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The Best Way to Get More Podcast Listeners – and How to Do It


Want to see your podcast traffic grow exponentially? Of course you do. Who doesn’t? It can feel like an uphill battle sometimes, especially if you’re new. When I used to be part of a video game podcast with some friends, we were happy to have any listeners and we talked about growth by the person, not by the hundreds or even the thousands.

But on certain episodes, we did something different, and this one technique always blew other traffic-driving techniques out of the water. We are certainly not the only podcasters to experience this massive surge in traffic. At BlogWorld New York 2012, in fact, the speakers on the Why All Bloggers Should be Podcasting panel covered this topic, and Derek Halpern took a moment to talk about how any podcaster can make it happen.

The panelists for "Why Bloggers Should be Podcasters"

So what’s the secret? Land a special guest for your podcast.

Easier said than done, right? Because we’re not just talking about any guest. If your neighbor is a special guest on your podcast, it’s likely that no one will care – unless your neighbor happens to be a leader in your niche. The best guests are popular among your listeners and will bring in new listeners who want to hear this specific speak (and who will also be interested in the rest of your content).

Landing those high-profile special guests isn’t easy, though. Someone like Chris Brogan, for example, gets hundreds of requests for interviews, appearances, and so forth. Catching the attention of Chris – or whoever is a leader in your niche – isn’t easy. And sometimes it is downright impossible.

The good news? You can make it happen if you’re persistent and follow these great tips from Derek:

  • Lead your request with what’s in it for them.

Most people like to help others, but when you get a huge volume of requests, you need to say yes to things that are going to help you as well. If I get 20 requests and only have time for 10 of them, I’m going to say yes to 1) requests from friends and 2) requests that highlight how my actions will be helpful to me. It’s business, baby. So, when you make a request for someone to be on your interview, talk about how being on your podcast will help them.

  • Reach out to people who love giving interviews.

In every niche, certain people rarely respond to interview requests, while others are extremely vocal. You’re going to be more successful if you do a little research and find out who is vocal so you can approach those people. For example, since I mentioned him already, Chris Brogan recently posted a resolution that he would go on a “summer diet” of sorts, and part of that includes saying no to interview and media requests so he can focus on his own projects and time away from work. So, sending Chris a request right now is probably not the smartest idea.

Some people are very private and almost always say no. For someone like Chris, the likelihood that he will say yes or no cycles. Right now, he’s taking a bit of a break. When he has a book to promote, I bet he’ll be out there giving interviews in full force. So, when looking for guests for your podcast, find people who are known for giving interviews and have something to promote.

  • Be fearless.

My favorite tip from Derek was to simple do it – make the request. You can spend your time worrying and wondering, but at the end of the day, if you never ask, you’ll never get that yes. Fellow panelist Katie Davis also chimed in, saying, “People are nice. People like to talk about themselves.[…]Your imagination plays tricks on you, but what’s the worst that could happen?”

Lastly, I think the panelists made a very good point that you don’t have to go for the superstar in your field. Instead, go for someone who is slightly more popular than you continuously and build your audience of listeners. When you have 1,000 fans, invite a guest that has 2,000 fans. When you have 2,000 fans, invite a guest who has 3,000 fans. Work you way up to landing those extremely popular guests in your niche and you’ll have more success along the way.

Did you know BlogWorld New York 2012 featured an entire podcasting track? If you missed it, you can check out all of our sessions with the virtual ticket!


  • sbeasla

    @wordsdonewrite Ah, just what I needed!

  • Frank

    You call this a substantive post on how to get more listeners?? This is feeble at best.

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