How to Grow an Audience for Your Legal Podcast

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Tips and Tactics for Building a Law Podcast Following

If you’re an attorney or legal marketer who has recently launched a legal podcast, you’ve either discovered or been coached to accept a stark reality: the millions of subscribers never came. But that was never the point. And, hopefully, that’s not how you’re measuring success.

However you should be working actively and ongoing to grow your audience within the niche you’re (hopefully) targeting. Here are a few things you’ve likely tried, and a few others you may want to consider.

Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit

Don’t presume that your constituents will magically discover your podcast. Most won’t. We are too busy and too otherwise distracted to take note of all or our colleagues’ new endeavors. We must be told—seven times, before we hear it the first time (so The Rule of Seven argues). So make sure you are checking all of the easy boxes—the owned channels that you or your marketing department controls:

  • Post each episode to all social media accounts as it comes out
  • Announce each new episode in your marketing email or newsletter

This goes for both your own personal accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc., but also those of your firm as well. Two other considerations:

  • Put a permanent link to the podcast homepage in your email signature.

  • Personally inform important clients and warm prospects by sending an individual email with a link to new episodes, perhaps contextualizing the takeaways to conversations you may be having with said client or prospect.

Optimize for Search

Use every opportunity at your disposal to include relevant keyword phrases into every written companion piece you’re using to host or promote your podcast:

  • Include industry-appropriate phrases and terminology in your show description where the podcast is hosted.

  • Also include the most relevant and targeted keyword phrases in the terminology you use in each episode’s show notes.

  • Consider purchasing a keyword-rich, target-relevant website name and URL to either host and broadcast the podcast itself, or at least use domain forwarding to redirect users to the actual podcast host. For example, an M&A attorney might name a podcast “Mergers and Acquisitions Law Podcast” and purchase/deploy the URL “MandALegalPodcast.com” or some such. Both the name of the podcast and the URL, therefore, will help searchers find your podcast and elevate your SEO page rank

You want to take every measure possible to ensure that anyone looking for your particular podcast can find yours...and not a competitor’s.

Be Intentional in Your Guest Strategy

If you might humbly describe your own personal network as “modest” or even “paltry,” consider the guests you book as industry influencers, and leverage their larger networks to grow your audience:

  • Book guests with large platforms or social media networks, and ask/encourage/remind them to share the episodes you record with them when you publish them.

They likely will without asking anyway, but reminders and helpers won’t hurt. It’s a great way to not only get wider exposure for one particular episode, but to broaden your audience more generally and ongoing as well.

Look for Syndication Opportunities

If you’ve narrowly positioned your target audience for the podcast (as I strongly recommend), your content will naturally align with existing, large platforms that already have healthy, engaged and highly interested audiences—target-rich environments for your content and expertise.

  • Reach out to trade media, trade organizations and the like to inquire about opportunities (perhaps even exclusively) for them to syndicate your audio content, just as you might with written content.

As an example, JD Supra has been gracious enough to publish some of my own podcast’s (The Thought Leadership Project podcast) episodes on its platform, as our content targets their user base closely.

Deploy Lures and Digestible Gateways

People are busy. There has never been greater competition for attention nor more numerous, intrusive distractions. Remember that you are inviting an audience to consume long-form content. There will be a time and place for a potential audience member to subscribe and consume an entire episode or more of your podcast—at the gym, on a walk, during a commute, etc. But your touchpoint might not be that precise moment. A LinkedIn status update may actually lure someone away to your podcast, but what you’re really trying to do is give busy professionals a byte-sized nugget to instantly digest, while you’re continually drawing their interest and eventual patronage to your podcast.

Examples:

  • An infographic that either simply crystallizes the episode’s chief takeaways or creates enough of a teaser to get someone to stop, take notice, and at least process the topic you are addressing or the expertise you provide. Even if they don’t stop and subscribe to your podcast right that very instant, you have at least made a thought-leadership impression on the user, and hopefully planted a seed to be reaped later when that person remembers to go back and find your podcast and listen to the whole episode.

  • An audio snippet—or even better, a short video clip—that excerpts a key segment of the full podcast episode is the type of pattern-interrupt you need to really get people to stop and take notice of your subject matter expertise. This not only has the same effect and outcome of the infographic deployment, this gives listeners an audial peak behind the curtain, and if they like what they hear, they may be further compelled to seek out the full episode for the rest of your thought leadership, and perhaps even become a subscriber. (The video element, when shared on social media, has the effect of creating movement that will grab the eye of a busy user scrolling through a social media feed.)

Other Considerations

A few more quick hitters you may have overlooked:

  • Make sure your podcast is discoverable on all listening platforms, not just the big players. In addition to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify, hardcore podcast listeners have their favorite players that include platforms like Stitcher, Overcast, TuneIn, and many more, and now even Amazon has recently gotten into the podcast game.

  • Pitch yourself as a guest to the host of a non-competing, but industry-adjacent podcast who already has a longer history and larger audience than you. Perhaps a guest appearance there will win over some fans to your own podcast.

  • Measure, review and analyze your listenership analytics to learn which topics get the highest rates of engagement, and plan your content calendar around similar topics.

Be Patient

Understand that most communities take a long time and consistent, demonstrated excellence in order to achieve growth and scale. Even Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you’re good at what you do, consistently deliver value—not marketing—your audience will grow, both organically and with a little elbow grease as outlined above.

*

Tom Nixon is a principal with Harrington Communications, a thought-leadership marketing agency serving lawyers and law firms. He co-hosts The Thought Leadership Project podcast with the firm's founder, Jay Harrington. His firm provides workshops and remote training sessions to attorneys looking to master the art of thought-leadership content writing.

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn; follow his latest on JD Supra.

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