When you google how to start a podcast, recording equipment are usually the most common search results to show up. Yes, this is necessary beginning information. Equipment can help the sound of your podcast, but it can’t help you grow your podcast audience. You need other tools for that. In this post, I’m going to share with you some simple, free tools that you can use to grow your audience by opening up the lines of communication with them.
The tools we’ll cover are:
- Podchaser -to be searchable
- AWeber -for a direct line to your audience’s inbox
- Click to Tweet- to help them spread the word about your podcast
- Eventbrite -to schedule & promote live recordings
- Videoask-to get feedback on your events
Real Audience Growth Is Slow
“How do I grow my audience?” is a common question podcasters ask for the first or first few episodes. I get it. You’ve spent a lot of time getting everything set up . Now you need to grow your podcast audience. We’ve all been there.
And that’s why I need to use a bit of tough love here. Because you need to hear this now and not later. Are you ready?
There Isn’t a Silver Bullet to Grow Your Podcast Audience
There isn’t a quick fix to growing your podcast audience. If there were, there would be many Joe you know whos, not just one.
You need to create spaces to connect with your audience, in order to bring them into your podcast world. Think of it like the process of making friends. I mean real friends, not acquaintances. You don’t meet someone for the first time and say, “Hey, wanna be my friend?” It takes time, repeated interactions and connection moments for friendships to develop.
Contrary to popular belief, growing your podcast audience slowly is good. It shows that trust is being built, and that your listeners are turning into fans.
Grow Your Podcast Audience With Forever Spaces
Free tools: Podchaser & AWeber
The first thing that you want to do is create a forever space: a space where your audience can follow you and your creations, no matter what they become.
You can create a space for your current podcast on Facebook and on your own website. But, there are two more spaces that will help you create a more searchable and impactful forever audience: Podchaser and newsletter sites like AWeber.
Podchaser as a Searchable Forever Space to Grow Your Podcast Audience
Podchaser is a directory where you can add every podcastery thing that you do, as you produce new content. You can even list your guest appearances on other podcasts there. You can create an audio resume, make easily sharable playlists of your episodes, and be easily found by new listeners. With Podchaser’s new API, this searchability will only increase in the future. If you fill out your Podchaser profile early and share it visibly, you’ll also end up on other people’s Podchaser playlists.
Use AWeber as an Interactive Forever Space
You also want to send information directly to your audience. Most indie podcasters wait a long time to start their email list. Don’t. I did, and I deeply regret it. Four years later and 10 podcasts in and I guarantee you I’ve lost some fans when switching from one podcast to another, because I didn’t have a forever space. I acted like each podcast change was what I would be doing from then on. It wasn’t. It rarely is. We are creators that change and grow, so allow your audience to grow with you.
This is where your email newsletter comes in.
There is an assumption that you have to create a super complex, weekly newsletter in order to have a newsletter. Nope. I’ve seen heaps of podcast newsletters that are very quick and simple. A few of my favorites include:
- new episode player and summary paragraph
- list of new episodes released in the past month with links and maybe images
- a personal message with a quick, behind the scenes moment and the episode player
The point with a newsletter is to get direct information to your audience, that they’ll actually receive. Follows can look sexy when the number gets high but most posts go unseen. Social streams just move too fast nowadays. Social media is a good place to find someone, but NOT a good place to keep up with them. Go look at the stats about it, it’s horrifying. Even with the best hashtags and mentions, your messages can get lost in the mix. But with a newsletter, the email will be sent. So, start early and build up your newsletter slowly.
Make It Easy for Your Audience to Share
Free tools: Click To Tweet
A quick and easy call to action (CTA) tool that can be used in your newsletter and on the socials is Click To Tweet. Using this free service, you can pre-write a tweet for your audience to, well, click on to tweet your message.
All you need to do is write the tweet in their platform, copy the link, and add that to your CTA. Here’s a tester example I did this month for Podcast Review Day.
I know you love data for your CTAs, so I need to mention that the Click To Tweet folks provide stats for your clicks that are tweeted. Here are some for the above link that I posted on Twitter.
TIP: Not everyone is on Twitter, so, in my CTAs I add an all media twist. I tell my audience that if they don’t use Twitter they can copy the click to tweet text over into any social media post. Either way, it’s an easy way to grow your podcast audience. They’ll feel like they’re helping to build your podcast community. They are, and, you’re helping them do it quicker and easier. Win-win.
Celebrate Your Podcast
Free tools: Eventbrite & Videoask
Two things that Podcasters forget to do to grow their podcast audience are planning breaks and celebrating special moments. For celebrations you don’t have to wait for your 100th episode. Instead, host a live recording on your 10th episode or after 3 months. People love celebrations so if you can think of a reason to have one, listeners will be on board.
Or, maybe you could live release a montage episode. Some Podcasters even do a live recording for every episode and use Eventbrite as a way to schedule, announce and attract attention for this live event. There’s so much room for using Eventbrite’s free services. And, there are also expanding paid services, if you grow into needing more later. Do remember to automatically save email addresses when people sign up for your events. This way your event participants turn into your forever audience.
After your event, send a video request to your participants as a quick survey CTA. Keep it simple and friendly. Thank them for participating, share where they can view the event replay and ask 1 question. Videoask is exactly as it sounds, a video recording of YOU, asking a question. You can select if they can reply via text, voice or video.
TIP: If you want one type of reply (ex: videos), select that option only. Your audience will fill it out. I opened my survey to all 3 methods and was bummed to get mostly text messages. Boring! But, A friend of mine said that when he selected only video replies he still got a fair amount of feedback.
Slow and Steady Grows Your Podcast Audience
It’s not easy to grow your podcast audience. But, if you spend more time on building a forever audience using the above free tools, then you will see progress. You’ll make deeper podcast audience connections. And isn’t that the kind of growing your podcast audience you’re looking for?
If you’re looking for more free tools, you should take a look at our free graphics library. There’s lots of images you can use for your blog posts and show notes. You owe it to yourself to check out our book, Podcast Growth. This is loaded with actionable strategies to help you cultivate your audience.
And, while you’re testing out the above tools to grow your podcast audience, you may want to check out the Podcast Host Academy. You’ll get instant access to 22 in-depth courses, 100s of video lessons, dozens of hours of learning, live support sessions, free theme music, ebooks, checklists, sponsorship & affiliate catalog, & more! The pearls of wisdom in these posts are just the tip of the iceberg, my pod friend.