Attract More Listeners To Your Podcast Without Spending Tons of Money

This is a guest post from Rob Peterson, Director, Audience Acquisition at Audioboom

You’re all set. You have a great idea, you researched all the best recording equipment and you’re confident you worked out all the kinks in your test episodes. All you have to do is hit publish and release your brand-new podcast to the world! Now that episode one is out, here comes the tough part: Finding people to listen to your show.

With over 525,000 active shows available on Apple Podcastsand more being added every dayattracting listeners is a daunting task for new and existing podcasters. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get your show in front of potential listeners and turn them into life-long fans.

Jordan Bonaparte, host and producer of The Night Time Podcast, believes in tapping-in to the podcast community itself. “My most effective audience acquisition activities involved collaborating with similarly themed podcasters.” Jordan says. “These collaborations could include guest appearances on other shows, promo or ad swaps, and/or references to each other’s work on episodes.”

Many podcasters are happy to help promote their peers’ podcasts because they know what it’s like starting out and trying to find new listeners. Promotion from other podcasters can come in the form of an ad or promo swap between shows so that each show can reach new listeners. Another way podcasters can work together is by doing guest swaps where the host of one podcast appears as a guest on another podcast and vice versa.

The hosts of Night Call leveraged guest appearances on Blank CheckThe Daily ZeitgeistLovett or Leave It and Behind The Bastards to reach new listeners. The fans of those shows got a sample of what to expect on Night Call when they might not have otherwise even heard of the show.

So what about social media? Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz, hosts and producers of And That’s Why We Drink, say that Twitter and Facebook were key to growing their audience and turning first-time listeners into dedicated fans. “We were able to connect directly to people with interests in both the paranormal and true crime and communicate with them one-on-one,” says Christine.

The more you communicate with fans one-on-one the more you enrich your relationships and the more likely they are to recommend your show to others. Em agrees, “It’s been really great to see people join the group because their friends recommended [the podcast] or someone they followed on social media gave us a shout out.” Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Snapchat are all platforms you can use to promote your show.

Dan Misener, Head of Audience Development for Pacific Content, a branded podcast network, points to how a well-executed marketing plan can lead to a successful podcast launch and uses the live lecture series-turned podcast, Trampoline Hall, as an example. “When they launched their podcast, they did a bunch of smart things: they reached out to their existing community through their email newsletter, they organized a launch party where they got everyone to subscribe to their new show. It was a well-executed launch designed to appeal to existing podcast listeners and new podcast listeners alike.”

And speaking of newsletters, there are dozens upon dozens of podcast newsletters designed to help die-hard podcast listeners discover new shows. If you’re looking to get more eyes and ears on your show, ask the editors of these newsletters to review your show or a specific episode. As an added bonus agree to share their newsletter with your followers so you both benefit. RadioPublic published a helpful blog listing established podcast newsletters with tips on how to pitch your show!

This is all great, but what about Apple Podcasts and Spotify?

There’s no denying that Apple Podcasts is one of, if not, the biggest player in the game in terms of listening and discovery. Apple Podcast’s top 200 charts are an extremely important tool for discovery. Getting your show on the charts leads to boosts in listens and adds legitimacy to your show, but it’s also extremely competitive and this is where your fanbase comes in. Encourage your fans to help your show grow by reminding them to rate and review at the end of every episode. As those reviews come in your ranking continues to climb within the Apple Podcast ecosystem.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on Spotify as they continue to grow their footprint in the podcast industry. Shows like And That’s Why We Drink have seen tremendous audience growth due to features on Spotify’s desktop and mobile app as well as being included in advertising campaigns for Spotify.

With so many avenues for promoting your show it’s easy to expect immediate results but make sure to keep yourself grounded. This American LifeThe Joe Rogan Experience and WTF with Marc Maron have all been around for a decade or more. It took years for those shows to build the massive audiences they enjoy today. Start with 100 listeners and work your way up from there, and don’t forget the people who helped you get to the top of the charts!

If you’d like to learn more about growing your audience then make sure to join me, Rabia Chaudry (UndisclosedThe 45th)Chelsea Cox (Deliberations)Dossie McCraw (Spotify) and Dan Misener (Pacific Content) at Podcast Movement’s Audience Acquisition Panel, Tuesday, July 24 at 11:00 am in room Grand A/B.

Thanks to Rob Peterson, Director, Audience Acquisition at Audioboom, for this great article!