Authors and podcasts

smartphone and earbuds for podcast listening

I love listening to podcasts.

But I’m a fluke. In fact, marketers would call me an “outlier.”

That’s because I’m not the typical podcast listener — I don’t match up with the dominant age and gender for podcast listeners. It’s why authors and podcasts aren’t necessarily a match made in heaven.

Who listens to podcasts, then?

Here’s what Edison Research learned from its research, “The Podcast Consumer 2016.” Podcast listeners are:

  • 56 percent male, 44 percent female.
  • Half (49 percent) are between the ages of 12 and 34. (Soooo not me.)
  • Affluent, with 41 percent enjoying an annual household income of $75,000 or more.
  • Highly educated, with 29 percent claiming some grad school or a graduate degree and more than three-quarters with at least a year of college.
  • Facebook users — 76 percent — with Instagram at 41 percent being the next most popular (which makes sense considering the younger demographics of Instagram users).
  • Online radio listeners at 75 percent.
  • More likely to be a Democrat (32 percent) or an Independent (26 percent) than a Republican (24 percent).

Why should you care?

Because a lot of authors — maybe you? — are talking about podcasts. They’re exploring starting a podcast as a book marketing tactic, and they’re talking about being interviewed as podcast guests.

All good.

But before you go down that path, make sure the target audience for your book fits those demographics and psychographics listed above. If the person who is most likely to buy your book is a young, affluent, well-educated man, then investing the time it takes to learn how to host a podcast, generate content, and promote each episode could be good use of your time.

If you write mysteries, though, think twice about hosting a podcast.

Why? If you participated in last night’s webinar, “Who Will Buy Your Book: How to Figure Out and Find Your Target Audience,” you learned that:

  • 70 percent of mystery readers are female
  • 47 percent are 55 or older
  • 41 percent have $35,000-74,900 household income

It’s not a match, is it? (And by the way, if you want to watch the webinar replay, go ahead and register for the webinar after the fact and we’ll send you the replay link.)

What about being a guest?

I love talking about book marketing, so I accept nearly every podcast interview request I receive because the hosts are usually smart, interesting people and I have fun answering their questions and sharing tips and advice. I don’t care how many people do or don’t listen to the interview. Helping even five more authors is better than helping none.

If this is fun for you, too, then you might want to adopt my “accept all appropriate invitations” approach.  You might even want to seek opportunities to be interviewed. You’ll get practice speaking. Plus, the questions you’re asked could inform your writing or generate blog topics.

If you don’t enjoy interviews and your target audience doesn’t listen to podcasts, then you can stop feeling guilty because you haven’t learned how to host your own or be a great guest. (What a relief, right?)

Demographics change

I do need to point out, too, that when it comes to demographics, none of this is hard and fast.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I listen to podcasts regularly and yet I don’t fit the profile. (Only 11 percent of the people in my age range are podcast listeners.) So, your podcast or guest interview might reach outliers like me anyway.

But if the demographics don’t line up, don’t make it the focus of your book marketing. You always want to go where your audience is already. It’s much easier than trying to bring them to you.

Let’s do a little authors and podcasts research of our own! In the comments, please answer this question: Do you listen to podcasts? and add your gender and age. Yes/no, age, gender.

We’ll see if we have a few more outliers in the group! Thanks!

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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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32 Responses to Authors and podcasts
  1. Nancy Christie
    July 27, 2016 | 9:16 am

    I rarely listen to podcasts–prefer to read (and save) online posts/articles

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 9:49 am

      Thanks, Nancy!

  2. Randi Minetor
    July 27, 2016 | 10:20 am

    No, 57, female

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 10:54 am

      Thanks, Randi!


  3. Sybil
    July 27, 2016 | 10:39 am

    No. Female, 63. I’m more visually oriented and prefer to read content. However, my 33 yr old son is heavily involved in the podcasting world.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 10:54 am

      Thanks, Sybil!


  4. Peggy N
    July 27, 2016 | 10:46 am

    Yes, over 45, female. Love podcasts!!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 10:55 am

      Thanks, Peggy!


  5. Yvonne Hertzberger
    July 27, 2016 | 11:03 am

    Rarely – only if it think it is relevant to my work as an author. I am 67 and female. Also university educated.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 11:06 am

      Thanks, Yvonne!


  6. Chris Syme
    July 27, 2016 | 11:40 am

    I listen religiously, but I walk religiously so that is the perfect time to listen. I am 62 and a woman. I also listen in my car because my radio has an interface with my smartphone and I can just listen while I drive. I think there a lot of us our there that listen when we walk. I also like to listen to audio books when I walk as well.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 11:52 am

      Chris, you’re my twin sister from a different mother! I also listen when I walk (religiously) and when I drive (especially the 4 hrs RT every other Sunday to visit me mum). I listen to audio books when I walk, too. I get them from the library and LOVE the Playaways — do you use them?


  7. Kim Miller
    July 27, 2016 | 11:53 am

    I am female, age 57, and although I want to listen to podcasts, I end up rarely doing so.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 11:54 am

      Thanks, Kim!


  8. Cathy Knipper
    July 27, 2016 | 11:54 am

    Y/55/F Love them!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 11:55 am

      Thanks, Cathy!


  9. JoAnne Simson
    July 27, 2016 | 12:19 pm

    No, female, age 79.
    Don’t have time to sit and listen. Too much to do writing and trying to organize my life!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 12:35 pm

      Thanks, JoAnne. I could never sit and listen, either. I listen when I’m exercising, driving, etc. Works great!


  10. Christy Perry Tuohey
    July 27, 2016 | 1:48 pm

    Yes. I just began listening to podcasts. My 17-year-old daughter downloaded some for a long car trip we took together recently and we really enjoyed listening to them. Because I’m in the car a lot, I’m sure I’ll be listening to more. I have also just discovered a podcast that is helping me with researching my second book, “Ben Franklin’s World,” hosted by historian Liz Covart (available from Google Play Store).

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 1:55 pm

      Thanks, Christy. Could you provide you age or at least your age range, too? That would help so much!

      That’s great news about finding one that will help with your research!


  11. Denise
    July 27, 2016 | 3:11 pm

    no, 55, female (but i have done podcast interviews, figuring, like you, if i reach even a few people, and it helps me focus on a particular point). i’m trying to cut down on social media, it’s overwhelming me.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 27, 2016 | 3:39 pm

      Thanks, Denise. I know what you mean about social media overwhelm, too. Pick just 1 or 2 that work for you and forget about the rest.


  12. Jenny Leo
    July 27, 2016 | 4:52 pm

    yes (a lot!), 56, female

  13. Virginia Reeves
    July 28, 2016 | 12:44 am

    no, 65, female
    like others – I prefer to read – faster for me

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 28, 2016 | 8:51 am

      Thanks, Virginia!


  14. Cat Michaels
    July 28, 2016 | 6:45 am

    Over 55′ female. Never listen to podcasts BUT may scan transcript. I could listen b/c I listen to audiobook religioulsy when exercising, driving, etc. However, podcasts don’t do enough to get my mind off traffic or my reps and miles- LOL.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 28, 2016 | 8:47 am

      Thanks, Cat! My only problem with podcasts when I’m driving is that I want to take notes, but can’t!


  15. Kate
    July 28, 2016 | 6:56 pm

    Totally yes! I’m female, 46.

    Would love to know everyone’s favorite podcasts. I like
    Fresh Air
    Serial (of course)
    How to be Amazing
    So Money
    Like a Mother
    Biz Chix
    I was into Dear Sugar for a while, may try that one again.

    But I could definitely use some more recommendations.

    I listed to podcasts on walks. And if I’m doing something menial on the computer, like recording my expenses or something like that. I haven’t gotten in to audiobooks just yet–I do love to read before bed.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      July 28, 2016 | 7:53 pm

      Aw, you’ve got a fun list, Kate! Mine is all work-related.


      • Kate
        July 28, 2016 | 9:48 pm

        Biz Chix is work-related Sandy, I’m not all fun! Ha.

        What work-related podcasts do you love?

  16. Kathleen Jowitt
    August 1, 2016 | 4:57 am

    I think I’m an outlier!




    • Sandra Beckwith
      August 1, 2016 | 8:57 am

      Thanks, Kathleen!

      About 2/3 of the women in your age group don’t listen to them.


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