Professional Podcasting: Choosing Your Niche
Starting a podcast in a professional capacity means a lot of hard work to build your audience and maintain a consistent level of quality. One often overlooked part of the planning process is determining how to draw the attention of your audience. To say competition in the realm of online media is fierce would be an understatement. Determining what niche you’d like your podcast to take on is a long-term commitment, so think carefully about what subject you’d like to explore, and how you can continue to create content without exhausting the subject matter available. Here are some things to consider when picking your niche:
What Are Your Interests? No podcast has ever taken off without some level of interest on the part of the host. If you want to create a show about a particular subject, make sure it’s something you have an active passion about. Sure, there may be a big hole in the market for a show about collecting stamps, but if collecting stamps isn’t your passion, the content will suffer and your chances of success dwindle.
Instead, consider a more specific niche within these topics. For example, instead of a generalist gaming show, you can focus on one particular type of game. A show specifically about space-based MMORPGs stands a better chance of building an audience due to its specific nature than a generalist podcast that only scratches the surface of the topic. One great example of this was found in a podcast called Guild Cast, which stuck to content relating to Guild Wars, a single game within a larger genre. This podcast delved deeper into the game and the result was a successful show that earned a loyal following during its run.
Do Your Research Before you commit to a niche topic, it’s a good idea to take the time to research that niche and find out what other podcasts currently focus on the same subject. While finding a topic without any coverage is difficult with hundreds of thousands of podcasts currently being produced, you can get a good idea of what you need to do to bring something new to the table and convince listeners (or viewers) that your show is worth their time. Being unique is one of the main ingredients that makes for a successful show, and it’s always a good idea to take a look at what everyone else is already doing, so you can avoid appearing to be just another copycat. Your show should always have your personality closely associated with it. After all, people don’t tune in to hear the same thing they can hear everywhere else. They tune in because they like what you have to offer.
Don’t Jump Around After some time has gone by, you may have built a relatively good audience and have your eyes on making it bigger. Making the decision to expand or change your niche should only be made as a last resort. For many specific genres, the expected size of your audience is limited, but risking pushing away your dedicated following to reach for the stars may end up hurting you more than it helps.
Finding the right niche takes a combination of market research and considering your own passions. Once you have a better idea of what you’d like to focus on, stick with it. Your audience will appreciate the detail of information you can offer, and potential sponsors will equally appreciate the focused advertising a niche podcast can offer them. If you’re not afraid to set your goals on a smaller audience than “the entire Internet” you’ve already taken a big step toward successful professional podcasting.