Podcasting is on a upsurge, and it's not stopping anytime soon.
According to Tom Webster, Senior Vice President of Edison Research, podcasts reach 48 million listeners weekly in the U.S. These audio shows are diverse in content, from business podcasts getting millions of people every month to tune in to those on hobbies, interests and forms of entertainment.
I have had my podcast, Leaders in the Trenches, for more than three years now. Inc even mentioned the show as one of the top podcasts for leaders to learn. I use this medium to share insights from my experience working with hypergrowth companies about transformational leadership and growth cultures. I am not some outsider looking into the world of podcasting -- I am a podcaster.
A few days ago, the largest conference for podcasters, Podcast Movement, convened in Philadelphia to connect on all aspects of podcasting. For five years now, Jared Easley and Dan Franks, co-founders of Podcast Movement, have aimed to bring together and educate active and aspiring podcasters.
Here are six elements to audience growth inspired by podcasters that you can use in your own business -- even if you don't have a podcast.
1. Create quality content.
Quality content is an absolute must. The market is too demanding for you to put out trivial and shallow work. Quality is the minimum to create a growing brand in today's noisy world of marketing. Quality content means that it is relevant to your audience. This is true for all forms of marketing if you want attention and growth.
2. Be authentic.
You must also be authentic to grow an audience that connects with your brand. The biggest names in podcasting are confident in who they are and don't really care if you don't like them because of their looks, accent or point of view.
For example, one of the most outspoken podcasters in the realm of business is Gary Vaynerchuk. Vaynerchuk is often brash and known for telling it like he sees it. He absolutely doesn't care what you think about him and shares his most authentic self each and every day to his audience.
3. Give a clear value proposition.
Creating a clear message to the audience that is relevant to them and communicates the value will help you establish a connection.
Angus Nelson, the host of Those Crazy Nelsons, says you must start off quickly with your value proposition. "You only have seconds before you lose someone's attention," he says. Getting directly to the point and giving your audience the value to them when you have their attention so they will go deeper works outside of podcasting, too.
4. Build a like-minded community.
Create a place for your audience members to come together and share with each other. The most effective podcasters embrace the idea of community. Gregg Clunis, host of Tiny Leaps Big Changes, says: "We call the people in our community 'Leapsters.' They have connected together in the journey of big change."
If you don't have a podcast, you can still create a space for like-minded people to gather. This will allow you to understand their challenges and aspirations. It will also allow you to serve them even better.
5. Collaborate with others.
Identify influencers to create fresh content. Connecting many audiences to cross-pollinate and grow together is powerful.
Jeremy Slate, the host of Create Your Own Life, shared with me how he has used collaboration to gain attention. "You begin by finding an influencer with a larger following than you on LinkedIn or other platforms. You can tell their story with an emotional angle that allows others to connect to the message," he says.
Collaboration with sponsors is also key. Jeff Brown, host of the Read to Lead Podcast, created a collaboration with a sponsor that resulted in being featured in front of that sponsor's 80,000 followers. He says you should seek out opportunities for any additional exposure -- especially when you're just starting out.
6. Create intentionally shareable posts.
Use articles, images and video to repurpose your message for different social channels. Take long-form content -- books, white papers, audio (podcasts), and video -- and make it available in other formats. From your long-form content, you want to create micro-content that will fit Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This increases sharing and discovery of your content.
I have recently been using various lengths and formats of video for my podcast that have increased my downloads by 10 percent growth per month and added thousands of new people to my podcast audience over the last four months. Optimal video size duration varies by channel.
You don't have to have a podcast to use these principles of growth. You also don't have to have all of these principles right away, but the more you have, the faster you will grow.