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

MLS UK grabs a gong at the Football Content Awards

Sport Social Podcast Network show “MLS UK” grabbed bronze for ‘Best International Podcast’ at last nights Football Content Awards.

The show, created by UK based MLS Fans Henry Hewitt and Elliot Holman, follows the ins and out of “soccer” stateside from a uniquely British viewpoint. The show also tasted success at the event in 2020.

Each year the Football Content Awards celebrates the very best from content creators across the sport and Hewitt says it was fantastic to be honoured (again):

“After winning silver last year we’re really pleased to be on the podium again for our category, I know it’s become a bit of a cliche but the last 12 months has been really challenging for all content creators so it’s great to have had our work recognised in this way!”

You can listen to The (award-winning) MLS UK show on the Sport Social Podcast network now.

Listen to “MLS UK Show” on Spreaker.

Sport Social Launches the UK’s ONLY dedicated Sport Audio News & Podcast Network

Bringing together the biggest news and best sport content from around the world.

Voiceworks.ai have launched the UK’s first dedicated Sport Podcast Network – marking the latest innovation from the voice technology and audio content company. 

The Sport Social Podcast Network is a new podcast platform that will bring together sports content creators to help them grow and monetise their audience.

Helping listeners discover the very best sports podcasts and audio news in the UK, the network allows podcasts of all sizes to access advertising and sponsorship whilst also encouraging cross-promotion between network shows – creating an opportunity for advertisers to buy a targeted sports audience through audio.

Head of Sport at Voiceworks.ai Jim Salveson said;

“With around 30% of Podcast listeners in the UK enjoying sporting podcast content we saw the opportunity to help support, surface and grow the wealth of great content that is already out there. Plus provide production, marketing and advertising solutions for talent wanting to create their own podcasts.

We are bringing together some of the best content creators in sport under one roof, whilst helping advertisers to tap into a collective, engaged, targeted and hugely passionate audience”.

The Sport Social Podcast Network will curate and launch new podacsts from sports personalities whilst continuing to deliver sport audio news via web, social media and voice assistants. It supplies podcasts to all major platforms including Apple, Spotify, Google and Podbean.

Sport Social launches “Football Stories”

Sport Social has today launched its new podcast series Football Stories.

Hosted by Jim Salveson, Season 1 of the new show seeks to tell some of the more interesting (and lesser-heard) tales form the beautiful game. In each episode, Jim interviews someone who has had a big impact on the sport but has rarely made an impact on the back pages of the papers.

The show provides a real insight into what life is really like in the game (and not just on the pitch) as we hear from the likes of Gary & Colin Lewin (Arsenal and England Physios) ex-Premier League referee Mark Halsey and former Chelsea youth prospect Dan McCarthy.

“It’s been fascinating to hear about the game from some points of view that you rarely get access too. There are plenty more interesting stories to find in football… and I can’t wait to uncover them for season two!”

Host Jim Salveson

You can listen and subscribe to Football Stories now wherever you find your podcasts.

Listen to “Football Stories”.