As a podcaster, your main goal is to engage your listeners. Podcasting has been on the rise for the past while. But there are more weekly podcast listeners than people with Netflix accounts in the US. While it would be nice for all these 80 million listeners to tune into your show next, having a podcast that appeals widely to everyone is not feasible.
Why? Because not everyone likes the same things. Something that appeals to everyone would have to be generic and uninteresting.
If you want to have a successful podcast, you need to go niche. You need to find the exact community your awesome content speaks to. In order to carve out your niche, you need to find your ideal podcast listener, also known as your podcast avatar.
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What is a Podcast Avatar?
A podcast avatar, also referred to as a listener persona, is your ideal podcast listener. They are a single person that you want to be speaking to every time you sit down to record. You want to know everything about this person, from their demographics to their psychographics.
Defining your podcast avatar is a key component of your podcast marketing strategy. It’s important to have a podcast avatar. Why? Because understanding this one person will allow you to create personalized content. It will also allow you to build strong relationships with your desired listeners. While it’s nice to think that anyone can listen to your show, you won’t be able to win them all.
Your content won’t resonate with everyone. So it’s better to narrow down the one person you’re trying to reach and speak to them directly rather than throwing the net wide and creating generic content. In consumer marketing, 71% of companies that create personas exceed revenue and lead goals. Their success is due to knowing their exact targets inside and out, which should be done for podcast personas as well.
Speaking to your podcast avatar will give your show an intimate feel as if you are having a one-on-one conversation with them. Your ideal podcast listener will feel deeply connected to you in this way, as you are speaking to their exact hopes, desires, and fears that only they thought they knew.
How to Create a Podcast Avatar
You are building a singular person when you construct your podcast avatar, so the first step is to give your avatar a name. Let’s go with Jessica. Now ask yourself the following questions about Jessica:
- Family situation
These demographics will create a basic background profile of Jessica, your ideal podcast listener. While these are still the basics, you want to be as detailed as possible.
|Let’s look at a tangible example: Introducing Jessica|
|Jessica is a 40-year-old digital marketer from the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. She commutes 30 minutes to work every morning in an energy-efficient SUV. She is a single mom of two girls, who stay at their father’s house on the weekends. While it is stressful doing everything on her own during the week, her ex-husband remains financially supportive which allows her family to remain afloat. Her hobbies include hiking and cooking, but her true passion in life has always been traveling and experiencing new cultures. Since the divorce, she doesn’t get to hike much anymore, and cooking is done as quickly as possible to get her daughters to bed on time.|
Psychographics of a Podcast Avatar
Even with the basic demographics we’ve established about Jessica, we already have a sense of her story and can start to infer about her psychographics. Psychographics refers to the psychological aspects of one’s personality, including aspirations, values, attitudes, and personality. These psychological attributes are as equally important to your podcast marketing strategy as demographics are, as they will affect the way your listeners react to you.
In some cases, psychographics can have a greater influence than demographics. Since psychographics consider the way in which people think, you can tie together some groups that demographically have nothing in common. For example, if you have a podcast about creating sustainable homes out of recycled materials. Your demographics could range from 20-year-old female environmental science majors in Montana to 60-year-old retired punk rockers in Edinburgh. It’s the way that these people are approaching sustainability and home building that matters, rather than where they live or who they are.
Let’s go back to our podcast avatar, Jessica. To establish her psychographics, let’s ask the following questions about her:
- What are her goals?
- How can I help her?
- What are her problems?
- What help is she looking for?
|Let’s look at Jessica again|
|Before she was married, Jessica backpacked solo across the world, making friends easily as she went. She misses this kind of adventure in her life, and since the divorce and stress of raising the girls on her own, wants to find a way to take up this lifestyle again. She is considering a career change to teaching English abroad, which would allow her to live a nomadic lifestyle and travel again. Ideally, she would take her girls with her. She has been reading blogs about families who changed careers and moved abroad but is afraid to take the leap for fear of disrupting her daughters’ development. Jessica is looking for motivation to make this big change in her life, from moving abroad to changing careers to uprooting her daughters.|
Now that we know Jessica’s goals and fears, we can begin crafting podcast content that will be useful for her. Since Jessica is our idealized listener, everything we create should be tailored for her with an approach that she would enjoy hearing.
Podcast Avatar Personalities
The personality of a podcast avatar is a crucial part of understanding psychographics, as the delivery and structure of your show will depend on the type of person they are. In order to create a bond with them, your podcast avatar should feel seen by your show, as if they’re part of the conversation. So, your podcast delivery should feel like a conversation that they personally would be part of.
Essentially, you are trying to figure out how your podcast avatar sees the world.
Is your podcast avatar generally an optimistic person who likes to have fun? If so, your show can be lighthearted with lots of humour interspersed throughout, without being overly critical about anything. But if your podcast avatar is pessimistic and cynical about the future, you want to maintain a level of cheer that they can handle.
Is your podcast avatar an organized person or do they do everything last minute? Do they prefer cooking at home or would they rather go out to restaurants? Are they likely to take big risks or are they more calculated in their decision-making? Do they do their research or just choose things at random? Do they like the thrill of horror movies or prefer the comfort of a rom-com?
All of these questions and more will help you better define who you are speaking to. Don’t worry about creating a “wrong” podcast avatar either; your ideal podcast listener can evolve and grow with your show.
It might be helpful to use a website like Canva to create a mood board for your podcast avatar, giving you a clear visual of the person you’re trying to reach. A mood board can give you a structured idea of this ideal listener, concretizing your idea of a listener into an actual draft.
From Host to Avatar
Consider your own relationship to your podcast avatar. What does your podcast avatar think about you as a podcast host? You’ll want to ask yourself some questions about what your podcast can bring to this specific person. Some questions to consider are:
- How can your show help this person achieve their goals?
- In what ways does this person want to be helped? Do they want to be helped at all?
- What value are they getting out of your podcast?
- How will they engage with your podcast and podcast community?
Tuning In With Your Podcast Avatar
How your podcast avatar listens to your show matters a lot in how you will deliver it. The first step is to determine whether your podcast avatar is tuning in for entertainment or to learn something. It can be a bit of both, but the way they go about it matters.
For example, does your avatar listen to your podcast while working out? Or do they sit in a quiet park with headphones to absorb all you have to say? Do they take notes as they listen, or just mentally file things away?
In the case of our imaginary avatar Jessica, we know that she’s a busy single mom. We also know that she has a 30-minute commute to work every morning and evening, giving her an hour of listening time total. So, we can infer that Jessica listens to your podcast in the morning when she drives to work, as it’s one of the few times she has free during the week without her kids or work. She likes to listen during this time as the podcast host is preppy and motivates her to get through the day.
Defining Your Podcast Audience
Whereas your podcast avatar is a single ideal listener you’ve constructed in your mind, they are not interchangeable with your podcast audience. Your podcast avatar is considered one listener within your podcast audience, like one single fish in a large sea. It’s important to define your audience as well in order to create a personalized podcast listener experience.
Keeping in mind your podcast avatar, you can define who your broader podcast audience is. For example, based on our model of Jessica, we can determine that our podcast audience is moms that want to travel with their kids, not just anyone going on a family vacation.
While it’s important to define your audience, you still should pretend that you’re speaking to that one ideal podcast listener. Your podcast avatar is at the core of all your content and is the person you are seeking to help. It might be useful for you to construct several different podcast avatars. After seeing what these people all have in common, you can well-define your audience to keep creating that tailored content.
Finding Your Podcast Audience
So you know who you want to target. Now how do you reach them? Refer back to your podcast avatar. Where does this person spend their time? Are they avid Instagrammers who love sharing their daily lives, or are they introverted Tumblr users who like to stay anonymous? Do they like to actively participate in Facebook communities or are they more into Pinterest boards? Most importantly, do they even use social media? If they don’t, do they visit blogs, or participate in other online communities?
Based on where your podcast avatar spends their time, you can likely find the rest of your audience. You can grow your own podcast community on that platform, or you can use it to reel in new listeners, whether through posts or tailored ads. Targeting your audience this way is why it’s important to have a solid idea of your ideal podcast listener, as you can pinpoint exactly where you’ll be able to find them.
Another way to find your podcast audience is to do research. Take a look at competitor shows and look at who their listeners are. If they’re similar to your own, you’ll likely share an audience and can tailor your content and marketing strategy accordingly.
If you already have your podcast up and running, take a look at your statistics. Analyze the numbers and where they’re coming from to see who is tuning in. If you have a community, why not just ask them? Send out a poll or survey in your newsletter or via Instagram Stories to see who your audience is and what they want to hear.
How to Use Your Podcast Avatar
All of the thinking that goes into creating your podcast avatar might seem unnecessary considering they aren’t a real person, but the better defined your ideal podcast listener is, the better content you can deliver as a podcaster. Blindly recording untargeted content won’t grow your audience. Instead, you’ll hurt your own potential rather than highlighting how unique your show is. It’s the nicheness that begins with understanding your podcast avatar that will allow you to gain more podcast listeners.
Looking to the future, if you want to sell goods or services, knowing your podcast avatar will allow you to identify items that would be of use to them, as well as a reflective price point. 82% of companies who use personas have created an improved value proposition to customers, which is equally applicable to podcast audiences.
All of the info you’ve collected about your podcast avatar can also be used to create a targeted landing page for your podcast, which can boost your podcast SEO. The more specific you can get with this imaginary-but-real person, the better returns you’ll see on your brand growth.
As you can see, creating your podcast avatar translates to real-life benefits for your show. Get out there into the digital world and connect with them today!