How to Start a Podcast with No Audience

May 2

No Audience? No Problem! Here’s How to Build Your Podcast Audience from Scratch

Which comes first: the podcast or the audience? Unfortunately, if you aren’t already famous you’ll likely have to start from nothing when you launch a new podcast. Instead of drawing from an existing and dedicated fanbase, you’ll be building up your audience from scratch, or from a handful of early listeners. Is it easy to do? Not at all! But it is possible, and in today’s post, our team at the Authentic Exposure Studio will share how you can start a podcast with no audience—and succeed.

Identify a Specific Niche

Before you record a word of your podcast, it’s important to plan carefully. One of your first steps should be identifying your niche. Finding the right podcast niche will help you zero in on your target audience while providing a central touchpoint for you to build content around.

There’s a lot that goes into identifying the right niche—and you can read our post on finding a podcast niche here—but here’s a quick summation:

  • Identify topics you’re passionate about
  • Identify your target audience
  • Determine your unique perspective—i.e., how will you approach this topic area in a way that no one else is?

Determine Expenses & Establish a Budget

The next step in starting your podcast will be to nail down the financial aspects. Every aspect of your podcast will take work or money, and it’s not as simple as just sitting down at your computer and hitting record. You’ll need the proper equipment and the proper polish to create something worth listening to.

The most obvious expense will be the equipment. At minimum, you’ll need a good external mic and set of headphones. We also recommend recording your podcast on video (for reasons we’ll get to later), so that will require equipment as well.

You’ll also want to consider your own time investment. What are your goals for this podcast, and how much of your time are you willing to dedicate to its success? Budget your time and be realistic. The more you can offload certain tasks, the more you’ll be able to focus on the content.

a white armchair and professional microphone at a podcast studio in Austin

Generate Topics You Can Talk About

Before you launch, you’ll want to have a few episodes ready to go. A backlog of episodes will help you maintain a regular posting schedule. Unfortunately, as you start a podcast with no audience, you’ll find one of the first rules in how to book guests is to have a decent number of monthly listeners.

To account for this, you’ll want to generate plenty of topics that you can talk about—potentially just by yourself, or alongside your co-host if you have one. These should be topics you can speak about genuinely and authoritatively in order to keep listeners engaged and interested.

Record in a Professional Podcast Studio

One of the golden rules of podcasting is to make sure your sound quality is excellent. At the end of the day, no matter how interesting your content is or how impressive your guests are, no listeners will stick around to listen to a podcast with poor sound and production quality.

Many sources will advise you to start recording your podcast at home. However, your first couple of episodes should be as pristine as possible in order to make the best first impression you can—and that requires professional quality. Are you ready to build a full-scale, professional studio in your bedroom or office? For most people, the answer is no.

While we’re a little biased on this topic, we highly recommend recording in a studio as not just an effective option, but a surprisingly economical one for the quality. To actually match the quality of a studio at home, you’ll have to pay much, much more than the cost to book a studio—making home recording not an economical option at all.

In addition, you’ll save a ton of time by not having to learn all about video and sound recording, editing, production, and more. These are all skills that take years of dedicated practice and experience to get right. Instead of learning them yourself, it’s better to offload these tasks to someone with professional experience.

Make the Most of Your Content

One of the most important keys for how to start a successful podcast with no audience is to make the most of your content. Content is king online, and the best way to build awareness of your budding podcast is to constantly remind potential listeners that you exist.

These days, short video content is massive, and it’s crucial for new podcasters to get their content in front of audiences on TikTok or Instagram Reels. The great news is that, with a 30-minute or hour-long podcast, you’ll have a significant amount of material that can be split and edited into 5–10 or more high-value short-form videos. Much like batch shooting, this is a highly efficient way to generate social media content that will keep your audience engaged between episodes. 

In addition, you should consider transcribing podcasts or subsections of your podcast and either posting them as-is or (better yet) turning them into blog posts. This is a relatively low-effort way to stretch your content even farther and to potentially start building your audience through organic search.

Engage, Engage, Engage

Speaking of engagement, don’t stop at just making posts on your social media account. Since you’re starting with a small audience, it’s important to keep those first few interested and engaged as members of your budding podcast community.

Monitor your social media posts and reply to high-quality comments, keeping your brand voice in mind. Solicit listener questions and feedback, and consider adding a segment of your podcast where you respond to submissions. Always be on the lookout for potential guests and collaborators as you grow.

Keep Branding Consistent

Across every podcast episode, short-form video, text post, Tweet, blog post, and smoke signal, it’s important to keep your branding and messaging consistent. Consistency in your brand and messaging helps to build recognition, as your brand becomes more concrete in your audience’s mind.

This is a major point to consider as you go about making short-form videos and other content related to your full podcast episodes—and recording in a studio can be a big help here, as well. With a stable studio environment, your sound and video quality will be consistent, and your set will be recognizable as well. Additionally, access to a professional podcast production team will ensure every piece of short-form content you produce uses the same style as your podcast overall. 

two women record a podcast episode in a studio with professional equipment

Case Study: Seggs Talk Radio 

Those are our top pieces of advice for how to start a podcast with no existing audience! If you want proof of concept, though, look no further than our client, Seggs Talk Radio. Host Thea started her podcast from scratch in April 2023. She’s built a strong and recognizable brand and built her listenership through many of the items mentioned above:

  • A clear and distinguishable niche
  • Genuine interest in and passion for her content
  • Professional-quality audio and video
  • Consistent new episodes and short-form videos drawn from this longer-form content
  • Recognizable, eye-catching, and consistent branding across podcast episodes, short-form videos, social media posts, and other associated accounts and content
  • Numerous ways to engage with Thea’s brand, from social media to communities, guides, product recommendations, and more

By committing herself to all of the above—and let’s face it, by being a truly awesome podcast host—Thea has built an audience of more than 2,000 weekly listeners on Spotify, more than 85,000 plays, and nearly 120,000 followers on Instagram.

In other words—yes, it’s very possible to start with no audience and create a successful, thriving podcast!

Ready to Start a Podcast? Let’s Create Together!

This list is far from exhaustive, of course, and much of what determines the success of a podcast comes down to your ability to learn from your experience and act accordingly. You also don’t have to start out by doing everything all at once. What’s really important is to just start creating and begin building your audience through consistency, creativity, and a genuine interest in your topic.

At the Authentic Exposure Studio, we love working with new and established podcasters alike. Between our professionally equipped studio in downtown Austin and years of video and sound production experience, we’re ready to elevate your content and help you thrive as a successful podcast host. Reach out to book a time in our studio or get started with a tour of our space!