How to grow podcast audience: 10 ways to market your show

How to grow podcast audience: 10 ways to market your show

You want to start a podcast, but you are uncertain of how to grow a podcast audience. Luckily, it’s not as difficult as you may think. Nor does marketing your podcast need to cost you anything.

When you’re starting a podcast, it’s important to remember that patience is super important. You shouldn’t start one expecting to have a large listener base from the word go. It takes time to build a podcast audience.

In fact, most podcasts take about 5-6 months before seeing an increase in listeners. It sounds like a long time, but it really isn’t.

And, if you start your podcast with a solid marketing plan in place for those initial six months, you will see a steady climb in numbers. And in this post, we show you how to grow a podcast audience through multiple marketing methods.

Content Matters

Marketing your podcast is a lot easier to do when you have great content. Solid content. Relevant content.

Having content that listeners find entertaining and of value makes it easier to promote your podcast. And its easier to get word of mouth going with your listeners. So, your podcast marketing journey begins at the very start with your content.

Remember to have a clearly defined niche for your topic. And try to use a relevant keyword for your topic in your podcast name. Though this isn’t absolutely necessary, it helps people find you via Google and searches on various podcast platforms.

And when you launch your podcast, you should be launching with more than just one episode. Ideally, you should have at least three episodes at launch. Why?

Having more episodes at the start gives listeners a chance to get hooked on your show. With one episode, they may like it but may forget about it by the time your next episode airs.

But with multiple episodes, listeners have more opportunity to listen to you, to get to know you, to understand your message. After a few episodes, they may be hooked and subscribing to your podcast! You want to draw in as much as an audience as possible from the very start. With a solid foundation, it alleviates a lot of the work.

And be consistent on when you post a new episode. Releasing a new episode on the same day of every week at the same time helps develop a routine with listeners. If you’re erratic with releasing episodes, this can put off listeners. By knowing when to expect something new, listeners will tune in.

Use Keywords Strategically in Episode Titles

If you’re looking at how to grow your podcast audience, it doesn’t get any easier than using keywords in your episode titles. It’s an easy way for an audience to find you regardless of what platform they are using.

Using high ranking keywords in episode titles will help your podcast get found when potential listeners search for specific topics. But don’t go overboard on using keywords. Just one per episode is enough.

Just merely numbering your episodes isn’t going to do you any good. If you want to number them for ease of tracking or referencing other podcasts, make sure you add a proper title after the number. For example, Episode 2 – Why You Should Give Titles to Each Podcast Episode.

But how do you find keywords? How do you know what’s easy to rank for? Keysearch is an amazing tool that shows how many times a particular word or phrase has been searched and how easy it is to rank for (how much competition there is with that word/phrase). Using Keysearch alleviates a lot of guesswork and delivers results.

Have Calls for Action for Listeners

The best people to promote your podcast on your behalf are your listeners. These are people that tune in to listen to each of your episodes. So, they think that your content is pretty great.

Why waste those good opinions? You need to leverage your listeners and turn them into free marketers working for you. And how do you do that? Easy!

At the start and end of every episode of your podcast, ask your listeners to subscribe to your podcast so they don’t miss an episode. It’s a call to action that will also help drive engagement from your listeners. And don’t worry about feeling ashamed at touting your own podcast. If you don’t do it, why should your listeners? It all starts with you.

And ask your listeners to engage with your podcast. This can include downloading episodes to listen to again later, liking and reviewing your podcast on iTunes or Spotify, subscribing to your podcast, and referring your podcast to friends.

Why do these call to actions matter? The amount of engagement you get from listeners with your podcast helps to pull you up on the rankings in iTunes and Spotify. This can be for your podcast overall or for specific episodes.

Either way, if you can be seen on any of iTunes lists (from New & Noteworthy to a top recommendation in a particular subject), you’ve just gained exposure to millions of listeners. And it didn’t cost you a dime!

Make Your Podcast Available Everywhere and Anywhere

If you are thinking about how to increase your podcast listeners, you have to be everywhere. Everywhere that people go to listen and find new podcasts.

Yes, the top go-to places for podcasts are iTunes and Spotify. And yes, you should definitely submit your podcast’s RSS feed to those platforms. But, not only is everyone else submitting their podcast to those places, it’s going to be harder for people to find you. Not difficult, just harder.

So, when you launch your podcast, you want to make your podcast available to every outlet possible. Essentially, you are making it easy for people to find you. Plus, the more places you are listed, the larger the pool of listeners grows. And that is what you want when you have a new podcast.

So make sure to submit your podcast to Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Podchaser, Podbean, Pandora, and Radio Public.

And if you submit your podcast on Pocketcasts, you can request your podcast to be featured. New podcasts with at least two episodes can be considered to be added to their featured section…for FREE!

Turn Your Guests into Promoters

If there’s one way that helps you to build a podcast audience, it’s by exposing your podcast to an already dedicated audience. Leveraging social followers of your podcast guests is a great way to grow your podcast audience.

If you’re featuring guests on your podcast, chances are that they have a presence on social media. And there’s no shame in asking them to help promote your podcast episode that they guest on.

By asking them to promote your show with their followers, you have an audience already built-in for that episode. Listeners that you can convert into subscribers.

Actually, most guests will be more than happy to do this. Why? It’s industry practice to promote a piece that you are featured in, whether it’s an article or a podcast. Getting the word out that people wanted to talk to you helps strengthen the perception that you are an expert in a certain field. Plus, you’d want the same to happen if you were the interviewer rather than the interviewee.

When you are speaking with a potential guest about coming onto your podcast, you should discuss beforehand their willingness to promote your podcast episode on their social media channels. It’s better to have expectations set before the interview.

Engage in Social Media

These days, it seems that everyone is on at least one form of social media from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So, the perfect way on how to grow your podcast audience is by building a social media presence.

Now, don’t go crazy and think that you have to be on every single social media platform. That makes a lot of work for you. And work that may not deliver results.

You need to smart about which social media channels you target. Where are your ideal listeners? What platform do they use the most? What platform works best for delivering your message while sticking to your brand?

You want to deliver quality content to drive followers. And the focus should be on quality over quantity. Make sure that whatever you put out on social media is true to your podcast, your message, and your brand.

And this means not just posting when you have a new episode released. Use your social media channels as a place where your listeners can really get to know you. Or, you can expand upon recent topics on your podcast by putting a different perspective on it.

And, even better, try to start conversations on a topic. This way you are engaging your audience. And an engaged audience is one that will go and listen to your podcast.

And don’t use your personal social media accounts. To help build a brand, find handles on each platform that mirror your podcast name. Being consistent will help your listeners find you easily.

Though you can use your personal social media accounts to start telling your friends and family about your new podcast and asking for support, don’t use it to try to grow your podcast. Stick with using a professional account.

Be a Guest

One of the best ways to promote your podcast is to be a guest on another podcast. As a guest, you are promoting your podcast and message to an already existing group of subscribers. These subscribers can turn into listeners for you.

Now, the trick is to not appear on any and all podcasts that you can get onto. You need to research and find the podcasts that fit your message, your niche. This way, listeners will not only listen and value what you have to say since they are already interested in that topic, but there is a greater chance of converting them to subscribers for your podcast.

Join Online Communities

Though this isn’t the quickest tactic for how to grow a podcast audience, it will establish you as a voice of authority on a subject. And that is what joining online communities will do for you.

There are conversation threads online from Facebook to Reddit and from Twitter to Quora. And you can be a part of that conversation and community.

The best way to start is to find topic threads that are not only relevant to you and your podcast, but that you are subject matter expert on. Start joining in the conversation and engage with others.

But don’t go in there and just start telling people to listen to your podcast. No one responds kindly to such blatant promotion. You need to be strategic by starting off and gaining a reputation. Only then, when it really fits, recommend your podcast or a specific episode.

Yes, it takes time to build up that reputation. But you and your podcast are in it for the long run and not for a quick flash.

Create a Website for your Blog

Another great way for how to grow your podcast audience is to create a website for your podcast. Not only does a website help potential listeners find you, but it’s a place where you can grow your brand.

On your website, you can provide extra content relating to your current podcast episodes in the form of a blog. And with blog posts, you can load up on keywords for SEO (within reason as the keywords need to make sense in context) which will help you rank higher on Google. And thus, people will find you.

And to ensure that your website is optimized for SEO (search engine optimization), you will need to have an SEO plug-in installed. The #1 plugin for this that is free is Yoast SEO.

Another way to utilize your website in your favor is by posting transcriptions of each of your podcast episodes. By having your podcasts in written form, Google will index each transcription for keyword search. And, you can appeal to a larger audience as not everyone likes podcasts. For those who prefer to read information, you are now a new source for them.

If you don’t have the time to transcribe your episodes yourself (yes, it can be time-consuming), you can hire an independent contractor on Fiverr for not a lot of money to transcribe for you.

Creating a website does cost some money. Not only will you need to purchase your domain name, but you will need to pay for site hosting. Blue Host and WordPress are popular and easy platforms for hosting and designing your website. But it’s a great investment to help grow your podcast audience in the long run.

As you build your website, keep in mind your brand. The look should match the look and feel of your podcast cover artwork. To create a brand, you should have a cohesive feel so that people visiting you know exactly what to expect regardless of where they are visiting you be it on your podcast, website, or social channel.

Paid Advertising

And, last but not least, how to grow your podcast audience the traditional way is by doing ads. Now, this option for marketing your podcast does cost money. And just how much money is up to you. This depends on the type of marketing campaign you run as well as the length of the campaign.

So, before starting down the path, do your research on how much an ad campaign will cost and what is the likelihood of it delivering you the boost to your audience you’re expecting? Is it in your budget?

And, it should be noted, that paying for ads isn’t something you should consider right out of the gate. Your focus should be on generating organic growth and word-of-mouth with your listeners. Once you have some traction, see if it’s the right fit for you.

And Facebook Ads and Google Ads are two great ways to advertise your podcast. It’s up to you on how you want to set up the campaign. Is it to promote your overall podcast or a particular episode? And what is your goal for the campaign? To get a bump in listeners or grow your subscription?

When setting up your Facebook ad, you have the ability to pick your target audience who will see the ad. So, you really need to know who your listeners are and what appeals to them.

Google Ads works differently. Rather than picking your audience, it is all about finding the perfect keyword(s) that fits your message, topic, and brand.

Another option for how to advertise your podcast is to run ads on Overcast. This popular app is where people find podcasts. And running an ad within a podcast app makes it easy for listeners to discover you.

Do you have to do every method for promoting your podcast? Not necessarily. But the more that you do, the more likely you are to have your podcast noticed. And, most marketing methods don’t cost you anything.

But you do need to take some time to seriously think about how to grow your podcast audience. How are you going to make all these methods work for you? And to make each individual one work cohesively to represent you and your podcast?

Taking time to think out a six-month plan before you launch will alleviate a lot of guessing and heartache. We know the work it takes to create a podcast. So don’t let that work fall on deaf ears.

There are many ways to advertise a podcast. Make each one count and you’ll be seeing your podcast audience grow.


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