Whether you are just starting out or you’ve been podcasting for a while, checking analytics can be addicting. You have probably found yourself repeatedly refreshing your analytics page to see the downloads come in. While it is rewarding to watch the boost in listenership with each new episode, it can also be very frustrating when your audience isn’t growing as quickly as you’d hoped. Luckily, growth isn’t the only measure of podcast success. There are many ways to stay motivated and on track with your podcasting journey even if you don’t go viral overnight.
Redefine What Podcast Success Means
Growth isn’t just a numbers game when it comes to podcasting, and that’s what so many people get wrong when measuring their podcast success. You probably already have listeners who appreciate and enjoy your podcast. You might even have some enthusiastic fans! Instead of focusing only on demanding growth targets, work on nourishing the relationships and community you’ve already built with your podcast. Conduct some research on your audience to see where they found your podcast, what keeps them coming back, and what they want from your podcast in the future. Also, your audience is a great resource when it comes to getting the word out – make sure to mobilize your fans to share the word about your podcast in each episode, social media post, and blog.
You have come a long way in your growth journey – and it’s important to take pride in the wins you have already had. Remember the day when you had your first listener or got your first five-star review? Put things in perspective by looking back on what you wanted to achieve when you initially started the podcast, and seeing where you are now. Pat yourself on the back if you planned and hosted your own live stream, or if you had an excellent guest on the show, or if you got a shout out from one of your podcasting idols. These are all highlights that you should feel proud of, even when your current growth targets aren’t being met. The more you can focus on the highlights, the less you’ll feel discouraged by a lull in growth if and when it happens.
Focus on Incremental Growth
The easiest way to lose motivation is to set unrealistic and unattainable growth targets for yourself. Try to be as specific as possible with your growth goals, and establish short-to-medium-term targets rather than hoping to go viral. Developing tangible outreach plans and Key Performance Indicators (download numbers, listener locations, and social media interaction targets) will help you stay optimistic and productive. For example, setting a target of 10,000 listens by the end of the year may seem quite daunting, but if you start focusing on what you can do this month to reach a few hundred new listeners, you’ll be much less intimidated by that huge number. By focusing on the short-to-medium term, you are setting yourself up for success so that you stay motivated and persistent even if growth has slowed. Plus, you will be able to set an actual plan in motion to reach those 300 new listeners and you’ll know which outreach campaigns worked and which didn’t.
Revisit Your Outreach Plan
If your listenership isn’t growing as quickly as you’d hoped for, you might be reaching out to the wrong people, or you might be conducting inefficient outreach campaigns. You should always be revisiting and improving your outreach plan. From developing new social media publishing calendars to enhancing your organic outreach through collaborations, to holding live-streamed events for the community, there are countless new outreach avenues to take. There will always be untapped audiences for your podcast, so keep things fresh by experimenting with new outreach channels and scrapping the ones that reap no reward.
If you feel bogged down by all of the work that goes into outreach, then find ways to streamline. Using templates for your outreach emails, pre-recording plugs to send for your cross-promotion partners, and using scheduling tools for social media can all help you to spend less time promoting, and more time producing.
Build Out New Partnerships
There’s a huge untapped market of potential growth opportunities in cross-promotion. With Audry, you can build cross-promotion partnerships with podcasters all over the world – for free! Forming relationships with podcasters in different states or countries, in different topic niches, can help you find clusters of audiences you wouldn’t have normally reached. Throughout your podcasting journey, you’ll need to continue exploring new partnerships and outreach options to reach new communities. Audry matches you with other podcasters looking to grow their audiences – so you can grow together. The more partnerships you build, the more potential fans you’ll reach.
Remember, the key to long term success is to continue making great content regardless of how fast your listenership is growing. You might not experience overnight fame, but that doesn’t mean that your work isn’t valuable and meaningful. The listeners will come sooner or later, so set yourself up for victory by focusing on your current audience, developing tangible growth goals, streamlining your outreach campaign, and tapping into new audiences with cross-promotion partnerships.
As long as you enjoy making the podcast and provide your current listeners with a show that keeps them coming back, you’ve succeeded!