Smart podcasters serve the needs of their audience. You've heard me say before how important it is for podcasters like you to know who you are for and why they are there. That's a phrase I borrowed from Tom Webster and it remains the best centering or focusing mantra that I can think of when it comes to the relationship that a podcaster has with their audience.
But there's only so much you can know, and only from so many. And what you know about their today needs might not be the same thing that they want or need from you in the future.
Also, remember that your show is not listened to in a vacuum. Your audience almost certainly listens to other shows. If not other podcasts, then they certainly have other types of media and information in their lives, all from providers who also want more attention from the person you all count as your audience member.
In an effort to keep you and your show relevant as your listeners' needs and subsequent media diet changes, today I'm expanding on five very good ideas that The Atlantic came up with recently as they were grappling with the changing needs of their readers.
My hope is that, as a podcaster, you can use these ideas to help ensure that your audience keeps a seat for you and your podcast at their media consumption table.
1. Provide Depth, Clarity, & Context
As we hurtle ever faster towards an abundant world, providing MOAR CONTENT is rapidly losing its luster. For every person who says they can't get enough of you, there may be a dozen more who were already drowning in content.
Yes, I recognize the irony of a person who produces a daily podcast making this statement. Noted.
It's quite possible your audience wants you to go deeper. Not longer. Not more frequently. They may want you to get to the point faster. And they may want you to provide context on ideas and topics they hear from others. You may be a trusted source. But you almost certainly are not their only trusted source.
2. Help Them Discover New Ideas
Surprise! People like to be surprised. Well, to an extent. Clearly, you can take that too far. But part of being a trusted source means that your audience relies on you to know more about something than they do. They likely expect you to be a step or two ahead of them and rely on you to look out for your shared future.
They don't have time to hear you wax poetically on all of your new discoveries. But they will appreciate knowing your eye is on the ball and that you will give them the scoop when there's something truly worthy of their attention.
3. Challenge Their Assumptions
Tread lightly here. Never forget that people tend to like familiarity and enjoy having their own biases reinforced. Very few people like to be told they are wrong. However, they may be more willing to listen to a trusted source who shares their same worldview offering up different, if not challenging perspectives.
I don't recommend going after core beliefs right away. But you may be able to explore the fuzzy edges and chip away at some lighter long-held notions in a way that captures and keeps your audience's attention.
4. Provide A Welcome, Meaningful Break
Podcasting, by its very nature, is slower than other forms of media. That inherent slowness is what many of your listeners may see as a welcome respite from the hours they spend doomscrolling their social media feeds.
Yes, many of your listeners enjoy your podcast as a found time activity that they can layer on top of other tasks. But don't forget your show's ability to give your audience a chance to breathe as they listen to you and do nothing else for a while.
5. Introduce Your Audience To Better Media Options
This final point may seem in stark opposition to the first point, I understand. But your audience may appreciate it if you help surface new and better media for them to consume. Yes, other podcasts. But also other forms of media, so long as the other media are related—either tightly or tangentially—to the topic of your podcast. A topic for which they already see you as a trusted source.
And if you find a clever way to make your recommendations seem personal to them and also non-interruptive? Then your audience will appreciate you even more.
So there you have it, five ways to think about what you can do for your audience to keep you and your podcast as a healthy part of their media diet.
I plan on implementing some of these in future episodes of this show. So stay tuned.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.