One of the most amazing things about podcasting is its ability to build community. With each episode, snippet, or piece of content, creators foster relationships with each of their listeners — cultivating a sense of belonging and togetherness.
It’s what keeps an audience coming back for more… over and over again.
But bridging the gap between performance and authenticity can be daunting when you’re just starting out. After all, you’re creating entertainment, so it’s important to maintain a level of professionalism.
At the same time, you want your audience members to get to know you as an individual so they can feel a connection with your show.
So how do you bridge the gap? Here are four strategies for connecting with your podcast listeners to build a powerful community for your listeners.
What The Best Podcasts Do Right
Support for your podcast goes beyond numbers – although a large listener base is certainly important. It’s about creating a community of engaged and enthusiastic listeners who genuinely enjoy your content and are willing to spread the word to their friends and family.
To help you get started, we will look at a few of the most successful podcasts and how they’ve built up their own communities. We’ll then explore the tactics and techniques that have worked for them, so you can develop your own successful strategies.
Write two paragraphs for the above header and input examples of real podcast
1 – “My Favorite Murder”
My Favorite Murder, hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, is a true-crime comedy podcast that has garnered a massive following due to its darkly humorous approach to discussing true-crime stories.
Kilgariff and Hardstark have used their social media platforms to facilitate community discussions, live shows, and even a fan-driven Wiki page. The My Favorite Murder community has embraced the podcast with tattoos and merchandise, turning it into a movement and a way of life.
2 – “The Adventure Zone”
The Adventure Zone is a family-friendly Dungeons and Dragons podcast, hosted by brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy, and their father Clint. The Adventure Zone has created its community by being incredibly inclusive and creative – engaging with fans and allowing them to influence the show’s outcomes.
They’ve created an in-joke-based community that loves fan art, cosplay, and even “fanfic,” all centered around the world they’ve built through their podcasts.
3 – “99% Invisible”
99% Invisible is a design-focused podcast hosted by Roman Mars covering topics as diverse as urban planning, architecture, and typography. 99% Invisible utilized a unique storytelling style and instantly recognizable branding.
They’ve built a strong community of design fans and followers by extending their brand beyond the podcast with a strong social media presence, merchandise, and live appearances.
What You Should Borrow from the Best
1 – Create a Strong Brand
Creating a recognizable brand for your podcast with a strong logo, podcast cover art, and colors and fonts that carry over into your website and social media channels all help to establish your overall look, tone, and style. Crafting an easily recognizable and memorable brand image can make you stand out and create a strong connection with your listeners, which will set you apart in the saturated podcast arena.
2 – Engage with Your Audience
Establish an online presence for your podcast with official Twitter and Instagram accounts, and a Facebook group, so that listeners can share their own reactions, insights, and questions about your episodes. Responding to listener feedback will allow you to build your bond with your audience, which ultimately will encourage them to recommend your podcast to others.
3 – Cross-Promote with Other Podcasts
Joining forces with other podcasters in a similar niche can provide an opportunity for cross-promotion and guest appearances, which expose your podcast to a new group of listeners. It’s also a great way to tap into a new network of creators, which could lead to collaborative opportunities and even more engagement.
4 – Create Listener Involvement Opportunities
Encourage listeners to share their own stories or experiences on your podcast and create opportunities for them to be involved in the show. Some easy ideas include running a Q&A segment or inviting fans to submit episode topics. Listener-driven segments can add a sense of inclusivity that can help further establish your community’s identity.
5 – Host Live Shows and Events
Hosting live events and meet-ups promotes deeper personal connections with fans and solidifies the community established around your podcast. Fans can come together in a casual and relaxed setting and interact with you and other fans, fostering a stronger community feeling.
Finding Technology that Supports Your Mission
We know, it can seem overwhelming when you’re in charge of every aspect of your podcast. But that’s where technology can help.
First, finding a platform that facilitates easy recording and a simple production workflow is essential. Plenty of options exist, and choosing the right one can mean all the difference.
Look for free services that help with live events or leverage the tools already in social media platforms to build a stronger connection with listeners.
And lastly, make sure to use analytics tools to better understand how people engage with your podcast and what topics they find most interesting. Analyzing data can help inform future content strategies and foster a deeper relationship between you and your audience.
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