Are You a Fan of Cardassians, or Kardashians?

At Kamakshi Media, we are in the content creation, distribution and marketing business. When we began our journey, we asked ourselves two questions. The first was, “What type of audience do we want to serve: mainstream or niche?” Secondly, what type of content do we want to create: topical, or evergreen?” Answering this question was important as it would help us identify the right audience in order to serve them. Below I will talk about the different form of media, particularly podcasts, that can be categorized into different brackets.

Identifying your target audience

Answers to these questions gives us the typical 2*2 matrix, as the above image shows. Each of the approaches (mainstream and topical; evergreen and niche, etc…) has its pro’s and con’s.

a. Mainstream and Topical

It is very tempting to opt for the topical + mainstream combination. That is where most media organizations have cut their teeth and made their marks. So have the general entertainment channels. They tend to get the maximum audiences, and of course have the greatest competition. The problem with these shows is that they have a limited shelf life, but they make up for it on basis of numbers. Kapil Sharma Show on TV and No Filter Neha in the world of podcasting are a couple of examples. There is a risk of quick rise to fame and burnout in this form of content though. A recent example of a quick rise to fame (going viral) is the Chewbacca Mask Lady.

b. Niche and Topical

Niche and topical form an interesting mix of audience. This is the segment where you will cater to a small group of audience to begin with, and over a period of time, the content (and the show) will grow and cultivate an army of fanboys and girls. The This Week in Tech (TWiT) network is a classic example of such a content. They cater mainly to the techies and tech-savvy audience, and their discussions are related to “now” and “today”. Some of their shows have been around for over a decade, and back home, I think NDTV Gadgets is a close cousin of this show.

c. Mainstream and Evergreen

This is my favourite category, where the content serves a wide audience, and has a long shelf life: sometimes running into years. A Bollywood (or *wood) blockbuster could be such an example: the nth re-run of Hum Aap Ke Hai Kaun or a Welcome still finds an audience; and as a result; advertisers.

I am probably dating myself and bracketing myself as a fan of Bollywood films (which I am) but you get the picture. A re-run of match between underdogs in IPL Season III will hardly find a proportionate audience. At the risk of tooting out own horn, we seem to have found a sweet spot with our audience for Baalgatha, a podcast of Kids’ bedtime stories. We launched this show in English and Hindi, and soon will add more languages including Telugu and Tamil.

The audio stories are derived from Panchatantra, Jataka and other classic sources, which makes it an easier ‘sell’ to potential listeners. The added benefit is that it worked well for SEO, which might also explain why almost all of our growth has been organic. Mainstream and evergreen is a bit like niche and topical in terms of growing your audience: that is, it takes time tor the audience to grow. For example, it took us about 6 months since launch to reach over 30,000 unique listeners a month; and 10 months to reach over 70,000 listeners. But once you have established yourself in the space, mainstream and evergreen is a great form of content to create and distribute!

d. Niche and Evergreen

This in my opinion is the hardest form of content in terms of finding a user acceptance. But those who have grown an audience, have really benefitted and become giants in their space. John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire Fame is a classic example of a content creator who focuses on Niche and Evergreen content. He has interviewed over 1,600 entrepreneurs in his daily show, and most of the content deals with the entrepreneur’s journey. With time, the business may change, but the first steps in the entrepreneurial journey do not! We tried this approach with MyKitaab, a podcast that caters to authors who want to publish and market their books in India. We have recently tweaked the format of the show, and are expanding the profile of guests that we interview so as to give the audience a better listening experience. Niche works, niche + evergreen works better when done right.

Cardassian or Kardashian?

Coming to the all important question: as a content creator, marketer or distributor, which type of audience do you serve: Fans of Cardassians, or Kardashians? The latter might not need an introduction, but the former may be more familair to Sci-Fi fans.