Podcasting and Promotion

I was talking to a co-worker the other day about a podcast he hosts and produces, and he was telling me that it’s been growing steadily since he started it over a year ago.  His podcast is about the San Francisco 49ers and he told me he gets about 3000 listens every episode (he does four podcasts a week).  That’s impressive, but he’s found a niche, an audience, and a topic that his audience is passionate about. In an earlier post, I wrote about how certain radio formats have a strong identity, are able to form a bond with listeners, and soon become a part of their lives. That’s also what effective podcasts do. If you listen to podcasts, you like them because the topic meshes with your interests in a deep way. Sports, film, TV, music, politics, food, travel…well, you get the idea. There’s a variety of ‘casts of varying qualities out there, and it can be a challenge to find a podcast that’s consistent, professional-sounding, and compelling.  Some ‘casts have an infrastructure around them that handles sales, promotion, production, and the like. In other words, they have financial backers who have invested in the ‘cast to grow an audience and make some money from advertising. Others are homebrew endeavors that become victims of the lack of infrastructure (and talent) that can sink a ‘cast before a smattering of people even know about it.

Back in 2013, I was working for a TV/Internet production company. They got into the video streaming content early (maybe a little too early) and tried to create Internet-based content that was live streamed.  My show was about politics and pop culture, and it was streamed live (from a studio in San Francisco) once a week.  Now, a weekly live-streamed political/pop cultural show on the Internet has an uphill battle to grow an audience. I was using Facebook and Twitter to keep active between shows and engage the audience, but the cards were stacked against me in terms of frequency of content, so it was a bust.

Now with live streaming content like The Young Turks channel (leveraging YouTube’s live streaming and even Facebook), TYT is doing something like the company I was working for.  However, TYT had a history of being on radio and satellite radio since 2002,  and they had years of building an audience (and brand) before they started to live stream their content in 2005. Add to that, investors saw potential in a left-wing opinion media outlet, and so the seeds to grow a company and brand in a consistent way was there — something the company I worked for didn’t have the money, time, or vision for.

I bring this up because — for those who want to add another layer of promotion to their podcasts — there’s a service that creates a teaser reel featuring audio of your ‘cast with tailored images that are sharable on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  Now, why is this effective?  Because there really aren’t sharable samples of podcasts out there.  And yes, by “shareable” I’m talking about a promotional campaign to pepper your social media feed to annoy your family and friends. But if you have social media channels dedicated to your podcasts (which, of course, you should), this addition will give your listeners a preview (or highlight) of your upcoming show.  Inside Radio, has a story about this service that creates an “Audiogram” by “using an open-source Audiogram Generator, which turns .mp3 and .wav files into movie files, allowing users to add captions and custom background images to go with the audio clip.”

We’re in an era where scrolling, scrolling, scrolling is the norm. There’s a sizable sector of the population that doesn’t read all that much (and what they do read is often short and tailored for our smartphone conditioned A.D.D.). So, having a compelling visual to go with audio content can help grow a podcast’s audience. Promotion and marketing aren’t the end all and be all for a successful podcast, but if you have a compelling ‘cast, post consistently, and have good production values, the Audiogram Generator could help push your ‘cast beyond the all-important 10,000 listens an episode  — and make you more attractive to advertisers.

Here’s an example:

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