So, you’ve been podcasting for a while now and you’re starting to see some listener engagement and growth in your audience, but you want to take it to the next level. You want your podcast to be more than just a one-way conversation. You want to develop a connection with your audience and have your podcast feel like a buzzing hub of interaction. And you might also want to do some, or all, of the following:
1. You want to create a more personal connection with your listeners
2. You want to create a community around your podcast
3. You want to get more feedback from your listeners to keep improving your podcast
4. You want to offer monetization options that resonate with your listeners
And you might already know that garnering more listener engagement is one of the key ways to do all of the above, but you’re not sure how to go about it. Luckily, we’re here to help.
Over the years, we’ve added a few tried-and-tested strategies to our podcasting toolbox that have always yielded great results when it comes to our clients gaining more listener engagement for their podcast.
And great news! As we’re sharing those tips with you today! Applying these tips will lead to greater engagement between you and your audience, and this, in turn, will help you achieve those engagement goals you have for your podcast.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Determine what you want your listeners to do
Step one in gaining more engagement for your podcast is detailing what you want that engagement to look like.
What actions do you want them to take? What sort of engagement are you looking for? Do you want them to subscribe to your podcast? Visit your website? Rate or review your show? Or sign up to your email list? You likely would love your listeners to take all of the above actions, but if you’re looking to start increasing engagement, it’s better to start with one desired action you want your audience to take.
Once you know what you want your listeners to do, it becomes much easier to help them do it.
And this brings us seamlessly to Tip 2…
2. Make it easy for them to take action
Once you know what you want your listeners to do to increase engagement with your podcast, if you want the engagement to actually happen, it’s important that you then make sure it’s easy for them to take the intended action.
If you’re looking for more email sign-ups or you want them to take some action on your website, then include the relative links in your show notes.
If you’re wanting your listeners to give you feedback on your show, you could provide links to your show on Apple Podcasts, for example. This can take them directly to the option of leaving a rating and review.
But if you’re simply looking for more direct engagement with your podcast audience, take your content to the socials! Social media is possibly the best way to get that direct engagement with your audience because that’s exactly what those platforms are set up to do.
So to make it easy to get that engagement, make content that drives engagement. Create attention-grabbing posts that pose questions, use your stories to run polls, or let your listeners know you’re going live at a certain time on your favorite platform, and invite them to join you. These are great foundational steps for building open channels or communication between you and your listeners.
The more you create opportunities for engagement, the more frequently that engagement can take place. And by making it as easy as possible to give you the desired response, the higher the probability of your listeners actually taking that action.
(We’ll cover social media in a little more detail further down this article!)
3. Ask questions and encourage feedback
One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to increase listener engagement is to ask more questions. Questions get your listeners thinking and engaged with the content you’re presenting.
Not only that, but when you encourage your listeners to provide feedback, your questions are an easy way to open up those communication channels.
Think about ice breakers. They’re a tried-and-tested way to ‘break the ice’ and get strangers mingling. You can think of those questions you pose to your audience as mini ice-breakers. Use them to get your listeners engaging with you, sharing feedback with you, so that together, you’re making your podcast the best that it can be, and can keep pushing it to the next level.
4. Get active on social media
In order to increase listener engagement, you’re going to need to branch out into social media. (If you don’t have a social media marketing, this is your sign to get one! Pronto!)
Social media is great at fostering audience engagement! It creates the space to connect authentically with more listeners. It’s the perfect place to encourage your listeners to take those actions that you set out in your CTAs. And to share those answers to the question tactic we mentioned above.
Some ways to encourage audience engagement on social media:
- Create posts that encourage feedback. Ask questions, run polls, or ask for their opinions.
- Use the “live” features. This is a fantastic way to connect with your audience “in real time.” Run AMAs (ask me anything), or podcast-related Q&As to get real-time feedback from your audience. This is an excellent way for your audience to strengthen their connection to you!
- Do live episode re-caps. This is another great way to foster that audience engagement! If you share posts and regular reminders in the build-up the live re-cap, and if you have it at a set time after your latest episode is published, your audience should start showing up more and more. And you’ll soon have a hub of engagement centered around your podcast!
5. Create audience-focused episode segments
A really unique but super effective way to create audience engagement is to actually include your audience in your episodes. You can build audience-focused segments into your episodes.
There are a ton of ways to do this, and you’ll have to pick the ways that best suit you and your audience, but we can give you a few ideas!
A shout-out is an amazing way to increase engagement between you and your audience. Who wouldn’t want to hear their name mentioned by their favorite podcast host? You could ask your listeners to send an email with their shout-out request. You could also use shout-outs as an incentive for following your CTA’s. If you’re looking for more reviews, for example, you could make a point of thanking those who recently left reviews for you podcast. This could inspire more listeners to rate and review your podcast if it could result in a personal shout-out.
Share Audience Answers
You could create a dedicated Questions for the Audience segment. You can ask your listeners to send you their answers, either via email or on a specific social media post, for example. You could then read some or all of the replies on your next episode.
Again, this works well as many listeners would jump for the chance at a ‘feature’ on an upcoming episode.
And what’s more, you can really have a whole ton of fun with these segments! You could keep your audience questions niche-related, or pertaining to something you or even your guest shared. But you could also do fun, random questions! These could be anything from those “would you rather” challenges, to favorite childhood memories, to anything and everything in between! Run these segments consistently, and they’ll become a great way to keep your listeners’ engagement levels sky high!
Request Guest Questions
You could use upcoming guests as the basis for your audience-focused segments. You could use your social media platforms to let your listeners know some of the super cool guests you’ve got lined up. And then ask your listeners for question suggestions.
Not only can this be an excellent way to get your listeners engagement with your podcast, but it’s also the perfect way to gain insight into what your audience wants from your show.
You can then use this knowledge to keep meeting your listeners’ needs, and keep positioning your podcast as the place where they can get the exact podcast content they’re after! That’s a win-win for sure!
6. Host a contest or giveaway
Hosting a contest or giveaway is a great way to increase listener engagement with your podcast. Everyone loves a giveaway! But they can be great for increasing engagement if you tailor the entry requirements to meet your needs.
Again, this will look different depending on the type of engagement you’re after. If it’s more ratings and reviews, make this part of the entry requirements. If it’s feedback you’re after, make leaving comments on a social media post part of your giveaway entry.
The bottom line is that giveaways can be a great engagement booster, but you have to leverage it correctly in order to have the desired results. You also then need to consistently build upon that initial engagement if you want it to be a long-lasting outcome of your giveaway.
7. Host a live event
Hosting a live event is a great way to increase listener engagement with your podcast. What better way to engage with your listeners than to meet with them!
And the great news is that this is totally do-able! It’s not only the massive podcasts that can afford to host live events! Technology has made it possible for all types of podcast hosts to host virtual live events!
If you want to find out just what it takes to host a virtual event, check out this post: How To Host A Successful Virtual Podcast Event.
And if you’re looking for ideas for your live, virtual event, we’ve got you covered with this: 10 Ideas for Live, Virtual Podcast Events.
Now that you know a few ways to increase listener engagement, it’s time to get started. By using the tips we’ve provided, you can create content that drives interaction and encourages feedback from your audience.
These seven strategies are proven, effective ways to garner more engagement from your podcast audience. And as you continue to produce engaging content, and provide opportunities for engagment on social media, listener engagement will naturally follow.
Try listener-driven segments, host giveaways or contests, and even branch into live events, and you should see a marked improvement when it comes to listener engagement.
But above all, keep consistenly putting out high-quality content, and keep ‘showing up’ authentically wherever you connect with your audience, and you’ll create the space for enthusiastic listener engagement!