The way we interact and engage with people has completely changed, so building a meaningful community around your podcast can certainly have its challenges, particularly if you’re new to podcasting.
On a recent episode of Should I Start a Podcast, we shared successful entrepreneur, Robert Gerrish’s inspiring speech from We Are Podcast 2015. Here are some of the the key points to bolstering up a community that is valuable, interactive and caring.
Don’t Get Caught Up On Numbers
You will certainly start with very few listeners in the beginning. Although this can be disheartening, you should be aware that in time your audience will grow. Robert states that it’s not about numbers, it’s about finding like-minded people who genuinely care, and are willing to engage with you. As a word of encouragement he recites his borrowed mantra, “Don’t count the people you reach, reach the people that count.” By donning a journalist hat and dipping into your existing community, you can start to ask questions and gauge what they really want from your podcast.
However, the beginning stage is the perfect time to consider experimenting with your content. When you have an engaged audience that’s riding along with you, they will pitch advice your way to let you know if something is working or not, you just need to be transparent and encourage their input. This tactic makes it possible to find ‘your voice’ in podcasting, and can help with solidifying the format of your show.
Create a communal space
Create a space for your audience to connect such as setting up forums and Facebook groups. Robert calls these kinds of hangouts, ‘swimming spots.’ A hub where people can converse of their own volition, discuss topics, and even resolve issues without your intervention. You can dip in and out of these pools too, to keep you abreast of any matters that come up, which may be useful to you later on.
Robert does suggest hanging back though, and take on a more observant role. Don’t be too hasty to get involved with discussions as a lot of the time, issues or questions will be rapidly resolved by other community members.
Respect Your Audience
It goes without saying that you should respect your audience, they are after all the crux of you podcast. The value your community can bring to your podcast is enormous, so looking at ways to display your appreciation and respect should be a priority.
Robert suggests over delivering. If he sees a community member struggling, he will offer a quick phone call to see if he can help. Over delivering can also mean creating avenues that are unexpected. By upping the variability and being experimental with your podcast, you are opening gateways for opinion and interaction – you just need to encourage it. Although some avenues may be better than others, you are offering your audience the opportunity to go places they didn’t know they were going.
Remember, it’s not about the numbers. Build a solid, valued and respected community that can contribute to your podcasting success and if necessary take things slow.
For more sterling advice, listen to the whole conference session with Robert Gerrish here.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.