Nov. 24, 2021

Fatima Zaidi Is Elevating Branded Podcasts

Fatima Zaidi Is Elevating Branded Podcasts

I have always been apprehensive about brands entering the podcast space to create corporate shows without strong guidance from experts. They usually end up as a 30-minute infomercial for their products or services. I am fascinated by the listeners who actively choose to follow brands, and I wanted to learn more about the intricate workings of branded podcasts. So I invited Fatima Zaidi, Founder, and CEO of Quill Podcasting, to share her expertise.

"Podcasting is a very new space. And so, just getting to the finish line is such an education process for bigger brands who are so used to putting out content on blogs, maybe YouTube channels, social media, but people still don't necessarily really understand the power of podcasting." Fatima is moving the needle in terms of elevating branded podcasts. Her team has helped many brands to identify their niche within their competitive matrix.

"I never recommend creating a podcast purely for sales purposes. Typically, it can have a significant impact on sales and lead generation. Still, the goal of creating a podcast is to tell your brand's story and position yourself as a thought leader and subject matter expert. And first and foremost, the priority should be to educate, inform, and entertain your audience."

Fatima talks about what it takes to build a branded podcast. What occurs behind the scenes, and why early adopters will see great success in the future.

To learn more, visit Quill or connect with Fatima on Linkedin.

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Transcript

This transcript has been edited.

[00:00:29] Heather Osgood: Hello and welcome to the Podcast Advertising Playbook. I'm your host, Heather. Osgood, and today on the show, I have Fatima Zaidi of Quill Podcasting. So Fatima has been in this space for quite some time, and she's been doing some really amazing things with her company.

[00:00:45] And so I wanted to bring her on this show today to talk a bit about branded podcasts. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:52] Fatima Zaidi: Thank you so much for having me, Heather. It's a pleasure to be here.

[00:00:56] Heather Osgood: So just to get us started, tell us a little bit about your background [00:01:00] within the podcast space.

[00:01:03] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. I ran an agency for many years and one of the biggest trends that I started noticing is this sort of gravitation towards content that felt a little bit more personalized, reaching more of a millennial target audience, and really reaching that global audience. And, back in 2014, before podcasting was a household name, a consumer through Sarah Canning's show, which is Serial. And, I realize that there's a whole other medium of content that we are probably not paying attention to. On-demand, radio was a big thing, but really there was no concept of pre-recording content to reach people who gravitate towards more of that audio consumption.

[00:01:48] So I eventually decided to productize our services and, that is really how Quill was born. Back when I launched Quill, we weren't really sure if podcasting was a thought or if it [00:02:00] was here to stay, the growth in the industry was really exponential. But, I truly now believe that back in the 1980s, you had a phone number for your business, and then it was a website, and then in 2000, it was social media. I think in the next five to 10 years, everyone is either going to have a podcast or be advertising on one.

[00:02:20] Heather Osgood: I totally agree. I couldn't agree more with your sentiments around podcasting and it's been so fascinating to watch it grow. Now, it sounds like you were in the content space, and podcasting really attracted your eye. What about podcasting was really appealing to you?

[00:02:42] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. First and foremost, I love the idea that anyone can podcast. You literally just needed a phone or an internet connection and the ability to create content. And so it is a very, I would say, the accessible format of content. But, [00:03:00] I would say that the thing that I love most about podcasting is it's truly a medium that's not available to most advertisers.

[00:03:07] You can be driving to work and listening to a podcast, but you can't be watching a Netflix show. You can be washing dishes and listening to a podcast but not reading an article. And so that is probably the main reason why 95% of people who start a podcast end up listening to the entire episode and show. And, being actively engaged in another activity, increases engagement rather than hurts engagement.

[00:03:34] And so, there really is no other content like that. A 30-minute video only has about a 12% completion rate. So to me, everybody consumes content in different ways. Some people prefer reading, some people prefer watching. I think it's been proven through a lot of stats that millennial professionals who are busy, really enjoy podcasts because it fits in really well with our schedules.[00:04:00] 

[00:04:00] Heather Osgood: Yeah, I totally agree. And I'm curious, you mentioned that podcast listening actually increases the memorability while you're doing something else, as opposed to watching a video. I know I've heard that before, but I'm curious to dig in deeper. So does the research actually prove that because you're doing something else you're actually more tuned in to what you're listening to?

[00:04:29] Fatima Zaidi: Yep. Absolutely. It takes away the monotonous mundane chores from our day that we're doing. And so, you're actively engaged in this podcast while doing your day-to-day things on your chore list. And actually, it was a study done by BBC that I would highly recommend that everyone tune in to because that study really talked about the impact that it can have on brand quality. And actually, it was the 2021 Edison report where they [00:05:00] talk about how 93% of podcast audiences listened to all or most of each episode. And in the same study, they talk about how video content that's 30 minutes or longer only has a 12% completion rate and they really break down why it really increases your engagement rather than decreases it.

[00:05:19] And then let's not even forget about the impact that it has on your brand. I think that BBC report, I was just talking about, mentioned something around an 89% lift in awareness. 57% lift in brand consideration and purchasing intent increasing by 14%, which, for brands, are astronomical numbers. By just creating podcasting or content in the form of audio to reach a whole other audience, which is typically in this case, educated, affluent millennial professionals, that account for almost 75% of the workforce. It's not YouTube, which is typically a younger audience, or [00:06:00] TikTok, which is Gen Z, social media, which can typically be an older demographic. You're reaching a very ripe audience.

[00:06:08] Heather Osgood: And would you say those statistics are true for both a branded podcast where the podcast is, presented by the company? And, or, would you say, do statistics apply to advertising as well?

[00:06:24] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. So I would say in terms of advertising, there definitely have been a lot of studies done on the impact that it can have on your brand's bottom line. But yes, a lot of those stats are treatable with advertising as well as content consumption. We do a lot of internal studies, on the audience growth side, as well as the advertising side. At Quill, through our client podcasts, we're exclusively an agency that worked with branded podcasts and so with companies. And typically our, demographic profile is enterprise fortune 500 brands. So we've been able to map out data trends over time, and they're pretty [00:07:00] consistent with, a lot of the findings in that BBC report.

[00:07:04] It obviously isn't always apples to apples, but we've typically found pretty high conversion rates.

[00:07:10] Heather Osgood: And in terms of looking at branded podcasts, what would you say is one of the biggest obstacles that companies have to actually get into the branded podcast space?

[00:07:22] Fatima Zaidi: I would say, the biggest limitation is typically self-induced. Podcasting is a very new space. It's very green space. And so a lot of them, just getting to the finish line is such an education process, for bigger brands who are so used to putting out content on blogs, maybe YouTube channels, social media, but people still don't necessarily really understand the power of podcasting.

[00:07:48] I think the brands that have started creating branded shows really are early adopters and at the very beginning of a hype cycle, but a lot of brands still haven't really caught up to that trend. So [00:08:00] the creation and justification of production budgets are usually the biggest obstacles. Creating a really good branded podcast is expensive and it takes time and resources, and oftentimes when you're, pitching the idea and budget approvals are coming from CFOs who are very data-driven so they want to know, like digital marketing, for every dollar you're putting in, what does that translate into dollars coming back to us or impact on the bottom line? And podcasting at the beginning at the very least can be very much like PR, which is an intangible service.

[00:08:33] We are a very data and tech-enabled agency so everything that we do is to try to justify that ROI. Our goal and mission are really to bring in as many brands as we possibly can to the industry. So we're very focused on that ROI piece. But, I would say really that is probably the biggest obstacle.

[00:08:52] Heather Osgood: Yeah, I could totally see that simply because like you said, companies are so focused on that ROI piece and it is something that's [00:09:00] totally new. I also think that it's so fascinating that really there's only, a minority percentage of the population that's actively listening to podcasts. So if you were a decision-maker and you don't personally listen to podcasts, you might not see the value.

[00:09:15] And so I could see that as being an obstacle to overcome as well. When we look at branded podcasts for me, one of the obstacles that I have always seen is what are they actually going to put in the show? Because, my biggest concern is that a company is going to create a 30-minute infomercial, and no one wants to listen to that, obviously. How do you create content with these brands that are really appealing and something that people want to listen to and not just a big commercial?

[00:09:50] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. I never recommend creating a podcast purely for sales purposes. Typically, it can have a really big impact on sales and lead generation, but the goal [00:10:00] of creating a podcast is to tell your brands' story and really position yourself as a thought leader and subject matter expert. And really first and foremost, the priority should be to educate, inform, entertain your audiences.

[00:10:11]  First things first it's really narrowing down who you're creating your content for. It's better to be something to someone rather than everything to everyone. The more niche, the better. Funnily enough, one of the podcasts we create for a large bank in North America is exclusively focused on open banking content and they have a huge following because it's such a niche topic.

[00:10:34] And when we launched the show, I was like, who's going to tune in to open banking content. And funnily enough, they're one of the most successful shows because they really differentiate themselves in the competitive matrix. Rather than being like a general finance podcast, or something broad, they really, narrowed in on their unique selling proposition. And similarly, one of the exercises that we always start with is that [00:11:00] competitive matrix and positioning document. How are you going to be different from everything that's on the market? What market are you going to serve and, just how are you really going to be different? My sort of impetus or mantra is, you need to fall into one of three categories.

[00:11:15] You either need to be the first, you need to be the best or you need to be different. Which bucket are you filling when you're creating a show and then really the rest of the credit goes to our team of journalists and creative content folks who are responsible for creating that story arc and putting in the research, and really creating that user journey that informs how people are going to respond to your show. It's definitely not easy, like creating a good show takes a lot of work and resources, and time, and this is why I always say podcasting is a marathon, not a sprint.

[00:11:50] Heather Osgood: Yeah, absolutely. And your team works with the companies to actually develop all the content. Because like you mentioned, [00:12:00] podcasting is the big unknown thing for a lot of these companies that you're talking to and working with. So if you went to them and said, "Hey, start a podcast!", they would really not have anywhere to start.

[00:12:12] So you're walking them through this process. How involved is your company and helping them create the concepts? Do you help them create the concepts most of the time, or do they bring the concepts to you?

[00:12:26] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. So we actually take care of everything. We are a full-service production agency end to end. So we are, responsible for creating all of the content, concept structures, developing pretty much everything from ideation, all the way to audience growth, marketing the show, and making sure it's getting the PR, publicity, awards, and recognition that it deserves.

[00:12:49] And so, our clients can be as involved as they'd like. We do have clients that come to us and say, we want to create a podcast, but we don't have any bandwidth to do so, and [00:13:00] in that particular case, we are completely full service. And then, we also have clients who want to be a little bit more collaborative and the concept and process, and typically that usually works best because they are the subject matter experts. But, you're working with brands, we really have to be mindful that the team's time can be limited, and can definitely be stretched so we do have teams of production experts, and journalists and producers who are responsible for everything from ideation all the way to the end.

[00:13:35] Heather Osgood: So you brought up audience growth. And for me, that's a really important piece of the pie. I find a lot of, especially smaller businesses might start podcasts that nobody listens to, and growing an audience for that content is just as important as creating good content. You could have a terrific podcast but if nobody's listening to the show, it's not really going to be helpful. How do you go about helping your clients [00:14:00] cultivate that audience?

[00:14:02] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. So, creating Creating a good show is 50% of the scope. The other half is actually marketing it. And it actually is quite shocking to me how many people forget about that piece. They think that they're going to create a podcast and magically the listeners are going to come, but it's like running your business. There's an entire scope of work involved that requires audience growth that oftentimes a lot of brands and podcasters don't think about. This is the reason why, even though there are 2.5 million podcasts out there only 18% of them are active, which means that they are recurringly and regularly producing new episodes. That gap is huge. 2.5 million podcasts with only 18% being active means that. Podcasters will enthusiastically launch with a really great idea, and then after creating the content, get really frustrated with the lack of growth that they're seeing overnight and want instant [00:15:00] gratification. I think that that is one of the things that I like couldn't stress more is that you really need to focus on the marketing and audience growth piece. And there are so many different tactics. Of course, there's organic promotion through social media, blog posts, but that doesn't really translate to podcast downloads.

[00:15:20]  It's definitely great from likes, engagement, to getting the word out. But really, I would say a lot of the paid tactics are advertising networks. And the work that they're doing is really what's going to get you the KPIs that you should be measuring which are downloads, unique listeners, retention, average consumption rate, and finding your qualified audience.

[00:15:41] Heather Osgood: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I was so happy when I was researching your company because I really find it is very common for people to produce podcasts and not market them. And I agree with you 100%: producing a good show is very important. If you produce a crappy [00:16:00] show, no one's going to listen to it. But, if you don't tell anybody that it exists, you're not going to just attract an audience.

[00:16:07] There are obviously instances where people create podcasts and they do grow quickly and organically. But my suspicion is that most branded podcasts would have a harder job of growing an audience than, let's say, a true crime podcast or something that is more, maybe sensationalized. Would you say that that's the case? 

[00:16:32] Fatima Zaidi: Definitely. True crime and anything that's really, scripted in an investigative journalist series type format, which we're finding even through our shows, that typically resonates a little bit more with audiences, and it generally is easier to take off. But, I would say typically outside of the true crime bucket. A lot of it is just the way that you're marketing yourself and if you're also willing to stick it out. So, I wouldn't say [00:17:00] that the formula is to always create a narrative investigators type show. I think if your mission is to really educate and inform people then an interview-style podcast or a round table, or even a solo commentary can be great. But, even within those different formats, there are things that everyone should be doing like advertising on the listening platforms, and making sure that they're applying to Apple's placement forum, and making sure that they're maximizing their distribution on all the directories, and applying to all of the PR podcast awards. There are so many tactics out there that are overlooked right now that are very ROI-focused.

[00:17:39] So for every dollar that you put in an ad spend, you know exactly what is coming back to you in terms of our return. Which typically I would say most people use downloads and unique listeners as a metric.

[00:17:51] Heather Osgood: Yeah. I don't know if you can share this with us, but what would you say is the number one best tactic for [00:18:00] audience growth?

[00:18:00] Fatima Zaidi: It really depends on the type of show the audience is trying to reach, and I would say the format as well matters a lot. But, there's a couple that I can share that I really would recommend that people try. Spotify Ad Studio is a really great one because you can get very granular with your targeting.

[00:18:20] Firstly, they have lower budgets. $250 US Dollars is the minimum budget, which isn't an insignificant amount of money, but a lot of the advertising networks typically have sometimes 10 to $20,000 spends which aren't feasible for early-stage content creators and indie podcasters.

[00:18:38] For a brand, no problem. But, I'm trying to speak to all of the podcasters out there who may have shoestring budgets. That's why I love Spotify Ad Studio. It's very accessible, no matter who you are.

[00:18:51] Heather Osgood: And have you seen good results with that? Because I've had some other folks tell me that they haven't really gotten a lot out of that, but when I heard about it, I was like, man, this seems like a [00:19:00] no-brainer. Why not? To me, $250 bucks, you might as well at least try and see what kind of traction you can get. But you've seen traction in Spotify Ad Studio? 

[00:19:08] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah, we definitely have. We've been on it from the early days. We worked very closely with the product team to inform feedback and provide our take on what works and what doesn't. And they've definitely been very iterative over time. The cool thing about Spotify Ad Studio is that you can target based on location right down to postal code. Age, as well as what other shows are people listening to on Spotify. That's why I really like Spotify Ad Studio. People who are just looking for mass downloads rather than trying to qualify their audience won't like Spotify Ad Studio, because it is competitive and it's harder to get those conversions.

[00:19:46] I would challenge them by saying, "Are you looking for mass downloads or are you looking for the right audience members? Are you looking for your ideal list or profile?" If the answer is the latter, which is usually the case with most brands that we work with, they care less about [00:20:00] the mass downloads and more about reaching their target audience, then Spotify is great because no other platform allows you to get that granular with targeting.

[00:20:09] Heather Osgood: Great. And then, yeah, your second, what's your second suggestion?

[00:20:13] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. Apple Podcasts, unfortunately, hasn't allowed advertising on their platform, which would be so great because there's such a monopoly in listeners. But unfortunately, Apple is definitely a very closed industry that way. But, Podcast Addict is the Android version of Apple Podcasts. If you're on a Samsung or an Android phone, typically the app that people use is Podcast Addict, and they're great.

[00:20:38] They have different budgets. Typically they start at $250, but then they can go all the way up to $2000. They allow you to advertise based on your category or genre. So if your society and lifestyle, true crime, comedy, business, they'll slot you in based on your RSS feed. Why I really like Podcast Addict is because it tells you the impressions, it tells you how many [00:21:00] people clicked on the ad.

[00:21:01] My favorite thing is it tells you exactly how many people subscribed. So you get very exact metrics. And then if you go onto your hosting platform under technology, you can see how many people came in through that particular campaign. And they run for an entire month. So if you purchase the ad slot for say, November 1st, it'll run all the way to the end of the month. So, through your hosting platform technology stats, you can actually see how many people came through and I'll give you the exact number of subscribers on Podcast Addict. If you're looking for a little bit of a combination of the right audience versus mass, Podcast Addict doesn't allow you to tweak.

[00:21:39] So unlike Spotify, it doesn't allow you to target based on age, at least not yet. But it does allow you to reach a lot of people.

[00:21:48] Heather Osgood: Great. I have had a lot of people say that Castbox has, has provided good audience growth. Have you had success with that player?

[00:21:56] Fatima Zaidi: Yep. Castbox is great. They have a really great distribution [00:22:00] network. They're expensive. Like a U.S. Campaign is $6,000 U.S. Dollars, for only a week of advertising. So again, great for brands. They also have long wait times in terms of queues. You have to sometimes wait months to get a U.S. Slot or, depending on, they prioritize local creators. So if you're in the UK, they'll prioritize a slot for you then, but still, you're sometimes often waiting upwards of a few months to get those slots. They do have a great distribution list. Player FM and Overcast are other two platforms that I also recommend that people look into.

[00:22:35] Heather Osgood: Yeah. Yeah. I definitely have heard good success with those as well. So I'm curious, looking at what your predictions are for the growth trajectory of the industry. What do you, I know you mentioned that and I have to say, I feel like this is the first time I've heard somebody this, which of course I love hearing since I'm in the podcast industry, but you know that, as you said, people had a website, they [00:23:00] were on social media, now everybody is going to have a podcast. But, what is your prediction for where the podcast industry is headed? 

[00:23:06] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. So I'm gonna answer your question with a question that I get asked all the time, which is, is the industry saturated? And I'm here to really debunk that myth because there are 2.5 million podcasts of which 18% of them are active. Let me do the math. Let's just say there are half a million podcasts that are active in the ether. There are 1.5 billion websites. There are 600 plus million blogs. There are 30 to 40 plus million YouTube channels with 500 hours of content being uploaded every minute. And then we look at podcasts. We're very early in the hype cycle. We're in our infancy. And so it feels like there's a lot of shows because we're constantly hearing about the explosive growth in the industry, and everybody wants to launch a podcast [00:24:00] now. But, only 18% of those people are sticking it out and creating new production budgets, and creating recurring episodes. So actually, I don't think it's a saturated space. Just like, if you were on Twitter in 2007, one of the first people, and you stuck with it by default, you're an influencer today. And I feel like that about podcasting. If you're a podcaster today and you stick with it, you're going to be an influencer in the next five to ten years. That's just my take on it. Take it with a grain of salt. I'm in the industry. Maybe I'm a little bit biased, but the data and the stats out there are definitely backing what I've been saying for the last couple of years and it's only growing faster and faster.

[00:24:39] Heather Osgood: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think I love that you quoted the stat of 600 million blogs because I love to make the comparison between podcasts and blogs. And the reality is, is that there are 600 million blogs out there. There it's, ridiculous in my opinion, to say, "Are podcast saturated?" [00:25:00] Because we're far from that.

[00:25:01] I do believe we are just really in the infancy, and on the cusp of the growth cycle. With the podcast that you guys produce, how video-heavy are they? Do you produce videos to go along with your podcasts or is it all audio?

[00:25:17] Fatima Zaidi: We try to capture video content through Riverside, which is our recording software at Riverside Enterprise. The reason we try to capture video is that I think I mentioned at the beginning of this call, everybody consumes content in a different way, and every audience is different based on the channel that you're promoting. And so, audio typically is that millennial professional, YouTube is a younger audience, people who are on maybe social media are not on podcasts or maybe not on Tik TOK or YouTube. And so we like to get diversity in content to repurpose it. So we take all of our audio and transcribe it and turn it into blog posts for SEO purposes.

[00:25:57] So for accessibility, if you can't tune into audio, you can [00:26:00] read the content. And I feel the same way about a video. You should be at least as a brand, taking that video footage and putting it on YouTube as a YouTube channel which it sounds like you're doing. This is great because you're reaching a different audience. And, similarly also taking that video content and repurposing it for social media purposes. So little bite-sized clips, the way that audio and videograms work.

[00:26:25] Heather Osgood: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I am really interested to see what happens with YouTube in the next few years because I do believe that a lot of people are starting to listen to and not starting, but they have been listening through YouTube. And depending on the changes that YouTube makes, it's very possible that we might see a huge spike in people actually listening to their podcasts on YouTube.

[00:26:52] Do you have any thoughts about that?

[00:26:55] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah, I do have some thoughts on that. I would say podcast audio, [00:27:00] it's pretty accessible. I'm not someone who consumes content on YouTube. So for me, it's just your typical, like my nephew consumes a lot of content on YouTube. He's sixteen. So again, it's a very different sort of demographic that you're reaching, but why shouldn't you be repurposing all of the content rather than reinventing the wheel?

[00:27:21] Heather Osgood: Right. Totally agree. So I'm curious, I know that you mentioned it in a passing comment, but you have a technology portion of your company as well and I'm curious, especially being a female founder in the podcast space, that really is still very male-dominated. Tell us a little bit about the tech that you've developed and maybe some of your experiences being a female, and a founder of this space.

[00:27:47] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. So we actually built a full-service platform for our enterprise clients that we work with because we're just finding more and more that enterprise brands don't want a million different vendors. They [00:28:00] don't want to have to go into Apple to find the average consumption rate. They don't want to have to go into Spotify to find, demographic information.

[00:28:06] They don't want to have to log into Trent to transcribe, then go to Chartable for smart links, and everything is just so fragmented in the industry. And so, we really built a platform that is a consolidated version of a lot of the different tools and resources that we use to try to make things easier.

[00:28:27] It also includes benchmarking information so you can see how you're performing compared to your competitors. It'll automatically transcribe your content for SEO purposes. And really the purpose of this platform is to make people's lives easier on the brand side, and provide you with a lot of those additional metrics that you might be looking for.

[00:28:48] We actually haven't offered it publicly yet to anybody. We're going to start doing it likely closer to 2022. But, we essentially built it for ourselves. We were our own case study. We [00:29:00] were tired of waiting for something to come out that serviced what we were looking for and really service that enterprise market, and we decided to just build it ourselves. And we got all of our clients on there and it worked so well. And now we're starting to realize, well, I think externally, a lot of people could benefit from this. So, the product is called Cohost. Think of it as your podcast co-hosts. So, someone who's there to support you throughout your podcasting journey, and it'll go live in 2022.

[00:29:29] Heather Osgood: How exciting. And do you guys actually host the podcast as well? Or do you use outside hosting providers?

[00:29:36] Fatima Zaidi: No, we've built all of the technology from the ground up. We didn't want to integrate with anything because we wanted to own all of the data. Typically when you host, you don't get to own all of your data and collect as much data as possible and so we didn't want to integrate. There are a couple of integrations, that I'll talk about closer to the new year that we are partnering with industry folks, but for now, everything is built-in [00:30:00] house.

[00:30:01] Heather Osgood: And have you felt that you have faced any obstacles and being a strong female founder in this space?

[00:30:08] Fatima Zaidi: Of course. Yes, of course. There are always challenges. Being a female founder, being a BIPOC founder, there are definitely obstacles along the way as it pertains to raising capital and, I would say, especially within the podcasting industry, there is a lot of a big lack of diversity. When you look at all of the big players and the profile or demographics of these leaders. A lot of times I think people have preconceived notions on what you should look like or sound like or the kind of experience that you should come from. Or you get boxed into this other category where you're filling some sort of diversity quota. But I wear it as a badge of honor. To me, everybody gets dealt with a certain level of cards. And I think we're a proud female [00:31:00] identifying team.

[00:31:00] We have some really great rockstar, male-identifying folks on our team as well, but we've made a lot of advancements and innovation in this space. And we're really big on profiling other female founders too. Podcasting has a long way to go. It's not just about audience composition, which is also lacking diversity.

[00:31:19] It's about bringing together perspectives and shows that don't sound like all the shows that are created today, but also profiling and championing female-identifying founders within the industry who are a lot of advancements in ways. So we're constantly championing these folks because I think that their stories deserve to be told over and over again because they've been able to do something with a lot of challenges along the way.

[00:31:44] Heather Osgood: Yeah, no, absolutely. I totally agree. I respect what you're doing in the space. And especially with the tech piece of it because it is an amazing industry to be in. And I have felt very welcomed and very much a part of the family being in the podcast [00:32:00] space. And I love where we're at in terms of an industry, and how intimate we are and how much we can work together to really make podcasting what it needs to be. But, it is challenging when you are faced with so many, male colleagues, and their approaches to things can be different many times. So it's wonderful to see you as a strong female founder in this space. And, I have just one more question for you before we wrap up the call.

[00:32:28] I had a conversation with a gentleman yesterday and he said, "Would a branded podcast be interested in having advertisers on it?" And I thought that that was such a good question. And I know that certainly there are some branded podcasts that do have ads on them, think that they traditionally have a lot of ads.

[00:32:47] What has your experience been with that?

[00:32:51] Fatima Zaidi: Yeah. I mean, it really depends on the show and if their priority is monetization or not. It can sometimes work really well [00:33:00] because I think there's misconstrued notion that if you are advertising, you're a really successful podcast. This isn't necessarily always the case because a lot of brands don't care about advertising, or they want exclusive rights to advertise their own show. Which makes sense. If you're creating a podcast as a company, you want to often exclusively advertise your own services in a more, obviously fewer sales and more tasteful way. You're telling your brands' story. So I think it really depends on the company, and if their goal is monetization. We've definitely worked with brands who have advertised to monetize their show.

[00:33:36] We've also worked with brands who have advertised, not to monetize, but to support complimentary and industry partners. But a lot of the time I would say, and this is probably more the norm rather than the exception, brands don't really care about the advertising piece. They're advertising their own company by telling their story and creating really good content.

[00:33:59] Heather Osgood: Yeah, I agree. [00:34:00] That's certainly what I've observed as well. I was curious what your perspective was. Well, Fatima, it was great to have you on their show. We really appreciate, what you are doing in the industry. And I appreciate your contribution here today. If people want to connect with you, where is a great place for them to do that?

[00:34:17] Fatima Zaidi: I'm pretty accessible anywhere. Our website is quillpodcasting.com. I'm on all of the social channels, except for Tik-Tok, Zaidiafatima is my handle. Active user on LinkedIn as well. And if you want to reach me, I'm pretty much everywhere so feel free to connect. I love chatting podcasting all day every day.

[00:34:36] And thank you so much, Heather, for having me on your show.

[00:34:40] Heather Osgood: Thanks for being here and thank you for listening. I appreciate you tuning into Podcast Advertising Playbook. And if you would like to connect with us, please head on over to true native media.com. 

Fatima Zaidi

Founder & CEO

Fatima Zaidi is the CEO and Founder of Quill Inc. a full-service podcasting hosting platform and production agency that supports brands in launching their podcasts. She is also the owner of the Listen In Conference held in Los Angeles that supports brands moving into podcasting. As a member of the National Speakers Bureau, Fatima has spoken at various events around the world on media and tech trends leading her to keynote on world stages alongside speakers like Gary Vaynerchuk, and most recently Richard Branson.

She also teaches podcasting at the University of Toronto. In addition to being a commentator for BNN Bloomberg on the challenges that female and BIPOC founders face in entrepreneurship, she is a frequent contributor to publications including The Globe and Mail, and Huffington Post. Over the past few years, she has won two Top 30 under 30 awards, the Young Professional of the Year by Notable Life, Veuve Clicquot’s Bold Future Award, and one of Flare Magazine’s Top 100 Women. Fatima is the Co-Chair of the #Tech4SickKids council for SickKids Foundation & Hospital on track to raise $25 million with her team, and her career highlight is being on a panel with Beyonce's dad!