Kathrin Bussmann, Ph.D. is someone that everyone should know. She is Founder and Principal of Verbaccino and has been hosting the famous Worldly Marketer Podcast for as long as I can remember, more than 100 episodes, and she doesn’t just host it well, she hosts it magnificently. Each podcast features a different expert in the field of global marketing to learn more about the challenges and the rewards of reaching out to a multi-regional, multilingual and multi-cultural audience. Anyone who has been on her show, like I have, knows she’s a real pro.
Recently at WEGG, we had the good fortune to have Kathrin present a WEGGinar™ on “Building Your Global Brand Through Podcasting.” You can access it here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3759262530790572546 along with her SlideShare deck. Her bio can be found on Slide No. 46.
In follow up to Kathrin’s talk, I passed along five questions from WEGGinar™ participants that we didn’t have time to address. What follows are the questions and her answers.
1. WEGGinar™ Participant: How will Artificial Intelligence (AI) affect podcasting?
Kathrin Bussmann: The thing about podcasting is that it’s a very human, very personal medium. That’s a big part of the appeal. As a listener, you’re getting a real sense of the person behind the microphone. You’re listening to the sound of the podcaster’s voice, often through a set of earbuds, and you’re forming a picture in your mind of the podcaster’s personality. So it’s a much more intimate experience than if you were reading a blog post by that same person, for example. The only medium that’s potentially more personal is video. But as a content creator, you can’t expect to hold people’s attention for more than a few minutes at a time with video, whereas an audio show can keep people tuned in for 30 minutes or more. That’s the beauty of an eyes-free, hands-free format. As for the potential influence of AI, the only way I see it contributing to podcasting in the future is in the way it might help to better connect podcasters with their target audience. There’s still a lot of people out there who have never tuned into a podcast, and who may not even know what a podcast is, let alone where to go looking for one. That’s starting to change, as more and more people discover the world of on-demand audio, and AI can definitely help people find more of the kinds content that is likely to interest them.
2. WP: Do you think the podcast bubble is going to pop?
KB: Bubble? What bubble? I think podcasts are only just getting started as a medium. Surveys show that the vast majority of people have yet to discover them. Yet, in the Digital Age, we’re getting used to consuming content on our own terms, on our own schedule. In the same way that more and more people are switching from traditional TV to Video-On-Demand platforms like Netflix, I think audio consumption will go through a similar shift. It’s just the way things are going now: people are looking for more specialized content, greater convenience, and less advertising. I don’t think those are temporary trends. No wonder public broadcasters like NPR, CBC Radio and BBC Radio are now offering podcast versions of all their most popular programs. They’re doing what they need to do to retain the audience they already have.
3. WP: There are a lot of podcasts to choose from; how do you make yours relevant and distinctive enough for people to sign up?
KB: First of all, you need to do your research. Who is already producing a podcast in your category? Listen to those podcasts, and take notes. What are they covering? What aren’t they covering? Which ones appeal to you, and why, exactly? Quite often, a big part of the appeal is the person behind the microphone. If you’re already a fan of the genre, you probably have some favourite podcasts. So ask yourself: what keeps you tuning in regularly? It probably has something to do with the host(s), their personality, and how they deliver the content. So as a podcaster, you need to be willing to make yourself part your show’s Unique Selling Proposition. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Your style might not appeal to everyone, but that’s OK. You’ll attract and retain those listeners who do connect with your approach, and at the end of the day, that’s your target audience.
Of course, you also need to deliver valuable content on a consistent basis. You’re asking people to give you their most precious commodity: their time. Never take that for granted. Make it worth their while to tune in. And make it easy too, by having a predictable schedule. Show up with new content on a regular basis, so your growing audience has something to look forward to. Of course, that takes time, effort and an ongoing commitment on your part – something that a lot of podcasters can’t manage in the long run. In fact, a lot of your success as a podcast producer will depend on sheer endurance and outlasting your “competition”.
As for getting people to sign up, just know that most people prefer to stream their podcasts, rather than subscribing and/or downloading them. When you look at your analytics, don’t get discouraged by the number of downloads. Try to engage your audience in other ways. Give them calls to action that will reward them for their loyalty in some way. And make it easy for them to interact with you and to share your content on social media.
4. WP: How do voice-activated devices — smart speakers — such as Amazon Echo and Google Home play into the future of podcasting?
KB: There’s no doubt that smart speakers are going to facilitate the consumption of on-demand audio generally, and that includes podcasts. As podcasts become more widely known as a medium, as platforms like Spotify make them more easily available than ever before, and as people get used to searching for content through voice-activated devices, the future podcasts looks very bright.
5. WP: How do you embed a podcast into a website or blog?
KB: There are different ways to do it, and your podcast hosting platform (e.g. Libsyn) should be able to provide exact instructions. It involves generating a HTML code, and then embedding that code into the page where you want the podcast displayed for downloading and/or streaming purposes. If you’re not a techie, there’s a bit of a learning curve. But there are lots of online communities of podcasters where you can ask for help. There are also lots of online courses you can take now, to teach you all the basics of starting your own podcast. And once you’ve learned the basics, it’s really a matter of developing a repeatable system that works for you.