Have you ever met anyone online? I know, we’re getting pretty personal right off the bat, but hear me out. Could you imagine a successful online relationship that never went past the digital swiping of screens and stalking of profiles? It’s pretty hard to picture a fully-maximized relationship where the step was never taken to transition to a physical, in-person meeting. In order for relationships to deepen, blossom, and strengthen, steps need to be taken for the parties involved to engage on a more meaningful level.
It’s the same for podcasting (…minus the overt romance, of course!). As podcasters who want to engage our listeners in a deeper way, we need to provide forums and create contexts in which this engagement can occur. This is how we convert our listenership from casual followers to committed fans. This is one of the key ways we create community around our content.
Track with us in today’s article as we discuss 5 ways to answer the question: How Can I Connect with My listeners Beyond my Podcast?
Number one is as simple as using the medium they’re already engaged with – your podcast – to stimulate further engagement by…
1. Asking For Their Thoughts
One way to establish connection with your audience, through and beyond your podcast, is to go ahead and ask for their thoughts, opinions, questions, and concerns. This additional commentary can be posted to comment sections (Apple Podcasts’ platform allows for this kind of user engagement), already established social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all viable options), or good, old-fashioned email.
You could pose a question, and direct your listeners to participate in a poll. Simply direct them to your personal website landing page, or use Instagram Stories, or Twitter’s polling system to get your community’s input.
The goal here is not to use a specific platform, but to talk to your people. Your aim is a conversation, a two-way exchange of thoughts, commentary, and ideas. If a listener leaves a comment and you respond to it – that small dose of engagement goes a long way to establishing personal connection and unity.
Length is not the emphasis here…
It could be a sentence, it could be a paragraph – the key thing to focus on is the quality of your response in terms of personalization. Actually respond to the writer! Use their name. Show them that you actually considered and read their question by using similar (if not the same) words and language they used. Gratitude is an effective tool here also, say “Thank you for that comment, it was really insightful”, it’s a powerful way of tilting the natural relationship dynamic in which an authoritative voice that they value is reciprocating and ascribing value to their contribution.
Demonstrating agreement is also powerful. A statement as simple as “Thanks for that comment Bob, I feel the exact same way – could not agree more!” communicates sameness of vision, outlook, and perspective. This is one of the binding ingredients in any tribe, community, or family.
You could take this a step further; go beyond collecting contributions that live exclusively outside of your podcast, and curate contributions that will be featured in the content itself…
2. Get Them Involved
User-generated content is a powerful means of getting your audience to buy into your podcast brand in a deeper way. It communicates value that transcends only asking for a comment on the content, as they now actually become the content.
Requesting stories from your listeners about their favorite workout routine, or their most recent crypto investment, or their most embarrassing date will provide great, authentic content. This type of content is charming and endearing, and it saves you time, effort, and energy. It’s called user-generated not podcaster-generated!
Do you have a video podcast? Go ahead and request quick bitesize, reel-style videos from your subscribers in which they reaction, a routine, or rate something honestly and transparently. Again, this is powerful in that it will not only allow you to connect with your listeners beyond your podcast, but it will give them a genuine dose of value from sincere people (listeners, just like them!) whose real-world opinion can be trusted and related to in a very real way.
Let’s keep pushing and take this engagement a step further. In addition to inviting comments, and incorporating user generated content, try getting ‘face-to-face’, and leveraging technology to get up close and personal…
Related read: 8 Strategies To Build Authority In Your Podcast Niche
3. Go Live
This is where the digital world and virtual meeting places really shine. In recent years, innovations on social media platforms have allowed for users to “Go Live”, and host a live streamed video from their own platform. The cool thing is you can correspond and interact with your audience in real time! YouTube provides for this, and even has a Super Chat feature through which your audience can show support and appreciation through monetary donations.
Instagram is set apart in that you can invite audience members to join your broadcast live – meaning you can see each other, and speak to one another in real time, whilst simultaneously still engaging with the rest of your viewers! Zoom is another option, in which a tailored, more curated audience can be invited into video correspondence. The beauty here being that those who choose to engage with you on a Zoom call are likely the members of your community who are your most committed and bought-in.
In this setting, deeper, more nuanced conversations can be held where certain topics are explored and unpacked that may not necessarily translate as well to your larger audience base. These are venues through which, and in which, lasting connections are formed with your listenership beyond your podcast.
You’re a person before you’re a podcaster; for your listeners, having the opportunity to see the real you is a really effective way of fostering connection…
4. Let Them In
Open up and let them see the person behind the personality. Share parts of your daily life: your sartorial process in selecting the all important ‘Outfit of the Day’, the quaint coffee shop you discovered, the personal insight and revelation that came to you on your morning run, or even your frustrations with clients (check out We Edit Podcasts “Client of the Year” comic strips on Twitter and Instagram for a relatable dose of frustration!).
You can do this through text, by sharing your thoughts through blog posts, tweets, and newsletters. You can do this through audio, by incorporating these quotidian adventures as segments in your already existing podcast content; it’s as easy as making a slight shift in format and it may very likely become something that your listeners look forward to hearing and engaging with.
There are many options available…
You can do this through video clips – again, feel free to post these snappy snippets to the tried and true Facebook and Instagram platforms, but if you’re feeling particularly creative and predisposed to having a laugh or two, try opting for TikTok as a platform of choice.
The focus here is less the medium and more the act of sharing your life with your listeners. This is your chance to peel back the curtain, as much as is appropriate, and let them in to give them a glimpse of the real person whose voice and thoughts they’ve come to appreciate so much.
In addition to giving them a taste of your life, why not try giving them a bunch of cool swag…
5. Giveaways and Competitions
Who doesn’t love a giveaway? And who doesn’t get revved up by the buzz of some healthy competition? No one, that’s who! And your listeners are not exempt from this category. Organize giveaways for listeners who make the effort to engage with your content in various ways, such as by choosing to provide email addresses, or leaving comments on your page.
Craft competitions that your audience can participate in, test general knowledge in a specific topic tailored to your podcast. Ask your fellow pop music lovers whose album was number one that month, ask your fellow leadership gurus to name the author of an inspirational quote.
The goal here is fun! And clean, no-strings-attached giveaways in which value and appreciation are communicated to and expressed for those who follow you and enjoy your show. If you reach out and give whatever creative, fun things may come to mind, they will reach out to you in return, and happily give you their loyalty as listeners.
Everytime you plug in the mic, don the headphones, and share and lend your voice to the vast podcasting world, you are making connections with people. It’s the beauty of the industry we find ourselves in. But not all connections are equal, and some are definitely stronger and more valuable than others.
Build these strong, valuable connections with your base by turning the tables and consulting them for their thoughts, and then making a point of expressing gratitude for their contribution. Go a step further and incorporate their contributions into your content. Then go further still and engage on live streams, and let them into the daily grind and/or joys of your life. And be sure to give, give, and give some more. In return, deep lasting connections will be formed, and these worthwhile connections cannot be easily broken.