There is one adjustment you can make to your podcast to help you achieve your podcasting goals. Whether you hope to motivate your audience to action, entertain them with a story or simply get them to listen again, one change to your approach can help you succeed. This small modification to your approach will have a big impact on creating a trusting relationship with your audience.
Treat every listener as an audience of one.
When creating a podcast, it is critical to your success to address each member of your audience as an individual rather than a group, regardless of the size of your audience.
Many podcasters and broadcasters address their audience as a group. “Hello, everyone.” “Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen.” “You guys are the best.”
Your listeners are not engaged with your show as a group. They are each listening as individuals with unique imaginations. You need to treat them that way.
Addressing your audience as a group is impersonal. Your listener doesn’t feel special. Speaking to a group allows each listener to feel like you are speaking to someone else. It is typical for your listener to feel like it’s alright to not take action, because another member of the group will handle it.
This style began back when radio began. When radio broadcasting started, station owners needed something to broadcast. The content was typically stage performances broadcast over the airwaves. The “Ladies and Gentlemen” salutation was meant for the live audience in the theater. It was not intended for the listening audience at home.
At the time, radio was the primary source of entertainment at the family home. Prior to the introduction of television, families gathered around the radio in the family room each evening for their entertainment. Addressing the audience as a group made sense. Listening was taking place as a group.
As radio broadcasts moved from stage performances on the radio to “made-for-radio” dramas that were produced in a studio rather than on the stage, the salutations didn’t change. The live audience was no longer present. The audience however was still gathered together in the family room. The announcer continued to address the listening audience as a group, simply because it had always been done that way.
When television was introduced to the family room, long-form radio programming moved to television. Great radio stories like The Lone Ranger, Abbott & Costello and The Green Hornet left the radio for the promised land of television. Radio was quickly being replaced as the nightly family activity in the home.
Eventually, the radio performance was replaced with a disc jockey playing recorded music for the listening audience. Radios also progressed with the introduction of the transistor. Small, portable transistor radios took the place of the large console radios that once occupied the family room. Listening moved from being a group activity in the family room to being a personal experience with these portable radios. Even as listening changed, most on-air personalities continued to address their audience as a group. It had always been done that way.
Today, podcast listening has become even more personal. Podcast listening typically takes place alone in a car or with headphones. People are no longer listening as a group. They are alone with your voice.
Even if your listeners are with others while they are listening, each individual is creating unique images in their head. Those images are different from the images created in the imagination of any other person in the audience. Audio is a very personal medium.
Since they are listening as individuals, you should address them as such. Your show should be a one-on-one conversation with your listener.
If most of your listeners are listening alone, it sounds out of place when you say, “Hello, everyone.” Your listener is then saying in their head, “Everyone? It’s just me. Who are you talking to?” “Everyone” is directed at no one. Adjust your language to fit your audience.
If I describe a car making a left turn at a busy intersection, you will envision it much differently than any other person listening to the same story. Television leaves very little to the imagination. Audio helps create wonderful stories and stirs the imagination. The more personal and individual you can be with your stories, the stronger your connection and relationship will become.
Finally, when you address a group, it is easy for your listener to shirk their responsibilities while expecting somebody else to take care of the tasks.
Let’s say you want your audience to visit you website. You say, “I would really appreciate it if you guys would log onto my website this week and let me know what you think.” Who exactly do you want to take action? You’re addressing the entire group. I don’t need to do it. There will be plenty of others that take action. It won’t make much difference if I don’t do it.
Unfortunately, most listeners are thinking the same thing. When you check your web stats, they’ve barely moved. Very few have taken action. Why? Because you didn’t address them individually. It was easy to assume somebody else would handle it.
There are three steps to treat your listeners as an audience of one.
First, get rid of the collective, group talk. Change your nouns and pronouns from plural to singular. Instead of using “ladies and gentlemen” or “you guys”, use “you”, “me” and “I.” Talk to one person. Most everything you say will apply to one person just like it will apply to a group of people.
Second, be personable. Reveal things to your audience that you would reveal to your friends. When you have trust in your listener, she will begin to feel appreciated. Your relationships will become stronger and more meaningful.
Third, be real. Speak like a real person and not an announcer. Replace announcer words with words real people use. Instead of using “good evening” like a network news anchor from 1975, use “hi” like you would use when you call a friend.
If you hope to make your call-to-action effective, you need to create strong relationships with your listeners. If you want to create strong, meaningful relationships with your audience, you must treat each person in your audience as an individual. Make each listener feel special. Talk directly to them one-on-one. Use words that sound like you are speaking to one person. Be personable. Be real. Create wonderful relationships as you create multiple audiences of one.