How to Grow a Podcast Audience in 9 Easy Steps

Have you ever launched a podcast episode, eagerly awaited the flood of listens and feedback, only to hear…crickets? If you’re nodding along, you’re not alone. Many digital marketers and content creators find themselves puzzled by the silence. The truth is, creating the podcast is just the beginning—growing its audience is where the real challenge lies.

Why is podcast promotion so challenging? Think of it this way: no matter how groundbreaking your content may be, it won’t have an impact if no one hears it. Today, I’m here to guide you through tried-and-true strategies that will attract listeners and keep them hooked and coming back for more.

Key Takeaways

  • Regular posting keeps your audience engaged and helps attract new listeners. Set and adhere to a publishing schedule to maintain and grow your listener base.
  • Increase your podcast’s visibility by listing it in popular directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, and optimize your metadata to attract the right audience.
  • Partner with other podcasters to tap into new audiences. Guest appearances and hosting experts can bring fresh content and listeners to your show.
  • Boost interaction and listener loyalty with contests or giveaways, making your podcast more engaging and fun.
  • Build an email list to engage directly with your audience. Offer exclusive content and regular updates to keep listeners informed and interested.
  • Use social media platforms to share teasers, engage with listeners, and promote episodes. Tailor content to each platform and interact regularly with your audience to build a community around your podcast.
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 1. Be Consistent

If there’s one secret I’ve learned from years of digital marketing, consistency is key, including your publishing schedule. Listeners crave predictability—they want to know exactly when to expect new content from you. A consistent schedule keeps your current audience engaged and attracts new subscribers looking for reliable content. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or daily, establish a posting rhythm that suits your audience and stick with it. This consistency is your key to building a loyal listener base.

In those early stages, a more aggressive early cadence may be best. As Kimberly Deese, Director of Digital PR at NP Digital explains:

“Most podcasts today release one weekly episode. Some are starting to release a second shorter weekly episode. Very few podcasts release daily or weekday episodes and that is a big opportunity to stand out from the crowd. When listeners are looking for more content, yours will be there. More air time equals more time to build a relationship with the audience and a more loyal community.”

2. Optimize Show Notes

Think of your show notes as a mini-blog post for each podcast episode. These notes are a goldmine for podcast SEO and can dramatically improve your show’s discoverability. Start by incorporating relevant keywords that resonate with your target audience—this will help your episodes rank better in search results. 

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For example, the Mel Robbins podcast does a great job of breaking down timestamps and exactly what to expect in the episode. 

Timestamps on the Mel Robbins podcast.

Source: Mel Robbins

You can also check out additional resources mentioned in the episode to further your curiosity if interested.  

Additionally, provide detailed episode summaries and timestamps to help listeners navigate to the most relevant parts of your discussion. Not only do optimized show notes make your podcast more accessible, but they also enhance the listener’s experience by providing valuable context and resources.

Additional resources on starting a podcast.

Source: Mel Robbins

3. Get Listed in Directories

Imagine a listener is searching for podcasts in your niche. You’ll want your show to pop up wherever they’re looking, right? Getting your podcast listed in popular directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify is essential.

Spotify's Podcast Directory

Source: Spotify

But don’t stop there—optimize your podcast’s metadata with relevant keywords and categories to ensure it shows up in the right search queries. Each directory can be a gateway to a whole new audience segment, so think of these platforms as tools to extend your reach and pull in a crowd that’s already interested in your topic.

4. Use Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool to amplify your voice and draw in a broader audience. First off, if you haven’t already, set up dedicated profiles for your podcast across key platforms. Then, start posting without hesitation—frequent updates keep you on your listeners’ radar and won’t annoy them as much as you might fear.

Here’s how to step up your game: 

Tease upcoming episodes to build anticipation. Use a branded hashtag to unify your posts and help listeners contribute to the conversation. Don’t forget to sprinkle in relevant topical hashtags to catch the eye of potential new followers. 

Always tag guests and mention any relevant organizations or celebrities discussed in your episodes. Adapt your content for each platform—longer videos for YouTube or Facebook, snappier clips for TikTok or Instagram.

Most importantly, engage actively with your audience. Reply to comments, join relevant groups, build a community, and share enticing snippets of your podcast. These interactions can turn casual listeners into loyal fans and advocates for your show.

5. Collaborate With Other Podcasters

One of the most effective ways to expand your reach and grow brand visibility is to tap into someone else’s audience. How? By collaborating with fellow podcasters. 

This strategy introduces you to new audiences and enhances your content with fresh perspectives. For example, when Jay Clouse appeared on Andrew Barry’s “Learning Culture” podcast to discuss community building, the episode resonated with Barry’s listeners interested in learning and development. Later, Clouse reciprocated by featuring the interview on his own show, “Creator Science,” exposing Barry to his audience.

A collaboration between Jay Clouse and Andrew Barry on podcasts.

Source: Rephonic

Such collaborations are mutually beneficial as they allow both parties to leverage each other’s listener base. Promote these episodes across your and your guest’s social media channels to maximize reach and engagement. This approach engages your existing audience and draws in new listeners who may become regular subscribers if they like what they hear.

6. Repurpose Your Content

Your podcast episodes are gold mines of content waiting to be unearthed and repurposed. Start by transcribing your audio—these transcripts can be turned into blog posts or articles, which helps SEO and serves those who prefer reading over listening. 

As mentioned earlier, repurposing your episodes into audiograms or short video clips is a smart move. These bite-sized, shareable pieces are ideal for capturing attention on social media and funneling listeners back to your full episodes. Keep each clip engaging and direct to maximize its impact.

Jimmy Daly of Superpath and the Content Briefly podcast does a wonderful job of this by sharing bite-sized videos of some of the most interesting parts of his chat with the podcast guest.

A video preview of a podcast on social media.

Source: LinkedIn

This drives engagement on his social media page and helps reach a wider audience to drive them to the podcast listening page. 

Don’t shy away from using any engaging, cut content—like deleted scenes or bloopers—as additional social media material. This fills your content calendar and gives your audience a peek behind the curtain, fostering a deeper connection and keeping them engaged between episodes.

7. Develop an Email Marketing Strategy

Don’t underestimate the power of a solid email marketing strategy to grow your podcast audience. Begin by building an email list—offer something valuable in exchange for your listeners’ emails, like exclusive content or a sneak peek at upcoming episodes. Once you have a list, regular emails can keep your audience engaged and informed about new episodes. 

For example, check out the Patagonia email below. It does a great job of enticing the audience with visuals and a brief synopsis to get them excited.

A Patagonia email about their podcast.

Source: ReallyGoodEmails

Include direct links to your latest episodes and exclusive content that isn’t available anywhere else. This drives consistent traffic to your podcast and makes your subscribers feel like part of an exclusive club. Remember, a well-nurtured email list can be one of your most reliable sources of traffic and engagement.

8. Run a Contest or Giveaway

Who doesn’t love winning free stuff? Running a contest or giveaway is a fantastic way to engage and grow your podcast audience. Encourage listeners to subscribe, leave reviews, or share your podcast on social media to enter the contest. This increases your visibility and can help attract new listeners. 

For inspiration, look at brands that have successfully used giveaways to boost engagement. Check out this example from the social media platform, Buffer.

A contest celebrating the Buffer Podcast.

Source: Buffer

Make sure the prizes are desirable and relevant to your audience to maximize participation. Contests are a fun, strategic tool to increase listener interaction and loyalty.

9. Analyze and Optimize

What’s working? What isn’t? The only way to truly know is by tracking podcast performance and diving into the data. Focus on key performance indicators like downloads, listener retention, and episode engagement. 

Tools like Podtrac, Chartable, and the built-in analytics from platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify are invaluable for tracking your podcast’s performance. 

Podtrac offers insights into audience demographics and listening behavior, which can help you tailor your content to match your audience’s interests. Chartable tracks downloads and listener trends and integrates with social media for broader analytics, including how your episodes perform across different marketing channels. 

Apple Podcasts and Spotify analytics provide detailed data on listener engagement, showing which episodes resonate most and how listeners interact with your content over time. Using these tools collectively will give you a comprehensive view of your podcast’s reach and impact, enabling you to make informed decisions to boost your audience growth.

You can also incorporate direct feedback from your audience through surveys or social media interactions to get a clear picture of their preferences and any issues they might face. Regularly analyze this data to spot trends and patterns that can guide your content and marketing efforts. Armed with these insights, you can fine-tune your strategies to continually enhance your podcast’s performance and listener experience.

FAQs

How can I grow my podcast audience?

To grow your podcast audience, focus on consistent content delivery, optimize your show notes, get listed in popular directories, and engage actively on social media. Collaborations with other podcasters and repurposing content across different media can also significantly boost your reach.

How can I monetize my podcast?

Monetizing a podcast can be achieved through various methods including sponsorships, affiliate marketing, selling merchandise, or offering premium content for a subscription fee. Start by building a solid listener base to attract potential sponsors.

What are the best tools for podcast analytics?

Tools like Podtrac, Chartable, or even the analytics provided by platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify can help you understand your audience better and tailor your content accordingly. These tools provide insights into listener demographics, episode performance, and engagement metrics.

Can social media really help grow my podcast audience?

Absolutely! Social media is crucial for promoting your podcast. Use platforms where your audience is most active to share episode teasers, and behind-the-scenes content, and engage with listeners. Tailor your content for each platform to maximize engagement and reach.

Conclusion

Growing your podcast audience is an exciting journey of engagement, optimization, and strategic collaboration. You set a strong foundation by consistently delivering engaging content, leveraging SEO in your show notes, and listing your podcast in key directories. Don’t forget to maximize your social media presence to keep your audience engaged and use email marketing to maintain direct contact with your listeners.

Remember, each episode is an opportunity to capture and captivate new followers. Keep your strategy dynamic by regularly analyzing your podcast’s performance and adapting based on what the data tells you.

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