Whether you’re starting out as a podcaster or have been one for a while but not seeing traction, this post will show you how to increase podcast listeners for your brand and in your niche.
You will get actionable tips and insider tricks we’ve learned over the years from working with several podcasters, transcribing hundreds, if not thousands of episodes.
Many of these podcasters have become loyal long-term clients and colleagues.
We’ve also drawn from our own background in SEO and digital marketing, and talked to podcast marketing experts, which should help.
Latest Podcast Stats
According to these podcast statistics;
There are currently over 1.5 million podcasts and over 34 million episodes on the internet as of October 2020.
That is a whopping number!
Furthermore, 75% of the US population is familiar with the term “podcasting” and 50% of all US homes are podcast fans.
In addition, big money is now flowing into the podcasting world with multi-million dollar deals like JRE and Spotify and others.
How to Increase Podcast Listeners?
As you can see from the stats above, the podcasting industry is definitely booming.
And with this much competition, what can help you stand apart and grow your podcast listeners?
Below are some tried, tested and proven ways that can help.
1. Provide Quality and Value
This goes without saying. Quality + value is a winning combination.
Do thorough research on the topic you’re going to talk about.
And make sure your audio recording equipment is top notch.
No need to spend big bucks either. Plenty of affordable beginner podcasting setups available on Amazon for as low as $25 to $50.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get studio quality sound.
Also remember that nobody starts out as a genius straight away.
So, give yourself time and work on making high quality, high value content consistently.
2. Clear Branding
To get loyal subscribers, the branding of your website and channel should be clear from the get go.
On page SEO plays a big role in this too, which we’ll talk about later in the post.
But first thing’s first, your logo, website and channel info should be straightforward, front and center, and your niche should be clear to your listeners.
3. Find the Right Guests
The best way to get started is to interview influential people in your niche, preferably someone who’s written a book recently.
If both of you are starting out, this can be an excellent way to help each other gain traction and visibility.
Once you publish your podcast with this guest, tag them and interact with their audience and friends if you can.
4. Network Effectively
An interview with an already established podcaster in your niche can be the right springboard your channel really needs.
They get to plug their channel or a product, so it’s a win-win for both.
This way you also cross-target their audience.
Furthermore, interviewing several different guests, and then their friends, talking to their audience, answering questions grows your network and gives you more exposure.
5. Be Consistent
Nothing kills the vibe faster than a listener returning to your channel a week later and finding no new episodes.
They will probably look at your competitors with more recent content.
We know firsthand that creating great content consistently can be an extremely difficult thing to do.
But perseverance pays off.
And if you can create high quality, valuable, interesting podcasts consistently, success will come eventually.
6. Submit your Podcast to Directories
Posting your latest podcast on just your website and YouTube is not enough.
Ideally you want to have it listed on as many places as possible.
Below is a quick list of tried and tested podcast directories that should bring you immediate exposure, and maybe as a result, success!
Most of these are links to submit your podcast:
Ideally you would want to publish your entire podcast, or small clips, or a banner along with description and a link to your podcast on one of these social media websites.
For best results, share your podcasts here as soon as, or right after you publish it on your website/blog.
7. Interact with your listeners
Don’t behave like Joe Rogan at the start of your podcasting journey by being unavailable or by purposefully avoiding listener questions.
Answer every single question if you can, whether on your own website, YouTube or any of your social media pages.
A responsive creator who engages with their audience is one of the best marketing tools you can have.
8. Get Reviews
Getting good reviews (ideally 5-stars) at the beginning is crucial for the future of your podcast.
Good reviews also help you climb the rankings quickly or get featured on lists like “best podcasts of the week” or Apple’s “New and Noteworthy” etc.
Research ways you can ask for reviews without being too overbearing, and then get creative.
9. Learn from your mistakes & improve
Nobody is perfect from the get-go.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs, marketers, influences have failed hundreds of times before they figured it out.
Give yourself time, listen to every podcast you publish, observe and note down things which can be improved.
And then work diligently on improving them.
Consistent and never ending improvement will show in the quality of your podcasts and the value you bring to the table.
How to improve your podcasts
It takes careful planning, practice, execution, followed by consistency and perseverance.
Unique, fresh, entertaining, engaging, valuable, informational, useful content is part of every successful digital marketing plan.
We’ve done extensive research, talked to several of our podcast transcription clients and Youtubers, along with observation and analysis of their rise to success and put our findings in our post on 5 Ways to Gain more YouTube Subscribers with Video Transcription.
Same formula applies to the question of how to increase podcast listeners as well.
In brief, the steps are:
- Start making podcasts more often
- Plan and practice your intro
- Make sure your podcasts have minimum distractions
- If you’re making videos, they need to be entertaining, and not boring
- Optimize your video titles and design descriptive thumbnails
- Provide transcripts of your podcasts
10. Use SEO to Grow your Podcast Audience
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
In simple terms, it means optimizing your content in a way, so that you show up first on search engines or social media websites whenever someone searches for any one of the thousand keywords related to your niche.
How does Podcast SEO work?
If you’ve been consistently producing high quality, valuable content, but struggling to find more listeners, then maybe start with these questions:
- Is your podcast easy to find?
- Is your podcast’s description copy optimized?
- Do you find it tough to rank on search engines like Google?
- Can people find you on YouTube easily?
If you answered no to all of the above, then you may need to focus a bit more on your SEO and digital marketing efforts.
So how to increase podcast listeners by leveraging SEO?
Below are some ways you can make your podcasts easier to find:
1. Create a website or blog for your podcast
Podcast SEO works best when you use a combination of text content along with streaming audio/video.
A website or a blog these days is cheap and easy to set up, and gives your podcasts a base or a home on the web.
Even if you can’t set one up yourself, you can always hire someone to do it for you (fairly cheap these days, outsource it).
You can find freelance web designers on sites like PeoplePerHour or Fiverr etc.
A website allows you to post longer text content, play around with images, write blog posts, editorials etc. along with your podcast.
And if your podcast becomes successful, you can monetize your website.
2. Use the right keywords
Keywords are search terms, or part of a search term.
For example “how to increase podcast listeners” is a keyword that you may have searched for, and that’s how you’ve ended up here.
There’s a fair amount of keyword research involved in SEO, and it can be time consuming.
But if done right, it can pay huge dividends for your podcast in terms of exposure.
If you weave these keywords into your show title or description, your chances of getting found on Google are much higher.
You can get started with ideas from Google’s free keyword planner tool.
3. Optimize your Title, Description and Headings
Once you’ve found what people are searching for in your niche, work those keywords into your show’s title and description.
That helps algorithms from Google and other search engines understand what your page or podcast is about, so they can rank it appropriately.
Same goes for when you’re posting on social media channels.
4. Repurpose your Podcast for Social Media
One clever way that Gary Vaynerchuk or “GaryVee” keeps his content frequency up is by taking smaller chunks out of his longer podcasts and posting them more frequently on his social media channels.
Using a lot of these tricks along with having a solid podcast launch, many creators have made Apple’s New & Noteworthy List.
If your podcast is predominantly audio based, you can use free stock videos and add your audio in the background to upload on YouTube or Facebook.
But these are not the only ways you can make this process easier. Below are some more ways.
More Proven Ways to Increase Podcast Listeners
1. Offer your listeners several ways to consume your content
Ideally you want your listeners to listen to your podcast.
But what if, for whatever reason, they can’t?
Your listeners can oftentimes face accessibility issues.
For example, according to this Facebook statistic from publishers, 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute.
You could offer closed captions for those people.
2. Help the Hearing Disabled
According to this data from WHO, “Around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss.”
Furthermore, “It is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss.”
So then, the question is how to increase podcast listeners and help the hearing disabled at the same time?
If your podcast is in a niche that can help the hearing disabled, you can do so with closed captions, especially for countries with English speaking population.
3. Offer Subtitles to the Non-English Speaking World
According to this Youtube study done by Hootsuite and the Pew Research Center, “80% of the views on Youtube comes from outside USA.”
And “Only 33% of popular YouTube videos are in English.”
We’re not talking about hundreds or thousands, but possibly millions of new listeners or subscribers by simply adding subtitles to your video.
Or offer a podcast transcript if it’s audio.
Transcribe Your Podcast Audio or Video
All major search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo or Ecosia have automated crawling bots.
They scan every single website on the internet either every week, every single day, or even multiple times a day every few hours.
Now, these bots cannot listen to audio or watch video. Imagine how much time that would take!
They scan through text content at warp speed.
Which means the text surrounding your podcast audio/video on your website or blog is crucial in helping you rank higher.
One aspect of that is managed via on-page SEO. But podcast transcription completes the equation.
The most successful podcasts offer transcripts of their shows
You can do the research yourself, some of the most successful podcasts offer transcripts of their shows.
Not the ones with famous names like Joe Rogan associated with them.
But unknown podcasters who have grown organically.
Why is that?
Google loves, absolutely loves, relevant, helpful, well written, oftentimes lengthy text content.
And that content acts as a positive vote in your website’s favor.
That is what helps Google and other search engine algorithms understand your content.
This is where podcast transcription services can help you to get ahead of your competitors.
Podcast transcripts give you high quality, long tail content
When you get your podcast transcribed, you get a word-by-word reproduction of everything spoken during the show, with the speakers labeled.
And as recent studies have shown, the length of your content directly correlates with higher rankings and number of backlinks.
What’s more, you can choose to have your podcast transcribed either:
- Verbatim: Includes every single word spoken in your podcast.
- Non-Verbatim: Gets rid of repeated words, filler words, cleans up grammar.
- Edited & Optimized: Content ready to be published on website/blog, YouTube/Vimeo and Social Media.
Attention in today’s digital age is squarely on the smartphone.
Chances are you’re reading this article on a smartphone.
People will share your entire podcast episode on their social media channels, but chances are their friends won’t watch an entire episode.
But if an interesting quote or a funny anecdote from your podcast goes viral, you will get tons of hits.
Two ways to do that;
- Edit a short video clip of your podcast and share it on social media.
- Copy paste optimized text content from your podcast transcripts on your social media channels.
Facebook now even makes it easier to post quotes in big block letters with colorful backgrounds.
Podcast transcripts give you pages and pages of useful, optimized, formatted content that is readily available to share on your social media channels.
That saves you time that can be focused on creating your next great episode.
Podcast transcripts do much, much more
Transcripts of your podcasts can be offered as a bonus for subscribing.
That dovetails into your show’s popularity and your ranking on the web.
Sure, the tone and modalities of a speaker cannot be captured in text, but these days transcripts can come very close with the use of interactive tags and other tools.