Audience Growth

Wrestling with a Niche: How to Grow Your Cult Film Podcast Audience

Oct 13, 2023


You're a podcaster who loves digging into the backlots of cult and indie cinema. You're juggling a DSLR camera in one hand and a podcast microphone in the other.

Your passion is unquestionable. But your audience size? It's more indie than you'd like.

You understand that your niche might not draw crowds like the latest Marvel blockbuster, but you can't shake the feeling that there's a vast untapped audience out there who would love your stuff — if only they could find it. But how do you reach them? Where are they hanging out?

Let's uncover three unexpected, yet highly practical strategies to help you catapult your podcast listener numbers. 

In this blog, you’ll learn:

  • Audience Research for Niche Markets
  • Lateral Promotion Strategies
  • Targeting Local Audiences


Embrace The Niche and Amplify It

Here's a fact that might surprise you: niche is good. People crave specificity, expertise, and content that's tailored to their interests.

According to ImprovPodcast, niche podcasts are a rapidly growing aspect of the industry and show a lot of potential for success.

Your niche is your strength, not a weakness. Instead of seeing it as a hindrance, think of it as an advantage. You have a unique offering, and you need to embrace it. 

Here's how you can find your niche group:

1. Define Your Avatar

Know your audience and understand them deeply.

That's your 'avatar.' These are people interested in cult movies and indie filmmaking, who have the potential to become loyal listeners. Dig into data – age, gender, interests, behavior, the social platforms they frequent, their favorite filmmakers – everything.

SemRush, listed down several ways to gather data on audience demographics and interests. Here are some methods:


  • Use website analytics software: Google Analytics is a popular tool for collecting demographic data on your website visitors. It provides insights on age, gender, interests, behavior, and more. Other website building and hosting services like Squarespace also offer built-in analytics software that provide insights about your website demographics.
  • Conduct surveys or focus groups: Many larger companies perform their own in-house audience demographics research in the form of surveys or focus groups. Resources like Survey Monkey can help with this process if you have a way to reach a broad enough audience. Third party market research firms are also another option, though the costs tend to be high. G2 listed down top 10 market research providers here
  • Use social media platforms: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer insights on audience demographics and interests. You can also use these platforms to reach out to potential listeners and engage with them.
  • Leverage third-party tools: There are several third-party tools that can help you gather data on your target audience. Quantcast, for example, pulls together insights on purchase behaviors.

2. Participate in Relevant Communities

Once you know your avatar, find out where they hang out. Online forums, Facebook groups, Reddit threads, or perhaps a good old-fashioned film festival? Be there, engage with them, offer insights, and subtly plug your podcast.

For example, on Twitter, Social Media Today suggests seeing who is using hashtags most often. On Facebook, you might have to friend some people in your industry. On LinkedIn, participate in industry groups. The key is to follow people key in your market.

3. Form Strategic Alliances

Connect with influencers within your niche – bloggers, YouTubers, film critics, even indie filmmakers. Collaborate with them on podcasts, interviews, and cross-promotion.

This method is supported by MagicLinks, who said fostering strong influencer relationships early and putting your brand in front of the right people on social media can be instrumental to building a base of niche creators who are qualified and willing to promote your business. 

Find influencers with a complimentary niche, so get to know their focus points. Make sure that the niche influencer is using social media to promote brands they know and care about.

Use 'Lateral Promotion' to Your Advantage

Collaborations can work wonders. Try ‘lateral promotion'. It means promoting your podcast on other podcasts that already have a significant listener base. Here’s how to use this to your advantage:

1. Invite Podcasters as Guests

Let them share their insights on your platform and reciprocate.

The Influence Marketing Hub shared how you can successfully approach other podcasters to collaborate on a lateral promotion. Consider these strategies:

  • Build relationships: Before reaching out to other podcasters, start building a foundation of camaraderie for an organic and genuine relationship. Be a fan and supporter first before you get down to business. Find creators who you admire, who inspire you, and who influence you. If you already know some creators, engage with them on social media or attend podcasting events.
  • Reach out: Once you've identified potential collaborators and built a relationship, reach out to them with a proposal for collaboration. Be clear about what you're proposing and what you hope to achieve. You can suggest a guest appearance on each other's podcasts, swap promotional clips, or bundle podcasts together for a platform promotion.
  • Be creative: There are many ways to collaborate with other podcasters, so don't be afraid to get creative. You could create a joint episode, host a live event together, or even create a new podcast together.
  • Follow up: After collaborating with other podcasters, be sure to follow up and thank them for their time. You can also share the results of the collaboration with your audience and promote their podcast to your listeners.

2. Promote Each Other

Swap promotional clips that can be inserted into episodes.

Looking for something more novel?

Rephonic has creative ideas for podcast collaborations beyond the promo swaps.

  • Podcast takeover: Let another podcaster take over your show for an episode or vice versa. This can be a fun way to mix things up and provide your listeners with a new experience.
  • Feature a podcast segment: Collaborate with another podcaster to create a segment that can be featured on both of your shows. This can help you reach new audiences and provide your listeners with new content.
  • Co-host a podcast episode: Collaborate with another podcaster to co-host an episode. This can be a great way to combine your expertise and create a unique listening experience.
  • Montage episodes: Create a montage episode by combining clips from multiple podcasts on a similar topic. This can be a fun way to showcase different perspectives and provide your listeners with a new listening experience.

3. Bundle Podcasts Together

Approach podcast platforms for bundle promotions. For instance, your podcast could be promoted alongside a series on indie games or graphic novels. One approach is to reach out to podcast platforms directly and propose a bundle promotion. 

Indie By Design is an independent publisher of premium books that celebrate the creativity, culture, and people of video games. Humble Bundle is a company that offers bundles of video games, books, and software, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. The Creative Penn Podcast covers writing, publishing options, book marketing, and making a living with writing. By identifying podcasts and platforms that align with your podcast's content, you can increase your visibility and reach a wider audience.

Start Local, Aim Global

In the race to gather a global audience, we often forget about the audience closer to home. Tap into your local community.

Here’s how you can do it:

1. Organize Local Events

Film screenings, interviews with local indie filmmakers, or movie-themed trivia nights — use these events to promote your podcast. The Podcast Host recommends in-person podcast promotion by joining a local club or society, attending conferences or conventions, running a booth, or organizing a session, panel, or workshop.

2. Leverage Local Media

Get interviewed on local radio, TV stations, or newspapers. Local audiences can be a great starting point to gather an initial, loyal listener base.

Part of this, Castos suggests that word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most effective podcast marketing strategies available. 

3. Collaborate with Local Businesses

Partner with local businesses like theaters, comic book stores, or coffee shops to display your podcast flyers, or play episodes in-store. Here are some resources to help you get started:

  • Use a free online tool like Canva to create eye-catching podcast flyers. Customize templates with your podcast name, logo, and a brief description. Then, print and distribute them to local businesses like theaters, comic book stores, or coffee shops.
  • Create a podcast collaboration creative brief using a template from Visme. This will help you share your ideas with potential partners and grow your podcast with their help.
  • Check out customizable design templates from PosterMyWall to create free business partnership flyers, posters, social media graphics, and videos in minutes.
  • Consider investing in a podcast branding kit from Etsy. These kits typically include customizable templates for logos, social media graphics, and more.

Wrapping Up

Every podcaster's journey has its share of uphill battles, but when you're armed with a few counter-intuitive strategies, the ride gets a tad smoother. Remember, the size of your niche does not determine your podcast's potential. It's about understanding your listeners and knowing how to reach them where they are.

Podcasting, particularly in a niche as specific as yours, isn't a one-size-fits-all game.

But the right tactics, like embracing your niche, leveraging lateral promotion, and starting local to aim global, can be game-changers.

Embrace the adventure that lies ahead. After all, every podcast has its twists and turns. It's how you adapt to them that will shape your ending.

Don't miss out on the latest and greatest from Deciphr.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.