5 Strategies to Increase Podcast Engagement
Almost 60% of podcasters say that building an audience is one of their top challenges, and increasing podcast engagement is one of the most surefire ways to build a consistent audience. When your ultimate goal is to create a podcast that people can’t stop listening to, it’s all about podcast engagement!
You can have THE best guests and fascinating topics, but if you don’t engage your audience, your podcast will just get lost in the crowd. The secret is that creating a great podcast isn’t just a matter of having good content – it’s all about the presentation.
So, how do you get an engaged podcast audience…and keep them that way? It all comes down to strategy and consistency.
Why you want an engaged podcast audience
An engaged podcast audience will come back time after time to listen to new episodes – and tell all their friends about you. They’ll be listening consistently and gaining a lot of value in your content, which results in better brand know, like, and trust – and higher conversion rates.
What makes a podcast engaging?
It all starts before you ever record a single episode. First, you’ll need to understand your ideal audience and niche, which will help you figure out what your podcast will be about and who it will serve.
Once you’re clear on that audience, you can generate episode ideas based on the content they want to hear. After you’ve been podcasting for a while, you can also figure this out by examining each episode’s performance analytics. Most podcast publishing platforms, like Buzzsprout, have monthly reports where you can see podcast download statistics and podcast engagement stats to help you know what’s working and what isn’t.
You can also ask your audience for direct feedback – they’ll tell you what kind of content they’d like to hear from you!
Develop a strong concept
Get clear on the main idea that will run through every topic you cover and episode you publish. Take all the time you need to figure this out – it will dictate your content strategy for a long time!
If you need a little inspiration for what an incredible podcast concept looks like, check out Amy Porterfield or Marie Forleo. They are both amazing women with crystal-clear concepts of the listeners they serve and the content they want to provide.
Plan and structure content
Once you lock down your concept, weigh every potential episode topic against it. Keeping things consistent and on-brand with your concept shows listeners that they can count on you to deliver episodes they’re interested in. Building an audience on your authority in a niche ensures they’ll stay engaged because you’re all interested in the same thing!
I love building at least a quarter of content ideas at once, so I don’t have to pull ideas together at the last minute or stray off-concept. Grab my Content + Episode Planner to get started on your content strategy!
How to make an engaging podcast
After you’ve planned out your content and moved on to recording and production, there are some tricks of the trade that will help you make each episode engaging and interesting.
1. Use different segments and features.
Set an intentional and consistent episode format to build further brand consistency. For example, you could open with a news segment, followed by a guest interview, then end the show with information on where to find you and your guest on social media. You can also use sound effects and fun music between the segments to create a more dynamic listener experience (isn’t that a lot more fun than just having two people talk the whole time?!)
2. Invite influencers or other industry leaders as guests
I love that you can start a podcast with just one person – all you need is your laptop, mic, headphones, and your own expertise! But it’s also nice to mix things up with guests. It keeps things fresh and brings new perspectives to your content, with the added benefit of reaching new audiences and gaining some listeners you might not have had before!
In general, ideal candidates for guest spots are other people with an audience overlap who might not have heard about you yet. Even if someone is in the same niche as you, you each have different points of view that can complement each other and make for a great guest episode!
Host a Q & A style Episode
If you’re a coach, you can also host your own clients as guests for a Q&A-style episode. Chances are, there are listeners out there who could also benefit from those questions and would love to have a sneak peek into your services.
3. Stay current with news and trends
Stay relevant and build expertise by talking about what’s happening in your industry – don’t leave listeners hanging on and wondering if you’re in the know! Plus, it’s a great way to draw in new listeners looking for content about trending topics.
4. Be a Storyteller
It’s just a fact: people love stories! And at the end of the day, podcasting is storytelling. I love to hear personal anecdotes, successes, and fun facts related to episode topics – and your listeners will love that too. Real-life examples build relationships, and those connections translate directly to an engaged audience.
Pro-tip! I’m a huge advocate of making detailed show outlines and scripts – but I’m also the first person to remind you not to just read it like a book report! Keep your tone conversational and approachable, so listeners will feel like they’re a part of the conversation.
5. Edit, edit, edit!
Last but not least, make sure you edit your podcast carefully. Remove all those long pauses, sneezes, and the excess “ums” and “uhs” that stand between you and your content flowing smoothly. Cutting down on those interruptions helps maintain your listeners’ interest throughout the episode, but don’t feel like you have to edit out every single one! No one’s perfect, and we all have pauses, stumble over words, or have a *few* “ums” and “uhs” – leaving some of those in your audio can actually make you sound more natural and relatable. Finding your editing rhythm takes some time, but you’ll get the hang of it with practice! Or, you know, you could get yourself a good editor or podcast ninja 🙂
How to increase podcast engagement
Promote each new episode wherever you’re already showing up on social media.
If you’ve already built a loyal following on Instagram or LinkedIn or built up a base of email subscribers, don’t keep your podcast a secret from them! Post audiograms of the latest episode in your Instagram feed as a reel, link directly to it in your stories, and send out a monthly podcast recap and round up to email subscribers.
Host a listener Q&A live or through a service like Speakpipe or Riverside
Why not create engagement by turning the podcast itself into an opportunity for direct conversation with listeners? People will always have questions and opinions about the content you’ve created, so interact with them – you could even turn it into a dedicated episode or use it as inspiration for future episodes!
Ask your audience engaging questions
Show interest in the listeners’ perspectives and get them talking on social media. Once they’re engaged, you can send them over to the podcast to hear more.
Want to get a more engaged podcast audience?
It starts with you! It’s not enough to have amazing content – you’ll need to present it in a way that resonates with your ideal audience. Understanding your niche, developing a solid concept, and planning content can help you build an audience that will stay engaged episode after episode.
Hosting compelling guests, staying current with trends, and telling great stories will draw listeners in and keep them invested. Extending the community to social media and Q&A sessions will keep listeners around for years to come. If you consistently follow these strategies, you WILL make a lasting impact with your podcast.
Want to get a glimpse of our complete guide to launching your podcast? Download the Podcast Roadmap here!
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