Identifying your audience is one of the key foundations for your podcast. Whether you already have a show or you're launching a new one, you need to know who is your audience. You need to identify who that person is listening to your show. You may have taken some free podcasting courses or did some Googling and many people say you need to shape your ideas and find your ideal listener. True, I am no different. But what does that really mean? Why does finding your audience matter to your podcast? Without knowing who you are talking to, you also may not find your voice as easily.
Podcasting is a very intimate medium, listening through earbuds on walks or running errands or at home when cooking, doing the dishes, and even in the shower! That's a very intimate place. Today, there is a growing trend of groups of people listening together, creating more of a community space. Edison Research released its "2020 Spoken Word Audio Report" in October, which consists of all audio that doesn't focus on music. What that includes is audiobooks, some forms of radio like talk radio, and of course podcasts. It sounds that 42% of listeners listen alone. Which is usually what I do. But that means the reverse, 58% of listeners are spending time listening with others; that's more than half of the audience. So let's get to know your audience a little better.
Think about what are they doing when they are listening to your show. The number one location is in the home and this was pre-COVID too, so before being stuck at home listening. Why are they listening? Why are they choosing to listen to your show? Is it for stress-relief? To learn something? To be comforted or connect with someone? Perhaps to feel less lonely? That last one is probably pretty true for this COVID era. It's important to think of one person when doing anything related to your show because you can then gauge what those answers might be and create content relevant to them.
If you can get that one person to listen to you, everyone else is gravy. You want to focus on and hone in on who this person is. Sometimes it helps to actually put a name to your ideal listener. Let's say her name is Kate. Kate is in her late 30's with one kid, who also runs a health and wellness business, but loves to garden in her spare time and that's when she's listening to your show. So let's say, for example, your show is about running a creative business and you are looking to Kate and showing her how self-care can be like gardening where you spend time digging in the dirt end enjoying the outdoors. Kate likes to grow food in her garden so you can talk about how cycles of the business are like cycles of the garden. You want to be able to reap those benefits, enjoying the fruits of your labour, and celebrating in your business just like enjoying all the food from your garden. Knowing your ideal listener means knowing exactly how she is thinking so that you can help out in the best way possible. Knowing her pain points, knowing what are her challenges, and you can speak directly to that because you know exactly what she needs.
If you didn't have an ideal listener then who would you be talking to? The greater world? Everyone and anyone who is listening? No. That doesn't build intimacy and connection. You want to be able to pinpoint exactly what someone's needs are and that is how you build a relationship. That is how you build trust. And that is how you get raving fans listening to every word that you have to say and trusting in your voice.
Though sometimes it's not necessary to have to carve out an avatar, like my avatar Kate I mentioned earlier. If you're starting out, what you can do instead is create an emotion. What do you want your listener to feel? How do you want them to react? And what is that emotional connection that you want them to have from your message? From your show? From your episodes? And ideally, from your voice?
Once you have the emotion laid out for your show, the next step might be to create that avatar so when you are recording your episodes you have that person in your mind and the emotion connected together. That is what you'll be speaking to. Tell Kate about how you know what it's like to struggle in the business, but also tell Kate about how wonderful it can be to enjoy the community that she has built in her business. Much like enjoying all the apples that she harvested from her tree in her garden.
Because, as we said before from the Edison research, 42% of listeners are listening by themselves and usually with earbuds. So when you think about it from the listener's point of view, the way to connect is how you speak and what you say in choosing words like you. Believing in that one person means you should choose to use the word "you", which has a greater impact to the person listening. If I said "everybody out there listening" or "hey everyone", it's doesn't create that intimate relationship with whoever is listening. Although 58% of listeners are listening in a group, you can still create that intimate connection because each person listening still believes that you are talking directly to them when you say "you". So knowing who you are talking to, that one sole person you are talking to, is extremely important in creating a natural-sounding delivery in your voice. To create a connection, build trust, and be authentically you.
So find your ideal listener. Identify who your audience is and create an avatar. And if you're not ready for that avatar, create an emotional experience. How do you want your listener to feel? If you need a helping hand figuring this all out, I'd love to record a complimentary 20-minute session with you and I can share it on the podcast! Drop me a message through the purple voicemail button on the right-hand side of this post and let's get started!