There are millions of podcasts released every year. In fact, 62% of the US has listened to a podcast within the past year, making it a marketing tool your business can’t afford to ignore.
With more people consuming content while they work or commute, there’s never been a better time to start podcast marketing.
But there’s more to it than recording a 30-minute episode and uploading it.
The key is to create a podcast that’s relevant enough to convert listeners into customers. Offering high-value content is one of the most simple ways to grow your podcast fast.
Read on to find out how to start your own business podcast and how to grow your podcast into a success. We’ll also talk you through the common reasons that stop people from getting started.
Podcasting: An Overview
What Is Podcasting?
Podcasting is a digital form of broadcasting that focuses on audio content. It’s become an incredibly popular way for businesses and individuals to share content on different topics.
Podcasting can be anything from short 10-minute monologues sharing direct advice and information or longer interviews with multiple speakers.
Podcasts typically come in the form of:
- Panel Discussions
- Educational monologues
- Entertaining stories.
Reasons why people listen to podcasts:
- To learn more about their interests
- To educate themselves in their professional fields
- To be entertained
- To stay up-to-date with news and events in areas of interest (personal or professional).
There is strong potential for brands to use podcasting to grow their business and show the world they’re an expert in their field. What businesses don’t often strategize (which they should) is how to increase podcast listeners.
If there is a structured plan for podcast growth, they will bring more warm leads to the business – it’s a no-brainer to focus on how to grow your podcast.
Using The ‘Podcast Perspective’ To Your Advantage
From a marketing and business perspective, podcasting is a great way to connect with a loyal following. A following you can later turn into a customer base. Podcasts can be produced and distributed at a relatively low cost, making it easy to start.
For businesses wanting to know how to make podcasts popular, follow the tips we mention later in this article.
Benefits of Podcasting For Businesses
Once you’ve learned how to get podcast subscribers, you’ll need a plan for consistent content creation so that you’re regularly sharing episodes, to keep listeners engaged.
Podcasting should be a part of your content creation strategy. You can increase brand awareness while speaking to your audience in a more personable and authentic way. This helps to build trust and engagement.
As an expert in your industry, you can also use your podcast to educate customers. Use it to share information about your products or company updates.
One of the major benefits of using a podcast for business is its accessibility. Podcasts are much easier to consume than long-form blog posts and press releases. This means you could reach a whole new audience you’d never thought of.
In the era of social media, the average consumer’s attention span is declining. Just take the example of how Instagram is favoring short-form reels to push in their algorithm (since they get more views). Podcasting is a rare opportunity to capture the attention of clients and potential customers for longer than a few seconds.
How To Start A Podcast
Podcasting is a tool that all businesses should take advantage of as part of their marketing. If you’re eager to get started, we’ve outlined all the steps to starting your own podcast for business and steps to grow your podcast below.
Identify A Podcast Theme
Podcasts aren’t just a single episode. You need to think of a theme or niche your podcast will cover over multiple episodes.
Finding a niche will help you to create relevant content for your target audience. But how do you go about finding a niche for your podcast?
The best way is to pick a theme and create a list of at least 20 episode topics you could talk about. Some podcasts run for years, so you need to be prepared to release content consistently. Starting with just a single episode idea won’t get you far.
When coming up with your theme, consider the following:
- What’s the goal of your podcast?
- Who is the podcast going to be for?
- What makes your podcast different – how will your show stand out?
- How will your podcast help your listeners?
With these questions, you should be able to narrow down your podcast ideas to a single niche. You will get podcast listeners fast when you niche down, as people searching for specific podcast topics will find you more easily.
Consider The Format
There are different types of podcasts you can choose to create. It’s best to keep your content format consistent so listeners know what to expect when they tune in. Five formats to consider are:
- Interviews: Show your expertise in your field by hosting interviews and discussions with other experts in the industry.
- Scripted monologues: Create a script for every episode to help you stay on topic when discussing a subject you’re passionate about.
- News: Share updates and news headlines relevant to your business.
- Educational: Use your podcast to educate potential customers about your services and products, or teach them something every episode in relation to your niche.
- Scripted fiction: This format is common for hobby podcasters. Scripted fiction might include reading bedtime stories or narrating your own novels.
Create A Podcast Brand
Once you start researching ‘how to make podcasts popular,’ your podcast has the potential to become a whole machine of its own. One minute you’re releasing 15-minute episodes; the next, you’re hosting live recordings.
No matter how big or small your podcast turns out, it’s good to create a brand for your content. You’ll first need a clear yet intriguing name. Ideally, you want to make your podcast name four words or less so that it’s easy for people to remember and search for.
You might also want to create a short description that sits with your podcast title. This can be added to your website or your profile for different podcast platforms. Keep it short and sweet and provide a hook to draw in the audience.
As part of your branding, you’ll also want to consider what category your podcast will fall into. Your niche will fall into a broader category topic that people can search in.
According to Statista, News podcasts make up 21% of the weekly listener share in the US. Health/Fitness, Self Help/Productivity, and Finances make up 17%, 15%, and 13%, respectively.
It’s also worth creating a consistent brand appearance throughout your marketing materials. Before launching your first episode, create an artwork template that can be updated quickly after each release. You can create a podcast thumbnail on Canva.
Choose The Right Podcasting Equipment
Once you’ve sorted your idea, you need the right equipment. It’s possible to start a podcast with just your iPhone mic. But podcast growth relies on good-quality audio.
There are three common types of mic available: USB, dynamic, or condenser mics. USB mics are a great option for anyone starting out. You can plug it into your laptop to get the recording. They’re easy to work with and affordable, but they don’t always offer the best sound quality.
Dynamic mics are good for removing background noise as they’re not as sensitive as other options. These mics are good for podcasts with more than one person. However, you’ll need to stay relatively close to the mic to keep the audio quality consistent.
Condenser mics have excellent audio quality and are super sensitive. This might be a problem if you don’t have somewhere quiet to record.
If you’re not happy with the sound quality of your mic, you might want to consider a shock mount to help reduce the amount of vibration noise. Alternatively, a pop filter can smooth the pronunciation of ps and bs to create a more consistent tone.
Choose Your Recording Software
With your mic ready, you can choose recording software. There is plenty of free podcast recording software available, for example, Garageband. This is why podcasting is such an affordable marketing tool.
If you’re looking for something a little more professional, Adobe Audition offers a powerful range of tools for $20.99/month.
If you’re recording interviews, consider installing call recording software. That way, if your guest is in another part of the country, you can do the interview online. Call recording tools include Zencastr (free), eCamm ($39.95), and DialPad (free).
1. Outline A Podcasting Script
The best podcasts offer great content and good performance. You need your podcast to be worth listening to.
To help you stay on topic, create an outline for each episode. What do you want the audience to learn or know by the end? Within the outline, include an intro and outro, as well as notes on how you will transition from topic to topic.
Your intro should include a hook or a teaser of what’s to come, while your outro will give the listener a call to action.
2. Record & Edit
When recording your podcast, find somewhere to record that’s quiet. Remove any background noise, like fans, and try to minimize the amount of echo the room has. While recording, speak in a normal voice, as you can always edit the volume later.
Record your podcast in a high format (WAV, AIFF at 24bit 48khz). You can then compress it down to MP3 while maintaining the quality.
When editing, remove dead air gaps, mistakes, and tangents. You can add royalty-free music for transitions too. Alternatively, you can hire a podcast editor to edit episodes while you just focus on the content.
3. Choose A Host
A podcast host is a platform that distributes your podcast. Rather than uploading every episode to multiple directories, you’ll use a podcast host like Podbean, Transistor, or Buzzsprout. These hosts will create an RSS feed to update all directories once you release a new episode.
4. Market & Your Podcast
Next, you need to know how to promote podcast episodes. Before launching your first episode, it’s a good idea to create a podcast marketing plan.
You ideally want to have marketed your podcast before launching it, as you will get podcast listeners instantly if they know you’re about to publish a new episode. Having a small audience eagerly waiting for your first episode helps you to hit the charts and boost your podcast viewership numbers.
As part of your content plan, you should have three episodes before launch. This shows the directories that you’ll be publishing regular content. It also gives your podcast audience enough to get their teeth into before the next release.
Remember that all your episodes can be marketed; don’t just focus on the most recent one. Re-promote old episodes in line with trending topics on social media or if something relevant hits the headlines.
You might also want to create a trailer for your podcast using a snippet tool like Wavve.co or Repurpose.io. This will help increase podcast listeners and give you content for creating paid ads. Creating a website will allow you to collect email addresses to leverage email marketing, too.
To make things easier for yourself, create a media kit for social posts and graphics. This can be shared with guests on your podcast so that their promotion is consistent with yours.
In podcasting, reviews and engagement are a golden ticket to the top. Always ask listeners to leave a review, as this will help keep your podcast relevant on the directories.
The #1 Thing Stopping Your Podcast Growth
Kevin Chemidlin is an online podcast growth coach who started podcasting as a small side hustle. After his successes, he launched Grow Your Show to help others grow their podcast audiences.
Kevin says the biggest problem he sees in clients is a too-vague niche. Some people think a broad topic will help them reach a broader audience.
However, the number of people listening to your podcast isn’t important. It’s the number of people engaging with it that’s key. A podcast with a small, highly engaged viewership is more valuable than a large audience of silent listeners.
Audiences want something that is super relevant to them. Otherwise, they’ll stop listening. As a business owner, you need to narrow down exactly what you’re going to talk about week to week.
Kevin Chemidlin’s Top Tips For How To Grow Your Podcast
- Make a video podcast. Video podcasts help with engagement and can create additional content for you to use in marketing.
- Use other podcasters. Collaborate with podcasters with a similar viewership to yours. Then, approach the podcasts they’ve previously collaborated with. The best way to get podcast listeners is through other podcast listeners.
- Make episode 1 short and sweet. Release a 10-15 minute introductory episode to tell your listeners about you and your topic.
- Focus on the first 5-10% of the episode. How will you convince your listeners to stay tuned?
How To Grow Your Podcast Audience
A podcast can only be successful if it has listeners. Below are four key tips to help you grow your podcast.
1. Choose A Target Audience
As mentioned above, you need to be very specific about your niche. It’s the only way to target the correct audience. Think about the clientele of your business, and create a similar target audience for your podcast.
When assessing how to grow your podcast audience, always focus on the target audience. Some podcasters think it’s about making the audience broad and reaching everyone. That’s not how it works. Ideally, you would grow your audience while staying targeted at the people who would see the most value from your content.
2. Use Social Media
Where does your target audience typically consume content? Using social media to market your podcast is great. But it’s best to ensure your audience uses the social platforms you’re choosing. Different generations prioritize different social platforms.
Twitter is particularly good for opening up a dialogue with your audience. It’s also a great place to build a community that will regularly provide content ideas and reviews for new episodes.
3. Use Podcast SEO For Traffic
There’s not a lot of opportunity to use podcast SEO, but that doesn’t mean there’s none. To help your podcast grow, you’ll want to include the name of well-known guests, topics, and events in your episode titles. You should also try to include keywords in the headline and short description.
4. Use Podcast Metrics
Measure the success of your podcast as you go along. But use the right metrics: Viewership isn’t the only thing to look at. Not every show needs a massive audience, and most B2B podcasts won’t.
Instead of measuring the number of listeners, measure unsolicited response rates. When people start to reach out to you to talk about your podcast, it’s a much better measurement of success. Remember to give your podcast time to become established before diving into analysis.
What is Stopping Your Podcast Growth?
You know how to start a podcast, so what’s stopping you? There are plenty of things that get in the way of us trying new things – whether it’s for business or pleasure.
Fear of Failure
One of the most common things that can stop people from podcasting is fear of failure. You might be worried about not having enough listeners or not having enough high-quality content ideas.
Whatever worries you have, it’s important to remember that failure is a part of the learning process. Even the most successful podcasters had to overcome their fear of failure at some point.
Going Too Fast
Another thing that can stop people from podcasting is diving in without a plan. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and want to jump right into recording and editing.
However, you’ll be much more successful if you take the time to plan and prepare. Take some time to develop a consistent format, and consider how your promotional content calendar will work. It’s also worth experimenting with your editing software and equipment. Rushing the process will only leave you feeling frustrated.
Perfectionism And Insecurities
Insecurities can also be a barrier to starting a podcast. Many people feel that their voice or their delivery isn’t good enough to be shared with others. But the truth is, no one is perfect. The content matters most, not the delivery. With time and practice, you can become more comfortable with recording yourself.
Fear Of Tech
The technical aspects of podcasting can be intimidating. But there’s plenty of content online to help you become proficient in these areas. As podcasts have become such a great option for businesses, it’s time to embrace the tech before you get left behind.
Working All Alone
Starting a podcast can sometimes feel like a solitary endeavor. Just you recording your own voice in a quiet room. But some of the best podcasts are a group effort. Whether you join an online podcasting community or rope your colleagues and friends into joining, you don’t have to go it alone.
Podcasting for Business
There are plenty of ways to market your podcast. But you also want to make sure your listeners are becoming customers.
Making Your Podcast As Accessible As Possible
You want to make sure your podcast is available on as many podcast directories as possible. Popular options include Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Soundcloud.
The easiest way is to use a reputable host that publishes to all the top directories. That way, your listeners can listen anywhere that suits them as soon as your content comes out.
Getting Listeners From Podcast To Calendar
It’s all well and good having thousands of listeners, but how do you convert those listeners into clients?
The answer is simple. Promote your service. Many businesses forget to link their podcast to their service. It’s easy to fall into the habit of plugging your business at the beginning or end of your podcast.
The best time to promote your business in your podcast is just after the hook. Your audience is already engaged and committed to listening to more. If you dive straight into the promo, it’s unlikely anyone will stay for the rest. By the end, most people have switched off or moved on to the next episode. Make sure to get your business promotion into the middle.
Finish with a clear call to action. Asking your listeners to head to your website ‘to learn more’ isn’t clear enough. Make your CTA specific to the episode and detailed enough for a listener to know exactly what to do and why.
Invest In Ads
For a little boost, paid marketing could do wonders for your podcast. Spotify and Amazon Music offer advertising plans to help you leverage their massive audiences. Advertising within these platforms is one of the best ways to find new listeners.
Podcast Growth: FAQ
Why Isn’t My Podcast Growing?
There could be several reasons why your podcast is not growing. Sometimes, it’s technical issues like poor audio quality. Other times it’s down to not reaching your target audience as effectively as you could. To grow your podcast, you need to release new episodes regularly, keep track of your performance and make sure you’re marketing it in the right place.
What Stops People From Starting A Podcast?
There may be a fear of failure or a lack of time that stops people from starting their own podcasts. Sometimes people don’t know where to start or want to see results instantly. Those wanting to start a podcast need to research their audience, plan out their content and be patient while their audience grows.
What Causes A Podcast To Fail?
With so many podcasts released every day, some are bound to fail. One of the biggest causes is a vague niche. Those that haven’t got a specific niche for their podcast will struggle to maintain a consistent following. You must ensure your podcast is specific enough to attract a small, loyal, and engaged fanbase.
Wrapping Up: How To Grow Your Podcast
There’s so much you can do to help with podcast growth. But the key is creating a specific niche that will resonate with a highly engaged audience. Your content should educate and inspire your audience while persuading them to become clients.
Getting started can be hard, and there are so many reasons people put off beginning their own podcast. Whether it’s a fear of failure or not having the right equipment, this article should have helped you feel more confident.
Scaling With Systems can help you to create high-quality client acquisition strategies to bring leads to your business consistently. You can book a consultation call today to see how our experts can help you.