Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Do You Increase Loyal Listeners To Your Podcast?

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Why do people listen to the podcast? That's the question I've been asking our loyal Room 3026 Live listeners.

In response, I've heard them say variations of the following:

  • Real-time interaction between hosts and listeners
  • Good information
  • Interesting guests
  • The news
  • The chat room
While this list is not exhaustive, it was enough to get my brain thinking. How can we, as hosts, continue to build on the core group of listeners?

Three Levels Of Listeners

In a post-show discussion, we identified three levels of listeners:

  1. Potential Listeners
  2. Casual Listeners
  3. Core Listeners
Potential Listeners
The first group of listeners holds the most members and represents individuals who have not yet listened to the show.

Casual Listeners
These listeners have heard the podcast before, but are not regular listeners.

Core Listeners 
This group represents those listeners who are there practically every day. 

Based upon my observation, listeners move through the various circles. Those that are considered Core Listeners were once Potential Listeners that progressed through each ring until they reached the core group. In the same way, a Core Listener can move away from the center circle and become less active.

With that established, how does one attract listeners toward the core like a magnet attracts metal?

What Are The Benefits Of Listening?

As hosts, we believe there are benefits of listening. For example, we listed a few items:

  • Support for listener's blog (Blog Roll)
  • Promote a listener's event (Announcements)
  • Engaging audience (Chat room, Daily Booth, and live interaction with hosts)
  • Guests (Interviews)
In review, I don't think there is one silver bullet that encourages loyal listeners; it's a combination of all the various segments. For those that stay, I believe it's because they are getting a need fulfilled. 

How To Increase Core Level Listeners

This is the million dollar question, right? From where I sit, the answer lies in keeping loyal listeners satisfied while moving casual and potential listeners closer to the middle.  Below are a few ideas to consider at each level.

Potential Listeners (To move from potential to casual)
  • Invite them to listen
  • Encourage special guests to bring their listeners/fans/supporters
  • Conduct live podcasts on-location
Casual Listeners (To move from casual to core)
  • Encourage them to join the show's email list
  • Invite them to connect on social networks
  • Follow their blog, podcast, vodcast, and comment often
Core Listeners (To keep satisfied as a core listener)
  • Host special on/offline events that encourages engagement and camaraderie
  • Showcase and bring attention to something they are doing through interviews or on-air announcements
  • Engage them in the show and use their name or feedback
  • Provide relevant content that is somewhat personalized
These are just a few ideas that seem to work for us. Although, I am always looking for other creative and effective strategies to increase listener's return on investment (ROI). In the comment section below, let's talk about ideas that you have.

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