Audience Of One

by Erik K. Johnson

As you are creating your podcast, treat your audience like you are talking to each person individually.  This is critical when creating a trusting relationship with your audience.

I hear many shows address their audience as a group with comments like “hello everyone” or “hey guys”.  Each person in your audience is listening to you as an individual.  Audio is a very personal medium.  Many times, they are listening with headphones.  It is just you and her.  Talk to her just like that.

Addressing a crowd on the radio began when radio began.  As radio was just being created, station owners needed content to broadcast.  Radio programming began with rebroadcasting live, theater events.  The person on the stage would address the crowd as “ladies and gentleman”.

As radio progressed, live audiences were eliminated.  However, people on the radio continued to address the audience as a group.  It was fitting.  The family still gathered around the radio before television was introduced to the family room.  An on-air personality could address the audience as a group and be justified in doing so.

Radio then became a personal medium.  The television replaced the radio as family entertainment.  In-car and headphones became the preferred method of radio listening.  Each listener was now creating images and visions in his or her own head that were unique to their imagination.  Their thoughts were different from those of any other listener.  The conversation was now between the person on the air and the individual listening.

Unfortunately, radio personalities continued to address the listener as a group.  “It has always been done this way.”  The disconnect began.

Podcasts are even more individualistic than radio.  Most people select a podcast because of their own tastes.  Groupthink does not play a factor as it would to select a movie or television show for the family.  It is one person listening on their own to a show that interests them.

If you are talking to your listener as if they are in a group, using plural terms like everyone and you guys and you all, your listener will wonder who you are addressing.  They will think, “You guys?  I’m listening by myself.  Who are you talking to?”  In the end, they will not follow your call-to-action, because they will think someone else in your “group” will handle it.  Talk to an audience of one and build that relationship with each listener individually.