4 Ways to Increase Podcast Audience Engagement

You’re not just a podcaster. You’re a content creator. In order to grow your audience, focus on delivering value and involving your subscribers in the podcast.

Based on a study by Clammr, interest in podcasts has increased. Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 32 percent increase in the volume of Google searches for “podcast” and a 37 percent increase in downloads.

However, Clammr suggests that this “underlying growth is being driven more by increased listening from existing users than by growth in the underlying user base.”

Source: Nieman Lab

Audience growth and monetization are two issues troubling podcasters today. To combat stagnant growth, focus on how to engage your current podcast members. They are the key to spreading the word about your amazing podcast content.

Get a jump-start by experimenting with new strategies. Here are four ways to increase engagement with your podcast audience:

  1. Invite Listeners On-Air

Encourage your listeners to express their thoughts. Invite your audience members on-air to discuss relevant topics. If your listeners are too shy or short on time, ask them to email their comments for you to read on-air.

Harvard University researchers “conducted a series of experiments to assess how much people liked talking about themselves and why.” Researchers found that “humans get a biochemical buzz from self-disclosure.” That’s why we love talking about ourselves and sharing our experiences with the world.

Take advantage of the human chemistry. The radio industry thrives on the call-in concept. Here’s an example from the lovely folks at National Public Radio:


Source: NPR

Start with a clear call to action. At the end of each episode, tell listeners exactly what to do next: email remarks, leave comments on the show page, or fill out a listener’s survey. Translation: You need to know what you want them to do. Then, tell your audience how to proceed.

If you’re up for a challenge, host an entire show dedicated to your listeners. The episode can center around responding to your audience’s recommendations and criticisms. You also could highlight relevant, promotional content produced by your listeners.

Audience growth starts at home. Give your subscribers the opportunity to be heard. Rally the troops!

Things to Do

  • Create a show segment for your subscribers‐a “Listener’s Spotlight.”
  • Give explicit instructions on how listeners can participate.
  • Diversify the types of callers. Aim for several different perspectives.
  1. Interview Thought Leaders

Listeners are more likely to engage if they can gain valuable knowledge from well-respected people. Booking President Barack Obama, like podcaster Marc Maron, may be beyond your reach. Nonetheless, set up guest interviews with industry leaders in your network.

Find the right guests for specific show topics. Think like a “researcher, a detective, and a salesman.” Learn about the topic, locate the experts, and then convince them to participate in an episode.

Be strategic when searching for potential industry leaders. Tyler Basu, host of Chatting with Champions, suggests these seven methods to book high-profile guests:

  1. Your existing network
  2. Conferences and networking events
  3. Cold emailing
  4. Direct messages on social media
  5. Masterminds & Facebook groups
  6. Other podcasts
  7. Referrals from guests

After booking your guest, don’t forget to promote like crazy. It always helps to create a visual announcing your guest. Take a hint from the 3 Questions with Tad the Diet Coach and Jessica Perales podcast:


Source: @Tadthedietcoach

To involve your listeners, solicit questions from them with a simple survey form. Subscribers will be thrilled to have their questions answered by a thought leader. Plus, it will make your job a little easier when interviewing.

Things to Do

  1. Create Shareable Content

Studies by Google found that 90% of people move between multiple devices‐tablets, computers, smartphones‐to accomplish a single task. To successfully engage your audience, you must capture their attention with easy to use and understandable material. Therefore, give your audience the tools to share your content far and wide.

Offer listeners well-written show notes or two-minute “best moments” show clips. Encourage your audience members to share by providing pre-made social media messages. Here’s an example from Social Pros, a popular marketing podcast:


Source: Social Pros

The Podcast Guru host Nick Palkowski recommends creating one-sheet guides. Provide unique guides that include links to resources, topic outlines, and checklists of examples. In addition, this content can be connected with an opt-in form to boost your email list.

Visual elements are critical to determining the credibility of your podcast. Remember to include high-quality, custom infographics to curated video content to increase engagement. Strive for an experience that’s eye-catching.

Things to Do

  1. Leverage Professional Partnerships

You’re not alone. Collaborate with professionals, businesses, and other podcasters to leverage the power of partnerships.

Brainstorm with companies to host exciting contests. Introduce a monthly challenge to ignite action in your audience’s everyday routines.

Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s newly-renamed Note to Self (formerly called New Tech City), launched “Bored and Brilliant,” mobilizing more than 20,000 active participants. The project announced “a week of challenges to help listeners detach from their phones and spend more time thinking creatively.”

Podcast listeners like to engage with their favorite shows. “Audiences feel the connection, and put in their time, energy, and maybe even money,” Zomorodi said.

Recently, Spreaker hosted a sweepstakes giving two lucky winners free tickets to this year’s Podcast Movement conference.


Source: Spreaker

External resources will contribute new ways of thinking and engagement for your listeners. Moreover, you won’t feel exhausted from content creation fatigue.

Things to Do

  • Contact a fellow podcaster about future collaborations.
  • Host a giveaway with the help of a small business.
  • Ask your audience members to contribute ideas.

It’s Time to Engage

Building trust is important when increasing audience engagement. Listeners want to be comfortable sharing their thoughts in a safe space.

If you desire audience growth, engage your current listeners with original solutions, riveting conversations, and awesome giveaways. Create a podcast community that revolves around creativity and mutual respect.

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