Paul Mikhaylenko has a vision for podcasts, podcasters, and listeners. And it's all about real participation in shows, engagement, and community-building.
The industry expert is Founder and CEO of Listen App, and Director of Product at Trend Capital Holdings. Paul is also founder and CEO of Bloom, a CRM platform for freelancers.
Listen App is a place where podcasters can host podcast events and actually get questions and comments from their audience. This can content can be recorded and used as part of an upcoming episode, if the podcast host wants.
Listen App is also a podcast player app. It is available on Apple, with Android coming very soon.
Listen App means that a host can be interviewing a guest, while allowing an audience to listen in. A host can bring in audience members to ask questions. Listeners will have questions a host may not have considered that will actually bring tons of colour and insights.
"Listen App it fosters engagement, where it's not just this monologue that people are listening to, but they feel like the stage is open for engagement and participation, where their voices can be heard.
"We're creating a platform where podcaster can host events, and invite their listeners to join into the conversation like you would on Clubhouse. You'd record those conversations and edit them. Maybe somebody asked the question that you want to share with the rest of the listener group. And on the next episode, you include that interaction in there."
The Difficulty Of Building Podcast Communities
Part of the issue around creating podcasting communities is that it's a different medium from anything else that we've experienced on a mass scale. The only thing in audio that we've done before is radio.
"Even with radio, the most you can have in terms of listener engagement is call-ins, but you wouldn't have necessarily communities built around radio stations," Paul continues. "The thing about audio is that it's tapping into what you might call like the last frontier of human attention available, and it's a multitasking attention."
Most audio listeners are disengaged from their devices, and multitasking. They're receiving content in an input mode, where it's non-interactive versus if you're on a website.
Paul sees podcasting as the frontier of specific and tailored community engagement. "We have to understand all of the pieces of how podcasting is using audio, but also what are the types of content that actually require and would flourish with, you know, a community built around them?"
The Future Of Podcasting
With the power plays between the big tech giants, Paul thinks that many are trying to take advantage of podcasting, because it's under-monetized. A lot of tech companies are seeing opportunities for themselves.
He doesn't know if Facebook's entry into audio will be a good experience for podcast communities or not. With the Apple subscription piece, he notes that Apple still doesn't have an Android app. He advises creators to think twice before using Apple subscriptions. "Unless I knew that 90 percent of my users were Apple-only, because you're cutting off all your Android users from your premium offering that you're putting a lot of time into."
Paul envisions that a year from now the podcasting world will see a lot more exclusive and paid content, along with more monetization models.
"Podcasters need to be compensated for their work, and they need a way to feed their families and fund these projects. Right now, that doesn't exist. Our goal is to be facilitating that for podcasters who want to have communities. Our goal is to become the dominant player for that