Do you help listeners find your show?

We revealed the 2022 nominations for the British Podcast Awards, powered by Audible, on Monday, at a really fun party in East London (pics here). It’s always great to be exposed to a raft of new shows, or be reminded of podcasts I haven’t got round to yet.

The Awards has always been about discovery, and a third of our nominees this year are independent shows, not backed by big businesses – which is a huge proportion of new voices that can get lost in the chatter about the latest Spotify signing or big BBC Sounds release.

Do check them out and find your next favourite show!

The lead up to the British Podcast Awards nominations announcement is a busy time. Not only do we reveal the nominations, but a lot of tweets and Instagram posts get fired, event tickets go on sale, we open the Listeners’ Choice public vote and we send emails to all of the nominees about the processes.

Once we get the judges decisions (and there are 130 of those) we have a very big spreadsheet that lists all of the nominees, the contact names, the social handles, the podfollow links plus copies of all the artwork. This year the effort increased as there were 230 nominees, as we’ve expanded the shortlist to 10 for most categories.

Much of this data comes from the submissions, as it’s all things that we ask for. We don’t necessarily get it though. So we go through finding missing links, finding higher-res artwork (or newer artwork if the podcast’s had a refresh), searching for social handles and trying to have the right thing for every nominee.

We try and do all of these things as the purpose of the Awards is to aid discovery, so we want to position all of our shows in the best light. The other reason we do it is otherwise we gets loads of emails asking why we hadn’t including something, or that a link doesn’t work. When you submit an entry you aren’t necessarily thinking about how the nomination social videos are going to look and whether it’s going to tag the right people. Naturally, you’re just worried about making it by the deadline!

What it does mean is that I’m doing a lot of searching for our shows to find (or check) all the bits I need. Now, of course, I need these things for a reason, but then so do lots of other people who might want to contact your show and offer you a great opportunity! So, if you have a podcast, or even a radio show, here’s a few suggestions.

Firstly. Get a website. And make sure the right things are on it.

It’s amazing how many shows don’t have a website. A website can answer nearly all the questions that someone would ask.

What should it include? Firstly an About page that describes your show in a paragraph or two. It should list who your hosts are – their real names rather than their in-show nicknames – and links to their social media. Bonus points for their email address.

Next up a Contact page, ideally with an email address rather than just a contact form. I’ve tried forms that don’t work (no one ever re-checks them) and then there’s no way to get in touch. Yes, you might get some spam, but we all get spam. I’m sure you can deal with it.

Somewhere between an About and a Contact page do you have something that describes how you can advertise, or suggest a story, or just outline what you want to hear about?

Geoff Lloyd on his late night radio show used to have a list of 101 topics that listeners could always call in on. Thank you Wayback machine. It’s a great invitation to get involved.

Next, an audio player with your latest episodes. I want to be able to hear your podcast. Also please have links to all the main destinations – Apple, Spotify etc – as well as a link to your RSS feed. Any podcaster that doesn’t use one of the main apps will like to be able to easily grab this.

I’m amazed how many people get in touch with us across all of our Awards saying their show isn’t in Apple Podcasts. It should be. Having a link to all the destinations is a great way to check you’re actually there too.

Finally, do you have a press section, or something that could be used as a press section? As well as bio details, are there some good downloadable pictures of your team and show artwork? Do you have stats about your downloads? Do you list notable moments?

If someone wanted to write about you, could they get enough information on their own from your site? If someone’s writing a Top 10 Comedy Podcasts feature they’re not going to get in touch with you, but they could include you if they can have access to enough information there and then.

Do you have a credits page for your team? If you have one, do you show any love to your producer or editor?

It isn’t just small shows that don’t have this information, some of the biggest shows in the country have no way to get in touch with them.

Secondly, social media. You should have an account for your show on all the main platforms, even if you don’t update it.

Huh? Social media is many people’s search engine. If they’re looking for someone they use the one that they use – Twitter, Instagram, TikTok. It might not, of course, be the one that you use.

“We don’t use Twitter” (or similar) isn’t a suitable response. It’s fine if you only like Instagram, but still create a Twitter profile with a decent name, a decent handle, the right imagery (probably your Apple Podcasts square imagery) and use the bio to make people know it’s the right profile for you. Also use the link to link to your website. Then do a tweet with how to listen and pin it to the profile.

If you want to be cleverer, then there are services that can autopost new episodes etc.

If you mainly use personal social accounts, still make a show account and link out to the profiles of your hosts etc. But include all the important details.

Lots of people ask how can they get more people to listen to their show – well, make it findable and listenable is the first job. Then you can use that base to reach out to people. Just think how much time you research a new purchase, reading reviews, checking out prices etc. All without talking to someone.

If someone’s been recommended your show, they need to find it. They may not just do this on a podcast app. In fact you want them to do a web search so they can find out more about you and your show, so when they hit play they already feel some connection.

A podcast, or radio show, is a mini-brand, so you need to treat it like one.

If podcasting is a part of your job and you want some more tips like the above, then you should come to Grow, the British Podcast Awards’ one-day conference to help your podcast, er grow. Meet people from Apple, Spotify, Acast, Audioboom and the BBC and get tips on growing awareness and audience. It’s just £50+VAT per ticket.

AOB

On the Media Podcast this week I do a great deep dive with Nick Wallis. Nick’s been at the forefront of the Post Office Horizon Scandal, he talks about that process and his recent sojourn to the US to cover the Depp/Heard court case. A really interesting take on journalism today. Listen here.

The brilliant photos for the Awards nominations were taken by Daria Agafanova, who until recently lived in Mariupol, Ukraine and has now found herself in London. So if you’ve thought recently “what can I do to help Ukrainians” well, it’s a small thing, but if you need a photographer, give Daria a buzz!

How a website might be the most important thing you’re not doing

Audio Tours and Changes

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, and as always much of it is audio-related, alongside a decent chunk of wedding prep!

The big thing I’ve been working on is forming a partnership with Haymarket Media Group to acquire our podcast awards business – including the British, Australian and Irish Awards alongside our work on the conference Podcast Day 24.

Matt Hill and I created the British Podcast Awards six years ago as we felt there was an opportunity to help the discovery of great local shows. As we launched it, what we realised was that there was also a huge demand for a space to celebrate success and bring the whole industry together. Podcasting is so broad from people creating shows in their kitchens to the involvement of publishers, companies, charities, broadcasters and tech platforms. Not everyone’s objectives are the same, but the Awards are designed to be a ‘big tent’ that brings everyone together. We think we’ve managed to do that.

We’ll be revealing the nominees for this year’s British Podcast Awards, powered by Audible, on Monday and you can join us in London for a drink, if you’d like to be there. Getting all of our nominee lists ready, I’m always really proud to see the breadth of great shows and creators featured, and this year’s going to be no different.

We’ve always been focused on trying to support all creators, no matter what size. Alongside the Awards we’ve done training events, webinars and conferences for the industry. It’s also grown internationally with us taking on the Australian Podcast Awards and launching the Irish Podcast Awards too. What hasn’t really expanded is the team behind it – it’s mainly been just me and Matt H keeping the show on the road.

We were keen to ensure that not only could we keep doing what we’ve been doing, but also that we can do even more things for the industry, with more resources and less of the worry too. Haymarket, who run over 50 awards ceremonies a year, will help us do that. We’re also very much not going anywhere and will be a key part of all of the Awards’ activities for many years to come.

It’s also a good time to remind you about our Grow event, supported by the BBC Sounds Audio Lab on Friday 22nd July. If you have a podcast, or you’re a publisher that creates podcasts, this is an event focused on growing your audience, impact and revenue. It’s very inexpensive, at just £50+VAT. You can get your tickets here. There will be lots of case studies and take-aways to help your podcasts grow.

Oh, Canada

We announced the deal when I was in Canada, taking part in a radio conference that was part of Canadian Music Week. It was my first visit to Toronto and I loved what I saw of the city and country. It was also great to catch up with Ex-XFM presenter and now storytelling business coach – Marsha Shandur. Marsha’s a great example of how skills you develop in one industry are super-relevant to another.

Like any trip, you compare the differences to home and it was no different when watching many of the sessions. What struck me was the numbing effect of regulation on the market, and a lack of digital broadcast developments. What this means is a predominantly analogue environment, with little venturing to new brands or spin-offs. Radio is still healthy in Canada, with around 90% of the population listening, just like here and Australia, but the lack of competition means there’s some complacency.

Regular readers will know that I often talk about ‘radio as a product’ – that being all the stations available, packaged up for listeners. The steady growth of DAB here, and in other markets like the Nordics and Australia, has meant we’ve all built out a much broader, richer, product for listeners. Radio is full of lots of high quality choice (from commercial, community and public broadcasters) and that’s got a better chance of keeping listeners interested and engaged – for all of us.

What is similar, in all markets, is how radio can compete and co-opt, the growth in podcasting. Often radio broadcasters think they’re firmly got a foot in the the podcast world. In reality, they often have made much of a mark.

I remarked at the event that on that morning in both Canada and Britain, only one of the top 15 shows in both countries (in the Apple Podcasts chart) was from a radio broadcaster – one BBC and one CBC. Today, if you take it out to the Top 100, commercial radio broadcasters are only appearing twice in each country. Over in Australia, it’s marginally better, but seemingly just five appearances from the commercial radio stable. All around the world, if commercial radio wants to play meaningfully in this field, then it’s going to have to up its game.

Gaming

One of those UK shows from a commercial radio broadcaster, was an original from Global – Spencer and Vogue. Over the past year Global have made a concerted effort with their originals, alongside repping other podcasters and of course their own radio podcast output. Having built out their digital ad exchange – DAX – a middle man that connects ad agencies with digital audio content, they’re in a good position to monetise their own, and other people’s audio content. Indeed, at the moment, DAX does the ads for stations like Boom Radio and music streaming services like Soundcloud.

Yesterday they announced they would be providing digital audio advertising to (and taking an equity share in) Odeeo, a company that offers game developers the opportunity to make money from audio ads. It’s hot-ish on the heals of a similar deal where they acquired Remixd, who provide ads in spoken world versions of articles.

The challenge for DAX, and competitors like Bauer & Wireless’ Octave, is ensuring that as well as providing all this ad inventory, that they have enough customers to fill it. Whilst the digital audio ad market is growing, there’s a real need to get more brands using the technology, and then publishers can get their fill-rates up. Otherwise the existing money will end up being spread very thin.

Premium

In Canada, there was another local speaker, well a Dane that’s currently residing in Britain at least. Tobias Nielsen is the Director of Premium Projects at Bauer – responsible for the roll-out of their subscription service. Here in the UK it means that listeners who stump up £3.99 a month get ad-free, and music-skip-able access to Scala, Planet Rock, Kerrang, Jazz FM and as of last week, the Kiss stations. Absolute Radio’s suite launches soon too. The same service has rolled out to some of their other markets too.

When I’ve used it, the tech works pretty flawlessly – no mean feat. If you’re a big listener to one or two of the stations, and you’re in an IP-friendly environment most of the time, I think it will work well.

Both Tobias, and Kiss’ Content Director, Rebecca Frank, who spoke to me for an upcoming Media Podcast, were both on the same wavelength by saying it’s the result of some listener insight, but also an experiment to see what can work in that space. I think subscription for audio – both for linear and podcasts – is a fascinating thing to keep an eye on.

AOB

And speaking of the Media Podcast, in the latest edition I talk TV with Gold Wala’s Faraz Osman, Edelman’s Karin Robinson plus I swap streaming recommendations with Scott Bryan. Listen and subscribe.

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Visiting Canada and audio deals