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From Good To Great: Lessons From A Popular Podcaster

April 27, 2020

A niche media sector is now mainstream — here’s how podcasts are taking over the world.

What does it take to make a good podcast? Is it a host that’s wickedly funny and relatable? Is it engaging content that keeps the listeners hooked? Or maybe some robust sound production to bless the ears of the audience?For this episode of the Content Show, Click2View CEO Simon Kearney sits down with Jay Mueller, founder of Bad Producer Productions, for some insights into the podcasting world.

Watch their conversation here. Prefer to read? Scroll on down!

First time listening to podcasts?

Simply put, a podcast is an episodic audio programme that revolves around a central theme. Despite the diversity of podcasts available right now, Jay thinks that they can be categorised into two main groups.

He explains, “There are ones that fill that niche need for a small group of people, or in some instances, a very large group of people. And then there are other, well-produced narrative podcasts that tell stories in ways that are really creative, have a robust soundscape and sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before.”

With such a broad definition, how do you tell if a podcast is good?

What good podcasts are made of

“With anything that you’re doing, content-wise, it’s about knowing who your audience is and what they’re going to use your content for. Podcasts are fantastic in that they allow you to go really deep on really obscure topics. They allow you to connect very easily with an audience that shares your passion and your interests,” says Jay.

He continues, “It’s very easy to get the quality wrong, but it doesn’t take a lot to get the quality right. And make sure that you’re doing it so that people who are listening to it on ear buds can hear it as they walk down the street, as they go about their business, as they commute, and as long as they can interact with it in that small, intimate space between their ears, then the podcast is going to be fine.”

How Bad Producer Productions came to be

What initially started out as a media agency a little more than four years ago soon morphed into a full-blown podcast company with 10 podcasts under its belt.

As Jay explains, “We wanted to look at interesting ways of telling stories. We wanted to work on good projects with good people, and that was our mantra and what pushed us forward. We thought if we could find good, interesting people who want to tell their stories, we can help them do that.”

“We can help them with the quality, we can help them with the distribution, with the production, and we can do that so that it becomes a partnership. What has developed now over time is the Bad Producer Podcast network. And it’s going very strong and doing really well. It’s exciting to see it grow into other areas around the world,” he adds.

The monetisation of podcasts

Of course, that’s the question that’s on everyone’s mind. But before even thinking about monetisation, Jay stresses the importance of winning over an audience first.

“The audience is the first thing. And I always remember a podcast producer visiting Australia several years ago, Marc Maron’s producer, who said that consistency and quality were the two main things. They wanted to put out a consistent product. They wanted to do it in a way that would allow the audience to develop habits and listen to their podcast whenever it was available. Monetisation came second.”

“If you go into podcasting thinking, ‘All right, we’re going to make a lot of money off of this.’ That’s not the place where you should be at the very beginning,” he emphasises.

Some organisations are still willing to sponsor a podcast, but Jay notes that before a sponsor can come onboard, the podcast needs to fit into their broader marketing strategy first.

“Podcasts have to be part of the bigger picture. Podcasts for podcasts’ sake, I think are the podcasts that you share with a couple of friends, where a few people listen to it, they enjoy it and they say, ‘Oh, that’s kind of fun and it’s neat.’ Whereas a podcast that’s part of a larger strategy for a client, for the hosts, for the production company that’s doing it — those are the podcasts that do really well.”

Radio vs Podcast

Great radio and a great podcast: what is the difference?

“I think there’s a lot of overlap. The best radio shows are the ones that know their audience. They are the ones that know what they stand for and they are the ones that know who they are and why they are going live every day,” says Jay.

“Great radio provides a service, provides entertainment or provides information to an audience in a way that they can use it in their lives. And I think that great podcasts do a very similar thing. The thing with podcasts that is different from radio is that podcasts is audio on demand. Let’s do it whenever you want. You know, we can put out an episode and then somebody can explore that, listen to it, discover it at any time,” he continues.

However, the boundaries of this initial divide might be getting blurred with radio stations offering catch up podcasts. But as Jay points out, this misses the live show experience that radios traditionally have to offer.

Podcasting as a communication strategy

Speaking on the growing trend of brands who are thinking of using podcasts as a communication strategy, Jay emphasises that it all boils down to brands knowing why they want to do it, instead of doing podcasts for the sake of doing it.

“We have had plenty of calls from brands who say, ‘We want a podcast. We’ve got to have a podcast.’ But then you dig a little bit deeper and go, actually, you don’t need a podcast. You need a newsletter. Or you need a video series, or you need an event, and then you might need a podcast to help market all of those things.”

He continues, “The best brand relationships are ones where it is a true partnership, when the brand says, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this. We want brand awareness. We want to be mentioned. We want to be your partner. We want to work with you on this. Content? That’s up to you.’”

“Those are the best experiences because there’s a lot of freedom. There’s a lot of creativity that we can get into.”

Advice for aspiring podcasters?

With everyone stuck at home during this period, creative fervour is likely to be through the roof — there’s probably someone out there thinking about starting a podcast. If you’re one of these aspiring podcasters, Jay has some advice:

“First and foremost, what do you want to say? What do you want to put out there and what do you want people to connect with you on?”

“Then, you need to have a strategy and a plan of how do you get it to people, right? Because if you just make a podcast and then put it up on a platform like Omni, well, it’s just going to sit there. No one’s going to find it. There are now a million podcasts in the world. That’s an extraordinary number of pieces of audio content that you can choose from. So how do you get it to the people who are going to be your audience, who are going to listen to it?” says Jay.

“And then how are you going to do it? Are you going to do it with proper recording equipment or are you going to do it via Zoom calls, or are you going to do it on headphones? What does your process look like? Because recording, editing, publishing — they always take longer than you think it’s going to take.”

He continues, “So if you think, ‘I’m going to get this done in an hour’, it might only be after 20 episodes that you’ll be able to get the whole thing done in an hour. But if you’re just starting out, give yourself that little bit of extra time to get it done because it will take just that.”

Making a good podcast great

Bad podcasts are a dime a dozen, but if you want to produce some quality work, Jay has some parting words: “And if you have a real strong sense of who you are, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what your audience is going to do with this piece of content — that is what makes a podcast great.”

Read more from Click2View:

  1. Here’s 4 reasons why podcasts are growing.
  2. Looking at webinars too? 2020 is the year of the webinar.
  3. What’s important in this COVID era? Communication, definitely.

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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.