Barbless.co went from 3,500 podcast downloads in its first year to over 20,000 per month and counting. They now have the top fly fishing podcast in California and embarked on building out a network. How did they do it?
The Barbless Podcast Network
In recent years podcasts have hit the mainstream and have become one of the most popular ways to learn new skills, be entertained, stay informed, and more. As more and more listeners are added each week, so too is the demand for new content. As a result new podcasts are popping up each week to fill the void.
The time and effort required to produce just one of these shows is often overlooked by podcast producers and brands alike. AMP.build’s audio production service, aptly named “AMP.audio” excels in this often underserved aspect of the podcast production process. They offer high quality, end to end podcast production services for today’s podcaster from small one person operations all the way up to big brands with multiple producers.
Since 2017, The Barbless.co Fly Fishing Podcast has published a new podcast episode every week – 133 episodes and counting! In its first year it tallied a total of 3,500 downloads. Fast forward to today and the show is enjoying over 16,000 downloads per month and stands as THE top fly fishing podcast in California. How did they do it?
After monitoring the show’s growth closely, Barbless.co CEO Chad Alderson decided it was finally time to expand their coverage. Localized fishing content proved to be very popular for their listeners so it made sense to add new, regionally-specific shows and hosts to the lineup. They would call this new set of shows The Barbless Podcast Network (BPN).
With this expansion came added complexity – new hosts, guests, and more steps would be added to an already complex production process. This seemed overwhelming for the small team at Barbless.co, so they reached out to Chad’s other company, AMP.build to tap into the agency’s new AMP.audio podcast production service.
“The challenge for us was… how do we add new shows, add new hosts and onboard new guests without crushing us from a production and workflow standpoint?”
The team was already pushing out 4 episodes per month. The new plan called for 12 additional episodes – bringing the total to 16 episodes per month. The new episodes would cover fishing news, conservation and local guests within Chico Ca. (NorCal), Truckee Ca. (Truckee – Tahoe), San Diego Ca. (SoCal), and the Olympic Peninsula region of Washington (The OP).
Although each of these shows would have different hosts, content strategies and guests that are specific to those markets, they all needed to be at the same high standard of production quality. To this day the original NorCal show stands at a perfect 5/5 star rating on Apple Podcasts – listeners of the new shows would expect the same.
The time required to produce a single one-hour episode typically takes around 4 hours of work from start to finish. Now Barbless.co wanted to add three additional shows to the mix with the same standard of quality? They soon realized this would be a crushing amount of work for them to handle alone. They needed a better solution, and fast.
Barbless.co chose AMP.build’s new podcast audio service to handle all aspects of the production. Barbless.co wanted each regional host to simply hit record, do their episode and be done – leaving the rest to the production team at AMP.audio to handle the rest.
“It’s a young industry and there aren’t many players on the production end of things, so the reason we chose AMP.build is because they have experience doing it – four years of experience, and that may as well be a lifetime in the podcast world.”
Once the two teams discussed Barbless.co’s business goals and content strategy, they set off to create what would become The Barbless Podcast Network (BPN). This included things like finding voice actors, intro and outro music and creating market-specific audio templates that could be reused each week in each market – making the process as timely and efficient as possible.
“They understand every part of the production process and what it takes to build a quality show with excellent sound design, voice actors, and everything else that wins new listeners and turns them into loyal fans of the show.”
Once these crucial steps were complete, the AMP.audio team switched their focus to web design and created a seamless workflow for publishing new episodes and guest bios to podcast players, social media, websites and more.
Using AMP.audio’s powerful podcast publication and episode hosting platform Barbless.co was able to effortlessly onboard new guests via a self-registration process that collects their guest’s biography, marketing information, and the guest’s consent to use their voice and likeness on the podcast via a digitally signed legal waiver. This is an often overlooked but critical step when having guests on your show, especially for brands.
The goal of Barbless.co’s collaboration with AMP.audio was to simplify the process of producing a high-quality podcast on a consistent basis and across many markets, and they delivered.
“It’s easy. We come into the studio and hit record, talk about what we want to talk about and then we’re done. When we used to do this ourselves it took about three to four hours of my time just to produce one hour of production-ready audio. For me, that’s a ton of time per week. It allowed me to focus on the most important part of our show – the subject matter and the experts needed to pull it together.”
AMP.audio allows Barbless.co to focus on what they are best at – creating engaging and thought-provoking content for anglers across the world. By focusing on their content they’ve been able to drive new downloads and win new listeners.
When the podcast launched in 2017 it received 3,500 downloads its first year. Fast forward to today and the NorCal show alone is now pulling in 16,000 downloads per month (as of February 2020) and continues its month-over-month growth. The newer shows (Truckee, The OP and SoCal) are also doubling their downloads each month. The network effect is kicking in and the team couldn’t be happier.
In an industry that measures their success in user engagement (downloads) and direct feedback (reviews), Barbless.co is crushing it in their industry.
“We are now at a point where we’ve started selling advertising into the network. If someone told me that we’d have an audience big enough to actually do this I would have called them crazy. We wouldn’t be where we are today if we didn’t have AMP.build’s audio team behind us every step of the way.”
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