When it comes to things like making your podcast avatar, marketing, and growing your audience, you first need to know what your audience needs.
Sometimes podcasting can feel a bit isolating. It's just you and maybe a co-host or two making something and putting it out into the world.
Even if your audience is engaged, sometimes it might feel like you might not know just who they really are. Luckily, there are some simple ways to find who your audience is that are much easier than they seem.
Narrow it down
First and foremost: your audience, your core demographic, is not “everyone.” There is no podcast that is made with everyone in mind.
A podcast made for everyone would lack all personality and be completely uninteresting. Saying your audience is “everyone” might feel like a selling point, but it's more likely going to incorrectly drive your marketing.
Your podcast's core audience might be a very specific group of people. That's okay. An audience that loves your podcast deeply is just as great as an audience loving your podcast widely, but in a more shallow way.
Think about your niche
When defining your audience, think about what niche your podcast fits into.
Some podcasters will have no problem finding their niche. I once met a podcaster whose show was all about collecting Pez candy dispensers. Finding her niche, and therefore her audience, was simple. Her audience is Pez candy dispenser collectors.
Struggling to Choose & Use Your Podcast Equipment?
Pick the right gear, and learn how it works: from USB mics to mixers.
For industry podcasters, this will likely be an easy find too. What sorts of people are in your industry? Does your podcast attract a specific group within that industry? That's your audience.
For others, this might be a bit more difficult. If you make a comedy podcast, it might seem like your niche is “People who like jokes.” It's likely that your niche is much more specific than that.
What kinds of jokes do you tell? Do you have that edge of abstract, absurdist millennial humor? Or do your jokes feel more Monty Python?
Jokes appeal to everyone, but not every joke appeals to everyone. Take a moment to dissect your humor and think about what makes it tick and who might find it funny.
Get to know your listeners
If you already have listeners–even just a handful–try to find out who they are. If you find the things they have in common, that might tell you a bit about how to define your audience.
See who follows your podcast on social media. What do your followers have in common? What sort of people are they?
(Obviously don't cross any boundaries here when looking into your listeners. Being a podcaster looking into your listeners in the name of research doesn't make you exempt from being a creepy social media stalker.)
If you've interacted with your fans, think about your interactions. What do your listeners seem to be like? What do they seem to like?
If you have followers on social media, you have a quick way to start defining your audience.
Ask your listeners
I'm a big fan of a podcast survey.
Podcast surveys are a great way to get specific, clear information about your audience. Almost every big-name podcast collects annual surveys of their audience, and you should, too.
Collecting surveys using Google Forms, Survey Monkey, etc. is a quick and easy way to see who's listening to your podcast. Being able to see the numbers of your podcast audience's core demographics is usually one of the simplest and most accurate ways to define your audience.
Don't worry about feeling like a burden on your audience. Letting your audience fill out a survey is a great way of letting them support you for free.
Your audience wants to help you succeed, even if they can't afford donations. Asking them to fill out a survey is a great way to let them help you out while also getting great data on your audience.
We actually take a dive into how to create the perfect survey in our 30 Days of Audience Growth course too, if that's something you'd like to learn more about.
Finding your audience is a key part of making your podcast avatar, honing your marketing, or pitching your podcast to sponsors.
Defining your audience can seem daunting until you start thinking, first, about your niche. Does your podcast appeal to people with a specific interest? That's your audience.
Next, think about the audience you already know, probably via social media. What are those listeners all about? What are their interests? What are they like?
And finally, never shy away from a good old fashioned survey. Annual podcast surveys will help you efficiently collect accurate data about your audience so you can see the numbers.
Need More Help With Your Podcast?
I mentioned the 30 Days of Audience Growth course already, which is just one of many you'll find inside The Podcast Host Academy. That's where you can learn about anything from editing and presentation skills, to promotion and monetisation.
On top of that we run regular live Q&A sessions too, so you can always get the help and advice you need towards creating and growing a brilliant podcast.