What makes a podcast if not its listeners? It would be a simple monologue shared with only yourself. When you begin your podcasting journey, you’ll probably be occupied with increasing the number of your followers and subscribers on social media. Go deeper: Think engagement.

Written by By Keith Coppersmith

Podcasting has grown. Almost 50% of the US population has listened to one. You may think it’s a simple math problem – the more your audience grows, the more people will download your podcast. But a high number of downloads can be misleading. Yes, a message may spread more when there’s a bigger audience in question, but if those people aren’t engaged, those numbers will be completely worthless. The audience is engaged when it is loyal before anything else.

They share the success of your podcast with you. The engaged audience is made from your subscribers, followers on your social media, and they download your podcast on a regular basis.They like your content and always return for more. Even better, they talk to others about your podcast and are essential in word-to-mouth marketing, ultimately increasing your brand awareness. Engaged listeners also leave more comments and ratings, potentially engaging even more people – creating positive feedback. Here are a few tips on how to properly engage your podcast listeners.

Have a number listeners can call

Various professional radio stations have a phone number anyone can call. Having a number people can call for your podcast encourages your listeners to phone in, ask questions and leave comments, and basically, have a dialogue with you. Your listeners will have a way to approach you and feel like a part of the show. In other words, they become engaged.Instead of using a personal mobile phone number, and getting a phone call in the middle of the night, it’s much better to go with 1-800 numbers. They’re toll-free, so listeners don’t have to worry about paying, and allow direct live on-air calling, which makes a podcast feel more alive and relevant to the audience.

Approach listeners on social media

To create a conversation between you and your podcast listeners, you need to find a space that allows a dialogue. In other words, you’re going to leverage the “social” in social media. Make an online persona. Post your podcast on different social media, to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram, and allow your audience to interact with you. Encourage them to reach out – to leave a comment, like, share either on your podcast or your photos and other posts. Ask them to share their thoughts, feelings or memories to foster engagement.

Have a branded hashtag ready for your podcast. The goal with this is to engage people on Instagram or Facebook and find the posts that are associated with your podcast, ultimately extending your audience reach on these media. You can mention in your podcast that listeners can post a photo on their Instagram or Facebook profile with your branded hashtag in the description or the comment section of the photo. This way, you have an opportunity to search inside these social media and find those posts with that specific hashtag. As a podcaster, it is your obligation to go in and ask questions, comment and in any way engage those listeners into creating some type of interaction. Keep them inside your world and podcast content.

Have them subscribe

After your listeners are engaged on social media, it’s time to turn them into subscribers. With this, they can opt-in and receive the news on the latest episodes directly and on-time. To turn a “subscribe” into a call-to-action, export your podcasts to YouTube. It will be easier for your audience to subscribe there. The easier it gets for your potential audience to engage, the more engagement you will see.

Don’t be everywhere

Instead of using every social media channel, it is recommended to pick one or two. This decision will be up to you. Using more will become a burden on your back and make you overextend in your time and efforts spent. Each platform delivers a unique type of content and a different range of interaction. If you are just beginning with your podcasts, manage only one for starters and expand to others after some time has passed. Let them know on which platform you deliver the most and they will follow you there. Seed various content on these social media so that people know where and how they can find you.

Don’t be intimidating

If you’re an intimidating podcaster, stop being one. When people are too scared to approach you, they probably won’t. This is why you need to reach first. Create a podcast persona that’s relaxed, calm and engaging for all those too afraid to make the first move. Do this everywhere: in person, over the phone or on social media.

Stay true to your voice, interact with your audience and they will be engaged for a long time to come.

About the Author

Keith Coppersmith is an Adelaide-based business consultant with a degree in Media Management. With experience in numerous small businesses and startups, he enjoys giving advice on all things marketing.

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