Encouraging Audience Engagement: Gather Your Crew, Full Speed Ahead

Other than downloads and reviews, what’s another way your podcast can show its impact? Could your paranormal storytelling podcast save a historic building? What if your audience could provide the content for your podcast episodes when your ideas run dry? Could your podcast’s audience engagement make your show something bigger than what it is now?

Your audience can help you raise the bar for discourse about your podcast’s topic. That kind of audience engagement makes your show more popular and can help you make a positive change in the world. In this article, I’ll show you what audience engagement can mean, how to encourage it, and what you can do with your audience’s energy and enthusiasm.

What is Audience Engagement?

Google’s guide for digital content creators says, “Fans can engage with your content in three main ways: they can react, amplify, and/or respond.” This is true, but likes, reviews, and shares are just a fraction of what audience engagement can be.

Audience engagement can:

Check that the audience understands your content, and that it means something to them.

Highlight what their knowledge gaps or specific needs are.

Inform you of your audience’s opinions.

Make your podcast memorable and constructive.

Empower your audience to feel part of a community.

When you ask your audience to share their ideas, opinions, and experiences, you can reward them for listening to your show. When they make and share content inspired by your show, it raises awareness of your podcast and your shared interests.

3 Ways to Encourage Audience Engagement

If you want someone to do something for you, serve dessert first. Find out what the audience needs from your podcast. Make audience engagement simple and rewarding. Then, ask them to do something they want to do anyway. In time, their actions will help your show grow.

Make Keeping In Touch Easy and Pleasant

Make audience engagement easy for the audience. Your podcast website, social media, and show notes can all have links to get in touch with you. When they email you or contact you on social media, thank them. Saying “thanks for reaching out” costs you nothing and validates them for their interest in your show. Take time to answer their questions.

That said, if it seems like they’re having an unhealthy parasocial relationship with you, maintain boundaries. Make it clear that you’re glad they enjoy the show and that you value having an audience of people like them. This rewards them for following your podcast without being too personal.

Find Out What Your Audience Wants From Your Podcast

Run an audience survey. Ask them about their experience with your podcast’s topic and what they want to know more about. For example, your fly fishing podcast could ask your audience how long they’ve been fly fishing, where they fish, and their dream fishing trip. When you know more about your audience and their experience with your podcast’s topic, your audience engagement can help you build your next episodes or season.

When you run an audience survey, offer a tangible reward (like a gift card or some of your podcast’s merchandise). Again, serve dessert first.

Ask Your Audience To Share Their Experience

Use your podcast’s Call to Action to ask the audience to share their experiences with your podcast’s topic. As an example, let’s go back to our fictional fly-fishing podcast. Let’s say you asked them to tell you about the first time they went fly fishing. They can:

Share the story on social media, tagging your podcast in the post. Pictures or a video can be good, too.

Send you the story via email or a voice messaging tool. Then, you can read their story in your podcast or edit their recording into your episode.

If the audience mentions specifics, like the fishing gear or the location, you can explore those nuggets of info in future episodes.

When your audience shares their experience with your podcast’s topic, you can validate their involvement and get ideas from their experience. Plus, their content can attract the attention of new audiences.

What Your Podcast Can Do With Audience Engagement

It’s unknown whether or not Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” But, the substance of the quote is true. Your podcast can educate the audience and enable them to come together to take action. For example:

A history podcast could work with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to save an endangered historic place.

A food or restaurant podcast could host a charity stream with a food bank.

A true-crime podcast could work with a domestic violence charity to raise awareness and funds or host a letter-writing campaign to policymakers about a relevant issue.

An audience engagement strategy like this is great material for your podcast episodes, your media kit, and your social media posts.

We’re always going to have to promote our podcasts. When you promote your podcasts’ action toward a goal, you give yourself and your audience a purpose and the opportunity to be something bigger than what you were before.

Audience Engagement: A More Meaningful Podcasting Success Metric

It feels good when someone says, “I like your podcast.”

If someone says, “Your podcast helped me,” that feels better.

What if someone told you, “Your podcast helped me help someone else?” I know I would plotz.

We often get so caught up in the digital production cycle that we forget what kind of non-digital impact our podcast can have. We can empower our audiences to come together and work toward a mutually beneficial goal. Solid audience engagement strategies can help you make a difference with your audience.

Have you tried any audience engagement methods that filled your inbox full of feedback? Or, filled your ears with the sound of crickets? Tell us more in our IndiePod Community.

Originally posted on December 29, 2023 @ 5:24 am

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