All podcasters want one thing. One thing above all others. It’s the bottom line. The thing that will lead to other good things happening.
What’s that thing? More listeners.
Listeners are the bedrock of every podcast. Without them, no more can be achieved. You can forget about sponsorship deals, becoming a minor celebrity, winning awards. Basically, everything that can be achieved through podcasting comes down to the people who listen.
There’s loads of information out there about audience growth but in this article, I want you to think more about how you keep the listeners you’ve already got, well, listening. After all, attracting lots of new listeners is no good if they’re only listening to one episode.
So here are 5 ways that you can keep people listening to your podcast.
1. Be passionate about your topic
It should go without saying but if you aren’t passionate about the subject of your podcast, how can you expect the people who are, to listen? If your podcast doesn’t excite you, it won’t excite anyone else. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have thought you’d bother starting a podcast about something you don’t care about in the first place, but some people do.
The other reason being passionate about your subject is important, is that if you make a mistake, get something wrong or come across as simply not knowing what you’re talking about, people will call you out and more importantly, stop listening.
Take some time to plan each of your episodes. Research your topic thoroughly and ask yourself whether you care about it.
2. Cut the waffle
If your podcast is about gardening, don’t spend half an hour talking about eggs. That isn’t what your listeners have signed up for. They want to hear about flowers, plants and tools most likely. Mention your eggs if they came fresh out the coup that’s in your garden, sure. But if you don’t keep chickens, what have eggs got to do with your geraniums? Respect your listeners time. They’ve chosen to spend a part of their day listening to you, so give them what they’re expecting.
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve turned a podcast off before the presenters have got to the point. It’s annoying and I don’t have time for it. Sorry, but that’s the truth.
Cutting the waffle isn’t just about off topic chat either. I implore you to edit your podcast before releasing it. Now I’m not saying you have to remove every erm or y’know, but getting rid of a few them will make your podcast better. So listen through to your recordings and ask yourself if you’re enjoying it. Anything that you don’t think is relevant or annoys you, will also annoy your audience. Cut it out and only let your listeners hear the very best you have to offer them.
In turn, editing your podcast will help you to get better. You’ll be better at keeping on topic and also become a better presenter. All of which will lead to people staying with you and listening episode after episode.
3. Care about the sound quality
Podcasting is brilliantly cheap to get into. You don’t need to hire out a radio studio to get started, all you need is a microphone and something that will record what you say. Your mobile phone will do the job. But even an expensive microphone can sound terrible if used incorrectly.
Whatever equipment you’re using, you need to learn how to use it properly.
No one wants to listen to a podcast that they can’t hear clearly. Trust me.
If I can’t hear what’s being said, what’s the point in listening anymore? It’s unlikely that I’ll even be able to concentrate on the subject. I’ll be spending all my time trying to just hear the next word.
I’m not saying that you need to go out and spend hundreds on better equipment. Often it isn’t the equipment that’s the problem. It might be the room you’re recording in or the internet platform you’re using. I often find that a podcast’s sound quality can be improved with just a few pillows or the simple act of wearing headphones when it’s being recorded.
Go and listen to whatever is at the top of the podcast charts right now. It doesn’t matter what it is, I bet you that it sounds amazing. You’ll be able to hear every word clearly and everyone will speak at the same volume. Having high quality sound is a basic standard for these podcasts and it should be for you too.
You don’t want to give anyone an excuse to stop listening. And sound quality is something that I see people using as their reason for listening to podcasts all the time. Don’t let people use that excuse with your podcast.
4. Make engaging content
A pretty obvious one this but important nonetheless. Your podcast should be made for the people you want to listen to it – and that should include you by the way. Your content needs to talk to your audience. You want them to want more from you, to be impatiently waiting for the next episode and tucking into it as soon as they can.
True crime podcasts like Sweet Bobby and The Missing Cryptoqueen are great examples of this. You don’t want to wait for the next episode. Everything in each episode pulls you in and traps you there. You need to know what happens next.
It’s not just about using cliff-hangers at the end of your podcast. It’s about telling the story in a compelling way.
Don’t be fooled. Storytelling isn’t just for documentary style podcasts. It’s the backbone of every podcast you’ll ever hear. Take your listeners on a journey with you using great storytelling. If they can relate to the story you’re telling, they’ll want to keep listening.
5. Be consistent
The most popular podcasts in the charts have been going for a long time and they make sure that you know when new episodes are ready to listen to. They have the words weekly or monthly in their episode descriptions. They use phrases like “on next week’s episode” at the end of the podcast. If a season comes to an end, they say when the next one will start. As a listener, you’re never left wondering what’s going on with the podcast.
So choose a day and time to release your episodes and stick to it. If your audience don’t know when to expect new episodes from you, they’ll lose interest and forget about you.
Consistency will go a long way to keeping your listeners interested in your podcast. And that includes the name, what your podcast is about and any sound design – music and jingles – you use too.
Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be sure to keep your listeners listening to your podcast. If you have a tip of your own, then why not leave it in the comments section below.