Can A Podcast Grow Your Audience?

In my 12-year journey in the business world and a decade of podcasting, I expose the misleading claims made by so-called “experts” who insist that their way is the only way to achieve success. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and podcasting can be an exceptional marketing tool for audience growth and business development, but like every tactic, it’s only as good as the strategy behind it.

This episode of The More Profitable Podcast dismantles the myth that a podcast can’t grow your audience without the aid of additional content like video. She highlights the power of discoverability through podcast platforms and search engines, emphasizing the importance of strategic optimization and positioning. 

If you’re ready to uncover the truth about podcasting’s potential for audience growth and debunk the notion of a single magical tactic, this episode is a must-listen.

01:39 The frustrating thing I recently heard from a “YouTube expert” 

03:12 The idea that podcasting is ONLY for your existing audience is fundamentally false

07:47 How this inspired our next Podcasting for Profitability roundtable

10:48 Understanding your target audience’s content consumption preferences is at the core of using the right tactics

15:47 Focus on the impact, and growing your audience will happen

17:04 Align decisions with the purpose behind the content

Mentioned in Can A Podcast Grow Your Audience?

Reserve your spot for the Podcasting for Profitability roundtable

Book Your Podcast Strategy Intensive

Learn More About Podcast Production with Uncommonly More

Stacey Harris [00:00:00]: Recently I heard a video expert talking about podcasting and video and podcasting verse video. And they mentioned that podcasting is not a way to grow your audience, that podcasting is only a way to nurture your existing audience, that you need to be doing something like YouTube video in addition to your podcast to grow the audience and drive them to your audio podcast. We're going to call BS on that today on several layers. So let's just do that. Welcome to the More Profitable Podcast with Stacey Harris. I'm Stacey and this is the spot to learn more about the strategies, tactics and tools you need to build your more profitable podcasts. My team and I work every day with podcasters like you to shift shows from frustrating time sucks to productive members of your sales team because your show should be built to generate and convert leads. So let's get into it.

Stacey Harris [00:01:01]: Welcome. Welcome. I'm going to start this episode with a couple of disclaimers. And first and foremost, the disclaimer is my largest point maybe, which is that whenever you hear hear anyone, literally anyone telling you that you have to be doing the thing they're an expert in to achieve your goal, question them. I frequently see this. I've seen it for years. I've been in business twelve years now. We've been doing this podcast for ten years now.

Stacey Harris [00:01:39]: I have seen so much of this over the last decade where you find somebody who is a platform or a tactic expert and suddenly you're sold on the fact that that is the only solution. And so, first and foremost, the first point we're going to jump directly in is that anybody who's telling you that their way is the only way is not to be believed and is not to be trusted with, frankly, anything. I love podcasting. I think podcasting is absolutely an excellent tool for growing your audience, growing your business as a sales tool, as a marketing tool, I don't think it's the right choice for everyone. There have been people who have booked calls with me over the years who I have told to either not start a podcast or even end the podcast they were already doing. There is no one right lever, there is no one magic button, there is no one mystical tactic that can guarantee you success. There just isn't. And so when I recently heard somebody who's a video expert talking about podcasting and saying that the only way you can be using a podcast as part of your business is if you're using something like YouTube to drive traffic to the podcast.

Stacey Harris [00:03:12]: And not in a like we need to be promoting the episodes, but in a you need other kinds of content way saying that it is not possible to grow your audience, to grow your email list, to grow your community for new people to find you. If the podcast is your primary marketing tool, you have to be using video to drive people to the podcast. And this is fundamentally untrue. Like, fundamentally at its core is just nonsense because it's discounting that very simply. Some podcasts are already on YouTube, either as video podcasts or as like a full length audiogram kind of setup. But that is a platform you can put your podcast on. Aside from that, there are lots of people who don't consume video, who don't consume YouTube content, who do consume podcasts, who do search through the podcast player, who do look for recommendations, who do search know regular search engines, google, Bing, whatever. There are ways to equip your podcast to be discoverable via search.

Stacey Harris [00:04:49]: This is why we pay attention to things like titles and episode show notes and things like that. It's because we're making sure we optimize ourselves for discoverability. And the problem I have with this is not, oh, stop picking on podcasting. That's not even going to be the point of today's conversation. What I want us to focus on is the absolute shenanigans, just BS that is being thrown at us day in and day out, that there is one lever you have to pull if you just find the right expert to teach you the right tactic. You too can be endlessly successful online. You too can be endlessly successful in your business. You too will be making six, seven, eight figures a year, a month, a day, whatever the BS dream being sold in that particular webinar is.

Stacey Harris [00:05:53]: And I don't like that. I don't want us to continue to live in this idea this fallacy that there's going to be one way to win. There's not. There's lots of ways to win. And so can a podcast grow your audience? Absolutely. 100%. Will it for sure the moment you launch it? Probably not with time, doing the right things working it the right way. If you have a target market that listens to podcasts, if you position it well, if you set it up to drive traffic to somewhere beyond the podcast, it will be easier for you to see that it's happening.

Stacey Harris [00:06:43]: Yeah, you got to do some stuff. Will a YouTube channel magically grow your audience? No, it will. If you set it up right and you optimize it the right way, and you give it some time to work, you do it strategically and you use it to drive traffic somewhere where it can be measured like an email list or to your offers, so that you can see it working and people raising their hands notice that was fundamentally the same. There's not a right one and a wrong one. There's just two different tactics. I want to take a minute and invite you because these are the kinds of conversations, this is the kind of BS calling that I really love doing. In our Podcasting For Profitability roundtable, we took September off, but we're kicking one off again in October. I want you to head over to Roundtable and make sure you join me.

Stacey Harris [00:07:47]: We're setting this one up again as a Q and A because of the conversation we're having today. I am so frequently hearing from people, maybe more than ever this year, that someone told them they have to do X or Y or Z to achieve their goal, to grow their audience, to start seeing more sales, to grow their email list, whatever. But they're being sold this idea that if they just pull this one lever, it will all work out. And so I want us to have a place where we can have a conversation where you can get an honest answer to your questions. It might not be the answer you want, it might not be the answer that will get you to pay me a bunch of money because that's not the goal. The goal is to give you the answer you need, to give you next steps that you can take to get where you want to go. Not necessarily what you want to hear, but I will tell you the truth. And so I'd love for you to join us again.

Stacey Harris [00:08:55]: Roundtable get on the list. When you reserve your spot through that you'll get an email confirmation saying you're signed up. Inside of there is a link. Go leave your question in the form. I always prioritize the questions that are submitted ahead of time. If you can't make it, a replay gets sent out, so don't worry about that, but go in and submit your question again. Slash Roundtable let's shift back into talking about the idea that a podcast can or can't grow your audience. Both are true, just as they are with YouTube and LinkedIn and blog writing and guest posting and paying for PR or an ad strategy or any of these things.

Stacey Harris [00:09:43]: Any of these things can work, any of these things cannot work. But you have to be going about them strategically and you have to be considering the larger layout, you've got to be considering the context, the nuance. I know this is something that we often want to skip over, we often want to go right to this will work, this won't work. But that's not reality. What is reality is that you have to be able to answer some other questions. This is why when I sit down with clients for our podcast strategy intensives, when I sit down with our production clients quarterly, we are always talking about the same things. Who are we talking to? What do we want them to do? What do they need to know before they can take that action? Because if we're not looking at these context pieces, we won't know which tactic connects. The most important one being the who.

Stacey Harris [00:10:48]: We have to understand who we want consuming. If I am somebody who is selling you podcast production services or a podcast strategy intensive, it would be weird for me to do that without a podcast because you know who wants podcasts. People who listen to podcasts, people who write blogs want to write blogs, and they want to read blogs. They can be talked into a podcast. I've seen a lot of them do it. And that's why we have to talk about podfade as much as we do. But what's important here is that we're looking at the people I'm talking to, the audience I want to build. How are they consuming content? Are they on TikTok? Are they on Instagram? Are they on LinkedIn? Are they reading these publications that I'm being pitched to? Are they listening to podcasts? Are they sitting and watching a YouTube video? What are they doing? How are they consuming content? Because I want to create content.

Stacey Harris [00:12:01]: Not that I want to create, but that they want to consume. Now, in full disclosure, I have tried to create content that I hated creating because I thought it was how my audience consumed content. That's right. Way back when, long before this podcast existed, I wrote blog posts, and it was atrocious. It was terrible. Truly, wholly terrible. You know why? Because I don't like it. And so it made it a really poor reading experience, frankly, and an even worse writing experience.

Stacey Harris [00:12:43]: And so I started shifting. I knew I would like this, quite frankly. I've been called a social butterfly and told I talked too much since maybe the moment I started talking. This works for me. This is an easy way for me to create content. And so I looked at building an audience that consumed content this way. It became a part of my ICA, it became a part of my ideal client Avatar, because it was important to me that this be the way we connected, because it's the way I liked connecting. But that doesn't mean it would work universally if I was trying to sell you something else.

Stacey Harris [00:13:28]: Even if you consumed content this way, I'd have to be thoughtful. That the medium I was using. Translated, if I needed video, I'd probably have a video podcast instead of an audio only podcast. I'd probably still have longer form content, though, than a traditional five minute YouTube video, because I know that for my audience, a part of us connecting is the time we spend together. Here. It's not real long, but it is long enough that there's a purpose to it. There's a beginning, a middle, and an end. There are structure and points.

Stacey Harris [00:14:11]: It's not I'm looking to get in, get my tip, and get out. This is not just education, but it's trust building. And so even if it was a different medium, the structure of my content would be the same. Notice what I'm talking about now is not the tactic, is not the mode. It's the purpose. It's the strategy. It's how it's executed, not what is executed. And that's what I really want you to walk away from today with.

Stacey Harris [00:14:54]: That's what got me really fired up when I was listening to this is so often these conversations are only about the how, they're only about the medium. They're not about the message, they're not about the structure. We're forgetting the nuance, we're forgetting the purpose. We're so interested in growing a bigger audience that we forget to care about the audience we're building. I don't want more people to start listening to the show so that I can feel good about having more people here. I want more people to listen to the show so the show can impact more people. But that means it needs to be in front of the right people. I don't want people for the sake of people.

Stacey Harris [00:15:47]: I don't want numbers for the sake of numbers. I want the impact. I want you to listen because you're going to hear this and go, oh yeah, that's going to force me to think differently about something. That's going to get me to try something new, that's going to get me to revisit something I tried before, that's going to get me to stop changing the tactics before they have an opportunity to show me any real data, to show me any real evidence of success or a learning opportunity. The conversation is not about the what, it's not about the medium. The conversation you need to be having if you want to grow your audience in the next quarter, in the next six months, in the next twelve months, in the next five years, has got to be about the audience and it's got to get to be about why you want to grow the audience. What is the impact, what is the purpose for you and for them. Because until you can run every decision you make through the filter of those purposes, you will struggle to succeed no matter what tactic you're using.

Stacey Harris [00:17:04]: Because until you understand the purpose, you cannot make decisions aligned with the trajectory of you getting to your goal. It's simply not going to happen. You've got to be thinking about the nuance, the context, the pieces that come around. Should I have a YouTube channel? Should I be on TikTok? Should I have a podcast? Should I be doing blog posts, whatever. Should I be pitching these media outlets? Should I be looking to guest on other people's podcasts? All of these questions have got to be filtered through your purpose and who you want on board. This was soapboxy and so we're going to keep it super brief, but I hope that this got you thinking as you have one of those moments while you're scrolling Instagram later or you're watching a YouTube video or whatever, you're sitting in an event and you hear from the stage, this is what you've got to do. Here's the only way to reach audience. I want that to trigger a red flag in your brain.

Stacey Harris [00:18:11]: I want that to immediately pique your ears and make you question the source. Because there is not ever one right way not to grow your podcast, not to grow your audience, not to build your revenue, to do any of it. There's just not. If there was, I'd be a lot richer because I would be selling that to you. Let's just be clear. I promise, if there was one magic way, I would be using it and I would let you know what it was, okay? I promise. So if you hear anyone, anywhere, at any time in any part of your life telling you that this is the thing, this is the one way, stop the conversation and run away immediately. Maybe you don't have to run away.

Stacey Harris [00:19:09]: That might be a bit dramatic. But start asking questions about nuance. Start adding context to the conversation. And it's real funny to watch a meltdown when you do that. All right, that's it. Quick and dirty today. Thank you for joining me. If you are interested, at the time of recording this, I think there is one, maybe two podcast strategy intensives left for this year.

Stacey Harris [00:19:36]: I'd love to sit down with you, so head on over to Intensive to book a time for us to chat so that we can get you on the calendar and talk all sorts of nuance and context and find your right next step. Sound good? I'll see you there. Again, Intensive, and of course, I'll see you right back here next week. Thanks so much for listening to the show. Remember that content consumption does not make changes, so commit to doing something from today's episode. Maybe it's taking action on what we talked about. Maybe it's reaching out to me and learning more about podcast strategy intensives or what podcast production looks like with our team. All of that is

Stacey Harris [00:20:20]: And if you haven't yet signed up for the podcast newsroom, I want to remind you that is a great next step. If you're not really sure what comes next, hang out over there. Get those exclusive private episodes. That's And the last favor I will ask, because social proof is endlessly important for sure, is to leave a rating or review for this show. If you go to more, that's the easiest way to do it. But I would love to hear what you thought of the show, what you think of the show, and if the show has been helpful for you, I can't wait to chat with you. So this is just the start of the conversation.

Stacey Harris [00:20:56]: Reach out so we can keep it going. Talk soon.

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