There are many strategies that can help you grow your health and fitness podcast, through paid and free options. 

I started my first show, The Brian Keane Podcast, towards the end of 2016 and have been fortunate to grow it to one of the top health podcasts worldwide. With millions of downloads, regular mainstream media features, and several award nominations, I believe these tips can help you succeed too. 

While there is more competition now, there are still many ways to grow your podcast organically:

1. Optimize Your Show Title and Description:

Ensure your podcast title and description are clear, concise, and optimized for search engines. Use relevant keywords to attract potential listeners to your podcast when they search for topics related to your niche.

When I started, my goal was to create a “one-stop-shop” for all things related to health and fitness. By including key phrases in the title and description of each episode, such as calorie deficit, fat loss, IBS, diabetes, disordered eating, CrossFit, and ultra-marathons, users could easily find specific information they were looking for. I believe this helped increase my audience engagement, which led to more subscribers.

2. Leverage Social Media:

Use social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to promote your podcast and engage with your audience. Consider running paid ads on these platforms to increase your reach and attract new listeners.

In 2023, short-form videos are the trend that podcasters should be using to promote their work. Be sure to capture video content for your podcast, then clip it up into short-form videos to generate more interest in the original episode. 

3: Guest Appearances:

Reach out to other health and fitness podcasts and offer to be a guest on their show. This can help you reach new audiences and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

In my course ‘How To Move Your Health, Fitness, or Personal Training Business Online’ – I call this attention hacking. It’s when you build a relationship with somebody already established in your niche and you either make them an offer they can’t refuse to bring you on their show or build up a personal relationships with them that they invite you themselves. 

Note: there is definitely a wrong way to do this! I get pitched at least twenty times a week and some are so bad, that they get rubber stamped forever because of the way they approached it. I recommend reading chapter 1 of Never Eat Alone Keith Ferrazi on how to ‘lead with generosity’ if this is an area you struggle with. 

4. Networking:

Attend industry events and conferences, join relevant Facebook groups and LinkedIn communities, and participate in online forums to connect with other health and fitness professionals. Make sure to share your podcast with these communities and ask for feedback and support.

I do less of this now; but in the early days, it became invaluable to me in regards to connecting with people in real life. Some became friends, others guests; but rarely was it wasted time. 

5: Collaborations:

Collaborate with other health and fitness professionals to create guest episodes and cross-promote each other’s podcasts. This can help you reach new audiences and build relationships with other industry experts.

Podcast swaps are becoming increasingly popular and are what I call a three way win. You get a great podcast guest, they get to promote their message to your audience and the listener gets valuable content.

6: Paid Ads:

Consider running paid ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google AdWords to reach a broader audience and attract new listeners. Make sure to target your ads to people who are interested in health and fitness, and include a compelling call-to-action to encourage people to listen to your podcast.

I’ve found that sponsoring other podcasts is the best approach here. Podcast listeners listen to podcasts; but it is considerably more expensive than the options above. However, if you have the budget for it, it works really well.

7: Consistency:

Consistently producing high-quality content is crucial for growing your podcast organically. Make sure to stick to a regular publishing schedule, deliver high-quality content, and engage with your audience through comments, social media, and email.

Most people give up months, weeks or even days before their greatest growth. 

Podcast growth can be really fickle. Nothing for months and then bam, one great show and it lifts the numbers on all the past episodes. If I was excepting podcast growth to be linear, I probably would have quit years ago. It grows in waves, not linearly month by month. I know first-hand how frustrating it can be so stick to it. 

By following these tips and consistently producing high-quality content, you can grow your health and fitness podcast and attract a passionate, engaged audience.