Loads of great radio stations can be found on the FM dial, but my favourite is WII FM. You've probably never heard of it, right? So before you take a listen, you might first ask... what's in it for me?
Podcasting vs Radio
Although they both share a common parent - engaging audio for the masses - podcasting is very different to radio and understanding the distinction between the two mediums can be an important first step in knowing how to promote your show.
Perhaps one of the most important differences, if not the most important, is that a podcast listener actively chooses to listen to your show, while a radio listener (for the most part) chooses to listen to a station and accepts they will get whatever show is playing.
So while there will always be ‘appointment to listen’ radio shows out there, taking this into consideration is a really good way to start exploring the listener journey.
If someone is actively choosing to listen to your podcast, they will be doing so in the belief that they will get something out of it. As in, they are choosing to exchange some of their time and mental energy for the promise of a positive experience.
In other words, they’re making a purchase. They’re spending something they value in order to ‘buy’ your show (even if they are not paying for it in monetary terms). So if we look at the act of listening through this lens, what does it tell us?
The answer brings us back to WII FM. It’s not a radio station but an acronym for the most important question a listener will consciously or subconsciously ask when considering whether they should listen to you show.
WII FM = What’s In It For Me?
Consider the listener’s perspective
As human beings, our base motivations boil down to working out what we might get in exchange for what we might need to give or do. So if you are asking a potential listener to give up their time, you need to ask what they will get out of downloading or streaming your podcast.
If this is already blindingly obvious to you, then good work! Advance to Go and collect 200 listeners. If you’re sitting there with a mild look of intrigue - let me explain.
By starting to think about things from this direction we unlock something incredibly powerful - a better understanding of our potential audience’s point of view.
A case in point - rather than asking someone to listen to your podcast, it’s far more powerful to give them a reason why they would want to listen to your podcast.
Goodbye “please listen to my podcast” and hello “here’s three great reasons why you should listen”.
It’s as simple as that!
By asking this question, you can start focusing on the listeners and their needs. And if you can answer this question well, then you’ll be taking an important step down a path that will ultimately improve the chance of a potential listener becoming an actual listener.
In the next article I’ll talk about the three types of content that podcasts typically fall into and five reasons why audiences typically listen to podcasts.