15 ways to grow your podcast audience

Podcasting Jun 08, 2020

Podcasting is a long, hard game. You need to put the hours in and promote as much as possible to grow your podcast audience. You don't have an algorithm to help push your podcast out to new listeners, you have to earn each and every one of them.

However, this can work in your favour. It means you're not always fighting the algorithm and you can come up with creative ways to reach a new audience and engage your current listeners.

With my podcast, the Marketing Mashup I’ve found numerous ways to promote and grow my podcast audience and I wanted to share 15 of the best with you. These 15 things are actionable things that you can start doing right away.

1. Guest on another podcast

This is usually by far the best way to see growth in your podcast. Guesting on another podcast and talking about your own, or having them mention your podcast in the intro will help you find an audience who are already podcast listeners in your target audience. People who listen to podcasts are always on the lookout for other podcasts. If you're wondering how to reach out to feature as a guest on other people's podcasts, have a look at my thread:

2. Write a transcript

Having a full transcript can provide huge SEO benefits, not to mention having a full written copy of your episode that you can turn into other content. It also helps your podcast become more accessible to those that are hard of hearing.

It's a no brainer when it's as easy and cheap as it is currently. You could either get it done via Rev for as little as $1.25 per minute or use a platform such as Veed ($20 p/m) and export the transcription.

3. Create a promotional video

You've recorded up to an hour of amazing content with some even better soundbites - use them! Pick out 2 or 3 clips from your podcast and turn them into a video.

You can use a platform such as Veed or Headliner to create a fantastic video with your audio visualised that you can share on your social channels.

Here's the promotional video I use for the Marketing Mashup.

4. Post on your social channels

This may well be the most obvious tip but I'm surprised at the amount of people that don't do this. When you're sharing on your social channels make sure you're providing value natively to the platform and not just posting a link. Posting a link will push you down in the algorithm and it's also not that interesting for people to read!

On Twitter, post a thread with your key learnings (like with my Patrick Campbell episode promotion above). On LinkedIn, post 5 things to takeaway from that episode and ask a question at the end.

Be aware of the platform you're posting to and the value you're providing.

5. Ask your guests to share

Leverage the network of your guests (if your show has guests) to get your podcast out there. Be aware of the audience size your guests have when you're booking them in. It's not essential but it definitely very useful to have a guest that can significantly amplify your podcast to a new audience or even engage an existing one.

Make it as easy for them as possible to do this. Create episode quotes for them in Canva and send them a follow up email containing all the links they need to share. You can send them the file for the promo video too.

A common mistake people make when promoting their podcast is not sharing the links to the most popular podcast players. They'll usually just post the Apple Podcasts or Spotify link, forgetting that this will alienate those that don't use the most popular players.

Make it as easy as possible for your listeners to listen to your podcast. Post at least a web link, a Spotify link and the Apple podcasts link. On your website, try to include as many links as you can.

While Apple Podcasts does seem to still be the most popular, people listen on a variety of different players.

7. Write a blog post with key learnings

If you've got a full transcript or you edit your podcast yourself, this is another really easy thing to do. Take out some key points from your transcript and turn it into a blog post. Either post it on Medium, LinkedIn, or your podcast/business/personal website.

If you edit your own show, take notes as you're going about things you've learned from that particular episode. Copy and paste it into a blog post and pad out some of the points.

This will have SEO benefits and give people a little taste into your podcast before they listen to the whole thing.

Bonus tip: embed the podcast player into the post like this:

8. Write a Reddit post with key learnings

Reddit can be a scary place if you're new, but it's also a great way to pick up new listeners. Be active in subreddits relevant to your podcast and post it there. Much like with posting on social media, make sure you're not just being self-promotional and actually provide some useful information on the platform.

Before you post, research some relevant subreddits and start engaging with other posts. They won't take kindly if you are always just posting your own episodes without giving back.

9. Post in communities you're active in

Much like with Reddit this can be hugely powerful. It takes a little extra time and effort but can really help elevate your podcast if you're in the right communities. Put in some time researching some great online communities that are relevant to your podcast and start to be active.

I'm active in a lot of marketing Slack groups, Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups where I'm able to post my podcast and it will get some nice responses. Some communities even have self-promotional channels that are solely for that purpose.

Here's Tom Hunt of Confessions of a B2B Marketer posting in the Indie London Slack

10. Create an email list

An email list is the holy grail of marketing I think. Having direct access to your most engaged audience's inbox is perfect - but don't abuse it.

When they sign up ensure they know exactly what they're getting and when.

Once you start to build up an email list you can promote your episode when it comes out. If you have a segment purely for 'podcast subscribers' you'll be able to notify everyone that you have a new episode.

He doesn't have a podcast (yet) but I really like how Harry Dry of Marketing Examples gets people to sign up to his email list:

11. Film your podcast

It's likely that if you're a person that lives on this planet, you'll have seen a Joe Rogan clip on YouTube. He films every single episode, uploads the whole thing to his YouTube channel and also cuts down a ton of clips from the recording that turn into viral sensations.

His full episode with Elon Musk has over 34 million views!

12. Set up ads

Paid advertising on Google and the social platforms can be a really good way to learn more about your target audience and to gain new listeners. It's a lot more direct than the other methods, but it's also a lot more tangible and trackable. You'll be able to see a distinctive return on investment.

I am no expert on paid ads, it's something I'm experimenting with the Marketing Mashup currently. I'd book some time with someone like Olly Meakings who'll be able to get you up to speed on how to start advertising.

13. Turn key learnings into a LinkedIn/Instagram slideshow

Take the post you've written on your social platforms and blog, pop it into Canva and make a multi-page slideshow to post on LinkedIn or Instagram.

This sort of thing from Tom Ross is ideal:

View this post on Instagram

Just over a month ago I decided to stop thinking about posting content on LinkedIn and start doing it! - I posted 30 days in a row. - The results were really interesting! The organic reach definitely showed more potential than Instagram overall. - I trended 3 times on some big hashtags, got thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. - Plus, I felt I was reaching a truly new audience for the most part. - Where I ‘failed’ was engagement. I barely kept up with responding to folk on yet another platform, and this is not good strategy for growth. I also didn’t promote my LinkedIn during this time, as I wanted to see what the content alone did for my brand. - Interestingly, I thought no direct business benefits had come from my experiment, until one of my new coaching students admitted to discovering me on that platform. - No social platform pops overnight, if anything growth compounds slowly over time. - My plan is for my assistant Ishan to now keep repurposing my content to LinkedIn, and find a sustainable way to handle community management on that platform myself, plus promote it. - If you’re looking to capitalise on organic reach and a thriving network of professionals, LinkedIn is worth your time. I’ve seen way more progress in 1 month of that platform vs my first month on Instagram. I can only imagine what 2 years of consistent execution and effort would achieve. - #Businessofdesign #contentcreators #instagramstrategy #socialmediastrategy #contentplanning #graphicdesign #graphicdesigner #freelancedesign #freelancedesigner #personalbrand #personalbranding #businessmentor #marketing101 #brandmarketing #instamarketing #businessmarketing #digitalmarketingtips #entrepreneurmotivation #creativemarketing #onlinemarketingtips #marketing #businesstrategy #marketingsocial #instagramforbusiness #businesstip #entrepreneursofinstagram #creativebusiness #homebasedbusiness #businesscoaching #marketingadvice

A post shared by Tom Ross • Marketing Coach (@tomrossmedia) on

14. Submit to podcast aggregators

If your podcast is only on Apple Podcasts you're missing out on the majority of the podcast listening market. Use a host such as Transistor to ensure your podcast is submitted to all of the aggregators below:

  1. Overcast
  2. Stitcher
  3. Podcast Addict
  4. Podcast subreddit
  5. PodcastLand
  6. TuneIn
  7. Bello Collective
  8. Castro
  9. Podcast Republic
  10. Downcast

15. Post on PodHunt

PodHunt is a place for people who are looking to listen to new podcasts. You can submit your podcast here with a link and people can upvote it.

I always find new, fantastic podcasts through PodHunt.

There you have it, 15 ways to grow your podcast audience that you can start doing today. Stop messing around with your podcast and start promoting!

James McKinven

I'm the founder of Striqo and host of the Marketing Mashup podcast. My goal is to get as many people using video and podcasting in their marketing machine.

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