Podcasting: The Advantage of a Small Audience
At the end of 2014, there was a podcast that came on to the scene that tackled a few hurdles and broke a few records in podcasting. It was the fastest growing podcast and it was being used as a pop culture reference in a Saturday Night Live skit. This Podcast and the attention it brought is great for the whole podcasting community. Everybody was talking about that week’s episode of Serial. Opinions were being bandied about. Theories were made then overturned and then reinstated as Sarah Koenig talked about her topic of that week.
Many podcasters who have been in the space for a few years saw that success and thought, “If only I could get that type of attention”. many have even tried and changed their podcast format and took a swing at the heavily edited narrative style of podcasting that shows like Serial and This American Life put out.
The realization very quickly set in, and podcasters find out you have to have several people on a team to do the type of show that is Serial. you hear words like “unfair” or “must. be nice” or even “If I had that kind of Money”.
Yeah there are a lot of things that could be improved in my podcast if I had the manpower and money too, but you have somethings that many of the big shows do not have. You have a small audience.
Yeah you have a small audience, but lets look at the audience in a little different light. Growing your audience is a marathon not a sprint.. It should take a while to grow your true core of audience members. To do so lets look at what happens when you grow an audience too fast.
There are several people out there who have tried to play the system. There are a few unethical tactics out that help very rapidly at least give the impression that you have a very large audience. Take Twitter bombing for instance. A person throws out hundreds of tweets to their MP3 files just to get very large download numbers. Large Downloads! you want those! No you want listeners, and if you ask those downloads to go to a website like a sponsor guess who isn’t going to be there to help you? Correct those downloads. The bots who are downloading your shows in twitter don’t care to help you with your sponsor. Rapid growth doesn’t help with your listeners
Now look at the the large listener base that shows along the line of This American Life. Yes they have large listenerships. Their downloads are at the level to be envied. Who doesn’t want to have hundred of thousands of downloads. Yet many times the listeners are not as engaged. There might be 3% of the audience that is engaged with the content. Though the show may have 1,000,000 listeners, that show is able to get by with a lower response rate of 30,000 people.
Well that little statement might not help but if you have a listenership that you have slowly grown to 30,000 people you can get closer to that number. Because you might have closer to 15% or even more engagement rate. The engagement rate is the big advantage a small podcast audience has over the big shows. Your audience and their engagement is the key, your audience are those people who will go to bat for your each time you ask them. These people, your audience, chose you, to be in their lives. They want you be in their head as they walk the dog in the park. When they are driving to the job they may not like. you are the one who is the inspiration as to what they will accomplish that day. When you provide a valuable service to people in that personal of a way. Then those people want to help you. They will visit a website if you ask them too or look at a DIrect Response advertisement if you mention it. Your audience will trust you. Because of that your audience will be better than any Serial podcast that comes down the pipe.
So if you have an audience for your podcast Learn their names find out who they are. meet them, cement that bond, and enjoy the success podcasts bring in.
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