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How Pod Digital Media Leverages Innovation to Deliver Meaningful Connections for Brands Discover the Trends and Future of the Podcast Industry

By Terry Rice Edited by Dan Bova

Pod Digital Media

Ever wonder how you can connect with new people at a networking event without making it awkward? Lean into it.

I'll provide more context to highlight the outcome.

I recently attended IAB Podcast Upfronts here in New York City. While I was wandering around pretending like I had somewhere to go, I noticed two guys who looked friendly enough to approach. Then, I used my go-to approach for new people at events like this.

I walked over and said "I'm just going to awkwardly insert myself in this conversation". Fortunately, they were very receptive, and that's how I met Gary Coichy.

With two decades of experience on both the agency and brand side, Gary decided to establish Pod Digital Media (PDM), a leading podcast agency that stands out as the first Multicultural Podcast agency network, providing advertisers with access to the diverse multicultural audience segment within the podcast ecosystem.

I followed up with Gary after the event to learn more about how he built PDM, his predictions for the future of the podcast industry and insights he could share with other entrepreneurs.

Leadership

During our chat Gary emphasized the pioneering role PDM played in recognizing and monetizing podcasts by underrepresented groups like African Americans, Hispanics, and the LGBTQ community.

Early on he discovered partnering with overlooked audiences could position his company as an industry leader and create new opportunities for growth and influence.

Historically, if you don't have a big audience it's challenging if not impossible to land brand deals. But Gary realized the power of creating a centralized network of podcast hosts, combining their reach, and then selling packages to advertisers that include placement on several different podcasts.

This proved to be advantageous for brands as it increased their reach network of hosts. For example, instead of just getting 1,000 ad impressions on one podcast, they could get 20,000 ad impressions on twenty separate podcasts without negotiating several agreements.

As Gary shared "We were the first company in 2017, to basically identify the value of partnering with a podcast host of color. At the time there wasn't one centralized location for advertisers to tap into their audiences so this was a huge unlock."

His leadership strategy involved seeing potential where larger networks saw limitations due to scale and financial viability. And Gary's first big break came from landing HBO as a client in 2019.

Today, PDM's network consists of top ranked podcasts including The Kenny Burns Show, Behind The Mask, Black Girl Texting and Social Proof.

Key takeaway:

Like Gary, you should consider pioneering in untapped markets where you can lead and define the terms of engagement.

Related: Want to Improve Your Productivity? These 7 Types of Music Will Help You Focus

Innovation

PDM continued to grow but Gary knew it was important to proactively evolve.. He shared a thought that came to mind which sparked their next phase.

"What other ways can you diversify your offering to ensure that your advertisers can get more than just an ad read or do an ad 30 seconds ad placement on a podcast to still reach that audience authentically?"

As a result PDM House was launched as a live podcast activation to engage audiences directly during key cultural events.

Gary provides more details. "We take podcasters on the road around key cultural moments like Art Basel, the Super Bowl and Fashion Week; all while having a fully immersed brand experience that leads to meaningful conversations."

Key takeaway:

Creators and brands should constantly seek new ways to deliver content and engage with their audience so they can turn standard interactions into unique, memorable experiences.

Predictions

Gary foresees the continued evolution and influence of big names entering the podcast space, which will only enhance its popularity and reach. You can also expect to see more brands host podcasts that share content adjacent to their core offering.

For example, Yelp has a podcast called Behind the Review that features conversations with reviewers and business owners about their experiences—whether it was one star or five stars—giving listeners behind-the-scenes insights into what was really going on.

When asked about the impact AI will have on the podcast industry, Gary offered shared good news for anyone concerned about being edged out: "I don't necessarily see AI complete takeover within the next two years. However, I do see playing a bigger role, as far as the A/B testing, and different ads that may be working that may be resonating, not resonating as driving revenue."

Key takeaway:

Staying ahead of these trends allows for strategic adaptations that can keep your company competitive and relevant.

Terry Rice

Entrepreneur Staff

Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Terry Rice is the Business Development Expert-in-Residence at Entrepreneur and Managing Director of Growth & Partnerships at Good People Digital; an agency that provides marketing and monetization solutions for entrepreneurs. He writes a newsletter about how to build your business and personal resilience and personal brand in just 5 minutes per week and created a revenue optimization checklist to help you multiply your income potential. 

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