Q5: Behind the rooi rose podcast, with Hannelie Diedericks [interview]
by Carey Finn (@carey_finn) Hannelie Diedericks, rooi rose deputy editor, talks us through the making of the first free Afrikaans women’s-interest podcast channel, rrRADIO, which launched in late June 2019.
Q5: We know that podcasts are taking the world by storm but could you share insights into listenership in South Africa?
Hannelie Diedericks: According to Iono.fm, South Africa has seen growth in podcasts of almost 40% over the last five years. From 2017 to 2019, women have bypassed men in the South African podcast demographics, with the biggest listenership between 25–34 years old. The high number of Apple devices being used to download podcasts from Iono.fm, as opposed to Android devices, also points towards a higher LSM podcast audience. Source: Iono.fm.
Q5: Why is the time right for a commercial podcast in Afrikaans?
HD: There aren’t many good quality, noteworthy Afrikaans podcasts, specifically for women. For over 77 years, we have been the experts in creating content for women and, given the stellar growth rate of podcasts locally and in the US, we believe that it was the right time to grab the wheel.
Q5: Could you walk us through the podcast production process, from start to finish?
HD: It’s been a steep learning curve for us, as we are used to thinking in text and visuals, but we approach podcasts in a very similar way to what we would in preparing an article or interview. We identified themes that we believe our audience are interested in that could live comfortably in audio format and developed the initial three series from there.
At the end of the day, you have to prepare for an interview in the same way — whether it’s in print or audio. You identify the subject or interviewee, do research, do the interview, and edit it until you are happy with the final product.
The biggest challenge has been the technical aspects of the production but we are learning at a rapid rate. We do our own recordings and editing. Iono.fm, which hosts our channel, also makes some of the more-complicated technical aspects easier. An added bonus for us is that there are no restrictions such as word counts and limited pages with podcasts — any journalist’s biggest annoyance — so it’s been a very liberating experience to practise our craft in this unconstrained format.
Q5: Are there plans to continue these series, or expand the podcast at all?
HD: Absolutely. For the first season, we want to test different limited series to see what resonates most with our listeners, then we will plan future seasons based on the feedback and results. The wheels are already turning and we have lots of ideas on how we can build on what we’ve accomplished in the first season.
Q5: It’s said that podcasts hold unique potential for advertisers. What is your take on that?
HD: We are very excited about the opportunities that podcasts create for advertisers. For example, it allows for focused/niche advertising for big and smaller advertisers at affordable rates, which is a godsend in this tough economic climate. In the US, companies like Blue Apron, Squarespace and Audible were small startups when they started to advertise on podcasts and have since then exploded into popularity. You can also reach an international audience.
Podcasts are highly engaging [media] for delivering messages; unlike traditional website or television or radio advertising, people actually enjoy listening to ads on podcasts because the host makes it a more-intimate and -personal experience and the product advertised is related to their interests. Podcasts are a very powerful medium for product endorsements, because listeners are more responsive to ads read by the podcast hosts. Listeners trust their podcast hosts and appreciate personal takes and banter on the product or service.
Consumers are more likely to respond to sincere and authentic conversations about a product than a recorded ‘radio-style’ ad. According to Midroll.com, 90% of podcast listeners listen to the advertisements on podcasts. Eighty percent % of listeners remember the brand that was advertised and 61% can name the product and details of the promotion. Unique discount codes can incentivise listeners to consider the advertiser’s product and they can gauge how effective their ad is on a specific podcast by measuring the number of sales based on that code.
Carey Finn (@carey_finn) is a writer and editor with a decade and a half of industry experience, having covered everything from ethical sushi in Japan to the technicalities of roofing, agriculture, medical stuff and more. She’s also taught English and journalism, and dabbled in various other communications ventures along the way, including risk reporting. As a contributing writer to MarkLives.com, her new regular column “Q5” aims to hone in on strategic insights, analysis and data through punchy interviews with experts in media, marketing and design.