Whether you're starting a company, becoming an influencer on social media, or launching a podcast, getting people to listen to you is a huge part of your job. Earlier this month I launched the first season of my podcast, "Haven't Said Enough," which taught me an immense amount about the different ways to build, engage with and attract an audience.
If you've ever written a book, a blog post, or a presentation you've probably grappled with these concepts before. Speaking at people, and getting people to actually hear you and digest the concepts you are talking about are two very different things. It's an attribute that leaders in any industry should practice. Here are the seven biggest takeaways creating a podcast gave me on how to captivate an audience.
1. Identify your audience, and cater your content towards them.
Let's say you're a founder of a company with multiple departments. You wouldn't consistently give your developers the same materials, meetings, and advice as your marketing or sales department. Each of these different audiences have different needs. It's your job a leader to speak to and address these needs.
The same goes for a podcast, blog, or Instagram page. To be successful you need to identify your audience, and their needs so that you can better provide them with valuable insight.
2. The more specific your audience is the better--find your niche.
When your goal is to speak to a large audience, many try to captivate them by giving them overarching and broad advice. Don't do this.
Find your niche, and speak to those who live in that niche bubble with you. Before I ever recorded an episode, my producer and I mapped out who our audience was. Since "Haven't Said Enough" discusses social and humanitarian issues, we started with people in that realm. We ended up creating a persona "Woke Wendy". Every idea we had was looked at through the eyes of Woke Wendy's needs. We created lists of Wendy's favorite shows, stores, and weekend activities. We understood Wendy's needs so well that it guided our content, discussions, and marketing materials.
Exercises like this allow you to constantly put your audience first. Before every decision you make you have to ask yourself if it is valuable to your audience
3. Nobody wants to hear you banter.
This is as true in meetings, or seminars, as it is in podcasts. Have you ever showed up to a meeting and thought "why wasn't this an email?".
Don't put your audience in that situation.
I'm sure your off-the-cuff humor is charming, but when people show up to meetings, download a podcast, or read an article they want to learn something. Your audiences time is valuable, don't lose their interest by taking advantage of their time.
4. What need are you solving for?
Every entrepreneur understands that a product, service, or company should be addressing--and solving for-- a pain point. This works as well on a micro level as it does on a macro level.
If you don't aim to solve for a need in the world, your podcast, company, or book will be somewhat useless. Provide a valuable product by solving for a need that your audience has.
5. Don't just wing it.
Regardless of what platform your audience lives on, you need to build their trust. A huge way to do this is by having in-depth and credible knowledge on the subject matter you're speaking to. This doesn't happen by just winging it, this takes work. For example, It's easy to identify which Instagram pages plan their content a month in advance, and which just post on a whim. The aesthetically pleasing, color coordinated and thematic pages are the ones that stand out--this takes planning.
The same goes for a building a podcast. How does each episode relate to the other? What kinds of attributes do you provide that your audience can depend on? We've all sat through that presentation where someone was clearly winging it. The one filled with "umm's" and "uh's", don't be that presenter, or that podcaster. When you take the time to do offline planning you will improve your show.
6. Don't be afraid to experiment.
Especially when you are first starting out, you need to try a bunch of new things to see what works--and what doesn't. When you're building something, you will probably fail a lot before you succeed. And you will probably pivot a lot, before finding the path that works for you.
When you take the time to try new things along the way you allow yourself the opportunity to explore different approaches.
7. Ask for feedback from friends and peers.
The more you know, the better you can be. An easy way to analyze your progress is it ask your friends, family, and peers for their opinions on your podcast, product, or whatever it is you are working on. It's a free way to collect opinions and data on your project. This support can help you generate an even better podcast (or product), catered to your audience of choice.