Podcasting is unlike any other media. This is why its year-over-year growth has been more gradual than anything else. We may never see a “hockey-stick” spike, but you, as a fan or a creator, are the most powerful influence to bring more people to podcasts.
For this presentation from International Podcast Day, I'm joined by Elsie Escobar (@yogeek), cohost of The Feed and She Podcasts, and one of the experts from Podcasters' Society. Much of this information has matured since my previous episode, “How to Help the Podcasting Industry Grow” (episode 265).
You have the most power to help podcasting grow
Because podcasting is a grassroots industry, we independent content-creators and podcast-fans are the best evangelists to encourage more people to try a podcast.
1. Share and talk about your favorite podcasts
Like how you talk about your favorite TV shows, movies, and music with friends, family and coworkers, include podcasts in those conversations!
Especially with today's political environment, it could be great to offer content relevant to current conversations, but without all the definite big-media bias or limited coverage.
2. Explain the podcast content, not the podcasting technology
While there is a place to walk people through the technology of podcasts and how to subscribe, the most important thing is to get people interested in the content.
Do your favorite podcasts make you laugh? Do they encourage you to become better? Do they motivate or equip you? Sharing these are more engaging than explains RSS feeds, enclosures, downloads, and more.
You can even help attach this content to a trigger, like commuting or doing a chore. Explain the content you can enjoy during those mundane activities.
3. Simplify the podcast-consumption experience
Instead of simply referencing podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music, or more, point others directly to where they can listen—even if that doesn't mean subscribing yet.
For example, you could share the direct link to your media file, so no matter where they are, they can click and listen.
You could rotate through different types of links, such as direct media URL, link to Apple Podcasts for their iOS device, a link to your website with an obvious player, and so on.
4. Help people find podcasts they'll like
Often, your podcast may be irrelevant to the person you're talking to. So it's more important to help podcasts grow, and not grow your own podcast.
Ask about hobbies, favorite TV shows, work industry and suggest podcasts that fit those interests. You could even keep in mind a few general-interest podcasts you can recommend, such as The Story Behind. Pay attention to other places where independent podcasters share their shows, or even places like New & Noteworthy, to know what podcasts could be great to recommend.
Also consider having a list of kid-friendly podcasts you can recommend, as many parents may be interested in playing podcasts for their kids (through a mobile device or smart speaker).
You want someone else's podcast to be something so relevant to them, that they get hooked.
5. Teach how to subscribe
After you have gotten someone hooked on podcast content they'll love, then you can teach them how to subscribe so they receive every episode automatically.
Instead of likening podcasts to the radio, it might be easier to liken them to audiobooks.
While you may have a podcasts app you love after trying dozens, make it simpler for the person you're talking to. Point them to the podcast app that may already be installed on their device, point them to a free app they can install, or even consider giving them a few dollars for them to pay an app you recommend.
6. Make your own podcast as easy as “visit website; press play” and include the top subscription links
When it's relevant to promote your own podcast, the best way is to point people to your own website. From there, they should see an obvious player and relevant subscription links.
The best links to include are Apple Podcasts, Android (with SubscribeOnAndroid.com), and RSS.
Test your own website and the podcast-consumption experience on mobile devices, because that's most likely how someone will visit your website. Thus, ensure the player works on mobile, it's large enough to tap with big fingers, and the site layout is optimized for the small screen.
7. Become an advocate in your local community
Go to your local library, Chamber of Commerce, universities, or other associations and offer to teach a podcast workshop. This isn't to teach how to create podcasts, but how to consume them.
Keep an eye on Cincinnati for some upcoming examples of how you might be able to become a local advocate for podcasting.
8. Teach your audience language they can repeat
Instead of ensuring a verbatim tagline, be so consistent with your message that your audience can easily explain it to someone else.
This comes from clarity and repetition. You must know what your show is really about and why it matters to others.
9. Celebrate International Podcast Day
International Podcast Day is like our own “Got milk?” campaign. Use this day to further promote podcasts.
If you believe in the power you and I hold to help podcasting grow, please share this episode!
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