Iterating to Grow Your Podcast: Next Steps for How I Built It

I often talk about how course creation is not passive income, which I think is an increasingly less common misconception. What’s generally not a misconception is, “podcasting is passive income.” For one, podcasting is something you need to show up regularly to do well. Second, most people aren’t making money podcasting. But still, growing complicit in your podcast format and process can really stifle your podcast’s growth. You need to iterate.

With that in mind, here’s what I’m doing to continue growing my podcast, How I Built It.

Tom Webster, Edison Research, and I Hear Things.

One of the best parts of Podcast Movement is Tom Webster’s keynote on current podcast trends. It’s eye opening and should be a guide for all podcasters who are looking to grow their audience.

In fact, in a recent episode of his podcast, I Hear Things, he answers The Most Important Question in Podcasting: “How can I grow my audience?”

The most eye opening stats from his talk (outlined on the podcast) are as of Q2 2021, 24% of weekly podcast listeners use Spotify to listen to podcasts. Only 21% listen on Apple Podcasts. 18% use YouTube.

From there, Webster makes the case for making sure your podcast is on YouTube. I’d strongly recommend listening to the full 20 minutes.

My Takeaways

As far as what I’ve taken away from Tom’s keynote and podcast, I think it can boil down to one thing:

Be where your listeners hang out.

He (and Matt Medeiros on the Audience podcast) makes a great point that people continually say, “Subscribe on Apple Podcasts,” when Apple Podcasts’ market share is in a bit of a free fall…especially with all the trouble it’s had lately.

Instead, you should make sure your show is where people want to listen, not where you want them to listen.

Similarly, you should make your call to action as clear and as easy as possible for people to do whatever you ant them to do. More on that in a second.

How I’m Improving How I Built It’s YouTube Presence

Thanks to Castos, my episodes automatically go to YouTube when they’re published. But there’s a lot more I can be doing here. Some of the improvements I plan on making:

  1. Improving the thumbnail – and perhaps adding the episode thumbnail after posting (I wish Castos did this instead of a generic cover).
  2. Properly add the show notes. They don’t translate well from the RSS feed to YouTube because YouTube doesn’t accept anchor tags. So I’ll probably take the newsletter copy and link to the original page.
  3. Add tags related to the episode

Other Improvements

Aside from YouTube improvements, I’m going to make a greater effort in several other areas to increase listenership.

Better Social Media Sharing

I’m going to put a more concerted effort into social media – particularly audiograms or shorter clips. These shorter clips can go to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube’s new Shorts feature, and can be a great way to get more people to listen.

Right now I have the new episodes auto-tweeted, but there’s not much more I’m doing in that regard. I’m thinking I’ll ask a question related to the episode on Twitter again, share sponsors more diligently, and get the episode to as many places as possible, including Pinterest.

A Better Show Notes Template

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but I want a better show notes template, which I’ll absolutely be able to do with Block Patterns.

It will have social share buttons (they’ve already been added) as well as CTA for joining the Build Something Club and the mailing list. There will also be subscribe buttons directly on each page. The challenge will be to not make the page look too busy.

In the newsletter I mention the Key takeaways, but they never make it to the show notes page. I think that’s a huge error on my part that I’m going to fix starting next week. I’ll also have my VA go back and add them to previous episodes1.

These improvements go hand-in-hand with my new CTA.

A Better Call To Action

One massive mistake I see podcasters make is not having a single page for their episodes to send listeners to. This could be on a custom website (which is what I recommend), but it could also be with the audio host – as long as there’s an easy to speak URL.

Too many calls to action is a problem I’m guilty of as well. And recently I’ve experimented with my only CTA being to join the Build Something Club, which I think has been a slight error on my part.

So I’m switching back to the old CTA: join my mailing list. But this time, I’ll be experimenting with using the show notes URL, which is always That URL is repeated multiple times throughout the show, so it will be easy to remember, and I’m still making it clear what I want listeners to do.

At the end of the episode, I’ll say something like:

Be sure to head over to the show notes at -URL-, where you can join the mailing list, subscribe, and get all of the links we talked about today.

This is still one URL to remember, my primary CTA is repeated, and the listener hears all of the benefits of visiting the page.

Keep Iterating

Ultimately, podcasting is an iterative process. You try things, see what works, expand, and improve2. I think these will be positive changes that will help people discover, subscribe to, and share the show!

What is your biggest struggle with podcasting? Let me know in the comments!

  1. Another massive undertaking for my VA is transcribe all episode without transcripts and add them to the episodes. I’m excited to finally fill the back catalog with transcripts. ?
  2. This post didn’t even touch on some format changes I’m experimenting with. ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *