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How To Grow A Podcast Audience in 2020 and 2021
Ask your listeners within the first 30 seconds of each show.
Post podcast episodes on a strict schedule and stick to that schedule. Announce your schedule at the beginning of each episode.
Maintain good audio quality production for every episode.
Add a blog post or transcript for every podcast episode.
Create an accompanying YouTube video for every podcast episode.
Our job is to push people to any podcast and to increase listens, plays, and downloads. Podcasters on our podcast network are always asking for strategies on converting those people who listen and download into subscribers who come back time and time again to listen to the newest episodes. We have seen a lot of mistakes made by podcasters in this attempt and this blog post and article will help mitigate those concerns.
1. How can podcasts increase their subscribers and fan base?
The plain truth, subscribers are always more important than plays. That is because when people play your podcast episodes, they may or may not be enticed to listen to more of your episodes. As it is the job of the podcaster to get those people to subscribe, there are five things you can do to get the people who listen to become your subscriber.
In the beginning of your podcast episode, ask listeners to subscribe.
Yes, it is a simple request and asking it, most people will subscribe. Podcasters can take a lesson from YouTube video creators. YouTube video creators do it all the time. In YouTube videos, the request to subscribe is usually mentioned in the first 30 seconds of the video. That is because video creators never know when a viewer will get bored and drop off. Since YouTube measures retention rate and places a huge value on it, which also influences video search results, podcasters should do the same. You never know when a play or download is coming from a listener who is ready to go to bed or got home from work. Likewise, they can also be listening early in the morning before they leave for work, driving in the car to the office, or jogging. At any time in your podcast episode, the listener can simply tune out. It is a good idea to get them to subscribe early and often. Podcasters can ask this in the beginning of each episode, because we never know which episode a listener will come from and what your first episode will be that they start listening. Add that request to every single episode, always within the first 30 to 60 seconds.
It is all about your first 30 seconds
What do we say to get people to subscribe within the first 30 seconds? We simple state a benefit for joining your podcast and why they should subscribe. Tell them the value of them subscribing. For example, if your podcast is a music podcast, you can say "For the best podcast music while you relax, subscribe to our podcast."
2. When is the best time to post your new podcast episode to get the most followers?
Post your episodes on a fixed schedule. This is one thing we hear our visitors complain about. They never know when a podcast will post a new episode. A schedule of podcast episode releases makes people know when to expect your new episode. Podcasters need to decide on a weekly basis on the same day or days of the week. Following this one guideline can persuade potential subscribers to join your podcast. Since we are creatures of habit, we want to make sure that people know as it creates transparency between the podcaster and the followers.
How do you decide on a schedule for your podcast episodes?
Just select one day of the week when you think you can persistently publish a new episode and stick to it. For podcasters that have a full-time job, use the weekend if possible. On your shows, episodes, and websites, announce that schedule so even if they do not initially listen to your show, they can read it and still be aware. For those podcasts on Anchor, Spotify, iTunes, etc, put the schedule in your podcast descriptions.
Remember TV Guide?
If you remember TV Guide from the old days of television, this one weekly publication had every single TV show listed by day and time as well as what channel it was on. That is the model to follow since it worked so well.
Our New Podcast Schedule
At the New York City Podcast Network, we are working on a new Podcast Schedule page where we tell our visitors whos podcast episodes are coming up. This page will mimic TV Guide's model.
3. Good audio quality
This one is obvious, but many podcasters still do not follow it. Your podcast needs good and professional audio quality which includes using a good microphone, editing, and post-production. Nobody will subscribe if they cannot hear the podcasters or if one person is in the background and the other is close to the microphone. In audio production, making sure the voice is clear is important.
4. Add a blog post or transcript of your audio
Believe it or not, most podcasters do not follow this guideline, but implementing it can do wonders for your podcast's fan base. When we first started podcasting ourselves in 2005, we found that most podcasters had blogs that complimented their podcasts. Those blog posts would introduce the new episodes, just like we have now on Spotify, iTunes, Anchor, etc. Because major search engines, especially Google over Yahoo, index web pages by content and keyword, if you have your audio transcribed, you automatically get search engine optimization. Add that FULL transcript to a blog post. What will happen is that people will be drawn into your blog post when searching for a specific keyword on Google. Even if they do not read the full blog post, and 99% will not, you can post your audio file (MP3, OGG, WAV) right at the top and then people will click on the player link and listen. You can even add the MP3 that is linked to your Anchor or BuzzSprout account and it would register as a play.
Add a Player For Every One Of Your Podcast Episodes
On the New York City Podcast Network, when you have a dedicated page, we include an audio player for every single MP3 or audio file connected to your podcast hosting platform, so you get the credit for plays or downloads. Our visitors can click on the play button and you get the credit on your hosting platform. We also link directly to your hosting platform's episode so you can get the traffic there as well. In every blog post, mention that people can subscribe to your podcast. This can be easily done with HTML 5 (Hyper Text Markup Language) audio tag. If you need assistance from a web designer, have them add the tag for you.
5. Create an accompanying YouTube video for every podcast episode
YouTube is the biggest video search engine in the world and along with Google, having good rankings on both will assure your podcast audience grows fast. If you can get in front of the camera and record with your smart phone or cell phone, it will work wonders for your potential audience. Now if you cannot get in front of the camera, you can always create an audio video, meaning a video that has, well, no video. It has just audio. If you optimize it like a regular video for YouTube rankings, you also grow you audience there.
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On the New York City Podcast Network, it is our job and goal to promote podcasters and help them grow their audience. That comes from us doing all of the following:
showing all of your episodes (both past and future episodes)
featuring your podcast episodes
providing links to your podcast platforms including Anchor, BuzzSprout, etc
providing links to popular content platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, etc
connecting your potential audience to the right type of content and category