How To Increase Podcast Listeners: Seven Simple Tips

Tom Dempster

Tom Dempster

A great podcast can take a lot of time to produce. How can you ensure your efforts aren’t wasted and that you’re covering all bases when it comes to promoting your episodes? In this article, we’ll run through seven tips you should follow to get the most out of your podcast.

Podcasts are a great way to tell inspirational stories or provide your audience with new insights into your organization and its products. Yet even with captivating storytelling and professional production values, your podcast may not have the reach it should if you don’t follow some simple best practises. 

We recently worked on a project for one of our clients here in North Carolina. The client had launched a podcast which was very well-received by their audience and had a reasonable following on social media – but we realized there were things they could do to further boost the reach of the podcast and increase their brand authority.

Here are seven simple tips you can follow to help your podcast expand its listenership.

Ensure your podcast is available on all the major podcast directories

Although a dedicated website for your podcast can attract listeners (more on this below), it’s likely you’ll start reaching more people by ensuring your podcast is listed on the most popular podcast directories. 

As a starting point, make sure your podcast is available in the following places:

You’ll also want to make sure your podcast can be picked up by Google Podcasts – this allows your podcast to appear in Google’s search results. You don’t actually submit your podcast to Google. Instead, you make it available through your podcast’s RSS feed. Most podcast hosting platforms will do this for you automatically, but Google also has guidelines to help.

Choose the right category for your podcast

This may sound obvious, but it is vital to double-check to ensure your podcast is in the right category within each directory. 

Apple released an update last summer which affected a significant number of podcasts in its directory. The changes created several new sub-categories, potentially offering greater opportunities for podcasters to appear in the Top 200 for a given sub-category. If you’ve had a podcast for some time but haven’t checked the category/sub-category recently, it is worth checking it is in the right category to help users find it.

Remove episode numbers from titles

This is a best practice which affects your listing on Apple Podcasts. Apple offers a place to put a season/episode tag, and prefers you to use that for your listing, rather than cluttering the title with this information. There is a special tag which you should be able to change through your podcast host.

This FAQ article from Podhost provides some useful information on best practises for episode numbers in episode titles.

Take time to focus on episode titles and descriptions

Just as page titles and meta descriptions are an important piece of the puzzle for your website, your podcast titles and descriptions should encourage users to listen to your episode.

Some things to think about here:

  • ‘Frontload’ your title with compelling guests or teasers. Although there are 255 characters available for your podcast title, this may be truncated depending on the user’s device. Try to make the beginning of your title exciting and intriguing.

  • Don’t include episode numbers or dates in the title. In addition to following the Apple Podcasts advice above, this just wastes space that could be hooking your listeners.

  • Use a focus keyword or phrase in the title. Listeners may find your podcast based on the keyphrases or terms used in the title.

  • Write a compelling description. It can be easy to overlook, but taking the time to write a great description could be the difference between gaining a subscriber or them passing your podcast by to another show. Over time, that can make a huge difference to your podcast’s reach.

Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews

In a world where we’re constantly looking to check if something is ‘for real’ or not, reviews offer the social proof you need to promote your podcast with confidence.

You shouldn’t hesitate to ask for reviews from your audience within your episode, in addition to social channels. If you have a loyal audience who enjoys your podcast, you may find that the positive reviews will accumulate quickly.

Create supporting content on your podcast’s website

If you have a podcast website, creating content to support each episode offers you another avenue for promotion. This can help to encourage readers to listen to the episode, or simply provide additional detail to the stories told in the episode.

Irrespective of the length of your podcast, there will always be audio which ends up on the cutting room floor. You may also have photographs, show notes or behind-the scenes footage at your disposal. Make the most of this content by thinking about how you could re-purpose it to help promote your podcast. For example: 

  • Could you use the unused audio for bonus content in a blog post on your podcast’s website?

  • Could you create an additional ‘bonus episode’ out of the unused audio?

  • Are there any behind-the-scenes audio snippets, photographs or even videos you could use to help tell the episode’s story?

A good example of using supplemental content is the true crime podcast, Serial. Their website does a great job of creating ‘episode hubs’, in which you can listen to the episode whilst viewing crime scene illustrations or related blog content.

Featured guests, media and other promotional opportunities

This is a good tactic in general for SEO, but you should think about how your podcast can be amplified. You might be able to use the following ideas:

  • Guests who are featured on your podcast. Appearing on your podcast is free self-promotion for your featured guests. You can ask them to add a link on their website to your podcast’s site, or promote the episode on their social channels. There are numerous ways you can leverage your guest’s audience to expand your reach.

  • Other podcasts. Does your guest have a podcast, or are there other podcasts in your niche you could appear on? Reaching out can provide you with the opportunity to appear on other podcasts to help promote yours.

  • Media opportunities. Think about how your podcast is different from other competitors. Does it have a unique location appeal, or does it cover a very specific area in your industry? Reaching out to relevant media outlets and publications can often put your podcast in front of a different audience. 

With all the effort you put into producing your podcast, it’s important to give it the best shot of reaching the maximum number of listeners possible.

Before you produce your next episode, take a look at this checklist to make sure you’re doing the basics correctly!

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