It takes just about 6.000 downloads per episode to be in the top 10% of podcasters. So little yet so much. If you are struggling with getting there or trying to break another milestone, this post will help you increase podcast downloads if you follow the formula!
How it all starts
Once your podcast is launched, and out in the world, that’s when you’ll move on to thinking about promotion and building your listener base.
Along with running tour podcasts, you might be wondering how to grow the number of downloads of your podcasts, which can be quite challenging.
A higher number of downloads means:
- Improvement on a key podcasting KPI – Number of downloads is the Key Performance Indicator for a successful podcast, which means that’s the parameter on which the success of your podcast is judged. So higher the downloads, the better your podcast is.
- Higher ad revenue in the CPM model – Advertisers pay you according to Cost Per Mille. In a nutshell, this means that the revenue from advertising is linked to the number of downloads. In a CPM model, more downloads mean more money.
- More traffic to convert to your blog for affiliate sales – If you are leading your listeners to a webpage through your podcast, or trying to sell stuff through affiliate marketing, more downloads mean a greater conversion (and more money too!)
- More traffic to convert to the mailing list – If you want to create a mailing list, more downloads can help you reach out to more people, which means a bigger mailing list.
To sum up, more downloads means more impact! More people have tuned in to your work. If making money is on your agenda, a higher number of downloads should be your top priority.
3 main areas to focus on
Here are a few ways that will help you get more podcast downloads
Try to focus on these three areas if you want to increase your podcast download.
Increase visibility, availability, and presence of your podcast
Building your audience before launching your podcast is very important.
You can promote on social media in a dozen different ways, soundbites, video, images, teasers, evergreen anything you can think of.
Make guest appearances on podcasts in your niche.
Mention brands in your podcast. Then reach out to them. They might just mention you back!
This will help you get more podcast downloads.
Attract new listeners
Making your show easy to find on a very cramped and crowded internet is crucial. This can be done by using the right keywords, titles, descriptions, and content.
A podcast that’s featured on the first page of Google is obviously going to attract more first-time listeners than a podcast that shows up on page 50.
Likewise, a show that launches on Apple Podcasts and makes it to the ‘New and Noteworthy’ section will see the same success reflected in a higher number of downloads.
The key is to optimize your podcast for both for typical Google searches and for the search engines of each respective podcast directory that your show is listed on. This means including target keywords in your podcast name and description, as well as each individual episode’s name and description.
The ultimate goal is to hit Apple Podcasts’ top charts, a goal that requires time and a combination of great content, strategic marketing, and great SEO optimization.
Retain and turn into returning listeners
Try not to take your audience for granted that your present audience will stay with you after some time. If you want to have continuous audience engagement, you need to put continuous efforts in marketing.
Things to do to Increase Podcast Downloads
1. Set up a podcasting website
Add episode transcripts, collect mails – when you sign up for media hosting, you often get a free website with it too. Podean, BluBrry, Spreaker all give you a simple but decent-looking site for your Podcast.
If you want more control, more tools, your own branding, and to own the space where your podcast lives, then you’ll want to create your own website for it.
That means buying web hosting too.
The most important step in building a website for a podcast is to choose the right platform. Steps to create your website
- Choose and set up your Web Hosting
- Get a domain for your website
- Install WordPress on your hosting – good hostings like SiteGround or BlueHost have 1-click installations.,
- Plan your content and create first episodes
- Look & Feel: Choose a theme for your WordPress site: We recommend using WordPress.org to set up your podcasting website. WordPress is free to use. You can install plugins, customize your site design, and most importantly make money from your site without any restrictions
- Setup RSS feed for episodes, embed a player for people to listen to while on the website, add analytics, and you are good to go.
To host your media files, you need a dedicated podcast hosting.
Your podcasts are large audio files. Serving them from your web host will consume a lot of server resources, which will make your website slow and often unresponsive. And it is not allowed by the majority of traditional hostings.
To increase podcast downloads, you need a good and reliable service provider.
For best user experience, we recommend that you use a podcast specific media hosting. Our favorite is Podbean. We have done a detailed review of many hosting to determine which is the best podcast hosting.
You need a podcast hosting. You can’t serve audio files from the same server that hosts your website.
2. Get Your Podcast to Multiple Directories (as many as possible)
Once you’ve created your show inside your media host of choice, you can then submit it to various directories, where listeners can discover, subscribe to, and download it.
When it comes to getting your podcast out there for everyone to hear, you’ll need a podcast hosting account, sometimes called a media host.
Media or Podcast hosts are services that store your audio and allow your listeners to listen, download, and subscribe to your podcast. In short, though, you need to sign up with a media hosting service to host your audio files.
Podbean, or any other good podcast hosting, will have a good set of auto-submit or guided-submission tools. So, they make it easy to get your show into Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and other popular spots. This will help you get more podcast downloads.
3. Promote episodes on Your Website
Now that you have created a website and chosen a podcast hosting make the most of it.
Having a website lends extra credibility to your identity as a Podcaster and helps you solidify your brand. You have to promote your website as well as your podcast now.
This might sound like a double effort, but it isn’t! While earlier, you would have simply shared your work, that is, your podcast link, on social media, and other places, now share the link for your webpage where people can access your podcast.
You must have a web player (with subscribe button) from your media host so that people find it convenient to listen to the podcast on your website.
When a podcast has a website, it becomes more visible in Google, and this will also help you to get more podcast downloads.
4. A right description of the episode
Give a description of your podcast, at least one paragraph of what it is that you are going to give it to your listeners, episode wise description will also do.
But don’t stop here. Your show and each episode need to be correctly prepared for it to be correctly cataloged by all the podcast aggregators like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.
Actually, having your RSS feed correctly prepared to include all the necessary elements is crucial to ranking high on Apple chart lists.
You need to include:
- show title,
- show description,
- artwork for the show,
- the language spoken on the show,
- podcast parental advisory information,
- show category information.
5. Upload into the right category
To increase podcast downloads, there are many directories where you can list your podcast, but you can distribute your podcast across as many channels as you’d like and the most popular ones.
You’re going to be asked for your podcast’s name, description, category, artwork, etc.
Here are a few right distribution channels where you can upload your podcast.
- Apple Podcasts
And listing in the right category is crucial. This is your competition.
6. Get a Great Cover
Each episode will have a title, keep it clever, let people know what you are giving them, and let there be a connection between the title and the content that you are going to present.
Just like your episode titles, first impressions are everything.
Having attractive cover art that stands out is vital when your show lines up against thousands of other shows.
Just like music, creative commons licensing can be found in visual art too. Many podcasters use creative commons/stock images to create cover art on platforms like Canva. You can also approach an artistic or photography-loving friend to see if they will help you put something together.
You can create a great podcasting logo on your own. A great logo will help you stand out. When it is memorable, it will lead to increased podcast downloads.
Ideally, your cover art should be:
- File dimensions – at least 1400 x 1400 pixels (max 3000 x 3000 pixels, 72 dpi)
- Format – in JPG or PNG form. PNG will be better, and you will avoid losing quality. Remember that podcasts are now listened sometimes on smart TVs with huge displays.
- File size – ideally under 500KB in size.
- Use colorspace RGB (Google Music requirement; they don’t support CMYK).
Stick to these specs, and it’ll help you avoid having any issues in directories. Your artwork will often be viewed by potential listeners in a much smaller format, so avoid cluttering it full of details that could turn it into a mess. It should be clearly readable when only around 200px wide.
7. Collect good ratings and reviews
The more reviews you have for your show, the more people poking around will trust that listening to your podcast is worth their time.
Ask your friends, family, and co-workers to listen to your podcast and then leave a review. At the end of each of your blog posts, ask people to go through, and share their feedback.
Post links of your podcast on all of your social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc., and encourage your followers to download and review your podcast.
Good ratings and reviews always encourage more listeners and downloads.
8. Email about a new episode
Build an email list or outreach list before your podcast launches.
Email lists are really useful to remind your users about you. When you stay on top of their inbox, you stay on top of their mind! Reach their inbox to remind them to listen to the next episode.
Moreover, you can also share extra info in an email that will go out to your listeners. Along with the link to your podcast episode, you can include links to your social media handles, your website, etc.
You can also share info about your other work, like your blog, another podcast.
9. Front sell
You must promote the next episode in the current one, as TV series do.
This is an essential part of an episode structure.
This requires a bit of planning, as it means that the last half a minute in your podcast should talk about the next episode and compel them to come back for more.
At the end of every episode, give your listeners a glimpse of how your next episode will be like. That will keep your listeners curious and engaged.
Identify Your Audience, and then cater your content towards them. You can start a survey so that you get to more about your listeners and their interests that will help you improve.
Find people interested in the topic and send them your episode – influencers, Facebook groups, Quora, Twitter. Talk to people in person, get to know people interested in your topic.
11. Ask for subscriptions
To increase podcast downloads, ask your listeners to subscribe to your podcast, tell them the benefits of subscribing.
There can be several benefits that you can offer. As soon as they subscribe, they no longer have to keep track of all their favorite shows. They no longer have to go out there and search out new episodes. They no longer have to remember what they’ve listened to, or where they left off. Instead, the podcast app will now keep track of everything related to podcasts.
New episodes will come directly to your phone automatically. Every time you open the app, they’ll be there, waiting. Depending on your settings, they might even be downloaded already, so you’re all set to listen to a few hours on the plane, entirely offline.
Consider finding and addressing your show to Podcast Super Listeners – they subscribe to shows, and if they like it, they will promote your show a lot.
12. Have a regular schedule of episodes releases and stick to it
To increase podcast downloads, know that commitment and consistency are the keys to success. Decide if you are going to publish weekly episodes or monthly.
Be committed to delivering new timely episodes; think about all the aspects of your topic. It will be better if you are delivering weekly episodes and not make your audience wait for a longer time.
Also, publish it on a constant schedule. If you miss out on publishing on the scheduled dates, you will lose out on your listeners.
13. Great audio quality
Keep your podcast easy for your audience to listen to and understand.
Make sure that the recording is done right, probably in a sound friendly place, and there is not too much background noise.
Record it in a quiet room; make sure there is not much background noise. You can perform major soundproofing work to make your recording studio sound great. But there are also some easy steps that can improve the acoustics of your room in one afternoon for less than $200.
Editing plays an important role in making your final product impressive. If you are master in editing, you can edit your show on your own, but if not, then it’s better to outsource it. Powerful editing software can make this process much faster and easier.
Finally, just choose the right gear. A difference in gear quality can change the way you sound tremendously and simply eliminate the need for extensive editing. Check our recommendations for the best podcasting gear.
To grow a podcast and, in the end, Increase podcast downloads, you need to formulate a plan a follow a recipe outlined in this article.
Getting more downloads is essential. It will result in:
- Improvement on a key podcasting KPI (key performance indicators),
- Higher ad revenue in the CPM (cost per mile) model,
- More traffic to convert to your blog for affiliate sales.
- More traffic to convert to the mailing list.
A general principle you should use is to focus on:
- Increasing visibility, availability, and online presence of your podcast,
- Attracting new listeners,
- Retaining listeners and turning them into regular listeners.
Follow this formula, and you will increase podcast downloads of your show.
Which element have you found to work best for getting more downloads?