Once you're at the stage where you're creating episodes that people want to listen to and share, and your website makes it easy for them to do that, you can look at getting in front of more potential listeners.
The internet is a busy place nowadays. Scroll through any social media feed and you'll see people's podcasts, videos, blog posts, ebooks, courses, webinars, etc. Is there a way to break through the noise instead of just becoming part of it?
Not that there's anything wrong with posting about your latest episode (as long as you're not doing it repeatedly in a ‘spammy' way) – it's just that this isn't really going to grow your audience by winning over lots of new subscribers.
So what are the alternatives? What else can you do to promote your work?
Being Interviewed on Other Podcasts
This is, hands down, the most effective way of finding new listeners. I'm going to state the obvious here, but being on another podcast gets you in front of actual podcast listeners.
Here's a group of people who know exactly what a podcast is, know how to subscribe to one, and who – presumably – are interested in your topic or niche.
That's a key point, because there's no point trying to get yourself interviewed on a podcast about golf when your own podcast is about baking. You need to go where your target audience are.
So how do you go about getting interviewed on someone's podcast? A good place to start is with the shows you really like that have similar topics to your own.
Reach out to the presenter of a show you'd like to guest on. Explain succinctly what you can bring to the table that's going to inform or entertain his or her audience. Tell them what you like about their show too. All podcasters value feedback, and it shows that you aren't just a “cold caller” carpet bombing everyone with a generic interview request.
Be prepared for a few knock-backs, and even a few people who might not reply. Don't take these setbacks personally. People are busy, and these things are rarely done with malice.
Interview Others in Your Niche
Your podcast might not be an interview show as such, but you have the freedom to throw one in now and then. You're the boss, and as long as it's something your audience will benefit from, then having a chat with an expert or authority in your field can produce a quality episode.
If you think about some of the people in your topic that you'd like to interview, they will each have their own following, too.
Not only do you get your guest's opinions and expertise in your episode, you also have the opportunity to tap into their audience.
Once the episode goes live, e-mail your guest to let them know, and ask them if they wouldn't mind sharing it on their social media channels.
If they do, a few people are going to be checking out your podcast for the first time. If they like what they hear, they'll listen to a few more of your episodes and hopefully hit the subscribe button too.
Again, with podcast guests, start with who's going to bring the most value to your listeners, rather than who has the biggest audience. And be prepared for a few knock-backs too, as we talked about in the last section.
You might also want to check out an article I wrote called ‘How to Find Podcast Guests‘, which might give you some ideas on this front.
Whatever your topic or niche may be, there'll be online communities full of people who share the same interests or face the same issues.
That doesn't mean you should go rampaging around plastering links to your podcast everywhere though. People tend to react negatively to that, and consider it spammy.
That's not how you'd behave in a ‘real life' conversation, so treat people with respect. Engage in conversation, ask and answer questions, and become part of that community.
The subject of your podcast is going to come up time and time again, and not in a spammy or intrusive way.
Not only can you attract new listeners in an online community, you'll get lots of ideas for future episode topics, meet potential interviewees for the show, and make new friends within your niche.
Even in the golden age of the internet, there's still a lot to be said for getting out and attending events offline.
Connecting with someone on Twitter or Facebook is no substitute for meeting and chatting to them in real life. The former absolutely has its place and its benefits yes, but if you can only ever be found behind the screen of your laptop then you're missing out on a lot of opportunities.
There's bound to be a few different conferences, events, or groups who meet regularly in your own specific field. Choose one or two and make a commitment to attend.
Though you might not necessarily be a business owner, I'd recommend this episode of the UK Business Startup podcast, which takes a deep dive into networking at events.
On top of that, get some business cards made for your podcast. Have a clear link to your website on them, and if you've followed the advice in the last chapter then it's going to be easy for people to listen and subscribe to your show.
You might have noticed by now that I haven't given you “this one simple trick” for getting a few thousand more downloads. That's because it doesn't exist.
People like the idea of “shortcuts” and “hacks” because they offer the most amount of results for the least amount of work. Some methods might offer you one big download spike but, like lighting fire to a piece of paper, it burns brightly for a few seconds then goes out.
To grow an audience means subscribers. People who want to hear every single episode you put out there.
I hope that you've found this series helpful and now have lots of different ideas about how you're going to build an audience around your show. I'd also love to get your feedback and find out what methods listed here you're thinking of trying yourself.
Let me know in the comments section below.