INTERVIEW | Robert Katai: “Measuring the performance of a podcast is one of the biggest challenges in the industry. “

An experienced digital marketer and content strategist, Robert Katai not only is hosting his own podcast but shouting out loud and evangelizing the benefits of this emerging type of media. The podcast is past its buzzword days and Robert shows us how to work with it to generate attention, engagement and revenue.

Is audio content making a comeback through podcasts?

Audio content is getting more and more buzzwords in the industry, especially with the new voice devices like Alexa, Google Home, and others. People want to optimize their time; they want to be educated, informed, and entertained.

And for every need, there is a type of content they can use.
Do you want to be educated? You can read articles (text), you can watch documentaries (video) or listen to podcasts (audio).
Do you want to be informed? You can read the news (text), you can watch the news (video), or you can listen to the daily news (audio)
Do you want to be entertained? You can watch Youtube videos, Netflix movies (video), or you can listen to different kind of podcasts – true crime, funny interviews, and so on (audio).

So audio content is making its way around other types of content in different contexts.

What caused podcasts to grow so fast and become so popular?

If we look globally, podcasting grows fast due to those who started having a more significant impact on the industry. Just look at how Gary Vaynerchuk talks about podcasting, or how Joe Rogan became the face of podcasting. And what about people like Jordan Harbinger, James Altucher, Patt Flyn or John Lee Dumas who grew their businesses due to podcasting.

Why podcasts became so popular:

> Easy to produce and relatively inexpensive

> A wide range of distribution channels

> Free access to tutorials on how to start a podcast

> Online superstars use podcasts to talk to their communities

Is podcast the new vehicle to celebrity?

It’s really funny that you asked this at a time when YouTube celebrities are more prominent stars than Hollywood ones.

Just think about how online celebrities grew and how they started communicating with their communities. By creating on-demand content, they put themselves in front of their audiences regardless of the platform and screen type: Instagram, YouTube, blogs, Snapchat, Podcast, and the list can go on and on.

Yes, you can make your way to celebrity by using a podcast, but you must consider these three critical elements:

> An authentic voice
> An excellent topic
> The most effective podcast distribution strategy

Allegedly, audio format is less intimidating for guests (as opposed to video). Is that true? If so, why?

Yes. That’s why I’m not filming my guests. I think being in front of the camera may distract people. Instead of focusing on how to answer the questions they may be preoccupied with thoughts like “where should I put my hand,” “how do I look on camera” or “is the light good” and other details.

I found out that once I hit the “record” button on my microphone and start talking with my guests, they forget that we are in a podcast. It’s the host responsibility to make the guest feel well and comfortable.

How do you measure a podcast success? What KPIs do we need to look at?

I wrote an article where I told my audience why they shouldn’t start a podcast – measuring the performance of a podcast is one of the biggest challenges in the industry.

Yes, you can measure the downloads of the podcast, the backlinks on the page, the social share, and from what devices your audience listened to it. But there is a big problem – there are tens of audio streams: SoundCloud, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcast, Overcast, Castbox, Tune In, etc. Now just put these audio streams together and see how many of them are giving you the right number.

Still, if you want to measure your podcast success, you could do it in several ways:

> Choose a hosting service that provides in-depth data on downloads: count, geography, devices, etc. I’m using Libsyn, and it’s the best hosting service for podcasting right now.

> Create a web page, install Analytics to see how much time do your users stay on your website. You can monitor all the traffic, get social shares and other KPI’s to look at for a podcast published on a website.

> Check out the success of your podcast by reading your reviews. That’s why I’m always encouraging my community to review my podcast and let me know what they think about it. Some of them post the reviews on Apple Podcast; others are DM’ing me on Instagram or send e-mails.

What type of businesses can see results by advertising with a podcast?

The guys from Ahrefs (an SEO company) published an article on what they learned by placing advertising on different podcasts –

I believe that businesses can find industry-specific podcasts where they can start advertising. Just go on Apple Podcast, search the category of your business, look up the top 10 podcast shows, and listen to them. If you can identify any sponsor, that means they are open for advertising.

Is advertising in podcasts annoying listeners? What’s the golden rule when accepting/inserting promo in a podcast?

Be authentic.

That’s my whole take on this. When you are not authentic with your sponsors and with your community, you will lose a lot.

What type of podcast format is the most effective for advertisers?

It depends on the objective of their campaign. If advertisers want to increase the awareness of their brand, they should go on different podcasts and support them. They can also use the face of the brand and educate, inspire, or entertain the community of that specific podcast.

There are different ways a podcast format can be valid for advertisers. Recently I noticed the impact generated by people who are the face of a brand talking about the industry, too not only about the brand.

Also, it would be very entertaining if the guys who play the M&M characters (Red and Yellow) would be on a podcast talking with an online influencer.

Are there any other ways to monetize a podcast, different than advertising?

You can do live shows. You can create merchandising related to your show. You can have different guests representing the brand to advertise your podcast.

You can generate business around a podcast.

Can any great content creator become a successful podcaster? What are the specific skills needed?

> Authentic Voice
> Strong Topic
> Great Distribution Strategy

Is the podcast here to stay?

For now – YES.