One of the perennial challenges for any podcaster is maintaining a strong level of growth. Whether you’re measuring download numbers, ad revenue or subscription income, driving sustainable improvements in your key metrics is something that every creator has to contend with.
There are a number of factors which can make this particularly tricky, and no definitive answers to the questions that keep many podcasters up at night. With this in mind, one of the best ways to build out a growth strategy for your show is to learn from the experiences of others in the field who have faced similar obstacles.
That’s why PodPod is running the Podcast Growth Summit. On 30 November at the Barbican Centre in London, we’ll be bringing together a range of veteran experts from across the industry, as well as some of podcasting’s most promising new talent, to share their insights and guidance for creators who want to scale their podcast. Whether you’re new to the sector or you’re an established voice who wants to gain an extra edge, this event will give you the knowledge and perspective to elevate your show to new heights.
The first step in growing your podcast is making sure that the content you’re producing is engaging and relevant for your chosen audience. While that’s often easier said than done, a good rule of thumb is to focus on creating content that you’d want to listen to - put yourself in the audience’s shoes, and consider whether you’re delivering something that stands out from the crowd.
Two organisations that are approaching this question from distinctly different angles but nonetheless hitting the mark are History Hit and the Financial Times - both of whom picked up trophies at this year’s British Podcast Awards. Both will be joining us at the Podcast Growth Summit to share their views on building the right content strategy to super-serve your audience.
This process is made easier by knowing more about that audience, which can sometimes be difficult when it comes to podcasting. Demographic insights can be somewhat lacking - especially for independent podcasters who don’t have access to expensive third-party measurement tools.
The Prison Radio Association produces content aimed at individuals currently serving custodial sentences, but even with a literal captive audience, figuring out exactly what the audience for its hit podcast Life After Prison looked like, and what they needed, wasn’t an entirely straightforward task. Attendees will be able to hear all about The Prison Radio Association’s approach to audience insights during its session at the Summit.
Even with top-quality content, however, many podcasts can find themselves struggling to attract advertisers, part of which may be rooted in a lack of understanding between podcasters and brands. For those who don’t come from a media or advertising background, it can seem opaque and confusing, with little clarity on how advertisers measure success, what they look for when partnering with podcasters, and how podcasters can attract new advertisers to their show.
As a result, new revenue models are rapidly gaining traction to help address these challenges, mainly focusing on direct funding from fans of the show. This includes live events and merchandise, both of which have seen significant growth in the past year, but the most popular alternative revenue stream for podcasters has been subscriptions, which have allowed many podcasters to scale their production operations without the need to rely on advertisers.
Adding video elements to a show has become an increasingly popular way to scale production. While some remain unconvinced about its long-term prospects, many creators now count video as a key part of their content workflows, but although exploring this space can yield significant rewards, podcasters should be wary of over-committing, as the investments required can potentially be substantial.
Much of the push towards video has been driven by its popularity on social media, with the rise of TikTok providing a particular catalyst for this shift. The world of social media has changed significantly over the past several years, however, and the strategies that once would have yielded results may be less successful now. Creators should be familiar with not just how to craft a concise, authentic and appealing social media presence, but also how to play by the rules of each social media platform’s algorithm in order to maximise the effectiveness of their efforts.
Larger organisations may have the benefit of working with PR and marketing agencies to get their name out there, but there are many lessons that smaller and independent podcasts can take from these professionals to apply to their own growth strategies. This can include forming relationships with key influencers or journalists in the same sector as your podcast and sending them over new episodes that may be of interest, or knowing how to approach high-profile figures for potential guest spots - as well as how to encourage them to promote the episode afterwards.
Growing your podcast is a challenge that every podcast - no matter how large or small - has to solve. Even with the benefit of a big-name host, a large marketing budget or previously successful shows, everyone has to start from the same place. However, if you want to arm yourself with the knowledge and expertise of some of the industry’s most successful podcast creators, as well as network with fellow podcasters and audio leaders, sign up now for your tickets to the Podcast Growth Summit on 30 November at the Barbican Centre in London.