Want to Grow Your Podcast Audience? Communicate What You Stand For

How do I get more listeners to my podcast? Have you ever asked yourself that? I’m sure you have because we all ask this. The funny thing is, at first, a lot of us are afraid of anyone hearing our podcast, at the same time, we want everyone to listen. 

We’re working hard on these episodes! We’re producing them for the benefit of other people, and so how do we grow our audience? This starts by having a clear understanding of who we are and what we stand for in this world.

That sounds simple, right? But sit with this for a minute because it’s a big question. It’s life’s BIGGEST question. Why am I here? What matters to me? Am I living a life that’s aligned to what matters to me? Am I talking about these things on my podcast? 

Not many people spend time reflecting on what they really value in life, or how our everyday lives match up to those values. Sure, they might be floating around in the back of our minds, but we don’t give ourselves the space we need to contemplate how we want to show up in the world. 

Until we get clear on what we stand for, we won’t be clear in what we want to share with the world, on our own shows and on the ones we guest on. If we don’t know what we’re all about, why would an audience rally behind us? 

So who are you? What do you stand for?

It’s all about clarity and showing up

Bernie Sanders ran for the U.S. Senate several times in the 1970s and lost every race. It doesn’t matter if you like Bernie or not, or what your political affiliation is, his story has something that we can all learn from. 

Bernie Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn, but spent most of his adult life in Vermont, a rural state in New England. He moved there in the late 1960s, along with a lot of other progressives exiting big cities like New York. 

Bernie had been active in the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements and, in the 1970s, started running for political office in Vermont as a liberal socialist. He didn’t start small, like trying to get a seat on the local planning and zoning committee. He was running for governor and senate. And he kept losing. Very badly. 

And running for office is hard! You’re spending every waking moment knocking on doors, calling people, getting rejected...and then to lose is soul crushing.

But Bernie knew what he stood for and his message didn’t change. At one point, his friends sat him down and said, “Look, Bernie, the senate thing isn’t happening right now. You’ve got some support in Burlington (which is Vermont’s hippie capital). Why don’t you start smaller and build your base?” And so he did. 

Bernie Sanders ran for mayor of Burrlington and won -- by 10 votes. The businessmen and other people who had been in charge of the town did not want a socialist mayor and threw all sorts of obstacles in his way, like hiding information he needed to run the town effectively. But Bernie kept building his community. What he stood for didn’t change. His message didn’t change

Bernie was mayor of Burlington from 1981 to 1989. In 1988 he actually ran for Congress and lost. But then he won. And he kept winning. In 1990, he was elected to Congress and in 2007 he became a United States senator. His message didn’t change. He knew what he stood for. His audience knew what he stood for, and that audience grew. 

You might know that in 2016, Bernie’s political movement caught fire, and his supporters literally chanted “Feel the Bern” at his rallies when he was running for President of the United States. Bernie is running for president again in 2020, and if you look at his website, he says, “I’m running for president so that, when we are in the White House, the movement we build together can achieve economic, racial, social, and environmental justice for all.”

Will Bernie be president? Who knows. But he’s already won because his message, which hasn’t wavered in more than three decades, has shifted the political conversation in Washington D.C. Democrats are openly supporting and campaigning on ideas to fight climate change, offer healthcare to all, and forgive student debt. These discussions would have been unthinkable a few years ago. They’re happening now because one man, who lost many elections before he started winning, knew what he stood for, he repeated this in language that people could understand, and he ignited a movement

What do you stand for?

Spend an hour considering these questions. Not only will this help you get clarity on your messaging, it’s also a good reality check on your goals and wellbeing.

  • What brings you the most satisfaction in life? How much time do you spend doing this?

  • What do you want out of life?

  • What do you want to be known for? What’s your message for the world?

  • Why were you put here on this Earth?

  • Who do you want to serve?

  • How would someone describe what you stand for? Can you sum this up in one or two sentences? What stories do you have that back up what you stand for?

Identifying your mission, vision, and values for your life is your foundation. When you have clarity on this, everything related to your podcast will flow more easily, from the interviews you participate in to what you post on social media. Your messages will be more consistent and more meaningful. This is when people will really start listening to you. This is how you grow your podcast audience.