How To Start A Podcast With No Existing Audience in 2023

Reading Time: 10 minutes

As intimidating as it may sound, having no existing audience on your podcast is excruciating. Let me unfold simple tips on starting a podcast with no audience and reveal what your podcast show might be missing that leads to 0 listeners. – Let’s go!

Start A Podcast With No Existing Audience

Steps To Start A Podcast With No Audience

Starting a podcast is like starting a business. You have to understand your expertise, offer, and audience who will “buy” into your stories. If you don’t have business experience, don’t worry. Just follow these simple steps to start your show brand new.

Know your “why”

Please don’t start a podcast because everyone else is doing it. Understand why you are trying to show in the first place:

Are you passionate about the topic? 
Are you going to educate others in your niche? 
Do you want to shed light on hidden stories?

If you are starting a podcast for your business, link your company’s mission and vision to the podcast.

Building a real connection with your audience and giving your podcast a purpose by linking it to your personal interest or business goal is a powerful way to succeed. Whether solo or business podcaster, connecting your episodes to your interests or mission can make them more accurate, exciting, and meaningful.

Know Your Why

Then think of how can you expand on the benefits of your product and services? How can you ensure that people trust you in your industry?

Understanding your podcast show’s core mission helps you build a solid episode calendar and shape your narrative to catch the right listeners. Here are some key points to consider:

Authenticity and Passion: Sharing personal stories related to your passion or mission allows your listeners to connect with you on a deeper level. It creates a connection that resonates with your audience.

Building a Community: Engage with your audience through social media, forums, or live events to build community. Encourage discussions and take listener feedback into account to create a more interactive and collaborative experience.

Expertise and Authority: Aligning your podcast with your passion or mission often means you have a genuine interest or expertise in the subject. This expertise can establish you as a knowledgeable authority in your niche. Regularly sharing valuable insights, updates, and in-depth discussions about your passion or mission can enhance your credibility and attract a dedicated audience seeking reliable information.

Purpose-Driven Content: Use your platform to promote causes, initiatives, or values aligned with your mission. This adds depth to your content and allows you to contribute positively to your community.

Adaptability and Growth: Your passion or mission may evolve, and your podcast can grow. Involve your audience in the evolution process, seeking their input and feedback. This inclusivity can strengthen the bond between you and your listeners.

Speaking of right listeners, let’s move on to the second step.

Understand your ideal audience

If you don’t have an existing audience, the best way to start building one is to create researched assumptions and imagine your ideal client or listeners. Put yourself in their shoes and dig deep into what they might like.

Understand your ideal audience

Ask yourself these questions before starting recording your first podcast episode:

“Who am I trying to convince?”

“How old are they?” “Where do they live?”

“What problems do these people have where I could help them?

“What lifestyle do these people follow that can be related to my podcast show?”

Once you have built up an “ideal audience” persona, do some research on social media, ask your network (friends and family), or go on Reddit and Quora. As an established business, you can also hold simple Q&As on your social media channels and ask your existing followers what they like.

Bonus Tip:
Go on your well-performing competitors' or influencers' social media channels in your niche and read their comments. Those engaged accounts could be your ideal audience, too, and you can recognize problem patterns and straight-up answer those questions on your podcast.

Why is no one listening to your podcast show?

You got a great show, but no one is listening? Here are three reasons why no one tunes in your podcast.

You have 0 marketing strategy

If you don’t send out invitations, people won’t come to the party. – That’s it. 

Your podcast marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a hardcore multi-level marketing campaign that involves hundreds of people’s time and money. 

marketing strategy

Instead, create a simple marketing campaign that reflects your show’s message and audience. You can start with social media pages on Instagram or Facebook and if you have a website, then repurpose your episodes into email newsletters or blog posts. 

Bonus tip: 
To make the best out of your show, you can also learn more about podcast SEO which helps your show be more visible on search engines like Google or YouTube.

Small changes such as writing your title or learning basic keyword research can help your episode visibility, and you never run out of ideas to bring to your podcast.

You’re not solving the listener’s problem

Just, PLEASE, GET TO THE POINT! – This is precisely how your listeners feel when you host a show without answering your audience’s questions or solving their problems. 

In my previous post on keeping your podcast more engaging, I’ve mentioned the Treasure Hunting technique. The “Treasure Hunting” technique creatively makes engaging narratives and keeps people’s attention. Here’s how you can use the “Treasure Hunting” method to make your podcast stories more interesting:

Introduce a Compelling Hook: Begin each episode with a captivating hook that sparks curiosity. This could be a thought-provoking question, a fascinating fact, or a teaser of what's to come. Your goal is to immediately capture your audience's attention and entice them to keep listening.

Layering Information: Instead of presenting all information at once, consider layering it throughout the episode. Introduce key points gradually, creating a sense of anticipation as listeners eagerly await the next piece of the puzzle. This technique keeps your audience engaged and invested in the narrative, as they actively participate in connecting the dots.

Cliffhangers and Suspense: Incorporate cliffhangers or moments of suspense to keep your listeners on the edge of their seats. Pose questions without immediately providing answers, encouraging your audience to stay tuned for the resolution. A well-timed cliffhanger can make your podcast memorable and create a strong desire for your audience to discover what happens next.

Hidden Gems and Easter Eggs: Sprinkle hidden gems and Easter eggs throughout your episodes. These could be subtle references, callbacks to previous episodes, or additional insights that attentive listeners can pick up on.  Encourage engagement by inviting your audience to share their discoveries on social media or through listener feedback, creating a sense of community around the shared experience of uncovering hidden gems.

Interactive Elements: Foster interaction by incorporating elements that encourage your audience to participate actively. This could include interactive quizzes, polls, or challenges related to the content of your podcast. Engaging your audience in this way transforms them from passive listeners into active participants, enhancing the overall experience and connection with your content.

Storytelling Techniques: Apply storytelling techniques such as foreshadowing, character development, and narrative. Craft your content in a way that takes your audience on a journey, revealing information gradually and building towards a satisfying conclusion.

Rewarding Discoveries: Deliver on the promises you make in your hooks and keep the narrative satisfying. When your audience feels that the journey was worth the investment, they are more likely to become loyal listeners and advocates for your podcast.
Consider concluding episodes with a recap or reflection that ties together the various elements, providing a sense of closure while leaving room for future exploration.

Consistency and Pacing: Maintain a consistent pace in revealing information, ensuring that your narrative unfolds smoothly. Pay attention to the rhythm of your storytelling to keep your audience engaged without overwhelming them. Experiment with the timing and placement of treasure-like elements to find a balance that works for your specific content and audience.

If you apply this technique, you catch your listener’s attention, and they have no choice but to listen to your episode. 

Another way to approach this issue is to put yourself in your listeners’ shoes. Often we get biased on our performance but thinking critically about your delivery can step up your game. 

What do people want to know? Was my episode clear and concise enough? How is my episode satisfying their issues and giving them a solid answer to their problems? 

If you want to make a podcast that hits its target and gets people interested, you need to look at the content’s clarity and importance from the listener’s point of view. When your audience can easily understand and benefit from your content, it improves their experience and builds a more powerful connection with you. Some important things to think about when evaluating the clarity and relevance of the content are:

  1. Clear Communication
  2. Defined Objectives
  3. Audience Understanding
  4. Consistent Tone and Style
  5. Relevance to Audience Interests
  6. Engagement Metrics
  7. Listener Feedback and Surveys
  8. Adaptability and Iteration
  9. Collaboration and Co-Creation
  10. Accessibility Considerations:

Your podcast will stay interesting and useful as long as you keep checking the content’s clarity and usefulness from the listener’s point of view. If you pay attention to what your audience wants and needs, you can keep improving your content to make listening more enjoyable and useful.

You’re impatient

Finally, the last issue is your lack of patience. You’re probably doing all the great things, but you’re impatient. Podcasting takes time, and you have to stay consistent with your publishing. 

Regular practice improves your skills, and being flexible gives you the tools to handle the ups and downs of the journey. Accept that growth is a process that repeats itself, and you’ll be ready for the challenges and chances that come your way as a podcaster.

You're impatient

Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you have your marketing strategy and well-thought-out episodes that answer your ideal audience, you shall not worry.

Customizing your podcast’s content and marketing to reach more people is essential to make it more effective and grow your audience. Knowing your target audience, ensuring your content is optimized, and using suitable marketing techniques can all help you reach a larger and more interested audience. Here’s a deeper look at how to get more reach:

1. Audience Persona Development
- Understand Your Audience: Invest time in creating detailed audience personas. Identify the demographics, interests, behaviors, and preferences of your target audience. This knowledge forms the foundation for tailoring your content to meet their specific needs.
- Segmentation: Recognize that your audience is diverse. Segment your audience based on factors such as age, location, and interests. This allows you to create more targeted and relevant content for different segments of your audience.

2. Content Tailoring
- Niche Specialization: Consider specializing in a niche or unique angle within your broader podcast topic. This can help you stand out in a crowded market and attract a more specific and dedicated audience.
- Varied Formats: Experiment with different content formats, such as interviews, storytelling, roundtable discussions, or solo episodes. Catering to different preferences within your audience keeps your content fresh and appealing to a broader range of listeners.
- Consistent Quality: Ensure consistent quality in your content. High production values, clear audio, and engaging storytelling contribute to a positive listening experience, encouraging listeners to share your podcast with others.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Optimized Titles and Descriptions: Craft compelling and keyword-rich titles and episode descriptions. This enhances the discoverability of your podcast on search engines and podcast platforms.
- Transcripts and Show Notes: Providing transcripts and detailed show notes not only improves accessibility but also contributes to SEO. Search engines can index the text, making your content more searchable and discoverable.
- Keyword Research: Conduct keyword research to identify terms and phrases relevant to your podcast. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your content to increase its visibility in search results.

4. Cross-Promotion and Collaborations
- Collaborate with Other Podcasts: Explore opportunities for cross-promotion with other podcasters in your niche or related industries. Guest appearances, joint episodes, or mutual shout-outs can introduce your podcast to new audiences.
- Leverage Guests' Networks: When featuring guests on your podcast, leverage their existing networks for promotion. Encourage them to share the episode with their audience, expanding your reach to a new set of listeners.

5. Social Media Engagement
- Visual Content: Utilize visual content on social media platforms to complement your podcast. Create engaging graphics, audiograms, and teaser videos to capture attention and encourage sharing.
- Consistent Posting Schedule: Establish a consistent posting schedule on social media. Regular updates about new episodes, behind-the-scenes content, and audience interactions help maintain a strong online presence.
- Community Building: Foster a sense of community on social media. Encourage listeners to share their thoughts, ask questions, and participate in discussions related to your podcast. A engaged community is more likely to share and promote your content.

6. Email Marketing
- Newsletter Subscriptions: Encourage listeners to subscribe to your newsletter. This allows you to maintain direct communication with your audience, update them on new episodes, and promote special events or offers.
- Personalized Emails: Personalize your email communication based on listener preferences. Send targeted content recommendations, exclusive behind-the-scenes insights, or special promotions to specific segments of your audience.

7. Analytics and Iteration
- Track Performance Metrics: Utilize analytics tools to track the performance of your content and marketing efforts. Monitor metrics such as downloads, listener demographics, and social media engagement.
- Iterative Approach: Continuously analyze the data and be willing to iterate on your strategies. Identify what works well and what needs improvement, then refine your content and marketing techniques accordingly.

8. Innovative Marketing Tactics
- Contests and Giveaways: Organize contests or giveaways that encourage listeners to share your podcast on social media. This can amplify your reach as participants introduce your podcast to their networks.
- Live Events and Virtual Gatherings: Host live events or virtual gatherings related to your podcast content. This provides a unique opportunity to connect with your audience in real-time and generate excitement around your podcast.
- Interactive Content: Experiment with interactive content such as polls, quizzes, or surveys on social media. This not only engages your existing audience but can also attract new listeners intrigued by the interactive elements.

Knowing your audience well and being open to new ideas to tailor your content and marketing strategies is essential. If you keep changing how you do things based on feedback and analytics, you can make your show more popular and build a loyal, growing audience.

In the next section, I’ll give an average estimate of time to grow your podcasting audience. – Keep reading!

How long does it take to build a podcast audience?

What is that magic timeline that makes your podcast show become one of the best conversation podcasts on the internet? Hmm… the answer depends.

As a rule of thumb, give yourself at least 12-18 months to gain practice, different test styles, and gain momentum to grow a solid podcast audience. It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all timeline for building a podcast audience.

Some podcasts experience rapid growth, while others take more time to gain traction. Success often involves a combination of factors, and persistence is crucial.

How long does it take to build a podcast audience?

The time matters less, however. To set the show up for success, you must aim for your topic clarity and depth while maintaining a consistent publishing and marketing schedule. 

Consistently creating valuable content, actively engaging with your audience, and adapting your strategies based on feedback will contribute to the steady growth of your podcast audience over time. Be patient, stay dedicated, and celebrate milestones along the way.

It’s not an easy job. Therefore simplify your work process. I teach in-depth podcasting setups and help podcast fans succeed on their journey in my podcasting course.