10 ways to know if your branded podcast resonates with your target audience
You’ve done the heavy lifting that comes with launching a branded podcast – everything from determining the theme, designing the artwork, booking and interviewing guests, and getting it listed on different directories so the world can access it.
But the majority of the hard work often starts once your show has launched; especially if you want to create a podcast that resonates with your target audience.
Unlike a lot of other online media platforms, it can be a bit harder to track the success of a podcast. There is little ambiguity when it comes to YouTube views or Instagram likes but it gets a little harder when you’re trying to determine precise listener numbers or if your podcast is connecting with the right audiences in the right way.
In order to get an accurate read on how your show is doing, you need to look beyond simple download metrics. Keep reading to learn our top 10 tips to know if your podcast is resonating with audiences.
Let’s dive in!
Podcast ratings make it easy for you to get a quick pulse check and gauge how much your show is resonating with listeners. Reviews are an invaluable way to learn about what your listeners really think. Beyond the gratification you get from the good reviews, think about what you can learn from the mediocre or bad reviews. You can gauge what your listeners are loving (and what they are not!). All of this is crucial feedback that can inform the development of your podcast as you move forward.
Beyond algorithms, ratings and reviews are important for gaining trust and credibility. If new listeners see hundreds of five stars and glowing reviews, they’ll trust the podcast’s authority and be more eager to listen to the show.
In addition, most podcasting platforms draw on ratings and reviews as one metric to calculate podcast rankings and charts. So, if you want your podcast to be at the rank, think about adding CTA’s at the end of your episodes encouraging listeners to rate & review your podcast.
Your consumption rate is one of the most important indicators of success in the podcast world. Essentially, the consumption rate tells you how much of a podcast episode your listeners are actually listening to before dropping off.
This number is calculated on a percentage basis, so the closer you can get to 100%, the better.
A good rule of thumb is to try and maintain an average consumption rate of at least 70%. This means that listeners are tuning in for a little less than three-quarters of your episode, which for the average length of a podcast, blows any other mediums like blogging or video out of the water.
Average consumption rates can also be a great metric to turn to when testing different podcast formats, lengths, topics, etc. For example, if you launch an episode that’s 60 minutes in length and it has a 50% average consumption rate and you also release an episode that’s 30 minutes long and it has close to a 100% average consumption rate, this is a good tell that 30 minutes might be your sweet spot in episode length.
In addition to average consumption rates, studying the performance of your individual episodes is critical to understanding how your show is performing on a granular level.
You need to pay attention to where your audience is skipping and dropping off on an episode because this can help you figure out not only what is resonating with your audience but also what needs to change.
Often simple tweaks like a shorter intro, catchier music, better transitions, shorter sections or a more powerful CTA can keep a listener engaged for longer. While some drop-off is normal, you want to ensure your content is engaging enough to retain listeners and keep them wanting more.
Comparing episodes to analyze any trends or outliers when it comes to themes, length, or structure, can be a helpful method for isolating the crucial differences that point to your listeners’ preferences.
Spotting trends and abnormalities in your episode performance and listening back to the content is the most conclusive way to determine what’s working for your listeners and what can be improved.
Steep and sudden changes in retention are the best evidence for deciding if your ad slot needs a new lead-in, if your audio quality took a turn for the worse, or if your guest’s latest tangent went on a little too long.
Once you have a baseline for performance, you can use episode drop-off data to more effectively test new show formats and episode segments. Coupled with audience demographics and listening platform analytics, drop-off can point the way to better marketing initiatives and optimizations for listener engagement.
Include a call for feedback in every episode, in your shownotes, your social media profiles, your social media posts, and your website — in other words, across all channels. It doesn’t really matter how you ask people to contact you as long as there’s at least one easy option.
You could ask your listeners to email you (and provide this at the end of each show), you could point your audience to your website where they can leave a voicemail (SpeakPipe and Podpage are options for this!), or fill out a simple Google Form with their message or you could take it to social and ask your listeners to ping you on Twitter or Instagram with their thoughts on the show.
Keep an eye out to see what people are sharing and saying about your podcast. Social listening is important, and the number of likes, shares, and link clicks to your social media posts gives you valuable information on if your show’s content is landing.
Social media metrics help you gauge your show’s popularity and what you need to keep doing or change to connect with your audience. As we mentioned above, you can also leverage social media to survey your audience and gain a better understanding of what format, topics, length, etc. they prefer.
If you have a website dedicated to your podcast or at least a page on your brand website dedicated to your podcast, it’s a great way to see if your show is resonating.
Each time you publish a new episode, you can measure the increase in traffic to your website, depending on the quality of your episode. Traffic will give you great insight into which themes and episodes are interesting to your audience and what topics you should focus on. This will be even more helpful if you release additional content around your podcast like blog posts. If a certain blog post gains a lot of traction, you can assume that’s a popular topic that you may want to use in a future episode.
Subscribers or followers refer to the number of listeners following your RSS feeds or have opted in to be notified once a new episode comes out. Though it is hard to measure followers perfectly (since all Apps use different methodologies), it’s a good way to measure the growth of your show, which in turn can tell you a little about whether your content is resonating.
If you run a newsletter to promote your podcast episodes, your open rates and click-throughs tell you how many of your subscribers care about your latest release.
If you see open and click-through rates declining, seek user feedback about what makes for a compelling episode, which episode made them sign up for your newsletter, and which episode didn’t hit the mark for them. All this information can help you to continue improving the quality of the show.
This also applies if you add a section to promote your podcast in an existing brand newsletter. Measure to see how many clicks you get from your newsletter to your podcast and analyze whether or not it’s relevant content.
If you’ve been podcasting for a while, you’ve likely carved a niche for yourself in your industry. Are you frequently invited to guest speak on other podcasts in your industry? Have you been invited to contribute to blogs in your industry? If so, your podcast is successfully positioning you as an expert in your field which will draw in audiences and continue to keep people engaged.
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