In the early days of a podcast, every host wants the same thing: to grow their podcast audience. You’ve worked for weeks, if not months, to launch your show, and now you want to share it with as many people as possible!

For most hosts, the reality of running a podcast is very different. For a long time, it might feel like no one is listening. Your show isn’t going anywhere, never mind to the top of New & Noteworthy. While you’re having a great time recording and publishing your podcast, getting listeners and subscribers is actually really hard!

That’s ok! You don’t have a huge platform to stand on, or an army of fans to propel you to 1000 subscribers overnight. You’re not a marketing or an SEO or even a production expert. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow your podcast audience and create a thriving community for your show. That doesn’t mean you should give up, either. It does mean understanding a thing or two about marketing a podcast the right way.

In this guide, I’ll talk you through 3 simple strategies for growing your podcast audience. 

Podcast Marketing Not Working? Here’s Where You’re Going Wrong (And How To Fix It)

There are loads of quick, easy and accessible ways to market your podcast, but we work with a lot of podcasters who are disappointed when their efforts fail to draw in new listeners or boost their download stats. If this sounds like you, here’s where you’re going wrong.

If your objective is to grow your audience and get more podcast listeners, promoting on an episode-by-episode basis won’t do much to get you the growth you’re looking for.

Why?

Unlike other mediums, podcasts have to use a different approach to get people through the door. It’s a lot of commitment to go from the feed to actively listening to a podcast episode, even just for a trailer. 

Instead, you need to focus on attracting new listeners and showing them how and where to listen. You need to welcome them to your community and build a brand that they want to be a part of. That way, you’ll create raving fans and advocates out of your existing listeners who will share and introduce your podcast to newer ones. 

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Read on for 3 ways to grow your podcast audience using simple marketing strategies.

1. Market to the listeners who don’t know about podcasting

Yes! In this day and age, there are people who don’t know about podcasts! According to Edison Research, 68% of US citizens listened to some form of online audio in the last month (and that’s just North America alone!) What about the other 32%? 

You need to not only teach people that podcasts do exist, but even better, that your show exists! Tell them what a podcast is, how they can listen in and how they can find your show by searching for it on their favorite audio app. It’s important to let people know that it’s free to subscribe, and where to find you on social media. 

People need to know that listening is easy and that it will be enjoyable. At the beginning and the end of each episode, ask for feedback or invite questions – it’s a simple and casual way to invite conversation and engagement from new listeners, and makes them feel part of a community that really values them. Building this kind of relationship early on is a strong way to create loyal fans who will go on to share your podcast further down the line.

2. Expand your reach and discoverability

Ok, ‘reach’ and ‘discoverability’ are a bit buzzword-y, but getting your podcast ‘out there’ for people to find is a hugely important marketing move, whether you’ve just launched or are months down the road. There are lots of ways to do this, but the main route is to submit to as many directories and aggregators as you can. This immediately makes your podcast discoverable to millions of potential listeners looking for new shows. 

But how do you find them, and how do you win them over?

Create an effective podcast trailer and some brand-level marketing. Grab testimonials and reviews from Apple Podcasts and Podchaser to show just how good your show is. Cross-promote via guesting on other podcasts or share promo swaps will similar shows in your niche. Connect with relevant press outlets, podcast magazines or events. Do some very basic podcast SEO. Network, network, network!

Your podcast host should make distribution easy for you. Hosts such as Captivate, allow you to submit to over 17 listening apps and sites in a single click, with more being added all the time. They also make it easy for new listeners to subscribe to your show via their preferred app with our handy single subscription link and embedded calls-to-action. 

3. Create content that really matters to people

When it comes to gaining new listeners, word of mouth recommendation is the most powerful tool you have. As a podcast host, you should aim to create the very best content that stirs up enough emotion for someone to pick up their device, share your episode, leave a review or tweet about it to their followers.

Creating content that is low quality (audio and content wise) isn’t going to stand the test of time, nor is it going to create enough buzz to draw in new listeners in the long run. The winners in podcasting create episodes that make their listener smile, laugh, cry, and makes them want to tell someone about what they heard!

If your existing listeners aren’t sharing your podcast or shouting about it online, it’s probably because you aren’t creating content that really matters to them. This is where getting their feedback and asking them what they’d like to hear really comes in play. You produce the podcast, yes, but at the end of the day, your listeners are the driving force behind the success of your show. 

How to market your podcast: a recap

There are hundreds of ways to promote your podcast, but without understanding how podcast marketing actually works, you probably won’t get the listeners you want. The good news is that if you use the 3 tactics in this article, you’ll be rewarded with a sustainable growth strategy that helps your podcast get shared, discovered and builds real rapport with your listeners.