Greetings from the west! I attended my second podcast industry conference, Podcast Movement: Evolutions 2020, in Los Angeles last week after really enjoying their Orlando conference last year.
What I love about Podcast Movement is that I get to learn from fellow podcasters in the industry. Podcasting is growing rapidly, and everyone is experimenting with different ways to improve their shows. It's interesting to see where everyone is at and what they're doing to grow their shows. I then take these lessons and try to apply them to my own shows, MuggleCast and #Millennial!
While there was a lot of information presented over the three day event, I wanted to use this post to share the main lessons that I'm putting to use. What you'll find below is a mix of data and technique.
Who Are These New Podcast Listeners?
Podcasting has obviously grown rapidly in the past few years (Many credit Serial with the re-birth), but who are these new listeners? The team at Stitcher teamed up with PodSurvey to ask new listeners in the Stitcher network who they are and why they listen. They presented their findings to a packed room at Podcast Movement. (I was also impressed with their Orlando presentation -- If you attend a podcasting conference and Stitcher is presenting, be sure to attend.)
New Podcast Listener Demographics:
- 36% are between the age of 13 and 24
- 68% are female
- 29% are non-white
A third of these new listeners are daily radio listeners, but as they've discovered the wonderful world of podcasts, they've been reducing their radio time and spending more time with their favorite podcasts, Stitcher reports. In fact, 42% of new podcast listeners say they listen to "a little less" or "much less" radio than they did a year ago.
New listeners are also getting hooked on podcasts right away. They're averaging 9+ hours of podcast listening every week and have favorited (subscribed to) 21 shows. In addition, 86% of new podcast listeners have listened to episodes that are more than six months old, suggesting they're getting hooked on shows and then diving into the back catalog (We've all been there, haven't we?).
The True Crime genre accounted for 8 of the 10 most favorited shows, and a majority are Android users. No single device or operating system is the magic ticket for new listeners, Stitcher found.
Stitcher said that the majority of new podcast listeners found shows through social media. I asked them what types of social media posts led them to these shows, but they didn't have an answer because his wasn't one of the survey questions. When someone else followed up with a similar question, Stitcher conceded that future surveys they conduct should ask these types of questions.
Using a Website to Grow Your Audience
Having a website for your podcast is a must and a no-brainer, but I was reminded of a few important aspects that are missing from our own websites. Maybe they're missing from yours, too.
When a prospective listener visits your site, they may become overwhelmed by your vast library of episodes. Give them a starter pack of episodes that showcase your podcast.
Create a Trailer
Apple Podcasts and, as of very recently, Spotify allow you to feature a short audio clip at the top of your page within their directories. This can help prospective listeners quickly get a sense of your show.
No, you don't need to create an action-packed trailer that you might find before a movie. I recommend recording a special 90-second trailer that simply introduces people to the podcast. Write a script and have all hosts participate, and give a call to action at the end ("Subscribe for free via your favorite podcast app!").
Odds and Ends
If you plan to reach out to advertisers, create a Media Kit that gives them an overview of your show, your audience demographics, the cost of advertising on the show, and what they can expect when they advertise with you. My entertainment news and analysis website Hypable has a Media Kit, but I hadn't thought to create one for the podcasts.
In the Media Kit and on your website, be sure to include testimonials from listeners so people who don't know your show can see just how much people love it.
I attended an interesting panel about the five types of listeners, and how to convert each listener type to the next level, eventually getting them to the top tier: A fan. The bottom level is a "lurker" -- someone who is aware of your show but doesn't listen more than once or twice. Use the aforementioned trailer to get them interested in your show.
I won't get into the various levels here, but one interesting point that was brought up was about the word "subscribe". Often people hear this phrase and think subscribing means paying up, but with podcasting, that is usually not the case. Include a call to action in your show that encourages people to "subscribe for free" so that they start downloading each new episode that you release.
A couple people have asked me what I was doing at Podcast Movement when I've been behind the mic for so long (15 years this August!). Don't I know how to do that radio show thing? Yes, but there's always more to learn. New techniques and data are being discovered every day, and I want to know as much of it as possible. I'm looking forward to attending future podcast events in the years ahead!
If you need help developing or growing your own podcast, contact me!