"The Challenges and Strategies for Growing a Podcast Audience"

Aadil Verma

Hatched by Aadil Verma

May 12, 2024

3 min read


"The Challenges and Strategies for Growing a Podcast Audience"


Podcasts have become a popular medium for sharing information, stories, and entertainment. However, growing a podcast audience can be a daunting task. In this article, we will explore the challenges faced by podcasters and discuss strategies for effectively growing a podcast audience.

Building Authentic Connections:

One key aspect of growing a podcast audience is building authentic connections with potential listeners. Shaan Puri, the founder of Bebo, recognized the importance of authenticity when he hired Steven Bartlett, who later went on to create a successful podcast called "Diary of a CEO." Puri was impressed by Bartlett's writing and his ability to connect with themed Twitter accounts to promote his failed startup. This anecdote highlights the significance of finding the right audience and engaging with them in an authentic manner.

Understanding the Engines of Growth:

To effectively grow a podcast audience, it is crucial to understand the engines of growth. Puri explains that there are three engines of growth: viral, paid, and sticky. However, podcasts primarily rely on the sticky engine of growth. Unlike viral growth, which spreads naturally like a contagion, podcasts are a solo experience and lack the viral element. Paid growth is also challenging for podcasts due to the difficulty in advertising and the low conversion rates. Thus, podcasters must focus on creating a sticky and engaging experience that encourages listeners to share the podcast with others over time.

The Slow Nature of Podcast Growth:

Podcasts face unique challenges when it comes to growth. Unlike other mediums, such as music, podcasts are not easily shareable or discoverable. They require a significant time commitment from listeners, making it challenging to attract and retain new audiences. Additionally, the lack of data in podcasting makes it difficult for podcasters to identify what is and isn't working. However, the opacity of podcasting can also be advantageous, as it allows podcasters to secure high-profile guests even with a small listener base.

The Counterintuitive Nature of Startups:

Startups, including podcasts, often face counterintuitive challenges. Founders may struggle to listen to advice because it goes against their intuition. This is especially true for early-stage startups, where founders are often juggling multiple responsibilities and may focus on less crucial tasks. The essence of successful podcast growth lies in identifying the most critical problems and taking action to solve them. This requires a focus on measurable, near-term results and a willingness to experiment with different strategies.

Overcoming Uncertainty and Training for Success:

Founders of startups, including podcasters, often face uncertainty due to the newness of their ventures and the counterintuitive nature of the industry. Additionally, many founders have been trained to "hack the test" rather than focus on genuine problem-solving. YC, a startup accelerator, recognizes the need to retrain founders to adopt a more effective mindset. Similarly, podcasters must embrace the unknown, experiment with different approaches, and focus on providing value to their audience rather than trying to "hack" their way to success.


Growing a podcast audience is a challenging task that requires a combination of authenticity, understanding the engines of growth, embracing the slow nature of podcast growth, and overcoming uncertainty. To effectively grow a podcast audience, podcasters should focus on building authentic connections, providing a sticky and engaging experience, and being willing to adapt and learn from their experiences.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Identify your target audience: Understand the interests and preferences of your potential listeners to create content that resonates with them.
  • 2. Leverage existing communities: Reach out to themed accounts or influencers in your niche to promote your podcast and tap into their existing audience.
  • 3. Experiment and measure results: Continuously try different strategies, track the impact they have on your audience growth, and adjust your approach accordingly.

In conclusion, growing a podcast audience requires perseverance, adaptability, and a deep understanding of your target audience. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article and staying true to your authentic voice, you can overcome the challenges and establish a thriving podcast audience.

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