July 13, 2020

The Key To Growing Your Audience Early

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#002 - Are you having trouble finding your audience?

The problem may not be in your marketing. In today's episode we'll discuss the importance of finding your focus BEFORE you start podcasting so that you don't run into problem later in your journey.

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NOTE: This transcript was automatically created with the help of AI. There may still be a few errors or inaccuracies.

Quick question. If you and I are gonna sit down and have a conversation, which topic would sound more appealing to you? If I told you I'm going to tell you why I love sports? Or if I tell you why I love the Green Bay Packers?

Similarly, if you are sitting around at a party and someone tells you, oh, I work at the hospital, or I work as a nurse in the operating room. Which one are you going to want to dive into a little bit more? Which one sounds a little bit more exciting, which one piques your interest?

We're going to take a closer look and answer some of these questions today. As we help you choose your topic. Let's get started.

Podcast Better is for you, the podcaster, or soon to be podcaster who has a business, a cause, or a hobby that you're passionate about. Each week we'll take a closer look at the mental, physical, and technical skills necessary to produce a quality show that your fans will want to listen to. Thanks for sharing part of your day with me so that we can podcast better together.

Welcome, welcome, welcome fellow podcaster. This is another episode of Podcast Better and today we are talking about topics or niches.

Back in episode one we discussed why you are podcasting. What is the purpose of your podcast? And this kind of goes hand in hand with today's topic of, well, choosing a topic.

This is another one of those things that you can easily do before you start buying any equipment before you sign up for any hosting services or websites or anything like that. Be sure to get this stuff down.

I mean if it helps you write it down physically, type it out on your computer, on your phone, whatever make note of it somehow. Think through these things before you do anything else.

If you don't have these questions answered: Why you want a podcast and the topic you want to podcast on, there's no reason to move forward with anything else.

These are questions you need to have answered first.

Whenever I talk to someone about starting a podcast, this is usually the first question that I asked them: What is your podcast going to be about?

And if they tell me something like sports, I'm just going to talk about sports, all sports. That's an instant red flag for me. That's something that really needs to have more focus to it.

And that is true for any topic that you choose.

If you just choose a broad category, I'm going to tell you, you need to focus that that idea, that topic. Pick a niche. You need to narrow your focus and figure out exactly what it is you want to talk about.

Time after time after time, I've seen this happen myself. I've seen it happen to others. This is something that holds true for pretty much every podcast I've seen and listened to. 

If you don't have a focus, you are not going to be able to attract an audience.

Most people who start thinking about a podcast think, well, if I talk about all sports, I'll have so many more people. A bigger pool of people that could possibly listen to a podcast, that might be interested in my podcast, so that's a better idea.

Not really true.

Because if you say, I'm going to talk about sports, and then you have an episode, your first episode about basketball because that that's what's in the season, or that's your favorite or whatever. People turn that on and it's like, well, I was hoping to hear about football.

Then they're not going to stick have any reason to stick around. Why would they stick around?

Even if you would say, I'm going to rotate through the sports and one week we'll talk about basketball, one week we'll talk about football, one week we'll talk about baseball.

The people who want football are only going to listen to a third of the episodes. Is that really what you want?

Don't you want people coming in coming back to listen week after week after week?

So that's just one example of why I say like, instead of talking about sports, at least narrowed down to one sport, football. Or even better, narrowed it down to a specific team. Like for me, that would be the Green Bay Packers.

They are my team. I'm a diehard Packers fan. Always have been, always will be. In any case, regardless of what team you want to talk about. It's the focus on that team that's important. It's the focus.

When you talk about one specific team like that, you're still going to be bringing other teams and other players and, and other news from around the league into the conversation. You're still going to be able to cover those topics on your podcast, but the fact that you focus in on that one particular team is going to be what attracts people to your podcast.

And there will be things like, sometimes you might have a particular guest on the show and that will attract people. Even though they're not necessarily a Packers fan, or they don't want to hear about the Packers specifically, they'll come and listen to that guest. Or maybe it's the week that the Packers play the Bears, and you're a Bears fan. So you want to hear what the other side is saying about the game.

You want to hear what your opposition has to say about your team as well. And so you might tune in for that episode. And so you could get people that way.

Or there are just enough people out there who are Packers fans as well, and want to hear you talk about the Packers. And so you're going to be able to amass a large enough audience, just from that.

The other reason that I always suggest that you you have this focus is once again, this seems kind of like it should be the opposite. But when people choose a broad topic like sports, I'm going to talk about sports, they have a very hard time coming up with topics subtopics to talk about, like topics subjects for each individual episode.

It's a good exercise that I'm going to have you go through in a minute here. But it's surprising how much easier this becomes when you have a focus. When you drill down into a specific topic or a specific niche, then you can figure out what you want to talk about. 

The ideas that come behind that focus are so much clearer, and you have so much more to talk about. And you can go into so much more detail, because you don't have to be so broad and generic about things. I hope this is starting to make sense. I'm hoping not to confusing you too much here.

But let me tell you a little story.

I recently had a conversation with a gentleman named Brian about starting his podcast. And as I always do, I asked him you know, what is the topic of your podcast?

And right off the bat, he told me, he's going to talk about living in southern Idaho.

And the first thing that hit me was like, wow, I don't think I've ever heard anybody talk about that, or anybody even suggest talking about that. But he knows that there's things to talk about things going on in southern Idaho, that are worth talking about.

And it just got me thinking about this point. He could have said he could have easily said, I want to talk about life in America, or I want to talk about life in the West, the western US, or even just, I want to talk about living in Idaho.

But no, he dug down, he narrowed his topic, he narrowed his niche and said, "Hey, I am just going to talk about living in southern Idaho." And that's fantastic.

He's really the only person I talked to recently about podcasting that I didn't suggest, hey, narrow that down even more. Because that is a fantastic example of how narrow your niche should be.

And while looking at it from the outside many people might think, well, I don't know if there's enough talk about it in southern Idaho. But I really think there is. I think you could do this with any state, I think you could break it up.

And I mean, if your city is big enough, you could even just do it about a specific city. 

So that's what I'm talking about. You need to pick a clear, concise, narrow topic, because this is what is going to help you attract an audience. It's what I see so often when, when I'm in the Facebook groups, and people are asking: I've been at this for 10 weeks, 20 weeks, 30 weeks, and I just can't seem to grow my audience. I can't seem to attract listeners.

And a lot of people ask, well, what's your podcast about?

And they give these broad topics. It's like my podcast is about politics, or my podcast is about sports, or my podcast... just so broad, so generic.

And I understand instantly why they're having a hard time finding listeners, because the people who want to listen to anything and everything about politics are few and far between.

But as soon as you pick a side or take an opinion on politics, you're going to be able to find people like, Hey, I can relate to that. I understand that. That's what I think so to let me hear what you have to say.

Similarly, as much as I love football, I don't necessarily want to listen to a generic football podcast.

I don't necessarily need to hear about what's going on with the Carolina Panthers offensive line. I don't need to hear the injury report for the 49ers. I don't need to hear all these other things from around the league necessarily.

I'm interested about the Green Bay Packers and what's going on in their world and your opinion on them and your analysis of their games.

So when you find your focus, that is when you are going to be finding your true fans. These are the fans that are going to stick with the podcast from episode one to whenever you stop podcasting. These are the fans that even if you start to expand your focus over time. (This is something you can do.)

You need to start narrow to attract an audience. Once you have an audience, you have a lot more liberty, you have a lot more leeway to expand your topic and explore other areas surrounding your original topic.

But until you have those fans, you need to narrow your niche, narrow your topic. Get specific, find your focus, people come for the content, but they'll stay for you.

So if you can get that audience, get that initial audience get those true fans. Once you get them hooked, you can start talking about other things if you want to, but you need to get them hooked. And to do that, you need to find your focus.

So by now you may have a better idea of how you can narrow your topic or find your focus, but still may be wondering like, How do I know for sure this is a good thing, Matt?

How do I know that this is something that will resonate with my audience? Well, there's a few things you can do. First one, I recommend, ask a stranger or ask me however you want to do it, just wherever you are, whenever you're out and about it.

The only reason I don't recommend necessarily friends and family members is because a lot of times they'll just say, hey, yeah, that sounds like a good thing. You know, they want to support you in everything you do. They'll give you semi-honest opinions, and and not always the greatest sounding board.

So that's why I say you know, ask a stranger or like said ask me, not that I don't want to be your friend. But it's just this is something I've been doing for a while. I have a different mindset than your mom and dad might have.

So this is something that I will be doing constantly within our membership community, The Podcasters Guild. Now this, this isn't fully formed at this point. But it's one of the core things I know I'm going to have in there on day one is a place for you to come in, and share your ideas and get feedback and figure out exactly what your topic should be.

So that's the first thing you can do. Just share your idea with others, they're not going to take your idea or even if they do, they're not going to have the same opinions on that topic as you will. So you can both create podcasts about the same topic.

There's room for everybody. Don't worry about that.

So the other thing I want you to do, though, this one gets a little bit harder, takes a little more effort a little more time. But in the long run, it's going to help you out.

I want you to sit down and try to create a list of 50 topics or rather, I should say maybe 50 episode titles potential episode titles for the podcast that that surrounds the topic that you've decided on your narrow, focused topic, create 50 episode titles.

This is going to serve a couple of purposes. One, if you can create these 50 titles, this is content for the next year, assuming you put out one episode a week. That's okay 52 weeks in a year, if you want to create this 52 topics go for 52 that's your number.

Now you have content for the next year. You don't have to worry about coming up with new ideas all the time. Believe me, once you get into this new ideas will be popping up left and right. But just in case on those weeks when you're kind of in the weeds and you don't know what you should talk about, you're having trouble coming up with new ideas...

Go back to this list. You'll have plenty of topics to choose from something should hit you in the right spot.

But the second thing this exercise can do is if you can't cannot come up with a list of 50 topics, a list of 50 episode titles, that's going to tell you something as well.

Maybe your topic is either too narrow, or it's just not something that you know enough about or care enough about. Or you simply can't think of enough content at this point. And that's kind of another red flag for you. It's like, hey, if I can't even come up with one year's worth of content, maybe this isn't the right thing for me to be talking about.

So there you have that that's what I'm getting after today.

You need to pick your topic, find your niche, but make sure it's narrow.

Make sure you have your focus that focus will attract your audience, that audience, your focused, narrow audience will become your true fans over time. You can always expand later but those are going to be the your core audience.

And once you think you have that, that narrow topic, your focus, test it out. Ask people. Ask those people surrounding you. Ask those in The Podcasters Guild. Find me on social media and let me know what you think your podcast is going to be about, send me a DM, whatever you want to do.

I'm more than happy to help you out with this brainstorming session.

And then finally, create a list of 50 topics. Once you've made it past everything else, make this list, take the time, it is worth it to sit down and take the time and find out if you have enough to talk about on this topic.

Wouldn't you rather figure out if you have enough to talk about at week zero instead of week 20 when you you've been at this for five months, and all of a sudden it's like, wow, I don't have anything else to talk about on this topic?

I mean that then you've put in five months of work for nothing or you go off the air for a few weeks while you recharge and figure things out or, like this list will solve so many problems for you down the road.

That's it. Go find your topic, test it out. Once you know what your podcast is going to be about, please share it with me publicly, privately, however you feel comfortable doing it. 

I want to find out what your podcast is going to be about. Take a screenshot of this podcast as you're listening to it.

Share it with me on social media, make sure to tag me in a tag the show, however you want to do it. I want to hear from you.

That's all for this week. We'll see in the next episode.

Thank you for joining me today on this episode of Podcast Better. If you're ready to get your podcast started out on the right foot or if you're ready to take your podcast to the next level, then I hope you'll join me because this podcast is just a small piece of the puzzle that I am bringing to the big picture.

Ultimately, I am starting a podcast membership community called The Podcasters Guild.

The Podcasters Guild is a network of podcasters just like you who are serious about their podcasts and want to do everything to the best of their ability.

At the time of this recording, The Guild is just getting started. So this is your chance to get in on the ground level. This is your chance to help build and mold The Guild into something that you will find useful.

I've been podcasting for the past six years with multiple podcasts and hundreds of episodes. And I want to share my experiences and expertise with you. So if you have any interest at all, in improving your podcast, and joining me on this adventure, head over to ThePodcastersGuild.com and join the list.

Well, I don't know exactly what the final results of this project will be. I do know one thing I can't wait to see how great your podcasts can be.