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We are now living in the golden age of podcasting. In so many ways, blogs have become old news and podcasts continue to skyrocket in popularity and the number of new podcasts started each week is rising steadily. I am one who believes this is the new medium for everyday people to share their stories. If you are looking to grow a podcast, you must learn to communicate with podcast listeners.
The fact that podcasts are easy to consume is a big factor in their continuing success. The content of your podcast is crucial, but podcast marketing can have just as much success (perhaps more success) than your podcast itself. A good podcast has to have some strategies for getting it in front of listeners.
Some people are surprised when I tell them that having a strong online following (say 10k+ Twitter followers) does not guarantee a large podcast following. It is easier to get someone to follow you on Instagram or Twitter than to get them to find and listen to a podcast. I've met many people with a substantial social media following who are upset their podcast isn't gaining traction.
One thing I teach new podcasters is the importance of community. When you get a group of raving fans following your podcast, they help you out by sharing your content with their friends and connections. I am not sure about you, but I am more likely to listen to a podcast recommended by a trusted source.
How do you build this community? You need a solid approach for finding and engaging with your listeners.
Communicate With Podcast Listeners Via Keywords
Anyone with a basic understanding of SEO knows the importance of keywords. You may want to be creative with your title and description, but keeping it to the point is the best approach. Stop and consider what you would type into Google if you were looking for a new podcast to listen to. An example of that using keywords would be “The Adventures of John Smith | True Crime.” You are able to add multiple keywords to the description area of your show as well.
Your podcast name needs to tell people what it is all about. If your name is something vague, lots of potential listeners will scroll on by because they have no idea what your podcast is about. Be simple and clear with your title.
I always recommend that you go to Google and start typing in a phrase. See what other suggestions come up. Use those as keywords in your show notes and your titles. It can only help people find you and that's the first goal–to be found.
Give a Good Description to Communicate With Podcast Listeners
Your description does not need to give away all the spoilers, but if you include some “juicy” details you will draw in listeners. You never want to have someone pass on listening because you left out an important detail. Always use keywords and relevant links mentioned in the show in your description and show notes for the episode.
Submit to Every Podcast Directory
The idea is to be everywhere. The more places your show can be heard, the better. Take a moment and Google some well-known podcasts and see where they appear. Make sure you submit your show to all the same places. Some places you can list your podcast are
My approach is to create a Google Sheet that contains the podcast directories down the first column and then add my podcast titles to the top row, one column at a time. I then go through and hit each directory one at a time, submitting each podcast as I go. This ensures I hit all of the directories for all of my shows.
Press Releases to Communicate with Podcast Listeners
Press releases are often overlooked. They are an excellent way to get your podcast out into the public eye. They help you get noticed.
Check DiscoverPods.com and Reddit.com for opportunities. As you find blog articles similar to “Best Crime Podcasts”, “Best Comedy Podcasts”, etc. be sure to comment and commend the author for making the list and then mention your podcast to them. It is a good idea to contact the writer and ask how to get on the list next time.
The short amount of time it takes to create a press release pays off in a big way.
Be Active on Apple Podcasts
The best way to stay active on Apple Podcasts and communicate with podcast listeners is to find podcasts similar to your own and post reviews. Your username should be the name of your podcast. This approach helps you gain more exposure to those reading the reviews.
Always be kind. If you have constructive criticism, consider sending it in a private message.
Interact on Social Media
Social media is a great place to pick up listeners. It is very easy to stay in touch with listeners via social media. Be thankful for your followers that you have. Don't get upset if the numbers are not where you want them.
Gaining a good following takes time. Not everyone hits 10,000 downloads right away. Patience is required to get where you want to go.
By using social media, you give listeners a direct line to speak to you. Make sure to respect that direct line by responding to the things people say and do. If you have an Instagram for your show, take the time to like other photos from your followers. If they are a fan of your show it will make their day to see that you liked something they posted.
Don't View Other Podcasters as Competitors
Make sure you view other podcasters as your friends, not your competition. You all have something in common and you have similar goals. Lift each other up. When you show love, others show love back.
Every so often take a moment to recommend another podcast you enjoy or one that is similar to your own. We have had two podcasters on our show, The Nightly Rant, who have similar shows. We find that it works well because their audience tunes in to hear them and that gives our show more exposure. In addition, because their show is like our own, it is easy to fit them into the flow.
You will be surprised how many people respect a selfless action. A great way to be helpful is to join podcast groups on Facebook. You will make some great
Make Friends With Fellow Podcasters
Not only should you not see other podcasters as competition,
When you collaborate with your friends who have podcasts, when you are a guest on other each other's shows, and when you recommend episodes to your respective audiences, you both benefit from increased listeners. Multiply that by 2, 5 or 10 over time and you will see a nice new group of listeners.
Use Relevant Hashtags
On Twitter and Instagram, users follow hashtags. They use hashtags to find things of interest to them.
There are many hashtags you can use on social media to get your page views. This could lead to more podcast listeners for your show. One recommendation on Twitter is to use #FF, which means “Follow Friday.” You can list other podcasts and use that hashtag. You will get retweeted and find yourself on tons of lists linked to the hashtag.
Experiment With Different Social Media Platforms
When it comes to promotion, social media is a great tool. You know this. Be sure to try different platforms to see how they work for you. Depending upon your audience, different platforms are going to be better than others. Go to those platforms and concentrate on those.
Audio Swaps and Guest Spots
One of the best ways to grow your show is to do audio swaps and guest spots. Connect to other podcasters to see if they are willing to do an audio swap or be a guest on your show. An audio swap is a 30 to 60 second clip of your show that they feature on their show and vice versa.
If you manage to do an audio swap or guest spot, be sure to promote the episode for them. This is very important. The idea is reciprocation.
Get Out and About
You may be wondering where you are going to meet these new podcasting friends. You can contact people from their website. That is akin to cold calling.
You can also attend podcasting conferences. You get to mingle and network with podcasters and you pick up great tips on podcasting.
Another avenue is Facebook groups. Make sure to interact with the posts you see. Answer the questions you can and offer advice when asked. Over time people will know you and will be willing to work with you.
Build a Great Website
One way to communicate with podcast listeners is to have an amazing website. If you take the time to create your website with SEO in mind, you will find your audience grows exponentially faster than if you just slapped something up on the web. Make sure to create a very user-friendly site where people can find exactly what they look for.
One very important aspect of a great website is a blog. You can use it to write about topics that are coming up and topics that have already been covered on your podcast. If you've talked about something controversial on your show, use your blog to show the other side or to bolster your own side with other resources. Post photos and talk a little about yourself personally. People will come back to read what you've written and they will stay to listen to your podcast.
Communicate With Podcast Listeners by Releasing Regular Episodes
Consistency is one of the keys to podcast listener engagement.
Keeping the momentum is hard. If you don't continue to release episodes, listeners begin to fade away. Make sure you plan ahead. Try to record a week or two ahead of the schedule to accommodate emergencies.
At Yogi's Podcast Network, we even release “Best of” episodes when a show has more than 50 episodes in the bank.
Communicate With Podcast Listeners Through Comments
Just like you would with social media followers, be sure you are engaging with anyone leaving comments on your show. Answer questions asked. If someone triggers a show comment, let them know that. it will have them watching for the episode they inspired.
An important note to take is not to interact with trolls. Just delete troll comments when they come up.
Never Stop Taking Time to Communicate With Podcast Listeners
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is never give up. Keep working on growing your audience. Keep pushing the marketing avenues. Be consistent with your approach and it will pay off in the end.