3 Podcast Growth Strategies Helping Podcasters Convert Listeners In 2022

The one universal truth of podcasters and maybe any content creators is growth. Every single podcaster I talked to, no matter their niche, no matter their business model, no matter their show style, show purpose, still want growth. Every single one and I love growth. I get so stoked when we watch our client’s podcasts grow, when I watch the show grow, when I watch the Podcast Newsroom grow, but it’s only impactful if we are growing a listenership of prospective clients of people who could be served by what we’re doing. 

The reality is as if we’re sort of sucking people into our content and our sphere, who are not going to be served by what we’re producing, we’re wasting time and I don’t know about you, but probably the most offensive thing you could do to me is waste my time. That’s not true. There are lots of other more offensive things you could do to me. But it’s my most valuable commodity. I have said this probably on this show but definitely in my life a million times. I don’t love wasting money. But I’ll get over it in a hurry.

I will maybe never get over wasting my own time or having my time wasted. It’s a deal-breaker for me. It’s a non-negotiable for me and so when we are looking at growth goals or we’re looking at growth tactics that aren’t going to be attracting people who will be served by the show, we’re wasting people’s time and we’re wasting our own and that’s a double whammy. So, I want to dig in today on three growth tactics that you can be used to grow your show, but also convert those listeners and be making sure that the people that are coming in, the people that are listening, and the growth that is happening serve you, serves your listeners, serves your business, serves everyone involved. 

As we start talking about these growth strategies for your podcast, I want you to be realizing that all of them need to be run through the filter of your own insight. 

I was recording some TikTok’s the other day and I was talking about this on TikTok, by the way, Uncommonly More on TikTok, we are playing with it if you want to check it out. But I had been scrolling my for you page and I was just seeing a lot of not-great advice. If you were in the online business space in the 2012 to 2015 era when the one magic pill to solve every problem in your business or was in fact having a Facebook group where you sold people crap, that’s a little bit what the for you page felt like the other day.

So I did this quick TikTok and I said not all advice is good advice for you. You have to be using your critical thinking skills because it’s true. All advice is not made for all people, all businesses, all business models, all circumstances, and all goals. And so, as I’m going through these tactics, these strategies today, you’ve got to be running them through your filters of what are my goals? How do I want to show up for those goals? What will resonate with my ideal client? 

And you’ll notice that something I talked a lot about as we’re going through these is that we’re talking about things that are built for the people you want to be working with. Not people you want to be listening to your show which by the way should be the same person. But oftentimes I find people get more general than the people they want to be working with because maybe they have two or three offers and they’re sort of in ascending prices and their thought process is, well, if I just make sure I’m talking to a more general group, I’ll get people who fit into all of these places.

But what happens is because we’re speaking more generally, we water everything down and none of it’s going to speak to any of those ideal clients. And that’s why when we’re sitting down and we’re planning content, we’re talking about what are we selling and who are we selling it to? Because that might evolved from quarter to quarter. When you’re selling something maybe at a lower price point or a higher price point, the problem you solve will be the same but the specifics of who you’re working with might be different. 

So you are going to hear me mention that a lot today, but I want you to be keeping that in mind as we’re talking about these strategies. No idea is a good idea for everybody, okey-dokey? Let’s dig in. 

The first of our podcast growth strategies, focusing on guest spots and being a guest on other people’s podcasts. 

It can be a really powerful way to grow your listenership. A couple of points of nuance, number one, these have to be shown that people who you want to listen to your show and more importantly people who you want to buy your product or service or program are listening to. I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve had conversations with clients who are investing a not small amount of money in being pitched and I see the list of shows that they have been pitched to or that they’ve even shown up on because we’re… Mentioning it in a podcast episode or, “Hey can you listen to this and see if there are any questions in here? We want to pull out to an episode or whatever the case may be.”

And I am like, “Why did you even pitch this show? Much less agree to go on it.” Because no one who’s going to buy anything from you was listening to the show. In some cases, their innate direct conflicts with what you do. If you’re a business coach who helps people launch businesses and really get started there in that initial sort of startup phase of business and you go on a show helping people negotiate salaries in their career, that’s probably not going to be in the same audience. 

You’re having to talk them into your thing being a good idea. That’s not really where you want to start. I think everybody has on their ideal client list already understands the value of XYZ, right? I don’t want to talk you into this being a good idea. I don’t sell anyone on podcasting. I, in fact, am most actively telling people they shouldn’t start a podcast because it’s not for everybody and it should be something that you’re doing because it makes sense for you, it makes sense in your business, it makes sense for your listenership, it has to be sort of an organic desire. 

Not just, “Hey, this is a good idea because somebody told me it was.” And so I’m not going to go on to a podcast where they’re talking about underwater basket weaving. It doesn’t make sense. So make sure you’re getting guest spots in front of your ideal clients. I also tell you that you have to be paying attention to who you’re hiring in this role. If you’re looking for recommendations, tap your network, look at who’s out there, and ask questions of people in the space that you respect because they can give you an honest answer about some good ones and potentially someone to avoid. 

I cannot stress enough the importance of paying attention to who you’re working with and I actually encourage you to look at what does this look like to keep in-house? I know that there are a couple of people in this space who trained you or your team on how to pitch. Not a course, not a six-week program on how to get on more podcasts, but a done with your service to build out your pitching, to build out your follow-up system, to build out your research system, get you started with 10, 20, 50 podcasts, just pitch and then you can have somebody on your team.

Actually, we handle the pitching in the follow-up that can be really really powerful and allows you to access your personal network in a really powerful way. So be paying attention to the quality of the person you’re hiring. If you’re hiring this, be paying attention to what they’re offering and what that structure looks like. You should be getting regular updates. You should be, there should be some kind of spreadsheet where you’re looking at. This is what was pitched, this is who we pitch, this is when we pitch them, this is what the follow-up sequence looks like, here’s where they said yes or no, here was a reason for saying yes or no, here’s when it’s booked, here’s the interview, here’s everything. 

I should be able to find that in a spreadsheet somewhere. If that person you want to hire is not going to give you something like that, give you some line of sight to see what’s happening, keeping a line of sight on what’s happening, run for the hills. Fast. Not even like a brisk walk. I’m talking sprint, baby. I want you to be looking at somebody who’s going to be partnering with you. Somebody who’s going to give you a line of sight on what’s happening. And honestly, this is a soapbox moment I’m going to get into, but I want you guys to be doing that with just like everybody you’re hiring. 

It’s frequently kind of amazing to me how many, so most of the podcasters who come work with us have an existing show already and some of them have been working with an editor or possibly even a full-on agency before they started working with us. And I’ll ask them in our initial conversation some questions about their show, where things are, what they’re happy with, what they’re not, and they’re completely disconnected from the process. They have no line of sight. There is no dashboard or they just put folder or episodes in and then they get a bunch of stuff back. Maybe they ask questions they’re not really being answered. There’s no reason for you to tolerate this.

This is why we have the dashboard system we have built because 9 out of 10 times, those questions can be answered by going to that place. We have quarterly calls with our clients, we’re in them right now and it’s jumping in and saying, “Hey, this question came up for me. Hey, I’m looking at dynamic ads. Hey, what do you think about adding a video? Hey, should I be doing this? Hey, can we tweak the templates for our social graphics? Because we just had this rebrand, whatever, whatever, whatever.”

But they don’t have to just sort of wander or reach out at 2 a.m. when this question pops into their head because we regularly meet and connect and talk about these things. You should be getting that same kind of support, frankly everywhere, but certainly, when you are looking at pitching, you should be seeing regular times where you can connect and debrief the shows you’ve been on to help refine where you’re getting pitched the next month and the next month and so on and so forth. So make sure you are being really really clear and really really choosy even if that means not being on six or eight shows a month.

Because you want to be on high-quality shows. You want to be on shows to get you your results. You also have to show up for the result. These agencies and there are absolutely great ones that can do a lot of really good connecting for you and help you get on really good quality fit shows and they’re exceptional. But only if you have the system built to support that. Meaning, you need to have someplace to send those listeners after you sort of get them on the hook, right? 

They fall in love with you as we know they will. You’ve got to be able to send them someplace. You’ve got to be able to say, “Hey, come check out The Podcast Newsroom. Hey, this was a great question you asked me, and the great conversation we started. I actually have a whole podcast episode dedicated to this. I’ll make sure that you have the link and we can include it in the show notes.”

Give them the next step and show up for it. Give them a place to go and raise their hand and say, “Hey, I want to hang out with you.” 

The second of our podcast growth strategies, create really shareable content. 

Shareable content does not mean something so exciting and interesting is going to go viral or so incredibly helpful that it solves all their problems. It generally means creating some content that you can get people to engage with. 

Challenges are an exceptional way to do this but also saying those things that are going to make you a little stressed out. I have a client who I adore and we regularly make the joke that the more she feels like she’s going to hurl when we really come up to sort of release week for an episode, the more likely it is to get a ton of traction and shares and emails and people raising their hand to say, “Hey, can I work with you?”

Because she’s saying the thing that in many cases were all thinking or she saying the thing that is kind of a loving punch in the gut to the listener, it’s impactful. Now, does she share those every week? No. Because I think that would literally wreck her, but we share them regularly. We build in times where we’re going to have episodes that are going to make her a little squirrely, make her a little uncomfortable because we know there is a direct path to cash from that because there is a direct path to impact from that. 

So be sharing content that’s worth sharing. Again, challenges can be a great way to do this, getting people engaged in a common exercise and getting them excited is really powerful because they can share those episodes easy breezy. We talked about this when we had Racheal Cook on the show. But making content where people can go, “Oh, I’m doing this. Do you want to come and do it with me?”

It doesn’t all have to take place in a private Facebook group or a secret community behind a login paywall kind of vibe. No, it can absolutely be, here’s the content on the podcast, engage with it, and share it with your friends. Let’s get a movement going behind this. It can be an exciting way to loop your audience in. Other people are not just the only shares, though. You also need to be creating shareable content that you can share regularly. These are your sales assets.

Because these are the things that not only can you share, but your referral partners can share. Great example of this episode and I’ve said it a million times. If you haven’t listened to this episode yet, stay tuned because we’re re… we’re updating it and releasing a new version in the summer. But the What Working With Uncommonly More Looks Like episode is a wildly shareable episode. It’s an episode that when somebody reaches out to me on Instagram or somebody reaches out to me on TikTok or somebody sent me an email and says, “Hey, I saw you at blah blah blah and I’d love to know more about working with you.” I can send them.

Sarah and I did the episode a couple of months ago where we talked about her show and we talked about her process of working with us. That’s another great example. So your case study episodes. These are the kind of things that you can be sharing but also the people who are referring you can share. I’ve had several people reach out in the last year since we released that What Working With Uncommonly More Looks Like episode reach out because in the process of asking their network for referrals they were sent that episode.

That’s how they found me because we’ve made these episodes really easy for our referral partners to send to someone and say, “Hey, Stace breaks it all down here, ready to go, easy breezy.” 

The third of our podcast growth strategies, don’t forget SEO matters. 

We are going to be talking more about this next week. Actually, we talked a little bit about it in The Podcast Newsroom this month. You can’t forget that your SEO matters not just on Google. Apple podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, and any of these podcast platforms are also search engines.

You have to be paying attention to your podcast titles, to your podcast descriptions, to your show titles, to your show descriptions. Each and every single description needs to be taken into account that it’s probably not going to be read by anything other than a computer. And that means making sure that the computer can identify that it’s what the human is looking for. Now, does this mean you keyword stuff and make it just ridiculous sounding? Of course, not. Absolutely not. In no way should you do that. It should absolutely still make sense if somebody goes in and reads it. But we need to write it in a way that our robot also knows that this is current, this is valuable, and this is what we want to be presenting.

You cannot skip SEO. Make sure if you are working with a production agency if you’re working with somebody helping you put your show together,

that you’re getting support in these last two growth strategies. If you are not getting support in building content that our sales assets, that are shareable, that are easy for your referral partners to be sharing on your behalf, that is easy for you to be sharing and say, “Here is how you find out more.”

If your podcast producer is not helping you identify what that can be and get them on your content calendar, you need to be doing it, and or you need to be working with someone who does. If your podcast producer or podcast agency or whoever’s writing your show notes is not factoring in, SEO is not factoring in, that it’s got to make sense to both a human and an algorithm, it’s time to get different support on your show notes. Because this is a critical part and as we see social media become more and more and more and more difficult to get traction from A to B. This is not Facebook circa 2012. This is not Instagram circa 2017. This is not TikTok circa 2020.

It’s harder. It gets harder every day and it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It doesn’t mean it’s useless. It means you’ve got to be relying on more than one mechanism for getting people to your show. Sharing it on social cannot be your entire marketing strategy to get more listeners. SEO search needs to be a factor. It just does and so you need to make sure you’re getting support with them. I’m going to put my soapbox away now. 

Those are the three podcast growth strategies helping podcasters convert listeners right now and they’re the ones that I want you to be paying attention to as you move through the rest of this year. If you want some support and you have questions or better yet, you’re like, “Can I, will you? Can you just fix it?” Yes. The answer is yes. 

Reach out. We are here to help,  here’s where you can find out all about what working with us looks like. Also the podcast episode What Working With Uncommonly More Looks Like a great way to learn more about what working with our team looks like. Until next time, make sure you’ve checked out The Podcast Newsroom and I’ll see you back here next week.

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