Sell It: Podcasters Adjusting to an Unfamiliar Role


PodMov Daily: Friday, July 16

Episode 463: Week Download Complete

Sell It: Podcasters Adjusting to an Unfamiliar Role

Across the board, podcasters are taking on “the plight of the inadvertent pitchman,” writes Luke Winkie of Vox. Liv Albert (Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby) never planned on reading ads aloud. The necessary transition from feminist-Greek-mythology mode to that of a salesperson can be tricky: “It’s such an odd thing.”

Clearly defined marketing à la Billy Mays (OxiClean!) has largely been replaced by gray-area influencing, Winkie says. Podcasters are intimately aware of who’s listening, making it a delicate dance to “fold the language of the carnival barker into [that] relationship.” The awkwardness is an undeniable hurdle to income.

“I wanted to make sure that I didn’t come off as obnoxious or over-the-top or that I’m just trying to get paid,” Albert reflects. “But at the same time, I wanted to make people realize that I deserved to get paid because of how much effort and research goes into the show.” Fortunately, her “lovely” niche listeners get it.

Macmillan’s Recipe for Profitable, Short Form Podcasts

As vice president of Macmillan Podcasts, Kathy Doyle runs the day-to-day of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network, founded in 2007. She tells documentary podcaster Doug Fraser (What We Do) why short podcasts are more than just a viable format. Managed well, they can be surprisingly advertiser-friendly.

“People would say to me, ‘Oh, you can't sell short format shows.’ And we do, and we always have, and those shows make good money and work well for sponsors,” Doyle says. What started with Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty’s wildly popular book and podcast, has grown into an empire of bite-sized audio lessons.

A standard Macmillan Publishers podcast runs “anywhere from seven to fifteen minutes on the long side.” Where are the ads in a seven-minute show? Doyle explains that adjusting placement about a minute makes a big difference. In fact, “people comment on social media about how good our ads are. We love that.”

In just two weeks, we’ll be packing our bags for Nashville!

Now’s the time to discover meetups, networking events, recording opportunities, and expert-led courses like Right Side Up’s advertising bootcamp. The full schedule is up to help you plan the best week of the summer.

Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Wrapped up: Ashley Flowers, Crime Junkie co-host and founder of audiochuck, has started a non-profit called Season of Justice. The initiative is “dedicated to providing funding to law enforcement agencies and families to help solve cold cases” and has already awarded $145,000 in grants.
  • Spice level: Listeners have every right to criticize podcasts, writes psychologist Lucia Grosaru. “Uninvited” commentary can be valid and productive, though “some content creators believe that since it makes them experience unpleasant emotions, then criticism itself must be a bad thing.”
  • Trail mix: It’s tough to identify the right storyteller for an episode, says Pacific Content producer Miriam Johnson. She shares 10 tips that help her navigate that “predictable mix of excitement (as I think about who the voices will be on the show) and dread (as I consider how to find them).” 
  • One voice: Much is being said about the use of ‘deepfake’ audio of Anthony Bourdain in a new documentary. We’ll leave it with podcaster Jay Acunzo (Unthinkable): “It’s disrespectful to your subject to manufacture them saying something they didn’t say on record, regardless of artistic impact.” 

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