Here’s why Steven Bartlett’s ‘The Diary of a CEO’ podcast landed itself in trouble – and how you can avoid doing the same.

The highly successful and impactful podcast ‘The Diary of a CEO’ which was created by Social Chain founder Steven Bartlett was continuing to make an impact this week, but not for the usual reasons.

Barlett has found his podcast in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority for avoidable practices regarding the promotion of a product, and Head of Sport Social – Jim Salveson – has shared his thoughts on the matter and how you can avoid your podcast having similar difficulties in future.

Walking the tight-rope of Podcast Advertising – The Diary of a CEO case

Podcasting is often described as the Wild West of audio; a new frontier where laws can be made up on the hoof and enforcement (such as copywrite infringement) is sporadic at best.

Although this can be still the case as the relative infancy of podcasting as an industry does mean that rules and regulations can often be more reactive than proactive – things are slowly starting to change.

A recent victim of these “new” rules is Steven Bartlett who’s hit podcast “Diary of a CEO” has recently had a complaint upheld against it for failing to make clear that a promotional section of the podcast wasn’t clearly defined as an advert to the listener.

The complaint related to an advertisement for a food supplement called Huel and, despite Huel/Bartlett’s defense that no money exchanged hands for the promotion, it was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority:

“The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such, and that they must make clear their commercial intent if that was not obvious from the context.” 

Advertising Standards Authority ruling

You can read the full ruling and defence here.

In this instance, I believe Bartlett has been unlucky. As a regular listener to the podcast, I’ve never been left in any doubt as to which parts of the show are host read advertisements and which are “content”. Not only is there clear separation of each element with a sound effect (a page turn) but the style and delivery is markedly different for each element.

However, this ruling does indicate that this is an area in which podcasters will need to tread carefully in future. 

Expertly integrated commercial content within a podcast is one of the podcasting superpowers. When done well, it can be a hugely effective way to deliver advertising campaigns, but it’s now more important than ever to ensure this is clearly defined.

Huel was founded in 2014 and has began marketing through audio medium forms, namely The Diary of a CEO.

This definition is important not just from a rules and regulations point of view,  but also from a relationship stand point. The authenticity of a host and the relationship they have with their audience is key to a podcast’s success and it’s commercial value. 

The trust and sense of belonging that a listener has in their favorite podcast is what makes well delivered commercial messages so impactful – and nothing can shatter that trust quicker than the feeling from a listener that they are being conned or that a host who claims to “love” a product is only doing so for cold, hard cash. 

Making the transition from content to commercial can be clunky, but adopting the same tactic used in commercial radio  by having a few simple phrases that make it clear that the listener is about to hear commercial activity, can really help.

Transition phrases such as:

•          We’ve teamed up with…

•          We’re working with…

•          Thanks to our friends at…

•          We’ve collaborated with…

•          Supported by…

•          In association with…

All the above do the job quickly and elegantly which can keep listeners happy – and your podcast out of trouble.

Jim Salveson – Head of Sport Social

How to get your podcast discovered and David Seaman joins the Network – August 2022 Newsletter

It’s been another exciting month at Sport Social with plenty of new incomings and records hit. In this months update we cover how to deliver the perfect Host-Read Ads and improve your podcast’s discoverability, plus a very familiar name in the world of football joins the Sport Social Podcast Network.

Three Tips to Deliver the Perfect Host-Read Ad

Host Read Adverts (sometimes called Live Reads) are the lifeblood of podcast advertising.

Delivering quality reads can not only be great for advertisers wishing to work with your show but also means a better experience for your listeners.

If you want some tips on how to make the best of these opportunities then check out this 3-point guide over on the Sport Social Podcast Network Website.

How to improve the Discoverability of your Podcast

In a sea of podcasts growing by the day and searching for listener, we all know that podcast discovery is tough.

One of the most powerful tools in your armoury is also one of the simplest… your episode podcast titles. For some top tips on how to help your podcast discoverability (and listenability) check out this brilliant blog from Rachel Corbet.

Safe Hands joins the team!

We are delighted to announce that the “Seaman Says” podcast – hosted by legendary Arsenal and England goalkeepers David Seaman- is joining the Sport Social Podcast Network!

It’s the iconic goalkeeper as you never heard him before, as Seaman reminisces and looks to the season ahead with former teammates such as Martin Keown and Ian Wright – and opponents as he’s joined by legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and John Barnes. 

Listen here

Who are ‘The Creators’?

In June this year podcast pioneers Sounds Profitable teams up with Edison research to conduct the first-ever large-scale survey of the people who make podcasts… called The Creators.

In the latest episode of Voiceworks: Sound Business – hosted by Head of Sport Social Jim Salveson – we hear from Sound Profitable’s Tom Webster who provided some great insight into not only what the data revealed, but what opportunities it presents.

Listen here