Seeking Profit

How to Grow a Podcast to Over 500k Downloads Per Month

If you're wondering how to grow a podcast, we can show you, because we've done it! Check out how we grew a podcast to 500k downloads/month.

Gene Schleeter February 1, 2023
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Learning how to grow a podcast can be a game-changer for a niche site or small business.

Our personal finance blog, Listen Money Matters, was doing fine, but it absolutely exploded after we started our podcast.

Within a couple of years, our podcast was getting hundreds of thousands of downloads per month, and our niche site was making tens of thousands of dollars in monthly revenue.

In this blog post, I’ll show you how we did it so you can do it with your show.

If you’re ready to learn how to grow a podcast and your business with it, then let’s get started.

5 Ways to Grow Your Podcast Faster

#1 Solicit Feedback

Here’s a hard truth: in the early days of your show, it probably won’t be pretty good.

When you first start a podcast, you’re too close to it to see the flaws. You fix what you notice and put it out into the world, proud that you made something. Then people criticize it.

Instead of getting upset, you should seek out these conversations.

Ask your audience to let you know when they don’t like something. That’s the only way you can find and fix those things.

If that doesn’t work, you can offer giveaways to people who leave ratings and reviews. That way, you can move up the charts and show potential sponsors that your target audience listens to what you say.

If this is the only advice you follow from this list, in a few months your show quality will be miles ahead of where it would’ve been.

#2 Bring on Guests

Guest hosts are like racing fuel for podcast growth. They’ll help your podcast get to the next level at least ten times faster than if you did everything yourself.

First of all, a guest drives the episode. That means you’ll need to do much less prep, and you can probably record more episodes in a shorter timeframe.

Also, most guests have their own audiences.

The point of guesting on podcasts is to promote your own stuff. So it’s in your guests’ best interests to bring their audiences along with them.

Having a few guest podcast hosts promote the episodes they made with you will expose your show to thousands of new listeners, many of whom will become long-term subscribers.

TIP: Set your expectations ahead of time. Negotiate with your guests exactly how and when they will promote the episode. Ideally, they’d send out an email or Tweet right away when the episode goes live, as well as before and after.

#3 Ask Your Audience for Things

Podcasting is an incredible medium because most people listen to them with headphones. That puts your words directly in people’s heads.

It’s an unbeatable connection, and you can use it to your advantage.

In my experience, if you ask a podcast audience to do something, they’ll probably do it.

Here are some call-to-actions (ctas) for your audience:

  • Leave a review for the show
  • Subscribe
  • Join your email list
  • Check out the show notes on your website
  • Use your promo codes or affiliate links to buy recommended products

Note: Any time you ask a listener to do something and they do, you’re building a little bit more trust. Even if you’re asking them to buy a product. But if you abuse that power, you’ll lose them forever.

#4 Go On the Road

As I said earlier, the point of guest-hosting other people’s podcasts is to promote your stuff. Also, as you’ll find, it can be tough to find guests for a podcast.

You can use this to your advantage.

Reach out to every podcast in your niche and offer to be a guest. The worst people can say is no.

Also, you can do cross-promotions. You record an episode for their show, and they record one for yours. That way, you’re both getting the maximum amount of exposure possible.

#5 Use the “Podcast SEO Effect”

This tip is about harnessing your podcast growth for the rest of your business.

First, podcast episodes go out to multiple platforms and podcast directories, all of which show your episode descriptions.

Also, people love linking to podcast episodes, especially interviews.

That is why you should use your podcast as a link-building machine.

The first thing you need to do is write a companion blog post for every episode.

Caution: Don’t just post the transcription for the episode audio; it’s too low quality. Write a high-quality blog post for each episode. It will pay off.

Embed your episode audio or YouTube video content in each companion blog post. This page will give people a better place to link to than the Apple Podcasts link.

Then you should link to this page from your episode descriptions. That way, all the podcast apps (like Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts) will link to your blog post.

These won’t be do-follow links, but they’ll signal to search engines that your site is producing auxiliary content. It will start to see you as a real industry authority.

This is how we used the podcast to grow Listen Money Matters. It worked for us, it’s worked for others, and it will work for you.

[BONUS] Monetize Your Podcast Early

It’s hard to keep working on growing a project that isn’t making any money. That’s why monetizing a show early is super helpful, even if it earns very little.

For most podcasts, one hundred or two hundred dollars per month would go a long way to covering the show’s expenses. You can easily earn that with a resource page on your website.

All you need to do is build a page on your site with affiliate links to all your favorite products. Let your audience know how these products are helpful to people in your niche, and tell them to visit the page (similar to our Toolbox).

TIP: You can build a stunning resource page in ten minutes with Lasso.

Lasso makes it super easy to build a resource page with Grids, Lists, and Tables.

All you have to do is add your products via affiliate links, edit the link details, add those links to groups, and insert the different Display types on your page. That’s how I built our Toolbox, which took about ten minutes.

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Growing a Podcast FAQs

How do I get 1,000 listeners for my podcast?

The best way to get the first 1,000 listeners for your podcast is to hustle.

Shout about your show on all your social media accounts. Post your latest episodes in relevant subreddits, Facebook groups, and podcast communities. Message other podcasters and beg them to retweet your episode announcements.

How do I get my podcast noticed?

People will notice your podcast when they hear about it multiple times. Once or twice, and they might forget you. But after that, they’ll think, “Where have I heard about this before?”

The best way to get in front of people multiple times is by bringing on a lot of guests from your industry. Potential listeners in your niche probably follow many of these people, so they’ll keep getting promotions with your show name in them.

Is it hard to grow a podcast?

Yes, it’s hard to grow a successful podcast in the same way that it’s hard to grow any business. We’re all competing for listeners’ attention, and there’s more podcast content to compete with every day.

If you follow the growth strategies in this guide and focus on creating quality content, you’ll eventually grow your new show.

How do you grow a podcast with no audience?

It sounds crass, but it’s an easy answer: build an audience. Do everything I’ve noted above to get in front of new podcast listeners and show them you deserve their attention. If you’re putting out good content and not getting traffic, you need to market yourself.

Growing a Podcast to 500,000 Monthly Downloads – Final Thoughts

That’s everything we did to grow Listen Money Matters to 500,000 monthly downloads, along with a few bonus tips. This podcast marketing strategy has been proven to work.

We’re using these strategies to grow Seeking Profit to the number-one online business podcast. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. We post new episodes every Wednesday.

After that, find some guests and build a resource page. Grow your show and use it to take your business to a new level. You got this!