Over the past several years, podcasting has taken a new rise in popularity. This emergence has pushed brands to dig into a new form of content. Everyone wants to get their hands on a high-performing podcast to harness more brand awareness and loyalty.

How can you stand out in an increasingly competitive and oversaturated environment?

Why will people choose your podcast over the others?

With the help of our Director of Integrated Digital & Social Media, David Erickson, we’ve drawn up some key points to help you optimize your podcast while maintaining high quality content and increasing your listener retention rate.

1. Optimize Your Podcast for Search

There’s a valid reason why “Search Engine Optimization” and its acronym SEO are buzzwords. By optimizing your content for search, you can target new listeners and convert them into a part of your audience. A podcast is just like any other form of content; something you can optimize for discovery through search.

With so much to consider, where do you start?

“Start with the topic, or topics, of your podcast. If you are addressing several different topics within a podcast, start thinking about what those topics are,” explained David. “Think in terms of headlines. What does the subject matter say? And then you can do keyword research in a variety of ways.”

Find the keywords and phrases you want to emphasize and optimize in each podcast episode.

Write a helpful and optimized description for each episode. Pick a title that highlights your keywords. Take advantage of any metadata you can add that will help boost your search ranking as well.

Adding images and links can also aid in the optimization process.

Make sure to include a call to action to share your episodes! Whether that is through social media platforms, or a copiable link for listeners to send to friends.

2. Focus on a Strong Social Media Presence

If your podcast is simply sitting on a hosting site, how are you getting the word out about it? Social media can be a key component in spreading awareness and garnering new listeners.

Create social media accounts for your podcast. Understand your audience and what platforms they may be on – this is important to connect best with your listeners.

Whatever message you are sharing via your podcast should stay consistent across your social media channels.

Your social media presence can also be a place where listeners can interact. Take advantage of comments, likes, shares, etc. Create prompts in the captions for your followers to answer or discuss in the comments.

Ask what content they are wanting to hear, share behind the scenes of creating an episode, or invite listeners to send in questions to be answered on the next episode. Overall, create an interactive and inviting space where your audience can feel heard and appreciated, leading to a loyal and satisfied fanbase.

While social media can be a great starting point for engagement, don’t stop there!

“I think every podcast should have a newsletter or have an email component to it. If you’re not doing that, then you’re not really having a direct connection with your audience,” stated Erickson.

Find ways to connect with your listeners and create that space of community and engagement.

Your social media should be an extension of what your podcast episodes share. Create a voice and brand for your accounts that help to fill out the visual side of what may be audio-only content without socials.

3. The Importance of Experts, Fresh Topics, and Finding a Niche

Of course, no one will want to listen to your podcast if you are regurgitating information that is already being discussed in thousands of other places. In today’s deluged digital landscape, listeners are looking for something new, something they haven’t heard of, something extremely important; a fresh take!

“Decide what your theme is going to be from the from the outset. And then think of all the different aspects of that theme that you can address,” explained Erickson.

“Find out all the questions that people are asking about that theme. That gives us an indication of topics we should be addressing in the podcast.”

Your podcast should not be adding to the already existing noise, it should be providing space for new conversations. Having a podcast topic that is unique, new, and needed is vital for the success of your podcast. You may hear the word “niche” when starting a podcast.

One way you can set your podcast apart from the rest is to bring on guest speakers, or experts in the field. By switching up who is speaking, you are providing a new voice for listeners, and by bringing on someone who is respected in that topic, you are providing a unique listening experience.

Similarly, by offering yourself up as a guest speaker on other podcasts, you can grow your audience as well.

Erickson also touched on the option of podcast events. “If you have the opportunity to do in-person events, or even doing a podcast before a live audience, or live streaming with an audience? That can be cool.”

Be creative and open-minded when brainstorming your podcast theme and topic. Your podcast should be adding substance to the lives of your audience.

4. Maintain a Consistent Publishing Schedule

Finally, it is important to keep up a consistent schedule. Remind your listeners that you’re still there, and still publishing new content!

Define a calendar with a specific publishing cadence. This means you must be proactive in recording episodes and gathering content to stay on track.

Starting with biweekly episodes and transitioning to weekly episodes is a great schedule to start with.

Alongside consistent episodes, make sure you are keeping up with your social posting. There’s no point in creating accounts that aren’t being used. By keeping a consistent posting schedule on your social platforms, you can continuously direct listeners between your social accounts and the podcast itself.

We wrapped up our conversation with a final tip from David: “Podcasts, at their best, feel like you’re eavesdropping on an intimate conversation among people. So, you really want to create that sense of intimacy, so people get to know and love the podcast.”

As you begin to include these tips into your podcasting regimen, remember to stay hopeful, as starting a new form of content can be hard. While you shouldn’t expect to go viral, these tricks should help you get a solid audience formed and help to get your podcast to the next level.

Want to start a podcast but not sure where to start? Reach out today and learn how we can help you share your message.

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