20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
3
2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
5
2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
6
2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

Podcasting gets listener relationship management

“Podcasting may seem like a reach medium — with significant audiences for the biggest shows — but it really shines as a depth medium. The most valuable quality is listeners’ deep connection to the voices and stories in their ears.”

As we stream towards 2020, podcasting is now a priority for tens of thousands of creators, publishers, and businesses — from indies to media and entertainment companies to Fortune 500 firms. Not all of these new entrants have a solid strategy, but as with previous waves of blogging, video, and social media, there’s a coalescing of attention and value in podcasting that is impossible to ignore.

Between RadioPublic and Podfund, we have a clear view into the evolving tactics and practices of podcasters — from enterprise, to studios, and across the long tail. They all face a missing ingredient in the podcasting ecosystem: the marketing technology to reliably grow and engage audiences.

As the stakes get higher and pressure mounts to differentiate, podcasters are still lacking tech-enabled solutions for marketing their shows to new audiences and for bringing listeners into a deeper relationship than an ad impression reflects.

To date, most podcast marketing has focused on three things:

  • Cross-promotion: ads for podcasts on other podcasts
  • Platform promotion: Vying for attention from Apple Podcasts, their charts, and featured rotation on other apps
  • Word-of-mouth promotion: direct marketing and PR

But these marketing strategies mostly guide podcasters to fish where they know audience already exists, rather than wading into the largest pools of discovery: on the open web and social.

Audience development tools exist in abundance in other domains — where platforms like Salesforce, Hubspot, Mailchimp, and Wistia lead a crowded field of “martech” solutions. But none of these services is built for podcasting, previously considered too small a market to tackle, and where RSS/MP3 and native app-based consumption create unique challenges.

To date, investments in podcast tech has understandably been concentrated at the bottom of the stack (hosting) and the top (players/apps). This makes sense in an industry where major platforms have not (yet) been driving monetization. Hosting solutions tend to build into adjacent adtech and analytics, since the lion’s share of revenue is still sourced, sold, and placed in the MP3 episode itself. And innumerable apps have taken a swing at improving discovery and monetization, with scant few making a real dent next to Apple and now Spotify.

The middle layer of marketing tech is missing, and my prediction for 2020 is we will see a wave of investment into the services and tools to manage the top and middle of the funnel for audience growth and engagement. At RadioPublic, we’re calling this approach Listener Relationship Management (LRM) and offer a growing number of solutions for podcasting to close the gap.

Podcasting may seem like a reach medium — with significant audiences for the biggest shows — but it really shines as a depth medium. The most valuable quality is listeners’ deep connection to the voices and stories in their ears.

LRM helps podcasters expand the range of listener touch points beyond the ad impression alone, diversifying revenue and business models to encompass other strategies such as crowdfunding, email newsletters, live shows, fan clubs, surveys, and experiments with personalization and interactivity.

The eternal tug of war between platforms and publishers will inevitably play out in podcasting, much as it continues to do elsewhere in digital media. But ultimately, we know it’s in the interests of creators and listeners to have a hand in shaping and managing the direct relationships that emerge from this most intimate of experiences — the spoken word moving at the speed of light and sound.

Jake Shapiro is co-founder and CEO of RadioPublic PBC and Podfund.

As we stream towards 2020, podcasting is now a priority for tens of thousands of creators, publishers, and businesses — from indies to media and entertainment companies to Fortune 500 firms. Not all of these new entrants have a solid strategy, but as with previous waves of blogging, video, and social media, there’s a coalescing of attention and value in podcasting that is impossible to ignore.

Between RadioPublic and Podfund, we have a clear view into the evolving tactics and practices of podcasters — from enterprise, to studios, and across the long tail. They all face a missing ingredient in the podcasting ecosystem: the marketing technology to reliably grow and engage audiences.

As the stakes get higher and pressure mounts to differentiate, podcasters are still lacking tech-enabled solutions for marketing their shows to new audiences and for bringing listeners into a deeper relationship than an ad impression reflects.

To date, most podcast marketing has focused on three things:

  • Cross-promotion: ads for podcasts on other podcasts
  • Platform promotion: Vying for attention from Apple Podcasts, their charts, and featured rotation on other apps
  • Word-of-mouth promotion: direct marketing and PR

But these marketing strategies mostly guide podcasters to fish where they know audience already exists, rather than wading into the largest pools of discovery: on the open web and social.

Audience development tools exist in abundance in other domains — where platforms like Salesforce, Hubspot, Mailchimp, and Wistia lead a crowded field of “martech” solutions. But none of these services is built for podcasting, previously considered too small a market to tackle, and where RSS/MP3 and native app-based consumption create unique challenges.

To date, investments in podcast tech has understandably been concentrated at the bottom of the stack (hosting) and the top (players/apps). This makes sense in an industry where major platforms have not (yet) been driving monetization. Hosting solutions tend to build into adjacent adtech and analytics, since the lion’s share of revenue is still sourced, sold, and placed in the MP3 episode itself. And innumerable apps have taken a swing at improving discovery and monetization, with scant few making a real dent next to Apple and now Spotify.

The middle layer of marketing tech is missing, and my prediction for 2020 is we will see a wave of investment into the services and tools to manage the top and middle of the funnel for audience growth and engagement. At RadioPublic, we’re calling this approach Listener Relationship Management (LRM) and offer a growing number of solutions for podcasting to close the gap.

Podcasting may seem like a reach medium — with significant audiences for the biggest shows — but it really shines as a depth medium. The most valuable quality is listeners’ deep connection to the voices and stories in their ears.

LRM helps podcasters expand the range of listener touch points beyond the ad impression alone, diversifying revenue and business models to encompass other strategies such as crowdfunding, email newsletters, live shows, fan clubs, surveys, and experiments with personalization and interactivity.

The eternal tug of war between platforms and publishers will inevitably play out in podcasting, much as it continues to do elsewhere in digital media. But ultimately, we know it’s in the interests of creators and listeners to have a hand in shaping and managing the direct relationships that emerge from this most intimate of experiences — the spoken word moving at the speed of light and sound.

Jake Shapiro is co-founder and CEO of RadioPublic PBC and Podfund.

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

John Garrett   It’s the best time in a century to start a local news organization

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Marie Gilot   This is fine

An Xiao Mina   The Forum we wanted, the forum we got

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Nico Gendron   Make better products if you want to reach Gen Z

Richard J. Tofel   A constraint of the reader-revenue model emerges

Carrie Brown-Smith   Engaged journalism: It’s finally happening

Matt DeRienzo   Local broadcasters begin to fill the gaps left by newspapers

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Lucas Graves   A smarter conversation about how (and why) fact-checking matters

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Millie Tran   Wicked

Margarita Noriega   The platforms try to figure out what to do with single-subject newsrooms

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Zizi Papacharissi   A president leads, the press follows, reality fades

Kourtney Bitterly   Transparency isn’t just a desire, it’s an expectation

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Elizabeth Hansen and Jesse Holcomb   Local news initiatives run into a capital shortage

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

A.J. Bauer   A fork in the road for conservative media

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Jim Brady   We’ll complain about other people living in bubbles while ignoring our own

M. Scott Havens   First-party data becomes media’s most important currency

Rachel Davis Mersey   The business of local TV news will enter its downward slide

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Linda Solomon Wood   Everyone in your organization, moving toward a common goal

Bill Adair   A Nobel Prize, a Brad Pitt film, and a Taylor Swift song

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Dannagal G. Young   Let’s disrupt the logic that’s driving Americans apart

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Kevin Douglas Grant   The free press stands against authoritarians’ attacks on truth

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Jeremy Gilbert and Jarrod Dicker   A call for collaboration between storytelling and tech

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

L. Gordon Crovitz   Fighting misinformation requires journalism, not secret algorithms

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   A changing industry amps up podcasters’ ambitions

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The business we want, not the business we had

Raney Aronson-Rath   News deserts will proliferate — but so will new solutions

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Cory Haik   We’re already consuming the future of news — now we have to produce it

Madelyn Sanfilippo and Yafit Lev-Aretz   News coverage gets geo-fragmented

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, collaboration in a time of state attacks

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Joshua Darr   All that campaign cash will make the media’s problems worse

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Laura E. Davis   Know the context your journalism is operating within

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Errin Haines   Race and gender aren’t a 2020 story — they’re the story

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Joanne McNeil   A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

Christa Scharfenberg   It’s time to make journalism a field that supports and respects women

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Irving Washington   Leadership isn’t something you learn on the job

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Power to the people (on your audience team)

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Nicholas Jackson   What’s left of local gets comfortable with reader support

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Rachel Glickhouse   Journalists get left behind in the industry’s decline