BTR Dynamo™


How might we reward podcast hosts with a fair income from their work?

BlogTalkRadio was one of the first platforms to support a Creator Economy by compensating hosts for generating engagement through their content.

Director of Product & UXKPI and OKR definition
roadmap prioritization
customer research
market research
5 Engineers
2 UI Designers
1 Content Designer
June 2013 - April 2015Grew ad revenue by 37% YoY
Grew subscription revenue 42% YoY

Product Strategy

The success of the platform relied on a flywheel of incentives:

Flywheel of incentives

Growing Healthy Hosts

How might we guide hosts through the emotional labor of creating a show? We created a Journey Map to help align our cross-functional teams between product, design, engineering, marketing, and community management. This helped us identify key leverage points in the UX for building habituation to prioritize:

Some of the biggest UX challenges for new hosts were:

'Journey Map'

Host Dashboard

By far the most common workflow we saw almost every host take in the dashboard was viewing the listen numbers for their content. Hosts wanted to see a quantifiable reward for their efforts. We surfaced these metrics and created new summary metrics in the dashboard to amplify the ROI for them.

Podcast Host Dashboard

Gamify Podcast Planning

The metrics were a useful indicator for the podcast health but they didn't provide the qualitative guidance that hosts needed to improve those numbers. The competitive landscape of support for hosts focused mostly on technical guidance for sound quality and distribution. There was no guidance on how to write a compelling script, structure the show intro, or write compelling titles that inspire the audience to listen.

We knew from our own metrics that the first 30 seconds of a podcast episode were the most critical for engaging your audience and getting them hooked. How might we help hosts make the most of that opportunity?

We built features, like Signal Strength, and Template Episodes to help improve the podcast content directly in the tools. We used some light gamification inspired by other apps and guided hosts toward creating complete and compelling podcast titles, descriptions, and introductions.

'Podcast Writing Hints'

Podcast Studio

The Studio is the heart of the BTR experience and it's the UI that hosts interact with during the highest stress moments of creating a podcast. Extensive user interviews and ride-alongs with our hosts revealed deep insights into user habits before, during, and after a live broadcast.

Key UX research insights:

The art direction was inspired by high-end Audio and video authoring applications. We wanted to convey a serious, professional-grade application for our hosts to work with.

'BTR Studio' 'Ad Editor'

Improved Show Cover Art

For many of our hosts, their subject matter expertise is the topic of their show. It's rarely graphic design or marketing. Creating usable, engaging, professional cover art for their show was a struggle. Improving the artwork has multiple downstream benefits:

  1. Improved engagement from listeners.
  2. Longer show lifespan from hosts.
  3. A more professional media book for advertisers.

We contracted several graphic designers to overhaul the cover art for our top 300 shows at no charge to the hosts. I provided the creative direction, review, and production guidelines to the designers.

New Artwork