Now that you are fully aware of how to start a podcast, next is to master the art and science of engaging your podcast audience. Let’s say you have published episodes consistently for a few months. But you’re still not seeing the needle move regarding listener growth. You’re not alone.
Without an engaged audience, shows won’t last very long. It’s common for podcasters to experience what’s known as the “flatline,” that place where growth stalls no matter how hard you try. The good news is that there are ways to get out of it.
Podcast listeners love being part of a community and feel personally connected to the hosts and guests. Engaging your podcast audience is about your listeners paying attention, respond to call to actions, reacting to social media posts, and spreading the word about your podcast.
If you’re not constantly thinking about how to keep your listeners tuned in and coming back for more, you’re missing out on some amazing opportunities for growth as a podcaster. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your audience glued in what you have to say.
Here’s some tested ways on how to start a podcast and increase your listener’s engagement.
1. Have Clear Call-To-Actions
First and foremost, you need to make it absolutely clear how your audience can get more involved in your podcast sessions. You don’t want them to feel confused about what they should do next.
If you don’t specify, you can bet many people will simply tune out. What exactly do you want your audience to do? It’s helpful to have a few different call-to-actions in mind. You may want people to share your episodes on social media, subscribe to your show, leave a rating and review, or do other things.
No matter what you decide, make sure to state it at the end of each episode of your podcast clearly.
2. Encourage Listener Interaction
After clearly stating your call-to-action, ensure you’re also engaging your audience in the podcast episodes itself. You can do this by asking questions, encouraging listeners to call in or email with questions or comments, polling your audience, or inviting feedback and advice from your guests. This will make your audience feel involved and empowered, which is great for engagement.
If you want your audience to leave feedback, try to keep it relevant, constructive, and respectful. When asking questions, be sure to leave time for responses. You can do this by pausing after you ask the question or taking calls from listeners. This will help keep your audience engaged and ensure they have a chance to participate in the conversation.
You can even bring on one of your listeners on for a question-and-answer episode with a guest, make sure to always thank the guest for their time, patience, and willingness to be candid during the discussion. This will make them feel appreciated and help inspire them to keep answering questions. It will also keep your audience engaged in the conversation.
3. Use Social Media
Social media is a great way to engage with your podcast audience. You can use social media to promote your podcast, share episode previews and clips, and answer listener questions. You can also use social media to connect with other podcasters and build relationships with guests. Make sure you’re also present on any social media where your target audience tends to gather.
You can find ways to engage with your audience on other people’s accounts, but make sure you ask permission before posting on someone else’s page. If you want to get really creative with social media engagement, try hosting a Twitter chat space. This is basically just a scheduled time to interact with your audience on Twitter. You could host a general chat for everyone to participate or a more private one where you select few people.
Creating a group chat space for you and your audience fosters an environment where your listeners get to meet and know each other. They get to talk about your podcast and other subjects, building a stronger feeling of community among themselves. There are several social media platforms that provide group chat rooms: Discord, LinkedIn, Reddit, WhatsApp, and Facebook.
4. Offer Exclusive Content to Listeners
You can create more engagement with your audience members and attract even more new listeners by offering exclusive contents on your podcast platform. This can be in the form of a behind-the-scenes look at the podcast, an extra-long episode, a podcast episode transcript, or an exclusive guest episode.
Be careful not to promise more than you can deliver, and don’t try to complete these episodes overnight. What if you don’t have time to record special episodes? That’s okay! There are plenty of other ways to offer exclusive content to your listeners.
You can share photos from your podcast recording session, invite listeners to be part of a Q&A session with you and your guests, or offer early access to your podcast episodes.
5. Host Giveaways and Contests on Air
If your show has a recurring theme or a specific topic, you can use it to host a giveaway or contest. You can also host a contest with a specific rule or goal for listeners to achieve. You can do this on your podcast or any social media platform, just be careful not to break any laws or violate any of their terms of service.
Ensure to carry your audience along when you’re about to kick-start such events, and let them know how they can participate in the contest and when they can expect the contest to end.
Hosting giveaways and contests on your podcast can be especially rewarding. Not only will you get a lot of new listeners, but you’ll also get to create more engagement with your current listeners. You can even reward your most loyal fans by letting them choose what the prize or goal is for the contest.
6. Host Live Events to Really Get The Audience Involved
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Oh, that’s really cool, and all, but my show isn’t really a contest/giveaway/event-driven type of podcast,” don’t worry. You can still incorporate some of these ideas into your show. One of the most effective ways to get your audience more involved is to host live events. You can host a meet-up if your show is relevant to a specific industry or group. This can be particularly effective if your show is focused on interviewing experts in the field.
You can also hold podcast recording sessions with some of your audience. This will give your listeners a chance to meet in real life and interact with each other.
Podcast audience engagement is something you should be thinking about constantly. It’s not something that happens overnight, but you can work on it daily. Start by implementing the tips in this article, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to getting your listeners more engaged with your show. That’s not to say it’ll be easy.
Experiment with different engagement strategies and see what works best for you and your audience. With a little effort, you can create an engaging and successful podcast that will entertain and inform your listeners for years.
Engaging your audience is a difficult task, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding one. Once your listeners fully invest in your show, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something. And you have!