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Four Ways to Enhance the Value of Your Podcast

Podcasts are on the rise.

Why? The reasons range from the continued tech boom to the improvement of mobile data services from cell phone providers. In either case, with one-third of Americans listening to podcasts—podcasting is becoming a mainstream trend.

Many think of podcasts as a way to deliver information to a targeted audience, but a podcast is much more than a singular source of information. This is evident by the growth of the podcast community, through events like International Podcast Day, or conferences for podcasters like Podcast Movement.

intl podcast day

Why not you? 

Anyone who runs a podcast (including myself) has a community. One might call them fans–which they are–but they go beyond the traditional sense of a fanbase. Regardless of the size of one’s podcast, there is an opportunity to build a connected community around your podcast and your topic.

In order to facilitate community engagement, you must have a presence outside of iTunes, Stitcher or any other hosting service. The key? Build a digital footprint through your website and social media channels. Conversation in and around these outlets gives you the opportunity to learn about your “fans”—their patterns, behaviors and interests.

Social media activity (in particular) provides ample opportunity to speak with your audience directly—to listen and respond to the conversations taking place in your industry and to receive immediate feedback. These social actions not only amplify your podcast audience—they are the early stages necessary to form a tight knit and loyal community.

Build a community. Simple, right? (Not quite.) Below are a few tips to building a community that will enhance the value of your podcast—and build your podcast brand:

1. Create a Twitter List of your listeners.

Perhaps Twitter’s most underrated feature, lists are customizable groupings of users that can be private or public. (I recommend making all your activity public on Twitter, as the platform functions best in this way.) For Why I Social, I utilize Twitter lists to keep track of some of my most engaged listeners.

whi i social list

By using lists, you can add listeners who engage with your accounts and see what they’re up to. As you get to know your listeners you’ll have the opportunity to connect them to one another. Notice you have two listeners who are really into Metallica? Introduce them.

Lists can also serve as an opportunity to share content from the podcast account. This supports your audience and allows other listeners to see what their podcast peers are tuning into.

2. Create a Facebook Group.

To clear the record: Facebook isn’t going anywhere. In fact, its group functionality may be your best friend when it comes to building a community. Facebook groups encourage conversation and connection between your listeners.

Why I Social Facebook

Like anything, social media engagement takes management, but it will be  worth the investment as your community grow stronger, more connected and influential. As Ted Rubin says:

“Relationships are like muscle tissue. The more they’re engaged, the stronger they become.”

3. Utilize user-generated content.

In addition to your own activity, it’s important you look at user generated content. User generated content (UGC) drives conversation and gets other listeners excited for their own opportunity to share. Fan-focused shows, when done well, will always have a place because people love to be part of a project.

4. Tap into your community's pool of experts. 

Podcasts can help build a new community, but it’s important to note that they can also enhance an existing community.

In the higher education community, we like to share. A LOT. Through the means of podcasts like Higher Ed Social, Lougan Bishop and Jackie Vetrano bring insights to the higher education community once a week. It’s an added benefit to their colleagues, partners, and education community at large and helps encourage industry changes and growth.

So, whether creating a new community or enriching an existing one, take a moment to explore what opportunities lie in podcasting. If you’re truly passionate and knowledgeable about something, you may find that podcasting is an excellent medium to share your expertise and foster community online.

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Chris Barrows is a higher education social media strategist. He an experienced speaker (a Social Media Strategies Summit alum) and host of the Why I Social weekly podcast.

[One of Chris' favorite podcasts below.]

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