Knowing your target listener is a very important part of creating a winning radio station or podcast.
That's because you can't appeal to everyone.
And if you try to do so, you'll end up without a definite audience. This activity can also help you refine your objectives.
Let’s get started:
So, who is the target audience?
Basically, it's any person you want to reach with your YouTube show, podcast, or internet radio station.
It may be people that share similar beliefs. For instance, Christian radio stations target fellow believers.
An internet radio station may also target people based on their geographic location, profession, income, age, or interest.
A good example is a Jazz station targeting jazz lovers. Or a cooking podcast targeting people who love to cook.
Be wary of having a general target.
For instance, your program can't simply target women. While many women may find the show entertaining, you may be after 30 to 40 year-olds moms with past careers in the education sector.
Additionally, the target audience should be in line with the program's objectives. For instance, the objective of Radio 4 is “To be a mixed speech service, offering in-depth news and current affairs and a wide range of other speech output including drama, readings, comedy, factual and magazine programs.”
Radio 4 targets the 35 to 54-year-old segment, who make up about 24% of their listeners. Well, their programming appeals to older people, who also want to learn and grow as they are being entertained.
Does it mean that you exclude other people? Well no! The target audience is the people that you want as your biggest fans. They are the people you want to touch with your programming.
Picture a pyramid. The target audience is the people that form the base of the pyramid and hold everything up together.
Why it’s super important to get the audience right
It's what stands between your project becoming successful or failing.
Here's a simple example. Let's say that you want your podcast to target 18-24-year-old women in Memphis. Now, this is an ultra-specific audience, and notice it was not just “Young women.”
Your definition of success is when you have 100 of your core audience listening.
This specific audience definition allows you to go after the right people. This may entail advertising online through platforms such as Facebook that allow precise audience targeting.
You may physically go to campuses, handing out flyers to your potential audience. Or even start making friends online.
Defining the audience lets you know who they are and where to find them. That’s critical to a program’s success.
6 Steps to Define Your Audience
The six-step process in summary includes:
● State your program's objectives
● Write a rough description of your ideal listener
● Build on the listener’s profile through real-life research
● Ensure that the show is in line with the audience’s interests
● Get exposure to potential listeners
● Redefine your objectives & assumptions
● Promote & grow your radio
Here are full details about this process, step-by-step.
Step 1: Outline your radio’s or podcast’s objectives
What's your radio station or podcast about? Educating, entertaining, inspiring, making people laugh?
Does it deal with social issues? Is your radio all about promoting the local culture and heritage?
Maybe, your goal is just to play the music that you have cataloged over the years and share it with other music lovers. Whatever it is, write it down.
Step 2: Come up with a description of the ideal listener
Here is what a detailed description of the ideal the listener for a podcast targeting young musicians may look like:
● Took music lessons in school
● Played in the band
● Has at least one music app installed
● A fan of music content shows, e.g., American Idol
● Looking to apply for college or recently enrolled
● Skewed towards both males & females
● Age 17 to 19
● Still a dependant or working the first job
● College or recent graduate
● Love talking about music
● Probably has a YouTube channel where they publish videos
● Looking to pursue music professionally
It's important to be super specific about who they are. You need to know what existing knowledge they have and gaps that you can fill. Your description may also include the name of a hypothetical person.
Step 3: Build on what you know
Now is the time to get out of your box and research more about the target audience. Remember everything that you may have written by now may be based on assumptions.
This additional research may include researching people online or talking to real people. Based on what you know from research, you can improve your description of the target audience.
For instance, while you may discover that your target audience of young music professionals follows specific musicians on social media. So, covering the artists in your broadcast or podcast will make it more relevant to them.
Step 4: Ensure that the show is in line with the audience
With this insight about your audience, it's time to revisit your schedule, music, and content.
For instance, if at the start of your show, you go on about off-topic issues. Can you trust your young audience of aspiring musicians to stick around until you get to your main point? Or would it be better to have an awesome music intro?
If you have a show about social issues but never actually get to talk to activists or interview figureheads, how effective will it be?
If your station is targeted towards an older audience: does your lineup only include music? Or do you also offer them educational segments that they love, such as phone-in discussions or political commentary?
As a good pointer, print out the briefs of your target audience. Pin them on the wall somewhere in your studio. Compare your scripts and content to ensure that you’re constantly fulfilling the target listener’s needs.
Remember, it’s the subtle differences that distinguish good shows from great shows.
Step 5: Expose the show to potential target listeners
Now, this can be hard to do if you're just at home hoping to reach an audience of global listeners.
You may not have money to spend acquiring the audience. It’s the hosting fees that may be on your mind at the moment.
So here are some quick not-so-obvious ways to go after the right listeners:
● Commenting on YouTube videos your audience may watch: Now, this is not perfect! But ideally, post something that may attract people to view your channel and find more about you.,
● Promote & Promote on Social Media: Start following and liking your potential audience members. Then later, you can invite them to check out your content. And depending on the level of trust, ask them to share.
● Gather feedback: Request feedback and ways to improve the shows. But don’t push it. Really, don’t come off as if you’re desperate for listeners.
Step 6: Redefine your objectives & target audience
Consider that you may miss the mark entirely during this exercise.
That’s because defining your target audience based on their beliefs, location, age, sex, or income is really complex. So, there may be a need to redefine the target audience based on your new findings and results. That’s also particularly true as your audience’s interests and tastes may keep evolving.
You may want to create programs that better reflect this. For instance, if your podcast is oriented around Keto, it’s a trend that may suddenly change or become outdated.
New health trends may emerge that your audience may start leaning to.
If you pay a keen eye on political media channels, you’ll notice that they are always quick to adapt to their demographic's demand. Sometimes, it leaves people confused about what’s happening.
Step 7: Promoting & growing your radio
We have more pointers to get your radio station or podcast to the right audience. Here are the resources:
Think of that one person you want to hear your show. Have specific goals you need to accomplish. Consider how the program may change their life for the better and deliver enormous value that they will not have any option than become loyal fans.