What is “Audience Development” anyway?

Ensuring a podcast connects with its intended audience is crucial to its success — here’s how we do it.

. 4 min read

Ensuring a podcast connects with its intended audience is crucial to its success — here’s how we do it.

The term “Audience Development” comes up a lot in the work we do every day. Pacific Content might be best known for the production of award-winning branded podcasts, but our Audience Development expertise is key to the success of our clients as it ensures we reach the intended listenership with each podcast.

So what is is “Audience Development”?

It might sound like it’s our term for podcast marketing, but it’s actually a much broader concept that encompasses a range of activities that increase the chance of podcasting success for our clients.

The purpose of Audience Development
All our efforts to find new audiences are designed to promote one type of listener behaviour: sampling. We want new audiences to find the podcast and hit play. Once listeners have done that, it’s the job of the content itself to convert those listeners to fans. If the storytelling is good, it will convince listeners to stick around for an entire episode, seek out additional episodes, subscribe to the podcast, and possibly even tell their friends about it. In other words, Audience Development is what brings listeners to a podcast, and it’s the job of the content to win these people over. Audience Development is crucial, but it needs to be combined with a solid and well-thought out editorial plan. This is our recipe for podcast success.

The ‘right’ audience
Pacific Content helps industry leading brands amplify their voice and deeply connect with audiences through original branded podcasts and audio content. The first questions we ask a new client are always “what are you goals” and “who is your target audience?” And the answer is never that a client wants the biggest audience possible. Usually, they want to reach a specific group of people — prospective clients, key decision makers or would-be investors. Once we have a sense of a client’s aims, we combine an editorial strategy and Audience Development plan to find and engage those exact audiences.

Podcast marketing
A significant part of Audience Development is podcast marketing. We help our clients create a marketing strategy that’s tailored to their preferred podcast medium and that takes advantage of their podcasting superpowers. In particular, we offer expert guidance around the following:

  • How clients can effectively engage and activate their existing “owned” and internal audiences
  • How clients can boost their visibility and win publicity through earned media
  • How clients can conduct effective, targeted, and finely-tuned paid ad campaigns to reach and grow new audiences

Detailed research is part of any Audience Development plan. No-one can achieve podcasting success without a well-informed understanding of their target audiences (their tastes, listening habits, etc.) and the podcasting landscape. Our podcast neighbourhood analyses are one example of how we harness our expertise to provide valuable insight as to listener tastes, habits and behaviours.

Product packaging
It may be surprising to some people, but product packaging is a key aspect of Audience Development. What you choose to name a podcast, the artwork you create for it, the description you give it, and how you categorize it are all key to making it discoverable and its success and popularity over time.

As we are always striving for continuous improvement, we consider measurement an integral part of our Audience Development work. Our monitoring and “listening” techniques allow us and our clients to react to audience feedback and listener behaviour and make ongoing enhancements to a podcast’s content and marketing.

No podcast can find an audience without being available on all the major podcast platforms. Aside from ensuring this, we also provide best practice recommendations about when to release episodes and shows and how often. A well-designed podcast website can also help broaden a show’s reach given that roughly 63% of people in North America do not listen to podcasts or use podcasting platforms on a regular basis.

So when is the right time to work on Audience Development?
Most of the time we provide Audience Development services for podcasts that we also produce ourselves. In these cases, the Audience Development work starts as soon as we develop the show and represents an integral part of our production and show development process.

Recently, we’ve also started working with clients that have existing podcasts (not produced by Pacific Content) and advising them on Audience Development to help them broaden their reach. In these cases, the general rule is the earlier you can start working on Audience Development, the better.

Wherever you are in your podcast journey — feel free to reach out to us to find out how we can help you find new audiences and maximize the impact of your show.

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