So, you’ve made a podcast and it feels like nobody’s listening. Obviously, that can be disheartening. Pouring so much effort into something just to receive a lukewarm response can have you questioning the value of your message.
Sure, there’s a chance that you can improve with a few podcasting tips but making your podcast better isn’t guaranteed to win you the target audience you crave. Similarly, weak reception might not be a reflection of your podcast as much as it is a reflection of your poor podcast promotion.
Let’s be real here: there are way too many podcasts. Only the best podcasts penetrate the collective consciousness. Your average podcast listener doesn’t have time to filter through the clutter to find something under the radar.
That’s why you need to find your audience instead of counting on your audience to find you. You won’t win the world over on your first episode. Finding a dedicated podcast audience requires just as much hustle as making the podcast in the first place.
But it’s not optional. Even if you know what your niche is, carving it means putting yourself out there. Here are five ideas to try to make sure your podcast earns the exposure it deserves.
Narrow Your Target Audience
If you try and become the biggest podcaster in the world, you will probably fail.
Even the most successful podcasts appeal to a specific audience and risk alienating those outside of it. Don’t worry about appealing to everyone. Instead, focus on the people who really care about what you have to say, and build the podcast listening experience around them.
If you shift your focus from the group that matters in an attempt to draw in a wider range of listeners, you will loosen your ties with your core listeners. In addition, you will probably never get to where you want to go if you aim too broad.
Zero-in on people who share your specific passion and make them trust that every new episode you put out will add to their life. If you break that trust by trying to branch out, you risk losing what you already have.
Once you earn an audience, keep them informed. Get them to subscribe to an email list where you can get them excited about new episodes, giveaways, and guests you might have on the show.
Transcribe and Publish
That being said, you need to think about everyone who might be drawn to your content, even those who don’t listen to podcasts. It makes no sense to limit your scope in that way when you could be adding to the lives of people who share your passion but aren’t attuned to the platform.
Specifically, readers and listeners are often two different breeds, but you should try to tap into both. All that takes is writing a transcription of your podcast and publishing it in a place that is easy to find.
If you already write a script (which you should), this won’t take too much time. Not only does this increase the potential of finding a new life for your podcast; it helps people who already listen to you go back and find what stood out to them, quote you and pass these quotes on to other prospective listeners.
If you don’t think your podcasting style lends itself to transcription, trying writing some show notes to summarize key takeaways from your podcast episode. When doing this, make sure to pay attention to SEO so people can find your podcast on Google and other search engines.
Another way to do this is to tap into video. If you have the means, filming your podcast never hurts. That way, it can find a new life as a Youtube video, which attracts a much greater group of casual consumers than podcasting platforms.
Use Guests for Content and Giveaways for Promotion
If you’re not already a celebrity or aren’t using a platform with a pre-packaged audience, it’s going to be hard to convince people to give you a chance.
That being said, if you bring on guests with a wider reach than you, it can do wonders for your podcast and its audience, bringing forth a whole set of new listeners that might just stick around.
When you have guests, make sure they blast the podcast episode on their social media platforms. Having guests doesn’t only win you a new audience; it helps break up the monotony of your podcast, giving each episode its own unique personality.
Most people are happy to share their vision with you, so don’t be afraid to reach out to an influencer you admire to have them on. There’s a chance they will ignore you or say “no,” but if you shoot enough realistic shots, something might materialize on your next episode.
Likewise, a giveaway is a sure-fire way to get new listeners to tune-in and engage with your content.
Once you find your target audience, make sure to keep them engaged. Give away something that will make your target audience excited, to show you care about them while attracting more potential listeners.
Show Your Expertise On Social Media
To be an expert in podcast marketing, you need to get on the ground.
Whatever topic you’re podcasting about certainly has a life outside of your podcasts. There’s a big chance that there is already a thriving community of enthusiasts on social media. Find them, join them and tell them about what you do.
Obviously, you can’t be too blatant about this or it will backfire. Nobody wants to get called out on social media for shameless self-promotion. Instead, put the time and effort into becoming active on a thread of tweets or a subreddit that unites your audience.
Make sure your activity is genuine and engaged, which should be easy if it’s a topic you care about. Once you build that trust, make subtle references to your new podcast episode to try to draw people in. If the outreach is organic, this will be a great way to get results.
Use Visuals to Stand Out in Podcast Directories
A podcast is more than what you say. When people browse through their options, strong presentation can be the difference between a potential listener giving your podcast a chance and writing it off completely.
Make sure your artwork, marketing materials, and other visual tools are united under an aesthetic that stands out in podcast directories. It makes sense to invest money in great design that will get listeners excited enough to click on your podcast, as the imagery you use will be the first identifying element of your show.
You might need a diverse set of design. iTunes (Apple Podcasts), Soundcloud, LinkedIn, and Spotify all have different design quirks, so make sure your visuals are optimized for every podcast app.
Of course, everything you do is part of the bigger picture. Getting your podcast out there requires a carefully considered personal brand (link to brand building article) and a passion for what you have to say. Holding these things true, keep grinding until you see a spike in your engagement. Once you do, capitalize on that to establish your place as a thought leader in your niche.