The Podcast Guessing Game

Building knowledge to build success

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I’ve had a busy time in podcasting land recently. We’ve been gearing up for the announcements of this year’s British Podcast Awards nominees and simultaneously planning a 24-hour podcasting conference with parts in Australia, Europe and North America - Podcast Day 24. There’s been a lot going on.

I was very happy to get the British Podcast Awards nominations announced. It whittled around 1600 entries down to about 130 nominees, through the hard work of nearly 200 judges. The list is a great mix of shows, small and large, famous and anonymous. There are nominees with 200 listens per episode and 200,000 per episode. The Awards has always been about discovery - and I love that there’s so many new shows to sample.

The Awards continues to grow in entries and interest, just as listening to podcasts grows too. Trying to get a handle on this growth of ‘interest’ is a challenge. I like looking at the tweet reach for our category videos. This year we did about 3m impressions, well over double what we managed last year. Interestingly in the UK, Twitter still seems to be the social driver, whilst in Australia (where we also operate awards) podcasting seems to have its social base in Instagram.

I’m also excited about the Awards ceremony. We’re building a mini-Festival site in Brockwell Park, with a very large tented stage, alongside bars and concessions. They’ll also be some stands from different podcasting companies too. It’s a very different kind of Awards show, initially driven by some guesswork over the pandemic, but if it goes well I could definitely see it being the more regular format. Nominees get first dibs on tickets, but we open it for everyone on Monday 7th June (join the waitlist and be reminded when this happens).

On the 7th we’re also holding our Podcast Day 24 conference. It kicks off in Australia with an in-person event, before a virtual event from 9am here in the UK for Europe and then post 5pm, North America picks up the baton.

Your virtual ticket lets you watch everything live (if you’re an insomniac) or you can pick and choose what you watch live and what you catch-up with afterwards.

As we were building the schedule, I was struck by some of the things that people had written in their Awards submissions. There were lots of “hey, we thought it was a good idea” and “I don’t know why it works, it just does” - these didn’t tend to be the show’s that got nominated.

What gets nominated? Generally it’s great ideas, that are executed well, with the demonstration of skill. Whether big or little, it’s often the shows that clearly think critically about what they do, that do well. They also tend to be the people who look around the market to find out why and how other shows were successful.

It’s a similar trait with great start-up founders. They’re focused on their own special product, but they’ve accumulated massive knowledge about the market to help increase the odds that their own products will do well.

In a sector that’s so competitive, I find it mad that often people in podcasting seem to take pride in doing little preparation or planning before starting their show. When the odds are already long, why would you do anything (or nothing) to make them even longer?

We’ve tried to fill the event with really useful insight into different elements of podcasting and from people with demonstrable success or from those that are key decision makers.

In the Europe leg, we’re hearing from podcast commissioners at Acast, Spotify and Munck plus getting insight from new independents like Message Heard, Mags Creative and Don’t Skip. As well as sessions on monetisation with people from Dax and Triton, we’re getting the team from Redhanded to give us their Patreon tips. They’re one of the most successful podcasts on the platform generating over $60k a month from listener donations.

There are speakers from traditional print operations - Telegraph, FT, Tortoise - as well as indie creators big and small - including Fearne Cotton, Dane Baptiste and The Receipts.

I’m also pleased to announce that Jonathan Wall, the Controller of BBC Sounds, has joined the line-up to give insight into how the platform’s been developing and growing.

If you’re serious about being successful in podcasting, or your company has it as a focus - Podcast Day 24 is probably the cheapest way to fill up you and your teams’ brains with knowledge and expertise. You can get your ticket here.