Podcasters December 29, 2020

Podcasters! How did you get your first listeners?

Niklas @nklsw

Currently, many of us are starting podcasts. So I was wondering how you found your first listeners. Do you need an existing community? How does it work when you start from scratch?

Are there known places to advertise? How is your experience with social Media to reach or create an audience for a new podcast?

  1. 7

    Hey @nklsw! I had exactly the same questions when I started my podcast. It can definitely be tough uphill battle. I'm actually researching this exact topic for a blog post I'm writing, so the timing of your post is ironic. Here are some of my early thoughts (sorry it got long haha)...

    Invite a guest and piggyback on their existing audience
    This seems to be the number one best growth approach for people with smaller audiences. It makes a lot of sense too. If you have a guest on your podcast, they'll naturally want to advertise that episode, and their audience will be exposed to your show. I'm not sure if your show type really fits in this model, but even if it doesn't, you can do the reverse and reach out to people to be a guest on their podcast. Podcasters are always looking for interesting guests to have on their show.

    Research successful marketing techniques
    My friend @tomhuntio has some great posts on this topic so I won't go to far into it. But I think there are a lot of great techniques you can follow by simply finding the most popular shows in your category, or any category really, and mirroring some of the techniques they use. Here are two of Tom's blog posts I really liked:

    Share on relevant websites
    I actually don't particularly like this approach, but depending on your podcasts topic, I have seen it help a ton of people. For example, there are a number of sub-reddits around various podcast categories (r/audiodrama, r/PodcastSharing, or even just r/podcasts). These days there are also tons of LinkedIn & Facebook groups around any niche topic you can think of. I would go in there and provide value (like I'm doing here) and after a while start to casually mention that you "discussed Topic X on your latest episode". These approaches will work much better than simply sending a Tweet to your 50 followers hoping that it goes viral. You need to go to where people are already interested in your topic.

    Join a community and network
    There are a couple of podcasting communities out there, and full-disclosure, I actually started my own when I was first starting out because I couldn't find one. Unfortunately, from my experience, these communities seem to go through ups-and-downs since a lot of people love the idea of starting a podcast, but then don't stick with it after they fail to gain traction. I'm sure with New Years resolutions right around the corner, most of them will see more engagement in the next couple of weeks as people get excited about starting a podcast.

    Here are some good podcasting communities I know of:

    I hope this helps a little! Again, I definitely think this is one of the hardest parts of starting a podcast. It's also the main problem I hope to solve with my current side projects (Casts.co a platform to help with podcast promotion and Casts.fm a podcast discovery app).

    Let me know if there's anything specific I can help with or hit me up on Twitter!

    1. 1

      Another thing I probably should mention is that you need to make sure your show has been submitted to ALL the popular podcast discovery platforms (iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon, Google, Podchaser, etc). @mijustin of Transistor.fm has a good blog post about how to do this (check the bottom): https://help.transistor.fm/article/5-submit-your-show-to-all-the-popular-directories. The easier it is for your podcast to be discovered, the more listeners you'll receive!

      Let me know what your show is, and I can add it to my Casts.fm directory.

      1. 1

        Yes! We now have an easier option for submitting (1-click to each app!):


  2. 2

    For my first podcast, I make sure that:

    • my guests help me share the new episodes within their network (LinkedIn, FB, Twitter)
    • I create 1-min trailer video for each episode highlighting snippets of the content
    • there's a post-episode article I generate (using freelancers from my site www.theravenry.com) to ensure I get SEO
    • I generate multiple social media posts about it in the form of: infographics, carousel images with insights, bullet point insights and post them in the weeks following the release
    • I create a website for my podcast to ensure people can find my podcast easily online and see the transcript, resources mentioned in the episode, etc.
    1. 1

      Great insights, thanks Ricky! Do you recognize significant differences in SEO for a podcast in comparison to SEO for blogs and other content?

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        So far my blogs convert better, but it's probably because they have been up for much longer than my podcast. Will let you know how it goes when we have collected enough data.

  3. 2

    As mentioned, the one thing for sure to get done is listing it in places like Apple and Spotify. Apple listing in particular is used in quite a few podcast player apps when it comes to searches and recommendations.

    I would suggest checking that the show is found in at least
    Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon and I believe Pandora does it as well now.

    1. 1

      Thanks Peter, great advice, listing in these places seems to be really important to the overall success, no matter what platform you are focused on.

      Do you know of other platforms, directories or communities that are important besides of streamingservices or hostingservices?

      1. 2

        Great question, I'll go back through my notes in case there are other resources I submitted to and reply back here.

        I do watch a Slack group but I'll be honest it has not helped much, it seems like there is not a lot of two-way conversation.

  4. 2

    I'm a co-host of a space podcast we started a while back. Getting the first several listeners was easy as we aldready had a thriving community, a discussion board for space enthusiasts.

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