Building Your Podcast Audience

The key to building an audience is less about gaining subscribers and more about keeping them. Like finance, compound growth is your friend.

One of these blogs is not like the other. There is no secret advertising tool or shortcut. It’s not all SEO or social media. You don’t need start a blog to build a podcast. The advice most-often provided in blogs is catered to the quick-fix promises, the pill-pushers, the lose 30 lbs. in a month dream, and the fast-track for you to be the greater fool by dropping $10/month on a subscription service that you’ll soon forget you’re paying.

The easy pitch here is to give you a cosmo list; 10 Things Every Podcaster Should Do To Build An Audience, and then ask for your email address (op-in). But that’s not what we’re about here. Building an audience is hard work, but it’s worth it! Saddle-up and have some fun!

The unexamined life is not worth living, and a Jackson Pollock knock-off lacks gusto. Blathering about extemporaneously is a trap for lazy podcasters. To gain listeners and keep them (keep being the operative word), examine your show, your intent, and ask yourself two questions.

What’s the show about? Often overlooked, newbs want to start a podcast, but they are unsure of what. This will invite some challenges into the process. At some point in your podcasting career, you’ll need cover-art, a show name, and an episode title or two. If you know what your show is about, the rest will come with ease. Just follow the brand. 

What’s Are Listeners? Listeners are people looking for a home. They want to feel something by association with your podcast. They don’t want to miss out on what’s relevant. Listeners find you thanks to the wonderful world of “recommended to you because you liked..” This means that however unique your podcast, it needs to fit in somewhere.

There Are No Second Chances in Podcasting. Capture the listener, and keep ’em hooked. People love time more than they love their money. So, value your listeners’ time. Deliver something great, and you’ll get more than your mom listening to the show every week.

Gaining Listeners

Throw out every cliché learned about vanity, this is where it counts the most – but heed the wisdom of grandma telling you that first impressions are everything. So, let’s make sure we get these three podcast first impressions nailed. 

• Cover-Art: This is the best time to “Judge A Book By Its Cover.” Set the tone with your artwork. We, the abysmal consumers, are gluttons for eye candy. Take advantage – but don’t sell out. 

• Show Name: Please tell me what the show is about with a bit of your personality. The platitude here is, “be your authentic self.” While I shame those that toss around “authentic,” it’s a lot easier to maintain consistency when you be yourself. 

• Episode Title: Charm is a product of the unexpected, and brevity is a great charm of eloquence. Translation: be catchy, be concise. 

Retaining Listeners

To keep these listeners coming back, strive to be your favorite grade-school teacher. When I was tricked into learning, I craved more. If it were possible, I’d binge my 4th-grade math class and 10th-grade history class. Thanks, Mrs. C and Mr. B! 

A little structure goes a long way. No one has ever said, “I wish the host would go on more tangents.” A lack of focus shows that the host cares very little, so why should the listener?

Start Strong. Finish Stronger. Great podcasting is just another form of storytelling, no matter the style of presentation. Each episode is A to C by way of B. The best way to grow your audience is to make each episode worth repeating. 

The best way to grow to your audience is to make each episode worth repeating.

Storytelling is conflict and resolution; everything in-between must hold the listeners’ attention.