Most people think they know the answer to this question. But the actual answer can sometimes surprise you. Who we are TALKING to isn't always who is listening. Elsie and I started She Podcasts to have a discussion with the other lady podcasters in our lives, but male podcasters love to listen and chime in, too. Even though they almost always tell us their fandom is a secret.
If you want to monetize your podcast in ANY way, shape, or form, you need to know the answer to this question, and be definitely sure.
Let's start with advertisers. Advertisers want 2 things. They want to know WHO they are targeting and HOW MANY of them you have. This is why most podcasters are concerned with their download stats – but they often fail to find out WHO those people are!
Who they are is really the most important question. Yes, it's important how many there are – but if your listeners are a tough group to find, say, teenage knitters or single dads, there's an advertiser out there right now who is dying to get in front of that group, regardless of how many you have listening.
Before you pitch yourself to an advertiser, be 100% positive you know who is listening, because that answer is going to make or break a successful podcast ad campaign.
What if you want to monetize with selling courses, live events, memberships, or something else that you yourself are offering? Then you'll definitely want to know if your listener is the same person you've been talking to this whole time. What if you have a majority that wouldn't be interested in what you're going to offer? There goes your dreams of a successful product or service launch.
This is a question that isn't too easy for podcasters to solve, believe it or not. Some of us have Facebook groups, but that doesn't (or can't) give you the whole picture. For example, the She Podcasts Facebook group has over 9,000 women in it – but Elsie and I know we have a good amount of male listeners too.
There are other ways to find out, you can survey your listeners. Ask them to fill out a basic, 10-second survey online about their demographics and don't stop asking until you get 100-200 responses. Here's a list of basic information you might want to gather. All of these questions have something to do with your listener's buying power.
- Age (Are they broke or on a budget)
- Marital status (are they in a dual-income situation)
- # of children (are they spending all their money on feeding and clothing or are they interested in products for parents)
- Employment status (Unless this is obvious by your show entitled “accountants” your partners will want to know if they have a job or go it alone)
- Average household income (again, can they afford luxury products, services, or do they need help saving money)
- Education level (This is related both to the intellectual level of the listener as well as their income potential – would they see value in XYZ, etc.)
In addition, you may want to gauge their level of interest in products or services related to your topic of interest, depending on what you talk about. Or, if you have a general show about “tech” or “parenting” you could just ask them to check off a general list of interests, such as “gadgets, home, sports, music, entertainment, comedy, romance, sci-fi, and so on.
Lastly, you can use Facebook Audience Insights. I've been doing this all along for clients without realizing what it truly implicated, which is obviously that Facebook is gathering all kinds of good information on us. However, when you use Facebook Audience Insights, you won't know exactly who is in which category, so it's all still relatively private. Gather information on people who like your page – and you'll see all kinds of great info! Again, this isn't exact, but it's a really good start and accurate enough to include on your media kit.
Make sure before you start making money with your show you've answered this question. And for further info, there is a webinar this Thursday at 2pm EST called The Podcast Consumer which will be full of information as to who the average podcast listener is – so don't miss it! Register now to sign up for free and get the report/recording if you can't make it live.