The lifeblood of your podcast is your audience. If you’re not able to engage your audience properly, your podcast may flounder and may fail to reach the standards you’ve set for it. But how do you properly engage your audience, and encourage their engagement with you? Here are five tips to increase your audience engagement.
1. Reply to Comments On The Air
Your audience may comment on your show on Apple Podcast, Podbean, or other sources. They may even go so far as to tag you in their comments on Twitter or Facebook. This is a prime way to engage with your audience.
Pick some of your favorite comments, read them on your podcast, and comment back. Then, when you post about your show on social media, you can tag these listeners to let them know that you’re listening to them. You can also announce that you are doing this on your shows. The more you let people know how to get involved, the more they will!
What does this do? It lets your listeners know that you’re listening to them in turn. Doing so allows your podcast to become more of a conversation than a lecture, and makes your audience feel more included in your content. By responding to your comments and promoting your listeners, you’re incentivising commenting on your podcast. This means that listeners are more likely to comment and engage with you, which will have many positive effects on you and your podcast.
2. Engage Your Audience in Chat Forums/Groups
Social media is a great tool that helps you and your listeners to connect, but sometimes things can get lost in the shuffle, or you want to organize your chat space a bit more. This is where a forum or group can come in!
Organizing a group chat space for you and your audience creates an atmosphere where your listeners all have something in common: their enjoyment of your content. They can discuss your podcast, other topics, and foster a better sense of community with each other.
There are plenty of sites that allow group chat spaces:
There are even ways to create old-school chat forums if that’s the vibe that you’re looking for.
3. Try Livestreaming!
A livestream is a live event (with or without video) that allows you to engage your audience in real time. These types of events can be done for special occasions (your podcast anniversary, special events that you’re covering, etc), or you can even go so far as to make this a main draw of your podcast. Either way, livestreaming offers your audience a new way to interact with you in a way that is more personal and immediate than comments and emails.
Depending on your livestream platform of choice, you can even monetize your stream by having your attendees donate. For example, on Podbean Live, listeners can donate virtual gifts that you then convert to real-world currency and can cash out. This allows your listeners to directly contribute to your show. Donations during livestreams can also be increased by increasing your engagement with the person who donated. This will make others want to donate to you to receive similar treatment and one-on-one time.
Check out Podbean’s audio livestreaming platform here!
4. Host Live In-Person Gatherings
One of the best ways to engage with your audience is by interacting with them in person! While it may not always be possible, look into doing get-togethers during conferences or other live events to create these in-person opportunities.
Live events mean that you can hold more conversations and discuss things further than you can in a comment or forum. Much like livestreaming, it allows for real-time engagement, but even the scant few seconds of lag that appear during a livestream are not evident here. In-person engagement is also not limited by time or technology in the way that livestreams can be.
Official gatherings can sometimes be given rooms and event space at conferences, but feel free to start an unofficial gathering somewhere inside/outside the convention center. Your first gatherings may not be the biggest, but that’s no reason to lose heart! Just as every other audience engagement route, it takes time to build. Every large gathering you see now has been years in the making, and all started right where you are now!
5. Cross-Promote and Collaborate
Cross-promotion is a genuinely great way to grow your audience. Whether you’re trading ad reads with another podcaster or trading interview episodes, cross-promotion allows you to increase the audience that you’re interacting with, as well as introducing new listeners to your content.
Much like a podcast ad, working with another podcaster means that you’re letting that podcaster’s reputation and trust built with their audience work for you. Listeners hold their podcast hosts in high esteem, so seeing collaborative work transfers some of that high steem over to their colleague (which would ideally be you).
The end goal, of course, is to reach new listeners who may not have otherwise heard your podcast. Your collaboration partners could cover the same exact material as you do, but they could still have a different audience due to how they promote their content. So whoever you’re collaborating with is sure to help you bring new listeners to your podcast.
Starting a podcast can be a personal thing, but at the same time there is so much joy in sharing something you love with others to give them the chance to love it too. Growing your audience is important, but really engaging with your audience is the key to keeping your audience as your podcast grows into patron programs, live shows, and more.Want to learn more about growing your audience and promoting your podcast? Check out our top podcast promotion tips for 2022!