Podcasting has become a popular medium for sharing information, telling stories, and creating content that connects people from different parts of the world. However, you cannot connect with the world if it does not know that you exist. The common mistake made in the African creative community is that networking is equivalent to finding your audience. This is wrong! Networking is important for getting your name in the right ears for opportunities, but it does not guarantee your podcast will get the engagement or listens it requires. Your audience is out there waiting for you, so step outside those podcasting groups and find your people.
Identify Your Niche
Where do you belong? This question is often followed by, “What are you passionate about?” It is easier for you to talk about something if you are knowledgeable about it and if you love it. Finding your niche helps you narrow down your topics and places a specific focus on the type of content you are going to create. Find your unique point and then get the ball rolling.
Research Your Audience
Now that you know where you belong, it is time to do some research. This is the part where you stalk your competition, listen to their podcasts, and check out their comment sections and social media. Focus more on what their audience is responding to and where they are most active because that is where your people are too. With this information gathered, you can tailor your content to your audience’s needs.
Leverage Social Media
First things first, do not just post and go. Who will talk to your people if you aren’t around? Social media has to be your playground. Respond to the comments your audience leaves, start conversations through your posts, and engage with topics that fall into your niche. Take some time out to search keywords that fall into your niche. You will find content around it, and that is your chance to share some of your thoughts. The goal is to mark your territory. Your name has to come up in conversations linked to your niche, and the best way to do that is to be about your niche.
Build a Relationship with Your Audience
Engaging with your audience is great, but listening to them is even greater. Run polls and surveys to get an understanding of what they want from you or what they enjoy. Once you take suggestions, put them into play to show that you value their input. However, be careful. There are things they will suggest that work and some that do not. Use your discretion and communicate why some things would not work, so they do not feel ignored.
Collaborate with Other Podcasts
There are times when you get a great idea and wonder whether you should DIY or collaborate. When in doubt, collaborate! Collaborations are great for reaching new audiences. When you get another podcaster to come to your podcast, or the other way around, their listeners/followers/fans tune into the episode. If they like your vibe, they are bound to be your listener too. Remember, every day is an opportunity to turn people into listeners, so do what you must to grow your audience.
Do not sleep on the power that lies behind your analytics. We often just look at the number of listens we get and either sigh or dance depending on what they say, but there is so much more you can use your analytics for. Analytics tell you about your audience’s listening habits, their demographics, and how they engage with your content. All this information can be used to strategise and reach a wider audience.
There is a lot of time, persistence and effort that goes into finding your podcast audience. There is no way of fast-tracking organic growth, you have to be patient and play it smart. Do you have any tips and tricks for finding and growing your audience? We would love to learn from you too, catch you in the comment section.
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