I'm going out on a limb here to make an assumption: you're a podcaster, so you don't like sales. Well, unless you're the host of the “I Flippin' Love Sales” Podcast, of course. In which case, I'm sorry.
But, if it's not, then I'm even more sorry to say… every podcaster is a salesperson.
It doesn't matter that you're not charging for it. Your podcast is free. I know.
But, attention isn't. Attention is limited, just like money, and you've got to convince each and every listener to give you some. Just like money. That's sales. You're selling your content in exchange for minutes of their day.
The good news is that sales is easier (and far less sleazy) than you think. For us, as content creators, the core of it is this: one good value proposition.
A good value proposition, tied with a solid picture of your idea listener, make it a no-brainer for any casual browser to listen and subscribe to your show. This is how you attract folks in droves and grow your audience.
In this article, I want to get deep into value propositions. I'll cover what they are, what they mean for podcasters (and content creators in general) and how to find yours.
Ready to create some value? Let's take a look!
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What is a Value Proposition?
In plain english:
Value proposition = what your listener stands to gain by listening to you
A value proposition builds upon the two other key audience growth tactics: finding your ideal listener and finding your uniqueness. Here's how it works, for me:
- Who is your ideal listener? Who, very specifically, are you speaking to?
- What makes your show, and YOU, unique? Ie. why YOU and not one of the other dozen shows on your topic.
- Create a value proposition based on what YOU, specifically, can offer that ideal listener, specifically.
I know, I know… I'm hammering the ‘specifics'. But it's because that's the value (ahem…) here. Too many shows have a really vague value prop, simply because they haven't taken the time to think through all three stages. It's hard!
Why the Specifics Matter
For example, the value proposition of which you've read a hundred variations on a hundred different topics:
On the Ultimate Health Podcast, Bob and Kate will educate you about how to eat healthily so that you can feel happier, healthier and improve your life.
Zzzzzz…. same old.
The only specific here is the topic. And even that's pretty general. Instead, what about this:
On the Ultimate Athletic Health Podcast, Bob, an ex-olympic powerlifter, and Kate, a seasoned gymnast, debate and simplify the latest research on healthy eating, offering often opposing takes on what it takes to eat healthily and power your training. The end result is that you can understand the latest research on nutrition, and try out the recipes and mealplans that the daring duo share on the show.
Uniqueness, listener targetting and benefit!
Right away, you're intrigued by the conflict between powerlifting and gymnastics. They've found their uniqueness, based on their background, and they use it. It stands out amongst the wealth of healthy eating shows.
The ideal listener is more specific too. Not just anyone looking to eat healthily, but an amateur athlete who wants to know how to fuel their training.
Education isn't a good value proposition. Entertainment isn't enough. You need the specifics. Specific targeting, and specific benefits for that target.
Now we've got the specifics down, how do we turn that into a value proposition?
How to Create your Value Proposition
Ok, let's start making your own. Here are a few steps to begin with:
- Can you state one problem that your ideal listener (or you!) will most strongly identify with?
- Can you tell them specifically how you help them solve that problem?
- Can you relate why you are the one they should come to for that solution? Why are you unique?
- Can you add some actionable takeaways to the mix? What can you provide to help them DO SOMETHING with the information you've given them?
On number 1, our healthy eating duo solve an important problem for athletes: in the world of nutrition, the research keeps discovering new things. How do I keep up with it and understand the results?
Then, on number 2, they make it clear how they solve it: by covering the research, debating it over very different viewpoints, and then translating it for the listener.
On number 3, I covered that above – power vs grace. Whatever your sport, you'll identify with either sheer strength or dynamic movement, or you'll be interested in how they might be able to find a balance of both.
On number 4, our pair make this really clear through their recipes and meal plans. There's no doubt, as a listener, that I'm going to have something to DO, right away.
I love thinking these things through – it's really interesting to figure out how to use your uniqueness, how to find your angle, and how to turn that into action. That's one of my uniquenesses! I'm a teacher by background, and I can't stand it when my learners can't do something with what they learn.
So, if you're still struggling with figuring this stuff out, from ideal listeners, to uniqueness, to value props, then join us in The Podcast Host Academy and our team can help you talk it through on the forums, or the live support sessions we run. It'd be fun to figure it out together!
In Defence of Sales: Impact on the World
If you're like the majority of podcasters I know, you probably balk a little at how… salesy it all appears. I get it. Me too.
But, here's what you should remember.
Even if your mission is simply to help people, with no hope of getting anything back, they still need to be ‘sold' on taking the help. They need to be sold on buying into it.
The better salesperson you become, the more people you can help, and he bigger impact you can have on the world.