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Find out how to start a podcast from scratch & start growing your brand today, plus real examples of successful podcasters who started off just like you!

The number of podcast listeners has doubled in the last 10 years.

Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their on-demand, on-the-go style.

People can listen to podcasts wherever they are and whatever they’re doing – and that means more opportunities to reach a wider audience with your content.

Podcasts are a unique way to get your expertise in the ears of potential customers. Rather than requiring your audience to sit down and read a lengthy blog post or download a workbook, podcasts give you the chance to provide valuable, meaningful information to your audience from anywhere.

But the question is: how to start a podcast with no audience?

There are a range of tried and tested ways to grow a podcast audience from nothing – and many of our Thinkific creators have done just that!

Read on to find out how to start a podcast with no audience and start growing your brand today, plus real life examples of successful podcasters who started off just like you!

Can you start a podcast with no audience?

You can absolutely start a podcast with no audience!

While you might think you need a big following or established audience to start a podcast, the truth is a podcast is a brilliant tool to grow your audience from nothing.

You can start a podcast even if you have an audience of zero.

For course creators and infopreneurs, a podcast offers a new avenue to reach a different and wider audience compared to other types of digital content.

The trick to how to start a podcast with no audience is to know who you’re marketing your podcast to. More on that down below.

Related: How To Start A Successful Podcast (Step By Step Guide)

Why start a podcast – even if starting from scratch

Podcasting is a top tool for coaches, course creators and infopreneurs thanks to some key benefits for your brand.

With a podcast you can…

  • Build brand awareness – Generate more brand recognition by chatting to customers in an authentic, meaningful way that builds up awareness without feeling forced or fake.
  • Reach a wider audience – Connect with a wider range of potential customers by delivering your expertise in a bite sized, snackable way. With a podcast, people can learn from you when they’re jogging, cooking, commuting and more!
  • Build closer relationships – Podcasts let you deliver information and advice with a human voice, giving your brand a personal element and creating a closer connection with your audience and potential customers.
  • Generate traffic – You have control over your podcast content, giving you the chance to include call-to-actions and drive more traffic to your website, social media and course content.
  • Create a new income stream – As well as helping you generate revenue from your other products, podcasts can also be an income stream all on their own. There are loads of ways you can make money from podcasting and increase your earnings across the board.

There’s no doubt that a podcast can be a really effective tool to help you grow your brand, increase brand awareness and create a closer connection with your customers – but the secret is knowing how to start a podcast with no audience….

How to start a podcast with no audience in 5 simple steps

60% of podcasters report that building an audience is the biggest challenge they face.

If you want to start a podcast but you have zero followers and no existing audience, we’ve broken down the process step-by-step.

You can use these tips to start a podcast with no audience or grow your existing audience into a stronger, more loyal brand community.

Here are 5 simple steps to help you learn how to start a podcast with no audience.

  1. Find your niche

The first step to starting a podcast is to choose an idea.

But that’s not all.

If you want to build an audience and create a podcast that will resonates with them, you need to know how to find your niche.

A niche makes it easier for you to stand out from the crowd and attract a loyal audience for your podcast. With a clear niche, you can market your podcast to a specific group of people and grow your audience faster.

A niche also lets you:

  • Tailor your messaging and branding
  • Choose what topics to talk about
  • Build your reputation and become a thought leader
  • Appeal to sponsors who are looking to reach a very specific audience

If you can establish your expertise in one area, it’s easier to attract an audience of motivated listeners to your podcast.

To choose your niche, try thinking about these 3 things:

  • Your interests and passions

If you’re going to start a podcast with no audience, you’d better be interested in the topic you’re talking about!

Try to find a niche that’s based around your passions and interests to help you stay motivated and invested through the process of creating your podcast series.

Of course, if you already have an existing business that you’re trying to promote with your podcast, your topic needs to be related to this industry or niche in some way. A podcast on a complimentary topic will help you reach a relevant audience – and sell more of your products or services.

Read more: How to Find Your Niche in 4 Simple Steps

  • The problems you can solve

When you’re finding your niche, it’s really helpful to think about the problems you can solve for your potential audience.

Rather than thinking in broad terms about where your expertise lies, focus on the concrete results that sharing your knowledge could have.

What are you uniquely qualified to help people with? What will your audience gain from listening to you? What problems can you help your audience solve?

If you can drill down on the concrete results your audience will gain from listening to you, you can find a clear niche for your podcast.

  • Your competition

If you want to learn how to start a podcast with no audience, it’s helpful to check out your competition before you start.

While you can start a podcast on a topic that’s been widely talked about before, it’s easier to grow your audience if you can find a niche that has less existing coverage.

If you can find content that hasn’t been widely discussed by other podcasts, you could find it easier to attract an audience to your podcast.

Research your competition by searching on hosting platforms for podcasts on similar topics and themes and listen.

It can be helpful to jot down notes and ideas as you listen, including:

  • What do they do well?
  • Who are they catering to?
  • Where is there room for improvement?
  • What could you do differently?

This kind of broad competitor research can help you to get a better idea of what type of podcast you can create and how you can differentiate yourself from other podcasters out there.

When you’re starting a podcast without a following, it’s a good idea to find a niche and serve it!

  1. Identify your audience

Next up, you need to identify the audience for your podcast.

If you’re reading a blog on how to start a podcast with no audience, it’s safe to assume you don’t have an audience right now!

Defining a target audience for your podcast is a really important step to make sure that there is actually a market for the podcast you’re creating.

Here are some podcast audience statistics to bear in mind:

  • In 2022, 47% of monthly U.S. podcast listeners are aged between 12-34, 33% between 35 and 54 years old and 20% are aged over 55.
  • Men account for a higher percentage of monthly listeners than women at 53% compared to 46%.
  • In 2019, 51% of monthly podcast listeners had a full-time job and 17% had a household income between $100K-$150K.

(Source: Edison Research)

If you’re looking at how to start a podcast with no audience, you can start your audience research from scratch.

Look at the audiences your competitors are targeting and who is already engaging with content related to your niche.

Try to settle on key demographics for your audience, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Education

It’s also important to think about your audience’s interests, needs and pain points.

The easiest way to define your podcast audience is to create a profile of your ideal customer, also known as a customer persona.

A customer persona is a very specific picture of one person – your ideal customer. This lets you be more targeted and specific in your marketing efforts.

Download our template to help you create a customer persona for your target audience and check out our detailed guide for how to define your target audience.

The secret to how to start a podcast with no audience is to be as specific as possible about who your ideal audience is to make sure that everything you create – from your content to your branding and more – is aimed at attracting those people.

  1. Create your brand

Now you know what your niche is and who your ideal audience is, you can start to build your brand.

If you’re learning how to start a podcast with no audience, you have the chance to design your brand from scratch with your ideal audience in mind.

If you already have an existing brand for your course academy or a personal brand that you’re currently using for your other content, it’s a good idea to make sure your podcast brand compliments this.

Here are 3 steps to help you create a brand for your podcast.

Read more: How to Create a Personal Brand

  1. Create a brand persona

The best podcasts have tons of personality – you know exactly what you’re listening to as soon as you hit play.

The intro music, theme, speaking style and structure of the podcast all fit cohesively together as one clear, recognizable brand.

If you’re working on how to start a podcast with no audience, it’s really important to build a brand that will be appealing to your target audience.

To get your ideas flowing, you could try to create a brand persona.

A brand persona is a collection of personality traits, values and emotions that represent your brand. You could even make your brand persona into a person or character.

For example, the brand personality for Tiffany&Co is sophisticated, elegant and charming. The brand personality for Harley Davidson is rebellious, masculine and rugged.

Creating a brand persona for your podcast is a fun way to figure out what you want to be known for and what kind of personality you’re going to present to the world.

Think about your favorite podcasts – what is their brand persona?

If you’re creating a personal brand, built around yourself and your expertise, you can use your own personality to inform your brand personality.

  1. Choose a name

When you’ve got a clear idea of your brand personality, you can choose a name to match it.

Keep in mind who your target audience is and try to find a name that will speak to them, while being descriptive enough to give an idea of what your podcast is about.

When you’re choosing a name, it’s important to remember the basics of trademarking to make sure you can protect your intellectual property online, especially if you’re looking to grow your podcast into an international brand.

Your name should be:

  • Distinctive
  • Memorable
  • Not used by other brands or podcasts

Take a look on social media to see if the handle for your name is available and research whether or not the URL is taken.

To make marketing your podcast and growing your audience as easy as possible, it’s a good idea to make sure you can secure these spots for your brand. Otherwise, go back to the drawing board and try out some different names.

  1. Design your brand aesthetic

Part of designing a brand is also thinking about your brand aesthetic. This will shape different design elements like your logo, landing pages and social media profiles.

Choose a brand aesthetic that matches your brand persona and will appeal to your target audience.

The idea is to create something that’s cohesive and easy to recognize as your brand – wherever it pops up around the internet.

Think In Color 2022 speaker Simran Kaur and co-founder Sonya Gupthan created the Girls That Invest podcast aimed at offering investment tips to millennial women. Their podcast has grown from nothing to become a six figure business and now ranks as the world’s top investing podcast for women.

Their brand aesthetic is feminine and approachable, featuring Simran and Sonya as the friendly faces behind the expertise. The color palette is a blend of pale pinks with plenty of emojis thrown in. The overall effect is fun, friendly and girly, showing their audience exactly what they’re about.

If you want to know how to start a podcast with no audience, you need to work on creating a strong brand.

  1. Produce your podcast

Of course, a big part of how to start a podcast with no audience includes planning and producing your podcast episodes!

While the process will differ depending on the type of podcast you’re creating, it generally follows these steps:

  1. Planning your episode
  2. Producing a script or key discussion points
  3. Recording your podcast
  4. Editing your material
  5. Adding music and an intro/outro
  6. Writing a description for your episode
  7. Uploading your podcast to a hosting platform

For a detailed, step-by-step guide to how to create a podcast, check out our full guide here.

Here are some top tips for how to start a podcast with no audience:

  1. Find guests and brand collaborations

When you’re starting a podcast with no audience, use brand collaborations to grow your audience from scratch.

Utilizing partnerships with existing brands, influencers, experts and thought leaders is a really effective tool to help you get your podcast in front of the right people.

Find podcast guests with expertise and an existing audience in your niche and invite them to come and talk to you.

After they’ve been on your podcast, ask them to share the episode with their audience via social media, email marketing and more.

If you can find guests with a large following and a loyal audience, you can boost your brand awareness and encourage more listeners by piggybacking off their existing audience! You might even get the chance to be a guest on their podcast too.

Guests and collaborations are also a fun way to get a diverse range of perspectives in your podcast and offer your audience valuable insights into the topics they love.

This is a top tip to keep in mind when you’re looking at how to start a podcast with no audience.

  1. Repurpose your existing content

When you’re creating a podcast, remember that you don’t need to necessarily create all your content from scratch.

In fact, podcasting is a great way to repurpose your existing content and distribute it to a wider audience.

Whether you have course content, blog posts, ebooks, YouTube videos and more, all this content can be repurposed to fit a podcast format.

Structure your episodes around the key themes you’ve covered in your course content and find ways to make it engaging for listeners.

The Thinkific Hello Audio app lets you take your digital content – including your course, audiobook, masterclasses, summit recordings, coaching calls, and more – and turn it into a private podcast feed that customers can listen to on the go.

With Hello Audio you can create podcast episodes instantly, saving you time, energy and resources.

  1. Take it one episode at a time

You don’t need to create a whole podcast series in one go.

In fact, if you’re looking at how to start a podcast with no audience, it’s a good idea to take it one episode at a time and gather audience feedback along the way.

This lets you refine and tailor your content to your audience, letting you create the podcast series your audience really wants to hear – not just what you think they want.

Rather than putting all your energy into creating a podcast series in one go, you can test and refine after every episode and make your podcast the best possible product it can be.

Encourage listeners to share their feedback by adding a survey to your landing page, social media and even including a link on the podcast hosting platform. You can also ask for feedback at the end of every episode, so more listeners get in touch and share what they want to hear from you.

  1. Market your content

Producing a podcast is not enough to win you listeners and generate an audience – you also need to market your podcast!

There are some ways to market your podcast, even if you have no audience. Here are 3 ideas to get started:

  1. Social media

A simple way to start marketing your podcast is to share your episodes on social media.

Even if you’re learning how to start a podcast with no audience, that’s no reason to ignore your existing followers. Chances are, you already have some social media followers, even if they’re just friends and family.

Share your podcasts to get your first listeners and encourage your network to share with their friends and followers too.

Though your listener base will probably start off small, social media is a great way to spread the word and encourage people to take an interest in your podcast.

Pro Tip: Make it easy for people to learn more about your podcast and your brand by creating a dedicated landing page for your podcast on your website. To learn how to create an effective landing page, check out this guide.

  1. Email marketing

If you have an existing email list, you can also use this to market your podcast.

Create an email marketing campaign to publicize your podcast, aimed at your current mailing list. Encourage people to listen to new episodes and share with their network.

What about running a poll to choose what your next episode should be about? Or a competition where the winner gets to be a guest?

Freebies, competitions and discounts are all great ways to convince your mailing list to share your podcast and generate more brand awareness. Get creative and think of fun ways to encourage more engagement with your content.

Just make sure that you include an option for email subscribers to opt out of your podcast marketing emails if they want to.

Read more: How to Leverage Email Marketing

  1. Brand advocates

When you’re learning how to start a podcast with no audience, the trick is to utilize every marketing opportunity you have – including your podcast content itself.

In every podcast episode you produce, make sure you include a Call-To-Action (CTA). Encourage your listeners to rate and review your podcast on your hosting platform, follow you on social media and subscribe to your mailing list.

This helps you turn any listeners into brand advocates, generating much-needed social proof that you can use to market your podcast to more people.

You can also encourage fun User Generated Content (UGC) like sending in a voice message, tagging you in photos and organizing listener events with their friends. This helps to add an extra interactive element to your podcast – while also creating a nice opportunity for free marketing from your listeners!

Whatever marketing strategy you use, make sure it fits your brand and is tailored to your target audience for the best results.

These 5 simple steps can help you to start a podcast with no audience and grow your listeners and subscribers step-by-step. Ready to see some examples of successful podcasters?

3 examples of podcasts that started with no audience

If you’re not sure how to start a podcast with no audience – and whether or not it’s even possible – look no further than these 3 successful Thinkific creators!

  1. The Start, Shoot, Grow, Thrive Podcast – Xayli Barclay

One of Thinkific’s top experts, Xayli Barclay built her personal brand as a Visual Content Creation Coach – and started a successful podcast from scratch. Capitalizing on Xayli’s extensive expertise, the Start, Shoot, Grow, Thrive Podcast focuses on how to build confidence in front of the camera, along with extra tips on creativity, mindset and entrepreneurship.

Key Takeaway: Use your existing expertise

To start a podcast with no audience, follow Xayli’s example and utilize your existing expertise to win more listeners. Focus on a topic or niche that you’re knowledgeable about – this not only helps you to talk with confidence, it also gives you the opportunity to draw listeners from your existing network.

  1. The Easeful Living Podcast – Zakia Haughton

Zakia Haughton created the Easeful Living Podcast with the aim of having real conversations about life, leadership and the realities of being an entrepreneur. Zakia’s episodes include themes like Conscious Leadership and Embracing Stillness, building on her 3-day online course Sell Without Launching.

Key takeaway: Be authentic

To grow your audience from scratch, focus on being authentic and genuine in all your content. People connect with people so let your personality shine through and don’t worry too much about being perfect.

  1. It’s Fun – Puno and Maceo

Founder of ilovecreatives and Think In Color speaker Puno created a podcast series with guest host Maceo Paisley, a designer and founder of Citizens of Culture. Their podcast series It’s Fun covers the ups and downs of running a small business with guest hosts including actors, designers and entrepreneurs.

Key Takeaways: Find interesting guests

When you’re starting a podcast with no audience, follow Puno and Maceo’s example and bring in interesting guest speakers and co-hosts to help bring your brand to a wider audience and generate more brand awareness. Guest speakers not only help to add a fresh perspective to your episodes, they also give your audience access to extra insights and expertise.

These 3 creators all set up their podcasts from scratch to share new ideas with their customers and reach a wider audience with their content. Take inspiration from their stories to help you start a podcast with no audience!

Ready to start your podcast?

Learning how to start a podcast with no audience is simple if you follow these branding and marketing tips. If you can choose your niche, define your target audience and build a brand that appeals to your ideal listeners, you have the foundations you need to start a successful podcast from the ground up.

For more insider tips on how to start a podcast with no audience, check out the Entrepreneurs On Fire Podcast Workshop to learn from the experts – plus get downloadable templates to help you grow your listenership today!