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How (and Why) to Define Your Ideal Podcast Listener

Defining who your real audience is will help you focus not only on creating great content but on creating the right content.

When you’re creating a successful podcast, you’re not creating it for just anyone.

Sometimes, podcasting can feel like speaking into the void. (In a way, it literally is—at least until you edit the episode and post it online!) 

Of course, it’s worth noting that it really shouldn’t feel that way, as long as you understand who your message is actually for. When you’re creating a successful podcast, you’re not creating it for just anyone. It’s true that some podcasts have broad appeal, but most of them—especially the ones just starting out—consider their “ideal listener” as part of the checklist of the most important things to do before the first episode drops. Here’s why your listener matters (and how to find them).

Why Figure Out Your Ideal Listener?

Podcasting is busy work, even before you launch episode 1. You’re out there prepping scripts, deciding on a niche, and figuring out who to interview as a guest. So why should you take the time to figure out who your ideal listener is? 

Think of it this way: if your podcast is a story, you need to know who you’re telling it to. Telling a story to aspiring travelers isn’t the same as telling one to film enthusiasts. The episode length you’d offer a long-distance commuter isn’t the same one you’d offer a busy stay-at-home mom with just minutes to spare. Knowing who your message is designed for can help you carve out the perfect one, time and time again, and make strategic decisions about the content you’re sharing.

How Do You Find Your Ideal Audience?

As with anything else, a great place to get started is research. For some podcasters, especially those with an established website, it can be helpful to start with basic keyword research to understand the kinds of things their existing or potential audience might be interested in. Finding the age and gender demographics of searchers looking for specific keywords can also help. If you have an established audience but don’t know much about them, you can use an informal survey through Google Forms or Survey Monkey to get a better sense of who your audience is.

Beyond research, you can also simply choose an audience to target on your own. If you know upfront that you’d like to talk to business-minded twenty-somethings, it goes a long way toward creating a profile and helping you develop strategies for your podcast.

What Should You Know About Your Ideal Audience?

The answer to this question is simple: as much as you can! Freewriting about your ideal audience is a great place to start, but at a bare minimum, you should have a keen understanding of the following:

  • age 
  • occupation
  • gender
  • location
  • education
  • relationship status/family situation
  • interests and hobbies
  • economic level
  • likes and dislikes
  • problems/concerns

With this information on hand, you’ll find it easier to understand your ideal podcast listener and track them down online. 

Knowing your audience is a key part of understanding your podcast as a whole—and if you’re going to be successful, you’ll need to know what you’re getting into! As a new podcaster, you should check out my episode on establishing reasons why someone in your audience should care about your message, plus more helpful insights.

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