How to Grow a Podcast: 10 Ways to a Bigger Following 

Your podcast should ideally begin growing within a month of it going live and then continually experience growth from there. Your podcast has been around for a couple of months though, and you’re admittedly not thrilled with the level of growth so far. How to expand your podcast audience?

Here are some methods for growing your podcast following:

  • Make engaging social media posts
  • Add a podcast link to your email signature
  • Get on podcast directories
  • Advertise
  • Transcribe episodes
  • Make a podcast trailer
  • Tag your guests
  • Invite high-profile guests
  • Incorporate audience feedback
  • Engage with your audience

In today’s guide, I’ll walk you through the above 10 methods and strategies for increasing the size of your podcast audience. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to take your podcast to new heights! 

How to Grow Your Podcast Following – The 10 Top Strategies

Make Engaging Social Media Posts

Listen, I’ll admit that I’m guilty of sometimes making formulaic social media posts. When you’re trying to run a business or a side venture such as you are with your podcast, you don’t always put much time into your social media content.

Well, I’m here to tell you that’s mistake number one. 

Smart Insights in a 2022 report cites that 4.62 billion people are on social media. That’s a huge audience of potential podcast listeners to tap into. Formulaic, same-old, same-old posts will not do anymore.

Now, I’m not saying you cannot promote your podcast on social media. You absolutely can and should do that. 

However, tooting your own horn gets boring to anyone. Your new subscribers want a reason to follow you on social media and your long-time listeners want a reason to keep following you. 

That means posting valuable content.

What is valuable content in the podcast sphere? You should post about your upcoming guests well in advance to get your social media followers hyped.

When a new episode is available to listen to, post about that. Be sure to share your transcripts as well.

Remember though, you can’t toot your horn all the time. 

While you’re busy planning your next podcast episodes, scouting for guests, or recording, be sure to share other valuable content you find on social media in the meantime.

This content should be related to your niche or area of expertise. Maybe it’s a cool video you saw or an insightful article. 

Whatever it is, share it in between your own content.

Some people assume that if you don’t share, share, share your own stuff on social media that you’ll take the focus away from you. 

That’s not the case. A highly valuable social media feed includes your own content plus curated content from others that you want your audience to consume.

Add a Podcast Link to Your Email Signature

Podcasting might not yet be something you do full-time until you grow your audience. In the meantime, every time you send emails during your day job hours, be sure that your podcast link goes out with them.

All you have to do is drop the link in your email signature.

This is a very non-invasive way to spread the word about your podcast. You’re not screaming it from the rooftops, but you’re still reaching a potentially huge audience depending on who you email.

Of course, if your job doesn’t allow you to post non-work-related links in your work correspondence, then please don’t do this. 

Get on Podcast Directories

Is your podcast on a directory or several? If you aren’t, then why in the world not?

Perhaps you weren’t aware that podcast directories were a thing. Well, they are indeed, and they’re a great way for new listeners to find a podcast like yours. 

A podcast directory categorizes podcasts, usually in alphabetical order but sometimes by genre as well. 

The two most popular directories to get on are Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Everyone is shooting for these two directories in particular, and if not them, then Google Podcasts.

How do you submit your podcast to a directory? You have to create an account with the podcast service if you don’t already have one. Next, you send your RSS feed. 

Then you wait, and possibly wait and wait and wait. You have to understand that the biggest podcast directories are going to be absolutely inundated with requests. 

In the meantime, while you’re hoping for Spotify to approve your podcast, that’s weeks or even months that are going by. That’s a critical time that you could be using to appear on other directories.

Don’t put all your eggs in the basket of Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. If one of those three giant directories approves your podcast, then hooray! Do a happy dance. Celebrate.

Just don’t hold your breath.

Be sure to apply to these other directories as well:

  • TuneIn
  • Pandora
  • iHeartRadio
  • Podchaser
  • Stitcher

Advertise

One of the most surefire ways of growing your podcast is good, old-fashioned advertising. 

I plan on publishing a podcast marketing and advertising post on the blog soon, so I won’t delve super-duper deep into advertising here.

Since I’ve talked so much about social media already, let’s start by discussing your social media advertising options.

Sure, posting about your podcast on social media is its own form of advertising, but it’s very limited. 

You’re only reaching the people who already follow you. Even then, you can’t guarantee that all your followers will necessarily see your posts depending on how often they check their feeds.

You want to grow your audience, and that means reaching out to people you don’t yet know who could be interested in your audience. Social media advertising on the platforms you use the most (and have the biggest audience at current) will help you connect with these people.

Social media ads come in all shapes and sizes. They’re a form of native advertising since they blend right into a user’s feed. You can determine who will see your ad via segmentation, track the success of your ad, and review other analytics. 

Outside of social media, there’s a whole wide world web to reach via advertising. From pay-per-click ads to display ads, native ads, and email ads, advertising truly runs the gamut.

You might even decide to advertise your podcast offline. Getting a full-page (or even a half-page) ad in a magazine dedicated to your podcast topic sure would get people interested in listening. 

You could also take out a digital or non-digital radio ad.

No matter what kind of advertising is the most up your alley, it’s crucial that you have an advertising budget.

If you don’t, then you can blow money you don’t really have to advertise your podcast. That’s all fine and good until you have to sell off your new computer or microphone because you spent all your cash on advertising. 

Transcribe Episodes

Another great way to grow your podcast listenership is to transcribe prior episodes of your podcast.

I’m sure you’re wondering how and why this even works to increase your listenership, right? Let me tell you. 

Transcribing podcasts gives you content that you can then turn around and branch off into a blog post or a YouTube video.

Blogging and making videos are the pillars of content marketing. Through content marketing, you share your content with the world to increase brand awareness and boost your listenership. 

Not every single podcast episode will translate to a blog post or video, and that’s okay. If 90 percent of them do, then you have spin-off content from your main podcast. 

Additionally, you can also use transcripts as a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is an enticing offer that convinces someone to share their contact information and subscribe to your email newsletter. A copy of a transcript or two is a great lead magnet, as it whets the appetite of the potential new listener. 

You can choose from all sorts of podcast transcription services, with Rev.com one of the best-known. Castos, Happy Scribe, Sonix, and GoTranscript are other great services.

I would recommend using free trials to determine how accurately each service transcribes your podcast and then paying for the services that work best for you. 

Make a Podcast Trailer

You know what gets people hyped? Trailers. 

Whether it’s a new movie, video game, or television show, trailers set expectations and leave you on the edge of your seat waiting for more. 

Your podcast trailer can be a video, but more than likely, you’ll want it to go at the top of the podcast list so people will hear it first before they click on Season 1, Episode 1.

So what do you talk about in the trailer? You want to mention the name of your podcast, the name(s) of your host(s), when your podcast airs, and where (such as PodcastOne or Apple Podcasts).

Once you get those details out of the way, talk about your podcast. What is the crux of it? What kinds of topics do you get into? Do you interview high-profile guests? 

You don’t have to name-drop anyone, but definitely mention that you interview the biggest guests in your industry or niche.

Your podcast trailer shouldn’t be long. The average time for a podcast trailer is five seconds to two minutes. 

I’m sure that five seconds is way too short for most ideas you have, but I would tell you to refrain from a two-minute trailer if you can. That’s a little long.

Think of it like a movie or game trailer. You just want all the pertinent bits in and nothing else. I would say aim for a minute.

If the trailer is slightly longer, then cut it down. Should the trailer be shorter, and you feel like it’s sufficient, then you can do some processing and editing.

Tag Your Guests on Social Media

You’re proud of the guests you have on your podcast, I’m sure, or you wouldn’t bother hosting them. 

Although you don’t choose your guests based on the size of their audience, you do have to consider that they have their own respective audiences that you can potentially tap into.

All you have to do is tag your social media posts promoting your guest with that guest’s name. 

When your guest sees that you tagged them in a post (and trust me, they will see it), they’ll naturally feel inclined to repost your post on their social media feeds to inform their audience that they’ll be on your podcast.

If the guest’s audience hasn’t heard of your podcast, they certainly will now. They’ll be likelier to listen to hear their favorite celebrity/influencer/star. Hopefully, they’ll come for that guest and stay for all the substance your podcast holds! 

Invite High-Profile Guests

Speaking of your guests, another way that they can help you grow your podcast audience is by inviting big names onto the show.

It’s going to garner a lot of buzz if your show can nab a high-profile guest. 

It won’t simply be that person sharing your post on their social media feed. Oh no. You might get media publications writing about it depending on who the guest is.

Now, as tantalizing as this sounds, this method is sort of like a double-edged sword. 

You can absolutely grow your following if you can get a high-profile guest to agree to be on the show, but why would a high-profile guest want to be on a show that’s still finding its audience?

You might get lucky and find someone who’s willing to do it despite the fact that your podcast is not the most well-known on the block or that Google Podcasts didn’t add you to their list.

However, I sense that you might hear radio silence a lot more often in reply. 

Maybe instead of starting with superstar names, you go with high-caliber guests who aren’t mega-huge. These people would still be willing to give you a chance (hopefully), and the benefits would still be huge for your podcast.

Don’t make it all one-sided, though. Any way that you can benefit your guest, you should try to do that.

For example, maybe they want to run their ad on your podcast three times for the entire episode. 

You might give them a deal on advertising or even agree to let them advertise for free. After all, the listenership boon that’s on the way for you will make up for it.

Or perhaps they just want to talk about their new YouTube series or book or another project. You’d dedicate ample time to allowing them to promote themselves on the air. 

Incorporate Audience Feedback

Are you surveying your audience for feedback? If you’re not, then you’ll have no idea how they truly feel about your podcast.

I know, it’s daunting to hear the truth sometimes, as it can be a hard pill to swallow. But if you don’t know what your audience thinks of you, then you can’t make improvements to the show. 

Now, let me preface this section by saying that you will never be able to make everyone happy. It’s just not possible. 

That said, if enough of your audience has the same complaint, then it’s something that you might want to pay attention to. 

By incorporating audience feedback, you’re proving to your current audience that you listen to what they have to say and care. You’re also making your show better along the way, and the higher the quality of your show, the more listeners you can attract. 

Engage with Your Audience 

I saved what might be the best tip for last. 

To grow your podcast listenership, engage with your audience. 

Can it really be as simple as that? You bet. 

Your audience might be hundreds or thousands of people now, but eventually, they’ll be hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. You want your guests to feel like you care and listening to feedback is only one way to do that.

Engaging with them is another, and I’d say it’s even more valuable.

When an audience member sends you a direct message, respond. The same goes for comments. 

Each day, take at least 15 minutes, comb through your socials, and respond to as many messages and comments as you can. This small effort will go a long way towards building your audience over the long-term! 

Conclusion 

Growing a podcast is something that will take time, patience, perseverance, and effort. You can’t just keep producing episodes and hoping your listenership will go up. You have to be willing to make it happen.

The measures I discussed today will help you accomplish your goal of having thousands of subscribers and someday, maybe even millions. A lot of these strategies are free, fast, and easy, so you have no reason not to incorporate them into your podcasting efforts. Good luck! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Baylis is the President and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective and a self-confessed sponsorship geek.

After several years as a sponsor (that’s right, the one investing the money!) Chris decided to cross over to the sponsorship sales side where he has personally closed tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. Chris has been on the front lines of multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements and has built and coached teams to do the same.

Chris now spends his time working with clients to value their assets and build strategies that drive sales. An accomplished speaker and international consultant, Chris has helped his clients raise millions in sponsorship dollars.

 

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