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Why you should design your ideal listener

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How designing your ideal listener can improve your podcast | PodSchool Podcast

How do you create a show for an audience that doesn’t exist yet? 

When you’re just starting out and you don’t have any listeners, it can be difficult to make decisions about what content would suit them best.

So how do you work out who your ideal listener is?

Easy!  You make them up.

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That might sound a bit ridiculous but having an idea of who your show is being made for will help you make decisions about the content so when those people do find you they’ll think “this show was made just for me!”

So what do you need to do? 

Sit down with a pen and paper and write out as many things as possible to shape this imaginary person…

  • What is their name?
  • How old are they?
  • What kind of work do they do?
  • Do they have a family?
  • Are they time poor or looking for things to fill their time?
  • What are their other interests?

The more you can flesh out, the more real they’ll feel and the more helpful this exercise will be when you’re building your show.

You need to know who you’re podcasting for

If you don’t then you’ll probably make most of the content decisions according to what YOU want and you’re NOT the audience.

In fact, if you’re an expert sharing your knowledge via a podcast you’re the total opposite of your audience. You have to see the show through the eyes (and ears) of the person who’ll be on the receiving end of it.

If your ideal listener is a mom of three who works two jobs and is really time poor they’d probably prefer short ten-minute episodes instead of long meandering chats.

If you’re doing a show for travellers and you know they’ll be spending a lot of time travelling around maybe they’d appreciate a longer show.

Without thinking about these things you won’t be able to make clear decisions that will help shape your podcast in the early days.

Yes, it may be a little weird and you might think it’s a bit woo-woo but it’s not about putting things down on paper to ask the universe for this person to show up. It is about being more strategic with the content you make and realising you have to think about the listener, not yourself when you’re making a show.

So get your pen and paper out and start writing.

Like Kevin Costner said…build it and they will come.

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Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. Today I'm going to be talking about your ideal listener. This is something that you need to think about even when you haven’t got a show yet. When you're first starting out it is very very important to think about who your show is for so that when you are actually putting the content together and making the show you make the right content decisions. Obviously when you have not got a show yet you don't know who is subscribing and you can't send a little email to people saying “Hey tell me about yourself.” You have to (this may sound ridiculous) make them up. Sit down with a pen and paper and list off who your ideal listener is. Give them a name and as many details as possible. What are their career aspirations? Do they have a family? Are they time poor? Anything that can flesh out the idea of this imaginary person so you can make clearer decisions about the show. If you don't know who the heck you're making it for then most of the content decisions you're likely to make will be content decisions for you and you are not the audience. Especially if you are somebody who has expertise and you're sharing that expertise on your show. In that case you’re the total opposite of your audience so it's really very important to get a sense of that person so that when you're coming up with decisions about the length of your show or what kind of content to do you put everything through the filter of this imaginary person.

If my ideal listener is a mom of three who works two jobs and is really time poor then when I'm thinking about how long my show should be I might decide to create 10 minute episodes to fit in with her busy schedule.

If your show is for travellers and you know they’ll be spending a lot of time on transport going from one place to the next maybe you’ll create a two hour episode to help them pass the time.

Making it up may feel a little weird but it's not about putting things down on paper to ask the universe for this person to show up. It is about being more strategic with the content that you make and realising that you have to think about the listener not yourself when you are making a show. So better that you have a kind of more fleshed out idea of who that person is rather than just kind of making decisions at random and seeing how you go.

By the time these people actually find you they’ll feel like the show was made just for them. So,get your pen and paper out. Don't feel weird. You don't have to tell anybody else you're doing it but it will help you to make decisions about your show that will benefit the content and make sure that those people that find you love what you do.

If you want to share your ideal listener with me then please head to podschoolpodcast.com and send me an email and let me know if you found the exercise helpful as well. Thank you so much for joining me as always it would be lovely if you left a little review and dotted a few of those stars on the review in iTunes or wherever you listen to the show. I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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