Target your specific audience
Before you commit to any particular growth strategy, try to narrow down your intended audience. While you may be thinking, “My podcast is for everyone!” keep in mind the key to growing your listeners is to find your niche. Rather than casting a wide net, pinpoint the unique value your podcast brings to the world and consider the audience who is most likely to listen to (and benefit from) your show.
Podcast creators share their top tips for building an audience, and how the entertainment industry can do better to spotlight underrepresented voices.
Podcasters discussed their advice for up-and-coming creators in terms of growing an audience.
“Get on Twitter and follow every journalist you can possibly find”.
“Every publication that you read and respect and go to for your arts, culture and entertainment news… check them out. What are they writing about? Who are they writing about? Make sure that the folks that you want to see your work have no choice but to see your work.”
Building community with other podcasts allowed “Bag Ladiez” to gain more exposure and “share audiences” with other shows.
Research your podcast audience
In what part of the world do they live? What are their interests? What other podcasts do they listen to? Anchor’s built-in analytics can help you track down demographic data and trends with your current listeners—dig as deep as you can to put yourself in the mind of your audience.
Do your own research to find out where your listeners are most active online. Do they use social media platforms? Do they follow particular hashtags or subreddits? Figuring out where your audience already engages will help you learn where and how to reach them.
As far as monetizing their shows, the honorees encouraged targeting sponsors that relate to the niche audience demographic of each show. Try cold-emailing potential sponsors until, eventually, the sponsors started coming to the show.
Anchor’s monetization program and said “Teenager Therapy” makes a significant amount of money by uploading videos of the podcast to Snapchat. Other honorees said a portion of their revenue stream comes from platforms like Patreon.
Connect with your listeners
Once you’ve identified your audience, it’s time to connect with them. Some platforms might deserve more attention than others depending on your audience—don’t be shy about where you promote your show. Connecting with your listeners starts with getting the word out on any and all channels where you can reach them.
Focus on building a community around your podcast. By creating opportunities for listeners to engage with your podcast and each other, you can foster a sense of community that’s rewarding to be a part of and builds a dedicated following.
Look at holding onto their own intellectual property.
“One of the first things I always think about is, ‘Where am I placing my IP?’ With any partnership or contract, that is the first question I ask and the last question I ask because I don’t know what is going to change during that conversation,”/ “We can shift this industry from platform-led to creator-led.”
On social media
When you start a podcast, it’s important to create dedicated social media accounts. Promoting your show on social media platforms makes it easy for people to discover it and provides a perpetual outlet to promote your content.
Follow these tips to get the most out of marketing your podcast on social media:
- Post about every new episode on both your podcast and personal social media channels.
- Use branded hashtags specific to your show, so listeners can contribute to the conversation.
- Include hashtags about your topics and guests (if applicable).
- Tag guests, organizations, TV shows, artists, and anyone or anything else mentioned in episodes with an active social presence.
- Reply to comments to keep your audience engaged.
- Post in relevant Facebook and Reddit groups.
- Tailor additional short-form video content for Instagram Stories, Reels, and TikTok.
- Post shareable images, including quotes from episodes, behind-the-scenes photos of your recording setup, and photos with guests.
- Extract short audio clips from episodes to post on Twitter and Instagram.
- Host a giveaway contest. For example, ask social media followers to follow your podcast on Spotify or respond to a question on Instagram for a prize—like your podcast merch.
- Be sure to tag Anchor! We’re always looking to learn about great new shows.
“Listeners follow creators, and listeners trust creators and will go on journeys with them… I think we’re at the beginning of knowing what a podcast can be. They can be three minutes; they can be three hours; they can be fiction, nonfiction… there are so many things that this medium can do.”
Through your website
Creating a website for your podcast is another way your audience can discover your show, listen to episodes, and learn more about you and your creative process. Adding a blog to your website can add even more value. Your blog can dig deeper into background information on guests and explore episode topics even further. Blog content can also give your audience an inside look into your production process and how you select topics and interview subjects.
A website dedicated to your podcast will also help potential listeners find you online when they search for terms related to your show. A blog can help extend your search engine optimization (SEO) value even further. The more content you have with your podcast’s name and keywords related to your topics, the more it will help to improve your site’s search rankings.
If you already have a personal or business website, add a section dedicated to your podcast where you can post episodes and other related content.
Optimize your show for search-results success on Spotify
Did you know that you can now take a peek at some of Spotify’s best practices for search results? By optimizing everything from your podcast title to episode descriptions to match listeners’ search terms, your chances of being discovered are better than ever. You can now learn for yourself how everything you write has an impact on search results within Spotify—and in turn, your show’s growth.
Welcome a guest
A guest can be a great way to expand your audience. Guests can be friends, experts in a field, or someone you’ve always dreamed of talking to. Encourage your guests to promote the podcast episodes they’re on, which will help you tap into their followers.
Create a trailer
Trailers are an easy way to hook new listeners by giving them a sneak preview of what your show is all about. Creating a trailer is also a chance to pinpoint the unique value of your podcast and to practice pitching your show under concise constraints.
Set your goals and track how you’re meeting them
What does success mean to you? What metrics are important to you? They could be quantitative, like your subscriber count or your number of total episode plays. Or maybe they’re qualitative, like a high rating or an engaged listenership.
No matter what your podcast audience goals are, remember, sustained growth requires time and effort. It might be a while before your podcast takes off, and that’s okay. With a positive attitude and consistent promotion, you can begin to convert more fans. When in doubt, remember why you got started in the first place. Your podcast is something to be proud of whether you have one or one million listeners.
Senior Managing editor
Manages incoming enquiries and advertising. Based in London and very sporty. Worked news and sports desks in local paper after graduating.
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