"I feel like [synergy in an organization or company] is overlooked a lot when it comes to marketing podcasts," Blake Althen of podcast-producing company Human Factor told me recently. "At least with organizations I've done work for, the magazine/newsletter department might be doing their thing, the email people might be doing their thing and the events people are doing their thing, but there's not a lot of synergy. And we tried to close that gap and have done it really well.
"The magazine that comes out every week for [a show we do called] Convenience Matters has a picture of the podcast in action from a convention [where an episode was done on onsite]. And it was the podcast team sitting down with Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs. They were talking about employment because it's hard to find employment now for convenience stores. It was a triple whammy—the magazine covered it, they pumped the podcast, and the podcast people pumped the magazine. So there can be a great synergy."
There is synergy at AdExchanger. For each episode of AdExchanger Talks, executive editor Zach Rodgers writes a short article to go next to the recording—a move that draws more engagement and can be quicker to the point than a transcript. He's done recorded interviews with CEOs from Omnicom Group, Bleacher Report, The Trade Desk, The New York Times and Vox Media, which has helped them find their audience—to the tune of a baseline of 4,500 downloads per episode, sometimes as much as 5,000 if they have an industry rock star.
"No one should be intimidated by podcasts," Rodgers told me. "It's a good way to do journalism, and it can really be a key arrow in your quiver for any media brand. It's extending the ways you can touch people."
For Gina Garrubbo, CEO of National Public Media, NPR's sponsorship arm, the increasing demand for podcasts has created a richly competitive landscape and an exciting era for the company—in addition to some in-house synergy.
"I'm seeing more and more brands looking to find their sonic identity, or looking to find how audio fits into their media strategy. Television is wonderful, and online is wonderful, but the intimacy that on-demand audio and podcasts bring presents a new opportunity for brands. Just in the last two years, National Public Media created an in-house production team, to create custom audio for brands and help them to tell their stories, which we push out in the sponsorship units across the platform."
Kiplinger just completed its 37th podcast—Equifax Settlement: Should You Take the Money? They post transcripts next to the downloads. But what really impressed me is that when I went to the homepage, it was the first feature to come up in their carousel. "PODCAST: Data Breaches - What's Next for You?" it blares, with a huge graphic above it.
"We are pleased to add Your Money's Worth to our diverse line-up of print and digital platform extensions," said Sarah Stevens, vice president of content at Kiplinger, when they began last November. "Your Money's Worth is aimed at consumers who may not be fluent in personal finance, but who want to make better money and investing decisions. It will be lighthearted and free of jargon while providing informative and actionable personal finance advice."
AdExchanger actually added another podcast last year. The Big Story features roundtable discussions on the week's top news stories with their editorial team. This is a great way to get more exposure for your editorial team—and have them let loose a bit.
"That podcast was launched based on the success of this one," Rodgers said. "They just start talking about [industry] news of the day and significant developments." He added that they're even considering a third one – "if we can differentiate it from the other two. There's an audience and it's not a fad." For now, the two podcasts are bundled for sponsors, the latest being GlobalWebIndex.