It seems we’ve re-entered into the age of audio. Unlike scheduled radio of yesteryear, the new audio model aligns perfectly with our 21st Century habits – easily accessible, instant, intimate and totally engaging. “It’s becoming viral. Everyone wants to and can start a podcast,” says Audioboom’s fan engagement specialist Blair Hughes, on a recent episode of Should I Start A Podcast?
It seems the whole world has caught onto this new powerful platform as a means of brand communication. However, in order to thrive, listener engagement is crucial in keeping your content relevant and your podcast ever evolving.
Listening is Vital For Engaging With Fans
Engaging with your people is critical, “It’s not a one way street, it has to be a two way conversation,” says Blair. Having real interactions and nurturing listener relationships will get you the insight you need to keep your content relevant. So, turning to social media such as Twitter and Facebook and striking up conversations is the best place to start. But, you must remember to digest the feedback, and incorporate it into your show. “When fans feel valued and respected and listened to, they will go above and beyond.”
Think Like Your Fans
Podcasts are the commuters dream. Wherever someone is, they can tune in and zone out. With so many people multitasking, making your podcast episodes short and concise is a new format that seems to hit the podcaster demographic – those aged between 25 to 34. A decade ago, the typical podcast length was around an hour long, but now it’s all about the shorter listens, with the average length being between 10 to 15 minutes long.
This doesn’t mean that longer podcasts don’t hold value, but thinking about workday commuters and those doing the washing up is a great way to keep your majority of listeners engaged.
Value Your Listeners
It’s the small things that we do as podcasters that can mean the most to our audiences. Blair recounts a perfect example of paying things forward. The LA Dodgers certainly stepped things up when they introduced a fitness day. Roughly, 10,000 yoga mats were given out to punters post-match, for a mass yoga session on the field – all at the request of the customers.
Okay, so you may not have 10,000 yoga mats to hand out, but holding a giveaway, competition or offer something of value that your audience has requested can result in a dedicated and enthusiastic following.
Make Your Listeners Part Of The Show
It may seem that having listeners call in with their stories may feel like it’s reserved for the FM radio folk, but it has proven itself to be a highly effective way of bringing audiences forward.
The famous UK comedian and podcast presenter Russel Brand encouraged listeners to write him a show jingle that he would feature and listeners came in their droves to have their tune heard on the airwaves.
Then there’s Pixie Lott, a high profile singer who reached out to her fans and collected their experiences and stories surrounding her shows so she4 could share them on air. This act alone boosted her numbers up by about 2 million – Okay, so she’s a celebrity, but there is merit in giving the listener a shout out on your show.
Inclusion is a great way to solidify your fan base and create engagement. It develops a sense of collective oneness and generates brand loyalty.
As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben so wisely stated, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and as podcasters we have just that, a great responsibility. We need our audience more than they need us, and so we have to stay engaged, in whatever form that may be.
Listen to the entire podcast episode 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.