As a podcast host, whether on your first episode or two hundredth, you’re probably focused not only on gaining new subscribers, but also cultivating meaningful relationships with your listeners. For the serious podcast host, this desire will never go away, as you constantly seek to acquire new listeners and turn them into loyal subscribers. For your podcast to thrive and to gain podcast subscribers, there are three things you’ll want to consider:
- Producing a high-quality product
- Gaining exposure through discovery platforms
- Building relationships & gaining reviews
If you haven’t viewed your podcast as a product before, it’s time to reconsider your position. Though there may be no direct points of purchase, your podcast is still a product; however, instead of money, you are asking listeners to exchange an even more valuable currency – their time. Your podcast must provide content that listeners find valuable to entice them to subscribe and continue to listen on an ongoing basis. Doing so begins with a quality topic you’re passionate about and the right equipment. If you have great content but the audio is low quality or hard to hear, listeners are unlikely to continue listening. The same goes for if you have great equipment but poor content. Going the extra mile to create a show with a compelling topic and the proper equipment is a surefire way to attract more subscribers. For sound quality and equipment recommendations, check out our Production course.
Once you’ve launched your high-quality podcast, the next step is going to be placing your show onto discovery platforms to get as much exposure to new listeners as possible. These platforms allow new potential subscribers to find your show by genre, type, and keywords relevant to your topic. PodSearch is a great example of such a platform as a tool to get your podcast in front of your ideal audience with little to no extra work needed on your end. Additionally, signing up with a hosting platform, such as Simplecast, Podbean, Buzzsprout, or Libsyn, will ensure that your podcast episodes will be distributed to all of the major podcast directories where most people listen to podcasts. For a detailed breakdown of the available hosting platforms and costs, refer to our Distribution course.
But the real key to converting new listeners into dedicated subscribers is building authentic connections with your audience, giving them insight into who you are and how you think. Not only will this help drive traffic to your show, but it will also open the doors for further growth and monetization as you gain momentum. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are already building a relationship with your audience through your podcast. By speaking directly to them, you are building trust with them, and over time they will feel like they know you. Social media can be a great tool to foster that relationship by allowing people to see glimpses into who you are in everyday life and by attaching a face to the voice. If that doesn’t feel comfortable for you, that’s okay too. You can still use social media to engage with your audience. Creating a private Facebook group, responding to comments, answering questions, and thanking people for listening to your show are great ways to build a community.
Additionally, the more listeners feel positively connected to you and your show, the more likely you are to get strong reviews from them on podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts. Every listening platform uses algorithms to determine how podcasts rank within the platform. One factor that determines how high your podcast ranks on search results is how many positive reviews your show has. Basically, reviews tell the algorithm that people enjoy your show and so it follows that other people will, too. So, the more reviews your show has, the better it will perform within the algorithm, leading to more people discovering your show. Of course, positive reviews present social proof that others listen to your show and get value out of the content you provide, which encourages others to press play, as well. Once you feel confident in your content and show quality, asking your listeners to leave reviews on the podcast listening platforms can give your show a boost.
Growing your audience and subscribers is a process that takes time. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight but do take active steps to get your show in front of more people. If you’re ready to start growing, sign up for our StartAPod courses and get a free listing on PodSearch, plus access to potential advertising opportunities.