‘Podcasting evangelist’ gives secrets to reaching younger audience

Anh Nguyen

For years advertisers have tried to figure out what Millennials consume digitally. As news consumption habits changed, newsrooms have been eyeing new ways to win over this demographic.

A self-proclaimed podcast evangelist, Pedro Rafael Rosado in his workshop “Don’t Call It a Comeback” revealed that the one platform that topped all young consumers’ metrics is the good ol’ podcast.

“More young people are listening to over three podcasts per week and this is red meat to advertisers,” said Rosado, founder and content director at HeadStepper Media. Podcast listeners are mostly young (44 percent are under 34), educated, wealthy, and likely to be business influencers, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s research in 2017.


However, podcasts still faced pushback in newsrooms big and small. Most editors and newsroom managers were afraid to compete with public radio, lose money on production and fail to monetize the products.

Based on his past experience helping the Connecticut Health Investigative Team produce its award-winning podcast, Rosado believed that listeners will respond organically to compelling content that did not cost a lot to produce. Podcasts will also cultivate relationships between journalists and the audience, adding emotions to the story.

“Podcasts take listeners on an intimate and personal journey where all you need is one person talking to another person about interesting topics,” said Rosado. The topic can be a one-on-one interview, a news recap or a book review. The possibilities are limitless, but Rosado said there was a caveat to this too-good-to-be-true promise.

Each newsroom has to find one thing that it’s good at and capitalize on that, be it an investigative, health or lifestyle podcast. Rosado suggested news organizations consider, “What can my news organization do that no one else can?”

Pacing back and forth with excitement, Rosado encouraged journalists to think about their strengths and immediately begin to act upon them.

“Newspapers and televisions used to dictate what their audience consumed, but podcast is a level playing field where the consumers get to choose what they want to listen and only listen to the best,” said Rosado. Therefore, being mindful of what the audience wants to hear is crucial in gaining popularity.

Back in 2005, Rosado was on the team that created the New York Times’ smash hit podcast, The Daily. The format was simple and conversational. Though popular, it was dropped and wasn’t revived until January 2017 veteran Times journalist Michael Barbaro reviewig the headlines of the day and intervieweing his colleagues on news events.

The podcast was getting 200,000 downloads a day until March 30, 2017, when Barbaro interviewed a coal miner from Kentucky. Barbaro cried during the podcast and people made a personal connection with him, taking the downloads of that episode alone past the 1 million mark. By October 2017, The Daily surpassed the 100 million download mark and was among the most-listened podcasts of the year.

Rosado said he couldn’t guarantee every news podcast would garner that 100+plus million downloads, but he was certain that success in podcasts came in different shapes and forms.

Companies can sponsor the package in exchange for mentions. He said 65 percent of podcast fans are willing to purchase a product advertised on a podcast, with 45 percent willing to visit a website mentioned.



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