Not knowing who you're talking to can often feel like you're stumbling around in the dark. Defining your target audience is the single most important thing you can do to grow your podcast and get that money rolling in! That's why you need to enter the mind of your podcast audience (cue the Inception music).
You Never Say the Same Thing Twice
Ever notice that you don’t speak in the exact same way to any two different people? You automatically adapt the way you talk to your audience without even thinking about it. For example, at work if your boss asks 'How are those reports coming along?', it's safe to assume you'll respond in a polite and well-thought-out manner, instead of 'I'll have them done next week or sooner if you stop distracting me!!! JEEZ MAN!'.
Adapting what you say to your audience is something most people do naturally. When you’re presenting a podcast, you have the added challenge of not being able to see who you’re speaking to. You can’t read their facial expressions or body language, so you have to trust that you know your audience well enough to be able to create content that they’ll enjoy and engage with.
Scratch Your Own Itch (Whilst Scratching Others) 🐾
The phrase ‘scratch your own itch’ is often applied to business startups because many people believe entrepreneurs are more likely to be successful if they solve a problem they’ve experienced themselves. Really, if you're doing something for yourself you're more likely to have:
- Increased motivation so you'll stick to it!
- It'll be easier to empathise with and understand your audience.
- Your passion and interest in the topic will be present when you present.
I mean, who doesn't love to scratch their own itch, just look at this little fella going to town!
This is probably one of the best reasons to start a podcast, but as you grow along with your listeners it’s not enough to just do it for yourself. Not everyone is on the same page, so as good as it is to scratch that itch, it's best to look outward and target your real fans.
Target Your Real Fans 🎯
The people that love your show are by far the most valuable part of your audience. These are the people that come back again and again, feel a connection with you, and rave to their friends about your show.
Most people will listen to your show once or twice and ‘like’ it, but they're just passers-by, so they're not really your core audience. These are the ones that keep coming back and engage with all your content, aka SUPER FANS!
Being able to distinguish between the normies and dedicated super fans within your niche is REALLY FLIPPING IMPORTANT! You should ignore the wants of those that just 'like' your podcast, instead focusing more on the wants of those that 'love' it. Soooooo... the question is: How do you target real fans?
Real fans often fall into niche groups. These are rather small pockets of people that aren't mainstream. If the idea of focusing on smaller groups feels limiting, then you're dead wrong! We're all guilty of getting into the habit of thinking that limiting our focus is also limiting the potential for growth, but that's just not true.
Thankfully, it doesn’t work that way. Why? Attention can be difficult to get, especially with so much choice today, that's way narrowing the focus of your content on a particular group can be rewarding.
If you make a small number of people very happy, they'll become almost like ambassadors for your podcast and will tell their friends about your show, growing your audience naturally, so don't underestimate small groups as they can be an extremely powerful force!
Using Your Detective Skills 🔍
Grab your dear stalker and pipe, because this is about to get interesting Watson!
Jokes aside, we all have a few detective skills in us which can help get you into the mind of your podcast audience. As it can be quite tricky listing every single thing ALL your listeners might like, it's best to use what's known as a user persona. Basically, it's a way to create the ideal listener based on average likes and dislikes of all your listeners. Things like:
- Demographics: Age, location, education.
- Goals: What they like doing and hope to achieve.
- Habits: What they do in their spare time and identifying quirks.
To make it a tad easier on you, we've put together a few questions designed to help you gain some insight into your audience to form your own user persona (or in this case, audience persona).
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Target Extremes, Not Just Averages
So, what do I mean by targeting the extremes? Well, not everyone is going to enjoy the same stuff. Most of us have very specific likes and dislikes. You might prefer light-hearted comedy podcasts, whilst someone else loves murder mystery ones. The "extremes" are people that know precisely what they like, whether that's very popular stuff like true crime podcast Serial or more niche things like theme park podcast Dis After Dark.
The point is, you can get a sense of who you're talking to by knowing a little bit about your ideal listener. User personas can really help with this! They're fictional representations of your ideal customer based on the needs and behaviour of your target audience.
Create user personas not only for your average listener but for your extreme listeners too. They're a good way to map out precisely that type of person you're talking to which can help you come up with content for your podcast. Personas are usually demographics, goals, habits, and a few other things that fit your ideal listener. Let's take a look at an example!
Take a Look at The Philosocuzzi Podcast
Let’s say your podcast is called Philosocuzzi (a fake one we just made up) and you interview a philosopher in a jacuzzi each episode. You may find that some of your fans want really high-level discussions, whereas another group of fans switch off when the topics become too complicated.
If you appeal to the average then downloads will drop whenever episodes are too complex or extreme. Instead, you should apply your creativity to try and satisfy both types of listeners. For the Philosocuzzi podcast, this might mean introducing a rule called ‘no jargon’ so that the conversation is accessible to those that don't understand industry-specific terms, but the conversation still has it's complex moments!
Your ideal user persona is a collection of everyone you're talking to, so in this case that's people with a drive to know more about the past, but without all the technical mumbo-jumbo!
- Create a podcast that you would like to listen to based on a problem or idea that you have experience in, aka scratch your own itch.
- Tighten your focus on the people that LOVE your podcast! 😍
- Create personas for both the average and for extremes of your audience (using our handy worksheet) to get a better understanding of who your listeners are.
Got Your FREE Audience Persona Building Guide Yet?
Create audience persona's to represent your audience and remind you exactly who you're talking to! Download your copy below!