3 Steps to grow a podcast audience

We recently helped a client launch a podcast. We developed their core messaging, brand identity, target audience, and developed a blog to support the podcast. Developing their digital marketing strategy was important, as they needed to know who they were going after and how to do it. 

But, launching the blog and podcast was step zero. Now, they needed to work on acquiring new listeners, growing their email list, and engaging with their listeners. 

We worked through a 1-year marketing plan to make sure they are successful. 

Step 1: Commit to 1-Year

It’s really hard when you feel like you are talking to yourself. You may be 3-4 months in and have just a few listeners. But it’s important to commit to an episode every week for 1-year, no matter what. It will take time to build an audience. 

Like anything in life, knowing ahead of time helps Committing to 52 podcasts no matter what can help set your expectations. You know going into it that you won’t re-evaluate until that one-year mark. 

A few tips:

  • Bulk record your podcasts. When you’re doing multiple podcasts back-to-back, you’re able to really find a grove and use your time efficiently. You only have to set-up your gear once, you can build on the energy from one podcast to another, and you can manage your time against your other responsibilities. 
  • Keep a list on your phone or in your pocket notebook with possible topic ideas. 
  • Solicit ideas from your network. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, and even tools such as Google Trends to gather trending topic ideas.

Step 2: Exhaust Your Network

You have your niche, now focus on your guests. You want to find the biggest names with the biggest reach and get them on early. 
Start with people you know and then ask those people to make recommendations. As you post each podcast, each guest can then share the podcast on their website (make sure you exchange links), LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

A few tips:

  • Look outside the obvious. If you’re doing a podcast on Coffee, consider topics that are related by not directly related. It could be a logistics expert that talks about how coffee (and other goods) are shipped from overseas, a scientist that studies how the tongue detects flavors, or even a travel blogger that spent time in coffee regions. These are related to your core topic, but just loosely. 
  • Transcribe each podcasts. When you embed your podcast on your website, do keyword research and give it a meaningful title. Adding transcription (which you can easily do for free through Google Docs) to every podcast gives you so many relevant keywords, allowing Google to reward your website URL when ranking it on search listings.
  • Consider recording your podcast with video so you can cross-post it on YouTube.

Step 3: Invest in Paid Ads

If you know who your audience is, you can run ads on social media or other channels. Staying with our coffee example, we could run ads to people who like or follow local coffee brands. We’d stay away from Starbucks, because it’s too general, but a small budget of $100 a month can begin to build an audience. 
A few tips:

  • Turn each podcast into multiple social media posts. It’s easy to create 10+ social media posts using quotes and snippets—see what pieces of content preform better, investing more ad money into the ones you know are working.
  • Make sure you have 3 months of budget committed so you can fail quickly and optimize accordingly.

Podcasts are a great way for brands to join in open conversations with their customers. You want to keep learning and improving your podcast.

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