Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Strategies Outlined For Podcasters

This week’s Westwood One blog features five strategies for podcasters using Apple metrics from John Wordock, Executive Editor of the Westwood One Podcast Network.

John Wordock
As the podcast industry courts listeners now safe at home due to the COVID-19 crisis, podcasters need to immunize their shows from misperceptions that podcast consumption is in decline. The best way to do that is with data. Apple metrics provide podcast publishers and show producers a look at past episodes, duration, devices, total time listened, time per device, and average consumption (a.k.a. completion rates). The Apple dashboard helps podcasters better understand how their content is being received by the public.
  • Strategy #1: Focus on storytelling and preparation. If publishing an interview podcast, podcasters should do their homework, know their questions beforehand, and anticipate the answers. If producing a scripted show, podcasters should do table reads with their producer, pick apart their episode, and look for ways to improve their story. To capture listener attention early, podcasters should be upfront. Be engaging. Be colorful. Scott Galloway, host of The Prof G Show, for example, opens shows with a monologue and often holds most of his listeners to the first mid-roll ad. He does so by giving his listeners what they want: No mercy. No malice.
  • Strategy #2: Get creative with pre-roll ads. Because listening decisions are made so quickly, podcasters should avoid starting an episode with ad copy if possible. Instead, they should promote a guest or telegraph what to expect ahead to buffer the audience from being bombarded by a commercial early on. Creatively positioning pre-roll ads should become even more important in the years ahead as podcast listening grows on smart speakers.
  • Strategy #3: Experiment. Podcasters can use Apple metrics as instant insight into how content performs, how listeners react, and how ads are received. Test things out. If certain episodes get higher completion rates, then podcasters should plan to cover that topic more often and that information to help ad sales teams pursue sponsorship opportunities.
  • Strategy #4: Hold the audience. Podcasters should strive to hold 80% of their audience to the mid-roll position and use it as a draw for advertisers. With such a limited window of time before listeners make up their mind, everything uttered on mic should have value. Hosts need to engage and ooze passion, whether talking about a brand, a partnership, or a special promotion.
  • Strategy #5: Deal with dips. Through the Apple dashboard, podcasters will spot potholes in the listening pattern. How can podcasters stop listeners from fast-forwarding through the ads and leaving large divots on the data screen? The best podcast reads are often seamless and connect with the topics being discussed. The transitions are smooth and easy. On the Westwood One Podcast Network, Dan Bongino, Dennis Miller, Pat McAfee, and Jason Stapleton regularly connect with their audiences by injecting themselves and their passions into their ads. Creative copy, it cannot be stressed enough, is essential to developing an experience that resonates with listeners.

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