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What makes my project successful – A story about a good podcast

June 16, 2023 | point

On this panel, we could hear stories from a few podcasters from Poland. Speakers on this panel were  Zuzanna Olejniczak (Outriders),  Magda Birecka (TokFm) and Bartek Przybyszewski and Mateusz Witkowski (Podcastex).

Photo: Vanja Čerimagić

Zuzanna Olejniczak, who is representing Outriders podcast, talked about how they engage their audience. The first episode of Outriders was released on February 27, 2022, a few days after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine started. In two months, they created a few episodes. 

She pointed out that one episode is prepared by local reporters, experts, translators, editors, producers and hosts. At some point, the Outriders podcast was named the Podcast of the Year.

Also, Zuzanna Olejniczak was talking about three ways to engage the audience. The first way is direct contact with the existing audience. For example, when it comes to the invasion of Ukraine, the existing audience were people from Ukraine. The second way is podcast promo through Outriders tools and products. Outriders were using podcast newsletter, Outriders magazine and video materials on YouTube. Outriders also developed social media to reach audiences. When it comes to expanding the audience, it can be done in numerous ways. For instance, Outriders used cooperation with big media outlets in Poland. 

On this panel, Bartek Przybyszewski and Mateusz Witkowski were representatives of Podcastex, a Polish podcast about the 90s and 00s. They pointed out that they reach for global context, but the Polish context is most important to them. The podcast was started about three years ago. Witkowski talked about the 90s as the good old days, but only if you were a kid in that period. When it comes to social problems, there were a lot of them in 90s Poland. Some of the problems included unemployment, homophobia and politics. The Podcast is not only about nostalgia for the 90s but also about critics of social problems. So, nostalgia is only a starting point in their podcast.

Photo: Vanja Čerimagić

Bartek Przybyszewski and Mateusz Witkowski presented their equipment and research. Przybyszewski pointed out that research is a very important part of a podcast and it can be really long. Witkowski was also talking about how podcasts are recorded, and he also emphasized that every episode is published every single week.

They presented several podcasts. Between July 2022 and August 2022, there were some improvements and the numbers doubled. Last year, they received two awards – Influencer’s Life of Words and Podcast of the Year. They’ve also presented ways of engaging fans of social media.

The last speaker on this panel was Magda Birecka from TokFm, a radio station with more than 30,000 regular subscribers. TokFM started as a regular radio station, providing news coverage. Today, they have a subscription model with more than 30,000 regular subscriptions.

Photo: Vanja Čerimagić

As Magda Birecka said, at the beginning of TokFm, which was launched in 1998, TokFm was “something brand new – hardly any music, lots of news and hours of broadcasts with interviews, discussions, opinions with various topics – politics, economy, social issues, etc”. She also pointed out that from the very first year of TokFm, some of the broadcasts were published on the website.

In 2014, the decision was made to archive all radio broadcasts and publish them in the mobile app and start selling them. These audio pieces at that time were introduced as podcasts because they were in demand. That was the moment when TokFM premium was introduced and it worked very well. As Birecka said, five years ago “a new app was launched, the website was refreshed, a team was formed, strategy has been written and the goal was set to gain 30,000 subscribers by the end of 2022”. She emphasized that this goal was achieved. 

Birecka pointed out that in the meanwhile, there were more and more podcasters and people that wanted to listen to them. Podcasters started to look for opportunities to monetize their work. TokFm started looking at different ways of monetization, different from subscription. As she said, they’ve found one. They are two ways of monetization – both are developed separately. 

She emphasized that at the beginning, TokFm was publishing archived audio pieces which were previously published on radio, and after that, they started publishing real podcasts, which cannot be heard on the radio. 

According to a study from 2021, one in three users are listening to podcasts and this number is still increasing. Moreover, every year listeners spend more and more time listening to podcasts. Also, one in five listeners turns on a podcast at least once a week. She pointed out that podcasting is a great challenge due to the big number of podcasters, and the TokFM team must do their best in keeping a high-quality level to earn their audience’s time.

Author: Sanjin Mahmutović