ICYMI: Last week we held a networking breakfast for news and politics publishers – and here are the key takeaways.

On Tuesday, May 14th, we hosted our friends and colleagues in podcasting for a breakfast and insights morning in Central London. The morning began with our guests from Sky News, The Economist, The Guardian, New Statesman, BBC, Times Radio, Pod Save the UK, Financial Times and many other news and politics publishers arriving to a breakfast spread and tote bags full of Podcast Discovery goodies. After a bit of networking and some time for everyone to exchange ideas, the panels were kicked off by the Podcast Discovery partners, Matt Deegan and Matt Hill. 


The real question on everyone’s mind is: How do we get our current affairs, news and politics shows ready for the ‘podcast election’?

Our answer is a thorough MOT of all of your assets. This is something we do for our clients often, and it has very quickly become a staple to any of our working relationships. The steps are simple, but are all extremely crucial to your success:

1. Understanding Your Unique Selling Point

To begin understanding and promoting your USP, you need to focus on the listeners first. What does the listener expect from you? And who are they? Without first going back to the core of your content and identifying who you are making the show for and what they will get from it, your podcast could easily get lost in the shuffle. Within that, a USP is a promise to your audience that you are here to serve a specific purpose and you will continue to deliver that promise with every episode. And don’t forget about the core of what makes your podcast unique – the political space is the most competitive genre this year, so keep what makes you different close to your content and marketing strategy.

2. Get The Barnacles Off The Boat

Before you jump into marketing and promotion, look at all of your assets and ask yourself: are you even ready to be marketed? Look at your channel, including the title, description, category and imagery and make sure they are all aligned with your content strategy and what you are trying to tell your audience. Then look at your episode titles, do you have a specific strategy in mind for these? Do you have episodic artwork? Then look through your descriptions, all links, email addresses that you may be leading your listeners to and chapter markers. Then also think about how your podcast looks and sounds, and what you are saying in the first minute of your show.

3. Create Efficient Workflows

When working on a podcast that is topical, you want to ensure you are being as efficient as you can with your team’s time. Think about how you are sharing podcast episodes internally, who is editing what, and in what order. If you have a video element, when does that get edited and exported and by whom? Look at the whole process and identify where you can cut down on time.

4. Timings

It is all in the timing. Political podcasts need to be timely, but also memorable and punchy. Think about your cadence – how many episodes are you releasing a week and when the listeners is getting those episodes. Then also consider the length of your show. Perhaps by losing a short segment, you could be gaining the attention of even more listeners. And finally, think about the time you are releasing the show and what that means for all podcast apps. Leave enough time for your RSS to be updated everywhere, otherwise you could be losing out on potential audiences.

5. Topics vs Topicality

There is a gentle balance that all podcasts in this space must strike, between the topics you cover and the general topicality. Adding more episodes to your week might not exactly be the answer to getting a lot more attention from your listeners as you could see the episodes cannibalise your audiences. It is good to remember that today’s podcast listener would actually miss more episodes than they would listen to. So instead, focus on what your titles are expressing to them in their feed – find reasons for even the most dedicated fan to click on your episode.

6. Anticipate News Lines

If you want your show covered by other media, you need to think one step ahead. Off-platform coverage means reaching new audiences, but getting there is no easy feat. You need to draft and anticipate questions that will ensure coverage ahead of time. Think about what trending topics there are across socials and try to think about all topics from various angles. A unique idea presented by someone of influence would always make journalists happy.

7. What’s Your Cinematic Universe?

Don’t think of your show in isolation. If you are running a network, you likely have multiple shows to manage at any one time. So think of them as part of the same universe to make not only your job easier, but to create continuity and unity for your listeners. If you can create a seamless ‘cinematic universe’ feeling for your audiences, you will likely see more of the migrate from one show to another too. This means cross-promoting your guests, as well identifying USPs for all of your shows so that every listener becomes extremely aware and is clear on the different offerings you have, too.

Other sessions from our breakfast included:
HOW SUCCESSFUL NEWS PODCASTS ARE USING VIDEO TO REACH AND REMIND AUDIENCES, featuring Coco Khan from Pod Save the UK, Sam Bonham from BBC News Podcast and our very own Josh Divney.
THE POWER OF A MINISERIES WITH TORTOISE MEDIA, hosted by Catherine Carr from Podcast Discovery, interviewing Patricia Clarke and Matt Russell from Tortoise Media