How to build podcasting audience

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Once upon a time, I did a talk on podcast audience building. We’ll have to go back to that well sometime soon, but in the meantime, Lon asked:

First and foremost, plant the flag everywhere you can. Get into the iTunes store. Get into Stitcher. Buy or hire someone to make you an app for mobiles. Anywhere that your audience could find you, get your show there.

Talk radio, podcasts and live radio on demand in 1 mobile app | Stitcher Web App

Next, pick a place to make your stand. What percentage of your audience is using what device? Go to your web stats. Go under mobile devices. Turn it into a pie chart. What’s the platform of choice?

Devices - Google Analytics

Once you figure that out, make your push in all of your media to get people to that platform’s repository for podcasting and your show in particular, or if there’s no clear answer, send people to your website for instructions.

After you’ve done these basics, it’s all about audience-building, and that means media – paid, earned, and owned. You can, if you have budget, hire a PR firm to do it, but most podcasters don’t have that kind of budget, so build it yourself. Try out pay per click ads and advertise to the narrowest segment you can for very short money, like $5 a day, and see how that goes. Publish your podcast on every platform you own – let people know when a new episode is available on social media, in your email list, on your website. Earn some attention from other people influential in your niche and ask them to mention or feature your podcast.

For example, here are three you probably haven’t checked out yet.

And of course a few of the ones you’ve heard of, even if you haven’t listened.

This is what I mean by earning mentions. Go out and ask people in your space, in your niche, in your vertical for mentions, and help them put together a list like the one above on their websites. When I was doing the Financial Aid Podcast, I asked every financial aid administrator at every college in the nation to put my show on their websites, long before podcasting was as easy as linking up to a Stitcher or iTunes page. It worked – in the old days of podcasting, when it was a pain in the ass to listen to any podcast, there were 5,000 listeners tuning in daily.

Go make a promo. Ever since the old days of podcasting, making audio promos for other shows was a way to earn some mentions on the air. People seem to have forgotten this, as I haven’t seen a single promo hit the Marketing Over Coffee inbox in years. Not sure what I mean? Give a listen (and if you have a podcast, please put this in your show with my blessing):

Then I ship the promo out to other podcasters:


That’s one way you build audience on the cheap.

Irony: today it’s easier than ever to create a podcast and harder than ever to build an audience for one.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


3 responses to “How to build podcasting audience”

  1. Appreciate the mention, CP … and the advice to grow audience – something Nick and I are working on!

  2. Really helpful, Chris. Question: Do you upload your podcast separately to SoundCloud and send a feed to Stitcher and iTunes? Or is there a way to also send a feed to SoundCloud?

  3. I don’t know how I missed this mention until now, but I greatly appreciate the nod, CP!

    Honored to be grouped in with such company. 😀

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