Now that you’ve taken that first step to fulfill one of your New Year’s resolutions and recorded several podcasts, how do you ensure that your hard work and investment lead to an engaged and supportive tribe of listeners?
Commitment to consistency and great content.
Each time you record, work on your interview skills to help guests offer their most engaging selves and discuss timely topics that flow coherently from week to week. As we wrote in Part 1, the topic doesn’t matter, your passion will shine through on any subject from tarot to true crime. But remember to check your ego at the door. More than anything, a successful podcast is a conversation. In any healthy conversation, viewpoints are respected. In fact, bringing on a guest who doesn’t necessarily agree with your POV will create a bit of drama and likely make for a great show.
We talked in Part 1 about how consistency is king if you want to succeed in promoting your podcast. In fact, don’t worry about promotion until you get five pods under your belt. When a listener finds you, they’ll be disappointed if they come back in a week to hear another fresh perspective and there isn’t one, so have several in the can before you start promoting. Never disappoint your listeners if you can help it. Like any binging, your audience members will shift from unattached to loyal if they can see there’s enough content to feast on.
Once you’re recording consistently, here are 10 ways to promote your podcast.
- Tap into the social networks you’re already on to grow your listeners. Your friends, family and co-workers are the most obvious place to start gaining a following. Don’t be shy about letting them know you’re podding. If you can’t tell your friends you have a podcast about German kitchen utensils, then who can you tell? Send them an email that includes a brief description of the show, add a sample and ASK them to share.
- Put your podcast on all the platforms you use — including the ones your mom uses — with a direct link to a specific podcast, the description you’ve already written and a sentence or two about the content of that particular show. Add context by offering a simple line like “thought you’d be interested based on our recent convo.”
- Copy shamelessly. Take a page from Joe Rogan and, when you have a guest, film the session (with permission, of course) and post it on Youtube.
- Create a Facebook group to talk to your audience and answer questions or get ideas for future shows.
- Ramp up loyalty by giving your listeners what they want. How do you find out what they want? Do a survey and ask your audience what specifically interests them about your topic. Then give a shout out to the person whose idea you picked and dedicate the show to him or her.
- Tap into your network. If you know someone — a colleague or teacher — who has an area of expertise that dovetails with what you’re talking about, ask the person to come on as a guest expert. He or she will likely post the show to his/her network and you’ll be the beneficiary.
- Start an email list once you’ve got a certain number of listeners. This has been done effectively by indie authors but works for this content, too. The internet is littered with ways to build a list so I won’t get into it here, but once you have a list you can alert your email list a day before you post about the contents of the next episode. You can also offer a closed Q&A session with your guest to your email list after the pod.
- Get to blogging. If you’re really feeling ambitious and have the time, start a blog and post your podcasts, then write more on any of the subjects you cover.
- Add your podcast to Googleplay. They’ve just started indexing episodes in Google search, which offers a great opportunity to get found. If you’ve got content like a blog that backs up your show, you’re even more likely to be indexed.
- Finally, ask for feedback.This may be the most important action you can take to gain and keep your audience. There are two ways to do this and you could really use both. First, find someone who is already doing a podcast and ask him or her to listen to a sampling of your shows. Offer, without comment, one you thought worked well and one you didn’t think was as successful. Wait patiently for feedback. Second, ask your audience (and a Facebook group works well for this) for feedback. If you’ve established a community, you will likely hear the truth. As with all feedback, take it with a healthy grain of salt. If you think the advice offered will improve the show, by all means, make the changes suggested. If you don’t, pass. Your growing audience is the best possible indicator of how you’re doing. And no one will like everything all the time.
Remember, consistency and great content are really all you need to establish your podcast and grow your audience. Stick with it even if you think no one’s listening. I guarantee you’ll gain traction and an engaged audience, especially if you implement the ideas I’ve laid out here.
Most of all, just go for it. Don’t deprive the world of your unique voice.