How to Grow Your Podcast Audience Organically

Launching a brand new podcast is just the first step - building a dedicated audience of engaged listeners is the bigger challenge. While paid advertising can help boost numbers, focusing on organic growth strategies will pay off more in the long run by building lasting connections with your ideal audience. Here are 8 tactics to grow your podcast and reach new listeners through organic discovery:

Optimize Your Podcast for Search

Thoroughly optimizing your podcast to be discoverable in search engines is crucial. Include keyword-rich titles that are compelling but natural sounding. Write detailed show notes for each episode that explain the topics covered and include links for more info. Provide a full transcript of the entire podcast episode if possible. Research relevant long-tail keywords and naturally incorporate them in all your metadata, titles, descriptions, etc. This gives your episodes the best chance of appearing in search results on platforms like Google, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.

Promote Across Social Media

Consistently and actively promote your podcast across your own social media accounts on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Share episode links, short engaging snippets, quotes, and behind-the-scenes photos/videos. Tag relevant hashtags. Also leverage the social media of any guest speakers you have on your podcast to expand your reach to their existing followers who may be ideal potential listeners. Post schedule and coordinate with guests to time promotional posts.

Build Relationships With Other Podcasters

Proactively reach out and build relationships with other podcasters who have similarly themed but non-competing shows. Offer to interview each other on your podcasts or appear as a guest on their shows. This cross-pollinates each other's audiences by exposing existing listeners to new podcast recommendations from hosts they already follow and trust. You can even coordinate schedules to plan crossover episodes. 

Appear as a Guest on Relevant Podcasts

In addition to having guests on your own show, actively pitch yourself as a guest to appear on other podcasts that attract your target listenership. Reach out to podcasts with similar audience interests and topics and offer yourself as an expert guest. This is a great way to get exposure and access to an engaged audience that is already primed and receptive to your niche, allowing for potential crossover listeners.

Run Giveaways and Contests 

Encourage more engagement and excitement around your podcast by running special contests and giveaways. Offer prizes like Q&A sessions with hosts, show swag/merchandise, subscriptions to bonus supporter-only shows, digital downloads, etc. Require listeners to rate/review your podcast or share on social media to enter. This can incentivize participation.

Interact With Your Audience

Make listeners feel valued by personally responding to all feedback like reviews, emails, social media comments, etc. Share user-generated content like their podcast topic suggestions on your social media. Thank them by name for positive reviews/recommendations. This personal touch humanizes your podcast and builds connection.

Join Relevant Online Communities

Seek out and join Facebook Groups, Subreddits, forums, etc. centered around your podcast niche or topics. Share your podcast and participate in discussions organically without overly self-promoting. This raises awareness among your target listeners. Provide thoughtful comments and value.

Network at Live Events  

Look for opportunities to connect face-to-face with potential listeners by sponsoring, setting up a booth, or appearing at in-person conferences, meetups, and events related to your podcast topic. People are much more likely to check out a podcast when they meet the host in real life. Collect emails for newsletters too.

Growing an engaged audience that actively listens to each episode is vital to podcasting success. By consistently applying these organic tactics, you can expand your reach exponentially without relying solely on paid ads. Let me know if you would like me to expand or clarify anything!