To build an audience in podcasting, the most important thing is to ensure that you’re producing outstanding content. Although there are a variety of techniques that you can use to get your show in front of more people, ultimately it’s the discussion itself that will keep people coming back again and again. This was one of the key topics that emerged from PodPod’s Podcast Growth Summit, which we held a couple of months ago in London.
This week, we’re bringing you one of the stand-out panel sessions from the event, featuring Persis Love, audio producer for the Financial Times, History Hit’s head of podcasts Steve Lanham, and Michelle Douglass, senior podcast producer for the National Trust, talking to PodPod’s Reem Makari about how they create podcasts that deeply resonate with their chosen audience.
Podcasts can engage different audiences to other mediums
“The FT is behind a paywall, so a lot of the journalism there is inaccessible to people unless they're paying for it,” said Persis Love. “Podcasting is a way of getting that journalism to completely new audiences, and I think there is some crossover between subscribers to the Financial Times and the people who listen to the podcast, but loads of people only listen to the podcast and don't subscribe to the Financial Times.”
“Something that the FT would like is that the podcast listeners become FT subscribers down the line as well. I think because of the price of an FT subscription and the image of it as a brand, the age of subscribers to the paper tend to be a bit older than the podcast audience, so it's giving an avenue for FT journalism to be listened to by a younger audience who wouldn't necessarily come across the print stuff.”
Look at your own trends
“The thing about us doing so many episodes a week,” said Steve Lanham, “is it gives us a lot of data, especially for Dan's podcast, which is basically geriatric for a podcast; it's eight or nine years old now. We've got thousands of data points for what the audience loves and what they particularly tune into. So it's just looking at those trends across our own podcasts, but also opportunities outside of what we're currently doing.”
“I don't think it's a big secret that, that kind of true crime does very well, but also we have to know that there's something worthwhile in it for us. And I kind of felt that the real history behind a lot of these paranormal true crime stories is not really represented elsewhere, so it seemed like a good opportunity for us to do something a little bit different.”
Find your USP
“It's looking at what the audiences might be interested in and reaching them with great content to really pull them in,” said Douglass, “and then they'll hopefully get to know our brand and brand value. But I think it's really about making content that's going to appeal to people, that's going to be relevant to people. When they come to you, they know they're going to get something of quality.”
“You've got your USP - so I mentioned that ours is we record on location, so it's a little bit different from a studio interview. It's very resource-heavy, I would say, but it's very fun to make, and they get a particular experience. So it's making that emotional connection, I suppose, that they keep coming to you.”