Written by Keith Coppersmith
Companies, creative people, content creators, influencers, scientists, you name it, everyone needs diversification. In a sense, the reign of blogging is not over, but it has been slightly adapted to embrace new formats, including videos, audio content, animation, and graphics. This trend of versatility is on the rise simply as a reflection of what people want to see in their newsfeeds and how they like to interact with brands and creators of all kinds. Knowing that, however, is far from enough, especially when you’re posting informative, content-rich formats such as podcasts.
As a podcast creator and a host, you need to be able to inform, educate, and entertain, while at the same time engaging your listeners as much as possible. Passivity is so passé. People want interaction, they crave content that makes them feel like part of the story and the journey. To boost the engagement levels for you and your audience, use the following tips and you’ll inspire more people to join the conversation and simultaneously grow your presence.
Surveys and polls to see their mood
Getting someone to listen to your podcast is only half the battle. You should use your online presence to learn about your audience’s preferences, complaints, and perhaps get them to brainstorm with you. For that, you can use surveys and social media polls, and learn about your audience and their preferences.
Make sure that you ask thought-provoking questions, as opposed to simple yes/no statements that will probably get you nowhere. You might learn a bit about how you can tweak your content or your approach, but you should go beyond that, and use their input to elevate your podcast experience.
Live participation through calls
Most novice podcast creators focus too much on the technical aspect of the process, so they neglect their audience in the first few shows. While this is perfectly natural, you should start finding creative ways to give your audience a direct spot in your podcast, live! In fact, you can do that by setting up a VoIP system to allow podcast listeners to call you during your show. The voice over internet protocol lets you use the live chat feature as well as the ability for your customers to call you while you talk about their favorite topics.
Such a well-integrated system that includes your email, too, enables you to interact with your audience on more than one level during your show. Let them call you and actively participate in your podcast, but also encourage them to share their thoughts via other channels, too.
Pick the topic they suggest
If you keep ignoring suggestions and ideas that your audience members have, you risk alienating them even though you might have better, more structured ideas yourself. By no means should you jeopardize the quality of your podcast, but you should ensure the right balance, so that your audience feels welcome to propose their own desired topics.
Furthermore, make sure that you acknowledge their effort and thank them for their contribution whenever you do put their suggestions in your material. They’ll feel valued, recognized, and they’ll be far more eager to keep sharing what they want to hear about on your show.
Let them ask questions
Whether you’re setting up a classic podcast or a video podcast, you can always make your content more engaging by allowing a live chat feature that will help your audience participate. By posting questions in the comments during your live podcast, you can thank them by name for their participation, and even reward the most relevant, and most curious questions with a freebie, be it an e-book, or a gift card of some sort.
Questions take time to start flowing in, so make sure that the atmosphere in your podcase is inviting and natural enough to encourage such participation. Always prepare subtopics and steer the conversation in a direction that will enable even more audience engagement in this way, so your own questions can invite your audience’s inquisitiveness.
Organize relevant interviews
Audience engagement often depends on how you approach a certain topic. As an expert, you’ll often share your own experiences and practical advice, but sometimes, your audience wants to hear from more than just you. In fact, your own opinions and authority will be all the greater the more you invite relevant people with ample education on the given topics. Interviews of such nature are extremely helpful in engaging your target audience and getting them to ask more questions in the comment section or send emails afterward to share their thoughts.
Of course, the key to greater engagement in such instances is to promote your upcoming interview every way you can. That will grant you more visibility in the days coming up to the podcast, and get more people hyped about your project.
Diversifying your content output by adding a podcast is a great start, but not much more than that. You need a strategy that will let you put those podcasts to great use, and to grow your audience by selecting the right kind of topics, engaging materials, and communication channels. Use this guide as a way to achieve that, and your podcast will grow over time, together with your brand.
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.