Buzzcast

Branded Podcasts and Getting Featured in Apple with Fatima Zaidi

August 20, 2021 Buzzsprout
Buzzcast
Branded Podcasts and Getting Featured in Apple with Fatima Zaidi
Chapters
0:00
Introducing Fatima Zaidi
1:45
How did you get into podcasting?
4:28
Podcasting is here to stay
5:31
Quill Podcasting
7:06
Why should brands start a podcast?
24:10
First, best, or different
27:53
Building brand affinity
35:26
Growing a podcast
42:57
Apple's New & Noteworthy
44:30
Do social media ads work?
49:35
Building a personal brand
57:40
Listen In Conference
Buzzcast
Branded Podcasts and Getting Featured in Apple with Fatima Zaidi
Aug 20, 2021
Buzzsprout

Fatima Zaidi, founder of Quill Podcasting, shares why brands are creating podcasts to connect with customers, the power of building a personal brand as a podcast, and a little known strategy for getting your podcast listed in Apple's New & Noteworthy section.

Fill out the Apple Podcasts Promotion Request form for a chance to be featured in New & Noteworthy.

Check out Quill Podcasting and follow Fatima on Twitter.

If you are part of a company looking to create a branded podcast, check out the Listen In Conference coming in 2022.

Review Buzzcast in Podchaser or Apple Podcasts to let us know what you think of the show.

Buzzsprout's Dynamic Content tool now allows you to save multiple clips in your Dynamic Content Library and track how many downloads each clip receives. Learn more on our New Features page.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Fatima Zaidi, founder of Quill Podcasting, shares why brands are creating podcasts to connect with customers, the power of building a personal brand as a podcast, and a little known strategy for getting your podcast listed in Apple's New & Noteworthy section.

Fill out the Apple Podcasts Promotion Request form for a chance to be featured in New & Noteworthy.

Check out Quill Podcasting and follow Fatima on Twitter.

If you are part of a company looking to create a branded podcast, check out the Listen In Conference coming in 2022.

Review Buzzcast in Podchaser or Apple Podcasts to let us know what you think of the show.

Buzzsprout's Dynamic Content tool now allows you to save multiple clips in your Dynamic Content Library and track how many downloads each clip receives. Learn more on our New Features page.

Fatima:

contests are a really great way of spiking Apple podcast reviews. And then if you're doing a contest simultaneously to that you should be filling out Apple's placement form, so that they can catch whiff of the fact that your contest is really spiking your reviews and your downloads, which means if they pick you up for their new and noteworthy section, that's a whole other, you know, ballgame of visibility that you haven't even initially considered.

Alban:

Hey, everybody, I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Fatimah zedi. Fatimah is the co founder and CEO of quill, quill is a marketplace for podcasters. And anybody just freelancing in the podcasting industry in case you need someone to help improve your show. They also do branded podcast, their full service production company to help brands create really great podcasts, to showcase their stories and connect with their potential and current customers. So it's a really interesting conversation about brands, and why you should be starting a podcast why brain should be looking at podcasts. At the end, we started talking about a lot of podcasts growth tips, quill has a really good method for growing podcasts and how to consistently get listed in Apple podcasts new and noteworthy. And then we wrap up at the end with a talk about personal brands, if you are an indie podcaster. How do you know whether or not you should be building a personal brand? What things should you be doing? And what are the values there? So it was a really interesting conversation. I learned a lot, and I hope you do too. Let's get to it. Fatimah, thank you so much for being here.

Fatima:

Thank you for having me. It's pleasure. As always.

Alban:

It's my pleasure. Let me start off by asking you, how did you get into podcasting? What brought you to our little corner of the internet?

Fatima:

Well, I think it's the corner that everyone was noticing. But you know, back in 2014, when Sarah caning launched cereal, I think it I remember my best friend from Oman, calling me up and saying, you know, fat, there's this new murder mystery, and it's about this Pakistani guy. And of course, I've Pakistani roots. And she's like this, this, this teenage boy has been convicted of murdering his his girlfriend. And I think this is right up your alley. But it's in a weird format. It's something called a podcast, which is like somewhat of an audio book. And and I had no idea what she was talking about. But being the murder mystery connoisseur that I am I, you know, took a look. And the rest is history. I mean, cereal after that became a household name. It made podcasting, a household name. And at the time, I was running a marketing agency for a fortune 500 companies, we did marketing and PR and I was looking at new ways to create content to reach new audiences. And that was back before podcasting was, you know, mainstream. So that's when I became a consumer and started exploring it as an opportunity for some of our clients.

Alban:

That's awesome. I remember when really, it was that cereal moment that's actually very close to when I left law to join the world of podcasting, podcasting jumped from something under 100,000 podcasts, like 60,000 in the world to now close to 2 million, and the landscape has changed completely. With all that change. What prompted you to think that this is like something that's going to continue to go that you wanted to invest in even more,

Fatima:

you know, it's so interesting, because when I was launching quill, so I decided to sell the last agency and productize Our services are really specialize in podcasting. And everybody told me that I was absolutely nuts, because, you know, it was a very niche industry. I went from my market size being every company who needed marketing to specifically companies who were exploring podcasting, which was a very new medium. But the way that I looked at it was there, the industry for agencies is very saturated. But there's not a lot of podcasting agencies that actually know what they're doing. Folks who not only can create really good content, but also understand audience growth, understand analytics, understand the ins and outs of reaching the right audiences. And so, from from filling a market gap, that was kind of a no brainer for me, but I would say that the thing that I, you know, really got to me was the exponential growth within the industry. Actually, I think we're almost at 4 million podcasts. I was recently reading on the pod news newsletter and they said something in there about we're almost at 4 million. And I don't know if I'm like quoting that inaccurately or not, but I think we're almost there or getting there. And I think it's more so just the growth like 4000 new shows popping up every week. And last year, this time we were at 900,000 active podcasts. So it's especially further compounded in the pandemic where it's definitely not a fad and here to stay.

Alban:

Yeah, I know on the Buzzsprout side We're about tripled during the pandemic, as far as our company size. And there's just it was pretty much spurred by people who are really interested in starting new podcasts, they were all of a sudden had a lot of time at home and figured out, hey, I've been saying I want to start a podcast for a long time. Or maybe they're just feeling a little bit disconnected from a lot of their people they used to spend time with and they went, hey, let's start a podcast and started leaning into this new medium. Totally. So the way you got into podcasting is you saw this opportunity, and you founded quill, what is quill?

Fatima:

Yeah, so quill is a full service podcast production and marketing agency, which means that we work with fortune 500 brands to create content, but also market the shows, I would say creating a good show is half of the work. And the other half of the battle is really reaching the right audiences and making sure that all of this great content is being promoted. I will say though, that we are very tech enabled agencies. So we have the marketplace, which is for anyone who can't afford agency pricing, you can go on and hire podcasting experts. So think of it as the Upwork or Fiverr, of the podcasting world. And then we actually just launched a beta version of a new audience growth tool that we're also going to be using for enterprise clients, and essentially the product we created for our agency clients, but will soon be opening it up to the mass market as well. So

Alban:

and so you have both sides, you have kind of that full service. And you have also the marketplace. That who is that marketplace really geared towards

Fatima:

Yeah, so full service agency is more towards brands who want a team of folks around them. And then the marketplace is more for indie podcasters and content creators who may have limited budgets, but still want to put out a really great show. And essentially, what we've been doing over the last couple of years is we love being in the service space and creating shows, because that's where you really learn the pain points of the industry and what the challenges are. And then based on those challenges, we create products to solve those pain points.

Alban:

So you really specialize in this brands aspect. And I know I've heard you speak, I've listened a lot of podcasts with you really like kind of pinpointing the value proposition for a brand to start a podcast and really selling that idea what why should a brand actually start a podcast?

Fatima:

Oh, my goodness, I could go on and on about this. There's so much content to share here. But I would say the biggest reason is that it is typically a medium that is not available to other advertisers. I can be driving to work and listening to a podcast, but I cannot be watching a Netflix show. I can be washing the dishes and listening to a podcast but not, you know, reading an article. And I think that it's important to understand that 94% of folks who start a podcast end up listening to the entire show, whereas a 30 minute video only has about a 12% completion rate. And that disparity in numbers is that typically, when you're trying to reach educated, millennial professionals, they want to be productive, whatever they're doing, they want to be actively engaged in another activity. And this is one of the only mediums or being engaged in another activity increases engagement rather than heart set. And so, you know, it's the only advertising medium that is available to folks that isn't available to any other form of marketing, whether that be content written. And everyone consumes content in a different way. Some people prefer visual, some people prefer audio. And so you know, you really want to make sure that you're reaching all types of audiences. If it's YouTube, it's Gen Z, if it's podcasts, it's older millennials, if it's, you know, LinkedIn or Facebook, you're typically looking at an older generation, tick tock, you're looking at Gen Z. So if you're, you know, eliminating podcasting from your marketing strategy, it's a whole slew of people that you're not thinking about people like myself, who exclusively consume content in the form of audio,

Alban:

we have definitely seen that on the Buzzsprout side, the same piece of content that we may release as a blog post, a podcast, and a YouTube video. And I've shared these numbers publicly, but I think it's something like three and a half minutes is our average blog read time, four and a half, maybe is our average view time on the YouTube video, which is really highly produced. And then if someone starts the podcast, we're on average, expecting them to listen at 90 something percent of that podcast, it's like 40 minutes. And the amount of effort that goes into each of those mediums is entirely different. And I think you pinpointed it when you said it's because podcasting is take podcasting takes them to account, you're doing something else. podcast, he's not trying to dominate your time, so everyone should be if they're not, you should think about it. Go out and work out every day. And when you're working out, pop in a podcast listen Music like, those are good times to do something else. And I think that's why we get so much better engagement because we're doing something else. And we're not maybe is there a prototype switch kind of like haphazardly between content?

Fatima:

Yeah, definitely. I mean, it, we know, it's one of the best ways to reach a global audience, create an intimate connection with your customers, with your audience, your listeners, and provide valuable on demand content. And so we always encourage anyone who's creating a podcast, whether you're a brand or an indie, content creator, that there's a lot of work that goes into creating a good show. So you should repurpose that content into other formats. podcasting is great for those who prefer audio, and for those who like to be actively engaged in another activity, but you should still be putting it out in the form of a blog and YouTube and social media clips, which is exactly what you just said. And repurposing that content means that you can continue to reach new audiences and new places. And you know, you're really not doubling up the work you're doing is it's just a smarter content strategy.

Alban:

On other podcasts I've heard you say, in the future brands are either going to have their own podcast, or they will be advertising on somebody else's. Why First off, like, why do you think that that's the future? What do you see that leads us to that future?

Fatima:

Yeah, so I think the quote that you're referring to, and I have been, you know, infamously using this quite often is that in the 1980s, we had a phone number for our business, in the 1990s. It was a website in the 2000s. It was social and and i think in the next five to 10 years it's going to be podcasting is going to be our medium and refer a variety of reasons. I think from an engagement level, we're finding that it's just a very intimate sort of platform or medium where the host becomes an influencer. And you start to trust their product recommendations and their advice and their opinions. I think that it's a very easy. It's not an easy production process. But it's a very easy consumption process, like you know, the way that you can get access to a podcast. That way you can distribute the way you can listen to it, it's just at the tip of your fingertips. And more importantly, I think that it's become a very accessible medium these days, anyone with, you know, you don't even need a microphone or headset, you essentially need your phone to record content, not that I recommend recording on a phone. I'm all about the high high quality production. But you know, even if you wanted to create, you know, content for your friends and family, you know, it's just so easy to put together a podcast. It's readily available to anyone who has an internet connection that I think that in 2007. If you were the first person on Twitter, tweeting like Kim Kardashian, by default, you're an influencer today. And I think the people who are podcasting today in the next five to 10 years are going to be the influencers.

Alban:

There was definitely a moment where actually said first conference I ever went to for podcasting was in December 2014. And I remember someone they're telling me, well, I don't even know if it makes sense, because I already missed the boat. You know, the whole wave of podcasting is kind of crashed. If I'd started two years ago, I'd have a great show. But now it's too late. And I think back on that all the time, seven years ago, and had you just stuck with it, it doesn't matter how bad that show had been in the beginning. It's seven years of work on it. He'd be, you know, millions of downloads per episode doing incredibly well with his podcast, think

Fatima:

of the SEO he would have built over the last seven years and the backlinks, he would have gotten just to rank on Google when people were searching for similar content to his. Also, I think that that's just such a ridiculous statement, because we're okay, we're between two to 4 million podcasts. I'm going to after this podcast interview, I'm going to double check to see what that stat is. But let's say we're at two to 4 million podcasts. There's 60 plus million YouTube channels, there's 1.5 billion websites, there's 500 hours of content being uploaded every minute and 30 plus million 600 plus million blogs and 30 plus million YouTube channels. So podcasting is very much at the beginning of the hype cycle. And only 18% of those podcasts are active. So we're like not even we haven't even scratched the surface of content yet. So that person you spoke to very misinformed.

Alban:

Well, he was speaking at a time before we had 100,000 shows. And so definitely, you know, missed the opportunity. And I hope that he maybe is listening now and maybe he actually has a podcast again. It'd be fun to go back and find that individual. So we're thinking about brand starting a podcast you kind of tell me a bit about how podcasts are getting continued to grow. What is the specific reason though? Why a brand should have their own podcast I'm thinking of like a Salesforce. Why does Salesforce need a podcast? Why for them Would it not make more sense to say, hey, I've got my, one of my marketing directors go ahead and buy $4 million of podcast ads across all the shows. We don't have time to create an their own internal podcast where, what what am I missing?

Fatima:

Yeah. So it's really interesting because I think day to day we all walk around and there's so many, you know, behemoth brands that we know of Amazon, Google, Facebook, McDonald's, Slack, Salesforce, but we don't know their brand story. We have zero emotional connections to them. And, and this is a story that I share with everybody. I our household, our entire household are huge, icecream consumers. And when we used to go to the grocery store, we were never exclusively loyal to any particular brand. Until we heard Jerry, Jerry and Tom, I think it's Jerry Greenfield and Tom from Ben and Jerry's on how I built this how I built this episode with guy Roz. And after that episode, I felt such a profound connection to their brand, their brand story, their mission, vision and values that we exclusively now buy Ben and Jerry's. I don't think it's the best ice cream product on the market. I think that Hagen does. And there's so many other other flavors and brands that are probably more superior than Ben and Jerry's, but I just love their companies so much. And since then, I've been following them through so many podcast episodes, and you know, their Black Lives Matter movement statement that they put out. And since then I just have developed an attachment to their brand in a way that goes so beyond product consumption. And that's what I find podcasting can do for your brand, especially if you're a b2c. So a b2c company can come on, and tell their brand stories talk about, you know, what they're doing behind the scenes, and you're no longer just a company, you know, it's very much humanizing, what you're doing behind the scenes that your customers don't get to see. But if you're a b2b company, there has been studies shown and actually quill internally has been tracking this with our b2b podcasting clients that show anyone who is doing a podcast who makes a list of prospective clients that they want to close contracts with, or vendors or partnerships with about 60 to 70% of those folks that they have come on their show will end up at some point within the next six months closing into a larger contract. So it's not just a marketing strategy. It's a really powerful sales tool, one hour in front of somebody, what better way to build a relationship with someone than having them on your show. So b2b, I would say great sales strategy, b2c great brand awareness tool.

Alban:

I actually recently ran across a story that I think it was during the civil rights era that there were the CEO of Coca Cola said that he wanted to have like, an interracial dinner, and was getting a lot of pushback from like civic leaders in Atlanta. And he said, that's fine. I'm going to move the entire company out of Atlanta unless we sell out and it's sold out within like, two hours or something. And I was like, it's just like this little anecdote that I heard, it probably was very well known 50 years ago, but I'd never heard it. And I already had high brand affinity for Coke, but I heard it and I was like, Man, that's a really cool story. I like feel, uh, you know, I've never even thought about who's the CEO of Coca Cola until that moment. And I think we consistently it's why people are in love with Tesla, that they have some they've actually built a connection in some way to Ilan Musk, or maybe for a lot of people a Steve Jobs and Apple computers, like learning the stories of the individuals. And just the brand story is really powerful for totally consumers to build a certain a totally different level of connection.

Fatima:

Absolutely. I mean, Sephora, their podcast lips stories, where they profile female pioneers, and each lipstick brand is named after a different powerhouse. I mean, like, what a great way to bring different diverse perspectives to the table. And I'm sure that their podcast, I mean, they haven't released sales stats, but I'm sure that they've had really high conversion rates from a product perspective. And then, you know, there's brands that I have never given second thought to General Electric being the perfect one, when they release the message, the podcast I, and I thought it was an interesting concept, you know, solving Extra Terrestrial messages using General Electric products. It's so you know, kooky and quirky, I was like, that's so interesting. And it really put their brand on the map. And that's not to say nobody knows what General Electric is, of course, we all know it's a household name. But do we really know what they do? Do we really care? Now we care because we've listened to their podcast, and now that relationship is so much more intimate. So, I mean, you know, there's tons of studies I recently wrote an article, quoting some BBC stats that actually show you specifically the impact that it has on your life. Brown unfavorability purchasing intent brand awareness up like, you know, uplift and purchasing intent and really like specific metrics on on brands, bottom lines, but I would say you know, all of that is secondary, like, of course, sales is always a priority. But first and foremost, what you're trying to do is stay top of mind with with people who are seeking out your content.

Alban:

That's really interesting. I didn't prep this question. So feel free to dodge it if you'd like. That's, so that's a for a podcast, I'd never heard of it. I think that's a really interesting way for them to highlight their product, and to also connect to their audience in a meaningful way. Are there other brands that you see doing interesting podcasts? And could you kind of tell the stories behind them?

Fatima:

Yeah, absolutely. So I am, I listened to 10 podcasts a week. And I would say five of them are usually branded podcasts. So I tried to diversify content, from you know, the The New York Times that gimlets the wonders of the world with like smaller indie shows, and then also branded shows, there's a bunch of podcasts that I highly recommend if for those tuning in are looking for recommendations. slack has two podcasts. One is called slack variety pack, it's an older one. And then the new one is work in progress. And I love both of those shows, because it aligns so well with their brand messaging and positioning their entire product and their entire business mission is to help teams work better together. That's why slack was produced. And their entire podcast is about profiling business stories where teams have worked together to solve problems. So I love that one.

Alban:

One thing I've noticed is so I've seen brands do this. On Buzzsprout. We had a customer who I forget how he initially connected but he was doing a podcast about setting up call centers. And his actual job was setting up call centers. He would people would outsource it to him, he set up their call center, once they hit a certain level, they needed to have a large call center, he would set it up. And he started just talking about the process. Here's the KPIs you should be using. Here's how you hire here are the red flags you have with managers. Here's the equipment, just everything in a podcast. And what he realized was, even though he was only getting I think around 150 downloads per episode, the people he was constantly in communication with obviously one way were the decision makers in his industry, because they were actively looking to find, Alright, we're doing this call center thing. What's the best equipment? Oh, here's a podcast. And here's one talking about it. And they started listening. He said, eventually, they would start reaching out being like, Hey, this is so much harder than we thought. would you would you want to come on and help us? Yes, this is my whole business.

Fatima:

That's amazing. I mean, I'm telling you, it's like the best sales tool ever. And actually, the more niche your podcast, the more engaged your audience. I mean, we add so funny, we have a client who has an open banking podcast, and who knew that there was literally a cult like following for open banking content around what is open banking. So this this client of mine, so the podcast is called Mr. Open banking, and it's under our client axway. In the US, they're based out of Phoenix. They have two podcasts have one which is business stories. It's called transform it forward. And then al Sivan, who is the host of Mr. Open banking, he is an open banking expert, which is cross border banking. Which Yeah, no two people like you. And I would be like, okay, I don't know if I would tune into an open banking podcast in my spare time. But no, there is a huge audience for open banking content. And it's one of the most popular shows in our roster. And it actually makes sense, because it's such a niche topic. And there's probably not a lot of content on open banking. So he, like your friend is reaching a lot of those, you know, executives, decision makers, open banking, and he's constantly getting poached, because he is creating content that is just a very specific topic that not a lot of people are. And I would like to tell our clients, you need to fall under one of the three categories when creating shows the best, the first, the best or different. If you're one of those three categories, you're gonna have a really good show.

Alban:

Yeah, I always talk to people about, you really want to be the best in your niche. And you can define that as narrowly as you want. And if you want to be the best interview show, well, now you're going up against Terry Gross, and Ira Glass and Joe Rogan and like all these big names, well, you're gonna it's gonna be hard and then if you start narrowing it, you can get down to this very, very small niche. And that can feel limiting as a content creator cuz you're like, oh, are there really people who want to listen to my open banking podcast or a podcast about setting up call centers? Or whatever you do the podcast or Dungeons and Dragons, whatever your podcast may be about. But the thing that you gain when you niche down is, you make it easy for your listeners to find you and know within a minute, this is who I want to listen to. So yeah, I'll give an example. One of my college roommates was really into weather, and he would chase tornadoes and loved hurricanes. And, you know, he was the only one that I ever knew who is like that. And that was like, I was like, okay, that's when they kind of you are into, while there's a whole group of people. And eventually, he met two other people who are really into it. Now his job is he films all these weather events and sells the footage like Netflix and new stations. But he started a podcast called tornado trackers. And it does exceptionally well, because he's not unique. He was unique in the small college environment that we were in. But he's not unique when you reach a worldwide audience of people who are like, Oh, I'm really into weather. And then when he put that podcast, I'm kind of flew this flag. And all of a sudden, people were like, Well, yeah, that's what I've been looking for my whole life. And if there's anyone who knew, like, my cousin's really into weather, and they heard about his podcast, they go and they run to the cousin, they go, Hey, you gotta listen, this podcast, it's actually for you. Were these really big shows. I rarely listened to though I love it This American Life and think, Oh, my gosh, this is for my Dad, I've got to go tell my dad, this is the episode for you, or my cousin. But if there was, you know, when people have a specific interest, it's very easy to connect them to a specific show.

Fatima:

Oh, totally. And it's an it's interesting, because when clients come to us, and they say, we want to do an interview, or like an interview style Podcast, where we're interviewing, you know, business leaders, and I'm like, Okay, great. So you want to compete with the guy arises of the world, like, there's already a how I built this. This is what I love about eBay's podcast, the message, they actually they wanted to do the same thing. They wanted to interview business leaders, but they actually decided to profile the business failures. And actually, the only podcast out there that I think actually does that, like all of these shows out there that will interview success stories, but no one actually focuses on like, the ones that don't make it, and why they don't make it and like, you know, I was really blown away when I listen to their podcast, I think they may need some help in the production department. But as like a concept, it was like, Wow, you've really nailed figuring out a niche that nobody else has sort of monopolized yet as a brand to which is impressive.

Alban:

eBay, if you're listening, check out quill, they could definitely help you at that production side. Alright, so here's something that I thought about, as I've experienced more branded shows, and like you said, people started getting their phone number, then their website, then their social media. Well, phone numbers are basically fungible, everybody gets a phone number, they're all just as good as any other phone numbers. But then when it gets to a website, and social, a, just getting a website up, I don't see almost any value in that unless you're actually putting some effort into it, you're really engaging your audience. And then in social, it even gets, the stakes are even higher, where if you have like a dead social account, okay. But if you actually actively, uh, you're not engaging your audience, or maybe you're even offending your audience, you really need to be brand appropriate. And sometimes just kind of just doing it because you have to do it doesn't really get you anything. So my question is, how does a brand approach a podcast in a way to say, we want to be brand safe, we want to be on point, we want the production to match the brand that we're building. We may be incredible, and shoes, but we're not incredible in audio? How do they do all that?

Fatima:

That's a really good question. It's, it's interesting, because it's really finding that balance between understanding that, you know, people connect with you, based on your personal stories, not carefully crafted tweets or scripts. And so you really want to make sure that there's an authenticity component to the content that you're putting out. And, you know, it's always really difficult to sort of find that bridge when it is a brand because there's so much at least, you know, red tape on what you can and can't say. I was reminded of like, when you brought that question up, it reminded me of the Justine Sacco story. Do you remember that whole scandal with I don't think so. Justine Sacco was a PR executive who worked at IAB which is the holding company that they owned match and Tinder I think they still do and she was getting on a flight to South Africa. she tweeted, going to South Africa hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white. And she thought she was being funny. And by the time she landed in Cape Town, a reporter had found this tweet, it had been retweeted 1000s and 1000s of time, there's paparazzi waiting for at Cape Town airport, the hashtag has just been landed yet was trending. And of course, she'd made international headlines and been fired. So think about the publicity that Tinder and match and these holding companies got from it. And it's a perfect example of, you can say one stupid thing on air and digital lives forever, that can absolutely ruin this brand that you've spent. So long building. So don't be adjusting Sacco. The rule of thumb is, don't say anything that you wouldn't want plastered on a billboard with your company logo next to it and don't say anything that you wouldn't want your mom reading. Those are sort of my two benchmarks for what you shouldn't shouldn't say. And in terms of, you know, making sure that your online and offline brand matches whether you're a content creator or a company, I think it's really about telling a business story in a way that actually resonates with the audience. So not carefully crafted tweets, but bringing in a personal element to it. So the the personal anecdotes story that you recently just shared, actually, in the earlier part of our interview was like the perfect example. I would say the Ben and Jerry's example that I shared really where they talk about their personal stories and, and why they decided to act no advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement and why they decided to put people before profits like explaining all of that in a way that really humanizes you, rather than being promotional and salesy. That is always the goal when it comes to creating good content.

Alban:

That's a good distinction. A lot of brands I see once they get a platform, they think the goal of this platform is to get more sales. And you're basically building a podcast, so you don't have to buy the ads on the same podcast. But it's kind of a different message. You're the you know, if you're just being salesy, and you're just buying advertisements, then you probably are just trying to say something along the lines of, hey, Coca Cola, it's delicious, like you love it, go buy some versus a actual branded podcast, you're telling the story of your brand. Here's the values we have, here's how we're trying to change the world. Here's what we're doing for our employees, our customers, etc. But how does the, I guess like still like the technical work of recording a podcast, of branding it of getting it to sound as polished as you know, maybe you are in your shoes, or in your lipsticks or whatever thing you actually are creating, you're probably not exceptional at creating audio, especially stories for audio. Are there things that you would recommend clients, potential clients brands, looking at building a podcast, I

Fatima:

mean, if you're a brand, you should be working with an agency, if you have budget, you should be working with an agency. And if not an agency, there's some really great freelancers out there that you can also tap into. And I think there's this misconception that you have to spend a lot of money to create a really good show serial was created on a very limited production budget. And I think people sometimes forget that they you don't really need to pump, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars into creating a really high quality podcast. And, you know, there's obviously the basics that everyone should know, don't record on your phone. Don't record on zoom. I was very excited to get a Riverside link from you because I was like, okay, he obviously knows what he's doing. Riverside is my favorite platform, one of the least glitchy sound optimized recording software's and it's so simple to navigate. But hey, I'll even settle for a Zen caster or squad cast or, you know, one of those platforms clean feed, don't use conference calls, don't use anchor, don't use anything free. If it's free, there's usually a reason for it. And so that would be my first thing like don't compromise on audio quality. The second would be it actually isn't very expensive to hire an editor to clean up your audio and put some music and even transitional signposts and soundscapes to really tell that story and give listeners a break from the conversation. You can use generalist platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to hire someone even offshore for like $20 they could do it per episode. So you're not looking at a huge capital lift. And then you know, there's investing in a good microphone and investing in good headphones, making sure that you are distributing your show on all of the channels. So not just Spotify, Apple and Google which are the main ones but there's castbox in overcast and and Stitcher and I heart and a lot of the smaller players as well where a lot of people consume their content, making sure that you're you know, working on the organic side podcast. is a marathon it's not a sprint, you you know, like your friend who gave up seven years into the game. It's like building your personal brand. It's you're gonna see momentum slowly over time, and it's about continuous growth and one day you're gonna wake up and you're gonna have 2 million followers or 2 million downloads like Jordan Harbinger. But that was not an overnight success.

Alban:

Alright, so you, you started touching on growing a podcast, growing a podcast and my experience has been exceptionally difficult. Because podcasting doesn't have an algorithm and we are really having to connect to our audience, and then convince them to listen to the show and then retain them. It's quite a long process to get somebody to listen to the show. And when I think about pitching, let's say, I'm pitching my boss at Salesforce saying, hey, you should start a podcast. You know, if two months in, we're looking at download numbers, and we're only seeing 1000 downloads per episode, I think it'd be pretty easy for them to say, can it? We're not spending VP level time interviewing people or having these conversations, if we can't reach more than 50,000 customers? One, is that the right way to think about it? And then to how do we grow a podcast so that we know it's successful?

Fatima:

So yes, and no, it is I do understand the ROI justification. And I spend like 90% of my day convincing and talking to brands about it's usually the CFOs and the CEOs and explaining what the ROI of podcasting is. And and what I would would say is that it's not about the mass downloads, if you're looking for, you know, the 50,000 people reach then you should be doing digital advertising. Like it's all about the Google and the Facebook ads and Reddit and LinkedIn ads. podcasting is about reaching a niche audience, and it's all about the engagement piece. And so this medium shouldn't be looked at from how many downloads do you have? It should be looked at? Yes, downloads matter. But how engages your audience? Are they listening all the way through to the end of your content? Are they dropping off in the first 10 minutes? Or are they staying on until your conclusion? What's your average consumption rate? Those are the metrics that I need to be looking at not just your number of unique listeners, I do understand the ROI justification especially if you're a Salesforce, you're probably putting a lot of capital into your show. And that's where having a production agency that really specializes in audience growth helps because those folks can really, like quill spends majority of their time when it comes to marketing shows we don't focus on the organic tactics. We're not doing social media for clients or writing out blogs, clients can do that themselves. We're doing things like paid advertising. So Spotify ads studio, podcast addict, overcast ads, we're doing the very industry specific targeted ads that are very ROI and data driven. So for every dollar you're putting in, you're seeing how many of those are coming out how much money of that is coming back to you and unique listeners and downloads. And so that's how you sort of have to approach your podcast. It's almost like how you approach your business. It's like the justification of span really needs to come down to how you're measuring your analytics and your metrics. And it's a combination of data driven marketing with also benchmarking and realistic expectations.

Alban:

So talk to me a little bit about some of those tactics, you said, Spotify, ads studio, overcast ads, podcast addict, how did those tactics work?

Fatima:

Yeah, so our I would say the marketing tactics that we explore are sort of broken up into a few different categories in terms of paid advertising. What we do is a ton of promotion on the listing platforms. So unfortunately, Apple is not open to advertising. And not yet anyways, but all of the other platforms are. And so things like Spotify ads studio, you can target people in Spotify, who are already listening to podcasts based on age, location, as well as interest. So what other similar shows are they already listening to that are comparable to yours. So it's a very warm lead and pretty high conversion rates. We actually, were one of the first agencies on ads studios, we've worked very closely with the Spotify product team to sort of evolve with them through throughout their ad studio journey. And they have a $250 minimum spend. So even if you're not a big brand, you can advertise with them. And Spotify actually recently launched this year, they launched a marketplace as well, that's very similar to megaphone in a cast where for a particular ad spend, let's say you have $1,000 to spare, you can invest that into their marketplace, and they take the top 20 shows in your category, and they advertise on those podcasts, which is a really great way of reaching a very dedicated listener base that are seeking out your content. So listing platforms is definitely the way to go. podcast addict is the Android version of Apple podcasts. And unlike Apple, they actually allow it advertising. And the cool thing about them is they can give you impressions that they can give you how many people clicked on the ad, which Spotify does, too. And they also show you how many people subscribed to your podcast. And then under your hosting platform, like Buzzsprout, or simplecast, you can go to the technology section. And you can actually see how many of those people converted into podcast downloads. So you can get pretty accurate with like, you know, figuring out how far your dollars construction what your customer acquisition rate is. And similar to these two metrics, there's, you know, overcast, there's, like so many paid my megaphones marketplace does really well. A cast recently launched one as well. Yeah, like la castbox is another one, they're usually sold out of ad slots. But if you can get your hands on one, they're great. I'm trying to think of what else we do from a paid I think that's it from the paid side of things, we find social ads don't work. Social ads are really great for likes and comments and engagement, but don't do anything for podcast downloads. And then there's the industry specific tactics like we apply for all of the awards, we have a master sheet of all of the podcasting awards to get on people's radar, we write articles for different publications on best podcast to tune into. So I'm one of the writers for various publications on that we own the coil reviews, which is very similar to pod chaser, where we write out customized reviews on different shows. So people for SEO really helps them with their visibility for new listeners. contests are a really great way of spiking Apple podcast reviews. And then if you're doing a contest simultaneously to that you should be filling out Apple's placement form, so that they can catch whiff of the fact that your contest is really spiking your reviews and your downloads, which means if they pick you up for their new and noteworthy section, that's a whole other you know, ballgame of visibility that you hadn't even initially considered.

Alban:

So for smaller podcast, specially indie podcasts, Apple new noteworthy is something that they really want to get involved in, it sounds like you actually have a little bit of a secret on how to get listed in Apple do it.

Fatima:

Yes, it is a little bit of a trade hack that I'm sharing with everyone. I quill doesn't believe in holding anything close to us. We love collaborating competitors. And all we the best way to get on Apple's new noteworthy section is to do a contest external or internal facing. If you're a company that's more than 500 people, I recommend that you do an internal facing contest. And if you're a smaller organization, or even just an indie content creator, than do an external facing one, your call to action should be subscribe to my show and leave me an apple podcast review. And then once you see those spike in Apple podcast reviews, your prize can be, you know, 10 gift cards to small businesses around the US or North America. Please don't do Amazon, we don't want to make Jeff Bezos any richer than he is. And then once you see those spike and reviews coming through, you should apply on Apple's web page on their Apple placement form. And this form is for anyone who wants additional visibility through apple and they can cross collaborate to see if the show is worth it for them. But if they're seeing the type of analytics you're bringing in through your contest, it's kind of a no brainer for them.

Alban:

That's incredible. It's a great way to try to go round and figure out how to get into Apple podcasts new and noteworthy.

Fatima:

Yeah, our clients at sickkids Hospital just got featured a few weeks ago. And we like you know, their listeners spikes like 30% over over the period that Apple picked up their show.

Alban:

Wow, that's incredible. Do you see over time that people actually stick with the show after that spike from Apple new noteworthy to most people just listen and drop off? Are they actually sticking around?

Fatima:

Yeah, so for most of our clients, our retention is amazing. And that's something that we very closely monitor our retention curve is like probably the most important important metric for us, making sure that anyone we're driving to the show is staying on for future episodes, I would say that 100% comes down to content retention, if people are dropping off within the first 10 minutes of your show, like your content needs work, maybe your production quality needs work. You know, it shows that it's not an authentic contest, people are coming on subscribing and then bouncing as soon as they claim their prize. And so it's a really good learning opportunity for you like what are you doing? You know that what, what could you be doing differently to retain those listeners?

Alban:

I like the other tactic that you kind of alluded to is buying ads inside of these podcast apps. And you differentiated that from buying ads on social Yeah. I from you know, talking to 1000s of podcasters have never I've I've talked to one person who claimed he can do it. I've never seen anyone show me anything except losing a vast amount of money on Facebook ads or social ads when trying to grow a podcast because of this. Is my theory at least you are getting people taste of a podcast, but you have no knowledge of whether or not they actually have a podcast listening habit. And if they don't have a podcast listening habit already, it's a hard ask to be like, hey, you like that 30 seconds to this podcast. Alright, go ahead, download a new app, then. Yeah, it's the purple app that's been on your phone forever. Okay, on, delete that subscribe to the show. And now start listening to me, that's a really big lift, versus somebody is already in there. someone's already listening on podcast attic, they actually aren't using a default app. This isn't that they download it or they're using overcast. It's not the default app. They are a podcast junkie. And then they see this ad for a show that may be perfect for their brand. That's a very light asked to say click it, listen to this episode. And if you like it, subscribe. The the connection, the ROI is so much better than social ads.

Fatima:

It's not possible like I can pretty much guarantee you like social, we've done so much advertising on all of the social platforms from LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Google, it's You're wasting your money if your success metric is podcast downloads, if you want likes and comments on your social posts and brand awareness, and by all means, drop that money, your you know, it's about brand awareness and reach mass audiences. But I can pretty much guarantee at this point, it's not going to equate to podcasting downloads, it's kind of a shot at the dark, you know, you're hoping something sticks, whereas the listing platforms, they're already listening to podcasts, which is a very small subset of the market right now. So you want it to be a warm lead, and you want it to be very targeted. And actually another tactic that I didn't mention that I probably should give them a shout out because they're amazing is if you are a new podcast, I highly recommend advertising on industry newsletters, I religiously read pod news every morning. And so any new podcasts that are launching that are being advertised in pod news, I'm subscribing to them. And then pod move is another one, which is podcast movements. Buzzsprout has one as well. Um, I don't know if you do advertising externally, but I don't think you do. I think you're just I read yours religiously, Pacific content is another one. But pod move and podcast movement are two that I highly recommend. All the industry consumers are reading that article or newsletter. And so such a warm way of reaching those qualified leads. But social is a no go.

Alban:

Social media has always been has this promise out there. And it's like, oh, if you can do social media, then you'll do exceptionally well. And from a business marketing perspective, to podcasts, marketing to a lot of stuff and like social is a good place to connect with your audience, to do some social listening to learn about your customers. I have struggled so hard in can Vince saying people you meet on social to buy from you later, or to listen to your podcast or take actions out of social media because the time that you're spending on tik tok, or on Twitter or on Instagram, or wherever you are, it's often these moments that are just kind of feeling a little bit of a void. You're like I have nothing going on right now. And I'll flip open my phone and check something out. It's pretty difficult as certain types of brands to do organic reach, get people to say, Hey, why don't you take an action right now? When all these platforms are also very targeted on the only people who really get access to get people off the platform are really the people paying the money to do that.

Fatima:

Yeah, I mean, I think you sort of hit the nail on the head, which is it's a really great way for you to connect, and understand who your listeners are one of our clients at the end of, or at the beginning of their podcast, they always say, tweet at me and let me know where you are and what you're doing. And so you'll have people on their feed who are tuning in from New Mexico, Dubai, you know, Egypt and they're walking their dogs or they're driving to work and it's such a, you know, great engagement tool. It's such a great way to know who your audiences what they're doing, and get to know them better. But you know, beyond that, I don't think social and podcast downloads have much correlation.

Alban:

That's a really interesting idea to build engagement on social for your podcast is a great way to get some like feedback. I'm definitely going to use that one and recommend that to other podcasters. Definitely. So one other thing that I think we've talked a lot about brands, and but a lot of the people who Buzzsprout reaches and a lot of people that will watch this show, or listen to this podcast, are indie podcasters. And they're often people who are building a personal brand. And so I know you have a lot of thoughts about building a personal brand, especially when it comes to public speaking So can you give me the pitch for? Why should people be talking in public? And how, why should we even be building a personal brand at all?

Fatima:

Yeah, I mean, look, everybody has a personal brand. It's what people are saying about you when you're not in the room. And so if you already have a personal brand, you might as well refine it hone in and work on the positioning and messaging of how you, you know, sort of what you want to leave behind, I would say. And I think that there's three reasons why it's important to have a personal brand. The first is, we all know when we're about to go on that date, hire someone apply for that job, the first thing that people are going to do is Google you. And if the first thing that comes up are pictures of you drinking tequila in high school, then it you know, not really going to help you stand out. The second thing that I find really cool is that you can choose what you want your personal brand to be around, mine happens to be podcasting. But you can choose what you want your brand to look like. And that is a really cool thing you can refine and control that narrative. And I would say the last thing is that, you know, we all like you know, whether it's looking for a job, whether it's hiring or whether it's connections are contacts, your your personal network knows your for your personal brand, and the stronger your network and your brand, the more you can leverage and the more you can tap into people. And so, you know, I wouldn't necessarily say public speaking is the way to go. I would say, if you enjoy public speaking and you're good at it, then absolutely, it's a lot of work. But it's a really great way of connecting with people and you know, building your network, one handshake at a time. But I talked to so many people who want to build their brand, and they want to start speaking and the first question I asked them is, well, do you enjoy speaking? And they're like, Oh, no, I hate public speaking. I'm so scared of it, then why would you want to spend so many hours building your brand around a tactic that you're not good at and you don't enjoy? You know, building your personal brand is a full time job. It's again, like podcasting, a marathon, not a sprint. And if you're going to be spending so many hours, please choose something that you're good at that's aligned with your skill set. And that, you know, feels authentic to your brand. I'm sure you love podcasting Albin. I mean, I can just tell from this like, hour and a half that we've been talking that you probably really enjoy speaking to people, it would be very obvious to me if you didn't, and if you weren't good at it.

Alban:

I think I had an interview with Kate Casey, who does a podcast called reality life with Kate Casey. And she said, You really can't compete with somebody who enjoys what they're doing. She has five children, she started multiple businesses. She's running a ultra successful podcast, she's doing so much stuff. I was like, when do you recharge and she's like, this is the recharge like, this is what I love to do. And it's very difficult to compete with people who are enjoying something, if you're enjoying it, then you're going to do exceptionally well. And you're going to make the time for it. But if like, you know, it's good to face your fears. But if you're realizing like I had a realization at some point that the practice of law was not the thing I was ever going to love, then you kind of need to pivot away from that so that you can be in an area where you will succeed just by virtue of enjoying the thing that you're doing. Definitely.

Fatima:

I had no idea. You're a lawyer, by the way. That's so interesting. You've always been Alban, the podcasting guy.

Alban:

I have always been if I've been in podcasting a lot longer than I was ever in law, I guess. So very short time, short lived legal career. One thing that I see with personal brands a lot is imposter syndrome. We either get people who are like, not an expert at all. And then they're hosting clubhouse rooms, giving advice that is just totally off the wall and not accurate. And then on the other end, we have pretty accomplished people who still because by virtue of them, seeing how much they could grow personally, they see, oh, I'm not qualified yet to speak on this subject and they hold themselves back. How do you we help people, especially people who are already qualified to start speaking and building a personal brand, how do we help them get over that hurdle?

Fatima:

I think imposter syndrome is very normal for just everybody in the not just in the podcasting industry. But when I look around in my network, especially women, I find that they're you know, very afraid of coming across as too promotional or opinionated or assertive. And they don't want to put up their hand and take credit for their ideas or promote themselves and, and build their brand. And oftentimes I was like to remind people that you are CEOs have your own personal brand. And if you don't advocate for yourself, nobody else well. That's not to say that I don't ever feel imposter syndrome, but I also try to remind myself that nobody else has More or less have a right to be doing exactly what I'm doing. Really the difference is just going for it. And so on the days where I'm not feeling particularly confident what I do is I over prepare. And over preparation equates to confidence means that you don't you don't leave the room for imposter syndrome.

Alban:

I really liked that answer, I can see that myself sometimes that the moments where I'm very anxious about doing a interview or something, you put in a nother hour or two of research and you start writing out your answers your potential questions, it really does start to dissolve some of that fear.

Fatima:

Absolutely. 100%. I love that. I think that this is for everyone across the board, you know, if you are going to be judged on a critical lens, you just the margin of error is very low. And so you shouldn't give people the opportunity or yourself the opportunity to not be over prepared for every opportunity walk into

Alban:

one thing I've also noticed, sometimes it's helpful for people with imposter syndrome is remembering, it's very difficult for a true beginner to learn from an expert. A lot of times a beginner needs to learn from someone who's just like beginner plus, or maybe like an intermediate level. And so, if you're six months into your podcasting, journey, sharing, hey, here's what what it's been like for me, here's some of the hurdles that I've overcome. Here's some of the stuff I've learned. You could think well, what about somebody who's already been doing this for 10 years? You know, I'm not at the same level as them Well, there's actually people who can't really learn from the 10 year veteran, I think of Terry Gross is like one of the best interviewers especially podcast interviewers now and the stuff that she talks about is so far above my level that I often think I don't even know how applicable This is. To me it's hard to learn but if there was somebody who has you know may not feel empowered yet to teach their tactics and things they've learned those actually might be the things that are just two three levels above me that now are speaking right to the lessons I need to learn

Fatima:

Mm Hmm It's like that simple phrase or quote or something or someone for everyone I like truly believe that when it comes to content as well.

Alban:

That's a good There's your your content can be for just a few people. It can be their content soulmate. And

Fatima:

yeah, exactly. Content soulmate. I love that. And you can't you can't be everything to everyone. And if you're creating your podcast, to try to reach everyone, you're you're you're already setting yourself up to fail.

Alban:

Alright, so lastly, before we go, you have also started a conference that's really specializing and helping brands understand branded content and podcasting. COVID kind of wrecked the first one, it stopped you from having the second year. But listening conference is coming in 2020 to tell us about this conference and what you're doing.

Fatima:

It's coming. I mean, unless the Delta variant decides to mess it up again, for us, we are hoping to be able to pull it off this year. So we the first couple of years, like last year, and this year, we're supposed to have our conference in LA at the Millennium Biltmore. The entire conference is about supporting brands who are creating branded podcasts, and you know, helping them take their shows to the next level. So it's a mix of corporations and fortune 500 100 companies who are interested in podcasting, along with industry professionals like yourself. Our headliner is Sarah caning. I know we talked about earlier in this interview. So she it's a full circle moment for me because she was the reason that I got into the industry and started consuming shows. And so last year, when I was thinking about who I wanted, as our headliner is kind of a no brainer, I wanted to go back to the roots. So she's coming out to talk about just the impact that podcasts can have on brands as well as how to create really good content. And I think hopefully, by then, season four cereal should also be launching. So hopefully, we can also get some intel from her on what that might look like. But yes, I really hope to see everyone there. It's going to be on June 23 2022. Plenty of time for this, you know, interesting year to be over. I hope to see all of you there. Whether you're a content creator, whether you're a brand, whether you're an industry professional, it'll be some really great networking and it's la it's always a good time.

Alban:

It's always a good time. It's actually the hotel that I think podcast movement evolutions is mostly held in and it's a great venue in a just a blast to be in downtown LA. So Fatimah before we go, tell us I know you're pretty much active on all social media. But if people want to connect with quill if they want to build a branded Podcast, where should they find you?

Fatima:

Yeah, so I if you want to find me, it's not hard. I'm pretty much everywhere, all of the channel. LinkedIn, the only thing I'm not on is tech talk. I just like haven't given into it but LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter zaidifatimah is my handle. quill Inc is the handle across all of our channels. If you are listening today please tweet at Alban and I and let us know who you are, where you are and what you're doing. Alban, what handle should everyone be tweeting at us?

Alban:

Well, I'm always at Alban Brooke, so you can find me there.

Fatima:

Perfect. And we'll we'll definitely tweet back. And that's how we start the engagement.

Alban:

Sounds great. Thank you so much for being generous with your time and spending the day with us. Hopefully, we'll talk to you soon. Thanks for having me.

Introducing Fatima Zaidi
How did you get into podcasting?
Podcasting is here to stay
Quill Podcasting
Why should brands start a podcast?
First, best, or different
Building brand affinity
Growing a podcast
Apple's New & Noteworthy
Do social media ads work?
Building a personal brand