Your podcast is complete. You have just hit publish. Now all you need to do is sit back and wait for all of the downloads to roll in, right? Nope, unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Publishing a podcast episode is just the beginning of creating a successful piece of content. Here are seven ways that you can engage with your podcast audience.
1. Create eye-catching cover art
You should create your cover art before you launch your podcast. Humans are very visual people. “We eat with our eyes!” The first way to create a connection with your audience is via the cover art you choose for your show and each episode. Although podcasts are primarily an auditory experience, most people will first discover your podcast by searching a platform and viewing how the podcast is presented. Cover art is vital. I was fortunate to follow this suggestion from a close friend (thanks, Carissa!), who shared the idea of creating a cartoon-style of cover art for my podcast. Almost three years later, I have become known for the individual cartoons I create for each of my episodes. My guests look forward to having their cartoon illustrated when they appear on the show, and people consistently comment on how the artwork caught their eyes when they discovered my podcast. You don’t need to create a cartoon to have eye-catching artwork. High-quality (not high cost) photography with some editing can do the trick as well. Be consistent and creative, and you will accomplish this goal.
2. Share your podcast episode on all your social media platforms
Although this seems like a given, you would be surprised at how often podcast creators forget to share through certain platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the most common platforms for content sharing. But you might want to consider sharing on Linkedin and Pinterest specifically. Pinterest is particularly a great source of traffic for your website where your podcast is hosted. It is best to view Pinterest as a search engine that you need to fill with your content to be discovered consistently. Back to suggestion #1, appealing cover art will help you catch eyes on Pinterest as it is a very visual platform. I even have room for improvement here!
3. Respond to all of the comments
Once you have done the work and get people engaging on your social media post or commenting on your podcast website, don’t forget to reply and keep the conversation going. If you can, try to end your comment with an open-ended question to encourage additional discussion. If you can’t reply to every comment, a like/love/laugh can go a long way toward acknowledging and building your audience. People want to know that you notice what they have to say.
4. Embrace Facebook groups
Facebook groups are one of many “secret weapons,” mentioned in this post. Many of us belong to specific Facebook groups that focus on the many interests we have. New (or current) members of your podcast audience may be living in these groups. The key to utilizing groups is to avoid promoting your podcast in the group but instead being an active participant in the group and then sharing your podcast when it is relevant. If your podcast covers mental health topics and a group member shares a post where there are looking for mental health resources, you could mention one of your podcast episodes that will help the person asking for guidance. Rinse and repeat. I can’t emphasize enough how authentic and active participation in Facebook groups can assist you in engaging with your audience.
5. Reddit is for more than memes!
Reddit is defined as a social news website and forum where content is socially curated and promoted by site members through voting. The site name is a play on the words “I read it.” Yes, they are some “subreddits” (individual forums on Reddit that focus on specific topics) that can get a little crazy. Don’t let those discourage you from becoming active on this platform. If you join the relevant subreddits where your audience lives and, like Facebook groups, and become an active participant, your participation will result in your audience following you from Reddit to your podcast. For example, if you have a podcast focused on the Liverpool football team and are participating in the Liverpool subreddit and the Premier League subreddit, this is a natural home for you to meet your podcast audience. Continuing with this example, if you have been active on these forums for a while and you happen to get an interview with a player or coach from the team, it would be a natural progression for you to share this specific podcast episode in the subreddit. I caution you against spamming or selling your podcast directly on Reddit. That will go downhill quickly.
6. Video, video, and more video
As mentioned above, humans are visual people, and using various video components can increase audience engagement. Video recording your entire podcast is not required (although that does come with benefits), but sharing behind the scenes videos of you recording your show or hosting an interview is like content gold. There is a reason why behind the scenes footage or photography is heavily consumed across all industries. Pro tip: Using a tool like Headliner or Adobe Audition, you can create videos that show off snippets of your podcast in audio form.
7. Collaborate with other podcasts who have similar audiences
I mentioned this in a previous post, and it is crucial to suggest this concept again — people who are listening to your podcast are more likely to listen to similar podcasts covering the same topic. Although it may seem counterintuitive to work with a “competing” podcast, this is where your target audience is living. I discovered one of my favorite podcasts, Design Matters, by listening to the host Debbie Millman appear on The Tim Ferriss Show. Another “secret weapon” is to create a call to action which drives this existing audience back to your podcast.
What are some additional ways you engage your audience that would apply to a podcast? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. Let’s get started.