10 Reasons Your Podcast Isn't Generating Results (And How To Fix It)

10 Reasons Your Podcast Isn’t Generating Results (And How To Fix It)

By Sogi Chukwuanu

So, you launched a podcast. At first, it seemed like everything was going great. But now that you’re several months in, your download numbers have started to drop or stagnate. 

No one ever seems to click the call-to-action (CTA) in your show notes, and even the solid numbers on your most popular episode have never translated to sales. 

Before throwing in the towel (and selling off your recording equipment), it’s worth considering a different route. How can you put things back on track and ensure that your content reaches and resonates with listeners?

In this blog, I’ll break down all the possible reasons why your podcast hasn’t been generating results and how to fix each of these problems.

Let’s dive in.

1. Lack of a unique angle or niche

Do users listen to only the first 60 seconds of your podcast without ever making it to the end? While there are a lot of possible reasons for this audience behaviour, it can often stem from the content being too generic.

Fix:  If you’re struggling with generating audience interest and increasing the number of downloads, refine your podcast’s focus to cater to a specific niche or interest group. 

Niche is probably one of the most overused words in marketing, but regardless of what industry your podcast is in, a niche is one of the most important things to consider, as it can help build a loyal audience.

Many podcasters are scared of striking out in smaller niches, but trying to appeal to everyone can mean you end up resonating with no one. 

Here are three steps to refine your niche today: 

  1. Analyse your current listener demographics, interests, and feedback to gather data about who is listening and what they are looking for in a podcast.
  2. Focus on a niche that addresses a specific problem or need that your target audience faces.
  3. Test and validate your niche. Produce a few pilot episodes focusing on your refined niche. This allows you to test the waters without fully committing to a rebrand of your podcast. Next, share these episodes with a segment of your audience and seek feedback.

2) Weak episode titles and descriptions

In the same way people judge books by their covers, listeners judge podcasts by what they see. Your titles and descriptions are the first thing your audience will find. This means that it’s your first chance to encourage them to tune in and get insights.

If the title or description doesn’t immediately grab attention or pique interest, potential listeners are less likely to click and give the episode a listen, which leads to a lower click-through rate (CTR).

Fix: Use descriptive, compelling titles and descriptions rich in keywords to improve discoverability and entice potential listeners. In 2019, Google announced that it would surface podcasts in the search results and make them playable. This means that potential listeners can discover your content when searching with the word “podcast”.

3) Insufficient promotion

Simply uploading your podcast isn’t enough. You can’t rely on people merely stumbling upon your podcast on Spotify or any other podcast directory. If you’re not promoting it on social media and through other marketing channels, you’ll struggle to build your audience base.

Fix: Follow these three tips to promote your podcast.

a) Leverage social media. Use platforms such as X, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share your podcast episodes. Create engaging posts, stories, and use hashtags related to your podcast’s topics to reach a wider audience. Regularly interacting with your followers and participating in relevant groups or forums can also boost visibility.

b) Utilise podcast directories. Beyond just listing your podcast on directories like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, actively promote your presence there. Encourage your listeners to leave ratings and reviews, as positive feedback can improve your podcast’s discoverability within these platforms.

c) Collaborate with other podcasters. Building relationships with other podcasters can open up opportunities for cross-promotion. Guest appearances, shoutouts, or even co-hosting episodes can introduce your podcast to new listeners. Look for podcasts with a similar target audience to maximise the potential for engaging new followers.

4) Lack of a clear call to action (CTA)

If your listeners aren’t sure what to do after listening, you’re missing opportunities for sales and overall business growth. What action do you want your audience to take after listening to your podcast? Is it clearly spelled out? 

Fix: Include a clear, compelling CTA in each episode, whether it’s to visit your website, sign up for a newsletter, or follow you on social media. It’s important to briefly explain how that specific action benefits your listeners. Your audience will be more willing to participate if they feel like they get something in return.

5) An inconsistent posting schedule

Regularity is key in podcasting as the average listener looks forward to new episodes on a schedule. If you’re posting sporadically, you might be losing potential regular listeners. 

Fix: Establish and stick to a consistent publishing schedule. Begin by planning your podcast episodes well in advance. This gives you a clear overview of what needs to be prepared and by when. It also allows for flexibility in case you need to adjust due to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing the risk of podfading

You also want to choose a publishing frequency that you can maintain over the long term. There’s no point releasing episodes weekly if realistically, a bi-weekly schedule works better for you.

6) You’ve been ignoring listener engagement

Believe it or not, downloads/listens are not the be-all and end-all of podcasting. In fact, some experts consider it a vanity metric rather than an accurate tool for gauging business growth. While high download numbers might catch attention, they don’t indicate whether listeners are genuinely engaged or if they continue to follow your content.

I believe that listener engagement is a more accurate metric. How many listeners interact with your podcast on social media and via other channels? Ignoring this metric could mean that you’re missing out on the one thing that matters the most: your audience.

Fix: Encourage listener interaction through social media, email, or voicemail. Respond to feedback and incorporate listener suggestions into your episodes.

7) Poor audio quality

Even the most engaging content can be overlooked if the audio quality is lacking. No one wants to sit through an hour of rustling and overlapping voices!

Fix: Invest in quality recording equipment and editing software, or hire a professional to enhance the audio quality of your podcast. Take the time to edit your recordings for clarity, pacing, and engagement. Remove unnecessary parts, and consider adding music or sound effects to enhance the listening experience.

8) Failing to analyse your audience and performance

Understanding your audience and how your podcast performs is essential for growth. Without a clear understanding of your audience’s preferences, interests, and pain points, you might create content that doesn’t resonate with them. 

This misalignment can lead to lower engagement, fewer subscribers, and a higher churn rate, as listeners may not find value in what you’re offering.

Fix: Use analytics tools to track downloads, listener demographics, and engagement. However, don’t just track metrics for tracking’s sake. Adjust your content and marketing strategies based on these insights.

9) Co-hosting with the wrong guests

No podcast host ever wants to come to the harsh realisation that their choice of guests might be lacking. But sometimes, this might be the case. Inviting guests who don’t resonate with your audience or fail to contribute valuable insights can lead to a disengaged listener base. 

Guests play a crucial role in enriching your podcast’s content, and if they’re not a good fit, it can result in lower listener retention rates.

This could be due to a mismatch in expertise, personality, or simply because the guest’s area of focus doesn’t align well with your audience’s interests. And in some cases, it might just be that the guest isn’t engaging enough!

Fix: To ensure that your guests contribute positively to your podcast, implement a more rigorous vetting process. Before inviting someone to appear on your show, thoroughly research their background, previous appearances, and how well they align with your podcast’s niche and audience interests.

You also want to conduct a short pre-interview call or meeting to gauge the guest’s energy, expertise, and compatibility with your podcast’s tone and objectives. Provide them with a brief on your podcast, including its audience, the typical content style, and what you aim to achieve with their episode. Giving them a clear understanding of your expectations can help them prepare to deliver value to your listeners.

Finally, regularly solicit feedback from your audience regarding the types of guests they’re interested in hearing from. Use polls or social media interactions to gather insights about their preferences.

10) Your content just isn’t engaging enough

Many podcasts fall into the trap of focusing too much on delivering information without engaging the listener’s emotions or imagination. This approach can make the content feel dry or impersonal, failing to capture the audience’s attention or inspire them to return for more episodes. 

Fix: Incorporate storytelling elements into your podcast. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can transform even the most mundane topics into a captivating narrative that resonates with listeners on a deeper level.

Structure your episodes around a clear beginning, middle, and end, even if the topic is informational. Present a problem, delve into the exploration or conflict, and conclude with a resolution or takeaway. This structure keeps listeners engaged as they want to find out how the story ends.

You also want to encourage listeners to share their stories or experiences related to your podcast’s themes. Featuring listener stories or creating episodes around these tales can foster a sense of community and make your audience feel like an integral part of the podcast.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful.

If you’d like further help with creating an effective podcast strategy that generates results, get in touch with us to see how our expert team can support you.

Comments are closed.