At the beginning of October, Barron’s launched two new audio offerings, a daily news briefing Numbers By Barron’s and an audio-rich weekly show named The Readback.
We made these shows not only an effort to be on the forefront of the changing media landscape—26 Percent of Americans Listen to Podcasts Monthly, up from 24 percent in 2017—but also as a service our readers. Our goal is to create a seamless experience across platforms and devices, enabling readers to choose the right mode of consumption for their context. We also incorporated our audience at several points during developed (should we even create podcasts? What type of content do you need in this format? How often?) to ensure we created products that meet our audience’s needs.
A bit more about that…
Numbers by Barron’s is a two minute briefing consisting of three numbers that tell the listener the important stories of the day. This briefing especially targets audiences on smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa, but is available on all podcast channels and Barrons.com.
We chose this approach because smart speaker use “is growing at a faster rate than the early days of smartphones” and the existing user profile is a good match to our own (affluent, slightly older, educated, and predominantly male).
During development, we tested a demo on an audience panel to help us shape approach and tone. For instance, we found that brevity was the most valued aspects of the show, and that users preferred a version with music intro/outros.
Our second show is a 15-minute show called The Readback—essentially a highly produced interview between a host and rotating writers from Barron’s. In each episode we take look behind either the cover story or a prominent feature: what’s the big idea at play and what is the writer’s own fascination with this topic?
We worked with Barron’s customer intelligence team to survey Barron’s prospects on podcast listenership, and found that 55% of this group currently consume podcasts. Shows like TED, The Daily (NYT), and the Dave Ramsey Show—all podcasts that explain difficult topics in compelling ways—were frequently cited, which helped shape our development of The Readback.
We’re not done yet. We are continuing to test a few more shows. For instance, in July, we published a pilot for an in-depth, long-form interview podcast Unexpected Returns, which we plan to return to. We’re also going to be surveying our listeners regularly to make sure we keep adapting to their needs.
We’re really excited about these shows. Please take a listen and let us know what you think.