Too many beginner podcasters start shows, without a niche for a podcast, thinking their personality will be enough to grow. This is a mistake that leads to failure as a show needs a target audience.
In general, you need a niche for a podcast, as is the case with most online communication channels. Choose something clear for your listeners, and use a mix of information, entertainment, and community-building elements. The niche should not be too small to limit your growth after 1 or 2 years.
When I first started listening to podcasts, I encountered hundreds that focused on the “just talking about random stuff” niche. If your target listener is “everyone” that is not a niche. Sure, everyone is your potential listener, but in reality no one is.
Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to a niche that down further and talks about a topic that you really enjoy? Which leads us to the key question: Do you need a niche for your podcast?
You might now be asking: “well, won’t I get less traffic by niching” and the answer: definitely not. Before going into why that is, we should address the reasons for targeting a niche in the first place.
Why should you niche your podcast?
A few weeks back my manager asked me if we should start a podcast. Coming from a digital marketing role, it was generally expected that I should know the answer. After discussing, he said that we should start one about software development.
To which my response was: “Can you be more specific?”
There are multiple problems with keeping your topic broad:
- There is no specialty,
- It’s highly unlikely that you are passionate about every topic you talk about,
- Your listeners may engage with one episode and have no interest in the next.
The main core problem is that it is much harder to build an audience by using this method.
Imagine you are tuned in to a podcast about how to run and the benefits of running. As an avid runner, you are engaged and absorb the value offered. You come to tune into the next episode and find that they are now talking about the benefits of Rugby.
Are you likely to follow that podcast in the future? No.
Niching down may mean that in essence, you are appealing to fewer people. However, if you look at that from a different point of view, it’s actually that you are more appealing to a select group of people.
Even now, you are reading an article that has been niched. As a passion, I’ve chosen to speak about podcasting and help those who are looking to start and/or improve their podcast. Is this going to appeal to everyone? No, but, those who find it will benefit from it the most.
You have to take the same mindset and apply it to your podcast. What are you passionate about? what do you enjoy doing? what topic are you an expert in?
Answering these questions will give you a good idea of what niche you should go into. It’s also worth noting that the more you enjoy your topic of discussion, the easier it will be for you to create new episodes.
Motivation and enjoyment play a vital role in the success of podcasting. If you are not motivated to be consistent, you won’t find success, regardless of whether you niched down or not.
Which podcasting niches more profitable?
Some podcasting niches can be more profitable than others.
Our study of 1,076 podcasters, has revealed that:
- Higher-income podcsters, the ones who make over $50,000 per year, from their podcasts, outperform lower income-podcasters in categories of business, technology, history, storytelling, science, education, and health & living.
- Lower-income podcasters are more present in the niches of society & culture, games & hobbies, comedy, news & politics, tv & movies, and music.
Is picking a niche for a podcast bad for monetization?
Picking a niche for your show doesn’t mean that monetization will be more complex than having a broad topic show. Some niches are more profitable than others, but there is also another crucial factor.
There are many different ways to make money podcasting.
This article gives you over 30 ways you can make money podcasting in any niche you choose.
And a size of a show is not a determining factor. Here is an episode of my show, Improve Podcast School, where I discuss this concept, and explain how many listeners you need to have a successful podcast.
Gaining an audience in a podcast niche
When you first start a podcast a lot of information will have you believe that it is difficult to gain an audience. This is true. It can be difficult to build an audience depending on the route you have taken. It also depends on whether you are actively building one or not.
Selecting a niche for your podcast, website, YouTube channel, etc., will help you build an audience sooner. Here’s the logic behind that controversial statement.
Let’s use the first example I gave of a podcast about software development.
Instead of a broad topic, I choose to niche that subject down. As a result, I decide on a podcast that teaches beginners how to develop basic code. This might be a very specific niche, but if someone searches for that specific term, you bet I’m likely to be one of the top results.
Remember that podcasting and blogging respectively are search-based forms of media. If an individual is interested in your niche, they are likely going to search for it.
Having a niche for a niche can also allow you to gain authority. If you are podcasting about a topic with very little competition, assuming you are consistent and provide good content, you could find yourself as the go-to for that information.
Listeners need to understand the value you provide instantly
Our attention span as humans is now being compared to that of a goldfish. As such, it’s crucial that a listener understands exactly who you are and what you do immediately.
There are 3 ways to do this effectively:
- Write a detailed episode and profile description. Include all the information that your listener may ask and alleviate the possibility of them to be confused
- Include intro information. Speak about what is coming up in the episode. This immediately sets the tone for the episode and allows the listener to make a decision: “should I continue to listen or not?”
- Include a hook in your intro that encourages further listening.
A detailed script and episode description are not only beneficial for your listeners, but it also has a big impact on search.
Ensure that you not only describe what you are about but also include relevant keywords about your niche. If someone was to find your podcast, what would they be searching for? Use that answer to tailor your content.
The goal is for your audience to enter a specific keyword/keyword phrase and for you to be the #1 result.
Here are two example descriptions:
My name’s John and welcomes to “talk about everything”. On my weekly podcast, I talk about anything that has recently happened in my life. We go through all the details and see if we can get anyone on the show.
My name’s John and welcomes to “Software development – Beginner to pro”. On this weekly podcast, I talk about my experiences as a software developer and guide you through basic coding. At the end of each season, you should be able to have achieved the pre-determined goal set in episode 1.
Which are you likely to listen to?
Taking the description to the next level can have a big impact on audience perception. Not only do they understand what the podcast is about, but they also have a pre-conceived idea that you are an expert in your field.
Keep this in mind the next time you write your description.
What If I have more than one passion?
What exactly do you do if you want to talk about multiple different topics? Not everyone has one set topic to talk about. It can often be intimidating to consider multiple different topic avenues, out of the fear that people will boycott listening if you do not tailor to their one particular interest.
This is perfectly understandable and believe it or not, a completely rational fear. You may have experienced it yourself when you are subscribed to someone who changes direction out of the blue. It’s not something you stick around for.
So, how do you get around this?
There are two different methods. You can either:
- Create a separate podcast for each passion/topic
- Change your topic each podcast season
The most logical approach would be to create separate podcasts, especially if the topics of choice are completely different.
For example, an audience listening to a podcast about fishing isn’t going to stick around if you change to dance. In that instance, it would be best to create separate podcasts and run them simultaneously.
A good option could be to upload one on a Monday and one on a Friday (if you are doing one a week). That would then provide you with enough time on either side to work on the next episode.
This method also greatly depends on your ability to self-motivate and be consistent. You will need to give each podcast equal attention or you will find that one is dramatically outperforming the other.
If that happens, you’ll likely stop producing material for the other. Which can have negative effects on your personal brand (if you are mentioning your full name/other podcasts in your episodes)
Having multiple topics that are close together, say, digital marketing and content marketing could provide you with a great opportunity to split topics via seasons.
Topics like these generally flow into one another. Your audience is then likely to stick with you when you change. Inform your audience at the end of your season that you will be changing to a different topic.
It’s important to let them know what to expect. Many podcasts that do this, miss this off. If your audience isn’t given a clear outline of what value is going to be presented, they may not continue listening once you are back with another season.
Be careful about closing your podcast in a niche
There is such a thing as a bad niche. For example, Software development tips for 10-15-year olds in China. Even if you specialize in exactly that, is there information there that only that age range from China would benefit from?
You want to make your podcast accessible to those who would benefit from it. At the same time, you want to niche it so it’s searchable by those people. Software development tips for teenagers would be much more searchable.
You can test this by choosing a particular niche and doing a general search for it on google and other platforms. If you are getting results, it’s searchable and thus, a good fit.
You need a niche for a podcast, as it is much easier to start and create early plans for content development.
This will help you with reaching early listeners, building community, and finding a group of people that needs exactly what you have to offer.