Podcasts have seen a huge increase in listeners within the last few years. They are a great way to engage others and share stories. They are also a lot of fun to listen to. Many of them even offer some great advice and/or tangible action to apply for your own personal and professional growth, which can be helpful. Not to mention, listening is free, which is always a great attraction.
When you jump into your first podcast episode, you shouldn't be so concerned with having a lot of listeners. But if you've been at it for a few months to a year and you're not seeing any uptick, then it might be time to check out why people aren't listening.
There is no one reason that people don't listen; there are always many. Pro podcasters know that it takes multiple tries and tweaks to get it just right. Let's look in-depth at six key reasons why your podcast is not getting the attention that it deserves.
1. YOUR PODCAST ISN'T PERSONAL ENOUGH
If you've ever believed a podcast to be boring, there is no reason to keep listening. If you get too technical or too mundane with your statements, you broach the boring line. You also tend to be boring when you aren't able to apply your stories to real life.
People love drama and want to hear stories, and people want to know you. Talk about your experiences and make things more personal for you. People respond well when they believe they've found a friend in you. It is just like why they tune into their favorite game show - because they like the host.
You may have heard the term "authentic self." Your show should be an organic extension of your own personality in order to be noticed. It can be difficult to feel natural in front of a microphone, and most of the time, podcasters will mirror themselves off the piggyback of others. The podcasters who truly stand out are true to themselves, and it shows.
If you feel you need more help with this - here are some suggestions:
- Record an episode and send it to friends/family to get feedback and gain more confidence.
- Practice recording more than one episode at a time so that you can be more comfortable with the microphone - believe it or not, it takes practice!
- Locate the source of your anxiety and work on it diligently - only when you can identify what makes you nervous about recording can you begin to fix it.
2. YOUR PODCAST IS TOO LONG
One key thing you should remember is not to overstretch. If a topic can be covered in a short 15-minute timeframe, there is no reason to stretch it out to 30 minutes or longer because you feel that your episode needs to be a certain length.
Take time to edit your podcasts and shorten them where the extra things aren't necessary for a longer discussion. If you're adding in too much "fluff," it contributes to becoming very cumbersome and boring for listeners. The goal is to keep listeners engaged. The shorter and to-the-point phrases will grab attention better than long-winded ones. You don't want to make your episodes difficult to listen to because then it is much easier for listeners to tune out.
3. YOU ARE NOT MARKETING YOURSELF WELL ENOUGH
You have to get your name out there. There are multiple avenues for you to market your podcast, besides the platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. To be able to promote your podcast consistently, you need to develop daily posts and interact with your followers on those posts.
Consider developing an email list where you create hype through updated weekly newsletters. You can also feature some of the guests you might have on your podcast for a wider reach and engagement. When you invite guests to come and speak, make sure you are promoting them as much as the podcast itself. That will help in bringing in a whole new circle of listeners and fans. Networking is as important as marketing.
It can also be a great idea to link your podcasts to YouTube. Many people like to have them in both places. There is an easy way to link URLs by shortening a YouTube channel so that you can easily connect your podcast episodes to YouTube, monetize your podcast, and allow your listeners another platform to watch/listen on. SEO is also something you might want to keep in mind when you are posting or writing.
You can try and do multiple other things to effectively promote the podcast and gain more visibility, such as looking into investing in paid advertisements on various platforms or updating your website with blogs/articles surrounding your podcast. You might also try to get guest submissions or others to write feedback who do actively listen to your podcast on your social platforms so that you can highlight positive feedback, which also helps gain more interest.
One last thing you can do is when you actually start to gain more followers, be sure to mention past episodes when they relate to current ones. This will also invite listeners to go back and take in some that they might have missed, and allow those listeners to grow to be loyal.
4. YOUR AUDIO QUALITY IS NOT GOOD
Yikes. This goes back to recording your episodes and having family and friends listen. Have them listen to the quality and make sure everything sounds clear. Also, ensure that there aren't any extra noises in your background, like hums or fans or clicks going on. People are not going to listen to a podcast with bad audio.
You don't have to have the most expensive microphone or studio set-up, but you want to have decent equipment to record on. However, many podcasters record on their phones. They ensure that they are in a very quiet place (like a closet), and there are no distractions or external sounds so that they can be heard loud and clear.
If you can afford it and want to take it a step further, you can hire a podcast manager to go through your episode and do all the necessary editing on it. The podcast managers usually come with good experience in sound design and audio software to effectively take out all of the extra "ums" and "ahems." You can also eliminate the distracting background noise through such audio softwares.
5. THERE IS A LACK OF ORGANIZATION
Podcasts should be scripted. Actually, they need to be. Even though the appearance of a podcast episode seems more off the cuff, it is actually well-thought-out, scripted, and planned ahead of time. There needs to be relevance and an end goal for each episode; otherwise - where is it going?
Create a routine for how many episodes you plan to do. Maybe you just want to release one new episode a month or every couple of weeks. Do it on the same day each month, and give your potential listeners some heads up. You can use this as an opportunity to create hype about upcoming episodes as well.
Your podcast should have an overall purpose, and each scripted episode needs to be under that entire umbrella. It can take some time for this organization to come to fruition, but as you develop your episodes and listen to your audience, you should have a clear path. Structure each episode with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It can be fun to just "chat" in your episodes, but you should have a goal mapped out so that you don't get off-topic or enter into territory that doesn't relate to your purpose.
6. YOU AREN'T ENGAGING YOUR AUDIENCE
Successful podcasters are consistently engaging their listeners by creating ways to make them a part of their podcast. Whether it is something simple like a giveaway or reading your listener's feedback out loud to thank them, people, in general, will enjoy being noticed on a podcast.
Giveaways or contests are great tactics because they get your listeners directly involved in an action. Commenting on your YouTube channel or providing feedback on your podcast platform has direct engagement. This serves two purposes; it promotes your podcast, and at the same time, gives your audience a chance to be a part of things.
You can also use the "tag" tactic - where you have listeners tag their friends on your social media platforms, which also gets more people looking at your podcast. It also helps to promote your podcast on those platforms in case you are suffering from a lack of content. It can create a great buzz for your show.
KEEP LEARNING AND GROWING
One thing you should always take away from a new endeavor such as podcasting is never to stop learning. Soak in as much information about podcasting and learn from those who are successful within the business.
There are ways you can improve as you go, so even if your podcast is up and running, don't be turned off at the idea of trying something new or doing something different within your episodes. It may just make all of the difference for your listeners.
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