How do you find new listeners in a niche that traditionally isn't overly technical?
Matthew: Here's a question that came in through the website thepodcasthost.com from Leslie. What if my target audience isn't technical? What's the starting point for this Colin? You're maybe doing a podcast about something, might be something targeted towards maybe the older generation or some sort of trade maybe that's not known for their smartphones and Facebook use and stuff like that. It's hard enough in the past few years sometimes explaining to someone who's fairly on the ball with that sort of thing, what a podcast is. We're obviously making a bit of progress with that now. When you're approaching a target audience, there's a lot of things that you've got to consider there isn't there?
Colin: Yeah. I think the best thing here is that there's a huge opportunity. If you've got a non-technical audience then it's not that they won't be up for listening to good content on their phones or whatever, it's just that they don't tend to think of that as a first choice for something to fill their time or to learn how to do something. You've got a big opportunity here in your space to get them into podcasting and you'll be the first show that they find and you'll be the first habit that they make in terms of listening to this content. It's a great place to start. I suppose it's getting I front of them. That's the tricky starting point isn't it? How do you find them in the first place? Where have you found for that Matthew?
Matthew: One idea that comes up is like real life events, conferences, that sort of thing. It's all very well you know, we're all guilty of sometimes sitting behind our computer screens trying to grow an audience that way and that's obviously great but you do have to get yourself out there, especially if you're dealing with a group of people who aren't as involved online. Finding out what events are there in your area and if it's going to be worthwhile for you investing a bit of time in and going there and trying to meet people. The etiquette of going, not to digress too much but going to these sort of things is not just go there and hand out business cards and just be selling. Just go and try and make friends with some people and see where it leads.
Colin: Absolutely. I've been to a lot of meet ups and networking events where it's smaller audience so it's a lot easier to meet people, to start talking to them. They're always great for getting people to listen to your show because you make a lot of personal connexion there. You're in a small room of maybe 10, 15 people and you get to talk to them. It feels sometimes like it's a bit small scale. You're just finding one person. Adding one to your listener numbers but actually that one person that turns into a loyal listener tends to always talk about podcasting to other people and converts a lot of other people. It scales much wider than it appears I think.
Going outside of the events side of things, I think that sometimes you can think that if it's a non-technical audience that it's not worth investing in the other digital marketing type approaches. Podcasting, obviously, it's a content marketing technique, it's a way of marketing in the digital world but because podcasting is a smaller, it's a lesser known medium, we're not mainstream. We can't claim to be. Still less than 50% of people know what a podcast is apparently, going by the stats so it's not like YouTube where 99% of people know what it is or blogging where 100% of people pretty much are searching for content through text on the internet. We're not at that stage yet so we need to be found using these other mediums. What do you think? What other ways can we be found using digital marketing methods?
Matthew: A lot of people are on social networks now even if they're not technical aren't they? It's looking at maybe ways you that you could advertise on places like Facebook.
Colin: Yeah. Growing a group there in the first place is always quite good, organically. PPC actually works really well I think for podcasts and we've tried this with a couple of our shows, is setting up some Facebook ads so you can target it really narrowly. You can find your real audience. Say you're doing a plumbing podcast for plumbers, is that a non-technical audience or am I being stereotyping there? You can find people who have listed themselves as plumbers so you can directly advertise to that audience on Facebook. They're great for being able to narrow down the audience to get real value from your advertise spend. If your podcast is a proper content marketed move with your business, then you could invest a little bit of money in those adverts and that can be a really good way to grow your audience. If you can create really compelling adverts that get people to go to your site, and then you can teach them how to listen to a podcast, then that could be a really good way.
Matthew: Writing articles as well. Even if you're not technical, everyone that's used the internet has searched for something. Going back to your content marketing thing there, just answering questions that people in your target audience might be asking. They're going to find you first and foremost, by text. Then if you can kind of direct them, and we'll get into how you might do that on a moment but, direct them towards your podcast as well.
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Colin: Absolutely. It’s still the widest way to be found isn't it by writing a blog, by writing an article. It doesn't need to be separate from the podcast. This is your show notes so you create a podcast episode and you write a blog article which covers the same topic. You summarise it, you give the resources, all that kind of stuff. You're creating show notes anyway, so spend an extra 20, 30 minutes actually turning it into a decent quality blog post with a good title at the top and then suddenly that blog post is found in the search. Google actually indexes it and ranks it highly because you've out a bit of effort into it and then people come and find it and they actually see at the top oh look, this isn't actually just a blog post, there's an audio episode attached to it. Maybe I'll listen to that. That can be what converts them into podcast listeners. Even if they've never listened to a podcast before.
Matthew: We've all probably found ourselves in the position of having to explain what a podcast is so you want to be really succinct with that aren't you? The on demand internet radio show I've found works quite well when you're dealing with somebody who's never listened to a podcast before and who has never heard it. Like I say, it's getting better now. A lot of people have heard of podcasts so when it comes up in conversation, just trying to be duly succinct about what it is and why they might want to listen to it as well.
Colin: Yeah definitely. I actually have tried the internet radio show. I think that puts people off sometimes because they think it's complicated to listen to internet radio. Even just saying something like “It's talk radio but on demand. It's like iPlayer but for audio,” or something like that. It's hard to explain sometimes.
Matthew: Do you think it's still important to throw in that it's free?
Colin: It helps, yeah. I think definitely, because everyone has a suspicion as soon as you say there's something good, something valuable out there. They think oh, what's it going to cost me? Yeah, might as well throw that in. How do you go about if you're trying to teach somebody new you're trying to talk into getting a podcast, to listen to a show, how do you teach them how to listen?
Matthew: Showing them is the best way isn't it?
Colin: Just point at their phone.
Matthew: The classic example yeah, is getting somebody's phone out and if they've got the iPhone, the podcast app's right there. It's just so simple. Ask them what sort of stuff they like and within two or three clicks, you're subscribed to a show for them. A lot of people can't believe how simple that is because they imagine it being I have to jump through a lot of hoops and stuff. It's not the case.
Colin: Yeah definitely. For a lot of people the first step is listening on the website isn't it? They'll find an article and there's a play button at the top of the website page, at the top of a blog post and they'll press play there. I think a good way to do it is, for the people that find it that way you have a massive big how do I listen to this show or how do I subscribe to this show? A big button that says something along those lines that takes them to a page which you've created which specifically teaches people how to subscribe to your show.
Because you can't obviously get out there and reach everyone. It's absolutely great if you can get somebody in person but even just a video. There's some good videos out there and we've created our own resource actually, called The Listener's Guide to Podcasting which you can find at thepodcasthost.com/listeners-guide. The aim of that was really to make it easier for people to talk other folk into listening and subscribing to podcasts. To show them how to subscribe on an iPhone, on an android phone, on a website, on a whatever. We're building that out over time as well to try and make it more and more comprehensive, to help anyone listen to our show. If you couldn't create a quick video yourself, just giving a one or a two minute explanation, then that's great as well.
Matthew: One more thing to mention kind of on that is that, and Libysn are big proponents of this, having your own app for your show because if somebody, maybe if you have got them to subscribe to something in the podcast, app or an overcast or whatever, they've kind of got to remember. I know you can get notifications but they've got to be remembering to go back to that. If they see your app, your show on their phone all the time it's just going to keep it more fresh in their mind and a bit more obvious. It might be worth, if you're in that position, investing a few extra dollars a month and just getting your app and just sending everyone to that.
Colin: That's a really easy way to get people into it, when especially they're not technical like we're talking about. A lot of people know how to download an app at least so it's a handy way. I think at this point, it’s a lot about building a habit so with a non-technical audience, it's about teaching them, it's about conditioning them. It's a terrible word to use but it's about conditioning them to come back week after week and listen to your show every single week. A lot of that is just good practise in terms of how you should create a podcast anyway. This isn't even non-technical audiences, around putting in teasers at the end of every episode for the next episode, that gives them a reason to come back.
Seasons work really well for this because you end up creating a season of content which maybe covers one topic bit by bit every episode, and that gives people a really good reason to come back every single week. Giving them actions as well. Actually saying to them “Here's something to do and we'd love to recap on this next week, find out what you're doing so send us some feedback based on what you do or what happens based on these actions and we'll read it out in the next episode.” Those listener interactions I think, are really valuable in any podcasting situation but for a non-technical audience, it kind of brings them back to radio where that's a big way that radio engages with people. It makes them want to come back week after week, start building that podcast listening habit because they want to hear themselves on there, their colleagues on there you know, their fellow audience members.
It's about listener interaction, teasing every single episode, getting them to come back week after week and building that habit.