Podcasts have become increasingly popular over the years for a variety of reasons. As more people work from home, listening to podcasts helps them feel like they’re a part of a discussion among friends. Podcasts are also easily accessible and can be listened to anywhere, whether you’re on a long commute or a quick jog.
As podcasts become more relevant, more seem to be published every day — so if you’re interested in starting one, you’re probably wondering how to grow your podcast audience and stand out above the rest.
Fortunately, there are many simple steps you can take to expand your podcast’s reach. From leveraging email marketing to networking with other podcasters, growing your podcast doesn’t have to be a challenge. Let’s explore several different tasks you can do to find your audience.
Whether you’re a new podcaster building an audience from scratch or a more established podcaster trying to expand your reach, here are some methods you should include in your marketing strategy:
1. Submit your content to every podcast app and directory.
In order to grow your audience, your podcast needs to be available wherever the listeners are. To get that kind of exposure, submit your podcast’s RSS Feed to every podcast directory you can find.
Start with platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts since they are the most popular platforms — but don’t stop there. There are plenty of smaller podcast platforms listeners use every day, so you need to submit your RSS Feed to those places as well to attract as many listeners as possible.
Though submitting your podcast to all these different places might sound overwhelming, it’s actually very simple. Just open an account and submit your podcast to each show by completing a form. Once you’ve done that, your show will automatically update on each platform every time you post a new episode.
2. Have a target audience.
Creating a podcast you think everyone can enjoy may sound like a good idea, but podcasts without a niche are very difficult to market — especially if they’re brand new. Instead of trying to have mass appeal, find a clear focus for your podcast.
For example, For Colored Nerds is a weekly podcast that uses pop culture as a way to dissect different aspects of Black culture. The podcast was so successful it led to the hosts being picked up for another podcast called The Nod, which was adapted into a TV show on Quibi.
3. Add video to your podcast.
Video is still a preferred format for many consumers, so you should find ways to incorporate video into your podcast. One way to do this is to simply add a static image to your audio file so you can convert it to a video file.
Another way is to film yourself recording the podcast with your guests and co-hosts. You can also create short video clips of standout moments from your episodes. No matter what you decide, always post video content to YouTube and apps like Instagram and TikTok.
4. Be active on social media.
Attract and engage with your audience online by responding to comments on apps like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. For example, Crissle West is one of the hosts of a podcast called The Read.
In between episodes she can be found on Twitter interacting with her followers, posting about her favorite artists, and answering questions about episodes. The Read also has a segment that focuses on mental health, and Crissle will sometimes post mental health advice on Twitter as well.
5. Network within the podcast community.
Join Facebook groups, Reddit forums, and other online podcaster communities to network. In these digital spaces, you can answer questions, get useful tips, contribute to discussion topics, and showcase your personality.
Another way to get involved in the podcast community is to attend conferences, exhibitions, and meetups geared towards podcasters and content creators in your niche. Networking within the community will open doors to new opportunities, help you find great guest speakers, and will help you guest on other podcasts.
6. Share older podcast episodes.
Promoting your latest episode is important, but you shouldn’t stop there. Give your older episodes a second life online by sharing older clips whenever possible.
For example, if there is a topic trending on social media that you’ve covered in an old episode, share a clip from that episode that coincides with the trending discussion. You can also make a compilation video of some of your favorite moments from past episodes and post it on YouTube.
7. Create a podcast trailer.
In the same way movie trailers can entice viewers to watch a new film, podcast trailers can entice listeners to tune in. For the trailer, avoid just using a snippet from a previous episode.
Instead, get creative and craft something that perfectly captures your podcast’s value. You can do this by compiling a montage of clips or using narration. Be sure to showcase your best moments and the biggest guests you’ve had on the show.
Once you’ve created your custom trailer, post it on all platforms — and pin the trailer to the top of your profiles so it’s the first thing potential listeners see.
8. Host a contest or giveaway.
Few people can resist the allure of free stuff, so contests and giveaways are one of the easiest ways to attract an audience to your podcast —but be aware that some people will only engage with your podcast for the chance to win something and won’t stick around after the contest or giveaway is over.
To make the contest work in your favor, have listeners leave reviews or generate buzz about your podcast for a chance to win.
For example, announce the giveaway on your show and on social media. Tell your listeners to leave reviews about your podcast on platforms like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, — then you can pick a random reviewer to win. Even if that person never tunes in again after winning the prize, their favorable review will last forever.
9. Set up and organize a website.
Your listeners will likely only listen to your podcast on their favorite platforms, but having a website can still help your podcast grow its audience. A website will give potential listeners the opportunity to find your site, listen to a sample of an episode or two, and read what your podcast is about before deciding to commit to listening fully.
Make sure to use SEO to boost your website in search results. To do this, create a unique page on your website for every new episode. Then add notes and a complete transcript of your episode to the page. Use keywords in the notes, descriptions, and wherever appropriate.
10. Leverage email marketing.
Another perk to having a website is that it can collect email addresses you can send marketing content to. Add sign up boxes at the end of each blog post and to your social media profiles, or you can overlay the entire website to get your fans email addresses.
Once you have that information, you can send email notifications whenever a new episode drops or send a weekly newsletter. Don’t be afraid to get creative. For example, if you run a podcast about comic books, you can send listeners an email recommending a new Marvel film hitting theaters.
11. Invite guests.
Interview guests who are within your niche so that you can expose your content to their audience. Your guest will likely take to social media to promote their appearance on your podcast, resulting in free marketing.
You also don’t have to invite famous celebrities or high-profile influencers. Though guests with a large fanbase are valuable, anyone with a good story that fits within your topic can make your podcast stand out. Just make sure you’re prepared with good questions and a topic of discussion.
12. Become a guest yourself.
You’ve networked within the podcast community and have had guests on your platform, so why not use the connections you’ve made to become a guest yourself? If you’re not being invited organically then reach out to shows you think you can add value to.
When you do this, prepare an elevator pitch that explains who you are, what you do, and why you’d be an excellent guest. And once you’re a guest, don’t forget to promote your podcast, social media, and website.
13. Invest money in ads.
The strategies I’ve listed all have the potential to grow your channel over time, but if you want quicker results you should also leverage paid advertising. For example, you can purchase ad space on another podcast that is similar to yours.
If you go this route, purchase space on about four episodes to get enough exposure. You can also purchase Google and Facebook Ads to boost visibility.
14. Use podcast SEO.
I mentioned using SEO for your podcast’s website, but podcast SEO is just as important. Since podcasts are an audio medium, there aren’t a whole lot of SEO opportunities — but there are still a few to take advantage of.
Include the names of any guests, topics, or events in your episode that can grab listeners’ attention when they’re searching podcast directories. You should also include words and phrases in your description and headlines that listeners would type into search engines.
15. Build a marketing workflow.
Create a checklist to follow each time you publish a new episode. This will help you stay consistent in your marketing efforts and ensure every episode is getting the same chance to flourish online.
Over time, you can refine your marketing flow as you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Here are some tasks to include in your workflow:
Craft promotional posts, graphics, and videos for TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Deliver media kits with social media posts and copy to guests so they can easily promote the episode.
Publish a blog post to the website with the episode’s description and transcription.
Add the latest episode to your email signature.
16. Include a Call-to-Action.
At some point in every podcast episode you need to include a call to action. A CTA is a request for listeners to do something. Most podcasts typically have them at the beginning and end of each episode. Your CTA should be attention-grabbing but also short and simple. Here are a few examples:
“Remember to follow [Podcast Name] on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for the latest news regarding episodes and contests.”
“Make sure to hit the subscribe button if you haven’t already so you’ll never miss an episode.”
“Visit our website so you can subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest updates on our show straight to your email.”
Once again, always include a CTA in every podcast episode, in fact — make it a part of your marketing workflow.
It seems like a new podcast is airing every day, but these tips will help your podcast stand apart from the competition. Now that you know what you need to do, you’re ready to start promoting your podcast and growing your audience.