Podcasts Can Have Many Uses, Even Monetizing Once It's Established

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At the start of Penton's well-done Aviation Week podcast, an announcer welcomes the audience and says: "Listeners now have access to special subscription offers including 30% off Aviation Week and Space Technology. Go to podcast.aviationweek.com to learn more."

Slate did a successful "pledge drive" during its popular "Trumpcast" podcast last week and plans to do them for their other podcasts as well. Episodes were interrupted by staff to give listeners reasons to sign on for paid membership. Slate told Digiday that the pledge drive drove hundreds of sign-ups—adding four times as many subscribers as the average number in a week.

They prefer to use podcasts to push Slate Plus, editorial director Gabriel Roth said, because they're habit-forming. "When you listen to a podcast every week, it inevitably becomes a real presence in your mind, in the way that reading a writer's articles does not. There's an intimacy with podcasts that makes people interested in getting more."

According to a report by Edison Research and Triton Digital, the portion of the public listening to online radio (podcasts) continues to grow. In 2017, 61% of Americans ages 12 or older have listened to online radio in the past month, while about half (53%) have listened in the past week. This is up from 57% and 50%, respectively, in 2016, continuing podcasts' steady growth.

Given that, here's a to-do list for launching a podcast:

Make the commitment. Will it be weekly? Over 40% of the Top 25 podcasts with a regular posting schedule publish once per week. Of the Top 25, only three podcasts did not have a discernible schedule to their posting.

Choose a day. Over 60% of podcasts with a regular schedule post early in the week, before Wednesday. The most common single day is Tuesday.

Outline your goals, schedule and format. How long will it be? SIPA member The Northern Miner does a weekly podcast that's about 30 minutes. Spidell's California Minute averages about 3 minutes. An ideal length I read is 22 minutes because scientists believe we can't hold our attention on a single presenter for any longer before we check out. I thought it would be even shorter. TED Talks have an 18-minute maximum.

Will you have guests? If so, what type? Or you could just do a discussion show format. Most recommendations I've seen call for 2-3 hosts. It's also recommended to interview guests in person when possible.

Don't worry about monetizing at the start. Slate had a popular show going before it did its pledge drive. Soyini Coke, principal of SIPA member Annona Enterprises, has built up an excellent archive of podcasts—including ones of SIPA members EB Medicine and NewsRX. "I firmly believe that I have a large audience that has value, and the income will come," she told me.

Have a content strategy. "What is it that this audience wants?" asked Coke.

Choose your equipment. After trying a few devices, Nathan Isaacs of Act-On wrote: "Ultimately, I went to a tool we.. used on a daily basis – our WebEx account. I could schedule and record the calls just as I would any other conference call. I then downloaded and converted the file into an MP3 format. So far, knock on wood, this has worked perfectly." You'll also need a microphone, headphones, something to record your B2B podcast (digital recorder or software on your computer), and software to edit the podcast.

Where will you store them? Magna Publications and Spidell both do very nice jobs of storing their podcasts in a place where readers can quickly assess them and choose one to hear.

Worried about getting an audience? Provide people with what they want and they will come back.

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…