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How To Hone In On Your Podcast’s Target Audience

We recently shared this episode of our original comic series, Client of the Year…

And while this scenario is humorous, it does raise a valid point…how important it is to hone in and find your podcast’s target audience. And so we figured that, besides bringing the humor, we’d also bring you a guide to help you find that all-important target audience for your show.

But let’s back up just a smidge…

Perhaps you’re still wondering why it’s so important to find your podcast’s target audience? And following that train of thought, you might also be wondering why you can’t just aim your podcast at everyone, and gather a massive audience around your show?

Well, hypothetically, you can attempt to not define your target audience and simply market your show to all types of listeners. But unless you’re a global celebrity or you have a massive brand, this would be a mistake and may even prove to be the Archille’s heel of your show’s success.

Remember, there are so many podcasts out there…

Seriously, SO. MANY. The latest tally puts the total around 2, 282, 644! And everyone is trying to carve a space out for themselves by attracting and building up a loyal audience around their show. And this is most often done through solid marketing strategies. But, as any business strategist or entrepreneur will tell you, you need to know who you’re marketing to in order to craft a successful marketing campaign.

(For more on this, check out this super informative article from the Small Business section of Chron.com : Why Is Identifying the Target Market so Important to a Company?)

What should be clear from all of the above is that you NEED to know your target audience. But HOW do you figure out the target audience that’s THE ONE for your podcast?

We’ve put together 10 questions that can get you as close as possible to finding that all-important target audience. As you answer each one, you should be one step closer to finding the basis of your podcast community.

Let’s get this ball rolling, shall we?

(Want to see more installments from our Client of the Year series? You can check out all episodes on our Instagram page here, or sign up to our weekly newsletter, and a new episode will be delivered to your inbox every Thursday!)

1. What Is Your Podcast Niche?

The answer to this question should focus on your topic. Understanding your niche and the role of your podcast within that niche will help you as you start your search for the target audience that will best suit your podcast. Knowing your niche allows you broad insight into the type of people your podcast could appeal to. 

Firstly, you would have those who have a direct interest in your niche. This could be people whose careers are linked to your niche, those who share your hobby, or people who have perhaps studied in line with your niche. You could also extend your investigation to include people whose interests, careers, fields of study, or area of expertise are aligned with or linked to your niche indirectly. In short, answering this first question takes “everyone in the whole wide world” and narrows it down to those who have an interest, whether directly or indirectly, in your chosen niche.

Related reads: 8 Ways To Strengthen Your Niche Authority

2. What Is The Focus and Tone of Your Podcast?

This is another “broad strokes” type of question, but I assure you, it will help you get ever-closer to your target audience. And this question does this by giving you a clearer picture of the type of person who may be interested in your podcast.

Is your podcast a serious, analytical, academic discussion of your topic? Then it follows that your target audience would be those who a) enjoy analytical discussions, b) have the same academic approach to your subject, and perhaps even c) have a similar background knowledge when it comes to your subject area. So your target audience may include scholars, professors, or entrepreneurs who are serious about enhancing their knowledge and engaging in academic discussions surrounding your subject area.

On the other hand, if the tone of your podcast is more tongue-in-cheek, and you take a humorous approach to your subject, your target audience would likely be totally different to that of the above scenario, even if the subject of your podcast remained the same. There is a very good chance that the listener who is after a no-frills discussion on your chosen topic would not be interested in a podcast that does anything but take the topic seriously!

3. What Are Other Demographics of Your Podcast’s Target Audience?

Following the answering of the above question, you can now start narrowing down certain demographics concerning your ideal podcast listener. With your topic, focus, and tone of your podcast in mind, you can explore different groups who this will appeal to. You can start by considering such things as the general age of your listener. Would they be more likely to be Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, or Millennials, for example? 

These demographics, as arbitrary as they may seem on the surface, provide you with an abundance of really useful information! First up, they help you get even closer to zoning in and clearly defining your target audience. This then will help you craft content that really hits the mark in the eyes (and ears, obviously) of your listeners, making it more likely that they will become loyal members of your podcast’s community. 

But knowing these types of demographics will also help when it comes to promoting your podcast. Using this insight, for instance, you’ll know which platforms to use when you want to launch successful marketing campaigns, i.e, Will you need to create some viral TikToks or flex your expertise on LinkedIn? But it can also give you golden insight into which brands you should approach for potential sponsorship when you’re looking to monetize your podcast.

Related read: Social Media Marketing Options For Podcasts

4. What Problems Could Your Audience Have?

So you should now have a hazy outline of who your target audience is. The answers to the next question can help us bring that outline into a clearer focus: What problems could your target audience be facing in their day-to-day life? 

What issues might your audience be facing, or what might be concerning them?

You then need to think about how your podcast can help them solve these problems. The answers to these types of questions not only help you position your podcast in the best place possible to meet the needs of your audience, but they help tell you more about who your audience is and what type of podcast content they would be after. 

5. Who Could Your Podcast Help?

Question 5 is the natural response to Question 4. By figuring out what types of problems, issues, or concerns members of your target audience are potentially facing, you can then ask the next question: Who could your podcast help? This helps you get more specifics about who your ideal listener is.

You may have a broad idea of who your audience is, from asking the above questions, and from any other research you have done and information you have gathered, but understanding who, amongst that broad audience, your podcast can help, narrows down the field even further. If you know which problems your podcast can address, you know more about the sector of your potential target audience to focus on and win over. 

6. What Passions or Hobbies Could Your Audience Have?

In the same way that knowing the problems your target audience faces, and which of those problems your show can solve helps you discover more about your target audience, so this next question helps you refine this search even more. 

Think about the passions, interests, and hobbies your target audience may have. Answering this question helps further define who your podcast should aim to reach. Your role-play DND podcast may be just what gaming millennials who focus on fantasy games are looking for. Or your podcast sharing the ins and outs of urban farming could be perfect for Baby Boomers who have an interest in sustainability and who already garden as a hobby.

While these may be hypothetical scenarios, the fact remains that the more you know about your target audience, the more you will be able create a podcast that your listeners love. But you’ll also have incredible insight into how and where to market your podcast to really see results. You’ll also have great information to share with your potential sponsors which could help you seal the deal on those sponsorship opportunities! If you can prove you know your audience, and know why a particular sponsor would be a great fit, you’ll be more likely to meet with favorable outcomes consistently. 

7. What Type of Podcast Format Do You Intend to Use?

This may seem unimportant when you’re on the hunt for your target audience, but remember, there is no such thing as “too much information” when it comes to honing in on your audience.

As such, the type of podcast you have, or plan on having, can also help you zero in on your candidates. Some formats simply appeal more to certain types of listeners. 

Answering format-related questions can help you inch ever closer to a clear picture of your ideal listener. They narrow down the playing field even further, and rule out listeners who simply are not partial to or interested in your podcast format.

Obviously, this is not a “set-in-stone” kind of condition – your particular solo-hosted podcast might be so good that it wins over those die-hard “I only listen to interviews” types of listeners. But in general, analyzing your potential audience in light of your chosen podcast format should give a better understanding of who is, as well as who isn’t, a potential member of your loyal podcast community. 

Related read: The Top 10 Different Types Of Podcast Formats

8. What Other Podcasts Appeal To Your Potential Target Audience?

The next question to answer is what other podcasts already appeal to your potential target audience? Would it be podcasts like Serial, The Daily, or something like This Imagined Life

This information can help you understand what it is that your potential audience likes (or doesn’t!), what they’re looking for, and then, most importantly, how you can meet all of that and then some! You can also learn how and where to market your podcast, what brands or companies align with this information, as well as giving you a good indication of things like the ideal episode length and even when to publish new episodes.

9. What Makes You Different? 

The answer to this question is particularly important if you’re looking to find an audience in a crowded podcast niche. You need to know what distinguishes your show from the rest of the podcasts in your niche, so that, by extension, you know what will separate your audience from the larger pool.

Your views, opinions, and thoughts, the way you create content, and the way in which you deliver that content are all distinguishing factors of your show. 

Your unique story, and the angle from which you share your knowledge are all things that differentiate you from any other podcast host doing a similar thing to you. Knowing what you uniquely offer can then further help you figure out who your target audience is – those looking for what you specifically bring to the table.

10. What Objectives Does Your Podcast Aim to Achieve? 

Finally, Question Number 10: What aims or objectives do you plan to achieve through your podcast? I get this might not immediately sound like a question that will bring your target audience into crystal clear focus, but go with me on this…

As you were dreaming up your podcast, and putting your launch plan into action, you would have (or should have, cough, cough…) clearly defined the aims and objectives you want your show to achieve. Whether it was to be the leading voice when it comes to all things crocheting from a millennial perspective, the ultimate choice for helping the average Joe understand crypto, or the best Trekkie fan-fiction podcast in the galaxy, understanding your “why” is paramount to the ultimate success of your podcast. 

But knowing your “why” also helps give you a clearer picture of who your target audience ultimately is. Take each of the above examples. The hypothetical objective helps paint a picture of that specific podcast’s target audience. And so by looking at the aims and objectives you’ve set for your show (if you haven’t yet set these types of objectives, now would be an excellent time to do just that!) you should be able to answer each aim with the type of person that would be interested in your show. And these, ultimately are the perfect members of your target audience.

In Conclusion

The relationship created between podcast host and listener is just one of the many aspects that make the podcasting medium so special. But in order to be in a position to make those connections, you need to know who it is you should be making those connections with. As should be crystal clear, knowing who your target audience is one of the main strategies that will set you up for podcasting success.

And more than giving you the foundation upon which to launch all your advertising campaigns, or giving you the pivotal information you need to approach sponsors, knowing who your target audience is will allow you to create the content they’re looking for, helping you to establish yourself as an authority within your niche, and making your show a “must-have” in their lives. But more than that, knowing who your target audience really is allows them to become all the more real to you, and this is the crux of building and nurturing that special connection between podcast hosts and their listeners. 

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Jennay Horn

Jennay Horn

Jennay is the Content Director at We Edit Podcasts

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