If you're a content creator, a content strategist, a brand, or an entrepreneur struggling to make effective content, how do you know if your content is any good? You can look at numbers, you can look at rankings, and download status, but those don't actually tell you if the content is good. They tell you if you've reached your audience yet if your audience is growing.
If you've heard any of my advice about growing an audience, you know that I talk about three important pieces to audience growth and audience development. You can think of them in terms that might be familiar, customer acquisition, customer service, and customer retention. The acquisition, that's where you go out into the world, you tell people about your show, your product, or your channel, and you get them to come back and find you. Customer service, or audience service, that's making sure once they do find you, you keep that promise you made to them. You make it a place they want to be, they feel like they got what they came there for. And third, customer retention or audience retention, they listened to an episode, they read a post, how do you get them to come back for more?
If you don't have that second piece, the audience service piece, in place all the growth and all the advertising you do won't work. That second part is about having great content.
One way to know if you have great content is to listen. If you have a podcast, one of the easiest ways to improve your content, is to listen like your listener listens, not during the edit, not during the scripting, not during the recording. But once the show is published, put on the earbuds and listen on your run, listen in the gym, listen in the car on your commute, listen when you're folding laundry, listen the way your audience listens. It's like the advice you get when you're writing an article, change the font or print it out, and you'll see the mistakes. Your mind skips over the things you already know unless you change the context. If you listen to your podcast, like your listener, you will hear things that you wouldn't have noticed before.
Then ask yourself these four questions. They're the same four questions that I asked when I needed to get a 3 hour rough cut of my documentary down to 1 hour for broadcast. I went to my friends, my trusted colleagues, and I said, "do me a favor, the best favor you can do for me is answer these four questions." These are the same four questions that you can ask yourself when you listen to your own content.
#1 When did you get bored? When did you find your mind wandering?
#2 When did it feel repetitive? Like you'd already heard that idea before?
#3 When was it confusing? When was a link missing? You couldn't quite get from point A to point B, there was some context that hadn't been included.
#4 Where did it grab you? Where did you have to hit that rewind button and hear it again, because it was so interesting and exciting?
Those four questions can be a guide to making your content even better. A lot of people new to content creation, are afraid to listen to their own content, because they don't want to hear it. But if you don't want to hear it, how can you expect your audience to?
Don't listen, to be hard on yourself. Listen to find places where you can make it better.
On March 27th I was envious of the "pause" to reassess and learn I kept hearing about. I was fortunate enough to still be working, so I committed to a more active blog. This is my chance to think out loud about podcasting, messaging, story, nature, family and life.
~ Marion Abrams