#689 Lessons from The Podcast Show 2023

In Internet Marketing Podcast, The Digital Marketing Blog by SeanLeave a Comment

On this week’s episode of the Internet Marketing Podcast, Scott discusses what he learnt from attending the Podcast Show 2023 event earlier in May.

On the show you’ll learn:

  • Why podcasts should be utilising and investing in video
  • How YouTube has changed people’s TV habits
  • Why audio podcasts will always have their place
  • How the barrier to entry with podcasting has reduced significantly in recent years
  • Some of the latest innovations in podcast advertising
  • Why you might want to consider podcast trailers




Episode Transcript:

A few weeks ago, I got to attend the Podcast Show 2023. It took place across the 22nd and 23 May in various venues around Islington, London. If you’re not familiar with the podcast show, over 10,000 delegates attend across the two days, and it really includes the who’s who of everyone in the podcasting and audio space. We’re talking individual creators, but also companies like Spotify, Amazon, BBC, Sounds, Acast, the list goes on.

And when I say I had the pleasure of attending, I really mean it. I’m more introverted and so generally going to conferences really isn’t my thing. But I found the podcast show to be friendly, supportive. The energy was just really good, and everything ran on time. It was really, really efficient as well. So shout out to the podcast show for putting on an amazing event.

In today’s episode, I want to share with you the highlights, the key takeaways, and the lessons that I took from the podcast show. Across the two days, there were tens and hundreds of topics that were being discussed, but these were the things that really stood out to me during the event and as I reflected on the event after.

So the first topic that kept coming up, and this came up last year when I attended too, is should, as creators and podcasters, we grow with video or stick with audio only? And I guess that raised a wider question: what really is a podcast anymore? Is it audio only or does that include video elements as well? The general consensus that I felt surfaced was that you should focus on video podcasting if you have the resource. The insight that I got from the creators that I listened to was that they can see their audiences consuming their podcast in the way that maybe they used to consume traditional TV.

So they’re watching it with their partners, with their friends, they’re excited when the new episode drops. At a certain time each week, they’re watching these shows as they eat their dinner or eat their lunch. And this is just really a podcasting example of the fact that YouTube has gradually replaced people’s TV habits. And again, as I was talking there, I noted probably YouTubers podcasters creators. The terminology podcast was used by YouTubers Vloggers influencers, however you want to describe it. Basically, it was used interchangeably. And some people, some that I consider to be YouTubers were talking about their shows as podcasts. I still consider the phrase podcast to mean audio first or audio only. So it was interesting for me to see these video first.

Creators and YouTubers and Influencers use the term podcast to describe their shows. The general argument from podcasters and creators is that the world is becoming video first with people spending more time on video. And so eventually, perhaps audio will become obsolete or will prevent you from growing.

Despite the fact that the general consensus seemed to be that, yes, you should invest in video if you can. If you’re a podcaster, there were still plenty of examples of podcasters that were going audio only, that were still successful, or those that were using their audio only podcasts and eventually launched into video later.

One of my favourite examples from a talk I went to was from a podcaster called Andrew Gold, who hosts the on the Edge podcast. He was describing how he was able to hone his podcasting craft when it was audio only, but he did feel like his podcast really started to grow when he invested in video. And it was generally agreed that when starting with podcasting, go audio first to start with, particularly if you don’t have many resources or you’re just finding your idea and add video after, that’s a scalable way to start.

It helps reduce your own barrier to entry, both technology investment wives and also might help to conserve your energy when podcasting gets tough. The other aspect of whether to consider investing in video or not is your time. Many of the people that I listened to were creating weekly episodes, sometimes maybe two a week, but this is their entire job and main source of income. There were loads of helpful examples in the talks that I listened to, which reminded me that podcasting is a journey and some of the most successful podcasters didn’t always start out with video first. There were plenty of examples of podcasters that started out audio only and then added video on. As they scaled their podcast, many of them talked about the fact that they invest in podcasting full time. That’s also another important point to reflect on when you go to some of these conferences. It’s really easy.

I did it myself in making these comparisons to the most successful podcasts and thinking, well, what else do I need to do? And time is a big factor in this. Some of the most successful podcasters that were giving talks at these panels, one thing that I noted is that this was their full time jobs, not all of them. There are plenty of successful podcasts where people were doing it part time, but really, some of the most successful examples of the podcasts in these shows are people that are doing it full time. So, give yourself a little bit of a break if you’re not there yet. And it was actually Andrew Gold who again pointed out that you don’t always have to go video if it doesn’t match the style of your podcast or it just isn’t that natural to you. Focus on creating a great audio experience first and then try to scale from there.

On the topic of how important video is going to be for podcasting in the future, the only person I recall having quite a unique and bullish view on the topic was Ian Forrester, who works in the BBC’s Research and Development Advisory team. He reminded attendees of the scenarios in life where audio only just makes sense. So, for example, if you’re driving, you’re commuting, you’re showering, you’re exercising. There are so many different points in the day where audio only still makes more sense than video. And his view was that that’s just going to continue, those things aren’t going away and that actually we just need to focus on innovation for those experiences at that time.

Again, a topic that came up last year, but I kept hearing it again and again and it’s really interesting to hear it in this space. How to get started with podcasting. It was really interesting this year in comparison to last year. The difference between last year and this year is actually so many people talking about the barrier to entry reducing dramatically in recent years because of the emergence in AI audio processing software and because of the clarity of built in mics across our devices. One of the examples that kept coming up was Adobe’s investment in Firefly and how that’s going to speed up video editing and also work in Adobe audition.

There were plenty of examples from creators who explained that they tried their podcast, it didn’t work, but it gave them a new idea for another podcast, or they tried their first season and then made adjustments for a second season. But the key thing is that they just got started with whatever equipment and resources they had available. There are no rules when getting started with podcasting.

The other piece of advice that really stood out to me that I heard across sessions was don’t overproduce or sit on podcasts that you’ve already made. So, if you’re worried about pressing publish or you’re making so many edits that you’re just not releasing the thing that you have, think really carefully about that because you might miss the boat. There was one standout example of this to me. I was in a session, I’ve actually forgotten the session name and I wouldn’t give the example of this lady anyway because I think it’s unfair. But she was saying that she’s had a podcast. She recorded one pilot episode, I think it was about three years ago, and she still hasn’t released the episode because she’s waiting to try and launch it and generate maximum impact on launch. And really the panelists were just saying it’s too long to wait. By the time that you release this thing, the podcast movement, it will be moved on, it’ll be onto something else. You’ve got to release it. So, though they sympathized and understood why you might want to make the maximum impact for the podcast that you’ve created, having one pilot episode of something and then sitting on it for a number of years just isn’t the way to go in podcasting. You’ve got to get your voice and your content out there.

Innovation in podcast advertising was a hot topic and perhaps you’d expect that from a podcast conference. There were so many advertising providers that were talking about integration of AI and programmatic advertising and personalization in the audio space in the way we’ve seen it in other advertising formats over the last decade.

Probably the hottest topic when it came to podcast advertising that was being discussed throughout the conference was Spotify’s announcement that they’re currently developing AI host read ad functionality. So this is functionality that allows advertisers to produce ads that mimic some of the world’s most popular podcast host voices. Though AI host read ads haven’t been released yet on Spotify, Bill Simmons, the founder of Spotify owned podcast network, The Ringer, did confirm that Spotify are working and developing on these features in his podcast. If you’re a Spotify user, you’ll know in recent months that they’ve rolled out Spotify DJ, and so it’s really easy to see how this format might be adapted for advertising. The obvious question then becomes, will it work? And is it ethical? Watch this space.

Lastly, on this point, one comment that stayed with me after the conference was again from Ian Forrester. He was talking about how innovation in advertising is outpacing innovation in podcasting formats. Ian was just encouraging attendees to experiment a little more with the podcasting format, and it did come up in several sessions that perhaps some interview based podcasts in certain sectors, such as business marketing and especially in comedy, were getting a little bit saturated and a little bit tedious with respect to the interview stylings.

And I forget who said this, but it did resonate with me. If you are producing an interview based podcast, focus on relevancy over the guest name. It’s lovely to have big guests on your podcast, but if they’re only sharing the same advice and stories as they’re sharing on multiple other podcasts in your space, what value, what new value does that offer your audience?

It was really eye opening for me to hear several reports of podcasters saying that they feel like TikTok and YouTube shorts are becoming really important discovery platforms for their podcasts. One podcaster called Will and Jovu, gave a lot of great advice in this area. Will is the host of a show called Reality, and he was explaining how for YouTube shorts and TikTok, he creates native content for those formats. So he specifically creates portrait content and it’s not always taken from the podcasts or the shows themselves. Sometimes he’ll go and create that content so it fits natively on those platforms. And Will was just one of many creators who is explaining that YouTube Shorts is driving a lot of interest in their podcasts and shows right now. He was encouraging everyone that’s posting on TikTok for discovery purposes to make sure that you post those YouTube shorts too.

And last of my key takeaways from the podcast show 2023 was get a podcast trailer. And this advice comes from Ariel Nissenblatt, head of community and content at Squadcast FM and host of the Trailer Park Podcast. Ariel has produced lots of great content on what it takes to create a great podcast trailer, but it was actually the reasons for creating a podcast trailer that was most interesting to me. So, she explained how creating a podcast trailer can help you really refine your idea. Because if you have to describe what your podcast is about in a really short period of time 30 seconds, 1 minute, that’s going to help you. Now your idea before you get started, some podcasts may take a long time to produce or edit or research before you even launch your first episode. So what do you do in that period of time where you still want to gather data, you still want to try and gather listeners if you can, to help validate your idea and just so that you can have a really good launch? And so Ariel was saying that that’s where a podcast trader can come into it can help you capture your listeners and validate your idea before you’ve even launched your first episode.

Ariel and other panelists throughout the show, were also explaining how podcast traders can help secure sponsors and secure guests if you have an interview based podcast before you even launch. So that’s another great reason to create a podcast trailer. And lastly, Ariel was just explaining that you can also use the podcast trailer across different platforms for advertising your podcast ahead of launch as well. You’ll get plenty of inspiration on this topic if you check out the Trader Park Podcast.

Again, huge shout out to all of the panelists and contributors and team at the podcast show. It really was a great event. I learned a lot. I’d highly recommend the event for anyone that’s in podcasting and audio who really wants to immerse themselves and learn more in this space.

I hope to see you there at future events. If you happen to be there at the podcast show 2023 you’re listening to this. I’d like to know what your insights, your key takeaways, and the hot topics you observed were. Let us know by tweeting us at site visibility or connect with me on LinkedIn. This has been the Internet Marketing Podcast. Take care.

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