Blog

How to Grow Your Podcast Audience Organically - 10 Easy Ways

Content

How to Grow Your Podcast Audience Organically - 10 Easy Ways

Starting a podcast is hard—but building it is, arguably, even harder.

It can be frustrating to put in time and effort creating high-quality recordings and putting them out in the ether, just to hear crickets in response. That’s why you need a solid, step-by-step plan for growing your podcast audience organically. 

And you’re in luck! We have just the thing here for you today. Read on to learn how to build a podcast listener base from the ground up. 

10 Steps to Grow Your Podcast Audience

1. Prep for Launch

If you haven’t started your podcast already, the best thing you can do is to do your homework ahead of time so that you can launch intentionally. 

Start your prep work by thinking about your target audience. Create a listener persona—a detailed profile of your ideal listener. Be as specific as possible, answering questions like:

  • What age are they?
  • What are their interests?
  • Where do they live?
  • What’s their sense of humor like?
  • What kind of job do they have?
  • Why will they listen to your podcast?

It might feel counterintuitive to narrow down your target listener—but trying to appeal to everyone often means you won’t appeal to anyone.

Use your target listener persona to create everything about your podcast, from its name, to show artwork and music, to the format and tone of the content itself. If your ideal listener can’t connect to your podcast, you’ll likely struggle to grow your subscriber base.

If you need inspiration on what kind of podcast to start, check out our article:  100+ Creative Podcast Topics Ideas in 2023

Then, start recording. We recommend building a backlog of 5-10 episodes before you officially launch your podcast. 

2. Create a Podcast Website

Your listeners will find and experience your podcast through their favorite podcast listening app—but that doesn’t mean you should have an appealing podcast website. A good site can help grow your podcast audience by providing a home base for your marketing.

How Talking Sopranos grows their podcast with a website
Talking Sopranos

Relying on other platforms—like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Twitter, and Instagram—means you don’t have full control of your content. They could shut down unexpectedly or change their content guidelines, meaning you’ll be left scrambling to adjust. 

Your own podcast website, on the other hand, is something you own and fully control. It’s a place you can point listeners to, where they can sample a few episodes, read about you, and sign up for your email newsletter (more on that later).

Your website is also a great place to diversify your content channels. Use your show notes and complete transcriptions to repurpose podcast episodes into blog posts for those of your audience who prefer reading. That written content helps build an audience and gets your site ranked higher on Google—which draws even more traffic.

3. Submit Your Show to Every Podcast App and Directory

Growing your podcast by posting on directories like Apple Podcasts
Apple Podcasts

Podcast directories are the primary way your audience finds you. If you want to get your show in front of as many eyes as possible, you can’t skip this step.

A podcast directory is a listening app where your audience can find, subscribe to, and download new episodes to their phones. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the most popular podcast directories:

  • Spotify
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Stitcher
  • Google Podcasts

These apps use your show’s RSS feed to update automatically whenever a new episode drops. Users subscribe to their favorite shows to get updates and automatic downloads. 

Many directories simply aggregate content from Apple Podcasts, so some podcasters submit their RSS feed there and call it a day. But to maximize your show’s reach, you need to do a little more legwork. 

Check out our guide to the top podcast directories to submit your RSS feed for the best visibility.

4. Leverage the Power of Interviewees

Interview shows are popular for a reason. Inviting guests—like experts in your niche, other podcasters, and people your audience simply wants to hear from—means you get access to a broader range of listeners. 

Each guest has their own audience, which means that if they promote their appearance on your episode, their fans are likely to discover your show and love it. Essentially, an interview show provides free marketing.

To maximize your show’s reach with each guest’s audience, set them up for success. (After all, the easier you make it for them, the more likely they will do it.)

Provide each new guest with a press kit containing things like:

  • Quotes and clips from the recording
  • Social media post ideas, complete with images, videos, and any hashtags you want them to use
  • Your podcast logo and/or artwork
  • A unique URL to your website (unique URLs are trackable and let you see how many visits your guest generated)

5. Use a CTA in Every Episode

Don’t forget to leverage the power of your own audience, too. You’d be surprised at how many of your listeners would be willing to take action if you just ask. 

Every podcast episode is a chance to mobilize your audience. Include a call-to-action (CTA) somewhere in the episode asking listeners to do things like:

  • Subscribe to, rate, and review your show on their podcast app: This helps you get discovered by other users of that app
  • Tweet their questions at you: This helps with visibility on social media
  • Join your show’s Facebook group: This helps create a community around your show.

Essentially, each CTA should ask your audience to take a specific (yet easy) action to help get the word out about your show and develop an active, positive community around it.

6. Optimize for Search

One key to growing your podcast is making it as easy as possible for new listeners to find. While there are many SEO tricks to ranking higher in search results for your website, you can also optimize your podcast itself to be more discoverable across all podcast platforms.

There’s a place for creativity, but don’t sacrifice utility just for witty copy. Write an informative podcast description that convinces new visitors to try the show. Include keywords and information on the content of the episode. Reference your credentials and those of your guests, and to make things easier for listeners, include timestamps for different segments of your show.

Optimizing descriptions to grow a podcast audience with SEO
Apple Podcasts

Each episode title should also be informative, clearly describing the episode’s topic, event, and/or guest name. 

Don’t just use generic numbers (“B2B Podcast #89”) or rely on clickbait-y titles. Think about what people will actually search for (for example, “business advice,” “productivity,” or “meditation.”).

7. Maximize Your Show’s Reach With Video

We hear you—podcasting is an audio medium! If you wanted to create a video show, you’d start a YouTube channel, right?

Well… not necessarily.

With the over-saturation of podcasts vying for listeners’ attention, video podcasts stand out from the crowd more easily. YouTube is also pushing more towards podcasts with its new podcast page.

Consider taking videos of your host and guests as they record so that you can share full-length episodes on YouTube and promotional video clips on social media. By adding a video element, you can open up your show to more platforms (and potentially tap into a new audience base). 

8. Network on Social Media

Growing your podcast through networking on social media
Podcasters' Support Group

You probably know that your show needs its own social media account—but remember that your social platform should be about more than simply sharing new episodes. To maximize your reach and grow your podcast, you must network and build a community online.

We recommend picking one app when starting your podcast marketing journey. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or spread yourself too thin, especially if you’re a solo content creator.

No matter which social media platform you choose, focus on following and interacting with accounts that relate to your show. Perhaps you follow fellow podcasters in your niche. Or, maybe you join Facebook groups for your chosen topic and/or for new podcasters. 

Look for opportunities to provide value and encourage others. The more connections you make on social media, the easier it is to establish your authority in your niche, find guest opportunities, and grow your listener base.

9. Cross-Promote with Other Podcasts 

Once you’ve built a modest listenership, don’t underestimate the power of cross-promotion. 

One easy way to promote your podcast is to appear on a similar podcast as a guest. Demonstrate your unique expertise and conversational style to a whole new audience, and you may find yourself with a truckload of new subscribers. 

And it works the other way, too; invite other podcasters in your niche to guest on your show, and you can bet that they’ll promote that episode to their fans. You’ll each help each other grow your audience base, all while creating unique and exciting content for your own subscribers.

Of course, to be successful at cross-promotion, you have to offer real value to your peers’ listeners. Don’t just reach out to every podcaster you can find and ask them to promote your show or have you on as a guest. Partnering with other podcasts starts with laying the groundwork by integrating yourself into the podcast community

Be supportive of others (instead of being a walking sales pitch for yourself), and demonstrate your expertise and ability to bring value to any podcast where you appear.

If you’re struggling to find podcasts to partner with, you can use services like Interview Valet to help you find and book guest spots.

10. Create a Repeatable Marketing Process

Promoting your show online is more manageable when following a regular post-production workflow. For instance, your marketing process might include the following:

  • Turn the episode into a blog page on your website, including show notes and/or a transcription
  • Send a press kit to each remote interview guest
  • Write five Tweets and three Facebook posts promoting the episode
  • Create an audiogram or video clip for each social post
  • Notify your email subscribers and cross-promotion partners about the new episode so they can listen and share

Every podcaster’s post-production marketing workflow looks different. Set up a reliable process that works for you and ensures no new episodes go unnoticed.

Bonus: How to increase engagement with your audience

The steps listed above are a great place to start if you want to build a podcast listener base. But they’re not the only techniques for maximizing your podcast’s exposure!

If you’re ready for more advanced tips to grow your podcast, try the following:

  • Run contests and giveaways. Your listeners might be willing to take a specific action—like leave a review on Apple Podcasts, for instance—if they’re likely to win free stuff out of the deal.
  • Use paid advertising. If you have the budget, purchase ad space on other podcasts that your target audience already listens to. Be sure to purchase at least a month of ad spots to ensure your ads have a maximal effect. You can also buy Google or social media ads to target potential listeners.
  • Go live. Things like live streaming and accepting live call-ins encourage real-time conversations with your audience and boost listener engagement.
  • Ask your audience for input. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they want to hear more of. Post on social media or make an announcement on your show asking for feedback—you’d be surprised how many great ideas you’ll receive that way! 
  • Start an email newsletter. Once you’re ready, branch out into other content channels! Email marketing is a great way to provide valuable, interesting content to your audience base. And having an email list means you’re primed to start building up multiple revenue streams by selling merch, paid content, and courses. You can use tools like Mailchimp and Contstant Contact to build an email list and schedule email marketing campaigns.

FAQs on How to Grow a Podcast

Where should you post your podcast?

To maximize your show’s reach, you should submit your podcast’s RSS feed to as many podcast directories as possible, starting with:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Google Podcasts
  • Stitcher
  • TuneIn
  • Amazon Music and Audible
  • iHeartRadio
  • Podchaser

What is the best day to release a podcast?

The best day to release a podcast—for you—depends on your unique podcast and audience. Experiment with release days and pick the time that sees the best download numbers.

Many seasoned pros swear that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 5 AM are the optimal times to drop a new episode. Others say only to release on weekdays, while some see great success with a Sunday-only release date. 

For instance, Crooked Media’s Offline with Jon Favreau is a Sunday show for detoxing from a chronically online existence with smart conversations about how the internet shapes our lives. The show doesn’t follow any standard episode release day rules, but no one can deny that it’s popular with listeners.

How can I make my podcast more popular?

Podcast growth is not a one-and-done checklist. 

The steps listed in this article will help you increase your listenership and build followers—but you have to keep repeating them to see continued growth. 

The podcast game is a process of continually evolving: creating content, publishing and marketing it, listening to your audience, adjusting, and then starting the cycle again. 

How long does a podcast take to grow?

There are no shortcuts to building a podcast audience. Generally, you can expect it to take at least six months to see a significant uptick in your podcast downloads. 

Following all of the steps listed above helps you put your best foot forward and set your show up for success—but still, growing a podcast takes time. Focus on consistently publishing (and marketing) valuable content for your target audience, and you’ll eventually reap the rewards.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Highly curated content, case studies, Riverside updates, and more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related articles

15

min read

How to Make an Audiobook: 10 Easy Steps for Beginners

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

13

min read

Headliner App Review: A Marketing Tool for Podcasters

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

11

min read

Best Video Recording Apps for iPhone in 2023 (All Skill Levels)

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

Try Riverside today

The next gen podcast and video creation platform for creators.

Get Started
Start recording with Riverside
Easily record high-quality podcasts & videos remotely
Get Started
“YouTube has the infrastructure to introduce audio hosting and origination, and match it to video with all the rich analytics it already provides. A seamless creator experience, plus SEO marketing tools, plus the benefit of being a platform most have been conditioned to equal. Give it a turn-key opportunity to activate a more cohesive strategy around both video and audio, to the benefit of all parties.”
A.J. Feliciano | Head of Podcast Network
“People are working from home more and more. Audio-only is not as in-demand because the need to multitask while commuting is no longer there.”
Stone Roshell | Head of Podcast Production
“Live streaming may become the biggest way to grow using video for your podcast.”
Stone Roshell | Head of Podcast Production
“With major platforms like Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube putting more resources into video podcasts.. now is a uniquely opportune moment for smart creators to harness that energy by investing in video for audience growth.”
Ryan Duffy | Head of Audio Operations