The Easy Guide to Marketing a Podcast

by | Apr 26, 2024

Early on in your podcasting journey, you’re going to find yourself looking at your analytics to find out how well your podcast is doing. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some great big numbers and feel great about all the hard work you’ve put into building a successful podcast. However, if you’re like most of us, you’ll take one glimpse at the numbers and find yourself disheartened. The numbers are lower than you’re expecting, and you have no idea where to even start to grow those numbers. This problem is quite common, and it’s for this reason that I’ve developed the Listener Lifecycle as a guide through the murky waters of podcasting.

The Listener Lifecycle

What I have developed (and this is very much an ongoing process) is a format for understanding the listener journey within podcasting. By providing key data points, we’re able to get a deeper understanding for your audience and provide helpful feedback so that you can continue to grow your show. Like any good marketer, I have infographics, lists, and some practical applications for you that should make growing your podcast a little bit easier.

Podcast creators want to build more than a listening audience, they want True Fans: people who will not only listen to their content when a new episode drops but be there to buy the merchandise and support the show.

As you read through this post, think about your goals for your podcast and how this is relevant. Think of where you can improve and what can be done at each step to nurture your audience. Not every show is the same, so not every show needs to do exactly what is suggested below. The best way to make this cycle work for you is to make it your own.


Curious listeners have been made aware of your show by a friend, an Internet search, or even another podcast. They want to know more about your show and see if it’s really something they would listen to.

In this phase, what’s most important is that you’re promoting everywhere you are located online. Make sure you have a direct link to where people can listen to your podcast (ideally a landing page with a newsletter subscription option), and ensure you’re following all best practices for having a podcast.


Explorers have started an episode of your show beyond the trailer but have not chosen to follow the show on their player of choice. This is a critical time to capture listeners and motivate them to follow your podcast.

Share content from each episode, and be sure the content is relevant to your audience. The goal with this phase is to move people from being curious about your show to listening to an episode… and eventually following the podcast on their player of choice. Social media content is especially important here.


Followers are people actively listening to new episodes of the podcast who have clicked the “Follow” button on their chosen podcast player. Your show becomes a part of their weekly routine. Followers are the people who drive the majority of downloads in the first 24 hours of an episode’s release. Once someone reaches the Follower phase, they’re comfortable enough with your show to listen on a regular basis.

In this phase, it’s important to review your analytics data and see how long listeners are sticking with the episode. If you’ve got over 50% making it through most or all of your episode, you’re doing great! If not, it may be time to rethink content. Always remember to engage your audience and get feedback on the content you’re producing. Having a continuous improvement mindset is really important here.


Subscribers are the people that willing to provide personal information or money to support your podcast. This can be as simple as signing up for an email newsletter or paying $1 a month to support your podcast on Patreon.

Much like the Follower phase, this phase is about keeping your Subscriber’s attention and interest. However, at this phase, it goes beyond just having good content. It’s really about what additional value you can provide the Subscriber.

The key in this phase is to make sure you’re paying attention to what your listeners want. Utilize the surveys you receive, and also make sure you’re engaging with your listeners to create things that they want to have access to. This could be as simple as providing entertaining bonus content for Subscribers, or it could be as complex as providing some of your time on a monthly basis to listeners. It just depends on their needs and wants and what you’re able to reasonably provide every month.

True Fan

True Fans are people who will go beyond just listening. They earnestly believe in the content you’re producing. They’ve listened to every hour of your show and they probably know more about you than you realized you’ve shared on air or social media. Even though you may not have met them or done anything beyond recognizing them on your show or liking a tweet, they think of you as a friend. True fans will proselytize your show to the masses, enabling you to do what you love as an artist, content creator, or thought leader.

Converting Subscribers to True Fans is probably going to be the hardest task of everything here. You can’t make True Fans just by having them click a button, but if your content resonates, you’ll start to generate folks who are passionate about you and your show. As you do, identify them. Create a short list of these folks, and make sure you do everything you can to let them know they’re valued and important to your show’s success.

The power of True Fans really comes from your ability to get them to promote your show. Although, to be fair, they’re the ones sharing your content to begin with most of the time. The more you can get them excited and sharing, the more likely you’re going to continue to have success because ultimately, they make more people Curious about your show, which leads them to Explore it, and then Follow the show where they may ultimately Subscribe and become True Fans themselves. It’s all a cycle.

Want to Start a Podcast the Easy Way?

You might have the best guides, gear, and strategy, but starting a podcast won’t happen if you don’t have time to execute it. That’s where we can help. Our team can help with everything from your initial podcast concept through week-in-week-out production and editing.