What is your role at MacMillan Podcasts?
At Macmillan Podcasts and Quick and Dirty Tips, I’m responsible for our marketing, audience development, and publicity efforts. I manage all of our social media accounts (about 15 platforms across the two networks), create marketing campaigns for new show launches, run paid advertising through social media and other podcast platforms, and work with bloggers and mainstream media outlets regarding coverage. I also am able to do a bit of design work. I spend a lot of time collaborating with hosts on new audience development initiatives to introduce their great shows to new audiences. I like that I get to wear a few different hats!
What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
I think celebrities and influencers will continue to enter the podcast space to raise awareness about issues they’re passionate about or projects they’re working on. Fiction continues to be on the rise, and some of the biggest names in podcasting are producing them. For example, Marvel partnered with Stitcher to release Wolverine: The Long Night, and Endeavor Audio recently launched Blackout with Rami Malek.
On the business side, it will be interesting to see how monetization evolves, by means of subscription services, ads, and live events. I think we’ll also see more crossovers in the media world! We’re so used to seeing books made and then transformed into movies and TV shows, but now we’re seeing podcasts as the point of origin for expanded media opportunities.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I would love to dip into the music space a bit more. Podcasting and music can go hand in hand when it comes to an audio experience, and I think we will see more podcasts exploring an artist’s history and work process. Musicians definitely have the built-in, dedicated audience! I’m also interested in seeing where branded podcasting goes—brands aren’t new to the podcast space, but more and more are using it as a means to get their product out there through content that appeals to and feels organic to the consumer. Additionally, I’d love to see more fiction—there will always be a desire for more stories, and what I like about working at Macmillan Podcasts is that we have the opportunity to work one-on-one with authors and tell their stories in a new way. I particularly enjoy audio dramas that dip into the sci-fi or fantasy realms (like Steal the Stars) or ones that have a very “real life” feel. Gimlet’s Sandra was a great example of a unique story that was gripping and interesting but still felt relatable.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
The beauty of podcasting is that there’s an audience for any- and everything! If there’s something you enjoy, whether it’s a daily news show, true crime, Game of Thrones recaps, or even something as niche as woodworking, there’s a podcast for you.
What do you want to change about publishing?
I think the industry as a whole is doing a big push toward more diversity. Podcasting has the opportunity to play a key role in this by hiring more diverse producers, marketers, and business leaders as well as working with a wide range of hosts and content. It’s also an excellent way to proudly be able to tell the stories of people who may not have had that opportunity in the past. I love getting the chance to work with and learn about people from all walks of life.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
Working at the intersection of books and audio is a really stimulating experience—I’m able to work with incredible talent to introduce their story or background to a whole new group of listeners and consumers.
Macmillan has been incorporating podcasting into its publishing strategy for over a decade—first with the Quick and Dirty Tips network, home to popular shows like Grammar Girl and Savvy Psychologist that focus on short-form, expert-led education podcasts, and more recently with Macmillan Podcasts, which translates our imprints’ great books and authors to the format.
Podcasting is such a unique and personal outlet that allows people to hear a story in a whole new way—it only makes sense that readers (story lovers!) would hop aboard the podcast train.
Morgan Ratner, audience development and marketing coordinator at Macmillan Podcasts and Quick and Dirty Tips, came to the trade side of Macmillan after two years working on college textbooks at Macmillan Learning. She also attended the New York University Summer Publishing Institute and received her bachelor’s in professional writing and mass communications from the University of Delaware.