Our podcast started with zero listeners and zero downloads on day one. Every podcast does. Many new podcasters don’t know how to use podcasting hacks to grow audiences and downloads. Your audiences will show up if you do. You can’t interview top-notch guests without an audience and you can’t build an audience without guests, right? If you are going to win against big media and all of the other creators trying to get an edge, it starts with getting discovered. Ask if you can cross-promote with other podcasters. To take advantage of it, podcasters need to make it easy for guests to share episodes with their email lists and social networks. If you’re attracting audiences that fit your niche, it stands to reason that their audiences will also enjoy your content. It’s not a random guest – we always interview guests who always have a following that will align with ours.
Back in July of 2016, I started a podcast with Eric Siu called Marketing School.
We’ve come a long way since then.
In fact, we are over 600 episodes into our podcasting journey.
Sure, we had existing audiences on our other channels and platforms, but we still needed to get them to show up and listen to our podcast.
Eric has been podcasting for years and brought a lot of experience to the pod.
I have been a featured guest on many other podcasts, but this was my first foray into hosting a podcast.
Our podcast started with zero listeners and zero downloads on day one.
Every podcast does.
Everyone starts on equal footing.
Podcasters like Jeremy Ryan Slate are reaching 10,000 podcast downloads in a little over a month.
Sound too good to be true?
This guide will show you 15 simple hacks to grow your podcast to 10,000 downloads or more.
So whether you are just getting started or an old pro looking for some fuel, these tips will help you ignite the fire and get your voice into ears around the world.
Podcasts are starting to generate big bucks
Podcasts are going mainstream.
Big investments are starting to flow into podcasts, podcast networks, and studios over the last few years.
Gimlet Media has now raised $27M for its network with popular podcasts like Startup and Reply All.
If you don’t feel like podcasting has truly gone mainstream just yet, then you probably haven’t heard about the Gimlet Media story becoming a TV sitcom on ABC starring Zach Braff.
Research estimates that there are between 250K and 425K podcasts available to listeners today.
It will continue to get harder and harder to get discovered in this medium when you compete against media and publishing powerhouses who are now investing significantly in podcasting.
You need an edge to be successful.
How you get that edge could make or break your podcast.
Audiences have more options than ever before. It’s your job to make them pick your podcast.
The problem is simple.
Many new podcasters don’t know how to use podcasting hacks to grow audiences and downloads.
You can’t turn off the mic, hit publish, and wait for the downloads to come streaming in–even if you have audiences on other platforms as I did.
Marketing School was able to get over a million downloads in just four months.
This is how we did it:
Where you are in your podcast journey will make a significant difference in the approaches you take to hack your way to more podcast downloads.
As I see it, there a three major phases of every podcast.
- Launch: The first eight weeks
- Life after launch
Where are you in your podcasting journey?
With all the big bucks flowing into podcasting, it’s time to start hacking and start seeing downloads.
1. Begin with value before you ever launch
A few months before his death, Albert Einstein said this:
“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”
Mr. Einstein may not have been talking about content marketing. But his advice rings true for marketers.
The most successful podcasts deliver consistent value.
Take TedTalks, for example. They offer over 2,700 podcasts, all designed with an educational slant.
The TED Radio Hour podcast is one of the top most-downloaded shows available today.
Consistently create and deliver valuable content listeners can count on from both your programming and your guests (if interviews are part of your podcast format).
Your audiences will show up if you do.
There are literally hundreds of other things that you can do to make your podcast a success.
Start by sketching out a list of potentially valuable interviews or episode themes.
Q&A sessions do well for episode topics in any area.
Find topics in your niche on AnswerthePublic.com or Quora that you or your guests can answer on your podcast.
Quora has over 190 million monthly users. That’s a deep research pool!
2. Produce quality audio without the cost
When it comes to audio and production quality, you have to sound like a professional every time.
The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to produce a high-quality podcast, thanks to the multitude of cost-effective equipment options available to podcasters.
Five years ago you probably could have gotten away with using the speaker on your phone or recording your guest interviews on a cell phone.
Not today. Consumers will just find another podcast that sounds like it was created in a studio.
Many podcasters offer up lists for their favorite podcasting equipment and the best microphones.
Check out what some of your favorite podcasters are using and create your own wish list.
For example, Seth Feingersh, the audio engineer for Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcasts shares a running list of the equipment he prefers.
It is much easier to deliver professional content when you’re working with professional tools.
3. Find the “super listeners”
96% of the most dedicated podcast fans recommend content to their friends and consume twice the content of the average listener.
We call these people “super listeners.”
On average, they listen to about 13 podcasts per week and are generally “podcast loyalists”–subscribing rather than downloading individual episodes.
So how do you attract them?
First, make it easy for them to subscribe to your content in a couple of clicks.
Second, offer in-depth content and consider building on it from episode to episode to keep them coming back.
And finally, create enough content to satiate their appetites for it.
4. Find guests that fit your niche
Securing guests can seem like a catch 22 in the beginning.
You can’t interview top-notch guests without an audience and you can’t build an audience without guests, right?
After all, size matters to big-name personalities who have a lot of requests for their time.
Thankfully, there are ways to get guests to commit, even before you’ve built up a big following.
Look for the right people in the right places.
One way is to look for authors and experts with upcoming book releases or publications. There is nothing an author loves more than a podium to talk about their work.
Just make sure their subject matter aligns with yours.
If your community is their community, then you’ve already won half the battle in booking a guest for a podcast episode.
Amazon is an easy tool to help you find authors who may want to pitch their book.
Simply filter your book search by “coming soon” to see what topics are coming down the pike that fit your podcast.
Tradeshows and conferences are another great recruiting venue. Take a look at the agenda and exhibitor list of experts that fit your niche.
As you secure guests, don’t forget to ask them for referrals to gain access to future speakers.
It only takes a few high-caliber guests to create a snowball effect.
Take author and entrepreneur James Altucher’s podcast, for example.
His interviews are personable and offbeat, but more than anything, James makes it worthwhile for his guests to invest their time with him by giving them center stage.
As a result, guests are lining up to be on his show.
When I agree to appear as a guest on a program, I always make sure the podcast complements my own message and content before I say yes.
When Nathan Chan, the CEO of Foundr, asked me to be a guest on his podcast, I knew it was a good fit.
Foundr is geared toward entrepreneurs and marketing professionals.