┬áA publishing podcast is about creating intimacy with the reader. ItÔÇÖs not a bullet point or marketing strategy, says Anshuman Iddamsetty of PRH Canada.
ÔÇ£The internet is hostile to sounds and podcasts in general,ÔÇØ said Anshuman Iddamsetty at last weekÔÇÖs TechForum in Toronto produced by BookNet Canada. ÔÇ£With a podcast, it is difficult to get nuanced data about consumer behavior. Podcasts ultimately favor incumbents, and the tech is really expensive ÔÇö a cool product with good production values costs.ÔÇØ
Iddamsetty is the Art Director & Audiovisual Producer at Penguin Random House CanadaÔÇÖs Hazlitt magazine, producing the popular Arcade podcast. And his point wasnÔÇÖt to put publishers off the idea of producing podcasts. Rather, he wanted to inspire them.
ÔÇ£Despite all these challenges, podcasts offer an unprecedented opportunity to become intimate with your readers. ItÔÇÖs ÔÇÿa theater of the mindÔÇÖ and once you get into peopleÔÇÖs minds, the sky is the limitÔÇªAs a consequence of this intimacy, you establish trust, which in turn leads to loyalty. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs all about the connection when you hear that personÔÇÖs voice.ÔÇØ
Podcasts are also atemporal, insofar as once you ÔÇ£get out of the hype cycleÔÇØ for a book, ÔÇ£once you upload that file, it is timeless,ÔÇØsaid Iddamsetty. ÔÇ£It never dies and it justÔÇªexists. It creates a timelessness that has real valueÔÇØ
Unfortunately, this also requires effort. ÔÇ£There isnÔÇÖt really a way to optimize a podcast,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£I have seven different apps running all at once, tech support, a dramatic through line and a sound design. If we have a couple of guests, it can take a couple of weeks to produce each episode.ÔÇØ And there is no way to quantify the precise impact on sales a podcast has had.
What is quantifiable is the direct feedback you receive from readers and listeners, and some of the data ÔÇö such as when a person stops listening to a podcast, which is available from services such as Stitcher. ÔÇ£And as a value proposition, all the stuff you can fold into a podcast is vast.ÔÇØ Referencing an episode of the Arcade with the writer William Gibson, Idaamsetty pointed out that the fact that the podcast addressed GibsonÔÇÖs ongoing interest in fashion, led to the podcast going viral and reached audiences ÔÇö such as the Health Goth fashion crowd ÔÇö who might never have taken an interest in GibsonÔÇÖs work.
Ultimately, a podcast is ÔÇ£a relationshipÔÇØ said Idaamsetty. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs not a bullet point or marketing strategy. YouÔÇÖre saying to them, ÔÇÿthis is what you get if you commit that time to me: intimacy.’ÔÇØ