When I ask clients, “Who is your podcast for?” I typically hear answers that indicate they’re casting far too wide of a net. Sometimes they actually say “everybody,” which we all know really means “nobody.”
But during the resulting conversation, my clients are quickly able to course-correct and get more specific with their answers. This, in turn, helps me help them create a better podcast from scratch. Or it helps me help them refine their current podcasting efforts to make their existing show that much better.
An element of understanding the answer to Who is your podcast for? is figuring out your unique point of view. And yes, I think that you and your podcast should have a point of view. You're not Wikipedia, you're a podcaster!
Figuring your unique point of view is a difficult prospect for many and can be one of the least fun things about podcasting. But it's also a critical piece of the puzzle, especially if you want to have a show that stands out from the crowd. And podcasting is growing more and more crowded every day!
My friend and community-building powerhouse Pam Slim recently shared four questions that she workshops with her business consulting customers. They’re great questions that podcasters can also use to help nail down what it is that makes their show special.
Perhaps you know your show’s unique point of view already. Good for you! You probably should keep this handy for the next time you start a show. Because podcasters have a tendency to podcast again and again. So bookmark this article. Print it out. Or save it somehow so you can quickly refer back to it again when the podcasting bug bites you again.
For those struggling to answer the question; let’s dive into the questions.
1. What is missing from the conversation?
Of all of the other podcasts that cover the same topic you cover or want to cover with your podcast… what aren't they talking about?
I'm going to use Sounds Profitable as an example of this. Sounds Profitable is a newsletter and a show I've been involved with since inception. It was started specifically as an answer to this question. Because while many of the podcasts about podcasting often cover the business of podcasting and even how to monetize a podcast with advertising, none of them are talking about podcast ad tech specifically.
So Brian Barletta, host of the show writer of the newsletter, took his years of podcast ad tech experience and made a podcast to fill that gap. He knew what was missing from the conversation, and he added it. And the niche was better for it.
2. Whose important perspective is not being shared?
When you listen to the podcasts that are similar to yours or the one you want to make, whose voice is underrepresented? There’s a clear and obvious play for members of underrepresented groups and minorities to enter even crowded niches. But this question supersedes that and can help anyone.
I’ll offer up The Bangkok Podcast as an example, a show that I co-hosted for 70-some episodes a few years back when I was living in Thailand. Thailand and Bangkok in particular are common topics on travel podcasts, and more than one podcast focuses just on the Land of Smiles. But Bangkok is home to hundreds of thousands of expats, and a second home to hundreds of thousands more.
The travel shows were of limited value to this audience. An audience who are outsiders in their own city, eager to discover more about their adopted home. So that’s the perspective The Bangkok Podcast brought to the table. And I’m happy to say still brings to the table every week. Hi, Greg and Ed!
3. What obvious truths are being ignored?
There may be a lot of podcasts talking with plenty of enthusiasm about the same or a similar topic to yours. But are they ignoring something that is blatantly obvious and needs to be exposed for what it is?
This time, I’m going to make up an example. An example of a show that needs to exist, but doesn’t yet. It’s a movie/TV show (like thousands of others), but one that exposes the crappy, B-grade moves and shows that Netflix foists upon us, often with incredible hype and possible algorithm manipulation to try to convince us the shows are worth watching. Shows that aren’t necessarily bad, but certainly are not good.
That’s a truth someone needs to call out. I’ll probably never take it past the idea phase, so if this high-level idea appeals to you, have at it! I’ll give it a follow simply because you’re exposing this obvious truth.
4. What critical steps are not being covered?
This is an especially important question to answer if your show or the show you want to make exists in the how-to or knowledge-transfer space within your niche. Especially a crowded space, as all spaces are becoming.
If you look at the podcasting-about-podcasting space, you’ll find it dominated by how-to shows aimed at beginning podcasters, telling everything a new podcaster needs to know about getting started as a podcaster.
But very few shows—if any—exist to support the mid-level podcaster on the verge of turning pro and making their full-time living as a podcaster. (And while this show is close, that’s not the exact niche I try to occupy.)
That’s a step not being covered today. I know there are several professional podcasters who listened to Podcast Pontifications. I know there are many people who are professionals in podcasting who work on professional-level shows who listen to Podcast Pontifications. If your ears are burning and you’re thinking of starting a new podcast… there you go. I look forward to listening!
Digging deep into any of these questions will be a big help as you nail down your show's unique point of view. Ideally, you'll dig into all of them and come up with some interesting answers for each and every one.
And if you can’t answer all (or worse, any) of those questions, it might indicate you've a bit more research to do within the niche you’re trying to occupy with your podcast.
An anonymous contributor used PayPal to pass back some value to me for the value they received, sending this message along with their generous contribution:
I love your little tweet threads and I'm always learning. I hope this helps.
indeed, it does help. Thank you very much, anonymous. And thank you for calling attention to the Twitter threads I make for each episode. They take a bit of time and effort, so it’s nice to know that they are appreciated by people who for whatever reason can't listen to the show or subscribe to the newsletter. Everyone’s needs are different, and I make the Twitter threads for that very reason.
If you're getting value out of my episode, articles, videos, Twitter threads, or any other content I produce to help make podcasting better, please visit PodcastPontifications.com/value-for-value for simple ways you can give some of that value back to the program.
No episodes for me on Friday, as you know. But I shall be back on Monday with yet another Podcast Pontifications.