Another day at the Podcast Movement conference, and another wave of incredible new insights and exciting developments in the world of podcasting. It really is remarkable to see so much innovation in one place. The podcast industry has evolved so quickly, and everything I’m seeing here at the conference suggests that the future is even bolder than we could have imagined.
Take for example, an awesome new text-based audio editor called Descript. The software enables audio engineers (and less capable humans) to edit podcasts from transcribed text, rather than staring at wave forms and having to guess where they are within an episode. You can also add graphics and other visual elements easily and quickly, and even create video “shorts” that go well beyond traditional audiograms.
But the most impressive session of the day was on branded podcasts. The mattress company Sleep.com co-presented with their podcast production provider, Vox Media, on their podcast series, “Are you Sleeping?”. Each episode focused on a story of someone who struggled with sleep deprivation, with catchy episode titles like “Filing for Sleep Divorce?” and “My Kids Stole My Bed”. Notably, mattresses aren’t even mentioned much, if at all, during the podcast. They certainly don’t try to directly leverage an episode into a mattress sale. But the company experienced significant brand uplift, based on “forced exposure surveys”, scoring high in empathy and customer understanding. And this in turn leads to a positive consumer response.
I also sat in on a breakout group put on by Naranja Media, another branded business podcast provider who made their bones by nabbing the top bank in Columbia as a customer. They talked about some basic principles relating to how to work with podcast clients. They heavily advocated the idea of soliciting the client’s audience for “acid feedback” and recommended that companies invest a significant portion of their budget promoting their podcasts, beyond just producing them.
The media company Nielsen also spoke extensively on the key performance indicators for podcasts. A couple of the panelists pointed out that “top of the funnel’ metrics like brand uplift are a better indicator than lead generation and social media clicks, and that “completion rate”, i.e. the percent of listeners finishing an entire episode, is an excellent indicator of success. This is borne out by Sleep.com’s example.
Wow, what a day. While I’ll be sad to see this conference end, I cannot wait to get back to the rest of the ModPod team and start putting all this new information into practice to create the best, most entertaining, and most informative podcasts possible.