At launch a lot of these podcasts are throwing everything at the wall and we did that with our most recent podcasts at launch and we got a lot of great numbers but we don't really know what worked on it because we had too many things happening at the same time at launch.
There are lots and lots of podcasts out there, so how do you make sure that yours gets the attention it deserves?
I’m Tanzina Vega, and this is Werk It: the Podcast, a compilation of some of the best moments from the live event.
In this episode, four marketing experts explain what materials you need to raise your project’s profile, and how you can figure out which marketing tools work for you and which ones don’t.
This presentation was part of I Know How to Do That, a series of hands-on workshops led by leading hosts and producers where they shared tips, stories and knowledge about all aspects of podcasting.
Ashley Lusk: Hello and welcome. You are at “Six Things to Know About Podcast Marketing” and we're so excited to be here. My name is Ashley Lusk and I'm the Director of Audience Development for WNYC and WNYC Studios. And I'm also a co-editor at the Bello Collective, an independent publication about podcasting. Today we're going to be talking a little bit about podcast marketing and we have taken a perspective of the indie podcast producer who may not have a ton of resources at their disposal. We want to set the stage for what anyone can do if you are just starting to market your podcast. So I'm going to turn over to my panel, my fellow panelists to present themselves.
Nicole Buntsis: Hi everybody. I'm Nicole Buntsis. I am the Senior Marketing Manager at Pinna, which is a children's audio company, and formerly I was a Senior Marketing Manager at Panoply Media.
Kat Brewer: I’m Kat Brewer. I am the Coordinating Producer WBUR, which is the public radio station in Boston.
Jennifer Hahn: And I'm Jenn Hahn, a Senior Marketing Manager at Gimlet.
AL: Great. So I think we first want to set the stage by talking a little bit about the realities of what you're up against when you launch a podcast.
NB: Yeah, absolutely. And while all of us work potentially at big networks, we're here to provide resources and guidance to you that's hopefully hopefully very actionable. But you know we first want to start by acknowledging that starting a podcast is a really, really hard work. So Chartable is a company that tracks podcasts in real time. And I asked them, “So since podcast movement, you know when you launched, how many podcasts have launched since then?” Forty thousand. And on a daily basis that's 400 podcasts. That's like everybody here plus that room launching a podcast today, and then, tomorrow and then the next day. So the competition is incredibly fierce. But we have hopefully laid out six tools that will really help you stand out and really bring the fundamentals to life. And I say all this because to pair all that you really need a good amount of grit and hustle and just ready to put in the hard work to launch. But we're excited. We're excited about how much the industry is growing and a testament to its staying power. And we're happy to be here. So on to Step 1.
AL: Step 1: Make good content. So this may seem super obvious but I think that a question that we hope you're asking as you're developing your idea for a podcast or your idea for a show is: Is audio the right medium for telling the story? And I think as you're developing this idea make sure that it's a unique concept and if it's not a unique concept that you at least understand the competitive landscape that you're entering. Who are your peers in the space? Really beginning to identify where your podcast would sit in this growing industry.
The first thing I would recommend if you have a show that's really at the conceptual stage -- and I think that Rekha Murthy offered some of these great tips in her earlier session if you heard that -- which has to take that concept or maybe even just build out initial concept and start to workshop it. Ask people what they like about it. Ask what they expected to hear but didn't. What would they change? What do they hope to hear in the next iteration? I think getting that early feedback helps you understand if you have picked the right moment, the right place to produce the story. And hopefully it's a unique story.
So one of the things we do at WNYC is with every brand new show that's created, we ask the producers or the creators to develop a creative brief. And here I've listed a few of the questions that are included in our creative brief and I'll link to that as well so that you can see the full creative brief that we use in developing shows. And this creative brief is shared with the cross-functional team of people who are really looking at it from different angles.
You have of course your show producers or your hosts who are really thinking about the concept of the show. But we also share this with our marketing, with our digital, with our fundraising, with our advertising teams so that as the show is being developed conceptually, we're all thinking about how to build the extensions of that show, to go find the audiences for that show, how we want to find potential sponsors for that show. And sometimes we push back. In some of the more recent shows that we've developed we all take a listen and we talk about what it sounds like to us, and then we watch our our visual or graphic design friends really tried to visualize what the show looks like to us. And I think taking those steps of really starting to understand what your show is for yourself, but how other people are taking in and internalizing your show will help you develop a better conceptual understanding of how to market that show later. So your creative brief is really the foundational element for how you will talk about your show and how you iterate on your show as it's in development.
NB: So building off of that creative brief is the brand that you create. So every time that you launch a show you put a little piece of yourself out there. That's your brand, whether that's your personal brand because you're the host or an idea that you create that then is articulated into a show over time.
So I come, before podcasting, from advertising. So I would work with brands on launching their identity and defining it. So there are a lot of terms I'm going to use that hopefully will translate into creating a brand in this space. And so building off of a creative brief, you have to remember that first thing is that your brand is the impression that the outside world has of you. It's how they understand you and how you come across. So when I say brand I'm talking about your show as a brand. I'm going to speak to it in that term.
So building off of what Ashley was speaking to and a creative brief, your show, in one sentence, becomes your tagline. And I think we're used to hearing a lot about taglines from advertising campaigns. But to put it in the perspective of podcasts: Empire on Blood which is a show that launched with the great Mia Lobel became a story of murder, betrayal, and a man who fought the law for two decades. So in that one short sentence you understand it's a true crime podcast, there's an investigative component, there's something related to criminal justice. It all comes across in that one sentence captured in a tagline. And then what makes your show special, which is also a question in the creative brief, is your promo copy. And I cannot stress enough how important it is that this copy -- and then I'll talk about this a little bit more in a minute -- becomes consistent throughout all of your communication. So all the bullet points you want to hit, using that consistent language makes you what, makes it a lot easier for your audience to connect to certain words with you. And then if you were to have the people that look at your show, and maybe if you were to workshop it, they would be repeating those words back to you the way that you want to come across.
And then the tone of your show is the feeling that you create for listeners. So you have a very specific brand that you want to put out there. And so as an example, Bad with Money is a comedy podcast about money woes. So you know that it's you'll laugh. You'll cry. Like those specific beats will be hit in every point of the show and that's the feeling that you create comedy about finances. And then translating your aural identity into your visual identity is a really big key component. So how your show looks is just as important as how your show sounds, and will make it attractive for people, because a lot of times they'll see it before they even hear anything about it. They'll see your show artwork before they even hear your trailer. And that's an important thing and something that we talk about in the branding world, in the advertising world as your look, tone, and feel; so how you look visually, how you sound, and the tone that you come across and just the overall feeling that you create.
So building on that translating your brand is really important. So when you build those that consistent set of keywords. And this is an example from a WNYC show Death, Sex & Money. So you want to make yourself discoverable because -- there will be some resources in the in the takeaway that help you are with a SEO and search engine optimization so that you can be found on the web. But the important thing to take away here is using that consistent set of terms and tags in all your communications, so when you're building a site it should you choose to do that with a Squarespace or one of your favorite podcasts sponsors, then you'll also want to use those same words throughout as you're building your site, in your social copy, and just to create that consistent brand for yourself.
And then the biggest thing related to design that a lot of people -- it's pretty obvious, but I think if you were to see a lot of a lot of designs you maybe wouldn't get this as a take away. The most common placement is a phone screen. That's a one by one inch real estate that exists, you know, most commonly in that spot. That show tile has, you know, has a certain intricacy that it can have but for the most part that's that's the way that people see your brand. And it's hard to, you know, to create designs it's hard a lot of times to translate something that's really audio and visual space but it's really important and something not to skimp on. So you kind of see from this example from This Podcast has Fleas. This is a show about pets. It's fun, it's lighthearted and it comes across really great in this very, very small space.
And then the biggest thing is to create complementary materials. So rather than just one piece of artwork translated into five different sizes to work across Twitter or Facebook, it's really great to be able to extend the artwork, which will show you a little bit more on the next slide.
So an example of that is Kristin Meinzer of By the Book has a really great strong brand, strong following. And so after a show that's been around for a couple seasons, you know, wanting to be able to refresh the art and create something that's really fun and useful for the medium. So specifically, this gif (hopefully can catch a little bit of movement) was around this most recent season that launched that was specific to social channels. So because we know that gifs translate really well on Twitter or Instagram, we created this set of gifs for this season. And the biggest thing is that it's useful to fans. It's fun for them to use and see and interact with. And it's ultimately shareable.
And the second example is something for Pinterest. So rather than repurposing just the same visual, we created a top 10 list to help, you know, build an idea and identity of what this brand would create for you. So what By the Book creates for you is being able to stick with self-help and creating an environment where you can kind of follow along with the hosts, Kristen and Jolenta. So that's specific to a channel. And yes, it is extra resources and it's hard to find people to design, but a great resource that felt right for this audience that we've been using for some of our shows ay Pinna is Women Who Draw. And it's, you know, illustrators that charge everything from like 40 dollars an hour to much more and you can find that would fit your shows needs and help you build that identity.
AL: Yes, please support other women artists. And one thing I'll just stop and add here before we move along is: These processes are not happening when the podcast is complete. They are happening as the podcast is in development. So while many of you are both the creators and probably the marketers of your show, really thinking about how you are building -- again, that foundational element of how you will eventually market your show -- as you're developing the concept will be really important. At WNYC, at least, we began our marketing efforts for brand new shows somewhere at like 8 weeks before launch because we really are trained to think about all of these elements and take into account what we're hearing conceptually from the show.
NB: Yeah that's a great point. I mean for us at Pinna we're planning on starting to work on marketing efforts at the piloting stage of a show. So once we know exactly what the show is going to sound like and what its brand will be from an aural perspective, we're going to start creating all the visuals and the copy and that consistent language that's going to live on with the show at launch and onward.
KB: So you have your brand. You have your good content and now you need to figure out who exactly this podcast is for. Who this is for is a somewhat obvious question, but I think a lot of people don't necessarily ask it early enough in the process. Podcasts specifically can be so personal to people that it's their baby that they don't think about the other people that are listening besides their mom and friends and family.
So you want to be specific. You want to think about gender and age and geography, income, marital status. At WBUR, we produce Modern Love with the New York Times and that is a podcast that is predominantly young single women in their 20s and 30s. But then we produced for the season, the last season of The New England Patriots, a daily sports podcast. So there geography, both New England geography and if you're an expat of New England living elsewhere, became important in the end. It was much more focused on men and the audience of Modern Love and the audience of Season Ticket our sports broadcast cannot be farther apart.
So you're gonna find those audiences in different places and you can't market the same way you market to the Modern Love audience as you market to the Season Ticket audience. So you really need to know who's listening to your show, who you want to listen to your show. You also want to know what else they are -- what else they listen to what else they watch, their TV shows, their music they listen to. We did a small Facebook campaign for an episode of podcasts around Mrs. Pat, the comedian, and we targeted on Facebook people who loved other female comedians. And it was one of our most successful Facebook ad campaigns. Because if you're interested in female comedians, you're very interested in female comedians. So not just passive interest, but really passionate interests.
And once you know more about who your audience is, you're also able to engage with them on social media. You're able to create content that they are excited about and they will share. It's also important to be honest about who your audience is and how big the audience is. Ashley and I were at a conference recently and another presenter said something about how a woman was creating a podcast for the parents of children with a very rare disease. That's not going to be a huge podcast, but that's something that's clearly very important to that group. If your passion is Irish poetry that's not going to be a big audience. But if you do it well and you work hard, like it's going to be good content and you're going to get noticed. It might not be 100,000 downloads.
And then it's important to make yourself discoverable. Beyond finding your audience, let your audience find you. So have your social media, your website, and also think about the way -- this is a mixed metaphor -- but casting a wide net but also having favorite children. So you want to you want to have it be available and discoverable as many places as possible. With a caveat like don't create a Twitter account and then never update it. Because of a dormant Twitter account is probably worse than no Twitter account at all.
But but then if you know that you're targeting people, if you're crafting podcasts and you're targeting people on Pinterest, like that's your favorite child and you want to invest more in that. The example Last Seen that we just launched this fall, which is a podcast's into the largest unsolved heist in history, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist. We knew that we had a private Facebook group and we have Instagram because it;s a very visual podcast that we're investing more in. But we still have a Twitter account. We still have a website. We have all those things that people can still find us.
So for pinpointing our audience for Last Scene we did three main groups. One is the true crime podcast audience which is gold. You can get it you can get a group of people more dedicated to podcasts and the true crime podcast audience. So we did some cross promos with some true crime podcasts like Gone. But we also targeted young women, because young women are interested in the story, but then they're also interested in true crime podcasts as well. And we happen to produce both Dear Sugars and Modern Love, and were able to target the predominantly female audiences in both those podcasts by doing drops. And we'll talk more about that later. And then also the Boston, the local Boston audience. So we had a viral marketing campaign where we put up these beautiful murals. That one right there is at the Sam Adams Brewery which happened to be one of our sponsors, and Isabella Stewart Gardner loved beer. And so these are like the three and there's some overlap. As my beautiful, probably mathematically incorrect, Venn diagram shows you. But you know a lot of people who listen to Gone and don't listen to Dear Sugars. But there is some overlap and we hope that this podcast can appeal to all those audiences.
We also did things for true crime audiences that are not in the public radio -- that didn't feel very public radio, even though we were a public radio station. We did a video trailer that sort of had Dateline-esque music and the man with the deep voice and all of that, and promoted it on social to get people that maybe weren't coming through the public radio gates that we're used to.
And then the number one thing I would say is that, you know, reach out. Knowing your competition is important, too. So I say competition in quotes because as several people have said at this conference already it's important to realize that the best way to find a podcast audience is to go through people who are already podcast fans. So we were able to harness partnerships with lots of podcasts and find the audience through our competition which was excellent.
AL: So number four on our list is “build a press kit” and I think there can be high and low fidelity versions of this, but I recommend building a press kit if for no other reason than an extended exercise of really figuring out what your show is and how it fits in the environment. And I'm going to show one of these examples. It's actually from the show called The Competition. It's probably one of the best press kits I've personally seen and this would be a high fidelity version. In my work with the Bello Collective, we invite people to send us their podcasts. We share them with our writers and they maybe review them or they offer some insight into why someone might listen to that podcast. And so we receive a number of podcasts press kits that range from a really simple email or a static web page or one page PDF that just say this is my show, this is the host, here's where to find it, here's why I think you'll like it to the extended versions that you're going to see here. So I'm just going to step away for a second. So some of you may be familiar with the show The Competition. I'm not going to tell you too much about the show. I'm going to let you discover for yourself based on our quick roll through of the press kit what the show is about.
So here a short description of what the show is and then because they're now in their second season. And it can be really tough to get attention around second seasons unless there's something new or remarkable about that season. They lay out a essentially they lay out the rationale for why we should be paying attention to the second season.
They tell us here a little bit about the team of people who work on the show. For me, as both an editor for The Bello Collective, I'm looking to see if there's anyone that I know here. Is there someone I want to connect with? Maybe someone that I want to interview about the podcast.
This I would say is a super nice to have but definitely not required. They've provided us with all of the contact information, the visual logos, the episode trailer or the season trailer, lots of information about the podcast so that I, as an editor of a publication in this case, could easily go and and publish something without needing further contact with the show. Which in cases of reviews where we don't share with the shows that they are being reviewed, that is actually quite helpful.
And this is probably my favorite section, and one that I rarely see, which is we learn a little bit about the format of the show. I can set expectations for myself as a listener or for one of our writers about the level of involvement they would need to review a show or listen to a show like this. And then it's something else that's super rare, often because shows maybe don't have a line of sight into their episode rundown or the descriptions of their episodes at such an early stage, but being able to see the progression of the season or what I can expect from the season is also really nice. So this is again high fidelity version of a press kit. Super nice to have but not necessary. Most of the types of press kits that we receive are one page with a really descriptive paragraph and some basic links to the show.
So I've linked here to a couple of podcasts industry, members of the podcast industry press. These are ones that when your show is ready and you are prepared to share it with people, these are the people that I would be pitching. Some of these are fairly niche. For example, you'll see Audio Dramatic here and Will Williams Review tend to focus a little bit more on audio dramas, so if you have an audio drama show, make sure you're sending it to them. Some of these are more news focused, so if you have a news angle for your podcast or perhaps someone notable that is newsworthy, they're the ones that I pitch or would be pitching. And then there are sites like the L.A. Review of Books or the Bello Collective where we look at podcasting both from a creative and an industry perspective and would look for a wide-ranging number of pitches. As you'll hear, I really encourage you not to be afraid to be verbal and effusive about how, about your podcasts. You can't be afraid to pitch it. Send the email. Make the pitch.
JH: Great. So you have your unique idea. You have your brand identity. You know who you think your audience is going to be. So now it's a matter of fact of going out and actually finding them. So as we'll talk about we've talked about it's the blood, sweat, and tears. Let's just say it's a sweat, you know, you are going -- no one is going to work harder to promote your show than you. You are your number one brand ambassador, except for maybe your friends and family. So let's start there. Who is the community within your reach that you can leverage?
It seems very simple, but asking your friends and family to share, reviews, subscribe, gain some momentum in actually getting the word out there. Recommendations are among the top ways that people are finding content. If you think about your own podcast habits, probably the first place you're going to go is a recommendation from someone that you love and trust and has taste that you are aligned with. That's really a great place to start.
And then widening out that circle: who are you going after? You're talking about local communities. You want to make yourself discoverable, but also go out and find your audience. There's going to be some legwork in this. So if you're talking about a physical location and where your listeners are, talking about local businesses, this can be your bookstores and your coffee shops, local theaters, a farmers market, barber shop. Where people actually spending their time in physical spaces? And then go online because, as all of us are probably very well aware, it's the internet is basically ask and you shall find. There is any sort of topic, any sort of interest that you're looking for, there is a community for online. I basically guarantee it. I feel like at this point I'm just not in at the top of a podcast like asking you to rate, reviews, subscribe, 5 stars only. But that's again the message that you have to be going out and championing as you're reaching out to people.
So for example, you're going out to environments where people are listening to podcasts, but also you don't have to stick to places where people are already listening to podcasts. For example, The Pitch, which is now a Gimlet podcast. Before they started they actually were a top product on Product Hunt. So they were up voted in that community and if you look at the brand pages there, you can see the show team is actually engaging in the commentary one-to-one, taking feedback from the people who are engaging with the content who might not have been podcast listeners, but have discovered something in a community where they were passionate about the subject matter.
And then talking about finding people with common interests. So, for example, if the premise of your podcast isn't necessarily very hyper specific to an interest, you can have a particular episode maybe where you have the the right people to reach out to for example The Nod. We had an episode that featured us a segment on square breathing, so we put together a list of people who were influential in the social space speaking about wellness specifically intersections with women of color and reached out to a lot of people. And again that's where it's really handy to have that promo copy ready to go. That pitch language. Because you are going to send out a lot more emails, send out a lot more DM's than you'll get responses back. But that said, you've already engaged people who are talking about the same sort of things that you are, the interest that you guys are covering, the different topical areas that are going to reach really be most effective for the audience that you're going after.
And pitching for cross promotion. This is, again, we talk about finding people in the podcast space and not in the podcast space. Again, going after people who are already listening. Identify who are the relative the relevant podcasts similarly in your space, people that you know in your networking events such as this. You're already here. That's already a great first step. And you can do the sort of standard cross promo where it's like: I give you ad copy, you give me ad copy, and we'll do a swap that way. But think of something that's more involved. You really want -- whether that's being a guest on another person's podcast and you reciprocate in kind. Or even talking about dropping full episodes or full segments down different feeds. You introduce it. You have a conversation with this. And even if both podcasts are still relatively small and their audience base, potentially you're reaching an entirely new audience that is now introduced your content, essentially with a recommendation. Because you know we are all very precious about our content and, or are very particular about our content, I should say. And we're not going to be recommending something that we don't have a relationship with or believe in.
And if you have a little bit of money; I know that we're talking about entry level here so we'll start. You want to make it work really hard for you. So think about places where you can be really smart, targeted, and where you can learn. So paid social is your friend and get to know it. It sounds a little scary. We'll talk about some intro steps to getting familiar with it. And also think about audio environments. We are trying to get people to just nudge them on over to find your show, to find your new podcast, your new product. Essentially reaching out to people who are already listening to podcasts, who are maybe are listening to audiobooks which is just a hop and a skip away from over from what we do, or even listening to music. Audio, if you think about it, plays such a huge role in the daily lives of so many consumers. It's just a matter of the make putting, positioning yourself so you are in the right spot when they're in the audio environment.
And I think, as you get into paid media the most important thing that I would say is, customize your message based on where you're spending your money. It will make -- it is so much more effective. So that's from thinking about the tone of the environment that you're in. If you have great visual assets, you're on Instagram, you're using hashtags maybe some emojis. But also think about where people are and counting your ads. So if you have a, say like an audio promo on a podcast platform that someone who already knows what a podcast is, so if you say subscribe, if you say listen, they will have an understanding of that. But if you're on social, you're targeting a group who maybe hasn't been exposed to podcasts before. There's a little bit more education that you have to do. Making sure -- it's going to sound very silly -- but saying, you know, make sure you know to listen. We've encountered trying to do a social ad and you know audio platform, that's our product. And then you have like a really cool social graphic. And then you see in the comments people are like, ‘Great I can't wait to watch.’ And then you got to do a little like educating, you’re like, ‘oh no you can listen on your favorite podcast platform where were you that your podcasts.’ And that's the sort of thing where you customize your message based on where people are encountering your creative. And then what's great about also customizing your message is with paid social being very, very advanced, you can also be very specific to the operating system people are on. If you think about people, where they are listening to podcasts, a lot of it is on mobile. So you could target your Twitter ad with a specific message to iOS users. “Listen on Apple Podcasts” and that link directly and conveniently opens up your Apple Podcasts app. You obviously don't want to serve that to an Android user, but you couldn't do that and get that specific and granular on your social targeting. And test, test, test. Please. This is a place where we actually don't get to know that much about our listeners, based on the way the industry is right now. But social testing in particular is a place where you can see what messaging works. If you are writing your promo copy and you're not quite sure what message to lead with, you can just, you know, run a very small social campaign to try out the two different copy versions. And that's essentially creating data for yourself that you otherwise would not have had. And that's an incredible learning to learn.
So that's all good and well, but how do you actually get started? So again, you want to reach people where they're listening to content, so advertising on platforms. Yes, the bigger ones will, the bigger platforms might have an advertising budget minimum, which is a little bit can be intimidating if you're just starting out. But there are smaller platforms. If you think about the wide variety of places that people are going for audio content, you can be targeted with a shorter advertising flight. You can be more targeted in the categories you're going after. You might not be going after the entirety of society and culture as we know is a very busy category. You might be going after a very small segment, and that's a place where you can be very targeted with your media dollars and make them go further, work harder for you.
And then into social. So depending on how long you have been active on social you are probably well aware that a lot of the big platforms know a lot about us. They know what our likes are. They know who our friends are. They know -- to that end, advertisers, now the people in this room, we can actually use that to our advantage when doing social targeting in going after interests. You can go after lookalikes, which is essentially, ‘You are a fan of this thing. I can also find you if you are likely to be interested in my podcast, which is now the product that I'm going out for.’ And if it seems a little intimidating to get started, there are so many resources online. So we're talking about the Facebook, the Twitter, Instagrams of the world.
They are really geared providing tools for advertisers. It's in terms of best practices because those are changing constantly. What are the best sort of creative versions that go out with on each of these respective platforms. But also don't be afraid of like the weird places. And when I talk about the weird places, I mean like a Reddit. You know what I mean? So if you talk about the different interest categories, that's where you get incredibly specific. So if you're targeting something, you can start off with a giant sub-Reddit, for example, just fashion. Or all the all the way down to a much smaller much more specific like how this bra fits. And I'm telling you, you can reach so many different types of people that way. But again customize your message, because obviously the way that you're speaking to your Instagram audience is not going to be the same way that you're talking to a Reddit audience. Because I will tell you, sometimes they're a little prickly about advertising, but tread lightly. And again that's where testing and trying out different things at a small scale is really great. Because at this point it's a lot of these social platforms, it's self-service. You can go in, just like link your credit card ,set a set budget based on what you have available to you. Set a flighting targeting and move for that way.
So like we've talked about making yourself discoverable for both podcasts and on podcasts audiences. We'll take a look at -- in a case study, actually -- how to put this in practice.
AL: So I'm I'm going to pause. I know we're running a little short on time and I want to make sure that we have time to get to your questions. We do have a case study that we can talk about, but maybe we take some questions first. I think we're ready for you guys to throw, to throw it at us. We wanted to set the stage here, but if you have tough questions, we're ready to hear those.
Question: What would you consider a viable strategy for, let's say a video platform like Tick-Tock, which Bloomberg is launching? Because a lot of what I'm seeing is, like I work in paid social, and I'm having a lot of custom block lists. Because I'm seeing that my advertising dollars for the company I work for who I will not mention, like, I've had to customize a lot of that because there was a huge ad fraud. Where are you going that is alternative to Twitter and Facebook?
AL: We've been experimenting with Instagram and YouTube ads. And seeing how those perform for us. Still experimental, so I can't offer any real data about that. And I know I think in this group we've also talked about Overcast Ads. Has anyone done those yet?
JH: So again that's another place where you can be very strategic in where you're going going after and it's incredibly scalable. So I would say that's a great entry point. And you know that you're reaching people in the right environment. And it's slightly more controlled and arguably brand safe.
NB: I've also been using Pinterest, just to -- it really has to be specific to your audience. But they provide a lot of tools related to search and really being able to, a lot of options for advertising your content. And they provide a lot of resources as well. So even if you have a really small budget, they oftentimes will assign some money to you to help you run your campaigns. And so something that Jenn was speaking about budget, I mean, don't be scared to start with twenty five dollars ,you know a hundred dollars if you have that, and start running something and testing things out, because that's even enough money to start with some of the platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, where wherever you want to try.
Question: For those of us who are independent podcasters who have one or three or four people teams, how do you balance the work of actually creating the podcast with the perhaps larger work of also trying to put it out there?
JH: I would say, again, we talked about how marketing starts while you're actually creating the content. So I think no one -- like I mentioned -- no one is going to be a stronger brand advocate for your show or is going to know the show more intimately than you. So think about the ways in that you are creating content as you go. Whether it's, I mean, we talk about bonus content on social that is being is a kind of different type of content you could release. It could be the cutting room floor stuff, depending on the type of format of your of your podcasts and collecting things as you go.
And I will say like, if you are a small team, you're allowed to pause for a minute and actually collect your assets and assess like what you have available to you. Because, like we you know, we talked about getting to know best practices and running paid social media. That does take time and effort. But you could also focus that you know we talked about. Also, don't make a Twitter if it's going to be dormant. Focus where you want to put your efforts and that way you don't feel yourself to spread that.
AL: Yeah and I would add: At the start, at the concept phase I really build an ideal audience in the back of my head. And so, as we are working on developing content, I'm always thinking about that person. I'm thinking about how would I sell this episode to that person? How would I introduce our show to that person? And I think that as we go along having that sort of mental model really does again help build the foundation for how I'm going to talk about the show later.
KB: And a good piece of advice I would give a smaller team is to try one or two things at a time because then also you get better data. You know when, at launch a lot of these podcasts are throwing everything at the wall, and we did that with our most recent podcasts at launch and we got a lot of great numbers, but we don't really know what worked. Honestly. Because we had too many things happening at the same time at launch. So if you spend three months just trying Instagram and Twitter and then you see if that works or not, and then you can still hopefully focus on that stuff put them a little bit on the backburner and then the next three months work on something else. And that will allow you within a year to try a whole lot of different things but it won't feel as overwhelming.
Question: I was wondering -- I missed the beginning of your talk -- but I was wondering if you could talk about newsletter's strategy. Like how often you should be emailing your audience about a new show? Should you be emailing them monthly with a roundup of episodes? Every, every single time an episode is out you email them? Just like general strategy for emailing a base of listeners. And if you don't have a base of listeners and a ton of emails, like how do you grow that email audience, I guess?
AL: So I will say at WNYC it used to be that every show we created a Mailchimp account or we create a Mailchimp listserv. And we've really started to be more strategic about; Is this a show that needs a newsletter? And do we have the resources to support that newsletter? We have some great examples of shows where the newsletters are an integral part to the experience. Death, Sex & Money being a key one. Every Tuesday or Wednesday Anna Sale sends out a newsletter. It's in her voice. It connects to the show, but it also -- it rounds up other great content from around the the atmosphere. So I think the challenge is: do you have the resources? Can you do it consistently? And is there going to be something new and unique and every issue? Would be my three questions about whether to add a newsletter. And then if you do have a newsletter, making sure that you are constantly inviting people to go find it, and that there is something for them to discover and the newsletter so that they have a reason to go.
KB: And partnerships. I mean one of the things for the Circle Around podcasts is -- the children podcast -- was we partnered with us. And the producer Jess Alpert partnered with a sticker subscription service for kids. And they did a giveaway and collected a whole bunch of people's emails because people wanted to win the kids toys. And that's a way that we got e-mails for the parents, ended up being a parenting newsletter. So you know partnerships is a good way to go about it too.
Question: Hi. I have a question about using social media specifically for audience engagement beyond listening. So say you want your audience to do something else. So I'm thinking of Trump Inc. asking for anonymous tips or Aftereffect asking for stories from people with autism or their families about their experiences in the care system. So do you have any suggestions for messaging, specific to those other kinds of asks?
JH: I think, in terms of your social contact, we talk about regularity in specifically when building your community. You want people to know that you're dependable, in terms of delivering regular types of content. So I would say building out on social a posting cadence actually would be really helpful in knowing that certain types of posts go out at certain times. But in between then, asking for additional calls or action, additional engagement. That almost like makes a bonus content in addition to what your community and what your subscribers your followers are already accustomed to expect.
NB: One thing that we do is we literally take a calendar -- and every brand pretty much does this if you see advertising on social. And we plot out key messaging over time. So whether that maybe it's as simple as a new episode, maybe it's something related to bonus content, but it is relevant and specific to the platform. And it is segmented by somebody that knows nothing about the show and people who are already listeners, who are engaging with the content. And your social platforms will optimize that kind of content to make it discoverable based on who who it's meant for. So the biggest thing, I would say, is split it out by what is the key message and then create all the messaging under it and just take a blank calendar and plot it out.
KB: And keep asking. You know, we have a hotline for people who have tips on missing artwork. No one's found the Rembrandts yet. But but we ask at the end we'd give that number out at the end of every episode. We tell. We put it on social, we put it everywhere. And that allows it to get out as many times as possible and people aren't going to necessarily respond to the first ask but they may respond to the second or third and fourth.
AL: Yeah don't bury your ask. I think we have time for maybe two more questions.
Question: I'm wondering about click through links, like in newsletter and also on different social platforms. I always feel confused like if I give people Apple -- the Apple Podcast link for the episode, I’m going to lose all the Android people; if I give them like a landing page that has all the options, that's a double click through so like I might lose people there. So yeah I've always just sort of been confusing like: which link I should be putting in my posts to get the best conversion?
JH: I would say in the places you can -- we talked about paid social -- you can actually customize which link goes where. That's all, honestly, like a place where we have the option to. There are places you can’t. And I think you can give people the opportunity to have like open up different deep links. Like I know like you want to make the barrier to entry as low as possible. You don't want to double click through. But also people want the option. I would say like in terms of there are people who listen to the smaller podcasts apps and I think it actually only benefits you to say it to impress upon your listenership that you are everywhere. Your podcast is distributed on multiple platforms. And then also if you are engaging the various editorial teams on smaller podcasts apps, that's arguably leverage for you, if you're driving to a smaller platform.
AL: And I would just add, too, we often link to our landing pages because there is additional content to be found there, more than just the episode. There's transcripts and there may be bonus content. And so I think if that's something that you want to position for your listener, your viewer, whatever, link to the landing page. It’s always a safe bet. One more question.
Question: I used to do social media marketing for books and that was easy because books are beautiful and everyone wants to look at book covers. Duh. Like OK. Podcast is a lot more difficult. Visually, how do you win this? I know it's different for every show, but like do audiograms like do you find those working? Oh my God, they’re so time consuming. Please tell me it's worth it. Photos are -- like with -- I don't know. Tell me something.
KB: You want to have visuals. You do. I mean it is a medium of audio but you want to have visuals and that's important and it depends on what your podcast is but you know. Try and work with illustrators or illustrate yourself. It's it's hard to know exactly how to get it out there, but visuals are important.
AL: I will add -- and again I recognize this is not a resource that everyone has the ability to do -- but we've recently really invested in having episode art ,which helps distinguish each episode. And I think that one of our findings recently in our paid social was that people are more responsive when we talk about a very specific episode versus listening to the whole show or linking to the artwork for the whole show. It really helps them zero in on what they're clicking through to. So if you have the resources and ability to have episode art, I think that helps.
JH: And it doesn't all need to be a beautiful piece of artwork. I would say it's also an Instagram, where it's a very visual medium, but also people are looking for kind of behind the scenes content. And again it'll depend on the format of your show. But we find, you know, posting a beautiful picture of our cover art might not actually get as many thumb stops or engagements as like a photo of the show team in the studio. So it could be a shot of you recording, if there was a trip or research involved, like that actually is content that people are willing to engage with. And that might be just like an iPhone photo that you know put a nice filter on it.
AL: So I think we're out of time, but I think on behalf of everyone on this panel if you have questions please feel free to reach out, feel free to grab us while we're here at the conference. Send us a DM, or whatever it is we're happy to help answer your questions.