- Emma Diamond and Julie Kramer run the Instagram account Comments by Celebs, which has more than one million followers including famous faces and their fans.
- Diamond and Kramer decided to turn the account into a podcast as one of the first steps in their plan to build a media company.
- The podcast wasn’t an immediate success, but a new network, quick reporting on relevant stories in celebrity news, and consistent content have pushed the show up to one million downloads per month.
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When “Comments by Celebs” hosts Emma Diamond and Julie Kramer first launched a podcast based on their popular Instagram account of the same name, their followers didn’t take to it right away.
But less than two years later, they’re hitting one million downloads per month and scoring sit-down interviews with celebrities like John Mayer.
The Comments by Celebs Instagram page posts daily screenshots of funny or newsworthy comments that celebrities make on social-media posts. On the podcast, Diamond and Kramer break down celebrity drama, play games involving hypothetical celebrity scenarios, and occasionally interview famous guests.
Kramer, 22, was still at Syracuse University when she and her cohost Diamond, 24, got an email from Betches — a digital media company known for producing edgy, often satirical content about lifestyle and culture topics targeted toward young women — asking if they’d be interested in turning their Instagram account into a podcast.
The day after Kramer graduated, she and Diamond had their first podcast meeting with Betches.
Betches helped the “Comments by Celebs” podcast get off the ground, but eventually the pair decided to work with a different podcast company in order to scale the brand. The podcast moved to Cadence13 in January, but was still only getting about 100,000 downloads a month — not very many by podcast standards.
“While we do have over a million Instagram followers, the account isn’t us,” Diamond said. “Getting people to want to engage with the voices behind the account took a little bit.”
Quick reporting on Kardashian news helped establish ‘Comments by Celebs’
Then this February, about six months after they started podcasting, the news broke that Tristan Thompson had allegedly cheated on Khloé Kardashian with Jordyn Woods, a model who was also known for her close friendship with Kylie Jenner.
The Kardashians are a regular feature for the duo. “Comments by Celebs” produces two podcast episodes a week: one entirely devoted to the Kardashians, and another episode unpacking celebrity news stories and naming award winners for the funniest comments and best clap backs of each week.
As soon as the women heard the Thompson-Woods news, they went into the studio to record and were among the first in the podcast community to release an episode debriefing listeners on the drama.
“I think that’s what exploded our growth and made us one of the go-to places for pop-culture news,” Diamond said.
After the success of the Thompson-Woods episode, followers started to express more interest in Diamond and Kramer’s personal views on celebrity news.
“The unexpected thing was that other people started to care about our opinions and not just us breaking down the story,” Kramer said.
Since the Instagram account had already attracted celebrity attention — it has famous followers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Lili Reinhart — the hosts brought on stars as guests to help drive traffic to the show.
Kelly Ripa is featured on the first episode of the podcast, but Diamond said “Comments by Celebs” has never relied on celebrity appearances. Famous guests are an added bonus, Diamond said, but they don’t play a regular role in the podcast. This helps keep the recording schedule consistent.
Consistency is key for advertising, according to ‘Comments by Celebs’ founders
Before the podcast took off this year, advertising interest was also low, Diamond said. Switching to Cadence13 helped to increase ad revenue because the company had a well-established ad sales team. But Diamond and Kramer already had advertising experience from their Instagram account.
Consistency on their Instagram grid has long been a top priority, Diamond said, and from social media she and Kramer learned the importance of keeping their content uniform, whether it was sponsored or not.
For instance, when brands expressed interest in advertising on Instagram, Diamond and Kramer worked with them to design the ad in the form of a caption and comment so it didn’t disrupt the layout of the Comments by Celebs page, which consists only of screenshots of social-media posts uploaded a few times per day.
Even when promoting the podcast, the hosts stick to Instagram stories and relevant references to the show in captions, Diamond said.
In addition to sponsored content, the pair generates revenue with a Patreon account that allows fans with a subscription to access exclusive content.
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“We really are trying to build this into a full-blown media company,” Diamond said.