Starting a podcast with no audience can be an uphill task.
Still, it's an achievable undertaking. You only need to create a solid strategy that draws in the target audience.
In this post, I'll go over a comprehensive roadmap to help you attract potential listeners and a loyal audience, even if you've never hosted podcast episodes before.
But first, let's crunch the numbers:
- There are 5+ million podcasts worldwide, with over 70 million episodes between them.
- A staggering 467.7 million people listen to podcasts globally, a number forecasted to rise to 509.9 million by the end of 2024.
- The US has the most podcast listeners on the planet. Stats indicate there are over 100 million active podcasts in the United States.
- 1/3 of Americans listen to podcasts regularly.
- 78% of the United States population is aware of products.
- Podcast listening is at its peak in the morning.
Why are the numbers important? … because they can help you gain a sizable podcast audience if you know how to get people to listen to you.
While reaching a wider audience will take time, the following tidbits will get you started on hosting a successful podcast.
Narrow Down Your Niche
To amass a huge following, you must target a specific section of listeners.
Ideally, you want to pursue a market with less competition. That way, finding a group of new listeners for your content would be easier.
To attract a potential audience, you must pursue a niche in which you're passionate or are an expert. So, start by listing your passions.
Once you've created a list, investigate further to determine if other podcasters exist in that space.
Quick Tip: These are podcasts in almost every niche you can think about. However, you can set yourself apart by introducing a fresh perspective into the game. Identify the gaps the existing audience would be interested in.
Once you've settled on a niche, you must tell your specific audience what your podcast is all about by choosing an appropriate, well-thought-out name for your show.
Think of it as a strategy to attract new audiences. You want your audience to know your podcast content before listening to you.
Size Up Your Competition
The second step involves finding out what you're up against. That way, you can choose topics you need to cover and what to do to outshine your competitors.
You can pinpoint your competition by searching similar platforms like Spotify and iTunes and note the following.
- Podcast title
- How long are their episodes
- The guest lists
- Release schedule
- Marketing channels
You can also search your competition on social media platforms and Google.
Once you've identified your competition, you'll want to find out how they promote their shows and interact with listeners.
The idea is to help you understand what works in your industry and fine-tune your strategies to attract your first listeners quickly.
Here are a few strategies that can give you a head start.
- Releasing more weekly episodes than your competitors
- Inviting podcast guests that have been featured in your competitor's shows
- Keeping your podcasts shorter if your competitors have long ones
Quick Tip: You shouldn't copy everything your competition is doing. Instead, learn from them and find a unique angle to make your podcast episodes different.
Get the Right Equipment
Your podcasts must sound professional. You can achieve crisp sound quality by investing in high-quality equipment.
You want a system that makes it easy to record and broadcast your content.
- A good mic – I recommend a RODE NT USB mic
- A USB audio interface – I recommend the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface
- Recording software – I recommend Reaper recording software
Consider buying a pop filter, windscreen, and mixer to help you boost the audio quality of your podcasts.
Generate Valuable Content
No one will listen to your podcasts if your content is mediocre.
You must create high-quality content to attract a new audience and grow a large following.
So, every podcast episode you release must be insightful and entertaining. You want to give your listeners actionable advice too.
To create top-notch podcast content, brainstorm a list of potential topics. Again, you need to determine which topics your competition hasn't covered.
If the topics are already covered, you can bring a unique perspective and cover something your competitors missed.
Identify gaps in previous conversations and fill them to make your content valuable and appealing to your audience.
Promote Your Content
You have covered a good podcast topic.
The content quality is top-notch than other podcasts covering the same topic. The problem is you need to get more listeners to know about your new release.
No one will know about your new episodes unless you promote them.
There are several ways you can promote your first episodes and others that'll follow:
- Submit your show to podcast directories
- Ask for guest spots on other shows
- Writing guest blog posts on popular websites in your niches
- Organize and participate in podcast meetups
- Collaborate with sponsors
- Interviewed by other hosts
You can also promote your content via email marketing, on forums, social media, and other platforms.
The idea is to find relevant channels that can work for you when you have zero followers and generate enough engagement to help you get noticed.
Tweak Your Strategies from Time to Time
Here's the thing, you'll want to take things a notch higher when you gain your first listeners to attract more listeners.
So, it'd be best to track your progress and adjust your strategy from time to time. Analyze your audience data to determine what's working and what you need to work on.
Some crucial metrics to track for new podcasters include:
- Reviews and ratings
- Your social media followers and engagement level
- Website traffic and how your podcast is performing on search engines.
You can keep tabs on these metrics through tools like Podtrac, iTunes Connect, and Google Analytics.
You'll also want to identify trends and patterns. That way, you can see what you need to improve and what's bringing in the numbers.
More Tips on How to Start a Podcast with no Audience
The strategies above will help you create your first episode and draw attention. Still, it would help if you got more eyeballs on your content to turn podcasting into a full-time job.
The strategies below will help you get to the next level and potentially earn you a big following:
Mind About You Episode's Length and Tone
Sure, many podcasters want to record long episodes. However, these aren't always the best for your audience, especially if it's a new podcast with few listeners and followers.
In fact, most people don't listen to long podcasts until the very end.
So, you'll want to keep one episode between 20 to 30 minutes long or even shorter. That way, you can pass your message without boring your audience.
There are incidents when you may want to keep your episodes longer. For instance, if your niche focuses on listeners who are passionate about a subject.
Consistency is the Name of the Game
When you start a podcast, you want to attract a reasonable number of followers and listeners. To reach a wider audience, you must be consistent.
Consistency means recording audio files and releasing them regularly. Many podcasts air weekly, so that's the trend you want to follow.
I recommend recording one or two episodes per week. That way, you can have enough time to create interviews and content worth listening to without feeling overwhelmed.
You don't need a specific schedule, though, especially if you already have a big audience. Still, you don't have to go away for several months and hope to maintain your existing audience.
Engagement is Crucial
Successful podcasting revolves around how well you can engage your audience.
You can encourage your audience to listen to you by interacting with them.
Some effective ways to improve engagement include:
- Responding to questions and comments
- Requesting for feedback
- Conducting high-level interviews
- Participating in online communities
- Asking your audience which guests they'd like to see on your show
Engaging with your audience allows you to establish a strong bond while encouraging them to keep listening to your podcasts.
Quality Over Quantity
It can be tempting to release as many episodes as possible once you have your own show.
However, that's not the best strategy. How many podcasts you release within a specific period isn't that crucial.
Instead, strike a healthy balance between the quality and quantity of content you create.
You don't want to create a lot of shows to the point of compromising the quality. In fact, the best strategy is to start with a few episodes and gauge your audience's reaction.
You can release more shows regularly based on the reaction and engagement level.
Invest in Your Podcast
Getting a good podcast name that will pique your target audience's interest isn't enough to entice them to listen to your shows.
While podcasting can be one of the best side hustles with high profits, it isn't free. You must spend money on your podcasts for success.
Some crucial investments may include:
- Getting high-quality equipment
- Hiring a professional editor
- Partnering with a professional cover artist
- Having a marketing and promotion budget.
You don't need to break the bank, but you must invest in your shows to generate results.
Speaking of investments, here's a rundown of apps and software you can consider to do the heavy lifting for you.
Audacity is a free recording and editing software. You can leverage Audacity to record professional podcasts without leaving a hole in your wallet.
Skype or Zoom
Skype and Zoom can be handy when you want to record the interview.
Zoom has a time limit for free chats. Skype, on the other hand, is free as long as the other user is using the same platform.
Ecamm Skype Recorder
I recommend purchasing the Ecamm Skype Recorder for Apple podcasts. The tool allows you to record up to four guests on a separate audio track.
This functionality makes editing audio files and post-production tasks like fine-tuning sound and background levels easier.
You need to edit and export your podcast to allow your target audience to find it.
And there are several podcast hosting platforms to choose from, including Buzzsprout, Podbean, Libsyn, and more, available via a monthly subscription.
You'll need to pick a podcast hosting platform for your new episodes and archive old ones. A podcast hosting provider offers a library for your new and old shows, ensuring they're available online.
When starting a podcast, however, you should try free tools while waiting for your shows to gain traction.
Anchor is one of the best free options for a reliable hosting platform. The tool is owned by Shopify and is available for free. And the beauty is that you can host an entire episode on the app.
Other handy free tools that'll make your podcasting work easier include:
- Forecast for encoding audio files like WAV and encoding them into smaller MP3 files.
- RateThisPodcast allows your listeners to review and rate your new episodes on directories like Podchaser and Google Podcasts.
- Patreon or Ko-fi to enable you to sign up new members for a recurring monthly fee.
- Headliner to enable you to promote your podcasts.
- OBS/Ecamm Live for live video streaming
...moving on with tips on how to start a podcast with no audience.
Upload Video Clips on YouTube
Consider posting your podcast's video clips on YouTube to reach a bigger audience. YouTube can enable you to reach a new audience that you wouldn't via podcasting alone.
Plus, you can include subtitles in your video enabling audiences who don't understand your language to follow and understand what you're saying.
Starting a podcast is one thing. However, drawing people to subscribe to your show is entirely different.
Just because you have uploaded a new podcast doesn't mean people will start listening to you automatically.
So, start a podcast and give it enough time to grow. At times it can take months or years to attract a significant audience.
You'll want to be patient and create high-quality content your audience will be interested in. As I mentioned, consistency is the name of the game.
Invite as Many Guests a Possible
When you start a podcast, it'll be a good idea to line up as many guests as possible.
Sure, you may struggle to get "big" guests if you're starting a podcast. However, take every opportunity to invite a guest who you think would bring value to your show.
You can start by looking for guests who've been invited to other podcasts.
Ideally, you want a person with a large following and one that'll get people to tune in to your episode.
You can start by checking how many followers the person has on social media. The most influential the guest is, the more valuable they are to your episode.
Create an Email List
An email list offers a channel for direct communication with your audience, a crucial strategy for promoting your first episode.
You can grow your email list by identifying your listener persona and creating valuable, free content in exchange for an email. This can be a gated blog post, eBook, PDF guide, or discount code.
Once you've created an email list, you need to leverage it to promote your podcast. You can start by sending weekly emails which include your latest episode.
You can also use your email list to promote other content like your videos, website, or blog posts.
Create an Attractive Cover Art
Your audience will see your cover art before listening to your podcast, so you must make it attractive.
To make an excellent first impression, you must ensure the cover art is top-notch, attractive, and relevant to the show. On top of that, it needs to match your website and social media branding.
You can use Canva to set up your cover art in minutes.
Transcribe Your Episodes
Video and audio recordings are good. But it would help if you considered transcribing your every podcast.
That way, you can reach the audience that prefers reading to watching or listening. You can even post the transcription on your website.
One thing to remember is that transcribing can take most of your time, so you may consider hiring someone on a platform like Fiverr or Upwork to do the work for you.
Essential Things to Remember When Starting a Podcast with No Audience
1. Don't Be Boring
Make sure you have a great persona before you start recording.
Podcasting requires excellent communication skills to keep your audience glued to our show.
Further, ensure you discuss exciting topics and subjects to encourage your listeners to share the one on social media and other channels.
2. Determine Your Monetization Strategy from the Get-Go
Let's be honest; podcasting can be fun.
However, you probably want to make money out of your effort.
So, it would be best to have a clear idea of how you will monetize your content right from the start. You can, for instance, make money through sponsorships and funneling your listener to your website.
When you know how to make money with your website, it becomes easier to determine the best podcast topic to bring you the most money.
Also, remember to include always a solid call to action depending on what you want your audience to do.
3. Have a Content Calendar
You'll create better content if you have details long before you host your show.
So, consider having a content calendar to help you plan. Besides, when you know what you'll talk about two months later, you'll have more time to prepare.
In addition, ensure that you record, mix and upload upcoming episodes in advance to remain consistent.
As I mentioned, consistency is the name of the game, so you must do everything you can to maintain it.
4. Pre-record Your First Episodes
You may need more confidence to record live when you start a podcast with no audience.
So, consider pre-recording the first few episodes to ensure you've done everything right before going live.
Mistakes can happen, and you don't want them to occur while transmitting your episode live, especially if you're a beginner.
Even if you're experienced, it will help to have show notes to ensure you're right on track.
Remember, hosting a flawless show can entice your audience to subscribe to your show and, most importantly, listen the second time.
The more prepared you are, the easier it is to wow your audience.
5. Create a Podcast Website
You need to have a place where your audience can access your podcasts.
So, create a fully-fledged website with an integrated podcast player.
Think of a site where people can learn more about you and can read what your brand is about.
Include Contact, About, and Episodes pages on your site.
In addition, create a Resource page with affiliate links and products you can recommend to your audience. That way, you can create a passive affiliate income.
Starting a podcast with no audience can be challenging if you don't know where to start.
I hope this step-by-step guide will help you develop a podcasting strategy that delivers results.
I have to mention one thing, though.
While the tips above are actionable, you can only get the results if you work hard enough. You won't get the results in the first few months, but that doesn't mean you should stop.
Keep working, be innovative and outsmart your competition. Soon enough, you'll see the results.
Remember that every podcaster has started a podcast with no audience, even the most successful ones.