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Why Some Podcasters Have Influence (And Some Do Not)

Here at Podcast Websites, we talk a lot about audio influence. I’d love to share with you where the phrase originated, at least within our brand.

Early in 2018, our CEO Mark Asquith and I were at Podfest discussing my podcast ad agency (which I’ve since sold to True Native Media.) To be specific, we were at lunch with 8 other people when this discussion started, and it got rather intense after a minute, as our conversations somehow seem to do.

You see, I had placed some paid advertising on Mark’s show The 7 Minute Mentor. When a podcaster had completed an ad for us, they had to fill out a form with their name, name of show, and timestamp of the ad.

This bothered Mark. “You know who I am and the name of my show. Filling this out every day is ridiculous. I have a 7-day-a-week show.” I agreed. In his case, it was a lot of time to spend filling out the ad form for me.

“The system is not set up for individual shows like yours,” I explained. “I have it set up that way because you are part of an ad campaign that includes 15 other shows, and I can’t keep them all straight or manage them all unless I have a system.”

“Yes,” he said, “but your system isn’t taking your customer into consideration.”

He was assuming that shows like his were my target customer, and when I started the agency, that was true. That’s what I WANTED. I wanted to help shows with a smaller audience but a HUGE “know, like, and trust” factor. Big influence, like he has. I really WANTED shows like his, but my whole company was set up to serve advertisers who were buying huge campaigns.

When I explained this to him, he asked why I was serving the people I didn’t want to serve and not shows like his, where there was a real need for my help in figuring out this whole process. The middle was where the gold lay. The middle was where the influence was, where the best ads will convert, where the audience and hosts will be the happiest

As we went back and forth, (as we do) it occurred to me that I didn’t want to focus on PODCASTERS at all. Mark isn’t just a podcaster. I’m not just a podcaster.

We are audio influencers.

We have really specific and really LOYAL fans. They come to us for advice. They cheer us on. They listen religiously. They go out of their way to meet us in person. Not because we are celebrities, but because our shows have become a part of their lives.

Start the Podcast Sponsorship Basics course within the free Podcast Success Academy, now.

Actual celebrities who do podcasts don’t have this kind of influence over their audience. Katie Couric has a podcast, but I will bet any amount of money she’s not managing a Facebook group and responding to every tweet with a personal thank you.

THESE are the people I wanted to help, and these are the kinds of shows that have real, tangible potential in making some money with their podcast. Maybe not tens of thousands of dollars an episode, but turning it into a business, or becoming listener-funded, or landing some sponsors that become real partners in business.

That’s not something you get from focusing on downloads, or even content. You get to this point when you focus on your audience. Building your community, talking to them and listening when they speak.

The audio influencer is actually quite prominent in the podcasting world. They call themselves podcasters, but they are so much more. Hosts that are in it for the quick bucks, and the sharp rise to fame that will be sorely disappointed and then disappear. Because they didn’t bother to build influence.

The definition of influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”

Have an effect on someone’s behavior.

That comes from being real. It comes from being raw. It comes from being thorough. It comes from caring about every single person who listens, because those people can tell you really care that your show has made a difference somehow.

They know. And conversely, they also know when you don’t give two hoots in a hand bucket.

Building influence takes time and care, But we want to teach you how to do it the right way. We are committed to making sure that the podcasters who read our content and especially invest in our products and services become MORE than podcasters. They have connections with their audience that are meaningful for them.

Yes, we do it because it’s just a better way to podcast, But it’s also because those relationships and that influence is what makes successful podcasters. The podcasts that can successfully monetize do so because they are influential.

When you really believe in what you’re selling, and you really like it, your listeners will know you want them to try it because you have their best interests at heart. And whatever you recommend will fly off the shelves.

When you’re in it for the cash, you do whatever it takes to grow those downloads so you can start pitching. You’re willing to pitch whatever company gives you money first. And your audience will know. They’ll know and they won’t purchase what you want them to buy, and then your results won’t be what your sponsor was hoping to get. And they’ll move on to the next show.

As we move towards the holiday season, I’ll be talking a lot about what you want to achieve for your show in the coming year. And my specialty is both branding and sponsors, so I’ll be particularly focused on that.

Branding is vital. Branding is the thing that subconsciously tells people, “Oh, yes, I’m in the right place. Whew.”

That’s next week. But I wanted to talk about audio influence FIRST. Because sponsors are happy and listeners are happy when the host has integrity and makes an effort to build influence. The cycle doesn’t work properly without it. Without influence, advertisers money is being flushed down the toilet. Articles are being written about how podcasting isn’t the cash cow advertisers thought it would be.

But it is. It is, if you choose the right shows, if you don’t take shortcuts, and if you build relationships properly. Podcast ads really do work – if the host has that influential relationship.

Let’s build that together, because once we have that first step, the money will come.

Ready to learn about podcast sponsorship basics?

Our free course will help!

That’s right, we’ve just added a NEW SPONSORSHIP COURSE! WHOO HOOOOO!!

This course is covering all the basic questions and fundamentals of podcast sponsorship, including:

  • Overall demographics as to WHO the podcast listener is so you can speak with confidence about your audience and their buying power to potential sponsors,
  • Standard industry practices, so you can make decisions about what types of ads you want on YOUR show.
  • Education on who currently buys and sells podcast advertising and the pricing variation, so you’ll know how to price your show accordingly,
  • List of all the reasons podcast advertising is better than any other medium, so when a potential advertiser brings up where their budget is, you’ll know exactly what to say to give you a chance.

Start the Podcast Sponsorship Basics course within the free Podcast Success Academy, now.

Ready to monetize your audience & become an audio influencer?

Podcasters all across the world are transforming from simply producing audio to becoming a monetised, influential brand with Podcast Websites. When you're ready to become an audio influencer in your niche, we're here for you.

Rachel Smith

Rachel is the Marketing Coordinator at Captivate, the podcast hosting platform. Rachel works closely with podcasters to ensure that the content that Captivate creates is genuinely helpful and easy to understand.

Ready to monetize your audience & become an audio influencer?

Podcasters all across the world are transforming from simply producing audio to becoming a monetised, influential brand with Podcast Websites. When you're ready to become an audio influencer in your niche, we're here for you.