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Episode 04 - The rise of Podcast

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White Rabbit: (00:01)

Welcome to the White Rabbit Hole podcast. Follow us to discover the daily wonders of a young and smart creative agency in the heart of Europe. Today we are talking about an amazing and versatile medium that has been growing in terms of usage and engagement in recent years, podcasts. In recent years, podcasts have been rapidly gaining popularity as a medium for communicating policy affairs and engaging with the public. The EU bubble is no exception to this trend. Podcasts have emerged as a key tool for communicating complex policy issues in a more accessible and engaging way. One of the main reasons for the rise of podcasts in the EU bubble is the need for more effective and engaging ways to communicate policy issues to a wider audience. Traditional media channels like press releases and news articles can be dry and unengaging, making it difficult to grab the attention of a broad audience.

White Rabbit: (01:01)

On the other hand, podcasts offer a more engaging and interactive platform to communicate policy ideas and issues. Also, podcasts can break down complex policy issues into bite-sized, easily digestible chunks. This is particularly important in the EU bubble, where policy issues can be highly technical and complex. Podcasts can also provide a more personal and relatable way of communicating policy ideas, giving listeners a chance to get to know the personalities and perspectives of policymakers and experts in the field. Another key factor driving the rise of podcasts in the EU bubble is the changing media landscape. Traditional media outlets like newspapers and television stations have been struggling to maintain their audience in the face of competition from new digital platforms. Podcasts, on the other hand, offer a unique niche for content creators with a growing number of listeners tuning in. In addition, the coed 19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of podcasts as a medium for communication.

White Rabbit: (02:06)

With the widespread shift to remote work, podcasts have become a popular way for people to stay informed and connected while working from home. This has created a unique opportunity for policymakers and experts to reach a wider audience through podcasting. Some of the most popular policy podcasts in the EU bubble include Politico, EU Confidential, Urus, EU Scream, and the Center for European Reforms, c e r podcast. Overall, the rise of podcasts in the EU bubble is a positive development for policymakers, experts, and citizens alike. By offering a more engaging and accessible platform for policy communication, podcasts can help bridge the gap between the EU bubble and the broader public. As the podcasting trend continues to grow, we can expect to see even more innovative and exciting ways to communicate policy issues. In the years to come, we gathered the opinion of Matt Albania, a communication and public affairs expert and regular podcast listener. Welcome, Matto. Thank you for joining the White Rabbit podcast today. Also, the studio today is Alberto Macari, creative director and founder of White Rabbit Agency,

Alberto: (03:23)

Matteo welcome to White Rabbit HolePodcast. Thank you for being here today.

Matteo: (03:28)

Thank Alberto, and thank you to Oliver, our listeners. It was a pleasure for me to be here,

Alberto: (03:34)

Can you give us an idea what is a podcast and why for you.  it's a strong media nowadays.

Matteo: (03:43)

Well, if I can go back, um, a couple of years in this, what I call to hate and love of relationship with podcasts. Um, when I approached the first podcast, I didn't, I didn't fully understand, um, the beauty of it and the potential that it has to communicate and convey messages. And I find it weird when my friends used to tell me that they, uh, listen to podcasts while running or while doing other activities. I didn't find it really the, uh, the added value in doing that. Uh, but then I, started to listen to some podcasts. I'm passionate about culture, about, uh, crime, uh, sir to and, and then history. So I, I got approached by, by some of these podcasts in this series, and, uh, they, they struck me. And I love, uh, I love the format. I love how personal and confident, uh, it can be the tone, uh, and how indeed you can be very connected with the host and with the entire format while doing other activities. And of course, it's always a learning experience. It's always the knowledge that has been passed from, the host of the podcast to the listeners in what is, of course, a public and open conversation, but at the same time, very private, very one-to-one conversation.

Alberto: (04:59)

So you find this in some way intimate discussion between...

Matteo: (05:06)

yeah, indeed. It's very, it's very an intimate conversation, an intimate discussion. Even though of course you have, you are fully aware that, uh, every other person in the world can listen to the same podcast. But in that 20, 30 minutes, you are connected just with the host with that voice, and it engages you. If it pushes you to, listen more and, and to reflect on what, on what you are listening to at that moment and even more to investigate the topic, even after having listened to the podcast, which I think it's, it's beauty because sometimes the podcast just throws a story that, that you want to go deep in deeper in that story. You want, you want to know more about the topic.

Alberto: (05:48)

So you, you are saying basically, podcast can be a first touching point of a communication plan.

Matteo: (05:57)

I think there could be both. There could be a touching point and there could be an extensive and detailed explanation of a topic. And I think that organizations being public, being private, being companies, they could benefit today from this. They could present a paper, they could present a policy and go very much indeed or very much, um, thorough with, with their explanation and going for longer formats, such as 45 minutes, one hour. But they can also just wrap it up in a conversation as we are doing now today, and stick it to 20 minutes, but then leave a message, leave a memory, leave the willingness to, to people to go and explore farther that topic.

Alberto: (06:40)

When is, the moment of the day that you usually listen to? Podcast.

Matteo: (06:46)

I listen to podcasts, and I think this is what, um, happens probably the most of the listeners, uh, in the morning and the evening. So, uh, after and before working hours. And I listen to podcasts, uh, when I do daily activities, uh, when I go jogging, when I iron my clothing, uh, when I cook, why not, uh, if I'm alone at home, uh, those are the key moments. And it gives me the idea that while I'm doing that, those activities that our routine, sometimes they're seen as boring. I, I'm learning. I keep my brain active, and I'm taking advantage of that time that otherwise I would probably consider being lost. And instead with the podcast, I see, I give added value to that time.

Alberto: (07:34)

So you are saying that also that the feeling that the thing that the podcast can last more than 10 minutes, 15 and also longer, um, is something that, um, it's okay for you because you are indeed acquiring information. So you want to listen, you want to, uh, learn something that, uh, you didn't know before.

Matteo: (07:56)

When we're talking about the length of the podcast, I think that that's, uh, that's to be defined in the communication plan. And when we ask ourselves, what's the message we want to convey? What's the goal we want to reach with the podcast? Then we find the answer to the questions, determine the length of the podcast, how deep we want to go, and how engaged you want to be. Do we have a guest, uh, with a solo in that podcast? Do we have more than one guest? Um, do we want to play back interviews in the past? Do we want to add, uh, other elements to the podcast? And that, of course, expands or reduces, the length of the podcast. I do believe, I, I listen to podcasts that there are five minutes long, three minutes long, that they're really like small pills. And I listen like a teaser.

Matteo: (08:44)

And there are podcasts that they are, that they are alpha an hour, 45 minutes, one hour long. For example, there is one podcast that I listen to regularly, the High-Performance podcast. It's, it's one hour, one hour and five minutes long. And then, but that's so rich in terms of content, and there are so many guests rotating and being interviewed that, uh, to me, it doesn't feel like it's, I've been spending one hour of my time listening to it. So it's really about the story. And I think that everyone nowadays, being private organizations, and public companies, they have a story to tell. And while they tell this story, they can use the podcast to reach a broader audience. Let's be frank here. Listening to something is less demanding than reading to something, than watching something. Just because you need your hears, and then you can do anything else, uh, which is not something you can do with a video that needs your full attention or with a paper that needs as well your full attention as.

Alberto: (09:45)

That's an interesting point. The thing, the thing that you are saying that is not so demanding, but of course, everything is, uh, in charge of the story. So the storytelling, the message that you are carrying is king. So you, you can't just start to produce a podcast without having an idea or a plan while, uh, well defined before.

Matteo: (10:11)

Absolutely. And I think that there is a, you right Albert double dimension. There, there is the message, which is very important and it needs to capture attention, uh, already with, the podcast description. When I go often, to the podcast website, and, and listen to them, I engage as well with the text, then, the description of the podcast itself on the main, on the main platforms. And that's already tricking me if I want to go further and if I want to investigate further that topic. Um, and that's the first thing. In the first seconds, in the first minutes, I need to be fully captured, uh, if I want to keep listening to it. And the second important point is the meta text. The meta text is what, I call meta text the voice of the host. Is that voice entertaining enough? Is it warm enough? Is it the tone of that voice that is keeping me interested? That's that count a lot. Uh, it's, it's, as we, as we listen to the radio, as we listen to anything else, we will also be influenced in our perception of the content. If the voice, if the tone of the speaker is sounding well, is sounding nice to us, otherwise we would probably not want to listen to it. It's like music, that, that's

Alberto: (11:30)

Also another point. And you are, you, you, you mentioning now that I would like to come back, uh, later on about the production, because of course it's uneasy and affordable media, but of course, has some rules to respect. But, um, again, I would like to, uh, ask you, uh, one specific question, uh, as you are an expert in the, um, in the policy of, uh, and you had already gained a lot of experience in this domain, how and why for you? Uh, the podcast nowadays has gained so, uh, popularity, uh, around communication,

Matteo: (12:05)

Mostly for one main reason, which then entails and includes other reasons. But what policy at au, especially at the U level has been often missing, is to be concise, to go straight to the point and to speak a language that it's easy to be understood, all these points that cannot be present in a podcast. The podcast forces you to translate your message into a simple language, to be quicker in what you communicate and to be easily understood. And that's what you cannot find in policy papers, especially here in Brussels, in the Brussels bubbles. Well, the podcast kind of triggers that comfortable habit of writing papers that there are pages and pages long where messages get lost. And to focus is on what's the main message you want to convey, to convey it in a, probably in a conversation. So you will need to interact, which adds, of course, an element of engagement with the audience and in a language which is easy to be understood, which is not common.

Matteo: (13:16)

So podcast has kind of allowed and broke some of the comfortable comfort rules that policy, uh, political consultancy firms and, and, and even the Brus bubble and the institutions have been often having. And that's, I think that that's a very big plus. And I'm happy that, uh, all this organization are starting to believe more and more into, into the use of this tool, uh, in which I'm a firm believer. And, uh, I think that what, what, what, why Tribe is doing, conveying the same message towards his client, it's, it's, it's the step, the right step in the right direction. Of course, for podcasts, we need to say that it's not just grabbing a microphone and recording yourself. You need to have a strategy behind it. I think that's, uh, that's very important.

Alberto: (14:12)

That's indeed important, and, and, and I see the podcast as a part of the communication plan as one of the tools, but the most important thing that the, uh, that you are saying is that it's still, and the usage of the podcast is innovative, can be innovative for, especially for the Brussels bubble.

Matteo: (14:28)

Absolutely. That's, uh, uh, that's indeed right, the point. And I think, of course, part of the reason why podcasts have become so popular is, um, because it's now easier to produce them. And we're gonna probably go back to that, uh, a bit later. Uh, but that doesn't mean that it's easier, uh, to convey those messages. Doesn't mean that it's easier, to reach the right audience. You still need to produce high-quality content. You still need to produce content that is right to the point, and you are not just liking, like Indeed and I go back to the paper. When you write the paper, you can have annexes, you can, you can write chapters introducing other chapters, no, on the podcast. You need to be straight to the point. You need to capture the tension of the listeners in the first seconds, if not in the first few minutes, at the very, at the very best. And that pushes people that I used to work in a certain way to break boundaries, to engage in new ways of conversation, and to just accept that podcasts, podcasts, today's are tools that will allow your company, your organization to have better exposure. It's not just exposure. It's to have better exposure.

Alberto: (15:45)

That's nice

Matteo: (15:46)

To, really reach the audience that you want, because no one is gonna listen. Not, not everyone is gonna listen to your podcast, but you don't need that. Everyone listens to a podcast. You need that. The people you care about, that you want to reach, listen to your podcast. That's the thing that's a very microtargeted tool, uh, but allows you to reach the right people. Wow. And that's, and that, that is what, that's the powerful key of this,

Alberto: (16:11)

Of this tool. Very true. Uh, uh, it's, uh, something to, um, target even better, your, your audience and indeed. And, uh, in terms of exposure, I think that also, uh, uh, media that allow you to integrate with others, with the classic one with video, and I'm thinking about creating video podcasts. So now, for example, we are here, uh, in your office, Mattel, we are just a book, we book a meeting room with a laptop and, and a microphone. We can record this podcast, but why not, for example, film? Uh, and so give also to your audience, uh, in a, in a hypothetical series or podcast, uh, the image. So, you put your face on that could be even stronger.

Matteo: (17:05)

Absolutely. Uh, that's another aspect, uh, the podcast that I love, the infinite possibilities to develop and to build on, like bricks on bricks. Uh, so of course, the focus is mostly and is born as a tool to be listened to. But when you start to record two people speaking to microphones, that becomes also a video tool, and then it can be explored even further. So, and that's also, it means addressing different audiences because those who watch your podcast, probably they're not the same that who will listen to the podcast mm-hmm. . So you are just expanding your reach. You're not overlapping it, you're not reaching the same people twice. You're just reaching different people with the same tool, just adding a camera, recording yourself while you're speaking in front a, of a microphone, but reaching different, different people reaching different audiences that they might be on YouTube, they might be on another streaming platform, and they might be interested in watching what you have to say, not just because they're more captured by images, not just listening to it, uh, on a, on a podcast platform.

Alberto: (18:15)

And I think especially if we think about you above, you bubble probably many other ways too, uh, highlight or to talk about members of our big associations, for example, to you, uh, let them say their stories, give them the space. Sometimes an association struggles to give every one of its member's equal space to ing their advocacy campaign. So also is a, is a medium that is affordable and also gives everybody that a chance to, to say their, their points highlighting the work and the support of the European Association and the, uh, advocacy, um, efforts.

Matteo: (19:00)

Absolutely. And, and, and just to, to bridge on that, what you're saying, um, I, I've had the experience of producing, uh, and, and, and listening to podcasts that they're producing series, which I think that they, they, they are very helpful because then you build a narrative, uh, with the listeners and you know that those listeners might listen just to a series of a podcast and then you can restart with another series that it's, it has a different target, but still under the same branding umbrella. That's very powerful. And let's not also forget, I wanted to mention earlier, well, it's easy to produce podcasts because nowadays you have indeed affordable tools, but it's also possible to record them online. You, you, we are like enough to be now in Brussels in the same, in the same city in the office. It's a pleasure, to meet in person. But that's amazing that you can report, you can record podcasts, uh, online. So be in two different parts of the world. And this means you can even more easily, more, easier reach other people, reach other audiences that you don't need to travel far away to meet in person. That's, that's, that's another very important aspect. And I do believe that breaking down podcasts into series, it's very important. So organizations, need to think,

Matteo: (20:17)

Uh, when they think about podcasts, they need to think about them as a toolbox where you have infinite possibilities to, draft when you have a different possibility to tell stories where you can do a video podcast where you can do just the podcast audio, where you can do a series where you can do a diff, you have different options. You just need to know what's right. You need to be guided to know what's the right option for you and what tool allows you best to deliver your messages to the right, to the right audience. I think that that's, uh, what would, would always engage me about podcasts. Uh, the beauty of it, the beauty of it is the combinations of the combination of all these factors I found. I found it, I found, I find the podcast is the communication tool of this century ou at least of this decade.

Alberto: (21:11)

And for today, we arrive at the end of the episode. For those who are interested in learning more about this media, we are prepared a free guide for you to download, uh, right below. If you're listening, uh, the podcast from our website or otherwise, you can go to brusselswhiterabbit.com. I thank again, our guest, Mattel

Matteo: (21:33)

Alberto Grazie, thank you very much to you and your listeners.

White Rabbit: (21:37)

If you think this podcast was interesting, please share your thoughts and comments on this topic. Thank you for tuning into the White Rabbit Hole Podcast.

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