Focus On Current Or New Podcast Listener? – Episode 126

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Focus On Current Or New Podcast Listener? – Episode 126

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In a previous episode of Podcast Talent Coach, I shared 7 ways to drive listeners away from your show. We work so hard to gain listeners. Why would we ever drive them away.

But … should you focus on the current or new podcast listener?

Joshua Liston from The Deadly Arnold podcast was checking out my back catalog when he stumbled across this particular episode. He took exception to one of the 7 ways I mentioned.

In the episode, I suggested one way you drive listeners away is being the podcaster who assumes listeners have heard the show before.

If you’re not explaining your podcast purpose each and every show, it will be difficult for new listeners to understand the show. Your audience will feel like they are joining a conversation in the middle. They will be lost.

Have you ever felt left out of a conversation due to inside jokes. Two other people are chuckling about something, and you have no idea why. “Oh, it’s an inside joke” they say. Why aren’t you important enough to be in on the joke? Why is it inside only to them? Those situations are a bit offensive. You’re not included.

When you are not explaining your podcast, you are not allowing your listener to understand the nuances of your show. They won’t feel like part of the club. Your listener will not feel important or that you care about them. It is quite possible they will leave.

The opening of your podcast should explain the purpose of your podcast and let your listeners know exactly what to expect as if this is the first time they have ever heard the show. We discussed this in the past two episodes when we reviewed the importance of a strong introduction.

A well-crafted introduction serves two purposes.

First, it tells the brand new listener who is hearing the show for the very first time exactly what to expect from the show. You know exactly what is coming your way, even if you have never seen the show before.

Second, those that have heard the show before are confident that they are in the right place. Those regular listeners will find comfort in the opening of the show they hear each time they tune in. Fans will also feel like they are “in the know”. This is similar to singing the theme song of your favorite sitcom. As soon as you hear the first few notes of the theme song, you know you’re on the right channel. Your show intro should elicit the same response.

As you create your show open, treat it as if every listener is saying, “Hey, I’m new here. What’s going on?” You’ll make everyone comfortable as the show begins.

Here are Josh’s comments on the subject:

I must stress that I do disagree with your ideas around “making new listeners feel welcome in every episode”.

Personally I think Podcasters focus too much on their new audience and far too little on those already listening (which is where the majority of engagements and downloads come from for most podcasters). Those same things that you suggest make new/new listeners feel left out (in-jokes, personal references, etc) are the very things that make a longtime listener feel even more part of something special, and exclusive.

If you reference great podcasts that have stood the test of time “Back to Work” “Joe Rogan Exp” “Roderick on the Line” “Nerdist” “Hardcore History” “FOFOP & TOFOP” “Monday Morning Podcast” “Welcome to Night Vale” “We Are Alive” “The Dollop” “99% Invisible” “This American Life.” they make little to no intentional effort to morph their shows personality/language/individuality to entice new listeners to stay – they work incredibly hard in embracing their longtime listeners and fans though!

I can see how your ideas applies to a more transient audience like those of commercial radio stations where listeners are after the content within the content (music, news, score-lines, financial data etc) but for personality driven podcasting I think this falls purely into speculative theory.

-Joshua C. Liston
The Deadly Arnold
BraveryByTheDay.com
In this episode, I offer my assessment of Joshua’s position.

Sure, the content of your show must be great to keep listeners around. That is simply the price of admission. To get people to subscribe, create great content. That should go without saying.

In order to keep people engaged, you need to make them feel like they are part of the club. This is especially true for new listeners.

If you’re not explaining your podcast purpose each and every show, it will be difficult for new listeners to understand the show. Your audience will feel like they are joining a conversation in the middle. They will be lost.

Should you focus on the current or new podcast listener? The answer is both.

Make everyone feel welcome, supply your listeners with great content, and make your material unique. Then, watch your subscribers grow.

Do you need help with your podcast? E-mail me any time at Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com. Let’s see what we can do.

You can find my podcast and other tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

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