Sure, hanging out and talking about music, politics, society, current events or sports with your friends is fun.
But when you put the effort into recording, editing, and publishing a podcast every week, you want as many people to hear it as possible.
Plus, if you want to monetize your show, you’ll need a consistent and dedicated audience of fans.
Today I wanted to go over some tips on how to grow a podcast and reach the right people.
Why Care About Growing Your Podcast?
Of course, money isn’t everything. However, many people do have the goal of driving a livable income from their podcasting efforts. Others start podcasting to promote other aspects of their business.
While money isn’t everything, monetization is worth considering even in the pilot stages.
After all, do you think the gang at Chapo Trap House expected to rake in over $165k per month when they got started? They might have had some goals, but no one can see something like that coming.
Generally, podcasts that drive a genuine income (of at least $2k/$3k per month) tend to have
- Over 40 episodes
- Binge-worthy material
- Active social media accounts
- At least 550 paid subscribers
New podcasters, look at that first bullet point. If your expectation is to make money right from the jump, consider not starting a podcast. If you are going to quit because you don’t see yourself being willing to stick it out for 40 episodes before you start making money, save yourself the trouble.
How to Grow a Podcast with 6 Tips
So, how can we grow a podcast? How can we reach not only more people but the right people? Here are a few ideas.
1. Narrow Down and Identify Your Audience
Remember middle school composition. Before we start writing, we’re supposed to nail down who we’re writing for and what we want to teach them.
The same rule applies to podcasting. As the saying goes, if we create content for everyone, we create content for no one. If we don’t find a niche and specific audience, our content will never be interesting or relevant enough for anyone to care.
This is especially true when we consider our competition. On Apple alone, we’re competing with over 525k active shows as of 2018.
Ideally, we want to make our show topics and overall podcast as specific as possible. We could start by researching other similar shows and figuring out how we can distance ourselves from them. We could also engage our potential audience on social media and see what they’re talking about. After all, if you want to grow your podcast, you should do all that you can to understand what your listeners want and expect from it.
2. Form Partnerships with Similar Podcasters or Outlets
Partnerships are mutually beneficial because we can share access to each other’s audience.
I like to start by looking for similar podcasts in my niche or slightly outside. The goal is to create a list of shows with similar audiences. That way, I can have some confidence their audience will like my show’s content.
I usually start my research by looking for podcast suggestions on iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere I’ve uploaded my shows. The algorithms are surprisingly good at finding recommended shows.
From there, I might ask one of the hosts to come onto my own show as a guest if they seem like a good fit. It’s a little too confrontational to ask to go on theirs before building a relationship. They may be willing to help you grow your podcast, but you should never assume or suggest that they need your help!
3. Find Interesting Guests
When I find an interesting guest and promote the heck out of the show, I can bring in a whole new audience that never would have discovered my show.
Our niche really matters here. When working with a political podcast, we could look for journalists, activists, or writers with solid social media followings, for example.
Other podcasters make great guests. With proper co-promotion, both of you should see growth.
If you can’t afford or don’t trust a “guest booking” service, hammer away on LinkedIn!
4. Create Content in Several Formats
Part of figuring out how to grow a podcast involves spreading our content far and wide. To do that, I suggest creating content in multiple formats.
YouTube is a must. I like to set up a camera, record a video of the show, add some branding, and upload it to YouTube. If that’s too much work, we can still upload our audio recording to YouTube with some static images and branding.
5. Record Some Trailers or Teasers
Most successful podcasters record quick trailers or teasers of about five minutes or so then upload them to Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube or other platforms.
The goal is to get people interested and hooked so they visit my hosted podcast and subscribe.
Related: How To Start A Podcast
6. Learn How to Promote a Podcast in the Right Places
Promoting a podcast is all about finding the right channels. Most successful podcast hosts are super active on Twitter but it’s important to go where our audience is, be it Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram.
Hashtags are key for boosting our reach across new audiences. I like to mix a few branded hashtags with topic-related hashtags about the specific show or general podcast.
Reddit is also useful for spreading my message to niche audiences.
Next, collect email addresses and cell numbers so you can email and text your fans. Social Media is awesome, but it’s not enough. Communicating directly with fans via email and text gives you a way to deliver unique content, snippets of your best content, alerts for new episodes, promote upcoming episodes of your podcast, and it is immune to any sort of algorithm that social media platforms use to restrict reach.
Learning How to Grow a Podcast Takes Trial and Error
Some strategies will work for some shows and others won’t – that’s just the game we have to play as we find our place in the podcasting world. When it comes to understanding how to grow a podcast, the most important thing is to understand our audience. After we do that, everything else like finding interesting guests, promoting, and content falls right into place.