How to grow your podcast audience
A guide to understanding your existing audience and finding new listeners.
It’s no surprise that the question we receive most often from podcasters is “How do I grow my audience?” Since podcast discovery is still largely dependent on word of mouth, gathering new listeners can feel like a difficult task. That’s why we put together these tips for growing your audience—because whether you’ve had a show for a while or are just starting out, everyone’s story deserves the chance to be heard.
Get to know your audience.
Before you commit to any particular growth strategy, try to narrow down your intended audience. In case part of you is thinking My podcast is for everyone!, keep in mind that the key to growing your listeners is to find your niche. Instead of casting a wide net and trying to appeal to as many people as possible, pinpoint the unique value your podcast brings to the world and consider the audience who is most likely to listen to your show. The more specific your topic is, the easier it will be to identify and appeal to your audience. If your podcast is devoted to unpacking episodes of your favorite sitcom, go after audiences with similar taste in TV. If your show switches topics, genres, and tones, you may want to narrow your focus in order to attract consistent listeners.
Research your 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 in your current listeners, but dig as deep as you can to put yourself in the mind of your audience. Most importantly, find out where they tend to exist 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.
Connect with your listeners.
Once you’ve identified your audience, it’s time to bridge the gap and reach out to them. Start by creating dedicated social media accounts for your podcast. Maintaining a presence on social media platforms makes it easy for people to discover your show and provides a perpetual outlet to promote your content. Some platforms might deserve more attention than others depending on your audience, but don’t be shy about where you promote your show. Here’s a few suggestions to help you spread the word far and wide:
- Create a website for your podcast
- Build an email list and send out regular newsletters
- Post about every new episode on your personal handles
- Use relevant hashtags
- Reply to comments
- Post in relevant Facebook and Reddit groups
- Reach out to another show to cross-promote with them
Connecting with your audience starts with getting the word out by any means necessary.
As you’re starting to grow your audience, consider all the ways in which you can build a community around your podcast. Start a hashtag for listeners to participate in the conversation around your show. Ask your audience to send you a Voice Message in response to a question. By creating opportunities for listeners to engage with your podcast and each other, you can foster a sense of community that rewards your audience and builds a following of dedicated listeners.
Create additional content.
Creating additional content offers more opportunities to promote your show and makes it easier for people for people to discover your show. Consider creating a blog for your podcast that features episode transcripts and routine updates about your show. Capture photos of your podcast process and post them on Instagram to give listeners a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your episodes. Consider making a video of you recording your podcast episodes, or posting transcribed Anchor Videos on social or on your website. Get creative with your topic and approach your show from a new angle with images, video, and other non-audio content.
Welcome a guest.
A guest can be a great way to expand your listening 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 are on, which will help you tap into their followings. Make it easier for them to promote you by giving them a mini press kit with assets they can easily post, like suggested copy, a link to the episode, your awesome cover art, an interesting quote from the interview, and and special photo from the recording session. Tweet about your guests and tag them. They’ll be more likely to retweet and share to their own followers.
Remember to keep tabs on past guests. When something big happens for them, congratulate them publicly, and re-share their episode. Similarly, keep track of holidays, micro-moments, and current events that are relevant to your podcast and post about, making a connection with your show. Become a relevant, reliable source of information for your listeners.
Put yourself out there.
Participating in the podcast community and bringing up your podcast in social spaces is a crucial way to expand your audience. In addition to having guests on your show, go ahead and offer yourself up as a guest on other podcasts. Try to attend events, meet-ups, and conferences related to podcasting, and when you’re there, introduce yourself and your show to others. It’s important to be your podcast’s biggest advocate by promoting your show wherever you can and by building meaningful connections with people in the podcasting world. Giving a talk somewhere? Mention your podcast. Chatting with coworkers? Find a way to bring up your show. When you go to concerts or festivals, consider bringing along some fliers or wearing your podcast merch, if you have some. Get permission to post flyers or cards with info about your show on local community boards, coffee shops, and libraries. Spread love in the podcasting community by promoting other people’s shows and content. There’s always a possibility they’ll return the favor. And if you’re posting about your podcast on social, make sure to tag Anchor! We’re always looking to spread the word about great new shows.
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 your podcast and to practice pitching your show under concise constraints. And when you record a trailer with Anchor, we’ll automatically send you a transcribed, animated video that brings your words to life. Your trailer video is optimized for sharing on social, so you can post it everywhere to spread the word about your show. Check out these tips for how to record a great podcast trailer.
Track your stats.
Take some time to consider what podcast success means to you and measure it accordingly. 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 on podcast platforms or an engaged listenership. Determine your baseline of success and grow your audience with that intention in mind. If your idea of success is generating Sponsorships revenue, you might grow your audience toward a particular CPM. If you’re especially interested in hearing how your show has impacted your listeners, growing your audience might entail a strategy of outreach and engagement. Anchor’s built-in analytics dashboard makes it easy to measure and visualize your podcast performance, and if your show is on Spotify, you can find additional insights about those listeners using the Spotify for Podcasters analytics dashboard.
No matter how you measure success, remember that sustained audience 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 gather new listeners. And 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.
Check out our How to Start a Podcast guide for more tips and tricks on how to make a successful show with Anchor.
Need help? Head over to help.anchor.fm.