10 ways to get more podcast subscribers
Choose your niche wisely
Just like starting a blog, starting a podcast is no big deal. That means most people might not succeed with podcasting. Yet, we keep hearing big stats around podcasting. Yep, the numbers are indeed huge.
There are several thousand podcasts available and plenty to choose from.
The number of options listed is astoundingly huge which makes the competition severe.
That’s the reason you need ways to boost your podcast numbers and grow their size.
If you’re reading this you probably have a podcast or are close to starting one. That implies you are very near zeroing down on a niche or have already chosen one.
Wait. A. While.
Before you produce an episode or more content, it’s important to determine if your niche is good enough.
Most people don’t research an idea. They go with the gut feeling that things will just align themselves. They find some niche they are remotely good at or feel they are good at and start yapping away.
Instead what you should do is research the keywords on iTunes and or Google podcasts to see how many successful podcasts are there on the topic currently.
Once you have the hard numbers you can understand what it would take for you to be successful.
Specifically go out and look at:
- The number of podcasts on your core topic
- The number of downloads they have
- The number of episodes for the biggest podcasts in the niche
- How long ago was it started
- Is it a content strategy you can replicate on your own? Do they interview bigshots or is it mostly a solo gig.
If the podcast is popular but there aren’t many competitors, that’s a green signal that the niche is ready to be dominated by someone who’s willing to put in the hard work.
Next, listen to the podcasts in the niche. Does it feel like they know what they are talking about? Or is it mostly regurgitated information they heard somewhere and their voice doesn’t reflect any true knowledge.
That said if its the former that kind of passion is hard to replicate but can be well within your means.
Just spend 10000 hours or more reading and consuming information around a topic and you too can become an expert on the subject.
It’ all a matter of how serious and dedicated you can be.
On the flipside the niche you’re targeting can be saturated. And this is a big problem. Here’s how to tackle that.
Go to answerthepublic.com and research topics that you can create content on or on which you can find podcast guests around.
Answer the public is a fantastic tool that can offer hundreds of thousands of keyword suggestions, long tail suggestions and questions and answers to name the least.
Quora has over 190 million monthly users with questions on all subjects, topics and anything else you can imagine.
Find more about your listeners and profile them
In marketing we talk about buyer personas, which is an image of the ideal buyer for you.
In the same way you need to profile your listeners to understand who they are and what they do to better cater to their interests.
If possible, you can even flesh out these descriptions in detail by mentioning who the target audience is and what do they want in life, ultimately answering how your podcast can help them.
You could even go a step ahead and interview these ideal audience members and ask them questions regarding what’s important in their life and what they want to achieve. You can spend hours with them to understand the content you need to truly cover.
That way when you interview experts on your podcast, the questions you ask will be something they are asking because you know them as well as you know yourself.
In addition, move the research away from others and try your own research, Just because people are able to articulate their problems doens’t mean they know the perfect solution. It’s your job to come up with that.
Choose low competition categories
On iTunes there are 100 categories to list the podcast. From these categories you can choose up to 3 different categories.
That said you need to put the selections by deeply thinking about them. For the obvious reason that some categories have way more competition than others.
Other categories are going to be easy to rank for.
Don’t pick one that’s easy to rank but is completely irrelevant to what you do.
You will be able to arrive at some great choices almost immediately. But don’t hurry. Spend time browsing through the content on those categories and how the top ranked shows perform. The ratings and number of reviews they have and other things.
This helps you rank.
iTunes is just another search engine. So if you want it to rank you need to optimize it for search. Choose a category that holds the winning cards. With less competition you are more primed to make that choice.
Invest in art work
While it doesn’t seem true right of the bat, the podcasts you see aren;t judged by their content first but by how beautiful the podcast looks. This means they need some quality covers and not something you can cook up on Microsoft paint.
Browsing through the most popular shows, what stands out the most to you might be that certain colors that stand out or the cover.
People don’t have the time to gulp down entire paragraphs. Instead tell them what they want to know in as few words as possible. Limit words and choose a good title.
Limit word usage.
Get engagement with contests
Be it any industry, contests never fail to create engagement. When you run contests as soon as you launch the podcast, it can go a long way in supplementing your efforts in building the initial list of subscribers to the podcast.
Add a free contest where you can give away a gift card that would help stem interest in the contest.
Set few simple rules as well.
- Subscribe to the podcast.
- Leave a rating for the podcast
- The third’s optional: subscribe to mailing list
Make this simple and you may even want to add a sequence of steps for your audience to follow for each of the above steps. By adding screenshots people won’t get confused with regards to the next step.
You can run the contest for a duration 2 to 4 weeks and add it in the introductory part of the podcast episodes. Talk about the podcast everywhere you go.
The itunes search engines likes addition of new subscribers, new reviews and people to download the show.
When you get more subscribers quickly your rankings go up naturally.
Get more reviews
Reviews could easily be thought of as the number 1 factor influencing rankings.
It’s time to be a little unabashed when it comes to asking for ratings and reviews. Reach out to friends and family, literally anyone you can find and ask them to leave a review. When you request individually people are more inclined to take an action.
Facebook messages, tweets, DMs and emails can come in handy for this. You could also send them swipe copy to simply copy and paste on social media channels to support you.
You could also do this with reviews. Just alter a bit of the reviews so that the message is more personalized and never a spam blast.
Also, always ask people to post ratings. You can do this via emails, faceto face, A simple message at the end and thanking them for the gesture is often enough. These personal requests are often heard.
Find your list of loyal subscribers
When I wrote about Death By Coffee- a brand known for its extremely tough coffee, I knew that the brand went far and wide because of what they obsessively stood for and because of its loyal subscribers.
The most dedicated of your podcast fans recommend the podcast to their friends and family members.
They also consume twice as much content.
These guys are in every field. For podcasts they listen 13 of them each week.
So its your job that these super listeners are part of your fraternity/.
This means compelling such loyal podcast listeners to keep coming back for more. This is possible by offering a high level of content and creating a series episode by episode.
You must have heard of guest blogging for blogs. This idea stems from that. When I guest blogged for Social Media Examiner in the past, a week before the guest post went live, they sent me an image and other materials that I could upload to Twitter and other social media channels. Because of the high quality of the visuals there was no way I could refuse. This helped them leverage my own audience.
You can do the same. Send them a note when the podcast interviewing them goes live and share shareable media assets like pull quotes, images, links and prewritten tweets.
You can also send the email.
Start the email like this
Hope you are well. We are happy to say that the podcast with your interview in it just went live.
We are as excited about it as you are. If you want to check out here’s the link on iTunes and Google play.
Here are a few images and pull quotes you can use on Twitter and Facebook if you care to share.
List your podcast on directories and elsewhere
Now its possible to add your podcast to several different channels.
By syndicating podcasts you give people chance to discover your podcasts.
Traditional radio is dying while podcasting is growing by a lot. No tuning the channels to get your content. Instead smartphones deliver you what you want.
So where do you find these people? On podcast directories. iTunes, on Google play, on soundcloud and on the stitcher list.
By adding yourself to directories you are being part of the being discover game.
When you add your podcast to these directories you give more avenue for people to be able to find and come to you.
When you do something great you get discovered.
It’s good if you start submitting to these platforms once you have built up your reputation. Don’t submit to these platforms, just because you want to be discovered. Be worth discovering. This is how you get partners to mention you.
Get partners to mention you
Do you know that Google was first called Backrub. It was an apt name.
Also if you have guest blogged for a while you might have realized that its quite similar to rubbing backs. You help someone and they help you back.
Start mentioning brands and other friends in your podcasts. And they might just return you the favor.
Businesses that mention you might get a mention back. It’s the same everywhere else.
Podcasts amazingly work in a similar manner. When you mention brands in the episode, that gives you a license to reach out tot those brands to tell them they have been featured.
Such simple emails are enough to get you a backrub or a mention.
Go stronger by metric analysis
It is going to be difficult to measure how successful you are without knowing where you are going. Metric analysis brings you one step closer to the truth.
Understanding number of downloads and growth of subscribers is easy with IAB podcast measurement guidelines.
There are also analytics built into most podcast hosting services. With this panel you get information on their analytics and see how popular the podcast is and how relevant it can be.
Blubrry provides in depth statistics that not everyone can match. There’s also podcast statistics available on iTunes, but it only tracks downloads happening on the platform and not elsewhere.
Average Consumption: This numbers give you information on where listeners drop off. If its 70% that means, if a podcast is 10 mins long the listeners drop off by 7 minute mark.
This gives you a measure of engagement
With devices subscriber you see the number of new devices subscribed to the podcast after listening to a particular episode. A high number shows real engagement. If its 80 percent that means 80 percent of people who listened to the podcast started to subscribe afterward.
There are also many other podcast analytic measuring platforms you can use.
Get people to take action
People are not going to subscribe until you ask them to. Even if they want to they don’t subscribe unless someone compels them. Call it click fear or laziness.
Ask people to rate, review, subscribe and share the different podcast episodes.
It’s your content and you can offer anything to make this happen.
Focus on these aspects:
Go to competitor podcasts and look at what they are doing. Are they conduct more interviews, which channels are bringing traffic, how organized or what kind of content are they publishing. Is the podcast optimized for search and so on.
Create content around topics that are trending and can bring in more visitors or subscribers. If you podcast about something discuss about the most relevant trends.
Finally ask people what they want to learn more about. Ask about their problems and offer solutions. Create podcast around their needs and wants to fuel likes and subscriber growth.