Top 7 Ways to Grow Your
Podcast’s Total Downloads

You’ve worked hard to build a successful podcast that connects with listeners who share the same passions and interests as you. Now you’re ready to take the next step and grow from a few hundred listeners to thousands of downloads per week–the problem is, it’s very difficult for a podcast to go viral. If you’ve already been in the industry for a while and have your solid base of fans, how can you attract new listeners?
It takes time and dedication, but growing your podcast is possible. You have a lot of tools at your disposal–networking and social media, guests to contact for interviews, marketing strategies like SEO, and more. Take a look at these top 7 ways to grow your podcasts’s total downloads for ideas on successfully expanding your listenership.

Promote As Much As You Can

Relying on iTunes and Spotify isn’t enough–you often have to take promotion into your own hands. One of the best ways to promote your show is to create a website for it; not only does this provide a single place for your listeners to find all the information they need, it also makes it easy for people to subscribe.
A devoted website can tell listeners details about each individual episode, provides a single place to look at and download all the episodes you’ve done, and has space for a bio or contact page so people can learn more about you. This additional content and added descriptions from your individual episodes helps increase your organic, SEO rankings in search engines.
It’s also highly recommended for podcasters to have their own landing pages. Devote one page on your website explicitly for subscribing to your content and finding more details. If your podcast is hosted on several different applications, make sure you list each of them. Also provide a place for people to subscribe to your podcast and include information about any services or products that you endorse.

Here is a great landing page example from the DiviNation Podcast

Keep in mind that 26% of all audio listening is completed on a smartphone. Many of your listeners will be using their phones to find and listen to your podcast, so make sure your landing page and website design work well both on desktop computers or laptops and mobile phones.

Key Takeaways

Suggested Next Steps

  1. Create a simple website to promote your podcast and provide more details
  2. Your website should incorporate great SEO content with episode descriptions
  3. Highlight your show with its own landing page

Optimize Your Content for Search Engines

Once you’ve developed a website for your podcast, the next step is to optimize your content to rank highly in search results. Google recently started showing podcasts in its results, so targeted keywords and content focused on search engine optimization (SEO) will help you rank. For example, you have a podcast on true crime. Keywords for this genre include “murder” and “cold case”.
By being easy to find, you’ll stand out in the podcasting crowd. You’ll also attract more first-time listeners if they’re able to see you on the first page of Google search results.

Include keywords in:

  • Pages of your website. The keyword should be in the page’s title, subheadings, and its meta description.
  • Your episode content, scattered throughout. Incorporate keywords in a natural way–don’t try to force it too much.
  • In the description, and even the name, of an individual episode.
  • In your show notes and the transcription of the episode.

Transcriptions and Show Notes

One of the easiest ways to incorporate keywords into your podcast is to include them in your show notes. Podcast show notes are written details of what went on in the episode and links to additional resources. To further optimize your content, include links to bios of your guest speakers, articles or other information mentioned, and relevant social media channels.
Or, optimize your podcast’s transcript. This is a word-for-word account of what you talked about in your episode. You can either listen to your show and write everything down, or use automation software. Transcriptions are excellent tools to boost your reach and connection to an audience; you’ll draw more traffic when people search for those keywords in your genre.

Key Takeaways

Suggested Next Steps

  1. Identify keywords that relate to your show
  2. Use our optimization structure to help each show rank better on search engines
  3. Prepare your transcripts for additional reuse later

Connect with Super Listeners

A great way to increase your podcast’s downloads is to find “super listeners”–people who love listening to podcasts and are very loyal to their favorites. Super listeners consume twice as much content as the average listener–about 13 podcasts for a little over 10 hours per week. Rather than listen passively, they are deeply interested and become invested in your show.

Super listeners are your ideal consumer because they:

  • Are more favorable toward podcast marketing messages. They listen closely to ads and tend to be more willing to pay for content.
  • Recommend their favorite podcasts to people they know. 96% of super listeners recommend content to other listeners.
  • Like to subscribe rather than download individual episodes.
  • Tend to binge-listen; if they discover your show and like it, they’ll listen to all of your old episodes.

Super listeners are highly active, engaged, and committed. So how can you attract these listeners to grow your podcast audience?

Offer In-depth Content

Super listeners are willing to listen to long-form content and love shows that go in-depth on a certain topic. The more details you have, the better. Don’t be afraid to have long episodes–super listeners will stay interested.

Conduct extensive research and provide a review or analysis of a topic rather than simply rehashing the facts. Or, you can reach out to experts on the topic and host them on your episode, which lends credibility and trust.

Make It Easy to Subscribe

Super listeners want to subscribe to your show rather than download individual episodes. Make it easy for them to do this in a couple of clicks. The quicker they’re able to sign up, the quicker they can listen to all you have to offer.

Ask Them for Recommendations

Not only do super listeners love listening to podcasts for hours on end, they also love telling their coworkers, family, and friends about their favorite hosts and shows. The important thing is to make sure your show is the one they recommend. At the end of your show or on your website, pointedly ask for recommendations and engage with your super listeners. You’ll have your show promoted for free, and can gain visibility with a more general audience.

Have you ever recommended a podcast to a friend?



Key Takeaways

Suggested Next Steps

  1. Identify those people who download your show most
  2. Send them an email that includes a poll or survey
  3. Test and update your podcast with their recommendations

Use Social Media

More than ever, it’s possible to connect with hundreds of followers. Use social media to your advantage as you grow your podcast. Don’t be afraid to aggressively promote your content–just take care to be mindful of which platform you are using. For example, you can send several tweets on Twitter about your show (a strategy known as “Twitter bombing”), but scale it back for platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

When you release a new episode, make sure all your social media followers know. On top of announcing each episode, you can also use social media to:

  • Share intriguing quotes or soundbites from the episode that will capture people’s interest.
  • Post about content relevant to your podcast. For example, if you reference guests, articles, or videos in your show, you can post about these subjects while linking it to your own work.
  • Take advantage of relevant hashtags to ensure your podcast is showing up on certain feeds. For example, don’t just use #podcast and #truecrime–include hashtags such as #unsolved and #mystery.
  • Interact with your listeners by replying to questions and comments. If someone comments on your post by saying “Loved this episode!” A simple “Thank you for listening!” can go far and ensure that person stays loyal to your show then recommends it to other people.
  • Get feedback. Ask your followers questions and stage polls asking them what content they’d like to listen to next. Incorporating this feedback can improve your show, and ensure you stay on top of trending topics.
If you have guests on your show, one of the best things about social media is that you can get double the outreach for your episode–you’ll post on your social media handles about it, and your guest will post about it as well. In fact, one of the best things you can do to grow your podcast is to host guests.

Key Takeaways

Suggested Next Steps

  1. Prepare a posting schedule of past shows, guests, and supporting content
  2. Schedule and post quality content regularly
  3. Comment on listener feedback ASAP

Make a YouTube Video For Each Episode

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. Putting your content on here is a must for any growing podcast. Leveraging YouTube for your podcast doubles the amount of exposure from a single episode. You can either have a static image that will show on the screen when a viewer clicks play, or record both video and audio as you’re producing your show so viewers will see you talking live. Either way, it provides people another option for accessing and listening to your podcast.

All you need to do is convert your MP3 audio file of an episode into an MP4. If you need a static image, use one that supports your brand or image. Recording video does require more equipment, but it can be an especially great option if you have a co-host or you interview guests often.

Make sure to include keywords in your description of the episode on YouTube. Also include links to your website and social channels, as well as show notes. By optimizing this information on every platform you put your podcast on, you’ll boost your exposure and reach as many people as possible.

Key Takeaways

Suggested Next Steps

  1. Convert your existing audio files
  2. Create a branded static image or invest in video recording equipment
  3. Upload the show to your YouTube Channel (create one if you don’t have a channel yet)

Find the Right Guests

It’s easy to ask people to be on your show; many say yes because it’s exciting and they would like to support you. The trick is to find the right guests that will provide more value to your content and boost your outreach to more followers. Once you begin trying to find engaging and interesting guests who bring value and expertise to your show, you’ll quickly realize this can be one of the most difficult aspects to podcasting. Luckily, it is possible to discover great guests and book them on your show.

Transcriptions and Show Notes

Third-party podcasting experts not only can help you grow your audience, but can also help you find guests. By completing a consultation, these experts do all the heavy work for you and ensure you land great guests by:

  • Identifying the best potentials for people to be on your show and reaching out to them.
  • Booking experts who can specifically speak to your show’s theme.
  • Replacing a scheduled guest spot if someone has to cancel.

Letting experts handle this frees up time for you to focus on other aspects of growing your podcast. And, this is one of the few ways to guarantee that a certain guest will truly add value to your content.

Reach Out on Social Media or Email

As you continue to grow your podcast, chances are you’ll come across people you would love to have on your show. You can reach out to these people by yourself through email or on social media. Keep in mind that it’s best if they are relevant to your show’s content, and if they have been a guest or host on a podcast previously–if they’ve worked on podcasts before, chances are they’ll be more willing to do it again.

As you reach out, keep your request short and simple. Be very straightforward by introducing yourself, and tell them how you became aware of them. If you have any statistics surrounding your show (number of downloads or listeners, years of experience) use these to boost your credibility. If you don’t hear back, don’t be afraid to follow up. You might have to contact someone a couple times before you get a positive response.

Key Takeaways

Suggested Next Steps

  1. Write a target list of guests you know or think would be great for your show
  2. Schedule a consultation with experts, or create a rough outline to contact potential podcast guests yourself
  3. Scour social sites for ways to connect with your guests and send them a message, or two

Bonus Pro Tip

Set up Cross-Promotions And Networking

Connecting with other podcasters within your space works the most when your show has gained traction. Once you’ve developed a base of devoted listeners and have really gotten started promoting your podcast, you can reach out to other hosts whose audiences are similar. Ask for advice, look at who they’ve had as guests, and most importantly, ask to cross-promote.

Reach Out to Similar Creators

Hosts who have the same audience as you will be most likely to respond. For example, if you are a new podcast with a small listenership, you probably won’t hear back from podcast hosts who constantly top the charts. Cross-promotion is also most successful when you have something in common–a shared theme or topic, or similar guests.

Network, Network, Network

Connecting with the podcasting community is an easy and great way to grow your podcast. Network with both podcast producers, and podcast listeners. You’ll stay on top of new trends and techniques, as well as what listeners are looking for, as you find hosts to cross-promote with.

There are many ways to network:

  • Check out podcasting groups on social media (such as Facebook)
  • Connect with third-party podcasting experts who will help you expand your reach
  • Post on Reddit podcasting forums
  • Connect with other hosts on LinkedIn
  • Stay in touch with the people you interview
  • Interact with your listeners and respond to their comments on your website or social media profiles

Key Takeaways

Suggested Next Steps

  1. Identify and list other shows with similar content
  2. Review your listener base for potential networking opportunities
  3. Create different request script you can send out to hosts and listeners
  4. Identify the channels you want to post on and start regularly posting on those channels

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