Monday Memo: Podcasting ‘Will Continue to Explode’

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — So says none other than the CEO of the biggest radio station owner. In a marketing piece to the advertising community, iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman: “Podcast audiences will continue to explode, passing the biggest music streaming services in reach, with no signs of growth abating.”

At the local station level?

  • Typically, station podcasts consist of archived airchecks. And too often, what’s offered are whole-hours or whole-shows, longer clips than listeners’ available listen time will accommodate.  Never assume that someone who hears about a cool segment will skim-through an archived hour to find it.
  • Instead, offer single-topic aircheck excerpts. Interviews that tell listeners how-to are particularly opportune.  If a guest offered six minutes on “How THIS can be the year you keep that New Year’s resolution and lose the weight” tell listeners how to find it on the station web site AND Tweet-out the link at intervals.
  • Like everything we do, make the offer user-centric (useful or entertaining or intriguing “you” stuff), rather than station-centric (“if you miss any of our shows,” which sends the wrong message).
  • Smell money? When you’ve earned the reputation for offering cool, quick on-demand audio, sell a title sponsorship, to your podcast page.  And include sponsor mention in Tweets: “…click-to-listen now @BakerFord WXXX Audio Archive” (which the sponsor will see each time in its own Twitter feed).
  • Offer listeners – and advertisers – on-demand content that never aired. The Wall Street Journal wrote about podcasting California attorney J. Craig Williams, who figures “if you like the style of writing and speaking, then you’re getting to know me. Then you might call me. It’s not a hard sell.” Talk radio and lawyers already use each other well. Podcasting/streaming deepens the relationship. Why confine the attorney’s ask-me-a-question shtick to early Saturday morning on-air?  Be the advertiser’s gatekeeper to new media.
  • If you don’t, someone else will. Heck, the attorney can do his own podcasts. BUT – as we train station reps to ask – “If we don’t tell our listeners, how will they know it’s there?” Sell the podcasting advertiser a schedule of spots which include engaging sound bites from the podcast.

Holland Cooke is author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page), and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here. HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke