If you’re just starting your podcast from scratch, it can be intimidating to come across well-established podcasts covering similar topics. They already have communities of adoring fans, so is there anything you could possibly offer to the field that hasn’t already been covered? Of course, there is! Even the smallest of niches can be expanded on if you do your market research properly.
There’s an audience for almost anything; it’s just a matter of knowing what demands your podcast is trying to fill. In this article you’ll learn how to use market research to validate your podcast idea, giving you the best show your future audience never knew they needed.
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What is Market Research?
Before you sell a product, you want to be certain that there’s a demand to buy it. Likewise, when you start a podcast, you want to know that there’s an audience who will listen to it. That’s why you do market research, which allows you to survey your potential audience’s needs and preferences.
Market research for your podcast allows you to determine whether or not there is a demand for your niche. If you find lots of pre-existing podcasts similar to your own topic, that’s a good sign that your expertise is in demand, and you just need to carve out your own personal niche.
If you can’t find a single podcast similar to your own, this could mean one of two things; either there is no demand for your topic, or you’ll be a true trailblazer if you can convert scrollers into an interested audience. Whether it’s the former or the latter, you’ll only know for certain after doing market research.
Advantages of Doing Market Research for Podcasts
A podcaster who has done market research is better prepared for success than a podcaster who has not. There are many benefits of doing market research for your podcast, including but not limited to:
- Determining your target audience and where to find them
- Discovering what your target audience is currently listening to
- Crafting marketing strategies for your podcast that give measurable results
- Knowing what’s trending in your podcast field
- Avoiding podfading and continuing to put out content regularly
When your podcast market research is done properly, it can result in gathering a lot of valuable information about your target audience, including their:
- Likes and dislikes
- Current favorite podcasts
- Preferred podcast structures and styles
- Social media usage
- Podcast topics of interest
Knowing all of this about your target audience can allow you to grow your podcast as you tailor content to what your listeners want to hear. Given that there are currently 850,000 active podcasts in the US alone, you’ll need your show to stand out, and doing market research for your podcast is the way to get there.
Using Keywords to Validate Your Podcast Idea
You can’t provide a valuable podcast to people unless you know what value they need in their lives. To gauge what people are looking for and how you can fill that gap, use keywords to see what people are searching for.
Google Trends is a great tool for checking what people are currently searching for at a certain time. You can also check the geolocalization of searches, allowing you to narrow in on a specific geographic location if necessary in your podcast marketing strategy.
You can also do podcast market research on public forums like Reddit, Quora, or Facebook groups in your community to see what people are currently asking about. If you see certain questions coming up that relate to your podcast idea, then that’s a good sign you’d have an interested audience.
Conducting a Competitor Analysis for Your Podcast
Competitor analysis is a form of market research that involves, you guessed it, analyzing your competitors. You’ll want to look at your competitor podcasts and know what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and how well they’re doing it.
Competitor analysis is an important part of market research for your podcast because it can allow you to assess the size of your competitor’s reach. If they have a big general audience, you’ll know to scale down your own target audience to narrow in on a specific niche. Let’s take a look at how to do competitor research for your podcast.
Identify Main Competitors
First things first, you need to know who your competitor podcasts are. Open a podcast directory, and browse other shows in the same category as your own. You’ll come across podcasts that are working in the same field as you, giving you a peek at what’s already out there.
You can also type in any keywords related to your show plus podcast into Google and see what comes up. For example, if you’re a personal finance podcast and have identified “filing taxes at home” as one of your main keywords, type in filing taxes at home podcast and note down any shows that come up.
When you are searching for your competitors, you’ll come across two types:
1. Direct Competitors
A direct competitor sells the same product or service as you, targeted at the same audience.
2. Indirect Competitors
An indirect competitor does not sell the same product or service as you but can pull clients from your market. Your topics and target audiences can overlap a bit, but you aren’t offering them the same value.
For example, Serial and Love & Radio do not both discuss the world of factual crime but may entice a similar audience who like true stories or alternative stories from the fringes of society.
For performing a competitor analysis, you should be focusing on main competitors, but that doesn’t mean you should rule out indirect competitors as well.
Once you’ve gathered your list of main podcast competitors, you’ll need to think critically about which ones are most relevant to your own show. Competitors should have a similar niche as your own.
For example, let’s say you’re launching a podcast about dating for young professional women in New York City. While you might find other podcasts that talk about being single as a young professional that are very similar to your own, you’ll also want to look for podcasts that target New York City in particular. Your target audience is geographically based, so your podcast and competitor research should reflect that.
How to Do a Competitor Analysis for Your Podcast
Try to narrow down your main competitors to about 4-5 podcasts. When evaluating a competitor podcast, you’re trying to identify in what ways they have an advantage over you and how you can make your podcast better. To perform a competitor analysis for your podcast, we’re going to look at your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses for both their content and marketing strategies.
1.Examine Their Website
Take a look at their website or podcast landing page and look at the way they present themselves.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How easy is everything to navigate?
- Do you have a good sense of who your competitor is?
- How often is the website updated?
- Do they have blog posts, or is it just a landing page with links to where they can find the show?
- Do they sell products or services alongside the show? If so, how easy is it to go through the purchasing process?
- Do they have a newsletter or email list? If so, sign up for it and see what kind of content they’re mailing out, and how often. Does their newsletter just give you updates, or does it add actual value to their brand?
2. Check Their Content
Listen to an episode and read their descriptions. If they have a blog, read through the posts. Likewise for their social media posts, including any community groups they might have on Facebook or Discord. You want to have a good understanding of what their content is and how they’re releasing it. Note down the types of content they have as, which can include videos, FAQ pages, ebooks, and newsletters.
Is the content they’re posting effective? What tone do they use when posting? Which posts have the most engagement, which have the least? What SEO keywords are they targeting?
3. Discover Their Marketing Route
Each podcaster has a unique way of marketing their brand. To understand your competitor’s marketing strategies, look at their social profiles. Are their accounts active? Do they engage with their community? Are they paying for ads? If so, where? What type of followers do they have and who is engaging with their accounts?
4. Assess Their Reach
A well-connected podcaster will grow their audience much quicker than one who doesn’t engage with a community. Check to see if your competitor podcast hosts guests regularly or collaborates with other experts in their field. Are they part of any networks or organizations? Do they host any live podcasting events or appear on other shows?
5. Read Their Reviews
Reading reviews for your podcast competitors will give you feedback on exactly what their audience is thinking. Reviews can reveal both the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, so take note of what their listeners are saying. Do they even have reviews? If not, this might suggest the size of their active audience.
Using Your Podcast Market Research
Doing market research for your podcast takes time, but will give incredible benefits for your show! Many podcasters don’t take the time to do this, which is why there are so many abandoned podcasts floating on the internet. After doing podcast market research, you’ll know exactly who your audience is and how to bring the best possible content to them.
Since you’ve gotten this far, we’re sure you’re on the right path to making the best podcast you possibly can!