The most important relationship in podcasting

The most important relationship in podcasting

Why the creator-listener bond needs care and respect

Written by Susie WarhurstSVP of Content2021.03.25

We hear it a lot, but one of the things that makes podcasting such a special environment is its intimacy. Podcasts are a one-to-one experience, most often via headphones, which means a host or their guest is speaking right into a listener’s ears.

A podcast isn’t a public broadcast or announcement — it’s a personal conversation that a listener has actively chosen to be a part of at that very moment. This closeness, and the level of trust that comes with it, is why the most important relationship in all of podcasting is that between the creator and the listener.

And it’s one that goes beyond the listening experience. Fans become devoted supporters of their favorite shows, perhaps buying tickets to live events, merchandise, and interacting on social media. This, coupled with the intimacy of the medium, means it can feel like a far deeper bond than traditionally seen between other kinds of influencers and their followers.

Acast believes podcasters should be empowered to nurture, grow and deepen these relationships anywhere and everywhere they can, across all the different listening platforms out there — and we have teams of experts all around the world, working to help them do just that.

We’ve built up an incredible roster of talented creators, and our strong, human relationships — with networks like Earios, and shows like Forever 35In The ThickEverything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino, and The Bert Show — have helped us build our reputation as the world’s leading creator-first podcast company.

In turn, we’ve been able to raise a lot of investment since Acast was founded, and are investing that back into creators, supporting new voices and telling new stories.

Creators come first

Over the past seven years we’ve proven that, when you put that creator-listener relationship first, everything else follows. Audiences grow — and stay. Listeners become more engaged. Monetization becomes more real.

And the fundamentals of this model continue to bear fruit, even in more mature markets — just look at the US, where the number of listens to Acast-hosted shows grew 68% in 2020. For such a well-established market to show this level of growth illustrates what a healthy position podcasting is in globally.

As an independent business, we respect our creators’ own independence and their right to make choices that suit their individual circumstances. That’s true when it comes to the content they produce and publish, how they engage with listeners, and how they choose to monetize their show.

As one major podcaster said to us recently: “I’ve never had to compromise my voice.”

Part of that, too, is respecting and helping to evolve podcast advertising, protecting that valuable bond between podcasters and their listeners while also recognizing what it allows advertisers to do: to speak within the conversations already happening.

This is something we think matters deeply to listeners, to advertisers, and, most importantly, to creators.

As well as working closely with podcasters to make sure sponsorships and ads are right for them and their listeners, we have creative and product teams dedicated to innovating in this space globally. One such innovation was True Dynamic Ad Insertion, which we invented to provide the best experience for advertisers, creators and listeners alike, and which you can read more about in this blog from our CEO Ross Adams.

Walking the walk

It’s easy to simply say we put creators first (which reputable podcast company wouldn’t?) but we make good on that commitment every day — and we’re making some serious moves to back it up even further.

Our decision to bring RadioPublic into the Acast family, for example, was taken to provide a better service for our podcasters. The Listener Relationship Management platform we’ve acquired as part of this deal helps foster deeper relationships with fans, and the people we’ve brought over from RadioPublic absolutely share our creator-first ethos.

We’ve also just introduced two new features — User Management and Revenue Dashboard — to help creators better manage their podcast and ad revenue. If they have ad slots open, these tools allow users to see how much revenue their podcast is generating in real time, and easily manage which team members have access to these and other products.

Perhaps most excitingly, we’re about to launch a raft of powerful new subscription options to support podcasters across the majority of open listening platforms. I can’t say much about it right now, but we’re in beta testing and can’t wait to share more — look out for an announcement from us very soon.

Everything we do as a business — every decision we make, every contract we sign, every conversation we have with an advertiser — is done with our creators’ best interests at heart. Acast is for the stories — and, most of all, we’re for the podcasters who tell them.