How Running Is Like Podcasting

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By Emily Lowe, Brand Partnerships Manager

I, like a lot of people, am one for setting New Year’s resolutions that I don’t stick to. So when in January, I signed up to the Royal Parks half marathon, I told myself this was the perfect way to stay on track with my running, albeit a very difficult and very daunting way. 


January also happened to be when I started in my new position as Brand Partnerships Manager at Listen. Having worked media-owner side for six years previously, podcasting is a whole new world to me and I’ve loved learning about its ins and outs. It helps that I absolutely love podcasts – FYI, my inbox is always open to show recommendations. 


In fact, whilst I’d been a casual listener pre-pandemic, during the lockdowns I found myself turning to podcasts more and more. Whether in the background whilst working, out on my daily sanctioned one-hour walk or on my exhilarating trips to the supermarket, I found there was a podcast fit for every moment. 


And with the closure of gyms, whilst I’d been a casual runner pre-pandemic (C25K anyone?), during the lockdowns I found myself turning to running to get in my exercise – and let’s face it, as an excuse to get out the house. In time, I went from getting out of breath after 5 minutes, to running 10km on the weekends – for fun. With my favourite hosts chatting away in my ear, my runs were escapism, time just for me – and a welcome distraction from what was going on in the world. 


I have now been at Listen for seven months (!), and have learned so much about what goes into creating a podcast from the ground up and the keys to maximising its success. And in contemplating that for a blog post, I discovered that podcasting and running in fact run parallel. 


1) If you want to go the distance, be patient

Remember the old adage, don’t run before you can walk? You can see where I’m going with this. If you’re a first-time runner, expecting to throw on your shoes and smash out a 5km run off the bat is unrealistic. Building your stamina or shaving seconds off of your personal best won’t happen overnight, but instead is the product of practice and patience.

The same thinking can be applied to podcasting. No podcast is an overnight success. Growing your listenership and getting your show into the podcast charts won’t happen just like that from day one. In fact, the average podcast in the top 10 is more than seven years old, demonstrating that when it comes to podcasting, you have to play the long game. Which leads me onto my next point:


2) Consistency is key 

To improve your running, you have to be consistent. Having a training schedule is essential for ensuring you stay on track to achieve your goals. Without planning and sticking to a routine, it’s all too easy to make excuses and to end up not going for a run at all. And a runner cannot ever expect to run faster or for longer if they aren’t running on a regular basis.


Again, we can think of podcasting in a similar way. Being consistent with your message and releasing content regularly is key to attracting your audience and keeping them hooked. Podcasts that speak regularly to their audience are best positioned to forge a community of listeners and to build a meaningful connection between their hosts and their audience; making a listener feel like part of the conversation is central to building long-term, loyal audiences. Publishing episodes weekly or fortnightly as opposed to sporadically will also ensure that listeners remain engaged, keeping your audience excited and eager for that next episode to drop. 


A prime example is the Ninetwentynine podcast produced for Fiverr. Each episode, always 9 minutes and 29 seconds long, hears host Eshaan Akbar in conversation with a guest who offers up one key piece of business advice on something they’ve learnt from their years of experience. Having run weekly for six seasons, it has built a dedicated audience and racked up close to 2m downloads.


3) Setting objectives is vital

When I set off for a run, without setting a time or distance goal, my runs really suffer; I get tired, bored, and demotivated. Instead, if I focus on what I want to achieve, such as running for 30 minutes without stopping, or beating my 5k PR, I can shape my training, approach and attitude to the desired outcome. No olympic runner or marathon world record holder achieved such feats by pure chance. Setting goals helps us identify what it is that we want to accomplish, and helps us make plans for how we’re going to get there. 

Likewise, before you start a podcast, you need to have clearly defined objectives. It might be that you want to increase brand awareness, drive consideration, improve brand favourability or shift brand perceptions. By outlining your objectives from the very beginning, deciding how you are going to measure success, and understanding how these objectives complement your wider marketing strategy, you can ensure that the creative and strategic direction of the podcast is geared towards your end goal.


4) Success isn’t measured by one metric only

When it comes to running, success can be measured in many ways – not just your finish time. As a runner I measure my success by how I feel after my run, whether I find my runs increasingly easier, or if I’m able to up my distance week-on-week. 

The same goes for podcasting. Measuring your podcast’s performance just by looking at download numbers fails to tell the whole story of the impact of your podcast. Beyond download numbers, you should take into account your listen-through and view-through rates, engagement on your accompanying social media activity, if you’re reaching the right audience demographic, and comments, shares, ratings and reviews. Tracking these metrics are invaluable for understanding the broader impact of your podcast and will help you to shape your long-term growth strategy. 



If you’re looking for an original branded podcast, please connect with us on LinkedIn or message us at – we’re all ears (literally). 


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