254 – How To Grow Your Audience And Market Your Podcast! Facebook Interest Lists And More!

by Cliff Ravenscraft on March 24, 2012

So You Have A Podcast… Now What?
One the questions that I am asked most often is “How Do I Grow My Audience?” Many times it’s phrased something like, “I’ve been podcasting for (insert number) of months/years and I only have (insert number) of people who are consistently downloading each of my episodes.”

Those who have been listening to Podcast Answer Man for a long time know that I really don’t like the mindset behind that question. I’m all for growing our audience. However, I’d prefer to say, I’ve been podcasting for (insert number) of months/years and I’ve been blessed to grow my audience to a point where (insert number) people are consistently downloading each of my episodes, and I’m ready to take the reach of my show to a whole new level.

Remember that each of these “downloads” represents a person/human being. Do you know how many pastors would love to speak to 50, 100, or even 300 people, consistently, each and every week? I’ve often avoided going too deep into answering this question on Podcast Answer Man, in the past, due to the fact that I’ve always want to drive home the point that I feel strongly that the quality of the relationship you have with your audience/community is much more important than the quantity of people who download your show.

In this episode, I share two pieces of audio feedback from our community where I was asked how we can effectively market our podcast and grow our audience. In response, I shared the following items.

1. There is power when your show has a narrow niche focus.

2. I suggest only podcasting about things for which you are passionate about.

3. Before you record your first episode, you should know why are you podcasting in the first place. I recommend having a having a mission/purpose for your show.

4. Become crystal clear on exactly who your target audience is! Imagine your occupation was that of a bounty hunter. How hard would your job be if you were not given any clear description of the person you are supposed to be looking for. Same principle applies when trying to go out and find new people to listen to your show!

5. Build it and they will come does not, often, work in podcasting! Creating an amazing show is about 30% of the equation. The other 70% is marketing and relationship building.

6. Obviously, you should submit your podcast to podcast directories like iTunes, Zune, Blackberry, and Stitcher Radio.

7. Content Is King! Create high value content that people can’t live without! It’s an added bonus if your content is so great that they are compelled to share it with others.

8. Entertainment goes a long way. Don’t Be Boring!!!

9. Keep it positive! The world is seeking hope and encouragement! Give it to them!

10. Be ENTHUSIASTIC! Don’t do it more than what is natural for you though!

11. Prepare ahead of time. I spent more than two hours preparing for this episode, thirty minutes in post production, and over an hour on these show notes.

12. Audio Quality Is Queen! Remember that there are times when the Queen will trump the King! Many people, including myself, will not listen to your GREAT CONTENT if your audio quality is not that great!

13) Build relationships with your audience! Learn the first name, last name, and a MINIMUM of at least one other personal fact about AS MANY of the people who download your show as possible.

14. Include the voice of your audience in your show.

15. Thank members of your community publicly, both in your show and in your online efforts.

16. Establish and build meaningful relationships with other content creators in your niche/industry.

17. Create keyword rich titles, show notes, etc for your podcast. And all that other SEO junk. ūüôā

18. Make Yourself newsworthy! http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/newsworthy

19. Interview others in your show.

20. Accept requests for being interviewed on other people’s podcasts and blogs.

21. Consider a press release.

22. Participate in other online (and offline) communities where those in your target audience can be found.

23. Use social media to build authentic relationships with your audience and others.

24. Speak at events where your target audience can be found.

25. Educate your audience on the benefit of podcast subscriptions and teach them how to they can subscribe to your show. See http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/itunes

26. Create a mailing list! This allows you to keep in touch with those who may have fallen out of the habit of downloading or listening to your show for whatever reason.

Many books could be written about how to market a podcast and grow your audience. You see, your podcast is actually a product that you create. Once you have the product, it is at that point where the marketing of your product begins. You’ll notice that most of what I have shared, at least early on, is focused on creating an amazing product that those who do find you will want to tell others about.

I just want to point out that, even if you have amazing content and amazing audio quality, you will still need to go out and promote/market your show if you want your audience to grow.

Random Plug of The Week
This week’s random plug of the week goes out to the Your Website Engineer Podcast from Dustin Hartzler. It is no secret that I only recommend using WordPress for your web presence. Dustin’s podcast and website is a gold mine of information to help you get the most out of your WordPress Experience.

Here are just a few episodes that I recommend that you check out:
061 ‚Äď Hidden Features In WordPress
058 ‚Äď How to Add an Admin User to the WordPress Database
056 ‚Äď How to Create a Favicon for Your Website
043 ‚Äď WordPress eCommerce Solutions

Facebook Interest Lists
Have you heard about the new Facebook Interest Lists feature? I hadn’t heard about it until our gspn.tv Social Media Correspondent, Erik J. Fisher, brought it up for a topic to cover on this week’s Social Media Segment.

Erik and I went through a great Hubspot Article that described how brands could benefit by making the most of this new feature. After our discussion I’ve determined that this new feature isn’t something that would compel me to use Facebook any more than I already do. However, I know that there is a large percentage of the Podcast Answer Man community that do focus a lot of their engagement with their community through the Facebook platform.

I hope that the information provided on Facebook’s Interest List feature was helpful to you. Please let me know in the comments section below what your feelings are about this new feature.

Podcamp Nashville April 14th
For those of you who live near Nashville TN or are willing to travel there for a sigle day Podcamp experience, this year’s Podcamp Nashville is being held on Saturday, April 14th at the Cadillac Ranch (305 Broadway; Nashville, TN).

I will be attending and speaking at Podcamp Nashville this year. I’m working on putting together a panel session that will help those in attendance learn Why Your Business/Brand Needs To Launch A Podcast!. If you are able to come, I hope to see you there!

Register For BlogWorld Today!
If you are serious about your podcasting efforts, I highly recommend that you attend the leading podcast industry conference. I know for a fact that some very exciting things are going to be happening at this year’s NYC event, relating to podcasting. If you haven’t registered yet, feel free to use my affiliate link to get registered today. Use promo code GSPN10 for 10% off!

Blue Host Affiliate Signup
I want to send out a special word of thanks to the folks behind the following domains that were used to create a new hosting account with BlueHost with my Blue Host affiliate link recently. As you know, I earn a commission each time someone clicks through my link to sign up with Blue Host. So thank you!

Accounts that were created this week:

Note: The fact that I have linked to these accounts is only to acknowledge that these folks have used my affiliate link to create a hosting account with BlueHost. These links are not an endorsement of any content that may be posted to these sites. If you ever recognize content blatantly offensive at any of these links, please let me know and I will be sure to evaluate and consider if the link should be removed from this post. These accounts are all brand new and may not be active yet. Also, it is possible that some of these domains were previously owned and my not have been transfered to BlueHost just yet.

PODCAST CONSULTING: I’m available for one on one podcast consulting and coaching. Whether you want someone to get everything set up for you or you just need a little help along the way, I’d love to work with you. Please take a look at my consulting/coaching options.

PODCAST VIDEO TUTORIALS: I also have a growing list of video tutorials that I have created based up on the the top things my clients have hired me to help them with. See the full list of tutorials by clicking here.

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  • You sounded so NPR around 20:00 when you did your “unenthusiastic” voice, hahaha!

  • I actually do have a question regarding this episode as well. I have a podcast that is about homelessness. The bread and butter of our show is on-the-street interviews with homeless people. I started the show just last month and have been experiencing a great reaction from the listeners.
    Here’s the thing, though. I have committed to getting audio content to them weekly. Sometimes it isn’t possible to get an interview for the week, and instead I will talk about news and other related topics. I have a feeling that a majority of my subscriber base is significantly less interested in these episodes. My question is: in the event that I can’t get an interview for the week, should I just wait and put up the best content possible when it becomes available, or is it better to consistently provide content in a timely fashion and allow for some variation in the¬†“cant-live-without-ness” of the content?¬†

  • ¬†@TheVoicesAmongUsPodcast¬†Too funny. ¬†I listened back to it and I even seemed to still voice at little “passion” in that fake unenthusiastic sampel. ūüôā

  • ¬†@TheVoicesAmongUsPodcast¬†That is a great question. ¬†You know, if you could record that question in audio form, I’d love to answer that in a future episode. ¬†If you wanted to, you could say… “I was listening to episode 254 where you were talking about creating that “can’t live without” type of content for your show and I have a question for you….” Then you could simply READ from “I have have a podcast that is about….” to the end of this question.
    Any chance you’d do that? ¬†I would love to do a podcast about this topic. ūüėČ

  • ¬†@Cliff Ravenscraft¬†Sure thing, Cliff. I will get that to you in just a bit. Thanks for being so responsive.¬†

  • ¬†@TheVoicesAmongUsPodcast¬†Thank you in advance for the audio question. ¬†It’s my pleasure to be as responsive as possible. ūüėČ

  • FredFirestine

    When you made your point about showing enthusiasm with your voice, I immediately thought of The Retroist podcast (@retroist) as a possible exception. It’s obvious that he is passionate about 70s and 80s pop culture. He provides his listeners (and followers on Facebook and Twitter) with great content. He is also a fairly soft-spoken guy. Maybe in this case it adds to the charm of the podcast?¬†

  • DaltonSilveira

    Cliff you say: “Build relationships with your audience! Learn the first name, last name, and a MINIMUM of at least one other personal fact about AS MANY of the people who download your show as possible.”
    What the URL of place you put your personal things about peoples life? 

  • ¬†@DaltonSilveira¬†I use HighRise to track all the information. ¬†Here’s a link:¬†http://gspn.tv/t05t

  • DaltonSilveira

    Thanks for support¬†@Cliff Ravenscraft¬† =) I’m your fan, i’m from Brazil and i have 1 podcast about Anime (Japanese Animation), so thanks because you help me bulding my audience today i have a average of 6000 downloads and 80 comments per post!
    that’s it, thanks again… i listen your podcast every week!

  • ¬†@DaltonSilveira¬†Congrats on your success Dalton. ¬†Happy to hear that you are enjoying your podcasting journey. ¬†So thankful to have you in the Podcast Answer Man / gspn.tv community!

  • ¬†@FredFirestine¬†Yeah, your enthusiasm has to be authentic, that’s for sure. ¬†We don’t have to all be like the “ShamWow” guy in our podcasts. ūüėČ
    You know, I just went and sampled a little bit of one of the Retroist’s podcast episodes. ¬†While he does talk a lot like the example I gave, you can still sense that he’s genuinely interested in what he’s sharing. ¬†There’s a “subtle” enthusiasm there in the stories he tells.¬†

  • I found listening to this podcast really depressing. I’ve been podcasting for 3 years, we have over 160 episodes and yet only 150 subscriptions according to Feed burner. I feel like I’ve really missed the boat here somewhere. Is there any hope to ever getting my podcast subscriptions up? Any additional pointers other than what’s already on the podcast would be very welcome! Keep up the great work Cliff. I’ll try not to let this put me of continuing creating podcasts. Paul from http://www.ActionPodcast.com

  • ¬†@pgbailey¬†I’m told I can’t post more than 8,000 characters here. ¬†So I created my response as a .txt file for you. ¬†See it here:¬†http://share.gspn.tv/Femc
    Sorry, I didn’t proof read. I ¬†wrote this up before heading out the door to celebrate Easter with family.

  • ¬†@Cliff Ravenscraft¬†WOW, I’m stunned that you took the time to do all that Cliff, you have just blown me away. I am truly humbled. I was just listening to this episode (for the second time) and I can now see myself playing it several more times too! As well as working through each of the items you listed in your txt file. I’ll let you know how I get on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have no idea how much this meant to me. Have a wonderful Easter. Paul

  • ¬†@pgbailey¬†Paul, I am very delighted to have taken the time to help. ¬†I wish I could do that sort of thing for everyone who comes to my way. ¬†I was just thankful to have had a little free time to do it for your yesterday.
    My heart goes out to those who have been podcasting for so long and don’t seem to be nearly as far, in their journey, as they hoped to be. ¬†I have no doubt that if you were to apply at least two or three of the things I shared, you’ll move forward.
    Take SPECIAL NOTE to how my taking the time to form that response made you, ONE OF THOUSANDS OF SUBSCRIBERS feel. Seriously, if you can learn from this one action, it will have been totally worth the time I spent doing it. ūüôā

  • Thanks for the “Random Plug of the Week.” ¬†As I look back, this episode was released on my birthday, what a great present ūüôā ¬†Thanks ¬†Cliff!

  • what plug in did you use to post the twitter comment? Thanks in advance

  • kismepodcast¬†No plugin. ¬†Twtitter has an embed tweet option. You can read about it here:¬†https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169559-embedding-a-tweet-on-your-website-or-blog

  • Shani Swanston

    I’m kind of late, but can you elaborate on the “how to” of relationship building with other content creators¬†in your niche. I reached out to a few people I actually¬†know personally to ask¬†them to be a guests on my show.¬† One was pretty unenthusiastic, another I’ve tried to get a hold of but won’t make any effort/time to record with me and the other¬†gave no response, not even a no, just nothing. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Any advise would be appreciated.

  • Shani Swanston¬†Shani, imagine a guy named Bob was set up on a blind date with Sally. ¬†Could you imagine what the Sally’s reaction might be if Bob asked her to come home and meet his parents right after dinner?
    Building relationships take time.  It starts by you SHOWING GENUINE INTEREST in what THEY ARE DOING and providing VALUE TO THEM through encouragement and selfless contribution to what they are doing online.

  • Shani Swanston

    Cliff Ravenscraft Shani Swanston 
    Hi Cliff, Thank you for your response, I really appreciate it. I understand what you’re saying. I wish I had realized this before I contacted them.¬† I have a quick follow up question which I think I know the answer to but I’m going to ask it anyway. Do you think it’s possible for me to salvage these relationships? These were not strangers but personal acquaintances, the last thing I wanted to do was make them feel uncomfortable or weird.¬† And I actually do like the content they’re putting out online. Do you think apologizing in some way would help or just make things more awkward than they already are?
    Thanks again

  • Shani Swanston¬† My thought is that being honest and apologizing can never hurt a relationship. ¬†If they are already put off by you, being honest and apologizing is not going to do anything but POTENTIALLY turn things around.
    I would suggest such a course of action and I would suggest taking a genuine interest in what they are doing and look for ways that you can add value to what they do without promoting yourself.

  • DaleCallahan1


    Just now listening to this. I tried to email rob at zune Рbut does not appear to work now. Is this still relevant and the right place? 


  • DaleCallahan1 ¬†Try¬†Rob Greenlee <rob.greenlee@gmail.com>

  • DaleCallahan1

    Cliff Ravenscraft DaleCallahan1 THANKS CLIFF!!

  • Cliff, I’m a newbie to your site and podcasting (still in the investigation stage.) I have a question about finding a niche. How specific should I be do you think? I run a business English school in Mexico City – we help people speak English fearlessly at work. ¬†I have been doing my research about doing a podcast for students on Google+ – there are several communities around learning English, and they seem to be very interested in the idea of a podcast.¬†

    Most participants there (G+) are not business people Рbut younger folks who are from all parts of the world. Do you think this audience is a niche or is it too broad? 

    My current market is Mexico City. ¬†Is branching out ‘internationally’ too big of a niche?¬†

    What do you think? And I hope my question makes some sort of sense.

  • Aaron Nelson ¬†There is so much that could be said and several questions I would need to ask you to give you sound advice. ¬† However, I have very limited time to spend on the 40 to 100+ emails and comments that come in each day.

    If your goal is to have monetize your efforts form your podcast, then I would choose a target audience that could afford to buy your products and and services.

    I think that targeting Spanish speaking business people who want to learn how to speak English is a great niche. ¬†My limited understanding is that Spanish is spoken differently in different parts of the world. ¬†Maybe I’m wrong. ¬†However, if so, I would even further niche it to business people ¬†who speak the same type of Spanish you do.

    No problem at all having an international audience.  You could start offering online courses that could be sold to anyone in the world.  There is a lot of potential.

    Check out¬†http://podcastanswerman.com/320. ¬† The episode is titled… “How Teaching With A Podcast Led To A Full-Time Career ‚Äď An Interview With Mark Pentleton of Radio Lingua”

  • Cliff Ravenscraft¬†Aaron Nelson ¬†Thank you so much for your kind response Cliff! I really appreciate it. Finding a the niche has always been one of those things I wonder a lot about. Am I being specific enough? But thanks for your great points to think about – I do want to monetize what I do, but I also want to be very helpful an serve. I’ll be thinking about this….and while I’m at it: subscribing to your podcast to learn as much as I can from you. Thank you for serving your audience so well! I can see you care about that ¬†a lot.

  • CZ Wright

    Hey, Cliff! Thanks so much for all your info out here! My husband and I have made extensive use of your knowledge. 
    We started a podcast back in September (it focuses on a specific system of role-playing game – i.e., very niche ūüôā ) and have an average of about 1200 downloads per week (which is *awesome*). We try very hard to include our listeners in the show: using their gamer stories, asking them to send us homemade bumpers in character, and answering their questions (and using their rules corrections if need be!).
    We’ve given them a lot of different ways to reach us, and – as we both work full-time jobs and have two small children – I’m having trouble staying on top of the correspondence. How do you track listener correspondence and make sure no one’s comments or questions fall through the cracks?

  • CZ Wright ¬†I courage you to listen to the last bit of episode 353…¬†http://podcastanswerman.com/353 ¬† There may be a time when you won’t be able to keep up.

  • CZ Wright

    Cliff Ravenscraft¬†CZ Wright ¬†I will do that ASAP. Thanks so much! It’s nice to know there’s hope. ūüėČ

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