This is the question I get all the time. People want to know how to grow your podcast audience. I'm going to give you kind of the 10,000-foot overview.
It ALWAYS comes back to this no matter what you're doing, it always comes back to this is the number one thing: Identify who your audiences is.
If you were working someplace and they do the Secret Santa at Christmas time and you get Howard from accounting you need to find out what Howard wants for Christmas If you don't Howard is not going to like his present and pray you never pull his name again.
Now that you've identified what they wanted to hear, give them what they want. You can't grow your podcast without this step.
Create the content that they want to hear but don't stop there. Create content that will inspire them to tell a friend (70% of podcasts are found via word of mouth).
It's so easy to record, from behind this microphone, in your walk-in closet, your spare bedroom, the basement, wherever you record. You need to go to where your target audience is. Face to face is the best form of connection. I realized sometimes you're thinking, “I live here, they're over there.” That's where you can use things like meetup.com, and Facebook groups. There are all sorts of different places that you can go to get close to your audience. This is how you determine what they want as well. When you go to these locations, LISTEN first and see what people are talking about.
Make friend with your target audience, but more than that bring value to every single conversation. Be sure to listen for ideas for future episodes.
Here's a fun story. When I was first starting out, before there was a Facebook.com I found a forum of ex-DJs. I was like, “Oh my God, these are people that know how to talk into microphones, they probably have something to say and want to get back on the air.” This is MY TARGET AUDIENCE.
I entered into this forum and I said, “Hey, I'm Dave Jackson from the School of podcasting. You guys should start a podcast, you can get back on the air, (and just started pitching my service).”
I did not make friends with them. I walked in and just started selling. They didn't care about anything I said, because they didn't know who I was. And they banned me in less than 20 minutes. They completely kicked me out. That's why we have step five, make friends with people because they're not going to care about what you're saying until they care about you. They care about you when you bring VALUE.
We made friends and brought value to every conversation, and listened for ideas for future episodes. NOW we can then tell them about your show. Now they care about you. You have to be a giant salesman, you could just say, “Oh, I talked about this on my podcast,” and they'll ask, “Wait, you, you have a podcast?”
Then you give them your website address (you do have a website, right) and explain things like that.
If there was a step seven, step seven would repeat steps three through six.
The other thing you want to do is make sure on your website that it's easy to share your episode. Make sure it's easy to subscribe to your show. When people subscribe to your show, the next time you publish an episode and the start their podcast app of choice, there is a very good chance the app will automatically download the episode. This is why subscribers are so important.