How to create targeted podcast content

After arriving back in England after an intense week at Blog World New Media Expo in New York, I’ve been recovering from a vicious cold.

In fact it’s been more than a cold. If the cold and flu had a love child then that’s what I’ve got.

But while I’ve had a couple of corks up each nostril, I’ve had a chance to reflect on my first experience at Blog World & New Media Expo.

I had an absolute ball meeting new people from all over the world who are podcasting, keen to start, or don’t even know what the hell podcasting is!

And the best part, I was able to soak up plenty of podcast content and share my knowledge and experience with others.

Me (far right) at Blog World answering a question on podcasting

I was fortunate enough to be asked to sit on a panel with some other podcasting experts and we talked about podcasting 101 and 101 part 2. When I came out of the final session I jumped on twitter and noticed that someone had re-tweeted one of my “off the cuff” comments made during the panel.

Now sorry to disappoint, it was nothing even remotely controversial, but I do believe what I said is worth repeating. So if you weren’t at the session or you missed the re-tweet, here it is.

“If your target audience is out of focus, then your content will be out of focus…”

Why is that worth repeating you might ask? Well it’s one of the things that a lot of podcasters struggle with.

Before you start recording a podcast, you should know who your target audience is. Down to the finest point. I’m talking splitting hairs here. Here’s why…

If you don’t know who you are targeting, then how will you know if your content ever hits the mark?

Have I told you how much I love analogies?

Good, read on.

You need to know your target

If the archer fires his arrow at a target he can’t see, does he have a chance of making bullseye?

Not a chance in hell.

And if he can’t see the target then how can he adjust his stance, angle, power, resistance to give him the best chance of hitting it?

He can’t. It’s pointless and impossible.

You see, he needs to know the location of the target before he does ANYTHING.

In the same way, you need to know who your target audience is before you even think about hitting that record button.

And finding that out, isn’t that difficult.


Figuring out your target audience

Now here’s a reality check.  Your target audience doesn’t automatically materialize once you start recording and releasing podcasts.

The thing is, you create your target audience.

Best way to start is by asking, “Who do I want to reach?”

Then it’s just a case of adding the color to this very black and white picture.

Radio stations have always believed that the more defined their target audience is, the better chance they have of reaching it with content. The same goes for getting good podcast content. There’s a number of ways radio stations target.

1. Demographic

Age is a fantastic way to nail down your target. Are you targeting 20 – 30 year olds? If so then all the statistical data on that age group tell us they love to go out clubbing, drink on weekends, love holidays with friends and have a fairly disposable income.

But let’s say you are targeting 35 – 45 year olds. There’s a massive priority shift. Folks in this demographic are fairly settled down, have jobs that they most likely loathe or complain about, and have kids that they are trying to raise as best they can.

Targeting people by age helps you have a general sense of knowing without ever actually meeting them.

All of the radio stations I worked at had very strict guidelines about generating content that was appealing to the demographic.

2. Sex

Statistically women live longer than men by 5 years. And men are more likely to drink, smoke and treat their bodies with disdain.

So let’s say for example if you have a podcast on playing poker and drinking high grade alcohol, then according to the stats, you will probably have more traction with a male skewed audience.

Think about how you talk to a member of the same sex. Is it different to how you talk to a member of the opposite sex? Yes? Ok good then you’re like the rest of us.

So the way we construct language and present ourselves (body language, tone etc) automatically adjusts to who (what sex)we are talking to, so that we are comfortable and create the most resonance with them.

So as a podcaster, knowing if you’re talking to females or males will have a significant impact on how your show sounds.

Other filters that could help you determine your target audience:

To drill down even further and understand your audience, ask yourself these targeting questions:

  • Is the bulk of my audience employed or unemployed
  • Are they at beginner, advanced or intermediate skill level in relation to the subject matter (if you are teaching yoga on your podcast, then are you teaching newbies or pro’s?)
  • Do they have kids?
  • Are they married?
  • Are they single?
  • Do they live by themselves?

**Hot Tip**

It’s a good idea to actually create a fictional member of your target audience so next time you create podcast content you can ask yourself if it’d be relevant to them. Work through the questions below to start creating your listener avatar.:

  • What is their name?
  • What do they do?
  • Do they have kids?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their income?
  • What turns them on?
  • What turns them off?

And now…the BIG secret

The big mistake many podcasters make is believing that their content will attract their target audience.

That’s wrong.

Deciding on who your audience is, based on the content you produce, is putting the cart before the horse!

No, what you need to do is decide on your audience first, then go after them with your targeted podcast content.

Identify the target and then suck them in with that tractor beam of yours.

Once you have a clear picture of your target audience, then you will know exactly what they want to hear.

That way you’re content will ALWAYS be in focus, because your target audience is!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Piers September 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Excellent point, especially about having a fictional version of your target audience (ie an avatar) in mind.

Of course needless to say it also helps to hang out in some of the places your target audience does from time to time. Physically if you can, online if that’s all that’s practical. It’s amazing the assumptions and misunderstandings you can dispell when you actually spend time around the people in your target market rather than just guessing who you *think* they are.


Dan September 12, 2012 at 7:31 am

Great point Piers! Thanks for stopping by 🙂


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