(By Thom Singer) Looking to grow your audience? Tap into the greatest asset you have — your existing listeners. In a world overrun with messages of “look at me,” it’s hard to be discovered in the crowded podcast arena.
“Podcasters who are not seeing growth are usually just spitting out the words they want to say, they are not engaging with their audience,” says Rob Dionne, co-host of the Open Sky Fitness Podcast (http://openskyfitness.com/podcast-episode). Rob and his wife Devon started their show in October 2013, and have continued to grow their highly engaged audience.
Early on, the Dionnes realized that to grow your audience, you have to know your audience. But since most listeners were via iTunes, they had no way to identify who was listening. So, in the first year they partnered with a sponsor, a fresh salsa company, and regularly gave away bottles of salsa. This meant people had to contact them and share their contact information. It worked, and it was fun to share the delicious and healthy product.
The most effective way they have found to engage with people is via their Facebook Group. In the first few months it was slow-going to get people to join, but they now have over 1,000 people in the group. Almost every day they connect with people via this platform. They use the group to create conversations and often run Q&A discussions that then bleed into topics they discuss on the podcast. By sharing what listeners have to say on the show, it allows people to feel they are part of the content. This is an amazing way to nurture community.
To do this right you have to be committed to engaging with people individually. Too many podcasters fail to create relationships with their one-to-many attitudes. But Rob and Devon know that personal relationships are the most valuable asset they have in business and in life. If you look at those who are successful in podcasting, social media, or nearly anything, you will find people who start with a commitment to open lines of communications on a one-to-one level.
It is also key to get face to face with listeners whenever you can. If you are going to be speaking at a conference in a new city, let your audience know and plan to meet up at a bar or coffee shop. Take pictures with people and share them on the Facebook Group, etc. Be a friend to the people who listen to your show. Not a celebrity.
The Dionnes also invite people in their community to come on their show and be coached. In 2019, they will be doing more live coaching shows, as this is a great way to present their expertise as fitness and nutrition coaches. The interview format for podcasts is great, but many podcasters are missing the boat by not showcasing their own area of expertise and letting their community really understand how they impact their clients.
Podcasters have to be authentic to be successful. “If you curse in regular conversation or talk about things that might be politically incorrect, then this should come across in your show”, say Dionne. “If I am too busy trying to avoid offending anyone then I cannot give my audience the true experience.”
Thom Singer is the host of the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Dopodcast.www.ThomSinger.com.