Five tips for building an audience for your podcast

The hosts and co-founders of Dope Black Dads, No Country for Young Women and #QueerAF share how they established themselves in an increasingly crowded field

Podcasting has dominated the media landscape over the last few years, with a wide range of publishers grabbing their mics and hitting record. However, with hundreds of thousands of podcasts already covering topics from true crime to topical news, it can be a struggle to work out how to attract an audience.

At a panel at the London Podcast Festival (14 September 2019), three hosts of podcasts aimed at underserved communities explained how they succeeded in getting their voices heard and expanding their pool of listeners.

Have social media strategy
With younger generations spending more time online, having a sound social media strategy is essential if a podcast is to grow.

Posting on the variety of different platforms does not have to eat up a lot of time or money.

Host of #QueerAF Jamie Wareham said that his listenership doubled over the course of a series through spending as little as £20 on boosting a video trailer to specific target audiences through Facebook. When doing this, he makes sure to not only to target LGBTQ+ and podcast communities but also groups interested in the general topics discussed in each episode.

For Marvyn Harrison, founder of Dope Black Dads, posting on social platforms is a case of trial and error, determining what works for your audience and what does not.

"Don’t be fearful of trying things and doing really badly and figuring it out because, once you do, you’ll grow faster than you would if you outsourced it."

Leverage your community
Even with the omnipresence of social media in our lives, word of mouth is still an important factor in building up an audience.

Dope Black Dads, which began as a WhatsApp support group for black fathers, benefits from groups within its community independently sharing their content and amplifying it.

Host live events
Hosting live events to bring your community together in the real world and making appearances on similar podcasts also allows you to reach people beyond your circle of loyal listeners.

"Even if you only get ten people there, if you get a good picture of you at your live event that is shot well, that’s really useful for marketing," Wareham added.

Pitch it
Getting your podcast commissioned by a company can be extremely beneficial to expand your audience, as it can invest time and money in production quality, promotion and inviting guest talent to feature.

However, Harrison explained that this can come with some drawbacks, in particular in terms of editorial control.

"If there’s someone editing and culturally they aren’t connected to what you’re about, they don’t understand where you’re coming from. They’re taking it from their lens."

Define your niche
Crucially though, the key to having a successful podcast is having an issue or a topic that is relatable to a larger audience, alongside an easy-to-understand premise and hosts who are authentic.

Co-host of No Country for Young Women Sadia Azmat explained that taking the time to work out what you want to do, as well as listening to other podcasts to work out what they do well, is essential before pressing record.

"We did six months of prep before even recording a demo, so don’t feel like you need to rush into anything.'

Given the relatively recent development of podcasting as a field, there is still the opportunity to be as creative as you want.

"Podcasting is a really new game and you can make it your own with ways people haven’t even thought of," said Azmat, adding that being sincere, honest and creative from the outset will help organically attract a following.

Determining how successful your podcast is can be difficult, especially when you are starting out. Rather than analysing listens per episode for your new podcast, Harrison advises taking a broader look over ten-episode increments.

"If I had judged it on every episode, I probably would have messed the formula up so much that by the time we got to ten, I wouldn’t quite of understood what we were doing."

Find out how to use live podcasts to drive audience engagement at Newsrewired on 27 November at Reuters, London. Head to for the full agenda and tickets


alternative Amanda Palmer Amazon ambient Andrew Elias andy warhol animal farm anna freeman anonymous Anthropocene Anthropology Anxiety Archaeology aristotle ars electronica arse art art news Art therapy Arthur O'Shaughnessy articles artists Arts Arts funding artzine ash audience Austerity australia avant garde Axwell babel bacon Bacteria bame bangalore Barnabe Barnes bat bats BBC BBC charter BBC licence fee BBC television Be Bop Deluxe beardsley bebop beer bengaluru Berlin Berlin Wall Bhutan bigotry Bill Nelson Billy Bragg billy childish Bird conservation Birds Black academics Black history Black History Month 2019 black lives matter blinded by the light blue light Blur Boards Bob Dylan books Boris Johnson bow box sets British art British Empire British Museum Bronze Age BST Byron Camper Van Beethoven cartoon castle Cate le Bon cats cds celery channel charity charlie chaplin chatterley Cheese Cheesemaking childhood rhyme choir Christina Rossetti christmas cinema Classical music Climate change clocks clothing Clubs Cold War collage colonial Comedy Coming up for Air Community competition Composition Coolio coorg Coronavirus Courtney Barnett covid-19 COVID-19 lockdown COVID-19 recovery creative industry creativity Cultural institutions culture curator curious Curious Kids D H Lawrence dada dadaism dale harding dance Dance music Darren Hayman David Bowie david hockney death declan welsh deliveroo democracy Desert locust destruction Diet digital Digital archives DJs Dominic Cummings Dóra Maurer Doris Day download Dr Johnson dream Drenge drums Dumfries dundee Dylan Thomas e-book E. E. Cummings East Germany ECO economics economy Edgar Allan Poe Edinburgh Edna St Vincent Millay Edward Lear electronic Elizabeth Barrett Browning Employment English language Ensemble environment Epicurus Erasure Eric Ravilious Esra Furman essays Ethnic minorities European Research Group Evelyn Ida Morris exhibition extinction rebellion Ezra Furman facebook fanzines fashion Federico García Lorca Feminism Feminism and art festival film folk fontaines dc Fontaines DC Food Food science foot artists France free free russia Future Gare Loch GDP gender inequality George Gascoigne George Harrison George Orwell Gig economy Glasgow Global perspectives GMT Grammar Grayson Perry green issues grenfell Grime grotesque handel happiness Harry Graham hate Heatwave heaven 17 heritage heroes history hogmanay Hollywood homeless Homer Hot Chip humour if you feel it it's real iggy ignorance illustration Inclusive Music Making india indian Indie music Industrial Revolution instagram Interdisciplinarity international labour day international workers day interweb Iron Age Isolation Italy ITV Jack Peñate James Joyce James Taylor janey godley jazz John Cooper Clarke John Keats john Lennon John Linney Journalistic ethics Judi Werthein kara walker Karl Marx Karnataka kat himmel Katharina Garrard (no relation) Katherine Mansfield Keep the Aspidistra Flying keith haring Ken Loach Ken Sprague kensington Kenya Khalil Gibran labour Lamb Language Laurie Anderson les dennis Lewis Carroll lgbtq lgbttqi lights literature live live performance lockdown Locusts london love lucy spraggan lyrics Mae West magazines Malcolm X manchester Martin Niemoeller Marvin Gaye Matthew Arnold may day Maya Angelou McGonagall Meat Meat eaters memorials mental health messiah MGM Michael Sailstorfer Milk Milton mind MISSY HIGGINS Mistakes Mobile apps modern Monty Python moon Museums music music hall Music industry Music therapy music venues Musicals Musicians my map mysore mysuru nanohour national gallery of scotland National Orchestra For All neil finn neon news nhs norfolk norwich Nostalgia Not sure if it's a poem novara media Ocean Colour Scene of course older age Older people Oliver Herford online Opera Orchestras For All Ensemble Ornithology oxfam pain Paramount Pictures Patrick Staff Paul Garrard Paul McCartney Pay gap peace Pensions financial planning people people power perception Performance Philip Larkin photo photography photos picture pitchfork podcasting podcasts poem Poet Laureate poetry Political accountability Political communication Political journalism politics Pop music poster pottery poverty Primal Scream print printing prints Psychasthenia public domain pubs Purple pussy riot quote Race racism radio rainbow Raves RBSA Relaxation religion research Retirement Rewilding Richard Hawley Ringo Starr Robert Burns Robert Frank Robert Herrick Roman Empire Rose Finn-Kelcey Roy Lichtenstein Rudyard Kipling Rutles salad sandalwood satire sayings science scooty Scotland Serpentine sex Shakespears Sister Shelley Shocking Blue Sierra Leone silvery tay sin Sixties Sixties culture sketches Slave Trade Sleaford Mods snippet Snow Patrol social media socialism soundscape sparks Species reintroductions springsteen stained glass stand up comedy Stanley Spencer Steve Knightley Stewart Lee stratford-upon-avon streaming Strypes stuff style Swinging Sixties Switzerland Sybil Andrews Sydney Smith taking back control tapes tate tay Techno music Telegram Tennyson the arts The Beatles The Clergyman's Daughter The Jam The National Gallery The Only Ones The Pocket Gods Theatre thing time tips toilet humour tories traffic trains Transatlantic slave trade Trumbull Stickney trump Turner Prize tv twitter type Uber UK comedy UK culture UK economy UK election 2019 uk music UK politics UK pop music UK theatre UKIP understanding Unemployment unfinished unions Universities unknown author US movies valie export Van Gogh Veganism Vegetarianism Victorians video Vijaya Vitthala Temple vinyl Voter registration Voting W B Yeats wanted war Wassily Kandinsky water Wellbeing Welsh poetry Wendy Cope West Germany Wetlands WH Auden whales what is art WhatsApp Wildfire Wilfred Owen William Blake William Shakespeare William Wordsworth Wilson Keppel and Betty Wolfy O'Hare women women academics Women in film woody guthrie Wordsworth working from home Writing yeah yeah yeahs Young Composer Youth Orchestra youtube Zero-hour contracts zines Zoom
Show more