On Subtext, podcast hosts see 10x fan engagement compared to social channels, giving them a quick feedback loop with their listeners. Podcasting can be an insular experience for hosts and the audience, however, the immediacy of texting allows the audience to chat with the hosts whenever they’re listening and for the hosts to collaborate with the audience in-between episodes. The direct, private, troll-free nature of texting makes this possible. Let’s dive into a few examples of how our hosts are leveraging texting to optimize their listeners’ experiences.
Subtext is the podcast every day of the week
Cleveland.com sports columnist Doug Lesmerises hosts the successful podcast, Buckeye Talk. Doug and his cohosts have built a texting community that both financially supports their work as well as engages in content creation for the podcast. For $3.99/mo, text subscribers get 2-5 texts a day with insight, news and analysis that they’d otherwise be missing out on in-between podcast episodes.
The 15-year veteran of the Ohio State sports beat said his podcast changed the nature of his relationship to the audience. “Nobody cared about me until I had a podcast,” said Doug at the 2020 Online News Association conference. “You get in people’s phones. They don’t have to come to you. You come to them.”
However, the once weekly, now daily, podcast, felt too infrequent of a connection to the audience for Doug and his team. They wanted to be able to let the audience know what they’re thinking in-between episodes and via a medium as intimate as podcasting.
“We have sold it to people as ‘the podcast every day of the week.’” said Doug. “We text in that way, like we talk on the podcast. They don’t have to come find us. We come to them.”
The Buckeye Talk hosts leverage their podcast to build their Subtext community, and in turn that community helps them produce content for the show. They regularly poll their audience and take questions only from text subscribers, which they answer on future episodes. They’ve found 10% of their Subtext regularly responds. This level of engagement is about 10x what Doug was previously seeing in his calls to action on Twitter.
“[Texting is] the best way I’ve ever been connected to an audience in my 25 years as a journalist,” said Doug.
Podcast listeners, now text subs, are like friends and family
Kevin Allison is the host of RISK!, a live show and podcast, where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public. Kevin has effortlessly taken to hosting a highly-engaged community on Subtext, where he shares behind the scenes information from his podcast, his personal story and is regularly seeking his audience’s thoughts and opinions.
“My mindset is that the folks who listen to my podcast are like friends and family. So when I’m curious about something, need help with something, think it would be fun to share about something, want some inspiration around something, I won’t think twice,” Kevin said.
Kevin’s audience knows a lot about him, and he was eager to learn more about them. What did he ask for? Photos. Nearly 60% of his audience replied with selfies and photos of their families and home environments. For Kevin, these types of relationships often directly impact and improve his work.
“I can’t tell you the number of times this has led to adding someone new to our staff, or discovering a new storyteller or organization to team up with, or realizing there’s a different thing we could try with our show or our organization,” Kevin said.
“It’s almost like we’re an Alcoholics Anonymous sort of group (lots of sharing and support and teaming up on things) but just for the joy of being a friendly community, rather than some sort of official therapy or work.”
Kevin is building a community meant to last. His paying subscribers are converting after their free trial at a rate of nearly 90%. And I think we know why. Kevin makes texting with him feel as familiar as it is to text with your friends and family. That’s the sign of a great host on Subtext.
So you’ve got a podcast and you’re ready to make it more interactive as well as discover new ways to fund it? Hit us up with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.