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Beyond your friends and family: 5 ways to get more podcast listeners

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By Caroline Tesone, Producer of Shareable

Let’s get something straight, when you launch your podcast, your friends and family *should* be listening, a successful launch is almost impossible without them. If your friends and family aren’t willing to listen...why should anyone else be?

But what happens after launch? Friends and family are still listening, but no one else is. There are plenty of reasons why you’re not reaching new listeners. Lucky for you, most are easy enough to change. Here are five ways to start.

1. Check Yourself.

It’s important to ask: “Is my content worthy?” Not only of your listeners time, but also yours.

Podcasters know: production is a labor of love. Make sure you’re using the right equipment, software, hosting service, and meta tools to keep your editing process efficient while still producing a product worth listening to.

Be consistent. Consistency builds trust between you and your audience, so incorporating familiar elements into your episodes like intros, outros, transition sounds, and recurring segments help establish a routine that your listeners can depend on.

Okay, so you’re confident in your content’s quality. What’s next?

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2. Share it!

Again, it’s great that your friends and family are listening because they represent your horizontal influence.

Make sure your email list and social media followers are seeing your content. As much as we’d love to think that our content is so amazing that people will naturally start talking about it, they’re not. They might...but they probably need encouragement.

Don’t neglect your SEO! Do the simple stuff that helps people find you faster on Google and YouTube.

Now, you’re growing, but your download numbers are still pretty stagnate. How do you get your next real boost?

3. Reach out.

You may be shocked to know this, but I’m a fan of the cold email. Make a list of the people you’d like to contact, find their email addresses through good ol’ fashioned internet snooping, put them in a spreadsheet, and just email them. Some won’t answer, but a surprising amount will and those connections can lead you anywhere.

Do the rounds. Be a guest on someone else’s podcast and expose yourself to their network.

Your download numbers are rising, but how do you keep this trend going up?

4. Build a community.

Create a space for your listeners to talk with other fans of the show.

Many podcasts have private Facebook groups, Slack channels, in-person podcast “book” clubs. Whatever suits the needs of your community, give them a place to gather and make connections with each other.

Speaking of community, here’s the final tip for now.

5. Listen

  1. Create surveys
  2. Set up a phone number
  3. Ask people to DM you

However you choose to do this, let your listeners know that you love them and that you’re listening.

Here’s a bonus, once you have a substantial following that’s when you can start to monetize.

Why? Because now you have a base of people who believe in your show and sponsors will notice.

There you go. These steps aren’t difficult to implement and execute, but they do take time, planning, and effort. Remember, when you’re frustrated to keep working these steps because they all will help your audience grow.