While you may have a brilliant and well-honed show with a differentiated schedule and engaging content, unless you are actively building your audience, there is a good chance that thousands of ears that would love your content, just don’t know about it.

In this article, we discuss the key methods you can use to reach out and build your audience. Many of these are fairly passive, low-investment options that will just help users discover your station on their own, while other methods are more involved and will require a little more time or even a small financial investment.

1. Get listed

No matter if you are an online radio station, or are broadcasting across the airwaves, libraries of radio stations that allow users to search and browse are a great way of getting found. Sites such as Radio Locator provide global listings for stations, while sites including digitalradioUK and Radio UK give both local (the UK in this case) listings, as well as more focused search options for traditional and DAB broadcast stations.

2. Participate in other shows and podcasts

Not only do you tell stories, but you are also a story! Try discovering the art of the contra deal, whereby you provide a slot for free to another station, in return for them doing the same. By participating in slots on podcasts and stations, you broaden the reach of your messaging, and reach is the first step in the conversion pipeline.

Don’t overly worry about churning listeners to other stations, most content discovery tends to be additive, with users dropping content that they were the least engaged with anyway. The listeners you convert will be highly engaged and well suited to your content.

3. Optimise and engage on Social

Social media is not just another listing, but also an interactive way to engage with and educate your most engaged user base. Make sure that you have set up well-furnished pages across at least Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and think about audience engagement via more interactive and younger-skewing platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok. In its most effective incarnation, social media is an effective way not just to communicate, but to allow your audience to feedback and tell you the kind of content they want to listen to next. If you experience a high level of engagement or desire one, try setting up tools to allow this, such as creating a space on Discord to allow you to talk directly with your audience, let them talk to each other and seed the ideas for the future development of your station.

4. Advertise

While there are innovative methods that will let you build an audience for free (outside of your time and effort), there is a reason that paid advertising exists, and that’s because it works. But, contrarily, just paying for advertising isn’t a guarantee of success - you should make sure that the message you are sending is engaging and relevant, and the spaces that you are targeting with your advertising are the right spaces with the right audience.

Make sure that you monitor the returns you get on any paid advertising, most digital platforms and social media will provide you with data, indicating views, clicks and engagements. If you feel that you’re not getting the returns you want on your ad campaign, consider where you are placing ads, and whether the messaging is enough to get a viewer to engage.

5. Run a blog

Assuming you already have a website, adding a blog is an easy next step and affords you the opportunity both to explain who you are to your audience, but also to provide further engagement and boost your listening to key programming. You can combine your blog with other social elements to make sure that content is distributed in the most effective way, and that you can recapture any thoughts or musings from your listener base. Often you can make the creation of blog pieces efficient by combining it with the research you are doing around your content anyway, or use the blog to advertise upcoming events that you are excited about.

6. Re-use your best content – make a library

Just as blog pieces will, over time, form a library of articles that a user can browse to better understand you, so too, can recordings of specific programming segments be used to create an audio library to make sure that the best of your content can be discovered, or listened to over and over again.

Try to maintain a constant recording of the content that you put out. You don’t know when a spontaneous moment will turn into a great piece of content, but make especially sure that you capture and share any events, interviews and regular features so that your audience knows where to find them when looking to browse or re-listen to their favourite content moments.

Make sure to check out PlayIt Software’s range of products which are designed to make your foray into radio broadcasting as pain-free as possible, including PlayIt Live, our brilliant live-assist and automated radio playout software. For the recording of content to create your very own content library, you can use PlayIt Recorder to easily produce sliced show segments which you can easily upload and distribute podcast style from your website.