How to build your podcast audience

In February 2020 your carefully crafted podcast was just one amongst 850,000 active podcasts available globally.

More than 1.6 million Australians download an audio or video podcast each month, and that number is rising.

So how does your podcast find and build its audience?

On this page:
Podcast directories
Raise your search profile
Your own web domain
Connect with your audience
Who’s listening to podcasts?
Are you ready to get started?
References

The first step is enabling people to find your podcast. This means making it visible in podcast directories and in general web search results.

Once that’s done, you will be ready to start actively promoting your podcast to the world. Building your own website and re-using your content will help you to connect effectively with your audience.

Podcast directories

As a listener, what do you do when somebody recommends their favorite podcast? You search for it online.

Most people will start their search in Apple Podcasts (iTunes), or just google it.

Apple Podcasts is the biggest directory, followed closely by Spotify. There are many other podcast directories and it’s worth getting yourself listed in as many as possible.

Most directories allow you to supply an image and a blurb about your podcast’s topic and style. Smart use of keywords, categories, and well-designed cover art can help to attract new listeners. Start with a handful of episodes so that new listeners can have confidence that it’s worth subscribing to your feed.

Podcast directories update automatically each time you publish a new episode on your podcast hosting site. It’s worth revisiting your directory listing every few months to check that everything is working properly.

Search engines were designed for a text-rich World Wide Web and often don’t do a good job of indexing audio files. A text version of your podcast can improve its visibility in search engine results, especially if you use keywords effectively.

expand your podcast's audience by adding a transcript
Background image by moussa81 (iStock.com), used with permission

Some podcast hosting services offer a transcript as part of your publishing package. These are automatically generated and usually need editing for accuracy and clarity.

A written transcript can open up new audiences for your podcast. Some people prefer to read rather than listen to audio; others like to do both at once. Providing both formats can also increase the accessibility of your creative work for people with a disability.

Once you have a transcript of an episode, you can re-use those words to create:

  • show notes – a written summary of the episode, often with links to additional information
  • an article for a blog or magazine website
  • a highlighted quote and summary for an email newsletter

Your own web domain

Popular web platforms can lose their audience, or even disappear altogether. Remember Live Journal? MySpace?

Instead of relying on Facebook or other free sites, you can create a lasting home for all your digital content. Register a domain name and get some cheap hosting. There are plenty of low-cost publishing tools for maintaining your own website.

Search engines give higher ratings to websites that have their own domain, a reasonable amount of content, and a bit of history behind them. Listeners and readers will be able to find you more easily, and you’ll never lose control of your own intellectual property.

Connect with your audience

People love to be heard. A podcast is a wonderful format for listeners’ questions and comments, especially when you say the listener’s name aloud. Follow up with a personalised mention on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc).

Other ways to connect with your audience:

  • Invite listeners to review your podcast, especially on Apple Podcasts
  • Ask for suggestions about future episodes – guests, format, topic, and so on
  • Use an email newsletter to stay in touch and give sneak previews of forthcoming podcast episodes
  • Follow or connect with listeners via social media
  • Offer a giveaway for new subscribers

Some of these ideas are simple; others require some planning and technical expertise. A communication plan and some clear objectives will help you to decide which promotional tactics will work best for your podcast.

Who’s listening to podcasts?

Somewhere between 20 and 30 per cent of Australian say they listen to a podcast at least monthly. Most listeners are in the 25-44 years age group. We increasingly use our mobile phones to listen to podcasts, and smart speakers like Alexa are becoming popular in younger households.

Australian podcast listeners are typically affluent and well-educated. They tend to prefer ad-free or ad-light subscriptions.

Aussie podcast listeners are also loyal. The average podcast fan claims they listen to 6 episodes a week, from four series, and hear around 80 per cent of each episode. Most people want to hear original content, not radio or other material that’s been repurposed as a podcast. Fiction, true crime and scripted drama are growing in popularity.

Are you ready to get started?

Triangle Consulting can help you with:

  • a fast, accurate transcript service for podcasts and videos
  • repurposing podcast content for newsletters, blog posts, articles, advertising
  • developing a communication strategy
  • building a website for your podcast (and other creative work)
  • planning and implementing promotional campaigns
  • analytics reports to show how your podcast and communication activities are performing

Contact us to discuss your requirements.

References

Kellie Riordan (23 October 2019) “Five things we learnt about making a podcast at OzPod 2019”. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News article.

Roy Morgan (22 July 2019) “Podcasts growing in popularity in Australia”. Media release.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (17 October 2018) “ABC survey reveals surge in podcast listening as women turn towards true crime tales”. ABC Media Centre media release.

Ross Winn (7 February 2020) “2020 podcast stats and facts (new research from Jan 2020)”. Podcast Insights blog post.

Edison Research (2 May 2019) The Infinite Dial 2019 Australia. Media release and webinar slides.