What Do The Experts Think?

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(By Ed Ryan) We tooled around the industry to pick the brains of a few of our friends and neighbors to see what they thought about the recent download reporting. And, we asked them to offer up some advice for independent podcasters out there wondering what the heck the real story is. Here’s what are crew had to say

Elsie Escobar

Elsie Escobar: “Whenever I work with any podcaster, I make sure that they understand that podcasting is NOT about fast and massive. This is not the medium to get into to get immediate results. It’s a medium built on habits and behavior and cultivating a culture of listening for your individual audience. What I would advise is to keep creating top-notch content, work on a clear strategic marketing plan, and track month to month episode growth for, at minimum, 6 to 12 months to figure out what’s working, trends, and goals.

Given what we’re going through now, I would still offer the same advice, particularly for those that are more established podcasters. I don’t believe you can look at a month’s worth of data and confidently extrapolate results. People are not behaving the way they would normally behave. There are exigent circumstances.

Stay curious about your download numbers. Be smart about where you invest your time, attention and resources. Adapt with eyes wide open. Trust your own gut when it comes to your audience. Podcasting is not going anywhere. It’s too valuable a medium. I wouldn’t be surprised if this unprecedented time is what fundamentally embeds podcast consumption into the cultural mainstream just like Netflix is now.

Dan Franks

Podcast Movement President Dan Franks: “More than specific advice that I have, I would love all podcasters to look at things from a much bigger perspective. While some podcasters are reporting higher numbers, some podcasters are reporting lower numbers.

However, much more important than straight metrics to me, is the impact that we, as podcasters, have on our audiences during this difficult time.

Most people in the world right now, which obviously includes our audiences, are in the middle of a trying time in their lives. This means that those of them who are still listening to our podcast are doing it for a reason.

Whether it’s them continuing to seek that normalcy in their lives, or looking to escape from their reality for a moment in time, or as motivation to keep them going, our podcast is contributing to them in a positive way.

So whether the numbers are up or down, as long as there is one or more people listening to your show still, that means you are making a positive difference in someone’s life, and hopefully improving on their current situation.

That reason alone should be motivation to keep all of us going, and that persistence and stick-to-itiveness will undoubtedly pay dividends for all of us as podcasters when the world emerges on the other side.

Libsyn VP of Content and Partnerships Rob Greenlee: “We’re seeing a rebalancing of genres, where and how podcast listeners are consuming as a result of the “Stay at Home” life we are all living today.

The data is showing overall listening is generally lower but not all large hosting platforms are showing lower numbers.  Yet we are seeing a record number of new podcasts being started over the past few weeks at many of the podcast host platforms.

I’m starting to be a little concerned that listening growth will not keep pace with the growth of new podcasts in the space right now and could see a pullback on new content, especially as more content creators start doing more live online video too.

It is good timing that Google Podcasts has made an app for iOS and created an web-based hub for podcasts. We are also starting to see some increased podcast use of the Amazon and Google smart speaker platforms too. This should help grow audience and listens that will keep content creation in balance with listening.”

Allyson Marino

Lipstick & Vinyl CEO Allyson Marino: “Across our network of shows we are seeing download totals remain flat to pre-quarantine download totals. The time of day people listen has shifted from morning drive to later in the day. People are definitely still listening. This applies to shows across categories from news to comedy.

The best thing we can do is to be there for people during this time of uncertainty. Podcasters are still making great shows for their listeners. If anything, production has increased. Those who stick around through this crisis will certainly be in the best position to come out the other side and be well positioned. Keep making things. Involve your listeners. Enjoy the community you have built. We all need community now more than ever.”

Evo Terra

Podcast Pontifications Host Evo Terra: My advice simple: Adapt to the new reality. It’s
not going away next week. And when we come out of it, many things will be quite different. Some of those will likely impact how you create your show as well as how people listen to your show. So, if you can, try new things. Experiment. Lean on your audience and tell them what you’re doing. Remember that almost everyone is facing their own challenges. Your listeners will appreciate a bit of transparency as you adapt with them.

Matty Staudt

Jam Street Media CEO Matty Staudt: To be honest, I treat it like my 401k, I’m not really looking at it or making big decisions based on the last month or so. I KNOW podcasting will grow through this because it offers what people want most right now, companionship and comfort.

I’m telling people I talk to keep doing what they do and to find new ways to do your podcasts from home if you don’t already. I also think this pandemic will thin the heard a bit when it comes to new podcast companies. A lot of the new companies will not make it through this if they weren’t build to be lean and mean.”

Mark Asquith

Rebel Base Media CEO Mark Asquith: “Independent podcasters can, as with most industry-level stories, look for both positives and negatives in any situation. The key thing for independents remains that their unique position at the helm of their own content and as an influencer to their audience, no matter the audience size, will always be their biggest strength. Regardless of whether numbers are “up” or “down”, indie podcasters should consider focusing on how they can deliver more touch points to their audience during a time when their listening behaviour has undoubtedly changed. Live video, virtual meet-ups and more are proving to be a wise move for many podcasters looking to keep that audience on-side. We’re podcasters, but we don’t just have to podcast.”

Ed Ryan is the editor of The Podcast Business Journal and can be reached by e-mail at edryantheeditor@gmail.com

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