A podcast’s audience refers to the specific group of listeners that a show targets and serves through its content. Unlike traditional broadcast mediums, podcasting allows creators to hone in on a niche audience and craft a show that directly speaks to their interests and needs. But first you need to gain a deep understanding of your audience.
Defining Your Audience
Start by identifying core demographic traits like age, gender, income, education level, location, and occupation. Ask yourself questions like:
- What’s the age range I’m targeting? While some podcasts attract a wide swath, most find success focusing on a specific bracket like millennials or retirees.
- Is my audience more male or female? Even shows that appeal to all genders often skew one way. Don’t rely on assumptions.
- What’s the income profile of my listeners? Higher disposable incomes mean more potential for sponsorships and sales.
- What are the education levels represented? This could impact vocabulary choices and depth of discussion.
- Where are most listeners located? Consider cultural and geographic differences in your content approach.
- What fields do they work in? Connecting your topic to specific vocations makes it resonate.
Lifestyle and Values
Demographics only reveal surface level traits. You need to dig deeper into psychographics like lifestyles, values, and personality attributes. Ask yourself:
- What passions and hobbies define their lifestyle? Tailor topics and ads to align with interests.
- What core values drive them? Appealing to values like individuality or community creates connection.
- How do they view the world? Align your perspective and messaging with their mindset.
- What pain points and aspirations motivate them? Catering to desires draws dedicated listeners in.
- How do they spend disposable time and income? This influences sponsor and affiliate opportunities.
- What brands and products resonate most? Partnerships and endorsements should align with favorites.
It’s also crucial to understand why your audience chooses to listen. Emotional drivers include:
- Escapism – Providing entertainment and distraction from daily life.
- Inspiration – Motivating personal growth and achievement.
- Companionship – Fostering a sense of community and friendship.
- Education – Satisfying intellectual curiosity and the desire to learn.
- Validation – Reinforcing perspectives and making listeners feel understood.
You can combine emotional motivations with more functional ones:
- Efficiency – Offering information quickly and conveniently.
- Multi-tasking – Enabling listeners to pair audio with daily tasks.
- Problem-solving – Providing tips and guidance around key challenges.
- Navigation – Helping listeners understand complex or confusing topics.
With your audience profile in mind, turn to research sources to test assumptions and fill in the blanks. Useful resources include:
- Listener surveys – Ask for demographic info plus lifestyle and motivational questions.
- Focus groups – Gain qualitative insights from a small group of listeners.
- Analytics – Review audience data related to age, gender, location, usage, interests and more.
- Social media – Analyze follower demographics and interact to learn about listeners.
- Reviews – Feedback often reveals listener motivations and suggestions.
- Comments – Engage with listeners and ask probing questions.
- Forums – Join existing communities centered around your niche to observe.
So why does audience research matter? You can directly apply these insights to strengthen your show and connect with listeners in many ways:
- Choose strategic topics that resonate with their interests and needs.
- Shape tone and style to be approachable and accessible.
- Refine marketing and target promotional efforts toward existing listener habits.
- Sell ads and sponsorships from brands your audience loves and align values.
- Pick guests who will interest and inspire them.
- Direct affiliate promotions at products the audience will want.
- Design merchandise fans will use.
- Plan live events in locations listeners can access.
- Spark community by nurturing the relationships and dialogue listeners crave.
- Take feedback to evolve the show according to what they want more (or less) of.
- Continually track analytics to identify demographic shifts over time.
A clear picture of your audience gives you the power to adapt the show as listener needs change. And segmenting out groups within your audience allows even more customization. The most successful podcasters let the audience itself guide the path forward.
So avoid assumptions. Let your audience reveal themselves, then craft a show that directly serves their interests. The magic happens when your niche knowledge meets what real listeners want and need. Start by asking – who exactly is out there listening?