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8 Fiery Steps To Profitably Grow Your Podcast (Ultimate Marketing Guide)

Follow these steps and you can market your podcast, a social channel, or, well, anything!

Growing a podcast is just like building a fire… anyone can do it.

And if you execute the steps below, with even average skill, they’re absolutely guaranteed to work for you.

If you want to grow your podcast from a tiny spark that no one notices into a blazing bonfire people recognize instantly from “miles away”… you’re in the right place.

A doodle of a campfire, with a microphone in front of it, symbolizing 8 fiery steps to grow your podcast.

Note: Each step requires practice, learning through ‘hard knocks’, and commitment to get results.

Fun fact: Although I’ve technically just started growing my own podcast… I’m still going to teach you how to grow yours.

Who am I to teach podcast growth?

Well, I’m me. J-Ryze.

A natural-born teacher.

Someone who’s passionate about true understanding, and passionate about helping others truly understand.

And I don’t mean intellectually understand, I mean understand deep in your core.

Plus, I’ve grown so many other things.

I was personal advisor to Evan Carmichael on all kinds of success-oriented “business stuff”, from general brand direction and vision, to the nitty gritty of copy, video editing, and SEO.

I helped him grow his YouTube audience from 1,000 subscribers to 3 million. I also helped him grow his Instagram audience from 6,000 followers to ~250k followers. And I helped many other people, grow many other things, of many other sizes.

I just haven’t got around to podcasts specifically… until now.

And podcasts, like everything else I mentioned above, follow the same principles of growth I’ve already helped past clients with.

I’m not only capable of teaching them to you… I’m the most capable teacher for you.

Because I don’t just know the core principles of growing things.

I know how to explain them in ways that’ll “click” for you.

In plain english. With simple analogies. And memorable acronyms.

So by the time we’re done here, growing & monetizing your podcast audience will feel like common sense. It’ll feel obvious. It’ll feel easy.

You’ll think to yourself “Duh, how could anyone NOT grow their podcast once they understand this stuff.”

And that’s what I want for you.

I want podcast growth to feel simple, clear, and easy for you.

Sure…

It’ll still take energy, effort, and focus, just like accomplishing any worthwhile goal, from helping a friend move, to making a delicious meal, to playing a sport.

But this guide will help podcast marketing feel like a ‘no-brainer’ to you.

And since I recently started my own podcast (Eyes Wide Open), this guide will also be a reminder to me about the blueprint for growing any public enterprise, too.

If you’ve just started your podcast from scratch, you have a ‘spark.’

If you’ve been podcasting for a little while, you have a ‘flame.’

If you’ve put some serious work, effort, and time in, you have a ‘fire.’

But if you’re here, what you really want is that epic growth, major success, and the juicy profits that tend to come along with it.

You want an inferno.

You want your podcast to be a blazing bonfire that people recognize easily, and are drawn to.

I.N.F.E.R.N.O.S. acronym on how to profitably grow your podcast and monetize it.

Which is exactly what you’ll learn to create here.

Just in case we’re not on the same page, let me quickly address something.

What exactly is podcast marketing & promotion?

Imagine you’ve created something great.

It’s a brilliant podcast, but you upload every episode to a dead YouTube channel, with boring, SEO-less titles, that no one clicks on.

Your brilliant creation goes ignored, not because it’s bad, but because it’s massively un-marketed.

Effective podcast marketing is just enticing people to discover and experience your offering, effectively.

It helps you reach new audiences, tell your brand’s story, build authority, and encourage word-of-mouth sharing.

Now that that’s clear…

Let’s cover the 8 fiery steps of podcast promo.

I googled a bunch of podcast marketing terms to see if I could find any reliable, clear explanation of how to grow a podcast.

I searched “How do I get 1000 listeners for my podcast?”, “How can I increase my podcast popularity?”, and “How do I get my podcasts noticed?”

The resulting tips like love your podcast topic, create great content, or “be everywhere” didn’t seem super-helpful to me.

So I created my I.N.F.E.R.N.O.S. podcast marketing strategy.

I’ve broken inferno-building –whether through physical fires, or podcast-growth fires– down into eight steps. If you do these eight steps correctly, you will have a well-fueled, self-sustaining, podcast ‘blaze’ by the time you’re done.

We’ll start with a quick review of what you need to build a real-life fire.

To build physical fire, you’ll need to properly handle the following:

  • Firebed
  • Tinder
  • Kindling
  • Fuel Logs
  • Ignition
  • Flame
  • Oxygen
  • Refueling

If you f**k up any of these steps, your fire will dwindle and die, fast, but if you execute them decently, you’ll have a warm, toasty, roaring fire that burns sustainably with only minor maintenance.

The same goes for growing a podcast. Though you’ll need to properly handle these eight things instead:

  • Ilk/Tribe. (Firebed)
  • Niche (Tinder)
  • Fantasies / desires (Kindling)
  • Enticing hook (Fuel logs)
  • Regaling demo (Ignition)
  • Network. (Flame)
  • Obliging engagement. (Oxygen)
  • Seductive offers. (Refueling)

If you f**k up any of these I.N.F.E.R.N.O.S. steps, your podcast will dwindle and die, fast, but if you execute these steps reasonably, you’ll have a solid, reliable audience that grows sustainably with only minor maintenance.

I’ll go over all the steps to this podcast marketing strategy in detail, below.

"J takes into account the whole person - with needs, concerns, desires, and all. His personalized service is remarkable in how quick, efficient, and detailed he is in his explanations about why a particular course of action may be important, necessary, or worthy of further exploration. The deep nature of his expertise is difficult to fully comprehend until he is there, opening roads to you that before seemed shut off. He helps you to see options that were before invisible, inaccessible, or that you may have thought were too ambitious or even impossible. J provides new valuable channels to explore, a direct path to getting the desired results, and provides insight for you to make the final choices that fit best with your personal beliefs and objectives."
Issac Robledo
robledothoughts.com

Note: The early steps are more about “setting up”, while the later steps are more about “daily activity.”

1. “Ilk” - Commit to choosing a tribe.

“Ilk” is just an old word for “tribe.”

For growing your podcast, it parallels the ‘firebed’ of starting a real fire.

Any sustainable fire is going to need a solid, reliable firebed.

And any sustainable podcast needs a solid, reliable tribe of people to serve.

It needs a tribe of people you believe in and commit to, not a group of folks you’re barely invested in, and going to abandon if you don’t see “instant” fast results and money from them.

If you believe in young runners, make a podcast that serves them.

If you believe in intellectuals, make your podcast serve them.

Personally, I’m passionate about truth-seekers and change-makers, so my podcast, Eyes Wide Open, serves them.

If you want to grow your podcast on Spotify, Apple, or anywhere else…

You must be insanely clear on who you’re serving.

And once you’ve chosen your ‘ilk’, make sure your podcast materials, branding, and content resonates with them, filters them, and attracts them.

(I could do a better job of this myself, so just by writing this, I’ve already spotted a ‘weak link’ in my podcast growth. Imagine what understanding I.N.F.E.R.N.O. will do for you.)

Grow your podcast with this key first step. A picture of a 'firebed' icon, and the acronym I.N.F.E.R.N.O.S. with the "I" highlighted in pink.

(I could do a better job of this myself, so just by writing this, I’ve already spotted a ‘weak link’ in my podcast growth. Imagine what understanding I.N.F.E.R.N.O. will do for you.)

A few things to note about your ilk/tribe:

  • Your tribe (or “ilk”) should be easy to reach – targeting a pygmy tribe in Tanzania or “The Illuminati” may not be wise.
  • They should be of a size that matches your business skills – targeting ‘everyone’, or ‘all runners, young & old’, is likely above your skill-level for now, so narrow down your tribe.
  • They should have some funds available – targeting the homeless may not be ideal.
  • If you won’t commit to a tribe, the market won’t commit dollars to you. (And you can always change it later if you absolutely must.)

Your podcast is going to become a hotter and hotter commodity over time, and it will do so while resting on a bed of loyal listeners who feel positively served by you… so please take this seriously.

Sleep or meditate on it. Develop self-knowledge.

Google ‘ideal customer profiles’ or ‘client avatars’ and read carefully about this foundational step.

Really find who you’re passionate about serving. Get to know them. Know what buzzwords resonate with them. Know exactly what keeps them up at night. Know what topics and trends they care about.

Get insanely clear on your “ilk” or tribe.

Then make sure everything you put out episodes that serve them, and actively repels others.

Recommended Reading: Buyer Personas by Adelle Revella and Choose: The Single Most Important Decision Before Starting Your Business by Ryan Levesque

2. “Niche” - Commit to choosing a market position.

Your ‘niche’ is like ‘tinder’ for your podcast fire. It’s really tough to get any real heat going if you don’t have any tinder.

Dry newspapers, bark, wood chips, something flammable… is a necessary early step for building a fire.

Similarly, a well-chosen niche is a necessary early step for building a podcast.

Do you have one? Is it narrow enough? Do you believe in your niche enough to commit to it, or are you just going to abandon it when the going gets tough? Because it will get tough and you will doubt, question, and wonder if you made the right choice. But believing in your niche will keep you devoted to your niche.

The “You’re Wrong About” Podcast has a clear niche.

Their position in the market is to be the “go to” podcast for re-assessing history and miscast people. Sarah Marshall chose that niche, and she sticks to it.

The Joe Rogan Experience may look like it “has no niche” or is “all over the place”, but that’s not true.

Joe knows having a niche is a key step in growing a podcast, and from the very beginning he made his position in the market clear.

“Tirelessly optimistic hot takes for the everyman.”

That’s his podcast’s niche, and he brings it to every topic and guest he covers.

Is Joe incessantly offering optimistic hot takes in his private life? I don’t know.

Most people have a public persona and a private one, but either way, Joe makes sure to keep his podcast in that specific niche.

He does this because he instinctively knows he’d lose tons of listeners if he suddenly started putting out “tame or cynical takes for women.”

Joe chose his niche and he stays in it, and you’d be wise to do so as well.

A few notes about niches:

  • Even variety podcasters have niches, exemplified by their style of delivery, thematic choices, overarching philosophies, etc.
  • If you want to do multiple niches, create multiple podcasts, don’t force your audience to skip every other episode because you’ve decided to cram two niches into one ‘cast.
  • Ensure your niche resonates with your tribe – if you choose to serve ‘young runners’ as your “ilk”, don’t choose a niche like “stillness and meditation”, because runners want to move, and very few are going to tune in weekly to hear you telling them to stop moving.
  • Commit to your niche, or the market won’t commit dollars to you.

Castos has a good post walking you through how to choose a niche for your podcast, if you need a jumpstart.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind – Al Ries & Jack Trout and Purple Cow by Seth Godin.

3. “Fantasies” - Rank your tribe’s desires.

Now that you have your ilk and your niche, we’re ready to lay the next layer of our fire, the kindling.

In a physical fire, the kindling is sticks and twigs that are slightly bigger than tinder, but not the giant hunks of wood that make up fuel logs.

They’re the ‘in-between’ wood.

The podcast-growth fire parallel to this is your tribe’s desires.

What they fantasize about experiencing.

Their hopes, dreams, challenges, and obstacles.

  • Does your tribe value concise delivery more, or do they value long, meandering rambles?
  • Does your tribe value video content, or do they prefer to listen while showering?
  • Does your tribe care more about trending topics, more about timeless wisdom, or a blend of both?
  • Does your tribe prefer to spend money on merch, money on experiences, or does it depend?
  • Do they value a solo podcaster more, or do they value co-hosts and interactions with guests?

If you aren’t clear on your tribe’s desires and how they prioritize them, you may end up serving all the wrong things at all the wrong times, and your podcast will die quickly.

(Again, I could probably do a better job of catering to my tribe of truth-seekers and change-maker’s priorities.)

Read Gap Selling by Keenan for a masterclass in this area.

4. “Enticing Hook” - Refine your hook until it works.

Now we get to truly substantial ‘fuel’ for growth.

Performing this step well gives you nice, crisp “logs” for your podcast fire that will burn beautifully when it comes time to fan the flames.

But many podcasts don’t even get to this step. Or if they do, they fail to execute it well. Hopefully you understand its importance and do better.

We live in a noisy world, and there’s millions of competitors out there competing for your tribe’s attention.

If something ‘hooks’ them, they’ll pay attention. If something fails to ‘hook’ them, they’ll scroll by and leave you buried in feed oblivion.

That’s the game.

You’ve gotta hook your people if you want your podcast to grow.

There’s countless ways to do this, for example:

  • Hold a ‘tag’ or ‘share’ contest where the prize is to be a guest on your show.
  • Partner with or hire a celebrity sponsor or influencer to act as a lightning rod.
  • Leave mysterious QR codes around your city that link back to your podcast.
  • Make the title of each of your episodes into a compelling question or ‘open loop.’
  • Have such a killer tagline and value proposition that people can’t help but click.
  • Be creative. Maybe you swear at each guest at least once per episode.

I could go on. The point is, it takes brainstorming and experimentation to come up with a hook that works with your brand, niche, and tribe.

Ultimately it’s a test of your creativity.

It’s a test to see whether you’re fit to compete in the noisy podcast market or not.

Just like fire-building tests whether you can choose correct logs, arrange them correctly, or make sure they’re dry enough to burn.

You can learn more about ‘hooking’ people through Brendan Kane’s book Hookpoint or Mike Michalowicz’s book Get Different, or even Break Through The Noise by Tim Staples.

5. “Regaling Demo” - Post a ‘chunk’ of proof or content.

This is where we get some actual ignition.

If you’ve done the other four steps well, you’ll now be hooking people here and there, and they’ll be interested in a demonstration of your value.

The hook is only valuable enough to catch their attention. It won’t hold it long. Which is why you need to demonstrate substantial value.

This can be done through:

  • A grid or feed of content showing your expertise, social proof & testimonials, and what you sell, if anything.
  • A highlight reel or trailer or teaser of your best work.
  • A free sample or consultation.
  • Etc.

Many podcasters use a combination of the above, or something else entirely.

Regardless, it’s important that once you’ve hooked a viewer’s attention, that you fan that tiny flame into something more with a clear demonstration of value.

Give people a reason to stick around, revisit, and talk about you.

Think about what would impress you if you were browsing someone’s work or online footprint, and deliver something similar.

Books worth exploring in this area are First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You and Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller.

6. “Network” - Reach out to potential fans.

Table of Contents

You won’t have a sustainable fire unless you fan the early flames, and then keep those flames going… constantly.

In podcasting, that constant ‘fanning’ means constantly ‘getting fans.’

So figure out somehow, some way, to consistently reach new pairs of ears, daily.

If you want to grow any public enterprise, podcasts included, you need a steady stream of new potential listeners.

Not once in a while.

Not whenever you feel like it.

Consistently. Daily.

This is what businesses do. This is what influencers do.

This is what anyone serious about growing their project does.

Despite rejection, despite the “no’s”, despite haters and trolls, they take action daily to get their wares in front of new people. Because they believe, they know deep down, that more fans are out there waiting for them.

Call it outreach. Call it networking. Call it promotion.

Whatever you call it, it’s a core, key, primary activity of growth. The same way you water plants regularly, (or add more fuel to a fire), this step is absolutely vital to growth.

And it’s not glamorous. It’s not flashy design-work you can show off. It’s not exciting ‘brand vision.’ It’s just the nuts and bolts of growth.

Reaching 100 new people… daily.

Why 100?

Because of the 100-For-1 Rule. Out of every 100 new people who encounter your stuff, on average, one of them will become a fan.

  • If you have no money, you can do it by hand, DM’ing or commenting to or calling people who may like your podcast.
  • If you’re good at navigating social media rules and algorithms, you can reach new people that way on Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, etc.
  • If you have a decent budget and you’re willing to burn funds to get the hang of advertising, you can pay for ads.
  • If you know SEO, you can get your podcast or website to rank on Google.
  • Hell, you can even stand on a corner and hand-out flyers, or hire an intern to do so.
  • Invite high-profile guests or influencers to your show.
  • Submit to podcast directories (a quick google will find some.)
  • If you want to outsource, you can try podcast promotion services.

There’s countless ways to reach people.

There’s no way to avoid doing it if you want your podcast to grow, though.

If you want to grow, you must find a way to reach at least 100 new ears with your hook, demo, or content… daily.

The book Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount can be a big jumpstart here.

7. “Obliging Engagement” - Create many touchpoints.

Engagement is to a podcast what oxygen is to a fire.

It’s vital.

And it’s something many people skip.

They’re too focused on the other steps, creating showy content or hustling to get new listeners, that they fail to engage each person that is already finding them.

They get one like, listen, or share from somebody and instead of engaging that clearly interested party, they say a quick mental ‘thanks’ and move on.

But each person interested in your stuff is like a glowing ember, just waiting to burst into a full fledged flame, burning brightly for your cause… if only you fed them some engagement (‘oxygen’).

Here’s a few ways to engage and get others to engage in reciprocity:

  • Ask them questions.
  • Carry the conversation.
  • Offer them bonuses.
  • Swing by their profile and compliment them.
  • Find sincere ‘excuses’ to mention or tag them.

I hope you’re getting the idea.

Interested folks can become fans, and fans can become loyal champions, promoting your show for you.

And 1,000 loyal fans or champions is all you really need to create a bonfire.

But you won’t get them if you fail to create enough touchpoints or interactions with them.

People don’t become champions of a brand or project they’ve interacted with once.

They become champions of projects they’ve interacted with ten times or more.

That’s right, ten separate interactions, contact points, or touchpoints are needed for every true fan you want to create, just like a certain amount of airflow is needed for every lick of flame that burns.

So don’t sleep on this.

Treat anyone showing interest in your podcast like the valuable fan they may become…

…instead of like Kleenex you use to boost your ‘like count’, then throw away.

It takes effort to engage them with plenty of touchpoints, but if you want growth, it’s another step of the process you must get the hang of.

What Customers Crave by Nicholas Webb and The Cult Of The Customer and The Power Of Moments by Chip Heath

8. “Seductive Offers” - Presented to ready candidates.

By this point, you’ve got a nice ‘podcast-growth fire’ going, all the elements are in place, and you’ve taken the time to study and practice each step, smoothly.

(Right?)

All that’s left is to ‘refuel’ the fire, because you’ve been investing a lot of energy into it, and as your audience grows, it takes even more energy to keep up with it.

So where does the re-fueling come from?

It comes from seductive, compelling, juicy offers that resonate with your tribe.

If you offer the loyal fans you’ve been building up something, or invite them to participate in something…

Some percentage of them (100-For-1, usually) will be absolutely thrilled to contribute.

If you’ve followed the other seven steps correctly, and engaging each listener well (multiple touchpoints), they’ll be familiar with your brand, happy with all the value, and be comfortable reciprocating.

  • You can offer them merch.
  • You can serve up ads.
  • You can hold fundraisers.
  • You can start a Patreon.
  • You can ask for investors.
  • You can mobilize a flash mob.
  • You can ask for shares or reviews.
  • And on, and on.

Your offers are where you convert all the goodwill you’ve built up with the other steps into fuel and reward for yourself (ideally to reinvest in your podcast, and keep the growth going.)

This step is the ‘direct’ one that decides how you monetize your podcast profitably.

But it’s the last and final step.

Like a fire burning well, it’s a result of all the other ‘less flashy’ steps performed effectively.

So if you want your podcast to ‘blow up’, please respect the process.

Note: You can learn to make truly compelling offers from Alex Hormozi’s incredibly affordable book $100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No.

So there you have it.

A summary of all 8 fiery steps to grow your podcast.

Overview:

  • Ilk/Tribe. (Firebed)
  • Niche (Tinder)
  • Fantasies / desires (Kindling)
  • Enticing hook (Fuel logs)
  • Regaling demo (Ignition)
    Network. (Flame)
  • Obliging engagement. (Oxygen)
  • Seductive offers. (Refueling)

The steps are fairly simple.

Enterprises, since the dawn of time, have been performing these steps for sustainable growth, and you can too.

Each step may take some practice, or you may have to study, learn, and experiment until you get the hang of each one.

If you’ve ever taught someone to build a fire, you know it’s not hard to explain the basic steps, but you also know they’re gonna mess them up at first until they get the hang of them and master a few of the details.

The same goes for growing a podcast.

And if you’ve ever lived ‘off-grid’ or camped for a prolonged amount of time, you also know that sometimes we just don’t feel like building a fire.

But guess what?

Just like fetching firewood when it’s freezing cold outside, you may hate one or more of the steps, and hey, I get it.

Going out in the dark cold icy rain each morning to get some water-logged wood can suck for certain personality types, just like cold-emailing and outreaching on social media can suck too.

But each step still must get done if you want your podcast growth to ignite.

If any of the steps are ‘deal-breakers’ which you refuse to perform, admit that quickly and figure out a way to partner up with someone who’s passionate about those steps.

Your podcast audience is destined to grow profitably.

As long as you truly commit to practicing these steps.

If you practice swimming, you get better at swimming.

If you practice fire-building, you get better at fire-building.

If you practice podcast marketing, you get better at podcast marketing.

But it takes a focused, concerted effort. It takes a real decision. It takes commitment.

So commit to the I.N.F.E.R.N.O.S. podcast growth strategy and watch the fireworks.

Bonus Resources:

Our podcast episode on this topic:

If you want to explore this topic in video form, we did a podcast on it called: “8 Steps To Monetize…ANYTHING!

You can also check it out on spotify or apple.

Not sure which step you're stuck on?

Try diagnosing your podcast project with this quick survey.

If your podcast isn’t growing and you’re not sure which step(s) is tripping you up, self-diagnose the issue quickly with this: 7 Easy Questions To Diagnose Your Failing Biz. (It’s targeted towards OnlyFans streamers, but it works perfectly for podcasters, and will help you self-diagnose where your blocks are, fast.)

Post Author:

J-Ryze
J-Ryze

‘J-Ryze’ Fonceca's diagnosis as 'genius' as a child made him arrogant. This led to him scraping by as a homeless entrepreneur... for years. Eventually he got out by helping Evan Carmichael build his empire of 3 million followers. A brief stint as 'the bimbo whisperer', coaching OnlyFans models followed, after which he finally pivoted to his "Eyes Wide Open" podcast with his partner Cyn. His clients call him the ‘living mindf*ck’, ‘mindset adrenalin’, & ‘best mentor ever.’ He lives in Toronto, has read thousands of books, & can play any champ in League Of Legends serviceably.

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