🤝 Why partnerships work 👯♀️
🤸♀️Podcast marketing: let's have some fun.🌈
I’m at Podcast Movement in LA! If you are too, come say hi—I’ll be talking Friday morning at 9:30am about Podcast Partnerships: The Key to Podcast Growth.
I also spoke at SXSW last week about the importance of partnerships, and I wanted to share with you a taste of what I talked about. (And here are the only two photos I took.)
I talk to people every day who are seeking podcast growth, and they usually come to be concerned about three things.
Social media strategy
These are essentially my least favorite things to talk about. Here’s why:
Doesn’t necessarily attract podcast listeners. Focus your marketing on people who are already podcast listeners. Get to them via podcasts. People who read The New York Times might not even know how to download a podcast.
Converting someone from a non-podcast listener to a podcaster listener is hard work. Not impossible, but also not your job. Your job is to turn podcast listeners into your podcast listeners.
Can be a blessing and a curse. In a previous issue I talked about how when Arielle’s podcast Counter Programming was featured, it opened the floodgates to everyone (the opposite of direct marketing,) and many of them were people who didn’t like the show. Some of them left nasty comments and unsubscribed. So there was a spike, and a dip.
I always compare this to when I worked in book publishing. I regularly did audits of our Goodreads reviews. Our book The Goldfinch, which won a Pulitzer, had less than four stars. That same year, a book about dirt had five stars. The people who wanted to read about dirt got exactly what they expected. People want to get what they were promised, and there was much ambiguity in The Goldfinch, and room for various opinions.
Social media strategy
Here’s something all these strategies have in common: they might cause a spike, but they do not secure constant growth. Here’s what does:
Don’t just schedule one, do one every tine. People like to know what to expect.
If you don’t have one scheduled, do a promo read for a show you love just because. Make sure you tell them you did it. Good vibes.
I have found that in securing promo swaps, people want you to be able to match in download numbers. This is because they are running an ad. Feed drops feel less like an ad—feed drops give listeners an entire episode, maybe your best episode. It’s on its own a great piece of content, a gift. So you can go after bigger shows and they not mind that you’ll be delivering their drop to a smaller audience. They might just be excited to share your amazing episode with their fans
Do an episode together and put it on both your feeds. Each of you can introduce it in a unique way.
I pitched my client Bridget Todd to Slate’s ICYMI, and because we were talking, I found out that ICYMI was hosting a panel at SXSW, where Bridget was a keynote speaker. She was able to participate in the panel.
Make a blog post where you round up your favorite podcasts. This gives you something to barter with. (If you are swapping with a show much bigger than you, you can throw in inclusion on this blog post.)
Interview the host for your newsletter.
Create a podcast club—a segment or bonus episode where you highlight other podcasts.
Podcasts are social media, and in the late 2000s we learned that on social media, you can’t just tweet your ass off and put your own shit all over the place and expect people to grow. You have to engage. It’s the same for podcasting. You have to make your content more partnership-friendly. Think of creative ways to bring other voices in, whether that be other podcasters or listeners.
Podcast growth isn’t about throwing money or hope at one problem. It’s about trying everything and doubling down on what works. It’s about connecting with your niche audiences and turning them into your advocates. It’s about consistency. And it’s about planning some really fun podcast playdates with your podcast friends.
THE PERFECT PITCH
Hats off to Kyla and Kristen of Pullback for basically producing an episode I could not not write about. (Read the feature here.) The letter they wrote me is below, published with permission. Yes, it’s way too long, but drastic times call for drastic measures.
I love your newsletter (except I always have too many new episodes on my dock now :P) and I think it's so charming how you start with a countdown to your Disney cruise! I have a pitch I've been saving for you especially for your love of cruising (for which I apologize in advance).
I co-produce a podcast called Pullback about the everyday ethics behind the goods and services an average person might interact with. We discuss the big and small changes each of us can make to contribute to a more just world by peeking into opaque industries and exploring the underlying reasons for enduring problems in human rights, animal welfare, and the environment.
Usually we'll try to explore a topic in a 1 hour ~ episode, but our latest topic had to be split into two parts because there was a lot to discuss: Cruise Ships!
I don't usually do the research for our episodes (that is handled beautifully by my Co-Host Kristen Pue who has a PhD in Political Science with a focus on non-profits) but every once in a while I'll lead an episode and I was particularly enthusiastic about exploring the cruising industry, partly because I find it fascinating, and partly because I did a contract on Oasis of the Seas once upon a time.
I know you've been asking for help deciding whether it was ethical to go on a cruise, and our show exists to help people get the facts they need to make decisions based on their own moral values!
The first half of our cruise episode came out on Tuesday, and the second is out today. I can't remember what podcasting platform you usually listen on, so I'm linking to the main page on our website; at the bottom you'll find a bunch of listening options and you can select your fave!
The TL:DL of cruising is: the whole industry is pretty messed up, but Disney is the lesser of all evils. As an avid cruise lover, whether you go on this cruise or not, you're in a position to really be heard by the company, so you may want to reach out to Disney Cruises directly and let them know you want to see green fuel, more support for ports they visit, slower ships (to protect whales and the environment), shorter contracts for workers, higher pay for the lowest paid contractors, and more investment in projects that protect the oceans.
They'll probably tell you about all the things they already do to support oceans, ports, and workers, and that's great! They're a leader in the industry but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement :)
Thanks for all your work on curating a wonderful podcast newsletter!