How to Build a Community for Your Podcast
Nowadays, it seems like there’s a podcast on every topic and for every audience. In fact, there are currently 2.96 million podcasts (ExplodingTopics). And global listeners are expected to surpass 500 million by 2025, around 23.5% of the internet population.
There is no doubt that podcasting is a very promising industry. However, how can you succeed as it becomes more competitive? Simple, by building a community.
Building community is an essential marketing strategy for finding long-term success and fostering loyalty. And today we’ll tell you all about it.
In this post, we'll cover:
- Why building a podcast community matters
- 7 tips to build a community
Ready? Let's get started!
The Benefits of Creating a Podcast Community
In essence, a podcast community is a group of people who feel connected to your podcast's brand.
These group members aren't just casual listeners. They're actual supporters that will talk about your show with family, friends, and even coworkers. And what’s more: they’ll follow you on social media accounts and share your latest posts.
In other words, your podcast community will recommend your show and advocate for your content, helping you grow organically.
All in all, creating a podcast community can help you to:
- Monetize your podcast by creating exclusive content for your community members. In fact, online communities have an average return-on-investment of over 7,000%.
- Increase engagement without resorting to paid advertising
- Get podcast sponsors who are interested and willing to support your content.
As a creator, you can also use your podcast community to get quality feedback on new content ideas.
7 Essential Tips To Build a Successful Podcast Community
To start building a podcast community, first you need to identify how large your potential listeners' base is and how to reach them. To do so, you’ll need a good community-building strategy.
Moreover, as your listenership grows, having a strategy will help you to:
- Identify your most loyal and engaged fans
- Get ideas for your podcast episodes
- Learn more about your listeners' needs and interests
- Keep your audience continually engaged through meaningful conversations
- Create an experience that extends beyond the length of your podcast episodes
But, how do you build a successful community-building strategy?
Here are some key steps to get you started:
- Analyze your brand's achievements and challenges
- Develop listener personas
- Set clear community guidelines
- Choose the best online platform for your community
- Use your platform wisely
- Develop a cross-channel promotion & engagement strategy
- Measure your content's performance and optimize it accordingly
Let’s take a closer look!
Assess Your Brand's Achievements & Challenges
Before you start building your podcast community, ask yourself the following questions:
- What does my podcast brand represent?
- What are its differential values? What are its strengths?
- What doesn't my podcast's brand represent? What's its opposite?
- What does my podcast lack? What are its weaknesses?
- What would be a threat to my podcast’s long-term success?
- What growth opportunities is my podcast currently facing?
- What are my competitors doing, and where are they building their communities?
As you try to answer these questions, you will gain a deeper understanding of your current context, and avoid making decisions based on vague instincts. In other words, you can use these questions as a compass to guide your marketing efforts.
Craft Listener Personas
Listener personas are models representing the audience segments your podcast is targeting. When crafted correctly, these archetypes can be an amazing guide for your content creation efforts.
Listener personas are the key to a well-targeted community strategy. But why? They make it easier to take key decisions such as:
- How to structure your community space
- What online platform you should use to gather your core group members
- Which platforms you'll use to find new community members
- What benefits you'll present to potential members
For instance, let's suppose you're running a fitness podcast for newbies. When developing a listener persona, you may find out that your target listeners:
- Prefer Discord versus Slack or other communication platform
- Engage with fitness brands on TikTok and Instagram
- Respond well to direct messaging with a touch of humor
- Prioritize seeing progress in the first 2 months
But, where can you get this information from? Simple, connect to your current listeners. Come up with a list of relevant questions and survey them. If you don't have a listenership yet, get in touch with people who are passionate about the topics you cover.
Set Clear Community Guidelines
In order to avoid conflicts within the community, it's important that all members agree to follow certain guidelines. Make sure your community guidelines are available somewhere where all members can see them. And, if possible, make accepting the guidelines a key step in the sign-up process.
Aside from listing your rules, feel free to describe the consequences of breaking them. For example, suspension or denial of access.
Here are some common community rules that you may want to include:
- No bigotry or discrimination
- No self-promotion
- Respecting other members is obligatory
- No spam
- No illegal material or acts
- No copyrighted material
Depending on your personal preferences (and your listeners' age and profile), you may also want to forbid sharing NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content.
Choose the Best Online Community Platform for You
After setting your community rules, it’s time to choose which platform your private group will run on. Take the time to research your options. You may want to use your target audience’s favorite platform. There is no need for you to be present everywhere, but you should be active in those spaces that actually matter for your most loyal listeners.
Pluse, choosing a platform your audience is already using will remove friction. Listeners won't have to learn to use a new tool. So it will be easier for them to join.
Use Your Group Wisely
Your private community should be a safe place where like-minded people can share resources and build meaningful connections. So, we recommend:
- Going out of your way to be as welcoming as possible.
- Encouraging participation
- Fostering autonomy
Let's take a closer look.
Be mindful of the tone you use when communicating with your audience. When new members join the group, be open to answering questions and guiding them through your platform. Encourage them to participate and make them feel at home.
Encourage interesting conversations
You should share your latest episodes (and some extra content) with your community. But try not to make everything about the podcast, it could become monotonous. To spice things up, leave room for your audience's opinions and interests.
As your podcast and audience grow, you'll want them to strengthen their bond with your brand without you pushing those interactions. This means giving them the tools and space to bond with each other without you intervening. For instance, having fan pages created by genuine fans is a great indicator of an autonomous and strong community.
In your community space, you should also include relevant information such as:
- A brief but clear explanation of your podcast group's purpose
- A list of which topics are open to discussion. For instance, if you create your community on Discord, you'll almost certainly have different channels. You can ask your community to respect the designated topics on each channel.
- Describe the group's audience and the content they can expect.
- Your podcast’s website and social media profiles.
Develop Cross-Chanel Content & Engagement Strategies
Once you've selected a platform and designed your community space, it’s time to start promoting it.
Go on social media and create interesting content, consistently. That way, you'll stay on the radar of your existing listeners. After seeing so much interesting content from your brand, they may eventaully want to get more involved. So, they'll join your community.
But having a strong social media presence will also help you to grow your listenership in two ways:
- It'll help you reach more people, including potential listeners
- It'll show that your brand is active and there's a thriving community around it
To get started, we recommend:
- Creating audiograms or short clips of your episodes' best moments
- Designing appealing, topic-specific, and shareable carousels
- Posting photos with your guests, and upload them with a captivating copy to leverage their audience
- Keeping your audience engaged by posting announcements of upcoming guests, episodes, events, and content
- Creating short-form content covering your episodes' core topics
- Posting regularly, ask your followers what content they would like to see, and answer all their queries.
Don't have the time to run an active social media presence? Repurpose your content. Learn more on our Content Repurposing Guide.
Measure Your Content's Performance
Finally, set clear marketing goals. What do you expect to achive in the short term? If possible, make your goal "SMART": Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
For instance, a SMART goal would be "Growing the community to 1,000 active members, in the next 8 months."
Don't just keep an eye on your content's performance metrics. Evaluate your success according to your goal.
Boost Your Podcast Visibility With Eye-Catching Audiograms
As we've covered in this post, building a community is essential to podcast success. And producing great content is key to capturing your target audience's interest. Especially on social media.
Are you a podcaster working to grow their social media following? You should leverage the power of short videos. And audiograms are the way to go.
With Audiotease you can easily create stunning audiograms. No design skills or expensive software required. Grow your community with amazing social media content, without burning through your budget.
Curious? Try Audiotease today and create your first video for free.