Podcasts are on a roll. They continue with a steady upward trajectory, with about over 144 million listeners each month. If you’re looking to start a podcast as a content marketing channel or to become the next Joe Rogan, I don’t blame you. At the same time, starting a podcast is not for the faint of heart. It can take a long time to see any kind of traction. Even those with a podcast running for years can see severe stagnation in terms of podcast listeners, downloads, and subscribers.
If you feel like your podcast growth has come to a screeching halt, you’re not alone. With a definite plan, you can increase your podcast listeners in as little as 90 days. To get there, make sure to:
As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, anywhere will do.
Many podcasters start their channels without a clear objective in terms of podcast listeners, reach, subscribers, or downloads.
This begs the question: How do you measure podcast success?
Podcasts are challenging to measure as they must be downloaded to a device or server for consumption. So there’s no real way to tell how listeners are consuming the podcast.
With that said, Key Performance Indicators for a podcast include:
Before deciding on a goal, get an idea of the current podcast metrics. Several podcast platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Buzzsprout, or Anchor have built-in analytics that can
Make sure you set a SMART goal on any of these critical metrics. For example, “500 unique downloads in the next 90 days.”
With your smart goal in mind, you can focus on your audience-building strategy.
There’s a common thread through all types of content.
The better the quality, the better the engagement.
Engagement could mean more listeners and downloads.
To do that, you have to give your followers what they want.
On the first day of your 90-day goal, do an online poll or poll your email subscribers on the content they would like to hear.
Once you have a list of topics, find a way you can sprinkle in your flavor. Turn your content into a series, season, or storyline to build interest. It’s essential to look for ways to make the content more engaging, enjoyable, and shareable.
The fastest way to build your podcast listenership is to get some outside help.
What better podcast method than a podcast interview?
For the first 30 days, work on getting between 1-2 guests for the podcast.
It can’t be any interview or any guest.
The interview must be someone with significant influence and a decent-sized following in your niche. By having that person feature on your podcast, you get exposure to their audience.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to the big names in your niche. Make a list of the top 30, then reach out one at a time.
Chances are, one influencer may have a product or service that’s about to be launched or has recently hit the market.
That influencer won’t hesitate to share their product with a new audience.
Interviews should go both ways too. Reach out to other podcasts in your niche, asking for an opportunity to be interviewed on their podcast.
According to Podcast Insights, podcast listeners are more likely to own a smart speaker like Alexa or Google Home.
That’s excellent news since smart speaker sales have grown a record 70% year over year.
Smart speaker creators see the importance of podcasts, too.
Alexa, for example, can now play podcasts from Spotify or iTunes.
While there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts, only a few thousand have leveraged an Alexa skill. If you get your podcast indexed on Alexa, chances are the platforms can recommend your podcast to new users. With a stand-alone skill, you can position your podcast brand and increase awareness.
For persons who aren’t tech-savvy, creating your skill is easier said than done.
It’s better to hire some external help on Fiverr or Upwork. Once completed, promote your Alexa skill to your network and at the end of your latest podcast episode.
Speaking of “the end of podcast episodes,” many podcasters lose out on possible growth opportunities here. When someone listens to your podcast, what happens next?
A Call To Action (CTA) is the next step you want the person consuming your content to take.
In terms of a podcast, this could be to subscribe, share, or leave a review. Make sure to add a CTA after each episode. If you have other content like blogs or vlogs, leave CTAs to funnel them to the podcast, making it a double whammy.
If you’ve done the job of creating epic new content, listeners will happily share it with their friends and leave you that 5-star review. Through word of mouth, subscribers will increase, unique downloads will increase, and more 5-star reviews mean steady movement up the podcast rankings.
Some podcasters like to focus on one particular platform. While there’s no problem with that, there are opportunities to grow downloads and listeners on other platforms and in different ways.
Syndication is the process of redistributing a form of content for maximum reach.
Once you create your new or existing content, make sure that it’s sharable on as many available podcast platforms as possible.
Then go a step further and create a blog post on your website with show notes or a transcript. Distribute that blog post on a 3rd party platform like Medium.com.
If you have the time and resources, record yourself or the interview on video to share on YouTube.
It takes more effort, but the more ways you expose listeners, the faster the podcast growth.
The previous six steps will only work if there is a strong promotion drive. “Build it, and they will come” does not work with content, especially with podcasts.
You have to distribute your content as often as possible.
Leverage every social media platform available, sharing new content, and encouraging your followers to do the same.
Make sure to join Facebook and LinkedIn groups in your niche that encourage sharing new content.
Go a step further to answer questions on Quora, linking to your podcast where appropriate.
The more you promote your content, the more likely you’ll hit your target.
Whether you are just starting or you are a seasoned podcaster, getting new podcast listeners can skyrocket your growth. Growth means new ad revenue, new leads, and new opportunities to grow your business and brand.
Stay consistent with these tips beyond 90 days. Move on to SEO, optimizing your podcast pages and websites to gain organic web traffic.
Podcasts are a powerful content marketing tool. If you need some help with growing your content, including your podcast efforts, sign up for my newsletter here. You will get actionable tips on how to grow your business using reliable content.