Wisconsin podcasters attempt to stand out from the growing competition

Cory Sparks , Editor in Chief

As competition and listenership ramp up the growing market of podcasting, Wisconsin podcast teams are doing all they can to excel and even make some money off the passtime.

“Trying to stand out is not an easy task,” said Kyle Davis, a Milwaukee native and MV3 podcast host. “We provide comedy, insight and arguments. Interactivity is what I really think is making us stand out in the beginning stages of our podcast.”
According to Forbes, there were more than 1.75 million podcasts by February 2021 with over 43 million episodes available, more than double the 18 million available in 2018.

A greater rate of Americans ages 12 or older (32% to 37% from 2019-2020) now listen to a podcast at least once a month.
With these increases in listenership for podcasts comes the opportunity for the revenue stream that has dominated broadcast media since its origins: advertising.

In the same Forbes article, IAB Pricewater Coopers estimated over $800 million was spent on advertising in podcasting in 2020.
A survey from Westwood One and Advertiser Perceptions found that 37% of marketers said they would likely advertise using podcasts over the course of six months in 2020, up from 10% in 2015.

Andrew Haese, This Has No Point podcast host and UW Oshkosh alumnus, said there are podcast platforms that will pay someone per listen if they can embed a sponsored message in their audio file. But the real money comes from brand deals with companies that have a tie to what the podcast is about.

“Using popular podcast platforms like Libsyn or Spreaker are a good way to place ads in your podcast,” Haese said. “You’ll make a lot more money from brand deals you work out yourself. Becoming brand ambassadors for products or services that appeal to your target audience and that you actually use yourself is a great way to increase your reach.”

Outside of brand deals, spreading the word on one’s podcast across social media can also help it gain traction.
Tyler Skibinski, a video production engineer in Milwaukee who also works for the National Podcast Association, said one can use social media platforms to find out what demographic groups are reacting to a podcast’s content. He also said connecting with other podcasters can benefit all parties.
“When the podcast show stays active by posting on Twitter or Instagram, it will create great connections,” Skibinski said. “Doing the research, making changes and networking with other podcasters, even the NPA, will keep your show running episode after episode.”

Haese said he follows a blueprint approach when promoting his podcast content on social media.
“A good practice that holds tried and true is the GaryVee Content Model,” he said. “Make a piece of long-form content, add video to it and then splinter that long-form content into short-form content for social media.”

While posting and promoting a podcast may make audience growth sound relatively easy, Davis said that starting out with not many listeners can be tough to shake off at times. However, he said that passion should be driving the podcast through those tough moments.

“While starting the podcast, it is very hard to look at the numbers and see that no one is listening or watching,” he said. “If you are having fun recording, your audience will hear it in your voice and will want more.”

Haese said that for anyone wanting to start a podcast, the target audience and overall enjoyment of the experience should override any desire to make money off of it.
“A great way to start is by not making money at all,” Haese said. “Remembering your target audience and who you are trying to appeal to is an important decision to make before you even start your podcast.”