As a podcaster, you know that your show would literally be just words spoken out into the open abyss, if not for your audience! Your listeners are the key and it’s because of them that your podcast even exists. Besides your personal commitment to your show, your audience is the reason you press record every time so that you can make a difference in their lives.
In order to make sure you are properly caring for your listeners, it is absolutely paramount that you create a strong podcast community to keep them engaged and to make the biggest impact in your industry.
1. Encourage Listener Engagement
One of the first ways to really start your podcast community is to get your listeners engaged in your show. Whether this means simply asking for a review on iTunes, or asking them to leave their comments on the blog, engagement from them will really get the ball rolling. Another great way to get your listeners engaged is by giving them shoutouts on the show or by encouraging them to become an active and engaged audience. Along with getting your listeners engaged, it is just as important that you too are an active participant in your community. Make it a priority to respond to comments and take the time to appreciate each listener for their review. Although this may become harder with time as your community grows, it is a great strategy for getting your community growing on the right trajectory.
To start growing your community, see our article on 11 Steps for Attracting New Podcast Listeners.
2. Ask Your Audience What They Want
Since your audience is the main reason for your show to exist, it is important to always take them into consideration. Provide them with real, valuable content and advice with each and every episode that you publish. A great way to know whether or not you are on track with this is to give them a survey, asking them what it is they would like to hear more about. Make it about them, not about you; they are your community after all! Another way to create audience-focused content is by asking listeners to send in their specific questions to the show. Then dedicate an episode, or a part of an episode, specifically to answering those questions. This creates an instant connection to your audience and helps direct you to provide your listeners with the content that they are really looking for.
A great example of this is So Money Podcast, where the host, Farnoosh Torabi, dedicates one episode a week just to answering her audiences’ money questions. Listeners write in via email or even send voice notes via SpeakPipe to get their questions answered on the show. Check out the Ask Farnoosh episodes to find out all about it. The key is to reach out to them first, and they will reach out to you in return.
See our article for tips on making it easier for listeners to provide an iTunes review.
3. Provide a Platform to Connect
The key ingredient for building a strong community is providing your audience with a platform and an opportunity to find their voice and share their thoughts with others. Creating a forum or Facebook group specifically dedicated to your community gives your listeners a space to build relationships with not only you, the host, but with others within the community as well. A community platform allows them a space to communicate and find others like them, who share similar values and goals. Fostering an online community gives your audience a place to come together, a place to belong and know that they are not alone on their individual journeys.
Check out these 16 Active Podcast Communities to Join.
4. Create Shareworthy Content
At the root of building a strong community lies valuable, shareable content. When your content is fresh, consistent, and audience-focused this makes it easier for your listeners to be excited about what you are sharing. In turn, they want to share it out with others, and most importantly, if the community has made a difference in their lives they want to share it with those who may need the same changes and support in their own lives. Sharing valuable content allows your community to create a “buzz” that is bound to attract new listeners and make the community a fun place to be.
Check out these 5 Rewarding Challenges to up your content!
5. Foster Authentic Relationships
To really get at the heart of authentic relationships, you have to open up and share yourself. The element of vulnerability is absolutely priceless in establishing strong connections and bringing a community together. Simply put, just be human! Show your audience that there is a person behind the podcast; a person who cares about helping them reach their goals and see the success they desire. Show your audience the real you, and stay in touch on a consistent basis. Respond to listener questions, actively participate in community discussions, and show appreciation for engagement. Block out some time each day, specifically dedicated to your audience and getting connected to foster those authentic relationships.
6. Uplift Your Community
Community means supporting others; the same thing goes for the podcast community that you build. Show your audience your appreciation for their listenership by promoting great content and share their work with the community. Shine a light on what others in your audience are doing to encourage them to take their first steps towards their own personal success.
“It is much more powerful to create a community than simply to have followers.”
Along with uplifting listeners within your community, extend the same practice to other podcasters in your industry. Keep your content fresh by giving your listeners some new avenues and shows to check out.
7. Organize a Live Event
Although an online platform breaks down the barriers of creating a conventional community, there is nothing quite as effective as a face-to-face meetup! Creating that live, one-on-one connection opens up a whole new world of relationships. It doesn’t matter if you only have 5 people show up, or 1,000 – getting people together for a common purpose gives you the opportunity for creating long-lasting, authentic relationships. Start small, with a simple meetup or getting together for a coffee. As your community grows, look into organizing live speaking events. Invite special guests to speak at these events, again, bringing in new and fresh content for your community to grow. Giving your audience the opportunity to get together not only strengthens their connection with you, but also allows them to build strong relationships with each other and find their tribe to support them in their own lives.
What is the most important thing for you to have in your podcasting community? Share your ideas in the comments below!