13 OCTOBER 2017
written by Mike
When starting a business, a blog or an internet show, the usual advice is to find a niche, explore it, become an expert in it and then go wide.
Competing on a global level is tough so starting with a narrow topic is a good idea, at least it seems like it.
But what if you want to create something that appeals to a mainstream audience?
What if you want your podcast to be at the top of the charts, listened by thousands?
After working on a show that speaks to a global audience, I can give you a few pointers, a few tips that hopefully can lead to a right direction.
Understanding the audience is the most critical point on the list. Gather the data, study it, draw the conclusions.
What are the countries, regions, gender, the age of the listeners?
What do they expect, what do they like?
It’s difficult to create something for everyone, so aim at a niche but think how can you make it attractive for people who are not familiar with a genre.
Do I need to know the technical language before listening?
Do I need to be familiar with the subject?
The goal is to create a show that is popular within a niche but easy to start for new listeners.
Remember that familiarity will more than likely bring listeners. People tend to click on stories and topics they already know, the fear of the unknown is real.
On the other side, you don’t want to be re-hashing same old stories over and over again.
A mixture of old and new is your best bet, offer something familiar to the new audience and something different to established listeners.
If you want to appeal to a global audience, you need to keep the listener engaged from the start and throughout the show.
I understand that not every episode will be the best, but the goal should be to do the best work each time.
Look at other successful podcasts, how do they structure their shows?
What makes them better than others? Why do listeners keep coming back?
There are limitless shows and content on the internet, the listener has a choice what to do with their time.
They may choose to listen to your podcast once, but you need to think how to make it attractive, so they come back.
The insight I’ve got is that the longer stories tend to do better, but it’s not always the case. We have Joe Rogan‘s 3+ hours per show as well as 30 minute Lore episodes next to each other on the top charts.
Whatever your format is, make your show easy to listen and understandable. Avoid jargon and technical knowledge and if you need to do it, explain the terms used.
Make sure that the show is easy to follow for people who are not familiar with the genre.
To reach a global audience, you need to complete on a global level. Yes, you can still record from a spare bedroom, but when it comes to technicalities, you will need to invest in a professional gear.
That means a microphone, recording software, reliable system.
You will also need to hire people to help, you won’t be able to do it on your own.
In my experience, the difference between an average and something special is usually just 1%, but it’s that 1% that most people cannot put the finger on.
The music band, the director, the artist, the company with a fantastic product.
It seems like the top achievers are doing the same thing as everybody else, but somehow they are different and better.
It’s usually a team effort. The team must work together towards the same goal.
Constant improvement, adjustments, learning from failure and mistakes are the crucial ingredients to success.
Most people say to avoid perfectionism, I agree to some extent, you can’t be extreme if you want to meet deadlines.
But attention to details and at least working towards a perfect product or show, in my opinion, should be a driver too.
If you want to be at the top, of course.
Elements of your show must work together as a whole, nothing stands out, nothing takes priority.
When gathering feedback and reviews, you want people to praise the whole show, the episode, the podcast.
It’s still amazing if they write that the narration or music or writing was excellent, but to be the best, the pieces must work like puzzles. All fit together to create the full picture.
For the last one, don’t take anything for granted.
Once you reach the top, you may think you found a perfect formula, that it’s the time to relax, to step back and enjoy.
Unfortunately, it’s not how it works.
Global audience means more pressure and higher standards, people will see if you start to slack off, everything you do is looked at with a magnifying glass.
The minute the audience is upset or bored, they will switch off the show or change to something else.
Stay on your toes, improve and be grateful that people tune in to your podcast. They don’t have to do that.
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