I've worked on hundreds of podcasts in the past six years and some of the most common questions I often get asked are,
- What's the best way to gain more listeners?
- How do we increase my subscribers? or
- What do we do to increase downloads?
And the reason why you are even reading this post is probably for the same questions I've mentioned that's playing around in your head, right?
I know you've probably been sold a course, or listened to presentation that told you how easy it is to podcast and how it can grow your small business because podcasting is the “in” thing. You were shown stats from Edison Research that more and more Americans are listening to podcast. They are of course true and there are statistics that will show you that, but what may have been missing is the most important part, podcasting is a lot of work. You don't only do a lot of work, you also need to have money to spend for podcast media host, or a podcast editor to clean up your recorded audio. It also requires that you set aside enough time to do your interviews, prepare your show notes, create questions, invite people to be guests on your show and many other minute details that podcast production and planning needs. Because honestly, podcast is not just a content strategy, it's a content powerhouse that needs a good workhorse.
So going back to the numbers that you are dreaming of or have been told you can reach, those numbers won't come to you with a snap like what Thanos' infinity gauntlet can do. Let me be clear, if that still doesn't make sense to you. Podcasting is a lot of work. I'm not saying this to discourage you. I'm saying this so you understand what you're getting yourself into, because I've seen so many podcasters become victims of podfade. And I don't want to work with another podcaster who will only do 10 episodes and just disappear into oblivion because it was presented to them as a walk in the park.
Alright, so if you are still here reading this, then lets get to the next stage. If you really want to gain more listeners to your podcast, increase your podcast downloads, or entice more subscribers to your show, here are a few more work you need to do and some test of your character.
How to Get More Podcast Listeners?
Make your podcast visible on other platforms
I've probably already said this in my previous posts, but let me say this again, your podcast doesn't have to be just residing on Apple Podcast. While Apple Podcast is the most popular place to be in, your podcast can reach more potential audience if you make it available to other platforms like Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Tune In. If you haven't submitted your podcast on this platforms then be sure to do so. I also have a couple of tutorials that you can follow if you don't know how to do it.
Make it easy for your listeners to find your content
Now that podcasts are searchable on Google and now appear on search results, it's now more important than ever that you implement best SEO practices for each episode you release. Keyword research as well as ensuring that your content has an accompanying blog post/show notes will make a lot of difference in making it more easy to find. Don't forget that transcribing your podcast can also be a great way to maximize it for SEO.
Word of mouth is one of the best ways of marketing your podcast and making the world know about your show. If people are willing to talk about your podcast, they're more likely to share it with others on their social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. So be sure that your website has an easy way to share your content. Even simple quotes from your episode can be a great starting point to encourage readers to click that tweet this button.
Repurpose your podcast into new content.
I wrote a separate post on this one so be sure to check it out by checking the link. Five Ways You Can Repurpose Podcast Content for Better Engagement
How to Get More Downloads
Be consistent with your schedule but always improving your content
When I was singing in a church choir, our choir director always emphasize that practice doesn't make it perfect, but right practice does. You can practice all day and still not get quality performance if you don't practice with the right key. The same way with podcasting, if you consistently produce a noise filled show but never correct those mistakes, then your consistency is pointless. Every episode should show a progression of how you are learning as a podcaster and as a person. Every other interview that you do should make you a better interviewee. That's why it's also very important to solicit feedback from your audience and if you can ask someone to give you a critique that would be even better. Your listeners will know whether you are improving or not. And you will know it too because your numbers will tell you. Let me borrow this tip from Todd Cochrane:
Make yourself visible
Automation is a good thing, but transparency and engagement from a live person trumps any automation you can create. This is what I've proven with one of my clients who has a good number of following on his Facebook page but gets very minimal engagement. We implemented a few content repurposing strategy and started doing Facebook live on his page and the result was an increase not only in engagement on his page, but it nearly doubled the downloads for his podcast for that period.
Here are other great ways to make yourself visible and engaging
- Read and respond to your listeners feedback, reviews and ratings that you've received from places like Apple Podcast, Castbox,
- Join networking events
- Start a local group within your niche
- Encourage your circle to share your content
- Collaborate with other podcasters
- Start doing Facebook or YouTube LiveStreams
Podcasting when done properly and in consonance with your other content marketing efforts can be a game changer for your business. To increase podcast listeners and reach more subscribers you need a strategy and the drive to execute on those strategies. There's a lot of work involve and investment of time and resources that comes with it. It's a slow climb to the top and that climb will bring out your true character as a person. It will test your patience. It will test your willingness to improve or change. It will test how you respond to criticisms and suggestions. And ultimately, it will test your commitment to your podcast listeners and the goal that you've (hopefully) written even before you started podcasting. But with all that said, increasing your downloads, subscribers, engagements, is definitely achievable.