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You've jumped in both feet first and started your first podcast. You are consistently creating amazing content on a regular schedule. Now you are seeking a large listener base.
Every podcast has the goal of growing both in quality and in quantity. Your listener base is what determines your show’s success. Naturally, a big listener base means a more successful show. However, not every podcast is destined for immediate success, in which case groundwork is required! There are a few very effective methods available for you to use that will assist in growing your podcast’s listener base!
A very easy and fruitful way to grow your podcast is to reach out to others within the podcasting community. Rather than view this as helping the competition, use it as a way to expand your listener base. Tap into those contacts you already have and use them to your advantage.
An interview with someone else in your space can be used as quality content while also cross targeting audiences. Collaborations with others can have the same effect and can definitely be used as a way to learn new tips and tricks. Who knows, maybe a partnership is in the cards? Either way, your network is gold; so don’t forget to use it!
You are able to network in person or via social media. Both methods are extremely effective. The approach is clearly different.
Networking on Social Media
Your business should have social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at the very least. YouTube is a suggested platform as well. In order to grow your podcast
Yogi's Podcast Network publishes a related image to Instagram for every single episode that is released on the network. Posting to your Instagram wall and story are great, but most people forget a very valuable tool at their disposal.
One reason for building a social media following is that it is similar to having a large email subscription list. We use the direct message feature of Instagram like an email list. When we have a special promotion or something we want people to know about, we create a graphic and send it via the direct message feature.
Messenger bots on Facebook are another great way to network. Your bot can be pre-programmed to respond to common questions your podcast listeners ask. The bot is available 24/7/365, which is not something you could afford otherwise.
Make sure your podcast has a Facebook fan page. You can get busy attracting LIKES on your fan page and later use that page to market your podcasts and other services.
Twitter is a completely different animal. With Twitter, you want to pay attention to what people are asking about your niche. When you see a question you can answer, take the time to give a thorough answer. At times, I will record a video of myself answering the question and then respond to the question with a little explanation and a link to the video. It works very well!
By answering questions, you establish your expertise in your niche. Your number of followers will increase and that's an awesome thing because you can market your podcast to those people. You will also find podcast topics from questions people ask.
Networking in Person
One way to connect with people and gain more podcast listeners is to go to in-person events. Look for possible events that you can attend and then put them in your schedule. Be prepared with business cards and anything else you want to hand out. Be as sociable as you possibly can.
Yogi's Podcast Network attended Politicon on a press credential. We roamed around the convention floor asking people questions. We managed to interview several of the vendors and some of the attendees. People were excited to see us. We wore t-shirts with the Yogi's Podcast Network logo on the front.
The excitement generated from our presence enabled us to network with many different people. We made connections with media people, other podcasters and the general public that have become extremely valuable. The traffic to our website increased dramatically the weeks after Politicon as well.
You can also search meetup.com to find appropriate meet up events. You won't be sorry you did.
Choose a Great Podcast Host
No, I am not talking about the person who hosts your podcast, I am talking about the hosting service that publishes your podcasts for you.
Every podcast needs a good host in order to have the appropriate publishing tools, media hosting, delivery, RSS for Apple Podcasts and iTunes, a website, stats and a platform that has your back as you grow as a producer.
As your podcast grows, your host needs to be able to provide a fast and reliable network, plus the bandwidth and flexible storage space that can handle your podcast as it grows over time. There are several hosting companies where you can upload your podcast for free. However, if you are serious about really growing your audience, you need to think like a pro. This comes back to having sufficient bandwidth in case one of your episodes go viral. Otherwise, all those downloads will be stopped in their tracks, you’ll lose podcast listeners, and you’ll miss out on your plunge into making it big.
All the work you did thus far would be wasted if you chose a poor podcast host.
Maximize Your SEO for More Podcast Listeners
Making your show easy to find on a very crowded internet is crucial. This can be done by using the right keywords, titles, descriptions, and content. A podcast that’s featured on the first page of Google is obviously going to attract more first-time podcast listeners than a podcast who shows up on page 50.
Likewise, a show that launches on iTunes and makes it into the ‘New and Noteworthy’ section will see the same success. The key is to optimize your podcast both for typical Google searches and for the search engines of each respective podcast directory that your show is listed on.
This means including target keywords in your podcast name and description, as well as each individual episode’s name and description. The ultimate goal is to hit iTunes top podcasts, a goal that requires time and a combination of great content, strategic marketing, and great SEO optimization.
Be sure to add every episode of your podcast as a separate blog post on your website. Take the time to include show notes. Some people actually transcribe their episodes and publish the transcript as the show notes. This can be expensive and I've yet to see concrete evidence that it truly makes a difference.
At Yogi's Podcast Network, we create a summary of the discussion from each episode and publish that as the show notes. At times, if an episode is particularly interesting, we create a PDF transcript and offer that in exchange for an email address. It has helped grow our email list tremendously.
Take the time to perfect the SEO on your podcast website. You will reap the rewards from it in the end.
Interact With the Internet
Successful podcasters do not do it alone. There is an abundance of amazing community platforms available online that can be used to network, converse, and discuss. Use these platforms to interact with podcast listeners, potential new podcast listeners, and even possible future guests. Just remember, be cautious not to be guilty of ‘spamming’ the groups and make sure to follow their guidelines. Build real and sincere connections! You have a bank of knowledge which many are seeking. This can be a very genuine and organic way to spread the word about your show!
I personally belong to numerous Facebook groups that are quite active. They revolve around the podcasting world and they help me come up with great ideas for finding podcast listeners. At the very least, they help me understand what is important and what is unimportant.
The value of connecting with other people cannot be stressed enough. It is why I spent so much time talking about the need to network with others. You will not regret the time you spend doing this.
Classic Advertising to Gain Podcast Listeners
Sometimes the most classic form of advertising is just the way to go. Facebook and Instagram are two obvious places to invest in advertising. Once you’ve figured out what keywords to target, consider paying for paid advertising on Google Adwords, Reddit Ads, Facebook Ads, and Stumbleupon Ads.
This is just an initial strategy, a sort of temporary measure until you see the growth you are looking for. Your first podcast listeners are going to be the hardest to get, so it’s worth the money you’ll spend on getting those early podcast listeners.
Other than classic advertising methods, some less obvious places could be on a relevant blog or even being featured on someone else’s podcast. Of course, this method does carry some financial risk as a return is not guaranteed. But the reward can definitely be worth it!
Facebook Advertising — Why?
Any time you consider running a Facebook advertisement, you need to ask yourself why. What is your end goal?
Since you’re paying some money for the ads, you need to have a stronger reason than just wanting to get more people to listen to your show…
- Maybe it’s sales of your product or service. Since you promote them during your show, more podcast listeners might mean more sales.
- Maybe it’s lead generation. You might offer a free download of some kind during your episodes and more podcast listeners could mean growing your email list more quickly.
- Maybe you have sponsors or your goal is to get a sponsor. Either way, more podcast listeners and downloads
isgoing to be huge for you.
- Or maybe your goal is to simply get in the iTunes New & Noteworthy section. More exposure for your show will help with that.
Don’t just run Facebook ads for the heck of it, have a clear, measurable objective in mind first.
Measure the Effectiveness of Your Advertisements
Unfortunately, when we’re using Facebook ads to promote a podcast, measuring the effectiveness of our ads isn’t super straight-forward.
If your goal is webinar registrations or email opt-ins, for example, you can see the results of your ads right in Facebook.
Not so when you’re promoting a podcast.
Of course, you can measure things like click-through-rate, but if you’re sending traffic from your ad to iTunes or Stitcher or Soundcloud, which we’ll talk more about in a minute, you’re not able to track the number of downloads with Facebook’s conversion tracking pixel.
To measure the effectiveness of your ads, then, I recommend doing the following:
- Log-in to your Libsyn account or wherever you’re hosting your podcast
- Go to your stats and look at what your average daily downloads are prior to running your ads
- Then while your ads are running, track your daily downloads
- Once you’ve stopped your ads see what your daily average is
By looking at before, during and after stats, you can make some pretty accurate assumptions about the success of your ads.
Now on the flip side, if you are sending people from your ad directly to your Show Notes page where you have a free download, you COULD measure the number of leads you get by using Facebook’s conversion tracking pixel.
But you’re again left not knowing how many episode downloads/listens you got from that ad spend.
Encourage Listener Interaction
Podcasting is a very personal medium, which allows your regular podcast listeners to feel like they know you as a friend. This makes podcasts ideal for fostering engagement with your fans. Encourage engagement by letting your podcast listeners ask questions on social media platforms, and then take time to either answer them directly or by creating a Q&A section on the show.
Not only does this interaction strengthen the bond between you and your podcast listeners it also gives you a better understanding of what your audience wants, needs and expects from your podcast.
Your podcast listeners will give you the inside view on exactly how to improve your podcast. As previously discussed, another great way to encourage engagement is to set up a Facebook Community for your show. This provides a place for your audience to come together, discuss the episodes, and really explore the topics in greater depth. This is also a way to give your podcast listeners a more personal connection to you as the host.
Host Contests or Giveaways for Your Podcast Listeners
Hosting contests or giveaways where your podcast listeners can win prizes in exchange for leaving a review of your podcast on iTunes. Offer further entries for listeners who share your podcast with others or tag a friend in the social media post.
Don’t forget to promote any posts you run for these giveaways – just because it’s a contest doesn’t mean it’s off limits for running a quick Facebook Ad campaign or two! The most important part is to have fun with it and get your audience engaged in the excitement to really create a buzz around your show.