“Help! No one is listening to my podcast!”
If that’s your cry, then you’ve come to the right place!
It can be incredibly disheartening putting so much time and effort into your podcast only to be rewarded with no listeners. You might be asking yourself, “What the heck am I doing wrong?”
“If no one is listening, does that mean I should just quit?”
“Is this podcasting thing even worth it?”
“If no one is tuning in, does that mean I suck at podcasting?”
While the situation may suck, you, my friend, do not! If no one is listening to your podcast (yet!) it just means you may have missed the mark somewhere. And that can definitely be fixed!
We just have to do a little investigating to find out exactly where the problem lies.
Once you’ve found the issue, using your best Ross Geller impersonation yell, “PIVOT!” And then, well, pivot! Buckle down, develop new strategies, and make the necessary adjustments.
Check Your Enthusiasm
We have to start by asking, “Do you actually want to do a podcast?”
The answer is likely ‘yes’ as you wouldn’t care that your podcast had no listeners if you were not invested in this endeavor. But we have to start somewhere! And checking your levels of passion and enthusiasm towards your podcast is that “somewhere”.
So if you are still enthusiastic about your podcast, then the follow-up question is, “Are you passionate about your topic?”
And I mean really passionate! You need to love your niche subject and be super passionate about your topic if you want to build a successful podcast.
Passion for your podcast?
You need that enthusiasm to transmit via the airwaves so that listeners hear your passion. Passion is like a magnetic force, it draws people in. Without passion for your topic and enthusiasm for your niche, listeners will not be sticking around.
If you do happen to realize that the topic you’ve picked is not quite ‘the thing’ you’re passionate about, it’s time to PIVOT! Perhaps it’s a minor direction change, i.e. you start interviewing more guests to bring in some different opinions on the topic. Or you slightly migrate your niche towards something you’re more excited about, but, in some cases, a complete brand overhaul may be in order.
It is possible to do this with your current podcast (you can check out this post for more). But if you already have little to no listeners, starting afresh may be the best course of action.
Check Your Audio
If you put a big check mark next to your enthusiasm level and your podcasting passion, then it’s time for further investigation into your lack of listeners. The next area under the microscope is your audio.
Podcasting is an auditory medium. And as the industry continues to rapidly expand, and the competition increases (which, overall, is a good thing!) the quality of the audio is one of the primary determinants of whether a podcast is worth a person’s time…or not.
The long and the short of it is that you simply cannot afford to have poor audio. Your episodes can’t sound like you recorded them with your smart phone in gale force winds! That just won’t fly. Pardon the pun.
So take a critical listen back at your last few episodes. And objectively evaluate the quality of your audio. Does it sound high-quality? Is there no scratchiness, avoidable crackles, or irritating background noises? Ask a friend, family member, or fellow podcaster for their input too.
If you discover that the quality of your audio can improve, perhaps it’s time to invest in a better quality mic or improve your setup.
(This post could help you out!)
But if your audio is a-okay, then it’s not the reason for your lack of listeners and your investigation must continue.
Check Your Editing
If your audio passes with flying colors, the next area of your podcast you should assess is your editing. This includes evaluating what you put into your episodes, as well as what could be taken out.
Let’s start with the latter. If you listen carefully to your past episodes, do you notice a lot of filler words creeping in to your content? I’m talking ‘words’ like “ah”, “like,” and the infamous “um”? While these are okay in moderation, if you find that you’re saying them, like, a lot! Then you may need to be a bit more liberal with the ‘cut’ function when you’re editing as they can become frustrating, and even off-putting to your listeners.
If you do tend to habitually say “um” and the like often as you talk, it might be a good idea to script your episodes a little more fully. If you’ve prepared and practiced what you’re going to say, you will be less likely to say “umm” as you’re not having to think about what to say next.
Now let’s talk about what’s going into your episodes. Do you use music and sound effects effectively on your episodes? Music is a great way to set the scene, stir up an emotion, and, in general, add depth and color to what you’re saying. Without music or other sound effects, your podcast episodes may sound really flat and boring, which could be a reason why you’re not growing your audience.
If you need help finding the perfect tune for your show, check out this post: Podcasts and Royalty Free Music PLUS 12 Resources For Royalty Free Music And Sound Effects.
Check Your Audience
If you’re still coming up wanting as to the reason for the lack-luster show of listeners turning up to hear your podcast episodes, you should now turn your attention to your audience.
Do you have a clear idea of who your target audience is? Do you know what they’re looking for when it comes to your niche subject?
And speaking of your niche subject, you can also do some analysis on this. Is your chosen subject something that has an audience? Are there enough people looking for more information on what you’re offering? If the answer is “no” it’s time to go back to the drawing board to find a niche subject that has a large number of people who want to hear more on the topic.
A thorough and honest audience analysis can help you hone in on the right target audience as well as refine your niche topic into something that your audience can’t get enough of!
Check Your Content
Next up under the microscope should be your content. When it comes to podcasting, you can have the best equipment and the perfect recording setup, but if your content is lacking, all of that really counts for nothing.
Your content has to have serious value if you want listeners to stick around. So if you’re not giving developing the content for your episode the time it needs to be the best that it can be, this is likely the reason for your lack of listeners.
Here are some things to consider to help you ensure that you’re always dishing up something valuable for your audience, no matter what type of podcast you have.
Tips for Value Rich Episodes
- Create a story arc that spans a season or series of your show. It doesn’t have to be too detailed, just a sentence or two describing what each upcoming episode will be about. This can help create a logical flow to your episodes. It will also help prevent you from jumping around from topic to topic, which can be confusing for your listeners.
- Script your episodes. Your arc let’s you know what each episode will focus on, and so you can intently focus on the topic for that particular episode. You’ll be less likely to dilute the content of the current episode with unrelated information, because you know you’ll cover that other topic later in the series. This helps you ensure that each episode is value-rich for whatever it’s particular topic or focus is.
- Consider your episode length. Not all podcast episodes need to be 4 hours long! You may think that in order to do well, or be taken seriously as a podcast host that you need to have hour-long episodes, but this simply isn’t true. Your episodes should be as long as your content has value. If you’re adding ‘fluff’ to try and make the numbers tick by, you’re not going to be winning over any loyal listeners any time soon. Rather have shorter, value-dense episodes than episodes that hit the 60 minute plus mark, but with watered-down content.
Ensure that your episode content is saturated in valuable content, and your listeners will stick around!
But now, what happens if you’ve made it to this point in your investigation and haven’t found the smoking gun? Sure, you’ll likely have found some areas for improvement. But what if none of the above satisfactorily explains why your podcast has no listeners?
If this is the case and all of the above boxes have been ticked, then the culprit for the lack of listeners is likely how you’re reaching, or in this case, not reaching, your listeners.
Which brings us to our final point…
Check Your Marketing Strategies
If you know you’re consistently giving your podcast your best effort and you’re proud of the end results, then you need to take a serious look at your marketing strategies. This is most likely the reason for your listener lack.
First of all, you actually have to have a marketing strategy. (If you don’t do anything to promote your podcast then, “Ding, ding, ding! We have our winner!”) Without marketing strategies in place, your podcast is simply not going to gain any traction. You need to promote your podcast in order to land on Must-Listen lists, in New and Noteworthy sections, or suggested in podcast-listening apps.
You need to market your show in order to get guest host gigs, great sponsorship opportunities, or beneficial ad partners.
There are no two ways about it. Marketing your podcast is vitally important to it’s longterm success and in building your loyal podcast community.
But thankfully, there are so many options available! And it’s usually a combination of strategies on a variety of platforms that sees your marketing strategies meet with success.
From all the available social media platforms, your mailing list, and even podcast-related newsletters, there are plenty of ways to get the word out about your podcast. Draw up strategies that suit you, your show, and your audience, and put them consistently into practice. You should then see those listener numbers increasing and your download figures climbing!
For more insight into marketing your podcast, check out this helpful article from Buzzsprout: Podcast Marketing: 100 podcasters share tactics they used to grow their shows.
Constantly seeing no one tuning in to your podcast can be really disheartening. You put all this effort into creating your show, but without a steadily-increasing listener count, your podcast dreams may slowly begin to fade…
But! You can turn this situation around! You can PIVOT! You just need to know where the issues lie, and build from there.
The way forward…
So if you’d love to see an increase in listeners, take a hard look at all the above-mentioned aspects of your show. Listen carefully to your audio and your content, evaluate your editing, and analyze your audience. And then make any tweaks that need to be made.
But most importantly, you need to be using effective marketing strategies to help get more ears on your show. You need to be promoting your show, sharing sneak peaks of upcoming guests, and interacting with your followers in order to convert people into loyal listeners. And this will also help you continue to gain traction in your niche. Do this, and you should see your podcast community begin to grow!
How do you market your podcast? What promotion strategies have worked well for your show? We’d love to hear from you! Share with us in the comments.