written by
David Hooper

How to Grow (and Develop) a Big Podcast Audience

Podcast Marketing 3 min read

This sign from Pie Five Pizza seems to have nothing to do with podcasting, but has everything to do with building a big audience for your podcast.

If you want people to consume your stuff, whether it's pizza or a podcast, you have to tell them how to consume it and what successful consumption looks like.

Lesson #1

Tell people how to listen to your podcast. The fewer options you give people, the better.

I give people three options to subscribe, which sounds like more options than there actually are, because two of the three are based solely on the type of phone somebody listens on. The third option, subscribe via RSS, is only there because the audience for Build A Big Podcast, podcasters, know how to get podcasts this way.

69% of Americans listen to podcasts primarily via mobile phones, so I play the odds in an effort to keep podcast subscription choices simple. James Cridland of Podnews does the same thing with the way he orders his podcast subscription buttons, placing the Android option (Google Podcasts) on top, because more people use Android devices than iPhones.

But the people who listen to my podcast are different...

The podcast distribution platforms you recommend should be chosen based on who your audience is and how much they know about accessing podcasts. But keep things simple and choices limited – "a confused mind always says no."

Lesson #2

The sign above is a joke. Or is it? Either way, it provides an identity to those who complete the task of eating "all of Pie Five's specialty pizzas."

Justin Bieber fans aren't just fans – they're "Belibers."

Taylor Swift fans are "Swifties."

Jonas Brothers fans are "Jonatics."

Who listens to your podcast?

Do the people who listen to your podcast have a name? Do they interact with each other? Do they feel a sense of camaraderie?

Do they date each other? That's what Dave Ramsey listeners do:

Dave Ramsey listeners also jump to his defense when people criticize his big ass house.

3 Steps To Grow Your Podcast Audience

If you help your podcast audience create an identity for themselves and feel part of something, they'll listen to you forever.

How do you make this happen?

  1. Name your most loyal listeners - give them an identity.
  2. Promote a simplified belief system (worldview) listeners can participate in. For example, "don't eat meat, say your prayers, take your vitamins."
  3. Have a "miracle" that will change the lives of people who follow your philosophy. For example, "lose weight without starving."

These three things make it easy for people to connect with you, your message, and others who also listen to your podcast. They make it easy for listeners to spread your message for you, let others know about your podcast, and defend you when people criticize your philosophy.

Two Things About Your Listeners

  1. Your listeners want direction. We have enough "choices" in our lives and we need a break. You can help by making it easier for casual listeners of your podcast to become regular listeners by showing them how to subscribe.

    Use this "podcast subscribe page" as a template.
  2. Your listeners want connection. Technology has made us more "connected" than ever, but people are more lonely than ever. Use your podcast to introduce listeners to a belief system that helps them and connects them to others who feel the same way.

Want to go deeper? Get my book.

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