How to Grow a Podcast Audience: Part 1

After the launch phase comes the growth phase. Promoting and marketing your podcast takes work, but the ROI is (at least) threefold:

First and foremost, it’s content at your fingertips. Do you struggle with producing social content — problem solved!

Second, it’s a clear way to see if you’re resonating with your target audience or not — this means more listening and less talking.

Third, watching those numbers grow is ultra-gratifying 😜

While there’s no silver bullet, there are some tactics that — when executed consistently — can reliably grow a real audience. Check out these 6 strategies and consider how you could make them work for your show:

1. Engage with your audience for 10-15 minutes a day

This may sound very obvious but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel!! The best podcasts feel conversational — so keep that conversation going on your social channels. Taking 10-15 minutes to engage with your audience on social media every day can make a big difference in whether or not that audience feels heard and stays loyal to you.

And keep it simple too! Respond to Instagram comments, ask questions, or use different polling and quiz features are a great way to start conversations with your listeners. It’s tedious, but it will strengthen the connection between you and your audience.

2. Create a podcast trailer

This applies to both established shows or new podcasts with just a handful of episodes. A podcast trailer pinned to the top of your feed is a great way to introduce you, your topic and any guests. Include snippets from the episode to entice listeners to subscribe. People are far more willing to listen to a trailer before investing time into a whole episode, but you can’t just give them a clip of a previous episode with zero context. You have to create something that sells the overall value of that episode AND your show. But keep it short — a few seconds to a minute tops.

3. Be strategic in your show’s name

Your show’s name should be one of your biggest priorities. Some might say it’s the most important part of your launch. Have you already started your show to only experience a little name-regret — don’t fret! If you have to change your show’s name, do it sooner rather than later, and only do it once. Here are some criteria we’d recommend:

  • Name it after what your ideal listener cares about, which might not necessarily be your company name. Think about industry keywords here.
  • Pick something that makes it easier to find you on podcast players. You will better reach your ideal listeners if your name revolves around what they are searching for.
  • Ultimately your name should show our dedication to the listeners. If it sounds like you’re only going to talk about yourself, that first impression might be a turn off.

Conquering your organization’s lack of innovation

1. Teach your employees to see themselves as innovators

Chances probably are, your next handful of innovative ideas are already within your four walls. However, if you don’t have a system in place to properly foster innovation, ideas that come down the pipeline might seem half-baked or straight-up batty. This might require you to revisit your organization’s competencies and assets (you don’t sell a product, you sell a solution), remind your team that customers are people (not numbers), and encourage a culture that challenges invisible industry “rules.” Disruption frequently metamorphosizes into innovation.

2. Invite retroactive process feedback

Sometimes the most powerful innovations are just small tweaks to current systems and procedures. A regular retroactive process feedback meeting is a way to keep your team feeling involved, heard, and trusted in bringing new ideas forward. Collectively, your team is a knowledge and experience powerhouse — so use it!

3. Make learning the new normal

Innovation comes from employees who are constantly learning. A great way to inspire learning is for employees to take turns sharing a piece of industry news at weekly meetings (we do this!). It gives your team the leeway to learn on the job, the space to reflect on their own, and finally, ownership of the collaborative dynamics that come from bringing something new to the table.

4. Start with you

At the very least, innovation is overwhelming. That’s why it’s imperative to start small with simpler initiatives before moving on. This not only helps you build inclusion, trust, and openness with your team, but also gives you a chance to get your feet wet first. Think about how you may need to change personally to create an open, participatory culture that unleashes innovation.
You may have to shift your identity from “powerful leader” to “leader that innovates through shared power,” and that’s ok!