Since its launch in June 2020, RomComPods, an indie fiction podcast production company, has amassed 1 million listens without any marketing budget. They recently launched the season finale of "Showmance," a romcom podcast that was #1 on the Apple Podcasts Fiction charts within 24 hours after the trailer was launched.
Rachael King, CEO of Pod People and producer at RomComPods, shared with me how they gained listenership and how the finances of fiction podcasts potentially differ from other genres.
(Slightly edited for clarity)
Shreya: How did you get to 1 million listeners without a marketing budget?
Rachael: We published the first RomComPods show, "Honeymoon for One," last year in June. I think it hit big (organically) for a few different reasons. First, the category of fiction is sorely lacking in the comedy and lighthearted area generally, but especially in the romantic comedy genre. Women are huge consumers of audiobooks and this was like an audiobook on steroids.
Second, we launched in peak pandemic times, when no one was leaving their house and things were downright scary. Honeymoon for One hit at just the right moment, and suddenly listeners were whisked off to Italy (Italy as we know and love it, not COVID Italy), and I think it was the perfect escape for the moment.
Third, my co-producer Becca King's podcast "Bad on Paper" has a large and loyal following. These women love romantic comedy but most of them had never listened to a fiction podcast before; we won them over.
Shreya: How else did you reach your target audience?
Rachael: We also did a handful of cross-promos with about five podcasts we thought had a similar audience, and that was enough to get the ball rolling. We have a new project coming out this fall with Dear Media, and they've put some actual marketing dollars behind it.