Quill CEO Fatima Zaidi: “Podcasts often end up creating communities where listeners can discover and connect with like-minded people who have similar interests”

Fatima Zaidi, Co-Founder and CEO of Quill, Inc.

…There’s also a huge social aspect to podcasting as well; podcasts often end up creating communities where listeners can discover and connect with like-minded people who have similar interests. In some situations, these communities actually end up creating a 360 feedback loop whereby podcast listeners start generating content for the podcast hosts. If you’re an individual or company trying to reach a specific audience, podcasting is a great way to unobtrusively do that.


a part of my series of interviews about “How to Become the Center of Influence Through Podcasting”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Fatima Zaidi. Although not a podcaster, she is the co-founder and CEO of a start-up do-it-yourself podcast support company, Quill Inc. As a member of the National Speakers Bureau, Fatima has spoken at various events around the world on issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion, and has shared the stage with many notable speakers like Richard Branson, and Gary Vaynerchuk. In addition to being a commentator for Global News and BNN, she is a frequent contributor to publications including The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, Financial Post, and BetaKit. Over the past few years, she has been named as a Top 30 under 30 Marketer and Sales Developer by Marketing Magazine, Young Professional of the Year by Notable Life, and one of Flare Magazine’s Top 100 Canadian Women.


ell us why or how you got involved with the podcast industry?

The Quill platform was born from my love for podcasts. They’re informative, inspiring, entertaining … and they’ve been invaluable in making my commute over the years much more enjoyable! As an early adopter myself, I have always seen the promise and opportunity in the podcasting industry. This was only reinforced by my experience in marketing agency roles where clients were increasingly looking for exposure on existing podcasts or had aspirations to start their own.

Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started working in the podcasting industry?

Everyone should know that I am a huge Beyoncé fan. My team even got me a Starbucks to-go coffee mug with Beyoncé’s name engraved in it. I carry this mug everywhere with me. I was recently asked to speak on a creative industries panel. I sat down with my Beyoncé mug in hand and the gentleman next to me turned to me and said:

Gentleman: “Hi, nice mug! You know that’s also my daughter's name?”

Me: “Oh that’s cool, you named your daughter after Beyoncé? That sounds like something I would do!”

Gentleman: “No… Beyoncé IS my daughter.”

I was on a panel with Matthew Knowles, the brains behind Destiny’s Child, and that much closer to my living idol- and THAT is the highlight of my career. The only thing cooler would be being on a panel with Beyoncé herself.

What are the main takeaways or lessons you want people to walk away with?

That podcasting is a huge medium of content, and that it is here to stay. Podcasting has finally transitioned from a niche outlet to an integral part of the audio market. Podcast listeners are an incredibly engaged and invested audience and brands are beginning to recognize the prime opportunity for advertisement. Podcast marketing has emerged as a highly successful method of digital advertising, with high conversion rates rarely seen in the traditional advertising space — in fact, according to Midroll Media, over 60% of people surveyed have purchased a product based on an ad they heard in a podcast.

We are going to see a lot more deals and partnerships closing in this space. Brands are increasing their ad spends on podcasts, and more companies will be moving into the industry. Already this year we’ve seen Spotify acquire Gimlet media for $200 million, and the announcement of an exclusive partnership between Pandora and Serial. Not only that, companies that are looking to produce their own branded content are now partnering with producers who not only have the necessary technical and creative expertise, but also an existing audience/follower base where they can cross-promote branded content, thereby generating a whole new source of revenue. This is one revolution that is here to stay!

Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast?

Podcast Influencer, Fatima Zaidi of Quill, Inc. shares the best way to:

a) Book Great Guests. Get featured on other shows. Use resources like Radio Guest List to find shows that might fit your audience.

b) Increase Listeners. Consider multi-media tactics to promote your show. Share guests photos, live stream via Facebook Live, or create video content to go along with your episode. Similarly, cross-promotion with other podcasters can often be the easiest and most organic way to increase your listeners.

c) Produce it in a Professional Way. Make sure you are putting out really good content frequently.

d) Encourage Engagement. Create additional offline experiences for your audience like going on tours to meet them in person, live podcasting and promoting events where you’ll be at. Offline tactics have the power of forming stronger relationships.

e) Best Way to Monetize. Wait for 2000+ listeners before monetizing. Spend time on affiliate marketing, advertising, creating branded products and getting a Patreon account.

From your vantage point, what are some of the reasons why a person should consider creating a podcast series?

It’s a medium of content that reaches a very specific group of people — educated millennial professionals. When done right, podcasts can have very high engagement rates with a captive and loyal audience. One of the reasons podcasts have become so popular is due to their convenient format which fits right into our busy schedules. They allow us to be productive with their spare time. While we may not have time to sit down and read a long article or watch a full news report, we can easily find ways to fit a podcast episode in at the gym, during our daily commute to work, or while running errands and chores.

There’s also a huge social aspect to it as well; podcasts often end up creating communities where listeners can discover and connect with like-minded people who have similar interests. In some situations, these communities actually end up creating a 360 feedback loop whereby podcast listeners start generating content for the podcast hosts. If you’re an individual or company trying to reach a specific audience, podcasting is a great way to unobtrusively do that.

Nowadays it seems as if everyone is trying to jump on the podcast bandwagon. Are there people to whom you would advise to avoid podcasting and instead focus on another medium?

Absolutely. Podcasting doesn’t work as a medium for all audiences and industries. Every time I chat with someone who wants to get into podcasting, I always recommend that they spend some of their experimental marketing budgets to test it out with their market.

Where can our readers find you on Social Media?

Facebook: @quill.inc

Twitter: @zaidiafatima

Instagram: @zaidiafatima

LinkedIn: @zaidiafatima

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Tracy Leigh Hazzard

Written by

Co-host of 4 top-ranked podcasts: New Trust Economy, Feed Your Brand, Product launch Hazzards, WTFFF?!; Brand Strategist and prolific content Brandcaster.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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