In our last blog post we covered some great ways to engage and retain your listeners. In this post we will see how you can attract new ones and grow your traffic.

1. Submit your internet station to Internet radio directories

Internet directories are acting as internet radio aggregators and they are a great way to start promoting your station. There are dozens of free online radio directories where you can submit your station free of charge and reach new listeners for music and shows. The more directories you submit your station to, the higher the visibility. We recently published a blog post featuring the top radio directories to submit your internet radio station and reach new listeners. 

2. Invite guests to your shows

If you are planning to have a show on a specific topic and you know a person who is expert in that matter, you may want to consider inviting them to be part of the show. If they accept, they will most likely want to share the news with their friends who might end up liking your station and becoming regular listeners. So, think of people who have a good social presence and a large following. If the show goes really well then you might even consider giving them a guest show once a month and if that also goes really really well then just offer them a regular spot on your station.

Another great way to attract new listeners is by inviting or interviewing influencers to your show. These influencers could be musicians/bands, DJs, event organisers-promoters, bloggers etc. who are related to the music style that you play or to the topics that you cover and have a large social media following. If your station is community based, then think of local influencers like local bands or musicians. Before you start reaching out to influencers, be sure to have a clear plan and pitch (know exactly what you want to offer them), be patient (as they tend to get tons of invitations like yours), and just be yourself!

To make sure the interview reaches as large an audience as possible, you’ll want to start promoting your interview and show well ahead of time to create anticipation. Don’t forget to ask your guests if they could also share the interview with their audience.

3. Make use of Facebook 

There are plenty of ways to make use of Facebook to engage your current fans and attract new ones. First and foremost, as we mentioned earlier, you might want to consider creating a facebook group so that your members can interact with you and with each other. If at some point your Facebook group ends up having thousands of members, you will have a great channel where you can communicate your news and reach out to all your fans. Also groups with a big number of members tend to be attractive to new members.  After having the group running for sometime, you can identify the most active and loyal users and assign them moderator access. In that way you show them your trust and they feel valuable. 

Also, you might want to become a member of Facebook groups where the demographic of members matches your target audience. Post in the group to let members know about your internet radio station or any special events you might be holding, such as an interview with a famous band or musician. However, it’s crucial not to be seen as intrusive or spammy by over-posting. If you repeatedly post in the group trying to promote your station, you’ll risk being removed by an admin.


4. Run contests and polls

‘Almost’ everybody loves a contest with a good prize. If you manage to get free tickets to popular upcoming gigs to give away to your fans, you could run a competition on your social media channels. A common way to run a social media contest is to ask your fans to interact with one of your posts in order to enter the competition. This way your posts get organic visibility and reach a wider audience. The friends of your fans are likely to share common interests – hence this could be an excellent way to get in front of a larger relevant audience. 

Tip: You can partner up with businesses who would be willing to sponsor the competition and pay you so that they are mentioned as the main sponsors.

5. Blog to get organic traffic

If your station plays a specific genre then there is a lot to write about on your blog. From covering the culture and history of the music, to interesting facts about the genre, industry rumours and exciting stories related to the music, there are so many different topics to talk about. Just be creative. If you have an exciting interview on the type of music you play or the topics you cover then just transcribe the audio and you have a nice first draft. If you do keyword research on the topic discussed in the interview and you amend the text a bit so that you can add those keywords inside the text you will have some more possibilities to make that blog post rank higher in search engines (this technique is called SEO). Don’t forget to optimise the meta title and meta description so that it explains what the post is about. After you publish the new post, be sure to let the world know about it by sharing it on your Facebook page, Facebook group and other relevant forums or groups you are part of.

Also, another clever way to reach a wider audience is to open your blog to guest contributors. You can ask your listeners to submit their own stories and publish them on your blog. Your listeners will most probably want to share the news with their friends and those friends could be potential new listeners of your station!

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6. Use internet community forums and groups to share exciting news and shows

Forums, groups and discussion boards are super popular amongst enthusiasts in all sorts of areas, so they can be a great place to spread the word about your radio station. However, as mentioned earlier in the section about joining Facebook groups, you need to play it carefully. Don’t just promote your station as an admin will probably ban you from the group. Try to be a useful member and only share your station once every now and then when you have something great to share. Always read the group/forum rules before posting anything and familarise yourself with what other members share and what type of content gets the most likes and shares. 

7. Start podcasting

Over the last decade, podcasts have seen a steady rise in popularity and with the COVID-19 pandemic, podcasts are more popular than ever. You can take advantage of this trend to promote your station. You can turn your radio shows into podcasts and upload them into podcast databases where you can attract new listeners. Guest interviews and featured shows covering specific topics work particularly well as podcasts. Airtime Pro has a built-in podcast feed and lets you publish directly to your podcast from your Airtime Pro track library. Your fans will be able to browse, listen, and subscribe to your podcast directly from your Airtime Pro Radio Page.

Airtime Pro’s Podcasting feed

8. Send newsletters with upcoming hot shows and news

Do you have an interesting interview with a hot celebrity or influencer coming up? Do you plan to make a top 20 song of the decade show and you think that your listeners and their friends will love it? Is there a contest coming up soon and you want to spread the word? All this info can go on your website’s blog, homepage, but also on your newsletter. A strong newsletter can become a great, extra communication asset for your station. If the content of your newsletter is interesting enough it can be easily shared among people of the same interests and in that way you can increase your reach and attract new listeners.

9. Use paid promotion

You can use Facebook ads to reach your ideal listeners. If you play a specific style of music then it will be easy to target those listeners. If you already have a Facebook page where you post news about your station, interviews, radio shows, etc then you can just boost your posts so that you reach new listeners/followers. Just be sure to do correct targeting, meaning that you specify the listeners with the characteristics interests you want to attract, so that you don’t spend your money in a bucket with a hole in it.

10. Upload your music shows on YouTube and Mixcloud

If you have shows that are just plain music then you can create mixes and upload them in platforms like Mixcloud. With correct tagging you can reach new listeners. Fans will be able to follow your account and get a notification whenever you have uploaded a new mix. You can do the same with YouTube. However, if the music you upload on YouTube is copyrighted and violates the terms and conditions, then the platform might reject your upload. So, it’s a bit tricky and risky when you upload music on YouTube. Check out this video to find out how to upload copyrighted content on YouTube without getting flagged, blocked or banned. However, if your show is strictly informative, let’s say it’s an interview with a band, or an influencer, then you have nothing to worry about. I suggest you do some quick keyword research so that you come up with a descriptive, and SEO friendly title. In that way you might get some new organic listeners to your station.

Extra ways to attract new listeners

We asked you to provide some of your best tips to attract new listeners to your station. Thank you all for your answers. Unfortunately, we couldn’t use everyone’s, but we’ve selected the following submissions from  Bob Gaye of D-103 Radio Network and Rob Macon from Smoothjazznetwork.airtime.pro.

Bob Gaye / D-103 Radio Network

  1. Engage your listeners by making what you do on-air personal, informative and entertaining 
  2. Record listeners’ voice drops and put them on the air. People love to hear themselves on the radio. 
  3. Create a monthly theme for all (12) months of the year and select the music that will be a perfect fit. 
  4. Promote your radio station TEAM and not just yourself. 

Rob Macon / Smoothjazznetwork.airtime.pro

  1. Get promotional items as T-shirts, posters, business cards, etc., for your station. Then connect with local businesses.
  2. Get friends or others to help promote your station. Make it appear that you have a large staff. And make sure you feed them and offer from time to time, a little cash.
  3. Volunteer with local community groups. They promote community activities. Let them know you have a radio station. These organisations have budgets you may not be able to afford. And you will be able to build your listenership.

So, there you have it! These were some great ways to attract new listeners to your online station. If you have more ideas, please share them in the comments section.

Starting an online radio station has never been easier. No credit card required!

7 day free trial  Plans from $9.95/mo