My, soon to be reclaimed by nature, back garden is the inspiration for this episode. More specifically the lawn, although calling it a lawn is a stretch, it’s more like a wildflower field.
But it caught my eye just how much the wildflowers (or weeds if you must) have grown along with the grass this past few weeks. The biggest clue was when the cat got lost in the wilderness.
But the conditions for growth in the back garden have been spectacular - rain and not too cold = an explosion of growth.
And that got me thinking about how you can help your podcast grow. The good news is it doesn’t involve rain.
There are of course really obvious ways you can boost the growth of your podcast
Be a guest/get guests
Decent sound quality
Use social media
But I thought I’d give you 5 ways you might not have considered to grow your podcast just like my back garden is growing.
I’m a big fan of collaboration and think working with people is far better than working in competition with people.
And in podcasting especially it’s a really great community with plenty of opportunities to work with people.
So how can you use that to your advantage and to grow your audience?
Firstly you can find other podcasters who are talking to your audience and approach them about working together.
And by working together I mean getting on each other's podcasts. This can be something as simple as a bit of cross promotion - so you point people to their podcast and they point people to yours. This can be across the podcast and social media, emails etc.
Or another way of working together is to do a podcast swap - so if they have an episode that will be really useful to your audience you can repurpose it for your podcast. When I say repurpose it what I mean is you play it out in your podcast but add your thoughts to the end of it. Don’t rip it off and pass it off as your work! And they do the same with one of your podcast episodes.
This is a really good way of getting new ears across your work and is a great way to have an easier week if you’ve got a lot on.
As always make sure the content is right for your audience, give them value. And make sure the content you’re sharing on their podcast is right for their audience.
I can already sense the “but will I lose my audience or worse - potential clients?” questions and this is my answer - you might lose some people to the other podcast, but I can guarantee you they aren’t your ideal audience. If you’re producing content that people want to listen to then they will keep listening to you. And if you’re offering a service people want to use they will pay you for it.
If you’d have this person on as a guest, then you should totally be up for a podcast swap.
But Charlotte if nobody is losing significant listeners and or clients how will I benefit? Because there’s no law that says you can only listen to one podcast. The idea is you are introducing you to a whole new audience who are going to be so wowed by what they hear they want to hear more and will start listening to your podcast.
And it may well be that they only need to hear you once and they are SOLD with what you do - OK this is a smidge unlikely, not because you’re not awesome, but because people like to get to know you first.
Have a Podcast Listening Party!
I love parties. I also love a party where I can stay at home and take part in my PJs while listening to podcasts. Winner.
So what is a podcast listening party? Over on Twitter musicians use listening parties to promote their work, go back and listen to old albums and generally create a bit of a buzz around what they are up to. They involve telling their followers they’ll be pressing play on the record of their choice at, let's say 8pm on Monday and you’re invited to do the same so you are all experiencing it together. Together, apart. They’ll pick a hashtag so people can spread the word and comment as the album is playing.
So let’s do the same with your podcast. Pick a day and a time and say to your listeners that you are going to do a podcast party - encourage them to join in, talk about the podcast, ask questions etc using a hashtag that is unique to you. You talk about the podcast episode as it goes out - so for instance if I was doing a podcast party for this episode I would be pointing out the different ways you can grow your podcast as they come on. This needs some prep. Personally I’d have a few posts written ready for you to pop up on whichever platform you’re using (Twitter might be the best) at the appropriate time. Then you can keep your eye on the hashtag and respond to people.
This is a great way to build your community and get interest in your podcast.
Do a competition or a giveaway.
This is quite a popular tactic at the moment for people to grow their podcasts. In fact it’s one I often get emails about from podcast hosts I listen to. It normally goes something along these lines - win a 1-2-1 coaching session, a new tablet, airpods, general swag for writing a review of the podcast and sharing that review on your socials.
It’s a good way to encourage people to rate and review your podcast and to get them to share that review with their followers.
Of course it will cost you the price of whatever goodie you’re giving away and postage, but it doesn’t have to be a high ticket item.
Podcast Movement runs a sort of but not actually affiliate scheme to get you to get your friends and contacts to sign up to their email list. In fact they call it their ambassador scheme. You get everything from mentions on their website to stickers, socks and even an all expenses paid trip to Podcast Movement depending on how many people sign up via your link. FYI - I’d love a trip to Podcast Movement…
You could offer something similar for getting people to listen or follow your podcast. Or getting their friends to write a review and share it.
Now as always I’m not a legal expert and you’ll have to check out whatever rules there are for the platforms you run this on. It’s also worth getting some T&Cs sorted as well to cover yourself, but this is here as inspiration for you to pick up and run with and come up with a fabulous way of getting your podcast out there in front of new people, AND get some reviews which you can use to a) give yourself a boost and b) put out to the world in social media etc.
Create a Podcast Panel
Back in the old days when I was on the radio the different radio stations would often have listener panels. These were groups of people who would be asked questions about the station, what they heard, the music, the presenters, the content. It was essentially a focus group.
If you had a focus group for your podcast you will be able to ask them all the questions you have about the podcast. These can cover everything from what topics to cover, favourite episodes, favourite aha moments, things to do differently, how does the sound quality stack up. That sort of thing. You’d meet as often as you’d like - but I’d suggest at least quarterly. You don’t want lots of people on the panel because then it gets a little messy and hard to control.
By getting this panel going you are able to focus hard on what you are delivering in your podcast and better content will help lead to growth.
I love the idea of a panel, I would ask people to commit for at least a year (or a series) and you can either pay them for their time or offer some swag.
Make your podcast accessible
On the face of it this is the most obvious and simple option going. By making your podcast accessible to as many people as possible you are naturally increasing your potential audience base.
How can you do this?
Get your podcast transcribed. The transcription can go alongside your podcast and allows people who are D/deaf or have auditory processing difficulties to follow your podcast. It’s there as a backup similar to subtitles.
It’s also a great tool for people who are listening to your podcast but aren’t native speakers to the language you are talking in. I remember (have nightmares about) doing my German A Level and trying to understand the spoken parts was far easier when I had a transcription of what was being said. I say easier, I never found it very easy I got an E.
Now I understand 100% that transcription isn’t cheap to do for every episode. But there are free tools out there - although you will end up needing to tidy it up.
And secondly audio transcriptions will also need a bit of formatting too to make them clear to read and understand.
But if you want to grow your podcast there is an audience out there wanting to be part of your podcast, but you are preventing them because they are unable to access your content. They could well be potential clients - or know potential clients too.
Making your podcast accessible is something that you really need to consider.
While I don’t fully transcribe this podcast right now - what I do do is write this blog and then record the podcast based on this blog. It’s not fully scripted but I cover enough of the same thing.
I am, however, making a commitment that from July every episode of this podcast will be transcribed going forward and I will begin catching up on the previous episodes too.