Instagram Stories, and yup, even podcasting. 

“A bingeable podcast is a podcast that an audience won’t want to drop… ensuring its long-term longevity,” Tracy Hazzard of The Binge Factor says in her blog. She even says bingeability is an important metric in the ongoing success of any podcast.

In this article, let's talk about how you can transform your podcast into a binge listening magnet. We'll dive into the psychology behind binge listening and tactics you can use to get people bingeing your show.

Why Podcast Binge Listening?

Binge listening to podcasts is a unique phenomenon. It doesn't always have the visual allure of platforms like Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok. So, why are people drawn to podcast binge listening? 

  • Emotional Engagement. Podcasts connect with listeners on an emotional level, whether through storytelling, humor, or shared interests.
  • Content Quality. Well-produced content that's both informative and entertaining can make listeners eager for more.
  • Podcast Accessibility. The ease of accessing podcasts through mobile phones contributes to binge listening. Listeners can easily pick up where they left off. They can even listen to a podcast while doing other tasks such as dishwashing and driving.
  • Personal Connection. Podcasts create a sense of personal connection between the host and the listener. That relationship helps grow a loyal audience more likely to binge your show.

Not convinced? A study by Edison Research shows that 78% of listeners consume a deluge of podcast episodes in one sitting. People are binge listening podcasts at an average of 7.7 hours per week. And that’s just the Gen Zers.

For you, as a podcaster, this trend is an opportunity. It means you can win listener loyalty without flashy visuals or high production costs. But what exactly is behind this surge in podcast binge listening? 

Read on to find out.

The Psychology Behind Podcast Binge Listening

There are two psychological drivers that explain why listeners binge on podcasts.

The Zeigarnik Effect

This psychological effect suggests that people remember interrupted events better than completed ones. In podcasting, this means leaving your audience with a 'mental itch' they just have to scratch by listening to the next episode.

Unfinished tasks and unresolved questions stick in our minds and compel us to seek answers. Podcasts tap into this need by posing intriguing questions, teasing future revelations, and developing complex narratives

The Dopamine Hit

Binge listening isn't just a habit — it's a response to our emotions. Often, we binge to escape feelings like anxiety, boredom, or loneliness. It's a quick fix to feel good. 

Binge listening triggers the release of dopamine, the 'feel-good' hormone, making us feel pleased and happy. And here's the kicker: it's not all bad. In fact, a Netflix survey found that 73% of people had a good feeling about bingeing, as if it was a reward for hard work. 

These two phenomena produce a compulsive need to keep hitting “play”—which is why understanding these drivers is the answer to engineering binge-worthy podcast content.

5 Tips To Grow Your Podcast and Make More Binge Worthy

You might be wondering how you can put this psychology into practice. Well, here are 5 techniques to try.

Develop Your ‘Characters’

Character development isn't just for the novels. Reveal new facets of the people on your show, your guest and yourself included. It makes for a more emotionally resonant experience. 

Here's how you can weave character development into different podcast formats.

  • You have a co-host: Gradually share personal business experiences or challenges you've both faced. A certain vulnerability is required to make this work.
  • You have a storytelling podcast: Mold your characters from people you know in real life. Here’s a character development worksheet to help you flesh things out. 
  • You use an interview format: Focus on a lesser known aspect of your guest's personality or background. Take a page from documentary filmmakers by conducting desk research and initial interviews.

Pro-tip: Keep it genuine and relevant to the episode. It doesn’t make sense to talk about your high school crush in the middle of an ecommerce podcast… unless your crush helped you start your first online business, perhaps!

Use Interactive Elements

Why do people rack up thousands of hours playing a game? Interactive elements help folks feel like they belong or that they’re part of the story somehow. It’s the same with podcasts.

Here's how you can incorporate interactive elements in your show.

  • Conduct Q&A: Host a Q&A segment where listeners submit questions about your podcast's topic or about previous episodes. Community building is key to turning listeners to loyalists.
  • Collect listener submissions: Encourage listeners to share their personal stories or experiences related to your podcast's theme. Crime Junkie does this well by ending gory episodes with good, wholesome messages from fans. 
  • Invite them to events: Organize activities that keep your podcast community tight. A listener can stumble onto your episode at any given time, so try to keep these events date-less or regularly occurring. Think a weekly book club, or a Discord server.

Pro-tip: Balance is key. While interactive elements are great, they shouldn't overshadow your main content. Use them to complement your episodes, instead.

End on a Cliffhanger

Cliffhangers aren't just for TV shows. In podcasts, they create a compelling need to know what happens next. This psychological hook keeps listeners coming back for more. 

Here are different scenarios and how you can incite a cliffhanger for each.

  • You own a marketing podcast: At the end of an episode, you could tease, "Next episode, we're sharing a groundbreaking social media tactic that tripled a brand's engagement in just one week."
  • You use an interview format: Tease your next guest. For instance, "Next week, we have a guest who turned a simple idea into a multi-million-dollar business. They'll reveal the one mistake they think every entrepreneur should avoid."
  • You talk about spirituality: In an outro, you could introduce an intriguing idea but not fully explore it. "In our next episode, we'll delve into a rarely discussed technique said to unlock profound insights. I'll also share how this led to a surprising revelation in my life."

Pro-tip: Don't overdo it. If every episode ends in a cliffhanger, the effect might wear off. Instead, be strategic with placement. Use them to signal thematic shifts or introduce new, prominent guests.

Make Addictive Standalones

While cliffhangers pull listeners from one episode to the next, each episode should be a masterpiece in its own right. This ensures that new listeners can jump in at any point and get hooked.

To turn your podcast episodes into addictive standalones, here’s what you need to do.

  • Have a complete narrative: Each episode should tell a complete story or cover a topic comprehensively. This way, even if it's a listener's first episode, they get a satisfying experience.
  • Provide value: Ensure each episode offers valuable content that make it satisfying on its own. When listeners find value, they're more likely to return.
  • Maintain direction: Avoid meandering or templated interviews that can become repetitive or boring. Master the art of conducting podcast interviews.

Pro-tip: Balance continuity with uniqueness. While it's important for each episode to stand alone, maintaining a thread of continuity ensures your podcast remains a cohesive whole.

Create Podcast ‘Arcs’

Think of your podcast as a TV series. Organizing it into seasons or themes gives it structure. It ties episodes together, making it likely for a listener to zoom through a whole collection.

Here’s how you can create these podcast ‘arcs’ in various scenarios.

  • You have a solo show: Split an episode into clear, distinct chunks. The first 3 minutes can be a briefer, then you follow it with personal experiences, and top it off by answering questions from fans. Make it standard across episodes so listeners know what to expect.
  • You have multiple guests: Introduce a theme like ‘overcoming adversity’ early on. In coming episodes, study this theme through different lenses, such as stories of overcoming adversity, expert interviews, or practical resilience-building tips.
  • You alternate between formats: Say you alternate between solo episodes and guest interviews — you can position them as 2-in-1’s or use the other as a complementary episode that builds off the other.

Pro-tip: There’s such a thing as too narrow or too niche an arc. List down potential episode topics for every arc in advance. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you run out of ideas!

Quick Case Studies of Must-Binge Podcasts

Crime Junkie Podcast Logo

Crime Junkie 

This true crime podcast ends each episode on dramatic cliffhangers. It even poses unanswered forensic questions to keep you investigating. The host also peppers in listener ‘fan mail’ segments praising the show in a way that ties back to the story.

Welcome to Night Vale Podcast

Welcome to Night Vale

This quirky fictional town unveils mysteries like strange lights in the night sky, secret portals to other dimensions, and vague powerful forces controlling events. While some threads resolve satisfyingly, new bizarre happenings continue to deepen the unknowns.

Armchair Expert Podcast by Dax Shepard

Armchair Expert

Dax Shepherd’s rambling interviews touch on themes like psychology, creativity and relationships. Guests often reference previously covered topics or inside jokes. This creates a sense of community and camaraderie for regular listeners.

Narrative techniques can encourage binge listening. Study other popular shows and see what you can replicate in your own show.

Optimizing Your Podcast for Binge Listening Apps

Binge listening apps design for seamless, addictive experiences. By being present on these apps, you're not just reaching listeners — you're embedding your podcast into daily listening habits.

What Are the Best Podcast Apps for Binge Listening?

You need to be where your audience is. Here's a closer look at the best podcast apps for binge listening. 

Spotify

Spotify is a major player in the podcasting world. It offers personalized recommendations and curated playlists, making it easier for new listeners to discover your podcast. 

The platform's user-friendly interface and cross-device syncing also provides a seamless listening experience, ideal for binge sessions.

Apple Podcasts

As one of the pioneers in podcasting, Apple Podcasts holds a significant share of the listener market. It's got a comprehensive catalog and robust categorization and search capabilities. 

This app is popular among iOS users, providing a built-in audience for your podcast.

Google Podcasts

Google Podcasts is a go-to for Android users but is also accessible on other platforms. It integrates well with Google's search capabilities, making it easier for potential listeners to find your podcast. 

How to Submit Your Podcast to Binge Listening Apps?

Each app has its specific submission process, but the general steps are quite similar. Here’s a guide to get you started.

1. Prepare Your Podcast Content

Before submission, ensure your podcast has a clear title, an engaging description, high-quality artwork, and at least one episode published.

2. Set Up an RSS Feed

Your podcast's RSS feed is a critical component. It should contain all necessary information about your podcast, including episodes, titles, descriptions, and links to your media files.

Most podcast hosting services will generate an RSS feed for you.

3. Create Accounts on Podcast Platforms

Sign up for accounts on the platforms where you want to submit your podcast. This might involve creating a specific podcasting account, like Spotify for Podcasters, or using an existing account, such as an Apple ID for Apple Podcasts.

4. Submit Your Podcast

Locate the podcast submission section on each platform. This is usually found in the podcast management or content provider area.

Next, enter your podcast's RSS feed URL. Verify ownership if required. This is usually done through a confirmation email.

5. Review and Submit for Approval

Double-check all the details pulled from your RSS feed. This includes episode information, artwork, and descriptions. Then, submit your podcast for review. The platform will check to ensure it meets their guidelines and requirements.

6. Wait for Approval and Publication

Approval times can vary by platform. Some may approve your podcast within a few hours, while others might take several days.

Once approved, your podcast will be listed on the platform and available to listeners.

7. Promote Your Podcast

After your podcast is live, promote it to grow a binge listening audience. Here’s how Deciphr AI can accelerate the process.

Conclusion

Building a binge-worthy podcast isn't only about content. It's also about leveraging listener psychology, storytelling techniques, and the right platforms.

By following these tips and studying successful examples, you can turn your podcast into a binge listening phenomenon. Remember, the key is to keep your audience eagerly anticipating your next episode. 

Nail these, and you'll not just grow your audience — you'll turn them into avid binge listeners.

P.S. There’ll be no binge listening if you don’t make your podcast easy to find. Deciphr AI makes your podcast marketable and SEO-optimized, and all it takes is a click.