Expert Tips on How to Start a Podcast with No Audience and Succeed

 

Written by Peter Keszegh

So, you're dreaming of podcasting, sharing your expertise, your stories, or maybe just your quirky sense of humor with the world. But there's one small hiccup: you're wondering how to start a podcast with no audience. 

Trust me, I get it. Launching a podcast can feel like shouting into the void. But here's the good news: building a loyal listener base is absolutely doable, even if you're starting from zero.

Finding your niche: the foundation of success

I'm a firm believer that the most successful podcasts are built on passion. But passion alone isn't enough. You need to find a podcast niche selection that resonates with you and has the potential to attract a dedicated audience.

Think about what you're genuinely excited about. Where do your expertise and interests intersect? Now, consider if there's a gap in the market for that niche. Is there something unique you can offer that other podcasts aren't covering?

Identifying your sweet spot

To hone in on your sweet spot, conduct some audience research. What are people in your potential niche already listening to? What are they asking for? What are the trending topics? This will give you valuable insights to tailor your content and stand out from the crowd.

The power of a focused niche

Remember, a focused niche doesn't limit your audience; it helps you attract the right audience. It's better to have a smaller, engaged community deeply interested in your specific topic than a scattered audience with varying levels of interest.

Crafting your show

Once you've nailed down your niche, it's time to shape your show. This involves choosing a podcast format that aligns with your personality and content. The podcast format choosing step requires a lot of your attention as well. 

Do you enjoy in-depth conversations? 

Then an interview-based format might be your jam. Prefer to share your solo musings? Go for a solo show. Love bouncing ideas off someone else? Co-hosting could be your ideal setup.

Podcasts hosts reviewing their script

Planning and scripting engaging content

Now, brainstorm a list of potential topics relevant to your niche. Think about the questions your target audience is asking, the problems they're facing, or the insights they crave. Outline your episodes to ensure a clear and focused flow.

High-quality audio: your non-negotiable

Remember, your audio quality is your first impression. Invest in decent podcast equipment or software to ensure crisp, clear sound. No one wants to listen to a podcast riddled with background noise or muffled voices.

Podcasting equipment in detail: your tech toolkit

While you don't need a fancy studio to start a podcast, investing in the right equipment can significantly enhance your audio quality and overall production value.

Microphones: the heart of your sound

When choosing one, consider your budget and podcast format.

  • USB microphones: These are great for beginners due to their ease of use and affordability. They plug directly into your computer and often come with built-in headphone jacks for monitoring.

  • XLR microphones: These offer superior sound quality and more flexibility, but they require an audio interface to connect to your computer. They're ideal for podcasters who plan to interview guests or use multiple microphones.

Popular microphone options include the Blue Yeti (USB), Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB (USB/XLR), and Shure SM7B (XLR).

Headphones: monitor your sound

A good pair of closed-back headphones will help you monitor your audio in real-time, ensuring there are no distracting noises or inconsistencies.

Audio interface (for XLR microphones):

If you're using an XLR microphone, you'll need an audio interface to convert the analog signal to digital and connect to your computer. Popular options include the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and the Universal Audio Volt 2.

Pop filter and shock mount: eliminate noise

A pop filter reduces plosive sounds (like "p" and "b") that can cause distortion. A shock mount isolates the microphone from vibrations, minimizing handling noise.

Microphone with condenser, a stale in podcasts

Additional equipment (optional):

  • Mixer: This allows you to connect multiple microphones and adjust audio levels on the fly. It's helpful for interviews or co-hosted podcasts.

  • Microphone Stand or Boom Arm: These free up your hands and allow for better positioning of your microphone.

Editing and production: polishing your audio gem

The quality of your podcast's audio can make or break its success. Invest time in editing and production to ensure your episodes sound professional and polished.

Editing for clarity and flow

Remove any background noise, stumbles, or long pauses. Enhance the audio levels for consistent volume throughout the episode. Use editing software like Audacity or Adobe Audition to fine-tune your recordings.

Adding music and sound effects

Incorporate royalty-free music or sound effects to create a more engaging listening experience. These elements can help set the mood, transition between segments, and add a touch of personality to your show.

Crafting a professional intro and outro

The intro and outro production help you make your podcast memorable. Create a catchy intro and outro that includes your podcast's name, tagline, and music. This will help brand your show and make it more memorable for listeners.

Launching your podcast

With your content ready, it's time for the big launch! First, choose a reliable platform to host your podcast. This is where your episodes will live and be distributed to various directories. Popular podcast hosting platforms include Buzzsprout, Podbean, and Transistor.

Getting listed: submit to directories

The next step is podcast submission to directories. Submit your podcast to major podcast directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. This will make your show discoverable to a wider audience. Don't forget to create eye-catching artwork and a compelling title that accurately reflects your podcast's theme.

Artwork creation is another crucial step as it exhibits the brand you want to communicate through your podcast.
A woman listening to her favorite podcast

Social media promotion: spread the word

Social media promotion for podcasts is crucial at the start. You want to tell your potential listeners that you now have a podcast about the topics that are relevant to them. Consider running targeted ads to reach your specific niche.

Building a loyal community: engagement is key

Launching your podcast is just the beginning. Now comes the real work: building a community around your podcast. Engage with your listeners through comments, social media, or even Q&A episodes. Encourage them to share their thoughts, ask questions, and become part of the conversation.

You can forget everything I’ve said so far on how to start a podcast with no audience. However, building a community is the single step that you should always keep in mind. 

Guest interactions and listener participation

Invite guests to your show who can offer valuable insights and attract new listeners. Encourage listener participation through contests, giveaways, or shoutouts. Remember, a podcast isn't just a one-way street; it's a two-way conversation.

Monetization strategies: turning passion into profit

Podcasting can be more than a passion project; it can also be a lucrative venture. Once you've established an audience, explore various monetization strategies to generate revenue from your show.

Sponsorship and advertising

Sponsors can pay you to mention their products or services during your episodes. Additionally, consider joining a podcast network that connects you with potential advertisers.

Premium content and subscriptions

Offer exclusive content, bonus episodes, or early access to your most loyal listeners through a subscription model on platforms like Patreon or Supercast. This provides a recurring income stream and fosters a deeper connection with your community.

Data-driven growth: tracking your progress

As your podcast grows, use analytics tools to track your progress. Most hosting platforms offer built-in analytics that provide insights into listener demographics, listening habits, and episode performance.

A podcast guest preparing herself for her episode

Analyzing data to inform your strategy

Use these insights to refine your content, podcast marketing strategies, and overall approach. Remember, podcast SEO optimization is essential to ensure your show appears in relevant searches.

Patience and persistence: the long game

Building a successful podcast takes time and effort. Stay patient, keep creating valuable content, and continue engaging with your audience. The rewards will come with persistence and dedication.

Networking and collaboration: expanding your reach

Building relationships with other podcasters can significantly boost your visibility and attract new listeners.

Cross-promotion and guest appearances

Reach out to podcasters in your niche and offer to cross-promote each other's shows. Appear as a guest on their podcasts, and invite them onto yours. This exposes your show to their audience and vice versa.

Participating in podcast communities

Join online forums or Facebook groups dedicated to podcasting. Connect with fellow podcasters, share tips and resources, and collaborate on projects. This fosters a sense of community and opens up opportunities for growth.

Attending podcasting events

Attend industry conferences and meetups to network with podcasters, industry experts, and potential sponsors. 

How to start a podcast with no audience: the reality

Now, let's get real for a minute. Starting a podcast with no audience can be a bit like throwing a party and hoping people show up. It's a leap of faith, a test of your patience, and sometimes, a lesson in humility.

You might pour your heart and soul into your first few episodes, only to see a handful of downloads (maybe even from your mom).

But here's the thing: every successful podcast started with zero listeners. Those podcasters you admire with thousands of downloads didn't magically appear at the top. They hustled, they learned, they adapted, and they kept going even when it felt like no one was listening.

A podcast host and his guest shooting an episode on a studio

Podcasting takes effort

Building a podcast audience takes time, effort, and perseverance. It's not a sprint; it's a marathon. But with the right strategies and a healthy dose of determination, you can turn your podcast from a whisper in the wind to a roaring conversation: 

  • Be patient: Don't expect instant success. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a thriving podcast audience.

  • Be consistent: Show up consistently with new episodes. The more you produce, the more opportunities you have to connect with listeners.

  • Be creative: Don't be afraid to experiment with different formats, topics, and promotional strategies.

  • Be authentic: Let your personality shine through. People connect with realness, so don't be afraid to be yourself.

  • Be open to feedback: Listen to your audience and learn from their feedback. This will help you continually improve and create resonated content.

Remember, starting a podcast without an audience is not a disadvantage. It's an opportunity to define your voice, refine your message, and build a community of passionate listeners from the ground up. So, embrace the challenge, stay the course, and get ready to watch your podcast soar.

The takeaway

Knowing how to start a podcast with no audience is all about finding your unique voice, crafting engaging content, and building a community around your show. It takes time, effort, and a whole lot of passion. 

But with the expert tips I've shared, you're well-equipped to navigate the challenges and create a podcast that truly resonates with your audience.

Don't let the fear of starting with zero listeners hold you back. Every podcasting giant started somewhere. Take that first step, hit record, and share your voice with the world. Your audience is out there waiting to discover you. Now go forth and podcast! Your future listeners are counting on you.

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