This week: Spotify announces new targeted ad insertion tech is coming for their original and exclusive shows, there were a record number of podcast launches in 2019 (but there's still room for more), quick tips about how to keep your podcast going, Dan Misener from Pacific Content shares their process for developing new podcasts, more predictions for 2020 from podcast industry folks, tips for how to confidently read from a script, and more.
Welcome to The Podcast News, a weekly recap of the latest & greatest podcast news and tutorials for podcast producers.
Here are the most interesting news articles and tutorials for the second week of January, 2020.
Spotify is rolling out dynamically inserted targeted ads for their Spotify original and exclusive shows.
Few relevant links to read if you want to learn more:
Here are my thoughts and takeaways so far:
What are your thoughts about this? Let me know in a comment, email, or tweet.
Update: Tanner Campbell of The Portland Pod published a couple of interesting articles about this that are worth a read-through:
It’s official: 2019 brought the largest number of show launches in podcast history. That’s according to the podcast search engine Listen Notes, which reports there were 246,782 podcast debuts last year, a 40% increase compared to 2018. The tally shows the 2019 crop of new podcasts represents 29% of all shows that have been created to date, with the past two years seeing the launch of about half of all podcasts.
Listen Notes also reports 416,608 podcasts were “active” last year, or just under half of all shows that have been created.
So when people say there are 800k podcasts in the Apple Podcasts directory, that's technically true, but the real number to pay attention to is the number of active podcasts, which seems to be around 400k currently. When you think about it, that's not many podcasts.
It's not hard to start a podcast. It is hard to keep publishing new episodes regularly. That's what a lot of people discover after the initial fun of launching a podcast wears off.
So how do you keep a podcast going?
Glad you asked.
Two things I found were critical:
When I was producing episodes of The Podcast Dude weekly, I kept a list of episode topic ideas in the Reminders app. A notebook or some other app would work just as well, you really just need a place to be able to easily log ideas as they come to you.
Once you have enough ideas for topics, then the next challenge to tackle is actually producing the show. This is the part that trips a lot of independent podcasters up, because making a podcast can take quite a bit of time, even if you're experienced.
I've found it takes me between 8 and 20 hours to write, record, edit, publish, and promote an episode (your milage may vary). It may be helpful to determine how much time you can budget to each episode, and then deciding how much time you can spend on each step before you get started. This can help prevent you from spending 20+ hours on each episode.
One last tip: Plan breaks. Producing weekly or even bi-weekly episodes can quickly lead to burnout if your podcast is a side-project or something you do on nights and weekends. Take a week or two off every couple of months to recharge and review.
From Dan Misener on Pacific Content's blog:
People often ask me where our podcast ideas come from.
It all starts with a two-day strategy session.
Excellent article that outlines their process for brainstorming shows. Lots of great insights, so read through the whole thing, but here's the summary at the end:
- Show development is a process, with an emphasis on “process”
- You can’t make a great show as a brand without truly understanding your target audience, your business, and the affordances of the medium. Rely on outside audio expertise and experience if you don’t already have it in-house.
- Collaboration and candor are key. Be wary of anyone who isn’t pushing for more of both.
- Getting a bunch of busy people in the same room for a podcast strategy session can be tricky to schedule, and mentally exhausting… but it’s worth it
Another big list of predictions from podcast industry folks. Here are a few that stood out to me:
“Advertising spend in podcasts in the US reaches $1-billion, or comes within a hair of it — a year earlier than anticipated in most current forecasts.” - Hernan Lopez – Founder & CEO, Wondery
“As content and technology become more interwoven, 2020 will be critical for the places where privacy and consumption intersect. At its core, podcasting is an intimate medium built on listener trust. To break that trust would be highly consequential. Now is the time to set digital standards rooted in strong values and purpose, which will allow on-demand audio to keep its trajectory of growth.” - Kerri Hoffman – CEO, PRX
“Monetization opportunities for podcasters will continue to broaden in 2020, particularly for smaller podcasters in the ecosystem who don’t necessarily monetize today. It’s possible that the $863.4M projection for podcast advertising revenue in the US from IAB and PwC will appear conservative in hindsight.” - Zack Reneau-Wedeen – Founder and Head of Product, Google Podcasts
“Monetization and discovery will be the top issues. Money will be there for top podcasts. Discovery will be the harder part for just about all podcasts. It won’t just be a matter of the podcast being found, but also perceived as different and better.” - Steve Goldstein – Founder/CEO, Amplifi Media
From Reddit, u/devuluh asks:
How to read confidently from a script? I'm having a lot of trouble with this. I think my voice is okay, but I'm not a very confident speaker and I'm trying to get better at it. When I search for things like "how to speak confidently" all I find is advice on public speaking using your own words, which doesn't really apply to my use case.
In my podcast I will basically be playing a fictional character, who's dialogue I will read from a script. When I record my voice and play it back, I feel good about some parts, but in other places it sounds like I'm trying too hard to alter my voice and it comes out really awkward.
Any advice is appreciated.
Some of the best takeaways from the responses in the thread:
bluntlybipolar: I'd have someone else listen to what you recorded and get their thoughts on it. It might also be that it sounds fine, but you're overanalyzing because of your own anxiety about how it sounds.
All you can really do is just keep practicing until you sound how you want to sound. There's no great secret to it. Like any skill, it's one that needs worked on and developed.
doktorstilton: Here’s an exercise you can try: Pick just a few lines from your script and record yourself saying them in as many different ways as possible: angry, surprised, drunk, sleepy, desperate, curious, defensive, giddy, seductively. Try different accents. Emphasize different words. Emphasize different words. Try speeding up and slowing down. You start to get a feel for how you can make the text come alive.
scaredshirtlesstees: Practice, practice, practice!
If it helps, reading from a script while standing produces MUCH better results than while sitting - not sure what your setup is, but that something we recommend to our actors. Brushing your teeth beforehand helps, too - perhaps it's a confidence booster, but it also aids in not having so many clicky mouth sounds.
All great tips. I shared my advice about this back in episode 50 of The Podcast Dude: How to Sound Natural When Reading a Podcast Script.
Listeners often ask us about starting a podcast. In this episode, executive producer Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, gives a masterclass in the art and science of podcasting. From refining a concept, identifying your target audience, and understanding the mechanics of producing an episode, Juleyka offers useful insights about entering and standing out in the industry.
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I'll talk to you next week. In the meantime, happy podcasting!
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This show was produced by me, Aaron Dowd.
Music and SM7B illustration by Sean McCabe.
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