You’ve started a podcast to help promote your business or brand and you are doing all the right things to make your podcast a success. But you still aren’t seeing the number of podcasts subscribers or the audience engagement you need to take your podcast to the next level. Let’s look at 15 strategies you can use to increase podcast audience engagement.
When you started your business podcast, you probably had several goals in mind:
- Establish yourself as a leader in your industry
- Boost brand recognition for your business
- Increase website content (and therefore website traffic)
- Generate more leads
- Grow your sales and your business
These are all excellent reasons to start a podcast, and since they are YOUR goals, they all speak to what your podcast (and listeners) can do for you.
And all of these goals are achievable, so long as you flip the equation and focus on what you (and your podcast) can do for your listeners.
That’s podcast engagement in a nutshell!
In this article, we’re going to dive deep into this topic and share 15 strategies you can use to increase podcast audience engagement.
What Is Podcast Engagement?
Podcast engagement refers specifically to a podcast, but it falls in the more general category of listener engagement or audience engagement.
It’s the kind of engagement that results specifically from being a listener or a member of the audience, and it’s not easy to define.
Since Wikipedia doesn’t even have a page on ‘audience engagement,’ the event ticketing platform Eventbrite turned to several experts to get their definitions. Here is what the answers revealed:
Audience engagement is:
- Giving your audience what they want—something to walk away with when the event is over.
- Inspiring the attendee to take action—a specific action that you want them to take.
- Creating an interactive narrative with attendees to create a desired outcome.
- Stirring the audience’s emotional involvement and commitment.
- Helping the audience to interact with the subject, you (the speaker), and the other attendees.
- Deliberately strategizing how you can turn event attendees into active participants.
From this, we might define podcast engagement as using your podcast to develop a relationship with listeners that stirs up their minds, emotions, and behaviors.
If you’re wondering how this is done, read on as we explore 15 strategies to increase podcast engagement.
15 Strategies to Increase Podcast Audience Engagement
The podcast audience engagement strategies on this list take you from the MUST-HAVE basics like knowing your audience and topic to creative ideas like live recaps and audience involvement.
1. Know Your Audience
Remember again that, to reach your goals, you must ask what you (and your podcast) can do for your audience. So, who is your audience?
Think about your niche and be specific. A podcast made for everyone will be listened to by no one! Contemplate the theme of your podcast to identify who your core listeners may be. Once your podcast is up-and-running, you can also test your assumptions by getting to know who your listeners are.
For more tips, check out this article from the Podcast Host.
2. Know What Your Audience Wants
Once you have identified your target audience, it’s time to think about what they want from you.
Remember, engagement means capturing their attention and drawing them in. What sort of topics interest them? What questions do they have about these subjects? What problems are they facing that you could help solve? What are their dreams? Goals? Fears?
Either ask your audience directly or do online research to get answers. One idea is to check the podcast charts to see what podcasts are trending in your area and the topics of recent episodes. Use these links to check out the Apple Podcast Charts, Spotify Podcast Charts, and Google Podcast Charts.
3. Focus on Value
After identifying the topics you will cover on your podcast (those that interest your audience!), it’s time to focus on how you can cover those subjects in a way that will deliver value to the listener.
If you want your audience to tune in until the end (and come back for the next episode!), you need to stimulate their minds and emotions. This isn’t just the hope that they will come away with something if they reach the end. To get them to the end, you have to provide value throughout.
A podcast with high value increases engagement by making listeners want to share it with friends, and we all know the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
4. Organize Episodes Around Themes
One way to get your audience interested AND to respect their time is to organize your episodes around themes.
Your listeners are busy and don’t have time to listen to a jumble of disconnected information in hopes that they will get some tidbit of relevant information by the end. Choose a theme and stay on topic throughout the show. Assuming you choose themes that your audience cares about, your listeners will be more excited to listen in and more likely to stay to the end.
5. Create a Powerful Landing Page
A landing page on your business website will help you educate potential listeners on what your show is about and encourage subscriptions (both to your podcast and your email list). Some features of a powerful podcast landing page include:
- A headline that will grab their attention.
- A short description that provides key details about the podcast.
- A ‘taste’ of your podcast in the form of a few recent episodes.
- A subscribe button where visitors can subscribe to your podcast on their favorite platform.
- A newsletter form for those who want to join your email list.
- Social media buttons to encourage visitors to check out your other channels.
- Reviews of your podcast (if you have them)
Once you have a landing page, promote it! Think email, social media, ads, and even creative strategies like adding a QR code to your business card to direct people to the landing page.
6. Create Catchy Titles
If you want more engagement from potential listeners, you need to engage them with the first few words they read. Only with a catchy title will their curiosity be piqued enough to listen, and only if they listen can you build that relationship you are looking for.
According to Copyblogger, while 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of the content. The statistics may be even smaller for podcasts, so make your headline count! Here’s a great article to help you learn to write engaging headlines that don’t suck!
7. Get to the Point
If you can grab a person’s attention with a catchy headline, you have to keep their attention right from the beginning of the episode. No long, drawn-out introductions or tangents!
Respect the listeners’ time by getting right to the point and diving into the meat of the content. Also, remember that most people multitask as they listen to podcasts, so you might not have their full attention. Pique curiosity, tease what they’ll learn next, and give them insights they won’t come across anywhere else.
8. Invite Guests
Another way to increase podcast engagement is to invite guests to your show. A podcast is all about relationship-building, and when you invite guests, you are essentially saying, “Hey listeners, I’d like you to meet my friend who can help you too!” How personal and friendly is that?
If the guest is well-known, you can boost engagement with a teaser post on social media about the upcoming episode to get people excited. If your guest promotes too, you can increase engagement with their audience as well and get more listeners (for this episode and future ones too!).
9. Add a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Part of podcast engagement is stirring the mind and the emotions. The other part is stirring the listener’s behaviors and actions.
So, what do you want them to do after they listen? Subscribe to the podcast? Leave a review? Join your email newsletter? Follow you on Facebook? Grab a free lead magnet? Check out a product or service?
Make sure every episode of your podcast has a specific call to action mentioned in the podcast itself and listed in the podcast description/notes.
10. Promote to Your List
You can also increase podcast engagement by rallying up the contacts and followers you already have. After all, if they are on your list, they may be the perfect audience for your show.
Send an email to your list whenever a new podcast episode comes out, with a short description and a link to your blog post or podcast page where the episode lives. If you send a monthly newsletter, you can also include a mention of your podcast with a link to subscribe (or better yet – a link to your landing page! See tip #5).
11. Have a Social Strategy
You’ll also want to have a strategy to engage with your podcast listeners on social media. Instead of just post-podcast promotions, think about writing posts before a podcast (to tease upcoming episodes and guests), during the podcast creation (to give behind-the-scenes info about what’s going on), and, of course, promotional posts after your podcast is released.
And it can’t be just a post and an image. You need to get creative with your social postings. Check out this style of post that we do for one of our clients to help promote views of their podcast.
Building The Speaking Business of Your Dreams with guest Jen Mcdonough
Your social strategy should include engaging posts that encourage people to comment and interact. And, of course, make sure to include time to respond to all comments you get and to engage with your DMs.
12. Create a Community
If the following of your podcast is large enough to support it, you can greatly increase podcast engagement by creating a private community for your audience.
For example, you may create a Facebook group for listeners to join to talk about your podcast topics, ask questions, and engage with other listeners. Just make sure that the group is aimed at helping the members, not simply promoting your business or podcast.
13. Include the Audience
Podcast engagement encourages real interaction between you and your listeners. One way to increase interaction is to include the audience in your show. For example:
- Ask your audience a question during the podcast and encourage them to send you an email with their answers, which you will cover in the next episode.
- Point listeners over to a Facebook post about that episode to answer a question, discuss the topic, or share feedback.
- Invite callers on your podcast or ask your audience to send voice messages, then play recordings of their questions and messages on the show.
- Create a survey or poll, invite people to take it, and discuss the results on a future episode.
These are all examples of CTAs for interaction, so make sure that in addition to saying them during the podcast, you post the directions and link in the show notes/description (and in your blog post, if you blog about your podcast too).
14. Do a Live Recap
Another way to boost podcast engagement is to hop on a Facebook Live after your recent podcast episode comes out to tell your followers about it and why they should listen.
Not only is this a promo video that will push more people to the podcast, but you can also use other engagement strategies like saying hello to people who comment and asking/answering questions. If no one shows up, you can still get promo mileage out of your video by resharing it as video-on-demand content in your Feed, Stories, on Instagram, etc.
15. Stay Consistent
If you follow the VirTasktic blog, this last tip probably sounds like a broken record. We preach about the importance of consistency with blogging and content marketing, and we believe it is essential for podcast engagement too. Engaged podcast listeners will come to anticipate your content and may even look for your most recent episode, so you’ve got to show up!
How wonderful would it be if you actually became a part of someone’s routine? For example, maybe they walk the dog on Thursday afternoon and listen to your podcast. After a couple of weeks and no new show, they are likely to just find something else to listen to during that time.
Consistency promotes engagement. Let us say that again…Consistency promotes engagement.
Creating a podcasting schedule you can stick to will ensure that you do not disappoint your biggest fans.
There are many ways to increase podcast engagement, from the basics like knowing your audience and topic to more creative ideas like collaborating with guests and even your listeners. The main thing we want you to walk away remembering is that podcast engagement is about asking, “What can I (and my podcast) do for my listeners?”
Only when you take a listener-centered approach will you boost your engagement and ultimately achieve your podcast (and business) goals.