S8 E8: Bonus Tips for a Thriving Disability Service Podcast

Creating and maintaining a thriving podcast requires more than just producing great content, it involves an holistic approach that includes consistency, audience engagement, data analysis and continuous improvement. In this blog post, we’ll explore additional tips for ensuring your show’s success, from maintaining a consistent release schedule to actively seeking feedback from your audience.

  1. Consistent Release Schedule:

One of the fundamental elements of a successful podcast is a consistent release schedule. Whether you choose to release new episodes weekly, fortnightly or monthly, setting clear expectations for your audience is essential. Consistency helps your audience anticipate and look forward to your content. When they know when to expect new episodes, they’re more likely to become loyal listeners.

2. Promote User Engagement:

User engagement is a two-way street, and actively involving your audience in your podcast can be a game-changer. Here’s how to do it:

  • Encourage Reviews and Ratings: Ask your listeners to leave reviews and ratings on podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Positive reviews boost your podcast’s credibility and are great for social proof. They do not improve its visibility in search results. Understanding Top 100 lists on Apple Podcasts is an arcane field of endeavour. What we do know, from Apple, is that ratings and reviews are not considered in these rankings. It appears that followers are the metric used. The total number and the rate of recent change are important in this. Why people continually say a rating and review will help others to find their show is beyond me. Probably just a transfer of thinking from Amazon but not based in reality and a bit of a red flag from podcast production service.
  • Interactive Content: Create episodes or segments that actively involve your audience. This could include Ask Me Anything episodes, Q&A sessions and/or listener-submitted questions. Engaging with your audience in this way can deepen their connection to your show.
  • Social Media Engagement: Foster discussions and interactions on your service’’s social media profiles. Pose questions, conduct polls and respond to comments and messages promptly.
  • Listener Spotlight: Feature listener stories, experiences or questions in your episodes. This not only showcases your appreciation for your audience but also makes your content more relatable.

3. Monitor Analytics:

To understand your podcast’s performance and audience preferences, regularly review analytics. Key metrics to track include:

  • Downloads and Listens: Monitor the number of downloads and listens for each episode to identify trends and popular topics.
  • Audience Demographics: Use analytics tools to gain insights into your audience’s demographics, interests, and geographic locations. This information can help you tailor your content. Now this can be tricky. Podcasting is grounded in strong privacy standards. Unless you ask your listeners for this info and they provide it there is no other way to collect much of this. Your host’s stats can get very granular as to location and other demographic data may be inferred but be careful with this.
  • Listener Retention: Assess how many listeners continue to engage with your podcast over time. Identify episodes with higher retention rates to understand what keeps your audience coming back. Apple Podcasts Connect has good data on this but only from those using the Apple Podcast App and using Apple devices. That being said, these higher performing episodes can be grouped for a “Summer” season or over the festive season to allow your podcast team a break to plan and prepare for the year ahead. Obviously in the southern hemisphere, the festive season is also the summer season but it’s a good thing to do to refresh your people.

4. Feedback and Improvement:

Your audience’s feedback is a valuable resource for podcast improvement. Actively seek feedback and be open to making changes based on their suggestions. Here’s how to gather and act on feedback effectively:

  • Surveys: Create listener surveys to gather feedback on various aspects of your podcast, such as content, format and episode length. Use the insights to make data-driven decisions.
  • Listener Mailbag: Dedicate episodes or segments to answering listener questions and addressing their concerns. This demonstrates that you value their input and are responsive to their needs. It’s also social proof to other listeners that your community is larger than just themselves.
  • Community Engagement: Encourage your audience to engage with you through social media, email, or dedicated forums. Actively participate in discussions, respond to comments and take note of common themes or concerns.
  • A/B Testing: Experiment with different formats, episode lengths, or content topics to gauge audience preferences. Analyse the performance of these variations to refine your approach.

5. Showcase Listener Stories and Testimonials:

Highlighting listener stories and testimonials can be a powerful way to connect with your audience. Consider dedicating episodes or segments to sharing personal stories of individuals who have benefited from your service or who have found value in your podcast. Real-life experiences inspire trust among your audience. An end of season AMA episode is a good idea. Especially when you’ve established your credibility by consistent content production, say after 4 seasons or so.

6. Collaborate with Experts:

Collaborations with experts in the field can add depth and credibility to your podcast. Invite guest speakers who can provide unique insights, share their experiences and offer valuable advice. These collaborations can also help you tap into their existing audiences, potentially growing your podcast’s reach. Remember your greatest resource, the people most expert in the field are the one’s living their lives in your community. Academic insights are useful but for podcast material, nothing beats the lived experience. 

7. Stay Informed and Evolve:

Podcasting is a dynamic field and staying informed about industry trends, changes in technology and shifts in audience behaviour is crucial. Be open to evolving your podcast strategies based on new information and emerging opportunities. One such example is Alphabet, Google’s parent company deciding to close down Google Podcasts in 2024 and create a podcast ecosystem on Youtube Music. I’ll be putting out an episode on this in the near future, probably between seasons 8 and 9. It is a major change in the industry and one we all need to be across.

In conclusion, a successful disability service podcast requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses consistency, audience engagement, data analysis, feedback integration and ongoing improvement. By maintaining a reliable release schedule, actively involving your audience, monitoring analytics and embracing feedback, you can build a loyal listener base, grow your authority in the sector and attract clients and staff who already know you through your show. Remember that success is a journey. Each step you take to enhance your show brings you closer to giving greater value to your listeners. Your podcast has the potential to be a platform for positive change—embrace these tips to make that potential a reality. 

That brings us to the end of season 8, a season devoted to promoting your show. Season 9 will cover the benefits of podcasting for the podcaster. If you’ve ever thought about putting out your own show, this season is for you. In the meantime I’m putting together an episode on the changes at Alphabet with the upcoming death of Google Podcasts and the birth of podcasts on Youtube Music. It’s a curious decision with implications for podcasters.

If you’ve found some value in this episode or indeed any episode please tell anyone you know, any way you can about the JM Podcasting Show, I really appreciate your efforts. Until next time, thanks.