How to Grow Your Podcast Audience: And the 3 Ways You’re Probably Killing It Without Realising

How to Grow Your Podcast Audience And the 3 Ways You're Probably Killing It Without Realising

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‘How to grow your podcast audience’ has to be one of the most popular questions that I hear podcasters ask.

But what I often see is podcasters overlooking the basics of podcast growth and think that they need to turn to more complicated (and sometimes expensive) forms of promotion in order to get more podcast listeners.

In this post, we’re going to break down how you could be standing in the way of growing your own podcast audience and what you can do to up the number of podcast listeners.

We Get Stuck in a Routine

Humans are habitual creatures and we don’t like to rock the status quo.

And the same could therefore be said for podcasters. After all, if something is working, why fix it?

But if you’ve Googled ‘how to grow your podcast audience’ and have landed on this page, then the chances are that what you’re currently doing ISN’T working and you’re looking for new strategies.

And I get it.

It’s easy to fall into habits with our shows – using the same software, marketing strategies, format, etc. Taking advice from someone who has a hugely successful show (and forgetting that they have teams of people contributing to that growth!!).

But sticking rigidly to a routine can limit growth. We can shy away from making big changes, fearing we’ll lose listeners.

However, thoughtful tweaks can often attract new ears. Recently, I temporarily stopped using my usual recording software. Testing a new platform stretches my podcasting muscles. And dare I say, this switch has improved my audio quality. In turn, this improvement might attract new listeners who are recommended the show by current listeners who are not turned off because they find the audio challenging to listen to.

Spread the Word!

The first thing you’re probably not doing that will impact on how you grow your podcast audience is spreading the word about your podcast.

And I don’t mean on social media.

I often find it funny that podcasters are willing to tell strangers on the internet about their podcast, but people in their social circle likely know nothing about it.

Ask yourself this: Are you telling enough people about your show? As in, having an actual verbal conversation? Word-of-mouth is essential for growth! It’s the number 1 way that people find out about new podcasts. And just because your cousin or work colleague isn’t a member of your target audience, it doesn’t mean that they won’t tell someone else about your podcast. (Or you could have completely misjudged them and they end up being a secret fan of your content!).

Tell your networks about your podcast and ask them to share it too. Nothing boosts numbers like personal recommendations.

Small Changes Can Equal Big Impacts

Ask yourself this: What little changes might work for you when it comes to growing your podcast audience?

If something isn’t working when it comes to podcasting, we often get into the mindset that we either need to quit podcasting or completely rebrand our show. Perhaps we need to use a different social media platform, or outsource our marketing to someone more specialised in marketing techniques then us.

But sometimes we just need small changes in our podcast production that’ll have a bigger impact than we might have first thought.

Examples of small changes that could bring you quick wins for how to grow your podcast audience:

  1. Refresh your approach to writing your show notes. Can you lengthen them? Make sure you’re giving your audience a reason to listen to the episode? Include searchable keywords that will help your episode be displayed in podcast directory searches?
  2. Add keywords to your podcast episode titles. Again, think what your target audience are searching for when writing your titles.
  3. Slowly rebrand; rather than changing everything, maybe just change 1 small thing at a time. That way, you’ll be able to see which changes are working and which aren’t.

Refresh your show notes, add keywords to titles, try new categories, or gently rebrand.

When I altered the name of my first podcast show name to be more specific, I worried listeners would leave.

But actually, the revised name drew in many new listeners. This was because I really considered what my target listeners were searching for and included those keywords in my podcast title and show description.

Be as bold as you want when it comes to testing out changes to your podcast, even if they feel uncomfortable.

Remember, you can always switch back to an original strategy if those changes don’t pan out. But on that note, for any changes that you do make, ensure that you give these changes time to run and time for you to analyse their impact before making a decision about continuing with them or trying another strategy.

Keep Experimenting!

Podcasting is ever evolving and in the scheme of things, there are very few rules in podcasting.

Growth looks different for every podcaster. It could mean more downloads, better audience retention, or something else that suits your aims. So your strategies for growing your podcast audience need to suit your podcast and your growth aims; not someone else’s.

A final tip for how to grow your podcast audience is to try out your podcast in different podcasting categories.

For example, perhaps you originally listed your podcast in the ‘Business’ category (a category that we know is very popular and competitive. Now let’s say that your podcast is a tech business podcast. Could you experiment with your podcast being in the ‘Technology’ category? Perhaps a shift in category might see an audience growth because you rank higher in the charts, meaning that when your potential listener is scrolling through Apple Podcasts (or whichever podcast directory they’re listening on), your podcast is more likely to be found as it’s on a searchable list on the app.

How to Grow Your Podcast Audience: Conclusion

The key answer to the question of how to grow your podcast audience is simple: It is about continually trying new strategies, tracking results, and tweaking your approach, being brave and keeping experimenting.

Remember, you can always roll back any changes that you do make if you find that they aren’t working for you, or you aren’t finding them aligned with your podcast.

What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

Verity Sangan

Hey there! I'm Verity, Registered Nurse turned Podcast Host, Launch Strategist, and Coach.
I love all things podcasting and am passionate about getting more women find their voice through podcasts.
Host: The Lazy Girl's Guide to Podcasting & The Confident CEO Podcast