Should Your Advertising Agency Podcast?


Does The World Need A New Advertising Agency Podcast?

The big question… Should an advertising agency create and publish a podcast – now, in 2020? Read this before you launch your advertising agency podcast. I’ll try to get to the heart of the decision – using me as an example.

My first podcast series was launched in 2006. I was a bit early. Ya think? But, the podcast did support my advertising agency’s brand and helped us to market the agency. After all, it showed the world of prospective clients that we were ahead of the curve.

The podcast was The 360 View, the agency, at that time, Ralston360 (‘360’ = very 2006). I interviewed a range of people including an AOL exec; Rob Walsh the podcasting genius from Podcast 411 (now of Libsyn); a Saatchi & Saatchi president; a major agency search consultant and an ADWEEK editor on what was coming in digital marketing. I also included me just talking about marketing. The show was professionally produced. I’ll be adding a couple of the old audio shows to my new series. Nice to take a look back to what people were thinking in 2006.

Oh, I added the copy from a 2006 show on podcasting at the bottom of this blog post. I admit it, a good history lesson.

My New Podcast

I will be launching a new podcast aimed at the advertising and marketing community in a couple of weeks. No more “professional” production as I am recording myself by myself from my home office in my Mexican house. I am currently getting listed on all of the podcasting platforms (that takes up to two weeks) and I am recording a bunch of early series episodes so I launch with some bulk. More on what it is and the launch later. However, my personal activity does bring up the question: should advertising agencies podcast? Which brings me to this…

Should An Advertising Agency Podcast?

I could go nuts on building a long list of “why you should” for you. But, I am just going to keep this advertising agency help section brief. It is based on my own decision-making criteria.

Why Publish A Podcast?

Podcasting is booming. 32% of Americans are podcast listeners. There are currently over 750,000 or so shows – and growing fast. But, there are still far fewer podcasts than bloated blogging and YouTube channels. It is easier to make a dent in the podcasting universe that producing another blog.

Plus podcasting makes an emotional connection between the host, guests, and the listener.

Need another reason to consider podcasting? I’ll just mention the name Joe Rogan.

Podcasting is relatively easy and low cost. I think the first year of my new podcast, equipment, hosting and marketing (not including my time marketing) should come in at under $500. I am not including cocktail ingredients and coffee to help make me glib.

I Have A Clear Objective and KPIs

Me: The objective of my podcast is to grow awareness of my advertising agency business development consultancy practice. I aim to not be another look-a-like advertising podcast.

I am adding the power of ‘voice’ to my well-read blog – this one. Why bother doing the podcast too? Because people absorb information differently. Some via words, as in a blog; some via images aka Instagram; some via video and now, my podcast audience via voice. Some use all three. Like the guys from Marketing School.

Now you: Your advertising agency has to ask itself why it wants to do a podcast. Awareness, sure. But to whom? Is it everyone? Will you target a highly select group – say a health care marketing podcast? Or, one aimed at the eCommerce industry? Or go deeper, like the athletic shoe category. Producing a me-too podcast about advertising or how to do social media, um, nope. Be the expert that people want to listen to. Aim to be both super content and entertaining. Be Unignorable.

If you want to compete doing a marketing and media-based podcast, it should be at least as good as the Marketing School podcast from Neil Patel and Eric Siu or The Marketing Book Podcast from Douglas Burdett of the agency Artillery. Douglas ‘borrows’ the interest of his book writers. Ok, also check out Little Bird Marketing. This links to a particularly brilliant episode. Priscilla is also a very good multi-channel podcast marketer. Worth emulating.

OK, OK…. one more, I really like the name… Disrupter Series. This one from Rob Schwartz of TBWAChiatDay NY. The title works on two levels. We all like or need a bit of disruption and the title actually reflects the agency’s positioning (these guys even register the word ‘disruption” which is a bit cheeky):

We don’t follow cultural and market conventions — we overturn them. We anticipate future trends to determine what could lift a brand higher, and then define a Disruption® platform to get them there.
OK, yup, an observation. This podcast series only has 20 iTunes ratings. Considering the size of TBWAChiatDay, you’d think that they would have mustered some internal muscle to drive up this important metric. For comparison, little agency Little Bird Marketing’s Ponderings From The Perch (just mentioned as a good example) has 42.


The Internet is packed with audio, print, and YouTube-based podcasting advice. You’ll find out how to be successful. However, to get the juices flowing, here is a checklist.

  • Yes, have a clear business objective.
  • Have a Creative Brief. Need a sample? Give me a shout.
  • Understand your podcast strategy.
  • Know your agency’s ‘voice’.
  • Develop a “must’ listen to set of well-targeted topics. Use SEO to help you figure this out.
  • Have a production process and calendar. Process!
  • Buy the mic, stand, and windscreen. Plug into GarageBand and start recording. Do you need more? No. It is easy. Even for a lone wolf like me.
  • I use Zoom for recording interviews on two tracks.
  • Find a hosting company like Buzzsprout.
  • Get the graphic and description that will be uploaded to the players like iTunes, Google Podcast, and Spotify. There are more. I listen to podcasts on Pocket Casts. I like the UI.
  • If you want, create an intro and outro. I use the truly fantastic, fast, and very affordable VO company Audiobag. Very pro. I have a long intro and a short one. No outro. I use a variable message.
  • Build your marketing plan. Think through how to create organic and paid (if you need to) awareness; hit up all your friends, family, and clients; use your email and LinkedIn lists; interview influentials; ask for reviews. Build out your website support – pages for each podcast, show notes, add in a show podcast player, maybe a video player too, etc. You can use the video across your marketing.

Need an agency to emulate? Man, I have not really found a deep bench of great advertising agency podcasts (though, I mentioned a couple above). At least an agency podcast that is going to keep me from listening to my favorite podcasts including Pivot; six pixels of separation; Masters In Business; TechMeme (every day) and Business casual – listen to that one.

Question: Do you know of a good advertising agency podcast? Please let me know. Thanks.

OK. Back To The 2006 Agency Podcast.

This is the copy from one of my 360 View podcasts. it will give you some advertising agency podcast history. For agency marketing purposes, we published the audio podcast using a professional producer and then wrote a white paper for digital and paper-based distribution. This all supported our business development program.

It is all about business development, right?

October 2006

Welcome to the Podcast of 360 View.

360 View is a Blog and series of Podcasts dedicated to regional, national and international marketers who are creating marketing programs in today’s ever more complex marketing environment.

This week’s show is about Podcasting.

In case you didn’t know it, Podcasting” is the 2005 Word of the Year according to the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary and we think that Podcasting will become an important part of many marketer’s Internet strategies.

On to Podcasting: Folks the Pod has landed….

Yes, a new generation of “Pod People” has landed. And unlike the screeching zombies of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, these modern-day Podsters are not content to take over bodies at the behest of the mother ship. Oh no. These Pod People, freshly hatched from the Internet, want to capture that rarest of modern treasures: content they want, when they want it. They’re poised to topple the bastions of traditional media with nothing more than a pair of iPod ear-buds and a single bone-chilling request: “Take me to your Podcast.”

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating. A little. But something exciting is going on in the communications industry. You guessed it: Podcasting.

I’ve seen Internet ideas sweep the virtual landscape before, but Podcasting is moving across the online marketing terrain with exceptional velocity. In October 2004, there were 24 hit results on Google for the word “Podcast.” In November it was 60 million. Today, it’s 83 million.

Consider “Pod Climber” and “Formula Pod,” two audio Podcasts run out of a simple recording studio in Bend, Oregon about rock climbing and Formula 1 racing. Pod Climber has a monthly audience of 54,000 listeners To put this audience number in perspective, consider that the monthly circulation of Climbing Magazine, the industry leader, is 34,000. Climbing Magazine is 34 years old. “Pod Climber” is only seven months old. Yeah. Wow.

So what is Podcasting and why should you care? Glad you asked.

“Podcasting.” In the dictionary, right next to “zowie.”

Podcasting is a means of distributing audio programs via the Internet. Users subscribe to a number of programs, and then listen to or view the material at a time that they choose.

Translation: Podcasts are audio shows of various lengths that are sent directly to your computer via syndication.

Like a newspaper subscription delivered daily to your lawn, Podcasts are delivered right to your computer. You don’t have to remember to visit specific websites to get updates giving you time to do other things. Like read my white papers. Today, the great majority of Podcasts are free. All of them let you get the audio programming you want, when you want it with very minimal effort.

By the way, the name Podcast comes from the combination of Pod from iPod, the most often used MP3 player, and broadcasting. But you probably already figured that out.


Podcasting was a minor media player in 2004 and early 2005 as the technology employed to deliver the programs, Really Simple Syndication or RSS, became standardized and gained distribution. RSS allows Internet users to subscribe to websites that have provided RSS feeds. These are typically sites that change or add content regularly. Still with me?

At first, RSS gave the builders of text-based Blogs the opportunity to distribute new text postings directly to interested readers. The same technology used for text delivery allows Podcast program subscribers to get their audio Podcasts delivered.

While RSS was clearly a good idea, it is simply too difficult to use unless you are a dedicated web user with a “be the first on your block” (or Blog) technology mind-set. To make all of this magic work, you needed to download one of at least 45 popular and somewhat geeky RSS feed readers or aggregators and figure out how to make it do its magic. This is a bit too Palo Alto for most of us (I am not talking to the tech-cognoscenti here.) However, in the past year Google, Yahoo! and MSN have helped us out by adding user-friendly RSS to their personalized sections. Everyday users do not have to download anything and do not have to read a RSS user manual to subscribe to the feeds they want – RSS becomes invisible just like html. They have no need to ever hear the RSS name again. Some say, RSS will be so baked into your programs and websites that you will never hear these three letters again.

The world of Podcasting dramatically changed in May 2005 with the introduction of audio Podcasting programs to Apple’s iTunes 30 million music store customers. Apple once again revolutionized the Internet landscape and took the not-so-simple Really Simple Syndication and made it, well, really, really simple. With one click, iTunes 4.9 made it possible for us to subscribe to different audio feeds and have them automatically delivered to iTunes and then transferred to your iPod (or if you prefer, just to your computer).

Apple allows Podcast producers to add their listings for free and added a comprehensive user-friendly directory. This is very important because you could be the next Podcast producer just like our friends at Pod Climber.

Audio Podcasting recently gained additional energy with the birth of Yahoo! Podcasts. Yes, more one-click ease and a directory of hundreds of Podcasts. Beautiful.


“Pod People” jokes aside, the power of Podcasting lies in its ability to give consumers the information and entertainment they want, when they want it, which will ultimately help marketers reach and influence audiences in new ways.

I’m not the only one to notice this. Podcasting is getting hot. You know something is up when Katie and Matt, the quintessential two-peas-in-a-pod, discuss Podcasting on the TODAY Show.

In fact, according to April 2005’s PEW Internet Study, one of the most reliable predictors of growth, by the end of 2006 there will be 10 million Podcast users. I am convinced that they may be off by at least 50%.


Two days after the release of Podcasting on iTunes, Apple reported one million Podcast subscriptions. Two…days!

According to Business Week (May 16, 2005): “Over the past six months, the number of Podcasts has jumped 25-fold to 5,302 feeds in mid-May.” Uh, that was before iTunes and Yahoo! democratized Podcasting.

From last July: “Researchers at The Diffusion Group predicted this week that the U.S. Podcast audience will climb from 840,000 last year to 56 million by 2010. By that time, three-quarters of all people who own portable digital music players will listen to Podcasts, up from less than 15 percent last year,” the digital entertainment research group said.

 Additional insights come from Yahoo!’s October 2005 white paper “RSS – Crossing into the Mainstream,” which states that 28% of Internet users are aware of Podcasting, but only 2% currently subscribe to Podcasts, pointing to a clear growth area for publishers and marketers.

OK, here is a prediction. I think that we will soon see SERIUS and XM Satellite radio figure out how to deliver Podcasting to their 7, or is it 8 million subscribers. Hey, I just bout a new car and getting satellite radio is as easy as getting hub caps.

Yes, Pod People are indeed everywhere and those who haven’t been assimilated yet, will be. This, as it turns it, is a good thing.

 You see, lots of different people use Podcasts. The current ticket to Podcast membership is the desire to listen to the spoken word and the money to own a MP3 player to take your Podcasts with you. Today’s Podcast users are older and more educated than you might imagine. But don’t take my word for it.

 According to Billboard Radio Monitor (August 19, 2005): “A survey of over 8,000 American consumers by pollsters CLX has revealed that Podcasting is most popular with those over 45, with 21 per cent of those questioned listening to Podcasts. This compares to just 13 per cent of 15 to 24-year olds.”


Like the Digital Video Recorders (think TiVo) that came before it, Podcasting gives people the ability to control their media consumption. This shift from passive consumption to consumer control is important to any marketer who uses media to reach and win the minds and hearts of consumers. Just like TiVo and TV, people opt-in to receive the Podcasts that interest them, wait for these Podcasts to be delivered, then listen or watch when they want to.

With TiVo I can avoid commercials and time-shift my viewing for my personal convenience. Podcasting gives me the same freedom and now portability. I no longer have to listen to terrestrial radio or watch airline movies when traveling on business. I can readily—and aurally—digest the information I need with fresh Podcasts that keep me up to speed with latest thinkers in Silicon Valley (“InfoTalk”), tune me into my old hometown (WNYC’s Brian Leher), provide a preview on my upcoming travels (“Three Minutes in Shanghai”) and gives me the scoop on what’s popular in pop culture (Slate Magazine). I can create my very own personal programming with a single click. It seems that Do It Yourself-ism isn’t confined to the aisles of the local Home Depot.

Whoa, wait…. It gets better.

Apple just cranked Podcasting up another major notch with the introduction of iTunes Videocasting and its new crop of video-capable iPods that allow users to play videos, listen to music and display photos.

I actually used this technology last week while stuck in a mountain pass traffic jam for two hours. (Don’t ask.) I was out of radio and cell range, but lo and behold! My trusty iPod was loaded with the latest episode of “Desperate Housewives,” courtesy of an iTunes Videocast. Talk about better living through technology.

At the time of this Podcast, there are only 78 Videocasts on iTunes. These are a combination of the somewhat technoid DV “GearTalk” and the now famous “Rocketboom.”

Jeff Jarvis of the famous Blog Buzzmachine suggests that despite this modest beginning, Videocasting is poised for great things. “I point out all the things Rocketboom doesn’t have: expensive studios, equipment, staff, lawyers, deals, marketing budgets,” Jarvis said three weeks before Apple introduced the easiest way to get Videocasts. “But they do have an audience. Rocketboom serves at least 60,000 downloads a day. Compare that with Crossfire’s audience on CNN: 150,000. So Rocketboom has more than a third of the big network show’s audience at a fraction of the cost. And, by the way, CNN’s audience is near retirement age, while Rocketboom’s fans (excluding me) are young enough to be CNN viewers’ grandchildren.”

Don’t worry. More Videocasts are on the way. This is a very hot space with new, mostly re-purposed shows like NBC Nightly News and Nightline and personal I-want-to-be-Scorsese mini-films on the horizon. The options—and opportunities—are limitless.


There’s no denying that the Podcasting invasion is in full swing. So what’s a marketing professional to do?

Of course, “How to Use Podcasting and Videocasting to Reach Vast Vertical Markets” merits its very own white paper, but here is the top line of what you should know and do. Yes, it’s still early. Just think of this as Podcasting’s spring training.

First, the opportunity:

People are very busy. If you can give them a way to get “home delivery” so they can watch or listen to your message when they want, everyone wins. To put it another way, direct personal delivery to a constituency that has actively asked for your message is good. Very good.

Audio and video programming will take on a new life as Podcasting allows them to be delivered with greater ease.

Podcasting provides a delivery tool that works harder, and actually gets through better, than email. Let’s face it. E-mail newsletters so 2004.

People have unique entertainment and business information needs. Narrowcasting works to deliver a targeted message to a wide array of very interested markets.


Here are a few examples of how marketers can use Podcasting to reach external markets and to speak with internal constituencies:

On the simplest level, just sponsor a couple of targeted Podcasts and Videocasts. Lexus now sponsors KCRW’s Podcasts. Shouldn’t Robert Mondavi sponsor Grape Radio? C’mon folks this is the easy way for you to tell your boss that you are on the cutting edge of Podom. And, it isn’t like these shows can’t pull large audiences. This Week In Tech, arguably the number one Podcast, has over 200,000 weekly listeners.

Produce your own category-specific audio and video shows. Take advantage of what’s essentially the newest broadcast medium. IBM has created a series of Podcasts now running on iTunes including “IBM and the Future of Shopping.”

Whirlpool created “The American Family.” What could you produce?

OK, I think that both IBM are onto something here – they have become the content providers,. We can argue about the value of their programs. But the bottom line is that THEY are doing it Are You?

Here is another idea:

Create a new form of active audio and video collateral materials. Why are there so many paper-based brochures? This is another nail in the ink and paper coffin.

Deliver audio and video press releases that have life to them. The big players will. Why shouldn’t you?

Do video demos of new products and send them to your Evangelists and the bored press.

Make your CEO, COO or CTO a star. I see a raise coming.

Talk directly with shareholders via the delivery of Podcasting news events.


They come in peace.

And it’s time to get a piece of the action.

Despite the fact that the acronym RSS will quickly die away, the syndication of Podcasts is here to stay and will begin to play an increasingly important role in marketing programs. Just as we discussed a couple of years ago in our white paper on the TiVo effect, consumer control of the media and personalization is a good thing for marketers.

Moreover, it is a great thing for forward-thinking marketers with a vision and the desire to try the new.

This vision will require marketers to start to think more like editors and journalists. More like producers than ad-builders. More about conversations than lecturers. More two-way than one-way. More niche than mass.

The tough-love reality is that unlike push media (TV and even Web 1.0), syndication and Podcasting requires a new breed of marketers with the skill-sets to create marketing messages that consumers will actually choose to consume. I’ve got to tell you folks, it is more difficult to create content that people choose to listen to than it is to force-feed messaging via hit and run commercials. That said; imagine hitting RSS and Podcasting’s sweet spot. We will go from having a large percentage of our messages ignored to having them be anticipated. What a concept.

No this is not the death of old media.

In fact we believe that it is imperative that old media (which still dominates in audience reach by the way) and these new technologies work seamlessly together in a perfect 360º world. Whew, I knew I had to get that in.

Now if you think that my thoughts on Podcasting are the empty words so often sprouted by agency CEO’s then listen up. My partner Kevin and I just gave brand new video IPods to all of our staff for Christmas. Our goal is to instill the idea that things are changing R E A L fast.

So, get out there and Podcast.

The 360 View is produced by Ralston360 …. A 20-year-old advertising agency with offices in Bend Oregon and San Francisco California.

This article first appeared in

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