Journalists and podcasters should focus on targeting specific audience profiles in order to achieve the best results, rather than utilising the broad-spectrum approach of traditional media formats, the co-founder of podcast production company Magnificent Noise has said.
Speaking at the annual Radiodays Europe conference, held this year in Prague, Eric Nuzum argued that, rather than prioritising the idea behind a podcast, creators should instead build a picture of the kind of listener they are trying to reach, and use that to inform decisions about how to structure their content and delivery.
This practice of catering to a specific, semi-fictional character representing your target audience has been common in marketing for many years, where these characters are referred to as ‘marketing personas’, but Nuzum said that the principle is comparatively underrepresented in podcasting.
“It's something that radio people just aren't used to thinking like, journalists just aren't used to thinking like that. But podcasting is part of modern media, which rewards niches, rewards specificity over a broad approach like you would see in broadcasting.”
“I think that the emotional effect on people is something that needs to be better embraced by the world of media. And you're a better creator when you understand the emotional reaction you're trying to convey,” Nuzum added. “What we are doing when we create podcasts is creating emotion. Empathy is an emotion, and I think that it's really important not just to admit that that is true, but to design with that in mind, as a creator.”
This was echoed by Leanne Alie, development producer for BBC Sounds and creator of the British Podcast Award-winning Coiled, who argued that before podcasters think about pitching their show, they should make sure that they are doing it from a place of authenticity.
“I think when you're coming up with your podcast, you should ask yourself the following questions: most importantly, why do you want to tell the story? Why should people care? Why is this something that needs to be out in the world?”