Industry Voices

Andy Greening | Digital Manager | The River Group

By Jess Browne-Swinburne

11 Mar 2020

Winner of Best Branded Podcast at the Publisher Podcast Awards was The River Group's audio creation for Holland & Barrett, Healthy For Men. We spoke with its producer, Andy Greening, about the secret behind this success and the podcast he has recently produced for The River Group, Content Talks.

What made you want to work in the publishing industry?

My professional background has involved working for creative and advertising agencies and I moved to content publishing when I joined The River Group because it seemed like an exciting step to take. When I first moved to London I was always reading Time Out and Shortlist and I always noticed the native editorials and how they could be as impactful to a consumer as any high budget above the line campaign, and was soon inspired to move into that line of work.

Chart your career from the start to now.

I worked for a couple of agencies on their digital side and specialised in areas like e-mail marketing. When I moved to The River Group, I picked up their digital publications around 2014 when digital magazines were becoming very popular. They were quite hard to make then compared to now, so I had to project manage alongside developers to help create them. Things then started to streamline, and I moved into video and audio. Around early 2018 I brought up how I could introduce podcasting as a service at The River Group and soon after we launched Healthy for Men podcast.

What does your role entail as Digital Manager of The River Group?

Previously it was more about apps, the publications, blogs and e-mail marketing. A few years down the line I have now moved into video and audio production as well as audio and video strategy for clients. It’s not a typical role for a digital manager but I already had experience in those areas which filled that gap. It’s starting to become more common practice for companies to employ digital producers rather than digital project managers within this line of work. Being able to be more agile amongst the team has always been valuable to my career and some of the most talented people in this line of work I’ve met have never settled with one skill set.

What is important to consider when you start to plan a digital strategy for a brand?

From a content perspective I would focus on how the user is digesting the content. If I am posting about a podcast, I am very aware that I am amplifying an audio medium on a visual digital platform, so I need to make sure that I grab attention by making sure there is a video or animation accompanying the audio so it’s as striking as any post around it. Making sure you speak in the language of the medium you use to market it on is vital. It is about these touchpoints to start with that will ultimately engage people down the line.

What is the new Content Talks podcast about by The River Group?

It is a series that covers the world of content from brand halos to membership bodies. We speak to successful senior leaders from companies about how they measure their content and how business creative models deliver customer engagement and what they find works best and stands out for them. We also speak to industry people about what its like to work in-house rather than with agencies and how they work personally and internally. It covers marketing managers to CEO’s and hopefully will provide something that people can aspire to as well.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Producing Healthy for Men podcast has been great as it has been nominated for a number of awards including a nomination at the British Podcast Awards for Best Branded Content category which as awards go, you could compare it to the BAFTAs of the podcast world. More recently, we won Best Branded Podcast at the Publisher Podcast Awards, which I’m extremely proud of.

Why do you think Healthy for Men podcast has been so successful?

The judges from the Publisher Podcast Awards said “A very professional podcast built on strong journalistic skills. There’s a great integrated approach across the magazine, and innovative use of the podcast content elsewhere.” The content we produce for the podcast covers multiple channels alongside the magazine (referring back to what I said regarding multiple touchpoints) and our podcast host, Tom Rowley, is very passionate about all the topics we cover, which really resonates with the overall authenticity of our podcast.

What would be in your Room 101?

Bad audio. Coming primarily from an audio engineering background, my ears are overly critical.

What podcast would be your long train journey listen?

Distraction Pieces podcast with Scroobius Pip. It was one of the first podcasts I got into from the first episode and it taught me a lot about how longform interviews can really open up a conversation between two strangers. To this day, Scroobius Pip has one of the best roster of guests I’ve seen from any podcast and it probably has a lot to do with my interest in working with podcasts.

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