The Evolution Of The Podcast
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The Evolution Of The Podcast

The Evolution Of The Podcast

By John Jantsch

Marketing Podcast with Todd Cochrane

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Todd Cochrane. Todd is the CEO of Blubrry Podcasting – a podcast media company that represents 105,000 Audio and Video podcasters in which his company provides advertising opportunities, media distribution/hosting, podcast media statistics, and other services. He is a podcast advertising specialist, and he founded the Tech Podcast Network in 2004.

Key Takeaway:

Podcasting and the podcast industry have changed over the years in many ways like the way podcasts are produced, how more easily accessible it is to start your own, and how the monetization of podcasts works today are just a few examples. In this episode, I talk with Todd Cochrane, the CEO of Blubrry a podcast media company, about how the podcast and audio content has changed over the years and where it stands today.

Questions I ask Todd Cochrane:

  • [2:07] What shows are you hosting today?
  • [2:54] What does the podcast media company look like today, and what was your idea for starting it?
  • [4:32] Is that was that the initial vision was to just make it easier to get those shows syndicated?
  • [5:48] Do you think podcasting is the hottest advertising medium going on today?
  • [7:06] Would you say that we are almost at a point where we need to redefine what a podcast is?
  • [8:09] What’s your take on the distinction between audio and video and what people consume most today?
  • [12:02] What are your current feelings about the technology that you’re using?
  • [15:48] Could you talk a little bit about the opportunities you think are out there with this form of advertising?
  • [19:01] Do you think podcasting is going to go in the direction of subscriptions and paying for content like other mediums have?
  • [20:55] Is there anything coming for Blubrry that people might not know about yet?

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the duct tape marketing podcast is brought to you by the MarTech podcast, hosted by Ben Shapiro and brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network with episodes you can listen to in under 30 minutes, the MarTech podcast shares stories from world class marketers who use tech technology to generate growth and achieve business and career success all on your lunch break. And if you dig around, you might just find a show by yours. Truly. Ben's a great host. Actually, I would tell you, check out a recent show on blending humans, AI, and automation. Download the MarTech podcast wherever you get your podcast.

John Jantsch (00:50): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Todd Cochrane. He is the CEO of Blubrry podcasting, a podcast media company that represents 105,000 audio and video podcasters in which his company provides advertising opportunities, media distribution, hosting, pod, media stats, and other services. He's a podcast advertising specialist and also founded the tech podcast network way back in the dinosaur days of podcasting 2004. So Todd, welcome to the show.

Todd Cochrane (01:28): Hey, thanks for having me. And I think as we talk just a little bit, as we got started, you started in 2005. So you're right there with me.

John Jantsch (01:35): I did, I did indeed. And those were the good old days cuz you know what, so I always, I can go down a rabbit hole really fast on this, but you know what a lot of people don't realize is not only was it hard to produce shows, it was hard to listen to them or to get somebody to listen to 'em right. They had to actually have their own technology. So I'm certainly glad that we are where we are today.

Todd Cochrane (01:57): I am too. And it's, you know, no longer having to connect a device to a computer just to get the sync. Right? Yeah. It's nice to have it automatically happen.

John Jantsch (02:07): So tell me about what shows you're producing or not producing, but shows you are hosting today.

Todd Cochrane (02:14): Well, personally I still have my personal show geek, new central. That was the one they started in 2004. It just hit over 1600 episodes. Then I do a, co-host a show with matter of fact, Rob Greenley from Lipson competitor, it's called the new media show. I say, we can get a PhD in podcasting by listen to that show matter fact, we just finished recording of that about 30 minutes ago. And then we do an internal team podcast called podcast insider. But yeah, so a lot of, you know, still doing a lot of active shows, but it's really the day to day grunge of, you know, running a company and building, you know, building a business and keeping podcasters snapping.

John Jantsch (02:51): So I gave a little insight into the, what the podcast media company looks like today. What was the idea for starting it? And what was your initial vision?

Todd Cochrane (03:02): You know, it's, it was one of those things where, when I started my podcast, my wife had given me an ultimatum to make money in the first two years. She didn't say to want another boat anchor. And I solved that in June of oh five by securing GoDaddy, as a sponsor of the show. And the first round, I really didn't know what to charge and that kind of worked itself out. But in the second call where they're getting ready to sign a contract for a year, the gal asked me, Chris Redinger said to me from Godad. She said, do you know how the podcasts would like to advertise GoDaddy? And I said, yeah, I've got some tech shows that might be interested. And that really kind of set the Genesis point of the idea of raw voice, which is the parent company of Blubrry podcasting. And remarkably. I went on my podcast the next episode. So I'm looking for a lawyer looking for MBA programmer and a graphics developer. I've got a business idea and we're gonna have a call and free conference call do com in 10 days to be there. If that's you. And on that call, it was a lawyer, an MBA and a graphics developer and the graphics developer, new programmer got him on the phone. We formed the company over the phone, just absolutely insane how that company started. We didn't meet each other for the first six months.

John Jantsch (04:20): well, as I recall, I, and you and I were talking about it. I was probably a fairly early on user, as I recall it, it was primarily a WordPress plugin and then hosting came later and obviously advertising network came later. Is that, was that the initial vision was to just make it easier to get those shows syndicated.

Todd Cochrane (04:39): Yeah, the first, really the sequence was we had the advertising piece in place. We started ramping up real quick with shows with advertising. We built the stats platform so we could measure this stuff. So we weren't overbilling the vendors. The plugin happened because another plugin started that we were using was being abandoned. The person that was updating it wasn't being paid update anymore. So we developed our own plugin and that kind of really led the Genesis of everything else. And the plugin really kind of been like that candy at the end of the, you know, when you're in checkout, you know, that piece that you would grab and it really led to everything else that Blubrry does today.

John Jantsch (05:18): Yeah. Yeah. So people are probably already tired of hearing old folks reminisce about the old days. So , let's talk about how that's evolved now. Not just Blubrry, but just, you know, podcasting in general. Yeah. I always tell people they're, you know, the really early days people got into it, but then social media came along and that was shinier and it seemed like podcast kind of went in the background and then a or apple decided to put the app on the iPhone as a native. And all of a sudden, everybody was like, what are these podcast things again, to the point now where, you know, it's probably the hottest advertising, medium going, isn't

Todd Cochrane (05:53): It. Right. You know, and there was this definitely a series of inflection points, you know, it was, you know, the inclusion of iTunes, it was the iPhone, it was the inclusion of the app delivered with a phone. And then obviously listeners got more interest in podcasting when serial came around and had this, we had this huge inflection, true crime shows. So really I think, you know, it's been this long steady climb and now the space is just, you know, it's, uh, the indie podcasters, some of 'em are kind of concerned, but you know, with all this commercial investment that's happened. Yeah. I think that all ships rise together. So I think that there's plenty of room for anyone that wants to create content out there or use it as a business funnel or whatever their goal may be.

John Jantsch (06:36): Yeah. I, you know, I was gonna ask about that, how you think, like, where are we now, you know, in, in the word podcast, right. When blogs first started, they were really almost typically an individual's journal almost. And people interacted with them and there, you know, comments were a big part of them and you know, they've really changed now. Even the blogging software is really referred to as just content management, mm-hmm software systems. I mean, podcasts in some ways started around that individual host of the show. Would you say that we are almost at a point where, you know, we need to redefine what a podcast is?

Todd Cochrane (07:12): You know, there's been a lot of talk about it, you know, if in the pure sense, so, you know, it still requires an RSSV deliver a show to these syndication points, but the average listener doesn't care. They don't care if they listen on Spotify or watch on YouTube or consume, they, it really podcasts are consume and anywhere I've had this saying for a long time, they say, I don't care where they listen, as long as they listen. Yeah. But I want to be every place that they are. So I think in that instant, you know, podcasts are many things to many people, but you know, I'm kind of old school. So I still believe in the, you know, you still need to have an RSS feed to deliver the show, which causes most people's eyes, still the glaze over. But it really is that mechanism that keeps the space open and from being locked down and gatekeepers coming into place and making rules, it's still an open ecosystem. So I think from that aspect, even with the commercial investment of the podcasting space is a medium is very secure and will continue to grow.

John Jantsch (08:09): Yeah. Let's talk audio versus video. Is that a distinction? I seemed like video V cast. I think they, people were calling them at one point, kinda had a point where they were popular. Now it seems like everybody's doing some audio, some video. Of course the technology has helped that, but the portability of audio, I think is still what makes it so attractive to me.

Todd Cochrane (08:32): Yeah. I think still people have more time to listen than they do to watch. I know that I do. Yeah. But at the same point, I think the video piece of it is more of a, well, I started doing video 10 years ago doing live video for my shows. And I did it purely out of selfishness because I do a solo show. So I was, I was doing it eight o'clock in the evening in Hawaii and you know, it was kind of boring. So I was using it as a way to get a little interactivity from the audience when I was doing the show and it kind of just turned into this thing, but that's really most my main reason. And I think that's way a lot of podcasters think about it now too, is some people like to watch some people like to listen, but I still, my show still 70, 30, 70% listen, 30% watch why they watch me. I still don't understand. But it's, it's kind of the way it is.

John Jantsch (09:24): Yeah. I, I do. I mean, I think it's like, it's like when my books would come out, you know, there would be some part of the audience who's like, I'm gonna get it when the audiobook comes out. I was like, well just go buy it now. But there're just some people that, that's what they'd rather do. And there's no question that, you know, enough people have seen you on video now that you could probably go to a conference and people go, oh, I've seen that person. And so it certainly the medium, I think, itself has different uses and you're gonna, people are gonna consume different ways,

Todd Cochrane (09:57): You know? But in all honesty, I've had more surprise interactions from people hearing my voice. So it's like walking in O'Hare a couple weeks ago, someone heard my voice and they turned and they said, oh, you're are you Todd? And I'm like, yeah. Which show do you listen to? You know? So it's, so I think when, and also the audio piece is more intimate. We're truly, we're truly in there, you know, those that are listening right now, we're we're in your head. yeah. You know, we're I call it the earballs we're right in their ears. Yeah. So it's, I think it's a different experience when we watch YouTube, which most of us do, you know, we can be distracted. And I think in podcasting we're able to hold audience's attention span a lot longer. So I think that's why the medium has been for better word. So intimate.

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John Jantsch (11:28): Yeah. I can't tell you how many times I've had a YouTube video opened in another tab and all I'm doing is listening to it. right. Cause I'm multitasking. Yeah. Mm-hmm no question. What are some of the most exciting things in how the technology is involved? Evolved? As far as youre concerned, we were, again, we were laughing, you know, before we got started here about the early days of recording on, you know, handheld devices and phones that we'd plug into and you know, you and I were recording this on a platform that that's actually just web based. And you know, once we're done recording, it'll upload the two recording, you know, separated tracks. I mean, there's just some really great advancements. What are, what's your current feeling about the technology that you're using?

Todd Cochrane (12:06): Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. It's riversides wild. Some of these platforms that allow us, we don't have to have this big tech setup. I, you know, I've got literally $30,000 worth of gear in this room that I don't need anymore. Yeah. Because of the way the space has changed and the technology being able to see who you're interviewing or being interviewed and have that interaction is a huge difference. In the early days, all we really kind of had to really listen for those visual cues and we often would step on each other just because there wasn't that visual component. So I think that's a big change. Obviously. They've got lots of great software out there now for editing. Uh, I've always been an Adobe edition type of guy. And matter of fact, I don't edit. So I'm one of the few that actually don't, but it's, but I wouldn't be a podcaster if I all these years, if I would've had to have edited because it just takes too much time. But yeah. That's why they've got people out there doing those types of services now. But that's another thing too, is there's a service for everything, right? There's BAS there's people that do transcripts there's people that will do your editing, posting the whole nine yards. It's gonna, you're gonna have to write a check, but you can use your time wisely.

John Jantsch (13:19): I'm I saw, I got a pitch from an, an AI service that was promoting themselves as you, all you did was put in the guest or something about the guest and they would create a list of questions for the guests. Interesting. You know, based on just go out there and just like find, you know, your footprint and go, here's what the, here's what you ought ask this guest. And I was like, wow, , you know, we're, I wonder we're gonna even do the interviews at some point. , you know?

Todd Cochrane (13:43): Yeah. Pretty crazy. And you know, and I think too, the thing that's about podcasting that like this interview, you had a little background on me already, so you didn't have to do too much research, but I think there's a lot of folks that spend a lot of time researching their guests. And some of those best interviews are, is when a Podcaster's able to dig out that nugget, you know? Right. They get deep in a conversation that may not have happened. Otherwise,

John Jantsch (14:11): Can I get up on a soapbox and complain about something? And I'm sure you get this too, but nothing drives me crazy faster than when somebody asks me to be on their show. And I agree. And then they send me to a six page form to basically write the interview for them. I just like, you know, it, this is, I guess I grew up, you know, in a PR background mm-hmm and this feels like journalism to me. Right. And somebody else writing the article, I'll let you riff on that if you want to.

Todd Cochrane (14:37): You know, and it's even funny because I hired a service to help me get more interviews. And they asked me to write the top six questions. I'd like to be asked. I'm like, I don't even wanna do that because , every interview is gonna be wash RINs repeat because some guests are host are lazy and I've been lucky. People have only pulled from that a couple of times. But yeah, when I do guest interviews, I don't want any prep. I want the conversation to happen free flow. I think that's when you really get into the good stuff. Now you have to do your homework a little bit to kind of figure out what you're gonna talk about. But I, I think that

John Jantsch (15:13): That's the job.

Todd Cochrane (15:14): Yeah.

John Jantsch (15:14): absolutely. Let's talk about advertising and podcasts. My first advertiser was at and T I just kind of dropped out of the sky and it was a really big deal for me at the time. Sure. And you know, fortunately I'm currently sponsored as a member of the HubSpot network. So, you know, the money is definitely out there. And I know a lot of small four or 500, you know, a month download folks are now finding, you know, opportunities to get, you know, advertisers for shows like that. So maybe talk a little bit about cuz I know obviously you play in that world substantially with Blubrry. So talk maybe a little bit about the opportunities you think are out there and maybe just the state of, you know, this form of advertising.

Todd Cochrane (15:55): Sure. In the space today, 50% of podcasters are using podcasts for non monetization reasons they're using for funnel business, building authority, building, they have a different goal, but the other 50% are looking and hoping to monetize. Currently today only three to 4% of podcasts are actually fully monetized. So it leads a whole bunch of people on the sidelines. So five years ago, I would say that programmatic advertising probably would not have been effective because there just wasn't enough movement in the space and enough trust. But now programmatic has got to the point where even the smallest shows can get some advertising and it may not be, it may take their spouse or partner to dinner money. Some people will make car payment money. Some people will make house payment money, but there is gonna be an opportunity here in the very new future for all shows to be able to monetize at one level.

Todd Cochrane (16:46): Now, obviously the host read endorsement stuff, which is the core of the space continues to rule and pays the highest C cam rates. Matter of fact, my sponsor GoDaddy, which I've had since 2005, it's remarkable. They've been with me this entire time. Those are completely host, endorsed episodes baked in forever. But then again, my show gets, my tech show is 96 hours. It's achieved nearly 90% of its lifetime download. So it doesn't have a long tail. So it doesn't matter. But I think that from an advertising perspective, you know, niche, real niche content is and high Val niche, high value content can drive a lot of dollars, but if you're not super niche, then you need to big build big and the bigger the audience, the more potential for revenue. I think there's lots of ways to skin a cat. Now there's Patreon. You can, or just a simple PayPal link, which I've used for years to raise money for a show and get support. I think though a lot of podcasters get really wrapped around the ax. So early on about trying to make money too. Yeah. And but I think when a show gets the substantial size and stability and consistency, I think there's lots of opportunities to make money. Yeah. Across a variety of fronts.

John Jantsch (18:00): Yeah. I always, I, I, you know, I guess because it was so much work in the early days, you know, I always told people, I, you know, I'd do it if I had one listener and no, nobody because of the people I got to talk to that yeah. That was really, to me, the reason for doing it. Yeah. And you know, the, everything else sort of turned into a happy accident of consistency, I guess. Yeah. But, but that I that's, you know, I would do it again for that very reason.

Todd Cochrane (18:22): Yeah. I think for me too, is authority was one of the first things I was trying to build authority. And then second was my wife forced the monetization piece on me. She wanted me to get monetized and, and really, it was fun. You know, I had a lot of fun doing the show and the action with the audience. So I have always told my audience when it quits being fun. I'm done, but it's so far, it's still fun. I guess that's a rhyme. But

John Jantsch (18:47): So let me ask you what you think about, you know, some other mediums, you know, of advertising has really waned because people have other ways to, you know, to get around it. I mean, to not, you know, all the, all out of the streaming shows and things, now people are paying for that subscription. So do you think podcasting is gonna go that way? The paid model where I pay to subscribe? So I don't, or maybe one of the benefits is so I don't have to listen to ads is that I know there are people out there doing it, but is that, do you see that being the substantial way that people monetize?

Todd Cochrane (19:16): I think it's a key of scale there. I think you have to be big enough to do that because only a small, you know, it's just like clicking on banners, only a percentage. You're gonna click on a banner. So I, you know, if you can get 10% of your audience to convert, to paid and build an audience that could be significant ongoing revenue every month. Yeah. But I think, again, it's a economy of scale. You have to build an audience to be big enough to be able to, I think it's a combination of both is good, you know, and I have played with that model before and for my show, it didn't work. So I have a purely a, you know, an ad driven plus if you feel like it throw me a, you know, throw me a cup of coffee type of thing within the show, but it's a, I think it's really up to the podcaster, what they wanna try.

Todd Cochrane (20:04): But again, I think for the premium to pay a premium with no ads, I think there's several models that would probably work better. Number one, if you're part of a network yeah. And the network does it, and you get a share of that revenue from the network based upon your volume, that could be a potential or number two, again, you decide it's worth your time to put that out. That separate show. Cuz it's what you gotta do. Also if you're on PayPal or not PayPal, if you're on Patreon and you put it on some type of reward, that's maybe an extra episode for a contribution every month, what happens if only five people contribute, then you're locked in to doing work. Yeah. Yeah. So I think it's a lot easier to produce a second show without an ad, but then again, you may have to pay for a service, the managing of it to have people be able access that. So I, it's a way of time and money I think.

John Jantsch (20:54): Yeah. So anything coming for Blubrry that, that you wanna talk about that, that people may not know about yet?

Todd Cochrane (21:01): Well, you know, we just spent two years completely rebuilding the platform. Yeah. And it was getting along in the tooth. So we spent the time during COVID and uh, to really put spit and Polish on it and knock the walls down. And we've added some stuff to our stats that are really knocking peoples socks off and one's called a retention graph or giving them information about when people are dropping out, when they're actively listening to the show. It's been huge so far. Yeah. That to the bigger pieces, what we're really focused on is helping shows grow. It's the thing I keep hearing day in and day out from podcasters is how do I grow? How do I grow? So my team is focused on providing data and analysis stuff that they can look at at a glance that says, okay, here's where I'm slipping or here's where I'm doing well.

Todd Cochrane (21:43): Or this episode did good and why, or this episode had a drop off and you know what happened there. So we're trying to get folks info that they can easily look at without having to be a PhD and data analytics to figure out what's going on. So that's kind of our goal is to help podcasters grow, cuz be honest with you, that's the end game, you know, as well as I do a growing an audience can be a challenge. And it's oftentimes the grind of doing it for a long time. That's right. People are not that patient anymore, you know, and they want quick results, but it's still, you have to, you know, sit in front of the mic and do show after show on a regular basis to really build that big audience. If you're an Oprah, you know, you come with an audience, but if you're, you know, you may be authority in your town or your city, but maybe you're not in the next state. So it's one of those things where you just have to build.

John Jantsch (22:35): So I'm gonna give you the opportunity to once again, spell Blubrry cuz I bet you've done it 6 billion times with that little, with that little quirk.

Todd Cochrane (22:47): Yeah. It's easy. It's Blubrry without the E's cuz we couldn't afford the E's so if you wanna spell blueberry the way you normally would spell a blueberry, you just drop the E's @ blubrry.com.

John Jantsch (23:00): Awesome. Well Todd, it was great having you stop by the, uh, the duct tape marketing podcast in terms of podcasts. You're certainly the podcasting industry. You're a legend in the industry. So it was really great getting to spend some time with you and have you drop by the show and hopefully we'll run into each other one of these days out there on the road.

Todd Cochrane (23:17): Absolutely appreciate it. And congratulations for your 17 years. That's an accomplishment in itself as well.

John Jantsch (23:23): Well, thanks so much.

Todd Cochrane (23:25): Thank you, sir.

John Jantsch (23:25): Hey, and one final thing before you go, you know how I talk about marketing strategy strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the marketing strategy assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co not.com.co check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketing ssessment.co I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network and Drip.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.

 

Did you know there’s an automated marketing platform that’s 100% designed for your online business? It’s called Drip, and it’s got all the data insights, segmentation savvy, and email and SMS marketing tools you need to connect with customers on a human level, make boatloads of sales, and grow with gusto. Try Drip free for 14 days (no credit card required), and start turning emails into earnings and SMS sends into cha-chings.

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