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How to Grow a Podcast Audience in 2024

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Are you getting frustrated figuring out how to grow a podcast audience in 2024?

You’re definitely not alone, my friend.

And by the end of this article, you’ll understand exactly how I do it for my clients.

The challenge for DIY podcasters

In this increasingly competitive industry, growing your audience is more art than science.

It takes a vast mix of skills, including creativity, smart strategy, and yeah, for sure there’s a sizable chunk of good old-fashioned graft involved too. 

Whether you’re a seasoned podcaster or just starting out, my hope is this article will steer you through the ins and outs of expanding your listener base in 2024. 

No bro hacks, no golden bullets or quick-hit schemes. Just solid, tried and true advice.

Ok, so let’s get on with it.

An image of a podcaster showing frustration because he doesn't know how to grow a podcast in 2024

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How to increase podcast listeners numbers - some tips

It’s really important to note something before even start.

If you’ve stumbled across this article expecting me to tell you that buying fake downloads on Fiverr is a good strategy for your podcast’s growth, you’re going to be disappointed.

I’m dismissing ‘professional iTunes podcast promoters’ that are sliding into your DMs and email completely without pause. Ok?

They’re a scam.

And even if they weren’t, they’d be risking your show getting kicked off and banned from Apple Podcasts and iTunes. They’re against the platforms terms of service.

So just don’t use them. 

Want to learn more about this?

You can do so via this link.

Ok, good.

So now that’s out of the way… time to talk about things that are viable.

Building a Rock-Solid Foundation

It’s all well and good getting new listeners.

But first you’ve got to ensure that what they’re hearing when they find you will make them want to stick around. 

And just how will you do that?

I have some suggestions.

Be passionate about your topic:

A passionate podcaster

Your love for your topic is contagious! It’s what keeps your listeners coming back for more.

So, pick a subject you’re totes bonkers about and let that enthusiasm shine through.

You can’t fake that.

Especially if you often find you’re boring the pants off of everyone you know because it’s all you talk about.

And when it’s real, nobody can compete with it!

 Strategic planning:

There’s nothing wrong with modelling successful podcasters.

If you can, ask their advice, and try to understand their methods.

But be careful not to carbon copy the blueprint.

What works for one may not work for all. Sprinkle your own style into the mix.

Finding Your Niche:

Don’t try to please everyone!

It’s like trying to make a bland vanilla sponge cake because you want to reduce the risk of anybody not enjoying flavours!

You’ll just end up with an ‘ok’ dessert.

Instead, focus on a specific audience and make content that resonates with them deeply.

Crystal clear audio:

I cannot stress enough how important this is.

So, spend a bit of cash on decent gear. Note, I’m not saying expensive. I’m saying decent. Decent can cost as little as 80 quid.

It’s the best investment you’ll make.

No one likes straining their ears to a distant sounding voice.

Some podcasts that don’t heed this advice can sound like you’re listening to football commentary on a foreign language radio station on Short Wave late at night!

I’m not asking you to run out and buy a broadcast quality studio microphone.

In fact that would be a bad idea.

I am asking you to get yourself a decent quality dynamic USB microphone.

Here’s a link to some suggestions.

Consistency helps:

Stick to a schedule, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Imagine your podcast as someone’s favourite pub quiz night – your listeners will look forward to it.

I’d recommend a weekly cadence, by the way, if you want your growth to be quicker and more measurable.

Podcaster's new microphone which he's bought after learning how to grow a podcast in 2024

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Getting Close To Understanding What Your Audience Wants

A listener in the street as a market research company helps us understand how to grow a podcastDo your audience research:

Understand your audience like you understand your best mates.

What do they love?

What grinds their gears?

Have you asked them?

You can use freely available survey tools for this job.

Be Thirsty for Data, Data, Data and more Data:

Use tools like Google Analytics for the in-the-wild wider internet traffic stuff and Apple Podcasts and Spotify dashboards as well as your hosting company stats to see where your audience hangs out and what ‘tickles their fancy’.

Direct Engagement:

Get chatty with your listeners on social media, emails, or via a podcast voicemail.

It’s like having a friendly social with your listeners after each episode.

Ask them what they love.

Ask them what they don’t love so much.

Respect their opinions and love them for it.

They’re giving you access to a free focus group!

Segment Your Audience:

Not all your listeners are after the same thing.

Some might want a deeper analysis; while others are just along for a ‘laugh with their mate’.

Try to identify their individual needs, and consider setting up sub-communities that cater for those.

Social Media: Not the Solution You’re Hoping It Is

The Social Media Struggle:

Relying only on social media for growth is like yelling about your podcast in the street through a megaphone.

Fewer than you’d like will care.

Social media is great for brand awareness and engaging with already existing listeners. The problem is, most podcasters don’t use it that way. They’re trying to acquire new listeners. And social media is simply not the tool for that job.

And yes, I’m including TikTok and YouTube in that statement.

The Power of Paid Social Ads:

The good news is that while organic listener acquisition is as rare as a sunny British summer, paid ads can do the trick.

Consider putting together a marketing budget for growing your podcast, at least in the initial stages.

It’s surprising how much organic growth can sprout from the odd paid campaign.

Balance is Key:

If you can’t stomach the cost of investment in proper marketing, then at least mix social media with other tactics like SEO and content marketing.

Exploring Other Podcast Marketing Opportunities

Your Podcast’s Own HQ:

A website for your podcast is now an absolute must have.

It’s no longer good enough to send listeners to podcast apps to find your show.

You need to have a place where your fans can hang out and catch up on all episodes.

And you need to give them the easiest route to those.

Having a link to all the apps on your homepage makes this easy.

Partnerships and Collabs:

While it’s never going to offer the mega growth spurt in listens that guest booking sites promise, collaborating with others in your niche can offer benefits.

It’s like forming a band with other musicians.

But remember, not every musician in every band has a successful solo career. And there’s a reason. 

Sometimes it’s just a case that one person gets all the rewards of fame while their bandmates continue to languish in obscurity. So make sure everyone gets an equal part of the deal.

Offline Marketing:

Hit the streets!

Networking events, local activities, even business cards can spread the word.

And if you can organise your own podcast themed meet ups, then even better!

Some podcasts have been known to fill entire theatres with live versions of their shows.

Merchandise:

Who doesn’t love a good teeshirt or mug with their favourite podcast logo?

Consider offering them as a prize to anyone who proves they’ve followed your podcast.

Or, alternatively, encourage them to leave reviews.

Although reviews don’t help with discovery in any way, they do offer solid social proof for new listeners who are discovering your podcast for the first time.

The Future of Podcasting

Smart Speakers are listening:

As more listeners start to use these devices, make sure your podcast is easily accessible on them.

They can be tricky for podcast playing, so if you’re not helping your listeners figure this out, it’s worth thinking of doing so.

Good luck though, because it’s a terrible listener experience.

Authenticity Wins Hearts and Minds:

There’s a lot of noise in podcast apps. It’s a haven for con artists and fake entrepreneurs who are peddling their nonsense. This is why being genuine and relatable sets you apart easily.

Particularly if you’re able to educate the listener on why these other scammers are to be avoided.

The Art of Storytelling:

Engage your audience with compelling stories.

Don’t talk at them. Use storytelling techniques and tools to fully hook them in.

Notice how it’s always the best storyteller at the pub who gets heads turning?

Interactive Features:

Polls, Q&As, and ‘call-ins’ make your audience part of the show.

It’s like having a conversation, not a monologue.

There are lots of tools that can add voicemail to your podcast’s website.

Better still, use a podcast website builder like this one (linked).

 

Is that it then?
Can I look forward to a massive audience now?

Figuring out how to grow a podcast audience in 2024 is all part of a personal journey you’re going to have to take.

It’s going to be about blending creativity, strategy, and a good old dose of perseverance.

Like I always tell my clients, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

So, keep at it. Do the work, and study your data.

Then watch your audience grow, episode by episode. 

But don’t focus purely on the download stats.

Growth can come in different forms.

Keep an eye on your inbox because sometimes the benefits are more about connection and engagement, than simple reach.

But let’s be honest about it, this probably isn’t gonna cut it for you is it?

So shall we get into a specific solution?

 

How Podknows Podcasting grows podcasts for clients

One of the biggest benefits of having been podcasting for more than twenty years and getting a reputation as one of the OGs in the space is that I’ve made some great connections. Among those are various people who can help with solving specific problems in podcasting. And most of these people only operate in the enterprise arena, meaning they’re not easily accessible to DIY podcasters. But fear not, because through my agency Podknows Podcasting, I’m able to open this service out to any podcasters who need it. We use a range of tools and third party agreements to get client shows in the ears and eyes of highly targeted listeners. In other words, unlike that Fiverr or Upwork person who keeps sliding into your DMs and email inbox, we’re not going for vanity and volume here. What good are downloads if they’re never listened to? Unlike that ‘iTunes expert promoter’ who uses a bot click farm in the middle east to source your traffic, we use legitimate website placements and in app ads to get your ideal listeners engaged with your show. We also target those listeners specifically, by binary gender (male, female or both), age, and even earning. One of the methods we use is similar technology to those old Google Adsense banners we used to be able to place on niche blogs back in the early and mid 2000s. We have agreements in place with a programmatic ad provider who provide us with embed slots on several thousands of websites that are aligned with the niches of our clients. This means these listeners are highly relevant and targeted because they’ve made a decision to search out the content. And therefore, they’re much more likely to be interested in the podcast content embedded on the same page. From here, they have the opportunity to listen and follow the podcast in their favourite app. And if you work with us, you may even get a sexy looking report like this one we gave to The Rock Fight podcast after they worked with us for a month.
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We also use experts in Facebook ads, Google ads, and other PPC services to ensure we can acquire new listeners and build communities of listeners for our clients at a very reasonable cost each month. Want to know more? Get in touch via the form below or email me directly!  

A report showing how to grow a podcast in 2024

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