Let’s face it, the world doesn’t need another podcast. I know that may be a strange way to start a blog about podcasting, but it’s true. In fact, according to information from Nielsen and Edison, there are 700,000 active podcasts and 29 million podcast episodes in 100 languages.
For the next few minutes, I want you to forget about podcasts, because podcasts themselves don’t really matter. Have you ever really wanted something for your birthday or Christmas, and when the day comes, there is a beautifully wrapped package just the shape and size of your dream gift. You open it slowly to savor every moment, and when you open it, you look down with pure excitement and are struck speechless. Not by joy, but by disappointment. If you haven’t, give an eleven-year-old child a pair of socks as a gift and watch the magic happen.
Podcasts are just the wrapper. It’s the contents that have to WOW! They have to be what the person is looking for and wanting. If not, there are 700,000 other places they can go. And they will go. It’s like searching for a new show on Netflix. You click, you give it a few minutes and then, you either keep watching or you leave. Maybe the show you left was amazing, maybe it would have been your favorite over time, but there was one critical problem: You didn’t see the value in staying.
Value in Podcasting
Value means different things to different people, and you are never going to add value to everyone, even if they are in desperate need of what you have to offer. What do I mean by value? For me, it means making someone’s day or life a bit better. To really simplify this, you already add value to people all day. The person you coach at work so they can do their job with less stress. The movie or album you recommend to a friend because you know they will love it. Buying a coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks. Value comes in many forms and means different things to different people.
How do you make sure you add value? It’s pretty simple, but most people just forget this part. It’s about knowing what someone likes, needs or wants, and giving it, or helping them achieve it. So, assuming you know what your topic, you need to find where it matches your desired or current audience. I get it, you don’t know what you want for lunch, much less what total strangers may want from you. My starting point when working with clients is always the value proposition. A value proposition answers the “So what?” and “Who cares?” questions for potential customers, or listeners. It tells people they should listen, subscribe, recommend, rate you five stars, follow you on Facebook, buy your book, be on your show, and so on. In order for that to happen effectively, you need to start with your listener.
Job to be Done
Harvard Professor, Clayton Christensen, coined the term “Job to be Done” (JTBD). This is a new way of looking at your audience in a way that matters. If you are using traditional segmentation and not getting the results you want, you are going to love this. Most segmentation is done using info that really doesn’t matter upfront like age, gender, and income. You didn’t choose your morning coffee or the color of the shirt you are wearing because of your gender, age, or income. Those choices were made because you had a job to be done. You might have made your coffee at home because your JTBD is to save money. Maybe you went to Starbucks to save time, or pick up the office coffee order. Perhaps, like me, you are a fan of pour-over coffee and went to a coffee shop with a cool vibe to work. All of those are jobs to be done. And while the other criteria may come into play —like how much I am willing to spend on coffee— they are not the initial decision criteria.
The JTBD gives us insight into our audience. And once we know what they are trying to do, we need to know what pains they are experiencing, or even the things that may be blocking them completely. I love to hike. Let’s say I want to help others hike. I will look at the jobs to be done. For me, my JTBD are: being in shape, time with my son, being safe, and making memories. Do not make an exhaustive list, make a list of the things that matter. The pains I have with hiking include: finding the right trail, weekend crowds, and what to bring i.e. water and snacks.
In talking with other hikers and would-be hikers, I know that these things are things that other people think about. You do want to validate your ideas with others. In the case of hiking, I can talk to friends. I can chat with other people on a trail. I can strike up conversations at REI or participate in forums. You can do market research without going crazy.
Now that I have my customer profile, I can think about what I am going to offer. I do that by listing the types of info I want to give. In this case, I am going to stick to the topics of: Hiking basics for beginners and intermediate, trails, safety, and preparation. Those things are going to address some of the pains I mentioned: This will help people find the desired types of trails, and be prepared with gear, food, and water. I can’t directly address the matter of trails being crowded on the weekend, but I can offer lesser-known alternatives to popular trails. Because I know the topic and where I want to add value, I can start looking for experts and enthusiasts with awesome information to share.
Again, when considering how I might best serve this demographic, I check my thinking and my assumptions. In conversation, I might ask someone if they know of a resource for any of those things and find out what they feel is missing. I can make hypothetical statements like “wouldn’t it be great if…” and the person might agree, or tell such a thing already exists. Either way, my idea gets validated or I know I need to do a bit more work based on new information, like a competitor.
Now that my research part is done, I am ready to think about the packaging, and in this case, that package is a podcast. There is an important question to ask, “Does the idea work in a non-visual space?” What I mean here is, if you just talk, will people get the value? My best friend’s wife is a hairdresser with an Instagram page. That works great for her, because hair and hairstyles are very visual. Taking about hiking safety can be visual, and it also works great in the non-visual space. So let’s assume you are all good to go for a podcast. Now you have to deliver the value.
Be upfront about what you are offering. In the first minute or so of your podcast, let people know what they can expect. For the hiking podcast, I might say that in the episode, we are going to talk about child safety on trails with a moderate rating. Then the listener can choose if that episode is something they want to listen to immediately, later, or at all. If I came across a podcast for hiking with an infant, I would not listen. My son is 11 and that particular episode is not going to add value. My time would better be spent on a podcast that would help me get him interested in math. But, if the podcast adds overall value to me, I will be back for another episode.
So while the world doesn’t need another podcast, there is someone out there in need of the value you can bring.
And if you found this blog post valuable, you can find out how to create a marketing plan to reach your audience and let them know you there. There is a step-by-step process in my book, “Marketingplan Today”, available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2lEgNNr.