Macquarie Media turning its gaze to podcasting

Staff Writer

Andrew Sidwell started his radio career as an office boy 32 years ago. Since then he has done it all, including time as a breakfast producer, copywriter and stints on on-air.

Since mid-2014, Sidwell’s been National Content Solutions Manager at Macquarie Media, a period that’s seen the company go deep-diving into podcast creation for brands.

Sidwell says the habits of audiences listening to audio has change. “Not only have commute times got longer, but also our attention spans have got shorter because we’ve got such a plethora of entertainment, information, kind of content that can stimulate us,” Andrew says.

Although radio is still ahead in terms of hours spent listening, increasingly more people are consuming downloaded and streamed content.

“We understand that we have to be in these other spaces and other times with these other stories for our audience when they’re there,” Sidwell insists. “Thanks to the smart phone in our pocket, we can kind of tune in whenever we want and expect whatever mood we’re in to have that thing there in our ears, or in our eyes at that moment.”

Macquarie Media has produced several branded podcasts, including a six-part series for GE, Decoding Genius, and two seasons of The Road Next Travelled, hosted by Ray Martin, for Colonial First State.

These podcasts are ever-green content, that doesn’t date and can be consumed far into the future. “It sits there in iTunes, it sits on your website, it sits wherever your distribution methods are and it grows you an organic audience over time,” he says.

For brands looking to get involved in podcasting, Sidwell says, they must understand how it’s different from traditional media.

“It’s attractive if you understand the ecosystem that it sits in; you have to reset the mindset.

“[Companies] are so used to making ads that they start thinking that this is like advertorial, or drifting into that space of: it’s a very long-form ad – it’s like a 15 minute ad. So, what you have to educate them is: go, know your brand is a character in these stories that we’re going to tell.

“You’ve got to be smart around the strategy of why you’re doing it. What comes next after they listen to the podcast? What action do you want them to take? What emotion do you want them to feel? Then how are you going to promote it, what comes before it? How are they going to discover it?”

Andrew Sidwell’s interview is from Episode 13 of BE Podcasting – Engage Your Audience, produced by BE Media Production.

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