Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger launches regional podcast strategy

By Martin Dowideit

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, DuMont

Cologne, North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany


Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger is the main quality newspaper in Cologne, Germany, owned by 401-year-old company DuMont. Early in 2021, we established a podcast strategy for our publication, which has approximately 6 million unique users per month.

In the past, podcasts had been produced on a case-by-case basis and led by the newsroom. Whoever was interested in podcasting could try it, and podcasts would be distributed through one channel. Another podcast is run by an external production company, promoted through our Web site and some other Web sites.

The first two podcasts launched by Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger can be produced with limited capacity.
The first two podcasts launched by Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger can be produced with limited capacity.

But the product focus we now have at Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger demanded a more thorough approach for launching new podcasts. And we needed to get more people involved than just editorial staff.

So we sat down virtually with our new head of audio, ad sales, our marketing department, and our art director during the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany early this year. From a wide range of possible topics, we picked two for our new podcasts. Main drivers for launching Talk mit K and ekonomy mit K were that we could launch quickly, produce with limited capacity, and either strive for reach and ads or sponsorships for monetisation.

Talk mit K is a weekly format hosted by Sarah Brasack, deputy editor-in-chief of Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. She invites important and/or interesting people from Cologne, covering topics from the pandemic to music and culture. ekonomy mit K is also a weekly talk format with business leaders from Cologne or the nearby region, hosted by me.

From the very beginning, we set ambitious goals for measurement. Both podcasts joined Schul-Check, a podcast on the state of digitalisation and modernisation in (public) schools started during a long period of home schooling.

All podcasts got the same look and feel through a great design. We rebranded our existing distribution channel, Talk mit K, so our main podcast would not have to launch from zero. Quickly after launching, some episodes gathered more than 5,000 downloads/streams. With the more niche, business podcast ekonomy mit K, we succeeded in getting a sponsor interested in reaching decision makers within Cologne.

Now that we have the technical set-up, a podcast studio, and two editorial staff with a lot of experience in audio and video, we are well-equipped to scale. After experimenting with a news format on Clubhouse, we started thinking about producing a daily news podcasts for Cologne. A pilot has already been made, which we gave subscribers access to listen to well ahead of launching. We gathered some advice on topics like length, content, and best time and day for distribution, which was very valuable for us.

One more next step is to start a marketing campaign to make our main podcasts better known.

About Martin Dowideit

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