As content creators, filmmakers and podcasters are cut from the same cloth.
In simple terms, films and podcasts allow a medium to communicate a message that, hopefully, finds an audience on the other side to receive the message.
Podcasting is also a natural fit for filmmakers and other creatives seeking an additional, or even primary, outlet for their content. Potential audiences are enormous. In fact, current research suggests that 90 million Americans listened to a podcast within the last month.
Picking the right niche, or focused subject matter, is critical to achieving podcast success. If you’re venturing into the wonderful world of podcasting, here are a few things about niches to keep in mind.
Why You Should Pick a Niche
It can seem limiting to commit to a niche if you’re someone with a broad array of interests or experiences. Creative types tend to have multiple projects going on at once, often veering in quite different directions.
That’s all well and good, but in the podcasting world, trying to accommodate many ideas when you first start out becomes overwhelming very quickly. Your mind fills with “what ifs” and the dreaded thought of “maybe I should be focusing on a different topic.”
Before you know it, you’re stricken with a bad case of paralysis by analysis. Your wheels are spinning in the mud instead of making valuable progress on your podcast.
Focusing on one niche at a time puts up guardrails, giving you a lane to move forward in so that your podcast gets recorded, distributed, and heard.
Remember, niches aren’t life sentences. You can always pivot to a new podcast idea or expand the scope of your content once you have momentum.
However, there’s a caveat here…
Don’t Go Too Narrow with Your Niche
Maybe you’ve heard the expression “the riches are in the niches.”
That’s true, but you need to be careful just how far down the niche rabbit hole you go.
A lot of conventional wisdom floating around the internet says that very specific niches are the best. The reasoning behind this advice is that the narrower niche, the easier it is to monetize your podcast.
If you sell cast iron skillets and host a podcast just about cooking with a cast iron skillet, it’s a safe bet people really interested in buying a cast iron skillet will be in your audience.
There’s just one problem. You may run out of content when your niche is this hyper-focused. How many podcast episodes can you pull off that solely discuss cast iron skillets? How many episodes will people actually want to listen to?
Consider going broader in your niche. Instead of covering only cast iron skillets, you could try a podcast about “best cookware” or “favorite cooking methods.”
This way, you can talk about cast iron skillets while remaining flexible enough to discuss related topics. Maybe there’s a slow roaster expert or barbecue master you could invite to be a guest on your podcast.
Sometimes opening up your niche to a larger umbrella gives you more content to work with and more marketing opportunities.
Know Your Outcome Before You Start
You should have a well-formulated idea about what you want your podcast to accomplish before starting production.
That sounds obvious, right?
Sure, but you’d be surprised by how many podcasts are launched without a roadmap. Setting goals and methods for measuring progress is essential to the success of any creative endeavor.
Figure out the role your podcast plays in your niche. Do you want to sell a product? Do you want to rally support around a cause? Is entertaining or informing the audience the primary objective? Are you using the podcast to bring exposure to some other medium or content?
Clearly defining the function of your podcast aligns your creative process to the desired outcome.
Enter Your Niche with an Interesting Angle or Persona
Let’s face it—there’s a ton of podcasts out there. The industry watch site podcastinsights.com pegs that number to be around 750,000.
What can you do to stand out from the crowd?
Is there a unique perspective through which to present your podcast content?
Suppose your podcast niche is in personal finance, and you’re a financial advisor. You could brand your podcast along the lines of “personal finance advice from a pro,” but that’s a little boring.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. That’s what podcasting is all about.
Try something like “A financial insider shares the one juicy secret that will make you rich!”
Suddenly, you’ve taken on the persona of a money expert with powerful details about how your audience can attain wealth. What listener can refuse that?
Podcasting is a perfect medium for creators. With the right level of niche and an imaginative, irresistible take on your content, your podcast can reach an audience and pay handsomely. So, what’s your niche?
Research the Competition in Your Niche and Deliver Better
Seventy-five percent of new businesses are started in established markets. This means new companies are constantly popping up in spaces already dominated by proven brands.
It’s because the marketplace is validated. There’s a history of consumers who want and buy the products or services in the space. It’s much easier to sell a better wheel than to reinvent the wheel yourself.
This scenario also applies to podcasting. You don’t need to invent a brand-new niche to be successful. If you do, your first podcasts are likely to land among crickets riding tumbleweeds— i.e., no one—without an audience already occupying your niche.
In addition to producing podcasts, you’ll be building your niche from the ground up, clawing and scraping to find that audience. The work required here can be quite daunting when you’re a beginning podcaster. Now is the time to limit distractions.
So, what’s the solution?
Research and improve.
Devote time to researching the competitors in your niche as you start out. Figure out how they’re attracting an audience.
Doing the research is easy as placing yourself in the audience. Listen to competing podcasts and check out their reviews and comments. Participate in the online communities supporting your niche.
The more you discover about your niche’s audience members, the better you can target their preferences with your own content.
Reverse-engineering the methods of similar podcasts is time-consuming, but the information is invaluable for creating a competitive product quickly. You’ll also save time in the long run.
The heavy-lifting begins once you’ve identified your competitors and understand their content, format, and position in the niche. Now your job becomes creating a better podcast than your competitors.
Can you create better content? Based on your research, are there opportunities in your niche that your competitors don’t know about? How can your podcast become the “go-to” source in the niche?
Owning your niche is in reach once you know what competitors are doing and can come up with an even better offering for the audience.
The Right Podcast Niche – Final Thoughts
For filmmakers and other creative types, launching a podcast is a great way to get your message heard. If you’re reading this, you already have the skills to produce great content. The greatest challenge ahead is in selecting the right niche and earning an audience.
Doing some footwork before publishing your first podcast will set you up for success. Choose a niche, set goals, portray your content through a unique perspective, and deliver a better podcast than the competition. We look forward to hearing your work soon!