Audio

How to grow your podcast and build your audience

How to grow your podcast and build your audience

2022.05.09

So, you’ve researched, scripted, recorded and edited the first episode of your podcast. Your next challenge is to get people to listen to it. How you present and promote your show will be specific to you, but there are some principles that all podcasts should follow. After all, the aim is the same: find, sustain and grow an audience – however big or small – that loves what you do and keeps coming back for more.

How to name your podcast

It all starts with a name.

Much of the future success of your podcast will depend on how well you communicate it to your audience. Your name will be your brand, and your identity. It’s what people will search for when they want to listen; what they’ll tell their friends when they’re recommending your show. So, what should we call you?

If you're struggling for the perfect title, keep it simple. A turn of phrase or lighthearted description of what you’ll be covering should do it – you don’t need to over-explain, as you’ll include more in your logline and show description.

Avoid using the word “podcast” in your description, and unless it’s totally essential try to avoid swear-words. That’s not us being boring: it could affect your standing with potential sponsors and platforms in the future.

Finally, once you’ve landed on the perfect name, search it on Acast. If it, or something similar, already exists, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.

How to get the perfect podcast artwork

You’ll also need some artwork. Like your title, your podcast artwork needs to be punchy and unique: something that sells the concept of your show in a simple, eye-catching way.

When it comes to creating the artwork, you might not consider yourself enough of a graphic design guru to do the job yourself. Have no fear. There are plenty of options. If you have the budget, you can always commission an artist or designer you like to create the image for you.

However you make it, your artwork should be no smaller than 1400x1400 pixels and no larger than 512KB. This size will make sure your image always looks good, wherever it appears. Go any smaller, and you run the risk of it looking distorted or low-quality on some platforms.

What should it look like? Think big and bright. You want to stand out in a lineup. Do something different that speaks to what makes your show unique.

However, when it comes to content – and in particular words – don’t overdo it. Remember, most people are going to view the artwork for the first time as a small thumbnail, so any details might be lost.

How to market your podcast on Acast

Beyond your name and artwork, two other components will play a part in how your podcast is presented on platforms like Acast.

First, you’ll need a logline. In basic terms, this is a sentence that sums your show up for new listeners. It’s an opportunity to provide an extra layer of context to your title, fleshing out the whos, whats, and whys. Think of it as an elevator pitch: your chance to sell the concept in one killer line.

Next you’ll need a description. This is where you’ll really flex your marketing muscles and make some noise about how great your show is. This larger chunk of text will be available to anyone who has searched your podcast, so you should try to be accessible and inviting in how you present yourself and your show. Include basic information on the podcast’s format, themes and hosts – but also give a sense of your tone of voice. Is this a light-hearted listen? Or something more serious? There’s no set rule on length, but many creators find something around the 500-character mark works best.

Finally, remember you’ll need to give individual titles to each episode. Most podcasts start these with the episode number, but really it’s up to you how you format it. If there’s a particular detail you think will entice people to listen, consider putting this first, as sometimes full episode titles will be cut short by the search function. And, if you have a guest for the episode, make sure you include their name.

Individual episodes need their own show notes, too, so this a place to recap what listeners can expect to hear on the episode and what guests are on this week — with more room to add detail about who they are. It’s also the perfect place to add any links for your listeners to dive into after listening: to your website, your socials, or simply references of articles or resources you’ve mentioned in the podcast.

How to use social media to grow your podcast

Time to get the word out there. And the best way of doing this is via social media — so make sure you’ve set up social media accounts for your podcast. If you’ve got an online following already, maybe you can make posting from your personal account work, but for most people it helps to have accounts that are specific to the show.

Using the same artwork across the podcast and your social media accounts will help build your show’s identity, as well as giving listeners somewhere to go if they’re enjoying the show and want to interact with you or other audience members. Don’t forget to put links to your social media accounts in your podcast’s description – and, likewise, link to your show in your social media bios.

Once you’re up and running, remember to post about every episode. Don’t be shy. Let the world know what’s going on and why this next installment is a must listen. Many podcasts have success previewing particularly funny, shocking or interesting sections of the show on Instagram or Twitter. Beyond that, use your social media accounts as a way to interact with your audience. If they ask questions or offer suggestions, why not reply during your next episode? This is the power of podcasting: community-led creativity in practice.

How do you use social media to interact with your listeners?

“We have found that social media was the first place to start with building a community for our listeners. It’s a free space to start to interact and make the listeners feel part of the podcast. We would always engage in social media messages and suggestions and often reference interesting or funny ones during the intro to an episode.”

Stu Whiffen
Hardcore Listing

Many podcasts also have a website for keeping their listeners up to date. But before you start panicking about web-design, we should add that hosting your podcast with Acast provides you with a beautiful website all of your own, at no extra cost. Head to your Acast account and select the website tab to get started with yours.