How to Accelerate Community Growth with a Podcast

Listening to podcasts has quickly become everyone’s favourite new pastime.

Podcasts don’t feel like the result of careful planning by a marketing team. Instead, listeners are the silent participants in a conversation they can’t wait to share with their friends. An emotional connection forms as the host’s voice reaches listeners with unedited discussions and personal stories.

While others compete for eyeballs and are quickly forgotten, you can leverage a podcast to grow an engaged community that will generate positive returns for your business. Here’s how best-in-class marketers are incorporating podcasts into their content mix to accelerate the growth of their community.

Reach podcast fans through existing audio platforms

When deciding on a podcast hosting solution, you should find one that makes it easy to distribute your episodes to podcast listeners. Audio platforms like iTunes, SoundCloud, TuneIn, and Stitcher help podcast fans easily discover and listen to your podcast. These people might have never heard of your company, and now you can reach them every day on their commute.

Plan your distribution strategy before you launch your podcast, as you would for any other piece of content. Understanding how to increase your discoverability on each of these platforms will maximize the reach of each episode. Start by searching for related podcasts to see which ones rank well and learn from best practices.

What keywords are they using in their title and description? How many ratings and reviews do they have? How do they structure their show notes? These are some of the areas you can optimize for better reach.

Create a space for listeners to connect with each other

The platforms above drive listeners, but to foster a community you need a place for people to belong. Beyond connecting with the hosts over Twitter or email, listeners should be able to discuss episodes and related topics with each other. Creating a LinkedIn group is an easy way to bring your audience together and even attract their connections.

If you’d prefer to spend more time crafting a better experience, you can use a subdomain of your site for your podcast. And if you’d like to own the space without having to rally the engineering department, you can simply share the audio and show notes for each episode on your blog and turn on the comments. Remember to invite listeners to share their thoughts, and get the conversation going with an open-ended question at the end of your post.

Attract more listeners by leveraging your advocates

Since podcast listeners tend to multi-task, don’t expect your fans to live-tweet every episode. Instead, recruit the people who share your articles, click on every email, and recommend your product to their peers. These advocates aren’t shy about declaring their love for your brand, and they’ll attract a like-minded audience. All you have to do is ask!

When you give incentives for every small task, people will stop performing those on their own without a reward. However, if you need your advocates to go the extra mile and leave reviews on launch day or refer well-known guests, be sure to reward them for their time. A token of appreciation goes a long way, and will encourage people to continue to support you.

Book guests with an existing audience

When booking guests, find people with an existing audience relevant to your podcast. First ask customers, investors, or partners that are directly related to your product. You already have a good relationship with them, which you’ll be able to cement in the minds of listeners. Then approach people with a large following in your industry who have already been on podcasts. They’ll be more likely to say yes, as well as draw in podcast fans who have heard them elsewhere.

Finally, approach other podcast hosts since the best way to grow your community is to tap into the existing podcast community. These podcast hosts have already proven to offer content your audience enjoys, and they have experience captivating listeners. As an added bonus, they might even invite you to be a guest on their own show.

Exchange ideas with a shared goal

Now that you have a plan to get everyone (and their boss) to listen to your podcast, you need to keep them coming back.

You can be sure that people will love your content if they were the ones who suggested it. Ask your audience what topics they’d like you to discuss before you record, and listen to their feedback afterwards. They’re bound to tune in to the next episode when they know you’ll incorporate their ideas and answer their questions.

Beyond the specific conversations, your podcast should also have a goal that appeals to listeners. This shouldn’t be about your product, it should be inclusive and inspire listeners to accomplish it together. Unite your audience by working towards the shared goal of improving the world or themselves.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your community by launching your own podcast.

Originally published on Uberflip. Special thanks for the team for editing, and Quentin Zanca for the image.

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