Before we start this article we'd like to get something out of the way: was Valentine's Day is probably invented by greeting card companies and drug store candy brands to sell you more of both?

Probably.

Is there a higher rate of break-ups on Valentine's Day?

Maybe.

Does that mean we're not going to celebrate?

Nope!

But we'll leave the greeting cards and chocolate for the greeting cards and chocolate companies, and stick to podcasting. Namely, how to show your audience how much you appreciate them sticking with your show!

Sometimes it hard to express how much you truly appreciate your audience. After all, without them, how else would you find the inspiration to actually make your podcast? If you aren’t sure how to show your audience the love they deserve, rest assured. Below are 14 ways to do so, genuinely, sans candy hearts!

1. Set Up a Private Facebook Group

On the surface, this might seem more to your benefit than your fans. After all, Facebook groups typically see better audience engagement than Facebook pages. However, they also provide the opportunity for you to interact with fans and for fans to interact with each other–and you already know your fans like you and your podcast, so it stands to reason that they'll like talking to each other! Effectively Wild, a popular baseball podcast, has an extremely active Facebook group with over 8,500 members. Plenty of larger shows have not only their main group, but spinoff groups where fans talk about dating, parenting, and other niche interests. Show your fans how much you want to hear from them by setting up your own group today.

2. Go To Relevant Events and Meetups

Not everyone is a social butterfly, but sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to mingle with your fans is totally worth it. Not only can you connect with those who already follow and appreciate you, but you can also introduce yourself to new audiences in a personal, authentic way.

3. Be Responsive on Social Media

It matters to your fans when you respond to them on social media, especially when they’re asking questions or recommending your podcast to other people! Make sure to thank them–and then maybe follow up by doing #9!

4. Solicit Questions and Comments

Spotlighting questions and comments from your fans lets them know you're listening to them, and also lets them be part of your show, which is pretty cool! The added benefit for you is that you'll also get more content for your show!

5. Release Scripts/Transcripts of your Show

Sometimes, your listeners want to revisit certain parts of your episodes after they’ve listened once. Transcripts are a great way to offer them that opportunity. Transcripts also show your love for your d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing audience!

6. Release Bonus Episodes

The podcast Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet decided to start releasing one bonus episode per month with fan-suggested content. Bonus episodes are the perfect way to give you fans even more of what they love.

7. Blooper Reel

There’s no better way to share your sense of humor and down-to-earth attitude with your followers than releasing a blooper reel! Bloopers are one of the most highly-requested extras we see with shows on our platform.

8. Highlight Creative Contributions from Fans

Invite your fans to name segments and episodes of your show. The Judge John Hodgman podcast invites followers of its Facebook page to name upcoming episodes based on short descriptions of each episode’s premise. Film podcast Movie BS with Bayer and Snider rotates several different listener-submitted theme songs.

9. Shout-Outs

Don’t forget to show love to listeners who have liked your social media posts or donated to your podcast by thanking them by name on the air! This can be formally baked in to your donation structure, or done ad hoc!

10. Live Episodes

It’s a bit of a complicated undertaking that often requires a significant listenership, but a live episode gives your listeners a break from the usual format and gives your biggest fans the chance to see a show in person.

11. Art Contest

Boost audience engagement with a contest that asks your fans to design your podcast’s logo or cover art. Be sure to include a great prize for the winner!

12. Offer Guest Slots to Your Fans

Give your most loyal or perceptive listeners the chance to appear on your show for a call-in segment.

13. Giveaways

Give away official merchandise from your show to contest winners or random lucky individuals. Get creative with your giveaways and contests. While surprise & delight is great, don't be afraid to get creative! Give away official merch for fanfic creators, long-time listeners, or your most vocal social fans.

14. Start a Patreon

Patreon is a great way to spur engagement with your fans and get paid for your hard work in the process. Any of the previous ideas can be used as rewards for listeners who give your show a certain amount of money per month (or per episode).