“If you build it, they will come.”
While that might be a nice sentiment for an inspirational movie, it’s not necessarily true in podcasting. The thing about creating a show is that you have to have an audience (and an engaged one at that!) to sustain it. It’s simple — no audience, no show.
Before you choose a theme; before you name your show; before you set a guest list; and certainly before you hit record for your first episode, you must identify the audience you intend to serve. They don’t have to be the biggest batch of people, or the most glamorous, but if they’re engaged, that’s all you need.
If you don’t believe us, take it from these podcasting gurus who have tested the waters firsthand.
Jay Baer: Size Doesn’t Matter
You might argue that identifying and catering to a specific target audience limits your potential reach. But do you really want those other listeners if they’re not going to be engaged long-term?
Jay Baer is so adamant about attracting the perfect niche audience that he’s willing to forfeit larger listener groups. His show, Social Pros, could serve all social media practitioners, but its true purpose is to reach social media managers at large enterprises.
“We’re perfectly ok with that,” Jay says. “That fundamental understanding of who you are and who your show serves is irreplaceable.”
Strategy moment: Who is your primary audience? Is there a sub-group of listeners whose needs you could meet even further?
Tom Webster: To Each His Own
As podcast showrunners, we’re also podcast listeners, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. Sure, we can explore genres and glean new ideas, but we’re also susceptible to the thinking that what’s good for one podcast is good for all.
Not true, says Tom Webster, SVP of marketing and strategy for Edison Research. Could it be that your audience is attracted to your show because it’s not like the others? Some listeners prefer a 20-minute “quick hit” show instead of an hour-long epic. Some shows require more of a monologue-style than an interview format — and that’s okay.
“If you genuinely make audience-focused decisions, you can do no wrong. But that also means learning more about your audience,” says Tom. “It can be a dangerous thing to start a podcast and not know enough about your audience before you start.”
Regardless of what decisions you ultimately make for your show, put your audience at the heart.
Read your reviews, observe which shows perform best, and serve up content that keeps them coming back.
Strategy moment: Why did you make the decisions that are currently in place for your show? Could your listeners benefit from a different format? (Hint: ask!)
Molly Sloan: Spread the Love
Drift got its start in podcasting when the company’s CEO and VP of Marketing partnered up to pioneer the popular Seeking Wisdom podcast. After three years of successful showhosting, the Drift team made the conscious decision to expand to multiple shows. After all, they had the internal talent to support it.
“The need to have a network instead of just one show really evolved over time, and we just recognized as a company: we’re growing, we have a lot to share,” says Molly. “Why only have one show when there were a lot of different people that we could speak to?”
But does a multi-show network work for every company? Molly urges you to look at your audience and first understand if there’s a need for another show. Do your research upfront to ensure the audience will be there and you’ll be spending your time well.
“You can get a podcast off the ground pretty quickly, but if no one’s listening to it, then you’re doing it for nothing.”
Strategy moment: Do you often find yourself with too much content to fit into one episode or season? Do you have listeners with a wide range of roles and perspectives?
Put Your Audience First
Whether your show speaks to brand marketers, B2B salespeople, content marketers, prospective clients, or even solo podcasters, it’s your job to know them better than anyone.
Remember these key takeaways:
- Without an audience, your message is lost.
- Listeners want content from you that interests them (not the other way around).
- You may need different shows to serve different audiences.
Too much work, you say? Never. Casted makes it easy to cater to your audience with an all-in-one platform that lets you schedule episodes (for the one, two, or 100 shows you manage), transcribe and create clips for promotion and follow-up, and capture deep analytics that help you understand your listeners better than ever. We’re here whenever you’re ready to get started.