How To Grow Your Podcast Listenership

increase podcast listenership

Intro

Hosting a podcast is a great way to build relationships with your target audience. Podcasts are a platform to engage your audience in a more personal way and let’s just say…they are listening, commenting and coming back again and again to the podcasts that are entertaining or useful to them in some way.

This article is not about how to start a podcast or how to make it professional, useful and engaging. Your podcast must be all of those things to be successful, not matter how much your promote, advertise and share it. Just like you can spend thousands of dollars driving traffic to your website, if your website is jacked up, no one is going to stick around.

This post is about how to take your podcast and get it out to the masses to grow your listenership.

More people are listening to podcasts than ever before…so let’s get them listening to yours

With more people owning smartphones, podcast consumption is only going to continue to rise. The U.S. podcasting audience is ballooning, and eMarketer projects that growth will continue at least through 2013. By then, there will be 37.6 million people who download podcasts monthly, more than double the 2008 figure of 17.4 million. As a percentage of Internet users, podcast downloaders are expected to grow from 9% in 2008 to 17% in 2013.
A number of factors are driving the growth of the podcast-user base:

  • Greater ease of consumption for podcast content
  • The evolution of smart phones and proliferation of affordable mobile data plans

How to grow your podcast listenership

Optimize your podcast for search

Optimize your feed with your important podcast information in the RSS fields and iTunes fields.

  • Title
  • Talent/host name(s)
  • Description
  • Podcast cover art (1,400 × 1,400 pixels)
  • RSS2 image (144 × 144 pixel edition of your podcast cover art)Categories
  • Keywords (first seven are the most important)Clean, explicit, or standard tag
  • Copyright
  • Language
  • High number of feed items (set by your feed generator: WordPress, PowerPress, or Posts Per Category plugin)

These practices will not help in every directory your podcast (but definitely will for for iTunes) is listed in, but by implement these 6, you will be in the best position to be found through search. Here is a useful article from entrepreneur.com about by doing the following:

1. Tag Everything

Tags are metadata — words and phrases that relate to the podcast they are associated with. Tags are especially important for podcasting, as the text associated with an episode may not include search terms that are relevant to the audio.

2. Create keyword-optimized content

Adding a keyword or two to your podcast’s title can help your podcast to rank better in the iTunes search results, as will adding these target phrases to the description area you’re allotted.

3. Publish quality content

  • Long enough to cover a single topic thoroughly (usually at least five to 10 minutes)
  • Well-researched and factually correct
  • Professionally produced without sound quality issues
  • High-quality overall image

4. A higher number of subscribers versus casual listeners

A higher percentage of subscribers to single downloads demonstrates that people find your content useful.  As this ratio goes up, your average position in iTunes’ search results should increase as well.

5. A high number of listener reviews and comments 

iTunes also likes to see a high number of reviews and comments left on a podcast as it demonstrates that listeners are engaged in your content.

Don’t be afraid to ASK your listeners to post reviews and comments during your podcast or at the end of a post.

6. Older podcasts do better in search

The age of your podcast (not each episode) plays a role in determining its place in the iTunes search results. Though the exact weight of this ranking factor isn’t known, older podcasts tend to be higher in iTunes’ listings. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to manipulate this ranking variable [source]

7. Show notes

Podcast show notes can not only help to get the attention and interest of a potential listener, but it can help in indexing your podcast blog in search engines as well as giving a summary of each podcast recorded.You want to create podcast show notes with a few things in mind to get the most out of them. I pulled these tips for show notes  from the article: What Podcast Listeners Really Want from Your Show Notes 

  • Lots of links to things you talk about in the show, including advertisements 
  • Bullet points
  • Explain inside jokes
  • Times and topics- list the topics covered in the podcast and add what time in the show you talk about them
  • Pictures
  • Introduction of people on the show

Submit your podcast to directories

Only sharing your podcast on itunes is not enough. There are hundreds of directories that will

I spent some time looking at various directories and this site had the best description of sereral directories worth

Here are some of the top ones as researched by

Submitting your Podcast to the right place is crucial when trying to get as many listeners as possible. With many podcasting directories out there it can be confusing to choose the right one. For a comprehensive list of top podcast directories visit Podcasting News. However, in 2013 many of the Podcast directories of the past are dead due to the popularity of iTunes and other easy to use services that are now available.

Below is a recent list from IAIB of the top platforms to submit your Podcast.

iTunes
Considered the King of the Podcasting Directories iTunes has been dominating the Podcasting world since 2007. Its a must for any podcaster to do if you want to get viewers. You can submit your RSS by going to theSubmit Podcast link.

Podcasts on Windows Phone and Zune
2012 was an interesting year for the Zune Marketplace. We saw the death of the Zune brand and the elimination to access of Zune Podcasts Via the web. Microsoft has made some changes but Podcasts are not dead. You can still submit your podcast to Microsoft by sending an email to Rob Greenlee

BlackBerry
BlackBerry has a Podcast Directory and with the launch of Blackberry 10 on the horizon its a great time to get your podcast listed on the Blackberry Podcast Directory. You can submit your podcast by going to thePodcast submission page and creating a RIM podcast account.

Stitcher
Stitcher is a great service that allows you to submit your audio podcast to. You can submit your audio only podcast by going to the Stitcher Content Partner page. Unlike some other services Stitcher has to manually approve your podcast.

Tunein Radio
Tunein is another great app that allows you to listen to your favorite radio station along with your favorite podcasts. You can submit your Podcast to Tunein by sending an email to Broadcast Support. Remember to provide them with the Name of your Podcast, description, and RSS link.

DoubleTwist
DoubleTwist is one of the most popular podcast apps on iOS and Android. You can submit your show by emailing Support with your Podcasts name, RSS, and description.
iTunes
Considered the King of the Podcasting Directories iTunes has been dominating the Podcasting world since 2007. Its a must for any podcaster to do if you want to get viewers. You can submit your RSS by going to the Submit Podcast link.

Podcasts on Windows Phone and Zune
2012 was an interesting year for the Zune Marketplace. We saw the death of the Zune brand and the elimination to access of Zune Podcasts Via the web. Microsoft has made some changes but Podcasts are not dead. You can still submit your podcast to Microsoft by sending an email to Rob Greenlee

BlackBerry
BlackBerry has a Podcast Directory and with the launch of Blackberry 10 on the horizon its a great time to get your podcast listed on the Blackberry Podcast Directory. You can submit your podcast by going to the Podcast submission page and creating a RIM podcast account.

Stitcher
Stitcher is a great service that allows you to submit your audio podcast to. You can submit your audio only podcast by going to the Stitcher Content Partner page. Unlike some other services Stitcher has to manually approve your podcast.

Tunein Radio
Tunein is another great app that allows you to listen to your favorite radio station along with your favorite podcasts. You can submit your Podcast to Tunein by sending an email to Broadcast Support. Remember to provide them with the Name of your Podcast, description, and RSS link.

DoubleTwist
DoubleTwist is one of the most popular podcast apps on iOS and Android. You can submit your show by emailing Support with your Podcasts name, RSS, and description.

Never pay to have your podcast listed in a directory – it is not worth it and you will not get any Return on your Investment.

Additional tips from Podcast Answer Man on podcast 254 about

How To Grow Your Audience And Market Your Podcast!

Link to podcast

Here are bullet points from the show notes- some great stuff!

1. There is power when your show has a narrow niche focus.

2. I suggest only podcasting about things for which you are passionate about.

3. Before you record your first episode, you should know why are you podcasting in the first place. I recommend having a having a mission/purpose for your show.

4. Become crystal clear on exactly who your target audience is! Imagine your occupation was that of a bounty hunter. How hard would your job be if you were not given any clear description of the person you are supposed to be looking for. Same principle applies when trying to go out and find new people to listen to your show!

5. Build it and they will come does not, often, work in podcasting! Creating an amazing show is about 30% of the equation. The other 70% is marketing and relationship building.

6. Obviously, you should submit your podcast to podcast directories like iTunes, Zune, Blackberry, and Stitcher Radio.

7. Content Is King! Create high value content that people can’t live without! It’s an added bonus if your content is so great that they are compelled to share it with others.

8. Entertainment goes a long way. Don’t Be Boring!!!

9. Keep it positive! The world is seeking hope and encouragement! Give it to them!

10. Be ENTHUSIASTIC! Don’t do it more than what is natural for you though!

11. Prepare ahead of time. I spent more than two hours preparing for this episode, thirty minutes in post production, and over an hour on these show notes.

12. Audio Quality Is Queen! Remember that there are times when the Queen will trump the King! Many people, including myself, will not listen to your GREAT CONTENT if your audio quality is not that great!

13) Build relationships with your audience! Learn the first name, last name, and a MINIMUM of at least one other personal fact about AS MANY of the people who download your show as possible.

14. Include the voice of your audience in your show.

15. Thank members of your community publicly, both in your show and in your online efforts.

16. Establish and build meaningful relationships with other content creators in your niche/industry.

17. Create keyword rich titles, show notes, etc for your podcast. And all that other SEO junk. :)

18. Make Yourself newsworthy! http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/newsworthy

19. Interview others in your show.

20. Accept requests for being interviewed on other people’s podcasts and blogs.

21. Consider a press release.

22. Participate in other online (and offline) communities where those in your target audience can be found.

23. Use social media to build authentic relationships with your audience and others.

24. Speak at events where your target audience can be found.

25. Educate your audience on the benefit of podcast subscriptions and teach them how to they can subscribe to your show. See http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/itunes

26. Create a mailing list! This allows you to keep in touch with those who may have fallen out of the habit of downloading or listening to your show for whatever reason.

Don’t be afraid to ask your listeners

Another great way to grow your listenership and subscribers is to ask! During the show, in your show notes, on your site, on social media sites- ask your listeners to comment on, share it or subscribe to your podcast.

On that note, please subscribe to the Better User Experience Podcast, share it with your friends and make comments on iTunes.

Conclusion

Even if you have amazing content and amazing audio quality, you will still need to go out and promote/market your show if you want your audience to grow. Do you have your own podcast? Share it in the comments!

About the Author

Director of Marketing at Little Wing Marketing in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Specializing in User Centered Web Design, Web Analytics & Strategic Planning, User Testing & Design Iteration & Effective Internet Marketing. Twitter @jennacurry LinkedIn, Google+

2 comments on “How To Grow Your Podcast Listenership

  1. Pingback: 8 Ways to Repurpose Content in Your Online Community | Groupsite

  2. Great article, thanks!

    I’m slowly building a fantastic, engaged audience for my Photography Business Xposed podcast, focusing on the business of running a successful portrait and/or wedding photography business.

    One thing I’ve just started experimenting with with is targeted Facebook advertising and its proving to work.

    I promote a status update and link to to an episode and target the promoted post to the “fans” of the interviewee & relevant FB groups. With my first $10 spend, I’ve seen over 60 new “listens” to an episode released 3 months ago.

    I’ll continue to test but its looking worthwhile.

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