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Should I Do a Branded Podcast? with Harry Morton, Lower Street: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Aug 30, 2022

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

This is Episode #110 and we’re talking podcasting with guest Harry Morton, Founder and CEO of Lower Street. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

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  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts Episode #110: Should I Do a Branded Podcast? with Harry Morton, Lower Street

Have you ever considered adding a podcast to your business or brand? It’s a form of content that’s booming, with loads of potential and low barriers to entry. But if you start a podcast, you want to do it right – otherwise, you might be setting your team up for disappointment or burnout. To properly podcast, you need to find your valuable POV, keep the focus on top-of-the-funnel awareness, and be prepared to invest resources to promote it. This is a topic that’s super close to home, as we’ve learned a TON through our podcasting journey of over 100 episodes so far. We also wanted you to learn from an expert who runs an entire business focused on launching podcasts for businesses, so we welcomed on Harry Morton. He’s the Founder and CEO of Lower Street, offering next-level podcast production services for ambitious companies. This episode covers everything from podcast analytics to faces for radio. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • Should you do a branded podcast?
  • Do you have a point of view that can create valuable ongoing content your target will appreciate?
  • Are you looking for top-of-the-funnel awareness?
  • How do you decide if you have enough content to start a branded podcast?
  • What should your KPIs be?
  • Do you need to build credibility within the business first so your podcast has more credibility?
  • How do you tackle Impostor Syndrome?
  • What should you be prepared to invest in your podcast?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it. Welcome to Marketing Smarts. I am Anne Candido and I am April Martini. And today we’re gonna answer the question, Should I do a branded podcast? So a few weeks ago, we did an episode with Nora Sudduth of Hello Audio. And that was all about audio marketing, and specifically private vs. public podcasting, which raised a very interesting question, which we’re getting a lot now, which is, should I actually do a branded podcast? So we decided to address that one with this own episode

April Martini 0:57
Yep. And we’re gonna give you the insider look based on our own journey of starting Marketing Smarts, and actually just reaching our 100th Episode woohoo for us. And we’ll talk about what’s worked, what hasn’t and everything you need to consider if you are contemplating starting one yourself. So this is going to be a good one today. Yes. And

Anne Candido 1:18
because we thought another perspective could be beneficial. Here we have a special guest and as Harry Morton, he’s the CEO and Founder of Lower Street. Hi, Harry, do want to indtroduce yourself and explain how actually, how do you define a branded podcast?

Harry Morton 1:30
Hello, yeah, thanks so much for having me. A brand new podcast simply is a podcast produced by by an organization by a brand, I think typically, a lot of the assumptions of how brands can get involved in in media of all kinds was to sponsor that right to place ads against that content, I think more and more. So we’re seeing brands really decide to take ownership of the audiences and build their own content out there. And so that’s what we’ve been doing for the last kind of six years in illustrators is helping brands to create their own media companies, if you will, within within their organizations and make podcasts are their own.

Anne Candido 2:07
I like the idea media company. Awesome. All right. And with that, let’s jump into Should I do a brand new podcast? So the first question you should ask yourself is, do you have a POV or point of view that can create valuable ongoing content your target will appreciate? So this is actually a bit of a trick question, because all businesses should have some sort of pod that can create valuable content. Absolutely. Right. But the answer to that question really comes from an internal belief that you actually have a point of view that is worth everybody else hearing, right? So you actually have to believe it. So podcast is kind of like the anti impostor syndrome. If you have impostor syndrome, you’re gonna have a really, really tough time with a podcast, because podcast is all about having something compelling to offer and feeling you have value to offer, if you don’t feel like you have that, then you’re gonna really, really struggle here. And you also have to be willing to commit to ongoing content, like we just said, it’s been our 100th episode, and we have been releasing episodes weekly, over the past, while gosh, now. So if it’s 52 weeks, now we’re getting very close to two years. Some of those, okay, are some of our quick hits. But you know, that’s still portions of our content that we have taken. And we have spliced down from original content. So it does take commitment, if you think you’re going to struggle, being able to regularly put out content, then again, this is probably not for you. But also you want to find you want to consider is your consumer customer target, actually consuming podcasts. So the popular the channel is like really, really massively growing. And I’m sure he’s gonna be able to give us some really good numbers for that. But there’s still kind of considered podcast, maybe a little bit techie. And so if you have a demographic or psychographic, that might, you know, be a little bit more in a generation that isn’t quite as techie, you are gonna have to consider that if this is a channel that is going to be something that they’re going to be receptive to, or if you can help them find an easier way to this channel through things that they are a little bit more familiar with Harry, what should people consider here with regards to their point of view and how to really develop that,

Harry Morton 4:18
like you say, everyone has a point of view. And I think they’re all really relevant. I think what we see time and again, with brands that maybe don’t see the success that they’re looking for is that they maybe speak to their point of view without necessarily they don’t have a strategy behind it. They’re not their focus is on themselves rather than on the listeners. So I think a lot of times what we want to really spend so much time planning in creating a podcast in the first place is, firstly, why are we Why do we want a podcast what what purposes is so serving for our business? And is this the right the best channel for that purpose that we’re seeking to solve for? And then secondly, you know, who is our target listener? What action do we want them to take as a result of kind of engaging with us and listening to our show, and really working backwards from what the listener wants. And I think a lot of times, it’s so tempting to say, hey, look, we love we’re really passionate about this subject. And we want to speak to these guests about these topics, and then put that out into the world and hope that someone’s out there ready for it. And I think actually much more success comes from if we think about these are the people we’re seeking to serve. This is the sort of content they’re already engaging with in audio. And these are some of the lessons we can learn from that. And here’s what our kind of unique voice and value is that we can add to that conversation. So yeah, I think it’s really easy to kind of look at podcasts and go, Oh, wow, this is such a like a hot channel right now like that lots of people are talking about podcasting, it’s really kind of, it’s a lot of fun to do. This is something I’m really passionate about getting out there. But without kind of spending the time to develop a proper strategy and thinking about your listener first, you can just be kind of like, you know, screaming into the into I don’t know what Tumbleweed Yeah, we see it happen all the time. Right. It’s so easy to create a great show that nobody listens to. And I think if we start with focusing really hard on our listeners, rather than what we’re excited about, that tends to lead to the best, best results.

April Martini 6:11
Yeah, I think it’s so super smart. And really, as I’m hearing you talk, I think the episodes that we create that get the most engagement are the ones where we’re coming off of experiences we’re having regularly with our clients, that then we translate to an episode or several episodes, right. And I think that that does a couple of things. One, exactly to the point you just made Harry, it makes sure that we’re keeping the client in this case, you know, or consumer or whatever in the room with us. But we’re also coming off the heels of interacting with those clients. And so it is a very, quote unquote timely, not from a, you know, relevant trend, or that sort of thing, but something that we’ve just done. And so we’re able to speak from a place of that experience in those interactions, so that it’s really contextualized and nuanced in a way that then the listener can say, Okay, I see how that unfolded or happened or whatever, and why it can be relevant to me.

Harry Morton 7:14
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, it’s funny that you mentioned timeliness in podcasts as well. It’s not quite what you were getting out. But I think the beauty of podcasting is that they do live on for such a long time. And so, kind of really thinking about kind of creating something. So we’ve produced a ton of podcasts at this point. And it’s alarming. It’s incredible how many shows or episodes get consumed that are months, weeks, even years old, people go back to revisit this stuff all the time. And so I think that’s a really wonderful thing in podcasts, we’re creating quite, you know, quite a legacy here. And, and but also just a wonderful back catalogue. And so creating content that is sort of evergreen in its nature is definitely something that kind of, you know, really thrives in this in this medium, I think,

Anne Candido 7:56
yeah, there’s a one of our most popular episodes is still it was our first episode, which was about the four monumental website mistakes. Yeah, which still holds true today. So I think that’s absolutely.

Harry Morton 8:06
One thing I did want to mention as well, you kind of talked about the importance of consistency, and podcasting, which I 100% agree with, you know, it’s so important to build a habit in our listenership so that they know what to expect and when to expect it. In podcasting, and living up to that promise, you know, it’s so easy, we see so many shows that just kind of get to sort of 789 episodes, and they go forward, you know, what, this is hard work, we’re going to kind of take a break here. But this is so common that we’re talking specifically about branded podcast, right. And it’s, it’s so so common that we hear that folks are, you know, just super stretched, they’re really busy. And it’s very hard for them to commit to we’re going to do this every week for the next, you know, infinity. And I think that’s totally fair enough. And we see it like a really great alternative approach in creating a sort of seasonal show. So if we produce, you know, 12 Episode seasons, as a podcast, we can see really great results from that as well. So it’s sort of time boxes, or limits your, your kind of investment of time and budget and so on as well. But it also means that we can, you know, take a different kind of tact in the way that we approach the show. So instead of kind of coming up with constantly new ideas and fresh kind of content for each episode episode, we can say, instead, well, this is the season where we’re going to focus on this specific kind of subject and almost have like a season arc and a theme that we’re kind of tying the content around, whether that’s based around the sort of current trends at the moment, it’s timely, whether it’s sort of thematic, whether it’s, you know, whatever, whatever that specific story you want to tell. And it also means that once that’s produced, we can then put all of our energy into marketing it really heavily and getting people engaged with it, using it, repurposing that content, engaging with the community, all this sort of stuff, where otherwise we might be kind of like frantically going, Okay, gotta write the script for the next episode. I’m too busy to kind of like that episodes done now and I’m moving on. If we do it a seasonal in a seasonal way, we can actually do each episode real justice and spend the time and energy to promote it after the fact. So totally agree that consistency is really important, but I I think there are there are some potential alternatives as well.

Anne Candido 10:03
I like that I really liked that. Alright, so the second question you should ask yourself, if you’re considering our branded podcast is, are you looking for top of the funnel awareness? So I think we can all say that doing a podcast is a sloper. Sure, yeah. So if you’re looking for that immediate business hit, you know, day two, after you launch your podcast, this is not what this is supposed to do. Because the biggest driver of podcast awareness is actually word of mouth. And that’s by creating that value that other people find so invaluable that they actually share it with others. And that’s how your podcast really grows organically. And that’s how you develop these following a very strong advocates that are going to speak on your behalf, but also then consider you a thought leader in the topic for which you are talking about. And that’s how you build the credibility, the reputation. And really you do that through the body of work that you create through a podcast. So that’s why not just one episode is going to do it. Nobody’s going to hear one episode be like, oh, yeah, these are the experts, these are the people I’m going to go to. So you have to kind of get to consider the fact that it takes a little bit of time, because you are building relationships, relationships take time. So consider that and make sure that you feel like you have that time that you’re going to devote to this because a lot of times, people get a little antsy, and then they’re wanting those results now, and they’re not seeing those results come. But it can serve for some immediate business opportunities, though. So like, what we tend to do often is we bring on people that could maybe potentially be clients in the future. So that’s a really great way of vetting through clients and developing those relationships for clients, or bringing on people that we feel like are going to be beneficial to our clients like Harry like, so we get that, that exposure to our following, but we also kind of get the the checkbox star for saying, hey, these people know people to write. So there’s elements of that. There’s also about when you were mentioning here about evergreen content about b2b businesses, and how important being evergreen is because in the b2b cycle, you may only come up like once a year, every couple of years as being of need to those businesses like people don’t hire branding and marketing agencies on a daily basis. They hire them on when they need them, or they hire them on a yearly or BI yearly basis. So you need to think about how you’re going to stay top of mind with these potential clients in the time space that there’s still kind of considering you but maybe not need you at that moment. But also it helps us Tablas, the social proof like we’ve talked about this a lot. We now use our podcast as ways to RFP versus doing really long RFPs were like, Hey, if you’re really interested in how you know you should do social strategy. Listen to our couple episodes, you’re going to hear about how we managed to social strategy, what we think is important and you’re going to learn something. And on the way that also helps you had a springboard for things like speaking engagements for trainings. So people hear those are like, I want to know more about this, like, hey, great, we can come speak to your organization about that we can do a short keynote, we can get a stimulate the thinking there. And then it also, as you mentioned to it creates content for other things. So we parlay our content into blogs, we parlay it into newsletters, we play it into social. So it becomes now like again, like I said social proof or a body of work that starts creating that reputation, that credibility that starts then lifting you and differentiating you from your competition. So Harry, I mean, I’d love to hear what you have to say about this in how you how you manage this expectations with your clients, cuz I’m sure they have a ton.

Harry Morton 13:34
Yeah, I think yeah, a lot of people kind of are used to, I suppose, or maybe addicted to the results we can get from social media, right? It’s very, you know, we hear all stories all the time of kind of throwing up a tick tock campaign and suddenly got millions of engagements with that piece of content, which is, you know, that’s addictive, and also something that we’ve sort of, I guess, learn to expect from digital channels. And podcasting, as we kind of suggested before is kind of old school in the way that it proliferates, and grows, it’s very word of mouth base. So it’s, it is a slower burn. The benefit, of course, though, is that it’s incredibly sticky. So the level of engagement we find with our listenership, while we might have a smaller quantity, it might just be reaching fewer people, it will take longer to build that audience. The ones that do listen, you know, the engagement rate we see with audio just vastly outperforms what we see in terms of kind of video and social in particular, it’s very common for us to be producing shows with some of our clients that are getting 80 plus percent completion rate. So that means, you know, folks are listening to 35 minutes of a 40 minute episode, that’s a lot of time that they’re spending with your brand, which is a huge, a huge kind of value there. So, so yes, I think that engagement rates are really high. And but they but they, you know, oftentimes the expectation is kind of an instant hit of results. And so, you mentioned, you know, quite rightly that it’s a wonderful kind of relationship building tool with the guests that you bring on To the platform. So I think that’s a way for us to sort of close that loop of seeing a return on the investment we’re making in podcasting, that’s certainly something that a lot of our clients, particularly agencies and consultancies, use that, you know, it’s a wonderful kind of Account-Based Marketing Tool, and allows us to see a quicker result, while the sort of audience pieces is slowly growing in the background. But as I say, because the engagement rate is so high, or the engagement depth, the level of engagement is so strong with the audience, you have no matter how big or small that is. It’s a wonderful kind of trust building tool and a wonderful credibility tool, as you mentioned, that over time will pay off. And as you say, you know, it’s not common that we’re reaching out to consultants and saying, Hey, I’d love to take you on for a six figure engagement based off one piece of content, I’ve heard that’s not particularly common. But if we do commit to something, and we do, you know, we do produce a podcast in the long term, those relationships we have fostered there in our listenership will definitely pay off in that in that sort of 12 plus month, kind of time period. So it’s definitely a commitment that we’re making to podcasting. And I suppose the other kind of way, as you’ve mentioned, you know, to close that loop of getting that return sooner is by using the content you’re creating, it’s, it’s a relatively efficient, I hate using this phrase, because it sort of tends to devalue the medium, but it is quite an efficient way to create content, right? You know, a good podcast takes a hell of a lot of preparation and planning, research, writing, and so on. But nevertheless, ultimately, what you’re doing is sitting down at a mic and talking about what you know, best. And then what you have, there is a wonderful asset that you can then reuse for lots of different purposes. And so, you know, instead of having to write an in depth article, and then record a wonderful YouTube video, and then write a bunch of LinkedIn, you know, LinkedIn threads, or Twitter threads, or whatever, we can create a really high value podcast episode that’s 30 minutes long, let’s say and create all kinds of kind of content off that as well. So yeah, there are there are lots of benefits, but it’s definitely we in the conversations we’re having early on with with folks that may have a lot of preconceptions about what podcasting is, as a digital kind of medium. We do have to sort of set that expectation that it’s not going to be something that just immediately returns a bunch of new deals to them tomorrow.

April Martini 17:14
Yeah. And I think even you know, we said we were going to talk about our journey and our story with Marketing Smarts. And I remember our business coach at the time, we were having a conversation about how long it was going to take for us to really take hold, right? Yeah, right. He was like, he’s like, you know, the data shows, it’s like two years. And we’re like, okay, yeah, God, not, that’s not going to be the way that it is. Right. And now, we’re sitting here, you know, two years later, and we’re like, Damn, if he wasn’t right. Yeah, you know. And I think it is a really important point. I love what you said about, it’s sort of almost antiquated in the way that it works, right, because it is a digital medium, but it is more word of mouth based. And We have certainly seen that in the growth of our podcast. And I would also say that there are some milestones that we weren’t told that I think are important to the patients factor to cover off on here. And those are things of course, like analytics, I remember when we started getting international listeners that was like, Oh, amazing, you know, and then international guests like you, Harry, and then people reaching out to be on the podcast. I think it’s a it’s such a new platform that there isn’t a lot of historical data or trends that you can look to and say, Well, if I get to that I’m really succeeding. But part of our experience, and I’m sure you have some of these anecdotes as well, Harry is, when we look back at the two years, we know that something happened at those certain points, right. So whether it was audience growth, of course, is huge. But you know, reach was a huge one for us. We now on a several times a week basis, have podcast reps, or even individuals reaching out to promote their people to be on our show. You know, there was a moment in time where that started to happen. Now it’s starting to elevate again. So just pulling back the curtain a little bit to give some commentary around what we didn’t know, and what might look like, quote unquote, success when you don’t have the immediacy of Oh, yeah, I just signed another six figure client, because to everything that both of you said, That’s not the way this works. Yeah,

Harry Morton 19:24
it’s not and, and I also want to kind of, you know, a lot of the time I’m sort of when we kind of have certain expectations around what social media can deliver. Sometimes the numbers in podcasting be disappointing. Yeah. But often when I say you know, if you can get some people will look at the data set. I’m only going like 70 downloads per episode or $150. And I sort of say, well, if you had 75 people standing in a room in a conference listening to you speak for 35 minutes, you’ve probably been pretty, pretty, pretty impressed with that result. And so I think that is not to be sniffed out and something that we should kind of really think about, because it is quality time we’re spending with these people.

Anne Candido 20:00
It’s actually a good prelude into the next point here. And the third question you should ask yourself, if you want to do a brand new podcast is, are you okay? If your brand podcast is an investment, much to what we just talked about, you know, it can be one of those marketing channels where you’re putting effort in and you’re not seeing those immediate quantifiable KPI results that you’re used to see same thing with things like social media and digital content. And you know, everybody’s like, Well, yeah, you can you can monetize a podcast, right? I’m like, Well, yes, you can. But we all know that it takes certain thresholds in order for the monetization to actually kick in. And so if you’re thinking that you’re gonna start a podcast, and you’re gonna get all these like, ad based, like money coming back to you stuff like that, that is a really, that you shouldn’t have that expectation. But you should expect that you are building, even if it’s hard to see immediately, and I liked the examples you brought up April, with regards to what some of the milestones look like, even not seeing immediately like the dollars kick in or the sales kicking, you got to believe you’ll see leads, like other milestones come in that you’re building some level of branding, or reputation, or relevancy that can give you that feelings of like, okay, this is this is something’s going on here, something is working here. Because, you know, got to commit to it, like what you said, and so if you are in a point, and you imagine this area to let you know, things are starting to get kind of like tough with regards to time or capacity or money, we kind of see people just kind of like saying, well, then the podcast is the first thing to go, before you even actually given it a chance to actually kick off or in the prove itself. So be careful that you’re not undermining what you’re building, because you just can’t see the things that you were hoping it was going to deliver immediately. So this is one point of why we’re bringing this up is that it is initially an investment. Now the good thing is it doesn’t have to be a huge monetary investment. Right. So that’s the really awesome things about podcasting. And you can do it a bunch of different ways. Like we started in a studio, we’re no longer in a studio, we’re now in April’s house or house in the basement, right? Because we have now the competence that we can do this on our own with an external producer, which is a lot of I think, Harry, how you manage your business a lot. So you can get started pretty quickly and pretty easily and pretty economically. So that, you know, you’re not feeling like, Hey, this is like an ad spot. And I’m going to you know, had to put $200,000 worth of investment into creating 1/32 TV spot that I hope works. I mean, this is something you can test and learn your way into. So here maybe you can share a little bit more about how you kind of manage that for your clients. And how long do you see it really takes to like for a podcast a quote unquote, take off? And what are the milestones that you kind of see and help people understand that they are getting value out of doing their podcast?

Harry Morton 22:47
Yeah. So I think the first milestone that anybody sees is just like how wonderful of a platform it is to grow your credibility. And I mean that in terms of the people that you network with, you know, so we’ve talked about bringing guests on, that could be future deals for you. But also just the opportunity, you have to kind of really kind of position yourself in your, in your industry, I think most industries out there, you know, folks that are kind of, you know, considered names in whatever space you happen to be in, are incredibly open to being invited to be on podcast. In fact, in many industries, like we have clients in all kinds of industries that just like it’s a really novel idea to be invited to be on a podcast, I’ve never been invited before. And so they’re like, Oh, wow. But you know, these are C suite like, you know, significant people in their industries. So the credibility that we gain, and the partnership opportunities that come up, whether or not whether or not it’s a direct, hey, I want to buy your services, but like, you know, other folks in your space is a phenomenal thing. So I think that’s like something that you that’s a milestone you hit from potentially day one, right? You just say I’m launching this great podcast, I really wanna speak to leaders in our industry, you know, and you’d be amazed at the uptake that that we get from that. And then your positioning from there is phenomenal. I think there’s really no one answer to how long it takes a show to to kick off, it really depends on your industry. You mentioned like your audience, like who are they? And where are they hanging out, you know, if they’re octogenarian bridge players, they’re probably harder to get into podcast and, you know, TikTok friendly 16 year olds, but so there is obviously a spectrum here, but but in also, by the way, we’ve talked about how word of mouth driven podcasting is there are definitely ways that we can we can gain that system and jump on with, you know, to better results faster. That’s certainly something that we do with clients all the time through, you know, targeted ad campaigns to really drive awareness of the podcast around very specific groups of people. So I think that’s, you know, important to sort of put out there as well. So, yeah, and everybody’s milestones are different. I think, you know, I mentioned before, we have some clients who have literally less than 100 listeners per episode, but the podcast is a slam dunk win for them. And they’ve been working with us for two plus years because it’s just returning such great results for them because it does. They’re not worried about being the next Joe Rogan. They care about having, you know, a community that’s probably 50 or 60 people last I spending time with them on a regular basis. And that’s what’s happening. So you know, and on the on the flip side, we have other clients who are getting hundreds of 1000s of downloads in episode. And that’s what’s important to them is really reach and brand awareness because they’re, you know, larger organizations or their goals are just very different. You mentioned monetization. And that’s, I think, a really good one to touch on as well, because so often folks, particularly sort of smaller shops, or individual consultants, or whatever, folks that are using podcasting, that are really looking for that immediate return on investment, right, because this is a large part of their marketing activity. And they might be one of just a handful of folks are, even by themselves working on a team, they will quite often come to us and say that we want to create a podcast, but also we’d like to monetize it, we’d like for this to be like a cost neutral, or even cost positive kind of marketing channel for us. And certainly, that’s not impossible. You mentioned, you know, you have to hit certain numbers before monetization makes sense. That’s true on average. But certainly we see folks with really tiny audiences monetizing incredibly effectively. It just you just have to know very clearly be able to articulate exactly who your audience is, and have really great partners in the industry that also want to get in front of those people. Those are, those are deals, you have to broker yourself, right? You’re not able to go to like a large podcast ad network and say, Hey, I’ve got 50 listeners, can you please help me? They’re like, No, you don’t have 10,000 listeners in episode like, don’t even start that conversation. But certainly we see folks with success. However, I think the primary goal as businesses, as brands, creating a podcast, our primary goal is to serve ourselves, right? We’re not serving ourselves, we’re serving our audience. But the goal of the podcast is to grow our business. Right, right. And so it doesn’t play into that mission quite as well. If we’re if we’re sort of distracting ourselves with with trying to monetize the podcast, and you know, we, you know, we could be getting hundreds of dollars or low 1000s of dollars per episode, you know, is it really worth distracting ourselves and taking our energy away to do that sort of stuff, rather than just providing as much value to our listeners as we possibly can and just 100% owning that audience and not having to share it with anybody else? I think that’s, that’s for most people the best play. So. So yeah, I’m not, I’m not not a fan of monetization, it’s just that’s not something that we tend to steer folks towards.

April Martini 27:17
Well, I love what you said about it being a potential distraction, right? Because we’ve experienced that ourselves, right? We’ve had brands reach out and want to be a sponsor, quote, unquote, the first thing they asked about is the numbers, right? And so that can be a little bit of a an interesting, if you will conversation, where the expectation is 10s of 1000s of listeners, and you’re like, Have you done any homework on this? That’s not something you grow overnight, right? So that’s part of it. But the distraction piece, I think, is huge. Because when we’re faced with that, it’s like, oh, man, they want us they want to sponsor us, they want to be a part of us. But then we very quickly have to get to the conversation of, yes, but we own this audience to your point, and we own this brand of our podcast, and do we actually believe in fill in the blank this product service offering whatever. And if we don’t, there is a little bit of like, oh, man, I don’t really want to walk away from the dollars. But at the end of the day, there is something very freeing about that, because we maintain our authenticity and our intention, and really, what we deliver to our customers and clients by saying no to those opportunities, and you know, we get it, we face it to have like, oh, and and in, you know, influx of cash. Cool, let’s go ahead and do it. But I think your point is really well taken, that it’s not about that. And then on the other side, one of the things I think was interesting that you said is kind of the celebrity status, if you will associated with podcasting. I have a really funny anecdote for this. So my sister got married a few months ago, and one of my good friends from grad school has been interacting with us listening to us participating in social right, and she had never met and, and she comes flying up to me at the wedding. And she’s like, that’s an isn’t it? I feel like I know her because I’ve been writing and I’ve, you know, but I think you know, the point you made about the whether it’s the asking someone to be on the show, because we certainly experienced that where especially people you know, I come from an agency background and we are trained to be you have to be an excellent presenter and speaker in order to succeed in that space. And I know there’s plenty of businesses like that, but that’s one where you got to be a storyteller. You gotta be able to stand up in front of folks. And we’ve asked some of my previous colleagues on the show and they’re like, I’m having a little bit of paralysis like I feel like I’m in this like heightened celebrity situation and we’re like, it’s not live you can edit you know, all of those things, but it’s like, I’m having like heart palpitations that I come in and then and have this conversation but I think there is leverage and outside of you know, this point of the investment to When you think about the success, or you know what you invest financially or energy wise, but what you get on the other side, when you stop thinking about it as a financial thing, and you start looking at it as what are the bigger things that I’m doing by just having a podcast, that’s where I continue to get really excited and energized and want to continue to do this, because it is a very different medium than some of the other marketing channels, and the quote unquote, pay off is just defined differently.

Harry Morton 30:29
I agree, I think so you mentioned that this sort of mega fan or whatever. And it’s so that’s so that’s such a common thing, right? Because it is so personal, like we’re literally listening with our ear buds, it’s very one to one, right or two to one in your case, you know, so you’re really up close and personal with your, with your listeners, they really get a sense of who you are and what you are. So that that kind of feedback is really common for podcast hosts, which is so gratifying and really amazing. And also, by the way, we talked about kind of cloud and industry kind of positioning yourself in your industry. Like it’s amazing when you have a podcast, and then you go to a conference. And everyone’s like, Oh, hey, you’re the so and so later, you’re the service. And like how and suddenly, like you’re having conversations that otherwise you might not have had. And for someone like me, he’s just a giant introvert, have it being able to like walk into a room and not have to start a bunch of conversations, because people are coming up to you going, Oh, you’re so and so from so and so is just a huge thing. And that leads me to the next thing you mentioned that kind of nerves. I think so many people get that kind of like, oh my god, I’m performing to this huge crowd, and also stuff. And certainly when I started podcasting, I was just like, the heart was pounding. And I was sweating and breathing deeply. I was like, Oh my god, but then you realize you’re just having a I’m just having a conversation with two lovely women. And and that’s it. And nobody’s listening right now. And hopefully in the future. Some other people will be listening, but I can just, I just ignore the fact that that’s true. Yes. And right now we’re just having a great chat. And so you soon you get used to that, and the nerves go away. But yeah, there’s definitely kind of a you have to push through that pain barrier a little bit. Yeah.

Anne Candido 31:57
Yeah. And I think what we just weren’t in a situation where we had our podcast, suddenly we teach on our podcasts all the time, actually told back to us by one of our clients, we’re like, you listen, you really listen. So that was also fun, too. It’s so nice, little momentous point where it’s like, yeah, like back end,

April Martini 32:19
quote, was verbatim and we were running the session, you know, talk about an unprofessional moment, we’re like, looked at each other, like, and then we’re like, tamp it down.

Anne Candido 32:27
Like you got that for the podcast. So it was pretty awesome. Alright, so the fourth question you should ask yourself about whether or not you’re going to have a breakup podcast is, are you prepared to invest resources to promote it. So like we said, a podcast must be promoted, people need to know it exists, there is a pretty good proliferation of podcasts out there. Now, the funny thing is, is that how many podcasts are actually out there versus how many podcasts are actually creating new content and continue to be active, those are a little bit different, but it is a slightly busy marketing channel. So you have to actually put some money behind it in order and some effort behind it actually be totally frank, in order to promote it, so people know that it is there. So one of the most common ways of promoting is on social, and we’ve talked about that. So if you’re sitting there saying, Oh, we don’t have any room in our social calendar, to promote our podcasts, you might as well not even do it. Because you have to have all the marketing channels working together in order to be able to promote your podcast, it doesn’t mean you need to do that all the time. It’s a slot within your conversation calendar. But you do need to put effort behind it to make sure that people notice they are people know what it’s about. And so you can start getting that following. And it also gives content that people can then share, it makes it easier for them to share your podcast if it’s something that they’re already in gauged with like in their social and they’d be like, hey, you know, if you really need to take a look at this podcast. And here’s a good example. And here’s where you can find it. Right. So there isn’t a clear magic bullet to actually getting your podcasts heard. And we talked about this that, you know, is still actually very archaic industry in the fact that the analytics and all of these things that you tend to rely on to see how things perform. It’s not just that it’s not that mature. And it’s so it’s really hard to kind of see, you know, how are you doing versus this other podcasts? Or how am I doing in the industry? I mean, there’s some, there’s some people who and some apps and some services that try to kind of give you that lay of the land and you can maybe you know, and I’m gonna ask you, Harry to kind of give us some thoughts about how you kind of gauge that, but it’s not a real like confident based, like analytical measure that you’re like, oh, yeah, I’m in the top like 10%. Well, I don’t even know what that means to say if you’re on the top 10% of marketing or business podcast, frankly and honestly. So you’re going to have more of a test and learn experience here. And that’s why it’s so important to find the other KPIs that are important to your business so that you can monitor success in a way that is going to be meaningful because this is again, a marketing channel that’s meant to grow your business, especially if you’re doing it from a branding pot. Has context. That being said, it’s really also important to hire somebody who is in it every day. So somebody like Harry said, the person who produces ours is max Branstetter. These people are in it every every day. So they know more about it than anybody else with regards to how to put yourself in the best position in order to make your podcast go in order to differentiate it in order to get the following in order to deliver all those KPIs you want. So maybe here, you can give us some suggestions of how do you suggest that people promote their podcasts? What’s worked for people? I know there’s nuances. But can you can give us a little bit of that context. That’d be great.

Harry Morton 35:36
Yeah, for sure. So firstly, to start off by saying you’ve mentioned, like how busy the channel is, and like, I think it’s worth highlighting that in. So we had in 2018 550,000, podcasts were out there on Apple podcasts. And then this year, we’ve hit two and a half million, right. So that’s a huge a huge jump in content. Now, I firstly want to preface like, that pales in comparison to anything we see on YouTube, it pales in comparison to the blogosphere, if that’s a term that people even use anymore. Like so, you know, we are like there is a lot of wide open space here and podcasting, right. And that’s partly fueled by the pandemic, all these shows that have started. But that also brings with it a ton of new listeners to the space, right, so the pie is getting bigger, you have to do more, in order to stand out, you have to differentiate yourself, you can’t just kind of put out a podcast and succeed anymore. But nevertheless, there’s still a ton of wide open space and opportunity here. So I think that’s that’s important to establish. When it comes to marketing the show, I guess the first thing that that we just got to go back to the beginning of the conversation, the podcast has to serve a purpose, it has to be for a clear market. And it has to be great, right. So if there’s two and a half million podcasts out there, just getting on a mic and talking for half an hour. Without too much planning is just not going to cut it. So there’s only so much we can promote a podcast, it’s not worth promoting. So first we got a dial dial in the content. And that is something that that we obsess over, and everyone that’s kind of invested in podcasting should obsess over. And I think it’s so easy. So many people say, oh, yeah, we got that we got the content dialed like, it’s a great show. And I think everyone should be asking the question, Well, is it like, you know, not, I’m not saying your show isn’t great. But like, what if there was an opportunity to make it better? Like let’s continually study that and look at the feedback we’re getting, and get feedback from it, like actively go out there looking for feedback, to make sure that we are making the best show that we possibly can be. But anyway, let’s assume that all that that’s not what the answer you want. So let’s assume that how do we how do we get new listeners, and you mentioned social, super important, we want to engage with our community, you want to continue that conversation outside the podcast, we want to repurpose our show to fuel our social media calendar. All these things are great. But what we’ll find what we found, after six years of doing this is that it’s incredibly hard to make someone make the leap in the moment from scrolling through their Instagram feed or their Twitter feed or whatever, where you’re in like short form bite sized content mode, right? Very hard to make that leap from there into, okay, now I’m going to spend the next 40 minutes listening to a really in depth piece of audio. Like that’s just not a natural journey to make. So we do want to make sure folks in our industry know that the podcast is there, but that it’s quite likely, they’re not going to immediately pick up the phone and go check it out. So instead, what we always encourage our clients to do is to go to where folks are already in podcast mode and promote their podcast where people are engaged in that medium already. And so that might be by getting onto other podcasts in some way, whether it’s by guest or sponsoring it or partnering with them or whatever that might be through the podcast apps themselves getting featured in certain apps, there are pay to play versions of that there are organic versions of that. So there’s yeah, there’s a bunch of ways that we can get in front of those audiences. But those are the things that you want to focus on when people are already in in that mode. And again, we’re talking about branded podcasts. And I think all brands have their own baked in advantages, right? Well, whether you’re, let’s say you’re a software company, you have like an app, and you can promote the podcasts or all of your users there, you might be a physical, you know, place that has a bunch of kind of retail outlets, and you can promote the podcast in those physical locations. You know, whatever business you happen to be specialized in, you have some sort of form of, of advantage and reach that others maybe don’t. And so it’s a case of kind of really understanding what that is, and putting the podcast front and center. And I think sometimes brands are reluctant to make the podcast the star of the show, you know, they’re like, Well, this is just another thing that we do. But as we established, it’s so personal, right? It’s so like, again, I’m gonna throw out a really cliche term and podcasting authentic. It is a very, it’s a very authentic medium. Like, you know, folks are coming up to you going oh, and like I know you from the podcast, because because they because it’s so much you right? And so I think that we if we do decide to really invest in podcasting, I’m obviously massively biased. So take this with a pinch of salt, but like I really think that we should be putting the podcast front and center because it’s so it represents us better than almost anything else can and So really kind of using the channels that we have available to us to the fullest. To get it out there, I think is is the smart thing to do. But again, I’m biased. So maybe I’m just an idiot from

Anne Candido 40:11
we’re biased views. Yeah. We’re all idiots together.

April Martini 40:15
Yeah, but I mean, I do I think it is. It’s a hard thing to go and do, right. And as you’re talking, I remember this with us where we started it. And at first, I was almost a little bit gun shy, which doesn’t happen to me very often. So I had this just feeling though of nervousness of putting it out there front and center, like you said, because there is the fear of Well, I mean, that’s a lot of eggs in one basket, and what if it isn’t received well, and all those types of things, and fast forward to where we are now? I mean, I tell everybody about this podcast. I mean, we even had a situation recently where and and I go to the same chiropractor, and she’s like, oh, so I guess she told him about the podcast. And I’m like I did, why didn’t and she and I was like, oh, shoot did I like it’s just become such a natural part of, of what I talk about. And I do think that, yes, we are all we are biased, because we love our podcasts, and you love the business and all of those things. But it really has made a tremendous difference in all of the things we’ve talked about on this episode. But for me very personally, in my self confidence in myself in our business, in how we speak to our clients, in the markets that we serve. And just the magnitude of the impact that I think it’s possible for us to have by having this podcast. And so I think I just want to reinforce that point that you made about the almost feeling of like, oh, do I put it in front and center. But then when you actually do that the impact that it has, and I think if you’re uncomfortable about it, and where I ultimately got to was, I am investing a whole lot of time and energy in this. This was our primary marketing channel for a long time. Not that we weren’t doing the things, we’ve talked about it, promoting it on social, etc. But we really made a concerted effort and put forth that effort to make this a major focus for us. And as a result of that, I believe that’s why it’s paid off in dividends is because we we made that investment. And then we said, Okay, how do we make this thing work real hard for us. So that all that we’re putting in, we’re getting out on the other side, because it is a labor of love. And so I think once you can change that mindset and say no, no, this is going to be the lead magnet. That’s where it really took off for us.

Harry Morton 42:26
And I think it’s just that’s a really good point. And I think that as marketers, it’s so tempting to try the next thing you know, like Oh, video looks cool. Podcasting looks cool. Oh, wow, tick tock, that’s this new shiny thing. Like I’ve got to get on tick tock and like figure that out. I’m a real advocate for doing one thing well, right. I think if we’re you know, like there are a bunch of different ways to approach marketing and everyone thinks about it differently. But for me, I think if you can focus on one channel and really just nail it and be amazing at doing that one thing you stand some so much have a greater chance of being the tall poppy right that stands out and like gets the attention then you do by spreading yourself super thin and just kind of being everywhere and sure like spreading your net casting your net wide. That’s that’s wonderful and everything, but you just you’re competing with everybody else. Where do we go? Right? We’re the podcast, podcast, guys. This is what we’re going to go out there and be really great at I think you stand a much greater chance of succeeding. So you know, even if, in through this conversation, people are like, you know, podcasting sounds kind of cool, but we’re already doing video. Like we’re putting a lot of effort into video like great, go focus on video, make video, like just own it and don’t get distracted. Yeah, maybe I’ll just get myself out of a job there. I don’t know. But anyway, whatever.

Anne Candido 43:36
No, because you’ve probably people like like April who are like, I hate video. I hate video. I’m like me, and so yes. So

Harry Morton 43:42
it’s definitely strokes for folks. Like I’d say I’ve got a face for radio. So that’s why I stick to audio only. And I asked them, I asked to begin this conversation. You’re recording video. And it’s because you know, no one needs to see this this pasty lanky face. So we all got to pick our pick the channel that works for us. Yeah.

Anne Candido 44:00
Amen to that. All right, that was a great way to wrap up our four points. Let me just go back and recap them for everybody. So should I do a brand new podcast? Here’s the four questions you should ask. Do you have a POV that can create valuable ongoing content your target will appreciate? You must believe you have a POV we’re sharing to have a compelling podcast. Second, are you looking for top of the funnel awareness? Remember, this is a slow burn. The biggest driver of podcast growth is word of mouth. But these are strong advocates as you’re building relationships. Third, are you okay? If you’re brand of podcasts is an investment. There are ways of monetizing a podcast but you need to believe that the podcast is delivering on a branding need that may be hard to quantify in terms of ROI, but it’s ultimately doing good for your business. And finally, are you prepared to invest resources to promote it a podcast must be promoted people need to know it exists, which means you need to commit resources. Alright, so our next section is in the trenches. This is where we’re going to go a little bit deeper into some of these topics and give you a little bit more examples. But hopefully you all can take these and apply them to your own businesses so that you can take action right now. So are first in the trenches question, how do I decide if I have enough content to start a branded podcast? I love this question. This is when we get all the time. Yeah. And everybody’s like, how how do you find enough stuff to talk about? Well, it’s like there’s a lot to choose from, how do we decide what we’re going to talk about is actually usually the question because there’s multiple sources of inspiration. So we have a combined 40 plus years of experience. And we have ongoing client interactions. Now, that is a plethora of very rich content. And what we tend to do is we try to find a themes that are going through or as you talked about, Harry, like, what is something that’s relevant right now, but then also may have something that is evergreen to it that people are going to pick up later. So we try to balance those things. And that’s why we actually structure our podcast the way that we do as well, which we’ve talked about. But that also becomes like a source of inspiration that we actually kind of start chronicling on our list. So we have our list. And so when things kind of come up, we put them all on our list. And then when it’s time for us to draft our podcast, we go back and we start kind of saying, Well, what do you think is really important right now? Or what do we want to talk about right now. Now, the one thing we’ve also found is, I mean, the name of our podcast is Marketing Smarts. But what we have found is that if you take it too niche, it starts to kind of get very stressful with regards to what are we talking about now. So when we think about marketing smarts, we think about it in the context of yourself, your team and your business. So this opens up our ability to be able to talk about multiple topics, not just marketing specific topics, which I think would get pretty old pretty quickly. And then you would start struggling to say, Okay, what marketing piece am I going to talk about now. But it always ties back to Marketing Smarts in some way. So that continues to be our thread. But it allows us to get into topics like leadership or personal brand, or culture, or, you know, elements of team building, because that’s all about marketing yourself and marketing your team. So we can create a little bit more of a repository of insightful base content that we can pull from. And then as you had talked about to Harry’s, like, you might want to consider batching your episodes in the way to launch them. So if you can come up with thematic ways of being able to kind of put an umbrella over your content, you start kind of having a series of content that you can either then put all out at once like Netflix, or you can do it still on a weekly basis, if you so choose, but it’s already out there, you’re not worried about okay, what are we going to talk about this week, like you said, now we do better episodes, we do them on a on a four week basis. So we’ll do back to back days. And we’ll do too, too. That helps us then have some space and time and then other things arise. And we get more inspiration from that. I’m a kind of a I don’t know how I feel about when people kind of batch them in and put them all out at once. Because I feel like it’s kind of like love them and leave them kind of thing. It’s like you go in as quickly as you can binge listen to them, you’re done. And so then there’s nothing to engage with until the person comes up with the next round of episodes. So am I am I going to still keep them in my library? Or am I not? Does somebody else take over now in my library? So here? What are your suggestions here?

Harry Morton 48:06
So you’re absolutely right, that producing in seasons is a great way to answer that if you’re concerned about coming up with enough ideas. But I will say that, you know, yeah, if you if you know your subject, well, you’ll never struggle to come up with with topics, there are news articles coming out all the time, things that will that’ll inspire ideas, and you just have an opinion about a bunch of different things. There are a million ways that you know, if your thing is is social media, you know, you could talk about anything within that within that space, a million different ways. So that it’s never, it shouldn’t be a barrier. And it’s really not an issue. We did a podcast internally actually called wfh, daily at the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone was like reeling from Oh, my god, I’m working remotely, what do I how do I how do I do this? So we decided to like just make a resource around that a daily podcast that was like short, bite sized, it’s less than 10 minutes an episode really focused on just the different aspects of working from home. And we were slightly concerned at the beginning, like, Hey, we’re going to run out of things to talk about. But we did it for a year without pause, like doing it every single day. And we just never run out of stuff to talk about, because it’s just a paint like, it’s like, how are you doing with working from home? Like, there’s just a million different things? What do you eat? How do you work? What tools do you use? What how do you stay in touch with your friends? How do you maintain company culture? Like there’s just a billion different angles to kind of shoot from for that topic or any topic? So I think that’s, that’s not an issue. I think a lot of times as well, folks tend to lean into their guests as the source of fresh ideas. And that is great in the sense that we can kind of just like go, Well, I don’t have to come up with fresh content. I’ve just got to find interesting guests, and they’ll bring in fresh content. That’s true. But that tends not to result in the best cut. If you’re not putting in the effort to come up with the ideas and why you want to speak to this guest and what stories you want to try and draw out of them. You’re typically going to get pretty mediocre content out of it. So I yeah, I would tend to sort of encourage people to really think about the ideas first and then find the guests that fulfill those ideas. versus like, Okay, who can I get on, and then it’s up to them to be smart and interesting for 30 minutes. But anyway, I think no matter what you do, what industry you’re in, there’s just a billion things to talk about. And I think if it seems intimidating to start, just get a grab a piece of paper, start writing down some of the things that you’re passionate about the things you’re thinking about today, like, what’s on your to do list today? Like, and how do we, you know, what am I thinking about? When I look at that to do list that’s just immediately going to result in a bunch of ideas, and you’ll soon see, okay, now this page is filling up really fast. And that’s not gonna be an issue.

April Martini 50:32
Yeah, I think you said a couple of really important things there. One is if you actually, and I’m paraphrasing, but if you actually know your trade really, really well, then you really don’t ever run out of things to talk about. I mean, that’s what we found very, very quickly. And like Dan said, you know, between us, we have 40 combined years, and it’s on opposite sides of marketing, right agency and client. And it is a question that gets raised to us all the time, like, Well, do you think you’re gonna run out of things to say, I’m like, it never has become an issue. It’s like, every time we get to the point where it’s, we’re ready for the next ones, we’re ready to go. Then I think also the point you made about not relying too heavily on the guests. I mean, one of the first things and I know you experienced this with us, Harry, we say, you know, look, this isn’t your typical podcast format. This is not q&a. This is not you know, us sitting back and listening. It’s not even just a conversation between us just to kind of shoot the shit, right? We follow the format that we follow really intentionally, so that we continue to put our expertise into each episode, even if we’re talking about things sometimes, like, I remember the SEO one for me, it’s like, oh, geez, How deep are we gonna go? And I don’t know, all the, the, you know, technical speak to this, right. But it’s still us through the lens of marketing and branding and the other lenses that Anne mentioned, that kind of surround that, making sure that it’s our expertise and then layering in the guest with that. And so what I think overall, I was hearing both of you say was just, yes, it’s the big question we get about the content, but it’s also about the intentionality that you build. And the control that you maintain through that, to make sure that your brand to the whole point of this episode is coming through first and loud and clear. And that everything you go to talk about makes then inherent sense to the listener, because they’re like, Well, of course, I would expect them to talk about this.

Harry Morton 52:21
Right. 100%

Anne Candido 52:23
good thoughts there. Alright, so our next in the trenches question, what should my KPIs be? And I know we’ve talked a little bit about milestones and specific metrics, but Harry, maybe you could put like a little bit of a finer point on this so that people have good understanding and expectations as they’re kind of going into their their podcast journey of what they should be looking at and what their expectations should be.

Harry Morton 52:46
So we talked to the beginning about how the audiences compare in podcasting to other things and how, you know, our numbers may not be quite what we had envisaged, I think so often, the focus is on how many people are downloading this episode, what are the what is what is our listener count? Folks often ask, you know, what’s my subs? How many subscribers do I have? Which is actually sadly, a very difficult question to answer because it’s, this is all private, you know, this is an anonymous medium, we can’t kind of just track that number as we might be able to on a YouTube, for example. So definitely our number of downloads is important. Like there’s no getting away from it. We want to know like, how many people are listening. And that’s, you know, it’s important if there are 50 relevant people listening or there are 5000 relevant people listening like one is better than the other. That’s, that’s unavoidable. However, the stat that I think is that we encourage all of our current clients to obsess over and just answers so many of the problems that we’ve addressed already in terms of like growing your audience and making good content is is around our consumption rates. So one of the data points that we can get in podcasting is, how much of each episode is the average listener consuming? In Apple podcasts and Spotify and Google podcasts? You can you can go into the back end of those systems and look at on an episode by episode basis, how much of each episode are people listening to? And then even within that episode, they give you a little graph like a timeline of like, so you can see okay, minute five, we lost 10% of our listeners what you know, why is that like, did we say something that was boring? Did we not eat or maintain energy or, you know, whatever, what was what was the subject we talked about, that led to us losing listenership? So we can understand an episode by episode basis, which content is resonating best, which guests are performing best? Which, yeah, which topics are our audience most keenly interested in? And if we combine that with the download data, so we can say, Great, these episodes got a ton of downloads, and that might be because they had like a really enticing headline, but then we lost a bunch of them by about five to 10 minutes in because it didn’t deliver on that promise that the headline kind of suggested, or, you know, we’re learning Hey, you know, a ton of our episodes are on Subject A, and they’re massively outperforming the rest of them. They’re getting like 80, 90, 100+ percent completion rates. And by the way, you can get over 100 percent completion rate, because if people listened to it more than once they gets that rate higher. So these things are possible that so many lessons we can learn from that around like what content our audience wants, and how we can make that better. Now, what we see is that when we hit a certain kind of marker in terms of the average consumption rate, and in our, in our books, that’s usually somewhere around the 85%. Mark. And again, by the way, how amazing is 85% completion rate of a 40 minute long piece of content, like that’s amazing how much time people spend with us. So that’s a really great thing. If they’re, if they’re consuming 85% of it, that’s they’ve spent half the best part of half an hour in your company, that means they’ve clearly seen value in it, they’re, they’re getting something from, you’re not gonna stick around for 35 minutes, unless you’re actually getting something from it. Which means you are much, much more likely to share that. And we come back to, you know, the old school way of growing a podcast, people are going to share it with people, they’re going to share the content that resonates with them. So if we really obsess over that data point, how much what is our engagement rate, we make sure that that gets that gets better. If we if we ensure that our engagement rates are super high, the contents going to grow itself, because people are gonna go, Well, this is great, I need to send it to my colleague to my friend to my family member. So that’s the, that’s the KPI that we that we just obsess over and encourage everybody that’s creating podcasts to do the same, particularly in the early days, right? Because you’re just trying to iterate constantly, really quickly and figure out what’s working and what’s not.

April Martini 56:21
Yeah, and I love that. I mean, we’re huge fans of testing and learning. And we talked about that all the time on the show. And I think that you know, your points well taken that there are metrics that look shiny, and they may appear shinier than they actually are. And so I think always, as part of testing and learning, one of the things we talk about is it’s not always like the quote unquote, sexy thing, right? But you have to do kind of a double click in and really find what’s going to be the valuable data that then starts to tell you a story that then you can action against. And so I think your point about how long are people participating and super well taken than if they’re spending 30 minutes with you, especially with the attention spans we as people have today. That’s huge. And then what happens to those episodes that continue to rise, bubble back to the top or people go back to et cetera, as a really good indicator of how you’re doing. And then I also like the other side of what you were saying about the different levers you can look at and pool. So if you see people dropping off, what is the reason for that? And kind of going back and saying, Okay, well, yeah, we had this great headline, but we didn’t we talked around it, we didn’t talk to it, or this guest didn’t hit people, right? Well, why do we think that that might be so that you can constantly be on this path of self improvement that keeps you highly relevant? And then keeps the audience very engaged? Yep, absolutely.

Anne Candido 57:39
It is an interesting thought to consider that most of the time when we’re doing video content, we want it to be 60 seconds or less 30 seconds, if we can do it. In the context of audio content. We’re like, Yeah, maybe 30 minutes. Is that Yeah, that’s about right. Yeah.

Harry Morton 57:51
For sure. Yeah. The other the other data point that we haven’t talked about that I think is also really great for brands to look at, like, chart, positioning matters, like it’s kind of a vanity metric. But it does also matter. Like if you get to the top of the charts, you’re gonna get more exposure. And that leads to more listeners. So that’s another thing that’s it’s always really good to track. And because podcasting is is internationally mentioned, getting listeners in all kinds of interesting places, you can actually find that you hit you know, high in the charts in some countries that you would never have imagined. So that’s kind of really interesting. But the other thing is sort of your, your, the feedback you’re getting from from your audience as well. So like, you know, that’s another great proxy for do people care about the show, they’re taking the time to reach out to you and send a message or send you a DM on social or write a review in Apple podcasts, that’s a really good sign that you’re doing something that matters, or is at least maybe dividing opinion, maybe that’s a thing as well, you might be saying something that’s maybe a bit more controversial, and that’s inciting feedback of some description. So these are all other really good signals as well that we want to look for. That’s really

Anne Candido 58:51
good. That’s super helpful. All right, our third and final in the trenches question, is there a certain amount of time you should be in business before you do a branding podcast or said differently? Do I need to build credibility within the business first, so my podcast has more credibility. So as we’ve talked about, already, our experience with marketing smarts is that they kind of gone hand in hand. And as we said, in fact, we started marketing smarts as a new marketing tool to grow our credibility reputation as a young business. Now, we had a lot of experience already to draw upon. So we could root in our expertise and use that as examples and stories and, and really use that to exemplify the points. So there was already some built in credibility there. So if you’re a new agency, or a brand or a business, and you’re just kind of starting out, and you maybe your experience in that area is still relatively low, you may want to start as curators of content, but to the point that you were saying before, Harry, this is not just about like, Okay, I’m going to bring on some interesting people, and I’m just going to let them talk. Periods of content means that you are explorer or you’re a knowledge seeker or you’re trying to pull out themes. So you’re learning on certain topics as these people are talking but you’re also being very mindful. about pulling out that value that you think the listeners or your listeners, which would be your, hopefully your target of who he wants to engage with your brand or your business, or what this could be useful to them. So make sure that you are really being mindful of taking that time that that’s gonna be taking away from somebody else’s time and making sure that you’re adding value to us. I can we can now like full circle way back to the beginning. But Harry, I mean, did you have anything else to add here that would be helpful to everybody?

Harry Morton 1:00:30
I think a podcast is the perfect vehicle to building credibility, I think you can have zero business, I think I’ve seen lots of great successes of people that don’t even have a business yet, and they’re using podcasts to go cool, I’m really interested in AI, I want to establish myself in the AI space, I’ve got no credibility, I haven’t got a business, I’ve got no career here, but I just want to learn more about it. And I’m gonna use podcasting as a vehicle to do that. Really wonderful. So I think there’s there’s nothing to stop you. But you know, the other point is, it depends what kind of podcast you want to make. So this show, for example, you guys want to instill a lot of your own your own expertise, your own thought leadership here, and so you’re speaking to that, and then inviting a guest to add depth to kind of angle their flavor to it that their expertise as well. But you know, there are different there are different kinds of shows that you know, you couldn’t do that if you didn’t have any credibility, right? You couldn’t do that if you didn’t know anything about what you were speaking about. But you could, for example, make, you know, an investigative kind of documentary style show where you’re really learning as you go, you’re interviewing people, you’re telling stories, you’re uncovering kind of nuggets of really interesting stuff. And telling that in a really interesting narrative way, you could certainly do that without any clout in an industry. And well, journalists do it all the time. I mean, they’ve got clout as journalists, but they don’t know the first thing about insert industry X when they start projects around the story. So So yeah, it depends what kind of show you want to make a guess.

April Martini 1:01:50
Yeah. And I think, yeah, we have come full circle, I think it is just reinforcing that point of the where we started really about having a point of view, but making sure that it’s through the lens of what’s going to be interesting to the people that are going to consume it, right. And so I think it could be a little bit of a chicken or an egg and what I’m hearing you say, here he is. So in some ways like ours, you have to have the expertise in order to speak to it and speak to it for an hour plus now, and also bring on the right people to help contextualize right, that’s one side, the other side is okay, I’m going to be transparent that I don’t necessarily know. But my skill lies in something like investigation. And I’m going to use the medium of podcasting to be able to bring that skill forth, even though I may not have expertise in the topic that we’re talking about. So I think you can see the broad range of opportunity here. But again, I think it goes back to the being really intentional and honest with yourself, and then with the listeners you’re trying to serve and always coming back to that to make sure that you’re staying on quote, unquote, track with the expectations of what is authentically you and what you’re bringing to the podcast world with your show.

Anne Candido 1:03:02
Absolutely. All right. So we’re heading into our third and final segment, and it’s usually a marketing summary moment. And when we have a guest, we turn it over to our guests. So Harry, this is your opportunity to highlight anything we might have missed, talk a little bit more about lower Street, give folks some information about where they can meet you and how they should get started. So anything that you want, this is your moment. Yeah, bring

April Martini 1:03:24
us home.

Harry Morton 1:03:25
Oh, well, thank you. Well, I’m not very good at touting myself. But so I’m a massive Twitter podcast nerd. So you can find me on Twitter @PodcastHarry, I’m on LinkedIn, obviously, all the work that we do, if you want to learn more about that is over at But I suppose I want to leave you with the message of like I said, Do one thing, well focus on one channel, do it do a really good job of it. The only way you’re going to stand out and podcasting is by doing something that is noteworthy that is worthy of note. And so I’m a real kind of advocate for thinking outside the box a bit. I think, in almost any industry, the sort of interview style podcast format, you know, exists, it’s out there that’s been done. What ideas can we do? And that’s not to say there’s no no benefit in launching another one? Absolutely. There is. But you know, maybe there’s some really exciting opportunities to create something that is more of a deep, you know, in depth storytelling. Maybe there’s some totally off the wall formats that don’t exist in podcast yet. There’s so many things that work great on YouTube, that people aren’t doing here yet, you know, and so I think, really thinking about what formats in podcasting, what styles of shows, can we start to dream up that really separates our brand and our show from everything else that’s out there.

Anne Candido 1:04:39
That’s awesome. Thank you so much for being on there was this has been fantastic conversation. And just to recap, the questions you should ask yourself should about whether or not you should do a branded podcast? Do you have a POV that can create valuable ongoing content your target will appreciate you must believe you have a POV we’re sharing to have a compelling podcast. Number two, are you looking for a top of the funnel nowhereness remember podcasts are slow burns, biggest driver of podcast growth is word of mouth. But these are strong advocates as you are building relationships. Third, are you okay? If you’re brand new podcast is an investment. There are ways of monetizing a podcast but you need to believe that the podcast is delivering on a branding need and may be hard to quantify in terms of ROI, but it’s ultimately good for your business. And finally, are you prepared to invest resources to promote it a podcast must be promoted, people need to know it exists, which means you need to commit resources and with that we’ll say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts.

April Martini 1:05:31
Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now go show off your Marketing Smarts!