How To Build Your Show By Looking At The Big Picture, Part 1: Building Engagement

Blubrry spent last week at Podcast Movement 2016 in Chicago, where CEO Todd Cochrane gave a talk on overall metrics and what our recent study of where and how listeners are tuning in to podcasts tells us about our listeners, the platforms they use, and how to engage audiences in 2016 and beyond. In Part 1 of this two-part series, Todd Cochrane shares how to increase engagement to turn casual listeners into fans and keep fans coming back for more.

Most podcasters believe they are doing all they can to engage their audiences, but in most cases they simply aren’t doing enough to compel listeners to engage back, Cochrane argued in his talk at Podcast Movement. For example, via his ongoing research Cochrane has found that:

  • Only 21% of podcasters regularly shared an email address on their show.
  • Just 32% talked about social media.
  • 79% had no RSS options on their podcast’s website. Remember that without an RSS address, many of the 120 total devices that could potentially play your podcast won’t be able to!
  • And only 61% shared the web address where the podcast and associated show notes can be found.

That’s leaving a lot of potential engagement on the table! Time and time again, experienced podcasters at Blubrry and beyond have found that making an “ask” of your listeners – and making it easy for them to find you, connect with you, and talk back to you – are key to getting those ratings, reviews, comments and emails that increase traffic and let us know we’re doing a good job.

Here are some of Cochrane’s tips for increasing engagement:

  1. Tell listeners how to contact you. Make it easy, and give them options. Share your web address and an email address in the show itself, tell them where to find you on social networks, and make sure that contact information, RSS feed information, and social sharing information is in an easy-to-find place on your site. (Cochrane refers to the first page, above-the-fold spot as the most valuable real estate on your podcast site. Use it wisely!)
  2. Remind listeners what to do (and make it easy.) Near the end of your show, tell your audience to subscribe, leave ratings and reviews, share on social, and/or send email, and – here’s the key – make it easy for them to do any of those things by following tip #1! Subscribe buttons, social share buttons, and your email contact are essential components of an engagement-friendly podcast website. 
  3. Thank your audience. One of the best ways to keep your audience coming back for more is to routinely thank them – something not nearly enough podcasters do regularly, Cochrane argues. While a simple verbal “thank you” is a great start, consider getting creative and taking it a step further. Special giveaways, answering listener questions, or calling out loyal readers on-air are all great ways to raise the bar and create a stronger relationship between you and your listeners.

What are your favorite ways to engage your listeners? What do you find works best?