RALEIGH — Earfluence, the Raleigh-based podcasting company that opened its third location last year is now adding to its services. The company has announced its acquisition of the company Podcast Ally, effective January 16.
The Podcast Ally services can be described as podcast “booking” or “PR”, but Podcast Ally founder, Brigitte Lyons, prefers the term “matchmaker.”
“We would “match” our clients with the right-fit podcasts,” explains Lyons. “So a lot of them are businesses, looking to draw in more audience, but people go on podcasts for all sorts of reasons. It’s a really great way to build relationships and agency.”
Over the last 10 years, the number of US adults listening to podcasts weekly has increased by 2-5% per year, hitting 28% in 2021. According to Market.us, the podcasting market was worth 21.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to achieve a staggering 233.9 billion valuation by 2032.
Both Earfluence and Podcast Ally were started in 2019 when podcast popularity was emerging and still at peak growth levels. As Earfluence was working on production and studio development, Podcast Ally focused on the “matchmaking” of getting the right guests on the right podcasts. As Earfluence CEO Jason Gillikin told me, the Podcast Ally business model is sorely needed.
“In our industry [there] is a ‘spray and pray’ approach for podcast guesting where, as podcast producers, we get so many emails every single day, from agencies, from podcasts, from guesting services that are promoting their clients that want to come on our podcasts,” Gillikin explained. “And most of them are awful. Just awful.”
Though Gillikin had not worked with Podast Ally, he had followed the company as they joined the marketplace around the same time. And he had long been impressed by Lyons and Podcast Ally’s approach of more calculated connections and careful, meaningful pitches.
“They take the time to figure out what is the actual right fit,” said Gillikin. “Considering ‘how do I approach this podcast or network to truly make sure that they’re doing best by their clients?'”
With a history in PR, Lyons recognized the opportunities for her clients to share their passions with the more in-depth format allowed by podcasts. She also focused her company on building relationships and collecting data, resulting in her own version of a “podcast relationship manager.”
These efforts to collect insights and operationalize her work led to big results. First, that Lyons realized she was in the wrong business.
“I realized that my interest in doing the operations work was kind of outgrowing my interest in growing this specific company. I really fell in love with that work,” said Lyons. “I felt really ready to move on.”
And when she shared her intent to accept offers for Podcast Ally on a LinkedIn post, Gillikin perked up. He reached out and the two began chatting. Lyons felt good about Earfluence from the outset.
“One of the things that was clear to me early on is that Jason was interested in Podcast Ally as a brand and a company for all the right reasons.”
Both Gillikin and Lyons are focused on a “podcast first” strategy of making the best podcast possible. For both of them, that means that care needs to be taken to find and prepare the best possible guests for each podcast.
“Everything that [Podcast Ally] was doing was driven by a desire to serve the podcast first and foremost, and by giving the podcast good service and tending to those relationships, we were doing good by our clients,” said Lyon.
For Gillikin, the diligence process uncovered Lyon’s hard work on operations, and her “PRM” paid off.
“Bridgette and the Podcast Ally team had everything just laid out,” gushed Gillikin. “The SOPs are, are just on point.” He realized the immense value of not only the Podcast Ally service but also the existing processes and resources that could be utilized for Earfluence.
“When I got deeper into those processes, it was like ‘Yeah, I really want to pursue this’,” said Gillikin.
New Year, New Work
The terms of the acquisition are undisclosed but Earfluence will keep Lyons around for consulting and continuity during the transition. Beyond that, Lyons hopes to move into a new phase with a focus on operations for teams.
Meanwhile, Earfluence is busy working on a new podcast with the City of Raleigh’s Office of Strategy and Innovation which is expected to be available in the coming months.
As for the new service, “Podcast Ally, Powered by Earfluence” is now available and being offered at a discount to early adopters. Learn more on the Earfluence site.