Personality and passion will make you stand out. If you aren't interested in the topic you're talking about, it shows. Really badly. When someone is passionate about the topic they're discussing, they light up and you can hear that in their voice, and it somehow makes you care too. If you're going to start a podcast, focus on something that interests you."
The digital age has paved the way as society soaks up on-demand content on Kindle, Steam, Netflix, Spotify and the ubiquitous App Stores without even thinking. Today we speak to Jamie Ashbrook, Content Manager at Podcast.co about the growing audio revolution, what makes a good podcast and the state-of-the-art podcasting studio creating waves at The Federation.
Jamie: The initial idea of Podcast.co started a few years ago whilst working on sister company Radio.co. At the time, existing audio platforms within the industry were rather confusing to use and somewhat outdated (something Radio.co solved within the radio industry), so there was definitely a need to simplify and make podcasting accessible to just about anyone!
Has the industry changed?
"Content is king" goes the old mantra, but it’s the audience who now holds the cards and expect brands to lead the way and offer a wide variety of content options to fit their customers' lifestyle. Those that understand and seize the moment during this digital transition will have the edge over their competition.
The podcast suite opened at The Federation in September 2018. What made you choose The Federation?
The Federation is located in the heart of Manchester, so it’s the perfect place to be as there’s always something going on. Plus, there are plenty of interesting companies and events in the co-working space (Monday meditation anyone?) that gives the place a sense of community. In short: location, co-working space, and awesome facilities!
What was your original ambition at launch? Has that changed?
The original idea was to simplify an otherwise complicated market place and make podcasting accessible to those that want their voices heard without having to know loads of technical mumbo-jumbo. Since launch, that’s still the core goal as the Podcast.co team are hard at work refining the platform and building new tools.
We've had some great feedback since we launched the podcast studio last year! Generally people have praised the simple equipment setup, on-site facilities, and our producers who ensure those that want additional support can get a seamless end-to-end service.
We are trying to make podcasting as easy and accessible for individuals and companies as we can. We offer a whole wide range of services to help podcast creators out, from coming up with that clear starting concept, to giving the podcast that professional sound via the studio and professional-quality editing, to giving it a home on the internet, to getting it out into the world and where it's meant to be. The aim is to be an all-in-one solution!
What has been your highlight so far?
We have also gained a regular following of interesting clients from a diverse range of backgrounds, including Kings Chambers (legal), Stephen Tries (comedy), Tech for Good (tech and social impact), and Manchester Digital (technology) and we're really proud to be able to house Manchester's immense talent!
There have also been some pretty interesting people step foot in The Federation to record their podcast, such as The Lowdown, Equal Experts, Cafe Podcast, Slater Heelis, The Coaching Manual, and many more! But one of my personal highlights has got to be having world-renowned comedian Russell Kane use our podcast studio!
You've just launched the beta, what are your plans for that?
Since launching the beta, Podcast.co has had a tonne of interest from people who want to help test, some of which are new to podcasting, whilst others being seasoned veterans. Overall, it’s going well and we can’t wait to officially launch soon. For those that want to be involved, you too can also sign up now.
What have you learnt since you launched? Is there anything you have/ would change?
We're always learning and developing new features to build on top of the current platform to give podcasters the tools they need to grow. We started off by doing a closed Beta and working very closely with just a few companies, like Manchester Digital and Tech For Good. We’ve since been overwhelmed (and somewhat surprised) with the positive comments and suggestions. We made a few aesthetic tweaks to the studio, and also some bigger changes as we're constantly growing from our customers feedback! One of our most popular requests was to create an easy way for podcasters to find guests, so ....watch this space!
What makes a good podcast?
Personality and passion. If you aren't interested in the topic you're talking about, it shows. Really badly. When someone is passionate about the topic they're discussing, they light up and you can hear that in their voice, and it somehow makes you care too. If you're going to start a podcast, focus on something that interests you.
Who is podcasting for and who isn't it for?
Podcasting is for everyone! Anyone can start a podcast and we're out to prove that by showing just how simple it can be to get started. I definitely think more businesses, agencies and start up companies should get involved as it's the perfect way of building a community in an authentic way. Not only can a podcast act as a pretty good marketing tool, but it also offers listeners a new view on the business. It lets them hear from the real people behind the company name.
Our changing habits and easier to use technology is giving listeners something much more valuable than money; it’s allowing them to be more productive with their time. Podcasting is steadily becoming more mainstream with the introduction of smart speakers into homes, and big company acquisitions like Spotify. It's a rapidly developing industry so if you aren't going where your listeners are, you will be left behind.
Podcasting is steadily becoming more mainstream with the introduction of smart speakers into homes, and big company acquisitions like Spotify. It's a rapidly developing industry so if you aren't going where your listeners are, you will be left behind."
What's next for you?
There’s always something going on at Podcast.co! We have recently launched our own podcast called Create. Reach. Inspire the brain-child of our CEO, James Mulvaney, focusing on giving solid business advice, without the additional noise around it. Straight to the point, James provides advice from 15 years of working at the front of software and media companies. It's a pretty good listen for all businesses and budding entrepreneurs alike!
Our team are also now offering a bunch of services for podcasters, including: strategy and concept development, editing, hosting and finding guests, audiogram and video trailers, and distribution.
Name four guests, dead or alive, that you would love to put together on a podcast show.
Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, and Jean-Claude Juncker, with Alan Partridge as the host.
YES! We’ve just recently uploaded a bunch of awesome gifs, so you can use them by searching for “podcastdotco” on Twitter, Facebook, and even Tinder! Check them out here
Follow Podcast.co on Twitter or Instagram or join the audio revolution and find out more about booking the studio in Manchester.