What Podcast Listeners Really Want

On Friday night, I had the chance to moderate an interactive session with close to 40 podcast listeners during the International Podcasting Expo.

Using quotes from Star Trek, we had loads of fun during the one-hour we spent together. Although they gave me alot of information, the portion of our session that I found extremely educational was when we started to talk about advertising.

Here are some interesting things they told me about ads in podcasts:

“No ads please, but we’ll trust a recommendation from a host.”
“If there’s an ad, place it the beginning or the end of the podcast.”
“If there has to be an ad, make sure it’s no longer than 30-seconds.”
“We’ll tolerate only 1, maybe 2 ads per podcast.”

Overall, if you’re producing a podcast, it’s better for your host to make a recommendation than to run a 30-second ad. Why?

“It worked with Adam Curry when he recommended a Gilette product,” said one attendee.
“It sounds like a recommendation from a friend,” said another.
“If I couldn’t recommend it to my sister, I wouldn’t recommend it to my listeners,” said another attendee, who’s also a podcast host.

The only warning, according to these podcast listeners, is that it has to be a “true” recommendation. A product the host has used and likes.

Now, how do we monetize this?

Toronto Podcasters Meetup

Last night, I met with a bunch of cool dudes and dudettes who are all podcasters. It was organized by Chris of the Tangents podcast.

I finally met Ninja, whom I had been emailing with over the past few weeks. Cool gal and it was great to put a name to a face.

The best intro goes to Jay. He hosts the Toronto Independent Music podcast and if you were to ask what his podcast is all about, he’d say “We cover Toronto (raise eyebrow) independent (slight smirk) music.”


Another interesting quote came from one of the video podcasters (or is it videocaster, vidcaster, vodcaster, vidblogger, someone make the final decision please), Matthew Hoos of Dead End Days and Cerealized.

Of course, they grouped together in a corner looking like they were sharing the secret documents on how the caramel gets into a Cadbury chocolate bar. I approached the group just to say a quick hi as I was on my out and when I asked what they were doing, Matthew said, “Oh, we’re the video podcasters. Audio is just half the story.”


Another great quote came from Joe of the Indie Can Music podcast. When Jay asked if a mutual colleague was going to attend the meeting, Joe said, “No, he’s had domestic management issues.”

I’ve got to use that one.

The podchick should be producing a video podcast of our meetup. I’ll post the link as soon as she posts it.

Other podcasters of note:

There were others whom I met, but I didn’t grab their business cards, so I don’t really remember who you are. However, I do want to say it was an awesome meetup and now it’s time for us to take this podcasting thing to the mainstream.

Kantor: Too many podcasting choices equals disinterest

Just read an article written by Andrew Kantor over at USA Today about the reasons why podcasting hasn’t taken off as quickly as people have predicted.

I found the beginning of his article quite hilarious, in particular his take on what makes podcasting different from putting audio files on your website:

The automatic part is important. Podcasting is not simply putting audio files on your site and letting people download them. That’s known as “putting audio files on your site and letting people download them.” To be a podcast, it has to be automated. No RSS, no syndication, no podcast.

What a gem!

Now, Kantor goes on to give 3 reasons why podcasting hasn’t run radio off the map as quickly as some have predicted, in particular:

  1. There’s just way too much “junk” podcasts out there creating what I call “podspam.”
  2. The technology to access podcasts is too complicated.
  3. And lastly, the vast amount of choice makes podcasting too overwhelming to be bothered with.

Okay, so I agree with Kantor on #1. For #2, podcast listeners should just download iTunes and be done with it. It’s the only podcatcher that really matters anyways.

But for #3, I would argue that the same holds true for radio and TV. With digital cable, satellite TV/radio and the Internet all competing for our earholes and eyeballs, we are given way too many choices when it comes to our entertainment.

I may be able to just click the “on” button on my remote, but because I now have digital cable, I have 900 channels to flip through. In the city of Toronto where I live, there are hundreds of stations to choose from. It would take me a week just to go from station to station to decide what I’ll listen to.

So no, podcasting isn’t the only culprit here when it comes to choice.

8:49pm ET update – Here’s another take on USA Today’s coverage of podcasting.

PRWeb calls podcasting a sound (financial) decision

PRWeb, the largest distributor of online press releases, has said that adding a podcasting service to its line of offerings has been the best decision it has made.

What’s even better, is that PRWeb charges people $200 to be interviewed for its podcast.

Here’s how the process works:

  • A company, let’s call them XYZ Corp., writes a press release about a new product launch and submits it to PRWeb.
  • To enhance the delivery of the press release, XYZ Corp. purchases a package in increments of $10. For as little as $30, XYZ Corp’s press release will be sent to 5 news outlets. For $50, it will be sent to 8 and so on.
  • Then, for an extra $200, XYZ Corp. will be contacted by a PRWeb staff member to be interviewed for its podcast.

According to Andrew Schlichting, PRWeb’s Web 2.0 Content Manager, there have been 30,000 downloads of their podcast since launching the service in February 2006. With just over 200 podcasts produced to date and each podcast featuring 1 guest, this works out to be ($200 x 1 x 200) = $40,000 in 60-days. Not a bad chunk of change, huh?

Want to listen to the PRWeb Podcast? The best thing to do is download iTunes to your computer. Once you’ve installed it, open iTunes, then go to Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast, then copy and paste this URL into the box – http://www.prwebpodcast.com/feed/i-recent.xml.

Tim Bourquin says hold on to your hats

Expo Magazine has named the Podcast and Portable Media Expo one of the best new trade shows of 2005. Read the article here.

The 2006 Podcast and Portable Media Expo will be held September 29-30, 2006 in Ontario, California and today was the deadline for speaker proposals. I pitched 3 topics and the show organizer, Tim Bourquin (seen at right), emailed me to say that the decision on speakers will be made the first week in May.

Cross your fingers and wish me luck.

Average number of podcast subscribers is 35

Feedburner has done it again. They now report that the average podcast has only 35 subscribers.

Well, my podcast has three times that amount, so there! So, you may be asking yourself, “Well, why would she even bother? For just barely over 100 people?”

The reason why I podcast are many:

  • I get loads of search engine traffic. Search engines love fresh content and anytime I do an interview for someone else’s podcast or when I update my own, I get favourable rankings in search engines. Don’t believe me? Punch in the keyword phrase “selling mistakes” into Google. My podcast is listed #1 (as of April 19th). Try “selling mistakes to avoid.” Where’s my podcast?
  • I get new clients. Yup, you heard me. I have signed up new coaching clients as a result of my podcast. Since launching my podcast in October 2005, I’ve enrolled 10 new clients. Doesn’t sound like alot, huh? But that’s 10 people x $597 USD and you get $5,970. It takes me 1-hour to prepare my podcast, then factor in monthly hosting ($3.95 per month) and domain name renewal ($20 per year) and you can see where this is profitable for me. This doesn’t include all the other income streams that I generate each month.
  • I have eliminated complimentary sessions. There’s no need for me to do them anymore. I used to go through 30 comp sessions a month and only net 3 new clients. So, I wasted about 15-hours on the phone (30 prospects x 30-minutes) a month just to turn 3 clients. Now, I use a product funnel where I offer my ezine and my podcast as freebies. Listeners can get used to my coaching style while listening to my podcast, so by the time they email me, they’re ready to hire me as their coach.

So, these are the reason why 105 subscribers are worth it to me. Subscribers get used to my style, they start to like me and when someone likes you, they trust your judgement. With trust comes sales and that’s why the ROPI (return on podcasting investment) works for me.