Using ‘Discord’ to Connect Fans with Fans
You probably have Twitter and Facebook accounts for your podcast. Some podcasters also use Instagram or Mastodon. Those are all great ways to let listeners know when your newest episode is up. That said, sometimes the social media algorithms will make it difficult for new people to find your show. One way around that is to make a Discord channel that is dedicated to your podcast and its fans.
Discord gives fans of a podcast a way to meet and get to know each other. It also gives those fans a connection to the host (or hosts) of the show. Include a link to your channel on your website (like Blubrry’s free site), mention it in your podcast; give people a call-to-action to get started.
What is Discord?
Discord https://discord.com has a very welcoming description of itself:
“Imagine a place where you can belong to a social club, a gaming group, or a worldwide art community. Where just you and a handful of friends can spend time together. A place that makes it easy to talk every day and hang out more often.”
Each Discord is unique. Podcasters can set up the Discord for their show as they like. You can choose to make your Discord invite-only if your community wants to feel safe. Or, you can let anyone join in without vetting. Either way, it is a good idea to make someone a moderator, or to have several moderators. Removing the bad actors is important because they are the ones who tend to come in and try to undermine things. Don’t let them destroy a healthy community!
The majority of Discords have topic-based channels where people can add things or make comments. There can also be channels where only the admins can add to it. The most important channel topics you need to create are ones that match the topic of your podcast.
A News channel can be used to post recent information that directly relates to the topic of your podcast. A gaming podcast will add news about the game (or games) that their podcast focuses on. A podcast that has guests in every show can post about who the next guest is.
Make a channel where you post a link to the newest episode that has been released. This helps people who aren’t on social media and who won’t see tweets or posts about it. Doing this also reminds people who frequent the Discord about the new episode.
A Community channel can be used by anyone who joined your Discord. Typically, people tend to stick to topics that match the main focus of the podcast. If that channel gets too cluttered, you can make new channels where people can chat about random or unrelated things. I’ve seen Discords with channels such as “cute,” “general,” “food” and “Discord suggestions.”
It is also possible to have voice channels where people can talk to each other directly, without using text. Gaming podcasts often have one of these because it makes it easier for people to communicate in the game they are playing together. Another great use of the voice channels is to keep your community up to date on the conference that you are attending.
Some podcasters like to record their episodes directly into Discord, where the community can listen to it live and post chat comments. Others prefer to record it first and then add a link to the show notes in the Discord. Either way can work well.
Discord is a very social experience. People who join a Discord are either doing it because some of their friends are in it, or because they are big fans of the podcast. For best results, you need to make an effort to pop into the Discord and say hello or join in a conversation. People like it when the host of the podcast shows up and makes themselves accessible for conversation.
Another great way to use Discord is to connect with other Discords that match your show’s topic. Recently, I participated in a “campfire” conversation that was recorded on someone else’s Discord. A person from that Discord invited me to join the campfire and asked permission to post a recording of it on my podcast’s server after it was finished. It was fun! Sharing exclusive content like that can benefit both Discords, as people who are on one might decide to join the other.
Podcasters should check in on what’s happening in their Discord often. Take a second to “wave hi” to people in the Welcome channel who recently joined. Make a post in the Community channel to announce new channels you have added (and why they are useful). Watch for the little red circle that appears next to your Discord’s icon and pop in and respond to it.
In short, the best thing about Discord is the connectivity between fans and even the host (or hosts) of the show in a way that cannot be replicated on other types of social media.
Jen Thorpe has been podcasting since 2005. They are the host of the Shattered Soulstone podcast, which releases new episodes every week. When they aren’t podcasting, they are playing video games or Dungeons & Dragons.