The Audacity to Podcast

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I have a confession: I'm a perfectionist, at least to some level. (That I want to define my level of perfectionism—or “professionalism,” as I prefer to call it—only confirms I am, indeed, in the perfectionist spectrum.) As might be obvious, this gets meta because I know I can't title this episode “How to Overcome Perfectionism” since I haven't overcome it myself! If you've been following The Audacity to Podcast for a while, then you've witnessed perfectionism—both its benefits and its disadvantages. So instead of seeking to teach you how to overcome a personal struggle like this, I want to share what I'm learning, doing, and reminding myself. I hope this will help you in your own podcasting journey, too. Your audience needs you Keep podcasting, especially right now, because your audience needs you!Click To Tweet People like you “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”“Stuart Smalley” Perfectionism is not inherently bad You can't make “perfect” But you can still make “excellent” “Published” is better than “eternal draft” Would you rather sacrifice, or starve? The “bar” can be changed Perfectionism kills momentum Momentum is greater than stagnation There is no shame in doing the right thing Your audience would rather hear from you than not Delaying allows others to take over Don't “fake it till you make it” Train it till you retain it! Don't 'fake it till you make it'; train it till you retain it!Click To Tweet Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
How serious are you about improving and growing your podcast? In this miniseries, I'll explore the different labels used to describe podcasters. The labels “amateur” and “skilled” do indicate quality. So while it's okay to stay in one group and own it with pride, I do encourage you to seek to move into the “skilled” group. What are amateur podcasters? The late Steve Jobs once referred to podcasts as “amateur hour” in one of his last Apple keynotes. But don't let the term “amateur” be demeaning. Instead, consider it a way to describe where you might be now, but not where you're staying. 1. Amateur podcasters accept where they are They may not be content with where their podcasts are, but they often don't consider how they need to improve and grow themselves. 2. Amateur podcasters have vague or no goals If an amateur podcaster has goals, they're often rather vague, such as growing or monetizing. Vague goals look for vague successes. For example, if an amateur podcaster says merely, “I want to grow my audience.” Then if they get even one more person listening, then they accomplished their goal. But did they really want only one additional listener? Or if they say merely, “I want to monetize my podcast,” and they make 3¢. Then they monetized their podcast. 3. Amateur podcasters ask broad questions I often see the same overly broad questions asked in online podcasting groups. For example, “How do I grow my podcast?” “What's the best microphone?” “Who is the best podcast host?” 4. Amateur podcasters say “good enough” There are big differences between being resourceful under limitations and quitting when something seems “good enough.” When something is “good enough,” it probably actually isn't. 5. Amateur podcasters want free options Yes, there are many budget constraints on podcasters of all types. There's nothing wrong with using free options. But I think looking for only free options can indicate commitment levels. For example, Anchor currently hosts almost half of all valid podcast feeds in Apple Podcasts, but more than half of those shows have 3 or fewer episodes. And there are more 1-episode shows on Anchor than the total number of shows any other podcast-hosting provider hosts. [Private data via My Podcast Reviews.] The first time I revealed this data in “What New Data Suggests about Podcast-Hosting Customers” from December 2018, I suggested that the tool itself is not creating dead shows, but the extremely low barriers to entry (and with very little education) was probably making it easier for low-commitment people to start podcasts. Does simply paying for something help you be more committed? Perhaps. Or maybe more-committed people are already willing to pay for stuff. 6. Amateur podcasters are jealous of others' success Spotify has been making some big moves in the podcasting industry. They started getting disruptive with the recent announcement that The Joe Rogan Experience will soon become exclusive to Spotify—not simply be on Spotify, but be only on Spotify and nowhere else: not Apple Podcasts and not YouTube. Amateur podcasters might be jealous of this, thinking they deserve some of that money or attention. 7. Amateur podcasters practice when it's convenient Concert pianists don't become that by working on their art only when it's convenient. They practice over and over, often beyond physical comfort, let alone convenience. You'll probably see that in almost any other field of art. But you won't see amateurs among great artists. 8. Amateur podcasters want things to be easy A lot of great things have been forfeited because getting them was “too hard.” You make things easy, either by investing in better tools or investing in better skills. What are skilled podcasters? I think the pandemic of 2020 has revealed the true skills of many people. For example, look at many of the top broadcasters who suddenly seemed like amateurs when they had to broadcast from home. But you can also look at the skilled broadcasters and see that they simply adapted and continued. For example, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and Ask Me Another are both recorded usually in front of a live audience, which brings great natural energy with it. But I've found those shows equally entertaining even recorded from the cohosts' homes. There are many other shows with similar skills. It's okay if you consider yourself an amateur podcaster—we all were at some point. I only don't want you stay that way. 1. Skilled podcasters pursue personal growth A skilled podcaster will often introspect before seeking external growth. They'll find ways to improve their planning, their communication skills, their tools and processes, and such. 2. Skilled podcasters have “SMART” goals You might consider it cliché or overly used, but I still think the “SMART” goals approach is highly applicable and valuable. Here's how I define “SMART”: SpecificMeasurableAttainableRelevantTime-bound Listen to “How to set and achieve SMART goals for your podcast” for more information. 3. Skilled podcasters seek specific answers Instead of asking broad questions like, “How do I grow my audience?” skilled podcasters will search for answers first (because skilled people often know how to find answers on their own). And when they do ask questions, they're usually specific. For example, “My podcast gets 100 downloads per episode. I have an email list with 1,000 subscribers and a 25% average open rate. My podcast is about pet-grooming. If I have only $100 to spend, should I buy ads in Overcast, an industry website or publication, or sponsor another podcast in the pet industry? Or should I spend it somewhere else?” 4. Skilled podcasters say “what's next?” Constant growth is a signature of skilled people. It's not a lack of contentment or even an obsession with outdoing themselves, but a motivation to always improve. So whether it's finishing an episode, reaching a milestone, or accomplishing a goal, skilled podcasters will seek new innovations, milestones, and goals. 5. Skilled podcasters invest for results Whether spending time, energy, or money, skilled podcasters will see it as an investment they hope will result in some kind of improvement. That could be directly measurable, like spending $100 to get 150 new subscribers. Or it could be more intangible, like upgrading your tools so things are easier, faster, better, or remove a frustration. 6. Skilled podcasters celebrate and learn from others Back to news about The Joe Rogan Experience, I think skilled podcasters would be looking for what they can learn from Joe's success and how they can apply that in their own situation. Applying lessons doesn't mean imitating (do we really need more “____ on Fire” entrepreneur-interview podcasts?), but it means adapting and interpolating for your uniquenesses. Sometimes, you might even decide to do the exact opposite and you could have even greater success! 7. Skilled podcasters train and practice diligently Every great artist became great with diligent work. They practice, learn, or refine daily. They work hard. They push their limits. 8. Skilled podcasters want labor to be worth it Cliff Ravenscraft now lives by an inspiring line he heard from one of his clients, “I don't want easy; I want ‘worth it.'” You've probably heard this idea said in different ways, such as “If it's worth having, it's worth waiting/working for.” The difference isn't in how much labor there is, but in why skilled podcasters are doing it. For example, I once replaced the alternator in my car. I had never done that before. It wasn't easy and I didn't even have the right tools for it. But it was worth it to me because it mean spending only 25% of the money it would have cost for an auto shop to do it for me. And it actually took me less time, too! If you've already launched your podcast and want to become a skilled podcaster, I think Podcasters' Society is the best place for you to improve and grow! Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Who has the final say for your podcast? In this miniseries, I'll explore the different labels used to describe podcasters and encourage you to own your label with pride! An aside before diving in, I never liked the term “procasters” because it made it seem like indie podcasters couldn't be professionals at what they do. How are independent and corporate podcasters similar Independent (or “indie”) podcasters and corporate podcasters share the same similarities I shared in my previous episode about hobbyist vs. professional podcasters. Here's that list for your convenience. Both can have excellenceBoth can have passionBoth can have audiences of any sizeBoth can “PROFIT” So let's jump to what sets them apart! What are indie podcasters? 1. Indie podcasters make their own decisions “The buck stops here” for an indie podcaster! They make their own decisions, big and small. They might involve their cohosts, community, or other collaborators. But everything about their podcast is their own to choose. 2. Indie podcasters are agile On a whim, indie podcasters can change technology, launch a donation system, create a new product, redesign their branding, and much more. There's no approval process and usually the only delays are in how much time it takes to implement something, or how long it takes for that delivery to arrive. 3. Indie podcasters made the podcasting industry Don't let anyone mislead you! No broadcast company or executive invented podcasting—it was indies: Dave Winer (who created RSS) and Adam Curry. And the foundations of podcasting are very much “pirate radio.” 4. Indie podcasters are resourceful Indie podcasters are used to working with what they have or very limited resources. They're well-acquainted with recording in a closet or under a blanket, using pantyhose for a pop filter, or hacking things together. 5. Indie podcasters are the majority Of the nearly 1.1 million podcasts at this time, I estimate there are only a couple or few thousand podcasts (under 1%) are hosted by corporate podcasters. The rest are the indies! 6. Indie podcasters reach the niches There's almost no niche too small! You can find a podcast on almost anything and usually hosted by people passionate about and highly experienced in those topics. 7. Indie podcasters want (and deserve) to be involved in the podcasting industry No matter the direction the industry goes, I think no one cares more about it than the independent podcasters. Sometimes, it even seems like podcasting is a way of life to an indie. If you're an independent podcaster, please get involved in The Podcast Academy to ensure the indie majority is represented. What are corporate podcasters? 1. Corporate podcasters are subject to external oversight “Design by committee” is a phrase that makes almost any designer cringe. Corporate podcasters have committees, executives, corporate interests, sponsors, and even legal regulations often dictating what can and can't be done. 2. Corporate podcasters move slowly and deliberately The oversight in corporate podcasting slows things down. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. This slow and intentional movement often results in a more successful product and launch. 3. Corporate podcasters brought the podcasting industry mainstream Podcasts would not be anywhere near as popular as they are now if it wasn't for corporate podcasters. They brought and continue to bring mainstream attention and large audiences to podcasts. 4. Corporate podcasters have powerful leverage Because of the much larger audiences and bigger relationships corporate podcasters have, they can move things in much bigger ways than indies can. This could mean bringing major brands to podcasting (through content or sponsorship), inspiring majority actions in the audience, and more. 5. Corporate podcasters are the popular minority Yes, corporate podcasters often dominate the charts and publicity. That's a benefit of their mainstream audience and powerful leverage. But compared to the bigger world of podcasts, I estimate fewer than 1% of the current 1.1 million podcasts are from corporate podcasters. 6. Corporate podcasters reach the broad masses Big broadcasters literally can't afford to go super-niche. But what they can do, and that they often do really well, is appeal to broader audiences. And their experience and connections help them do this. Even when a corporate podcast gets niche, such as hosting a podcast about their own product, it's still intended for the larger audience. 7. Corporate podcasters use the podcasting industry I believe that corporate podcasters see podcasting as simply another tool to reach new audiences and grow their empires. (There's nothing wrong with using podcasting for that!) The investments they make and changes they want in podcasting are usually motivated by these corporate interests. For example, an indie podcaster might want things to be easier, but a corporate podcaster might want more data on their audience. What do you think of these labels? Don't make this an “us vs. them” battle Although it seems corporate podcasters often ignore and even metaphorically spit on the foundations indies have built, I think the indies can learn a lot from corporates. Also, I would like to see more corporate podcasters recognize and take advantage of the niche and highly skilled experience of indie podcasters. One initiative that I attempted to start was to help local broadcast stations connect with their local podcasters to use as subject experts. After all, podcasters have the gear and usually the communication skills broadcasters want! Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Do you podcast for the fun or art of it, or to build a business? In this miniseries, I'll explore the different labels used to describe podcasters and encourage you to own your label with pride! How are hobbyist and professional podcasters similar? 1. Hobbyists and professionals can have excellence Neither label indicates quality levels. It's possible for hobbyists to rival “professional quality,” and it's also possible for professionals to sound like “amateur hour.” 2. Hobbyists and professionals can have passion No one has exclusivity on passion in podcasting. Pardon the pun, but anyone can be “on fire” for anything. 3. Hobbyists and professionals can have audiences of any size Whether a narrow niche or a broad topic, there are no upper or lower limits for hobbyists or professionals. 4. Hobbyists and professionals can “PROFIT” Podcasting PROFIT™ is popularity, relationships, opportunities, fun, income, and tangibles. These are all attainable for hobbyists and professionals. Neither has a monopoly on success. What is a hobbyist podcaster? 1. A hobbyist podcaster focuses on the experience Satisfaction is often the main goal of a hobbyist podcaster, regardless of their topic. That satisfaction could come from laughing, talking about your favorite subjects, inspiring people, and more. 2. A hobbyist podcaster has few pressures Hobbyists are often not burdened by many deadlines, expectations, bills, and such. 3. A hobbyist podcaster reserves podcasting for “nights and weekends” Like most other hobbies, podcasting for a hobbyist is probably something they do when the more important things are done. Podcasting comes after the job, after family time, and after household responsibilities. 4. A hobbyist podcaster spends for bills or pleasure Usually, a hobbyist is spending money on the necessities of podcasting, or simply enjoying any kind of extra income they get. What is a professional podcaster? 1. A professional podcaster focuses on the outcome For a professional, podcasting needs a return on their investment; it needs to grow a business or market something. 2. A professional podcaster is running a business Like other parts of running a business, podcasting income and expenses will be tracked, reported, and deducted for budgeting and taxes. 3. A professional podcaster integrates podcasting into their strategy Podcasting is part of the “day job” for a professional podcaster. 4. A professional podcaster invests in returns When a professional podcaster PROFITs, they reinvest that into the business. That could be investing in people or resources to make podcasting easier or better. It could be investing into marketing to grow the podcast or business. What are you? Are you a hobbyist podcaster, or a professional podcaster? Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Even though podcasting is usually an audio-only experience, attractive images can enhance your podcast branding and help you promote your podcast better! Here are suggestions to consider for podcast-level and episode-level images. How images help your podcast Establishing and reinforcing visual branding Are Disney's movies Frozen and Frozen II related to Pixar's movie Onward? Many of the 5by5 podcast network's cover art shares the same style, making the relationship obvious. Marketing your episodes Artwork makes your podcast look a lot better when shared in social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Having images, especially for each episode, can help enable you to promote your podcast in visual-only platforms, like Pinterest and Instagram. Engaging your audience Look at No Agenda‘s art generator. Communicating without words “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” 1. Square image for podcast apps and Instagram 2. Crop-friendly wide image for video and social 16:9 for video1,200 × 628 for Facebook and Twitter 3. Crop-friendly tall image for Pinterest 2:3 for Pinterest9:16 for video stories 4. Thumbnail image for your website I suggest you design for a square crop but with margin for different ratios. Here's what square episode images look like on The Audacity to Podcast's homepage. 5. Background image for creativity What I love being able to use background images in SecondLine Themes as my WordPress theme! You can easily add a color overlay, style effects, and even blur your images. Ensure it doesn't conflict with text over it. How this episode's background image looks, thanks to Tusant from SecondLine Themes. 6. “Open” image for audiograms Headliner and Wavve are great tools for making audiograms. 7. Show images for profile branding Visit Sprout Social's guide to social-media image sizes. How to make these images Hire a professional Mark Des Cotes from Podcast BrandingDesignCrowd99designs Do it yourself RelayThatAdobe Spark PostCanvaPicMonkeyPhotoshop ElementsAny design/layout software you have Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
On Friday, April 17, 2020, Apple Podcasts surpassed 1 million valid podcasts in their catalog. So have we reached “peak podcast”? Is it too late to start a podcast? Will your podcast only be lost in the sea of over 1 million other podcasts? Short answer: NO! Here's why. 1. Saturation is a matter of perspective Listen to “There Are Now More than 800,000 Podcasts and More Industry Stats” for more information behind my Podcast Industry Statistics site. According to the top results in Google searches: There are more than 31 million YouTube channelsThere are more than 97 million songsThere are more than 140 million booksThere are more than 600 million blogs 2. Not all podcasts are active 3. Not all podcasts are consistent 4. Your niche is much smaller 5. Your podcast could do what others don't, can't, or won't 6. There will always be ways to innovate
Did you know I once directed a podcast network? I retired it in spring 2019, and here are some lesson I hope can help you. The network's history I founded Noodle Mix Network (originally called “Noodle.mx Network,” but always pronounced the same) with the launch of The Audacity to Podcast in June 2010. My goal was to bring together like-minded podcasters with high-quality shows to grow together through synergy, community, support, crosspromotion, and sponsorship. Noodle Mix Network combined my pre-existing shows, the Ramen Noodle and Are You Just Watching, with a brand new show called The Audacity to Podcast. It since grew to host a wide variety of shows: the Ramen NoodleAre You Just WatchingThe Audacity to PodcastBeyond the To-Do ListThe Productive WomanChristian Meets WorldThe Sci-Phi ShowONCEWelcome to Level SevenWONDERLANDUnder the Dome RadioResurrection RevealedPodcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastInside the Podcasting Business What the network did well QualityBrandingRally for awardsSponsorships What the network did poorly Audience-relevant common themeCross-promotionCross-integrationFull and consistent community Why I retired the network Allow me to focus on fewer thingsGive each podcaster more room to expand Read my announcement post. Should you start or join a network? If run like a businessIf an obvious audience-relevant benefitNot if it's only a club For more information, I highly recommend Dave Jackson's episode of School of Podcasting (in which I'm a guest), “How to Start a Podcast Network: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
The RØDECaster Pro is my new favorite piece of podcasting gear! I'll have a thorough review soon. In the meantime, here are some tips to help with one of the biggest complaints I've heard about the RØDECaster Pro. Why the RØDECaster Pro transfers files so slowly The RØDECaster Pro (RCP) can read and write to a variety of microSD cards, including extremely high-speed cards. But its transfer speed is limited because the interface with your computer is only USB 2.0! USB 2.0's maximum transfer speed is 480 megabits per second (or 60 MB/s because there are 8 bits in 1 byte). But USB 3.0's maximum transfer speed is 5 gigabits per second, so it's about 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Thus, not matter how fast your computer or the microSD card are, the RØDECaster Pro has a bottleneck transfer speed. In my real-world testing, this came out to be about 8.1 MB per second. How to speed up file transfers (and workflow) 1. Update the app and firmware The RØDECaster Pro Companion app version 2.0.4 performed so horribly in my tests that I stopped trying to measure transfer times when a stereo file was taking more time to transfer than the recording itself! I realized this could be from one or both of my following conditions: macOS Catalina—this was most likely the causeEncrypted hard drive In this scenario, the app was spiking my CPU and taking hours to transfer files, even if I used a USB 3.0 reader! But simply using version 2.1 of the app fixed the CPU spike and dramatically improved transfer speeds. If you're facing similar unreasonably slow performance, make sure you update the app and firmware! 2. Record in stereo instead of multitrack 3. Use the RØDECaster Pro companion app for multitrack recordings 4. Use a separate microSD reader … 5. … And upgrade to a faster microSD My SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDXC UHS-II was more than 2.1× faster than my SanDisk Ultra microSDHC UHS-I, and about 23× faster than the RCP's USB 2.0. But remember that because of the RCP's USB 2.0 bottleneck, you will see these performance benefits only if you use a separate and faster microSD reader. Performance results SanDisk Ultra RCP 2.1, via app1-hour, stereo, 1.04 GB: 2:051-hour, multitrack, 7.28 GB (9 files): 14:29SanDisk Ultra via USB 3.0 microSD card reader and RCP app1-hour, stereo, 1.04 GB: 0:121-hour, multitrack, 7.28 GB (9 files): 1:24SanDisk Extreme PRO via USB 3.0 microSD card reader and RCP app1-hour, stereo, 1.04 GB: 0:061-hour, multitrack, 7.28 GB (9 files): 0:37 Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> If you’re eager to start your podcast but feel overwhelmed, afraid, or paralyzed, I want to equip and educate you to finally take action and launch your podcast! I’m doing that through a 1-day intensive, live, online, interactive training I call Podcast Master Class on January 31, 2020. Click here to learn more and register!
On December 10, 2019, Apple Podcasts surpassed 800,000 valid podcasts! Here's some more information and statistics on the podcast industry, with data from My Podcast Reviews. I won't include the raw numbers or percentages here because I suggest you look at the latest as they're updated nightly at MyPodcastReviews.com/stats. Read my press release here! Total valid podcasts You may have heard higher numbers than I show on my stats page. While other services may be counting removed podcasts or former iTunes U content, My Podcast Reviews looks at only valid podcasts. We count a podcast as valid if it can be subscribed to in a podcast app (duh, right?), and has episodes that can successfully download. This excludes the tens of thousands of iTunes U courses as well as removed/deleted podcasts. Total episodes available in feeds There are many shows that have hundreds of episodes, but probably not all of their episodes are available in their RSS feeds. A feed will show only as many episodes as the podcaster or publishing tool allows. And the lowest limit I've seen is 10. So the episode number on the page does not reflect all episodes of all podcasts ever released; it's only what's made available right now through the valid RSS feeds. Added and removed Podcasts are added to and removed from Apple Podcasts nearly every day. Most of the added podcasts are all-new shows, and a very small few may be returning after having been hidden or removed years ago (and before I started tracking in December 2018). Removed shows are no longer available in Apple Podcasts and may have been removed for multiple reasons, including: Technical problems: such as a broken feed or no more downloadable podcasts in the feedPodcasters' choices: to hide or removal a podcastPolicy violation: keyword-stuffing, spamming, breaking Apple's rules, gaming the charts, etc. Apple does not remove podcasts for simply being old or inactive. As long as the RSS feed is valid and episodes download, Apple will continue to list the podcast. On the Podcast Industry Statistics page, you can also see what the last 7 days of activity have looked like with additions and removals. It's common that you'll see almost no activity on the weekends and a weekday or two with almost no activity. But the weekdays usually don't follow a pattern. Active vs. inactive podcasts We define “active” as any podcast that has published at least one episode in the last 90 days, and “inactive” as any podcast that has not published any episode in that same time. “Inactive” does not necessarily mean those shows are dead, podfaded, or podflashed. “Inactive” could include these along with shows that have been ended, retired, put on hiatus, or have an infrequent publishing schedule. For example, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History can sometimes be in the “inactive” group because months can go by between his highly researched episodes. But his show has not podfaded or been abandoned. It's simply inactive—”dormant” is an even better word to describe that podcast. Podcasts by available episodes in feeds At this time, about half of all available podcasts have 10 or more episodes in their RSS feeds. Remember, any count of episodes above 10 becomes invalid because of varying feed limit defaults. The other half is broken down by shows that have only 1 episode, 2–3 episodes, and 4–9 episodes. Active vs. inactive by available episodes Digging deeper into the previous stat, the Podcast Industry Statistics page shows how many episodes are available in podcasts and splits them by active and inactive. I was surprised that everything under 10 is dominated by inactive shows. But once we hit 10 or more episodes, the majority of those shows are active. For those wanting a more exclusive definition of “active” podcasts to filter out podflashes (shows that barely started before being abandoned), we suggest looking at podcasts that have four or more episodes with at least one episode published in the last 90 days. Podcasts by latest episode age This is where I think you should pay the most attention with my the Podcast Industry Statistics. You may feel intimidated by trying to stand out among 800,000 podcasts (or over a million in 2020!). But look closely at this chart. This statistic looks at shows that have published a new episode in a variety of time period, 0–7 days ago and longer up to 5 years or more. This is measuring the age of the latest episode, not of all their episodes. Any show that hasn't published a new episode in the last 5 years is most likely ended. But for you, look at that 0–7 stat, which is a significantly smaller number than all the other stats. Instead of trying to stand out among every podcast, commit to publishing weekly and you'll already be in the small minority of podcasts! Plus, the numbers start getting much smaller when you filter them to your category and then especially your niche. Why this data? I'm building an all-new product with great new features to bring data like this to podcasters. I've shared some of my findings before in “What New Data Suggests About Podcast Hosting Customers,” but this is only the beginning! Please contact me if you would like podcast-industry statistics for your agency or podcasting-service-provider! And if you want to see and share all your podcast reviews from everywhere, then sign up for My Podcast Reviews! It's free for personal use and paid plans with extra features and allowance for business-oriented podcasts start at only $5 per month! Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Switching to the Gutenberg Editor was probably the most controversial change in WordPress's history. I'll help you decide whether you should start using Gutenberg for your podcast's WordPress website. What is the Gutenberg Editor? If you’ve been working with WordPress for a while—before version 5.0—then you know the WordPress editor for creating pages and posts is similar to nearly any software where you compose a document to be sent, viewed or printed. You can write paragraphs or headings, you can adjust the text to be bold or in italics, and other common formats. It’s very basic; it’s very linear; and it’s also very limited. The Gutenberg editor changes all that by building an all-new editor around the ideas and needs that we have in the media space today. Now, when we’re creating content on WordPress websites, it’s not so linear. Sometimes, we’re telling stories, we’re inserting images and videos and multimedia into posts. We’re embedding lots of information with tables, charts, buttons, multimedia, opt-ins, and much more. We couldn't do this stuff very easily before with the classic editor; we needed extra plugins or else knowledge of web technologies like HTML and CSS or perhaps even some PHP and Javascript. Gutenberg simplifies all this by building new functionality into the new editor, and it’s all centered on the idea of blocks. Every bit of content inside Gutenberg is a block. Headers, images, paragraphs, lists, embed, and more are all blocks. You can even have blocks inside of blocks (like a text block inside a column or grid block). All of this makes Gutenberg much like a page-builder, which I talked in episode 337. You can drag and drop these blocks to reorder them, style them, and do some basic things with them. You don't have the full control you would with a dedicated a page-builder such as Elementor Pro, Beaver Builder, or Divi Builder. But you can do many of the same things in more simplified ways. So maybe you don’t need all of the features of a page-builder. The Gutenberg and WordPress developers say Gutenberg is the future of WordPress. That sounds lofty but it’s also true. The plan for Gutenberg is to not only let you edit your content better but to help you edit your whole site better. The Gutenberg editor will someday help you build your header, sidebar, and footer. When you get comfortable using Gutenberg, you’ll be ready to edit the rest of your site in the future. If you’d like try Gutenberg, then click here to learn more and try live without even having to have your own website. You don’t have to create an account or sign up in any way. Gutenberg's benefits Interested? I think these are the biggest reasons you should use Gutenberg. 1. Make repeatable content and templates with reusable blocks This benefit is huge! This one alone may be enough to convince you to use Gutenberg. This can save you time, it can save you frustration, it can make the process of writing your show notes so much easier. And also make it so you don’t need to use several other plugins as it’s built into Gutenberg. I’ve previously talked about how to write show notes faster (episode 244) by making repeatable content with custom shortcodes and content templates. Shortcodes will be a short word or phrase wrapped in square brackets, like [this], that you see in the post editor but when you preview or publish, the shortcode is replaced with something else. Shortcodes can display players, multimedia, buttons, text, and more. I previously recommended using shortcodes to display text that you always repeat at the end of every episode such as: How to subscribeLinks to your social accountsSpecial promotionsAffiliate disclosure Instead of wasting time copying and pasting text, you could use one or multiple shortcodes to make it easier to update across all of your site when you edit the original content and then clear your website cache to make the changes propagate across your website. Custom shortcodes are not easy to make. In the least, you’ll need to know a little code to get them to work. To date I haven’t found a good shortcode plugin. I’ve also previously talked about using Simple Content Templates for creating starting templates in WordPress. This would let you create the basic structure of your show notes you could use as a starting canvas for each new post. These sound great, right? With the Gutenberg editor, you can do these same things with “reusable blocks”! A reusable block can be one or multiple blocks grouped together as a single block you can place in multiple pages and posts. So instead of needing some code to make a custom shortcode, you can simply make your content with blocks in a page or post, select them, and save them as a reusable block. You can even have reusable blocks inside reusable blocks! For example, your affiliate disclosure inside your show-notes closing block. To make a whole content template, make all your placeholder blocks, select them, and turn them into a reusable block. When you place that template block into a new post, click on the More Options button, then convert to regular blocks and it will break it apart again so you can fill in your content. I made a video tutorial that teaches how to do this, exclusive to members of Podcasters' Society. 2. Unlock more content-formatting options The classic editor works fine for basic writing, but it falls far short for more advanced formatting and content. Sure, you could always dive deep and edit the CSS or HTML to get your content just the way you’d like, but Gutenberg makes this much easier! Here are some of the many things Gutenberg can help you insert and manage better. Images: more layout and alignment options (support added by your theme), faster caption-editing, and easy sizing.Buttons: change the colors and style without needing an extra plugin or CSS.Tables: add rows and columns easily for displaying tabular data.Multimedia: embed with ease, and have more control over your embedded multimedia.Widgets: you can finally put a WordPress sidebar widget in your content! 3. Replace many separate plugins with Gutenberg features Because Gutenberg brings so much built into WordPress, you may not need as many plugins for basic features, like buttons, tables, shortcodes, and such. 4. Use high-quality themes and plugins to get more Gutenberg blocks and options SecondLine Themes, among others, provide additional tools to allow you to do even more than what might have been available with the classic editor. This can bring in colors from your them, offer more layout options to make your content look great on your site, and more. 5. Paste formatted text without so many worries Pasting text from other places into the classic editor used to be a big problem. If you wrote your show notes using Google Docs or some other word processor, and then pasted it into WordPress, you might end up with all sorts of extra—but hidden—code making it hard to get your text to look like you want. Gutenberg is far more paste-friendly, especially with Google Docs, so you don't have to worry about extra code messing up what you’re trying to put in place. 6. Edit faster and without page-refreshes Although WordPress has always been a somewhat fast tool, the Gutenberg editor makes writing in WordPress even faster by doing things without page loads! Save a draft, publish your post, and more without having to reload the page, thanks to the modern Javascript backend of Gutenberg. 7. Navigate your post quickly with an outline If you write your content with a hierarchy through headings, there are two ways that you can navigate your content very quickly without having to scroll. Block navigation will show a list of the types of blocks in the order you have them allowing you to click on the one you’d like and get to it quickly. Content Structure shows you the hierarchy with your headings, like a table of contents. You’ll be able to see at a glance what you already have and can click directly to that section. Plus, this structure works create to select (from the bottom) to copy a quick outline. 8. Access advanced options more easily When you’re working in any block, you’ll see its options on the right side of the screen. The advanced section even allows you to enter a CSS class for that block or a link anchor. Before, you would have to add this stuff by editing the HTML code, but Gutenberg makes it more accessible. 9. Edit a block in HTML for advanced needs If you do need to edit the HTML code for your content, Gutenberg makes that easier, too. Previously with the classic editor, you to switch the whole editor to the code or “text” view or to adjust the HTML. With the Gutenberg editor you can edit the individual block in HTML without having to change over the entire page. This allows you to keep your place and work more efficiently. Gutenberg's disadvantages These are some of the most common problems and oppositions I've seen for Gutenberg. 1. It's a drastic change I think people often resist change simply because it's different. Things aren’t where you expect them to be or something doesn’t work the way you’re used to. The Gutenberg editor arrived with a completely different interface, so I understand that it can be a bit of a shock. However, Gutenberg still works fine for simple typing and pressing Enter. Plus, if you really try to use it and all its new features, I think you'll come to like it. 2. There are still some compatibility issues with other plugins Some plugins built functionality into the classic editor. So when you switch over to the Gutenberg editor, that functionality could b missing. Sometimes, the feature is still available, but now it's in a block. In some cases, though, it’s more serious and a plugin you use isn’t working as it should. When that happens, it’s worth reaching out to the developer of the plugin and letting them know you’re using Gutenberg so they can go about investigating the problem. If you have a plugin that works with only the classic editor, then use the Classic Editor plugin to switch back for that specific page or post. Classic Editor 3. It may slow down some editing functionality Some users have reported that Gutenberg makes the interface run slower. The Javascript backend could introduce the possibility for more conflicts. But Gutenberg is generally faster and the report of slowness are rare. 4. Managing reusable blocks is a little weird right now The process for managing blocks, right now, is to edit a page or post, click to add a new block, scroll down to reusable blocks, and then click a link to manage your blocks. That's a little tedious, but you can either bookmark that resulting page, or add /wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=wp_block to the end of your domain, such as https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=wp_block. (Change wp-admin to match your URL pattern, if you have altered that default.) 5. Many features may be more simplistic than you want Gutenberg takes a simple approach to creating different blocks. For example, you can create basic tables, but you'll need an additional plugin if you want more advance control over your tables. In some cases, a page-builder may be the answer to your needs. That said, if the Gutenberg provides what you need, then it can avoid extra bloat and save you time by just using what it has available. Tips for using Gutenberg If you're ready to use Gutenberg, here are some tips! 1. Install the plugin version if you want the latest version Gutenberg has been included with WordPress since version 5.0. But if you want the latest version of the Gutenberg editor, for the latest fixes, features, then try the plugin. The plugin will replace the pre-installed editor without your having to do anything further. Just keep in mind it might be so cutting edge that it could have some bugs. Gutenberg 2. Install the “Classic Editor” plugin Even if you’re all in with Gutenberg, install the classic editor and have it deactivated but ready in case something breaks. Classic Editor 3. Don't worry about your past content You don’t have to go back and convert your past content over to Gutenberg. All your old content will be in a single classic block and you can still edit it. But if you'd like to replace your reliance on an old plugin, or you want to improve how your old posts look, then you might want to consider updating your older content. What do you think of Gutenberg? Need podcasting help? If you are past episode one, then please join me and other podcasters in Podcasters' Society where we help you improve the quality and success of your podcast through an encouraging community, inspirational training, and expert support! If you need one-on-one help, or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session and we'll connect you with a podcasting expert we trust! Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the show notesLeave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, other Android apps, or in your favorite podcast app.Join the Facebook PageSubscribe on YouTube for Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to PodcastFollow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
If you're frustrated by your WordPress theme's limitations, you don't know how to or don't want to write custom code, or you want a lot more flexibility in your website, you might want to consider a page-builder plugin for WordPress. Benefits of page-builders 1. You don't have to know HTML, CSS, PHP, or JavaScript to design your own webpages Although these are the four most used things to build your website and webpages behind the scenes you don’t have to know them in order to create webpages. Having a tool that makes it so you don’t have to think about those things makes it easier for you to just build your pages. 2. A page-builder makes web-design fast with WYSIWYG drag-and-drop editing WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get” and is an approach used not only on page builders but also in most word processing apps. It makes it so easy to change the font, colors, borders and many other aspects by dragging and dropping to get just what you’d like to see while you’re making it. If you want a box for example with a colored background and a certain border with text inside you can do so in less than 60 seconds. Page builders allow you to make the page look and act as you want it while taking care of the coding for you without any direct input to coding needed by you. You don’t have to write code, save, refresh and go back and forth between tabs to see what it will look like. Page-builders eliminate all of that extra work. 3. A good page-builder can be used anywhere on your site Most of the page builders offer the opportunity for you to do this. Let’s say you’d like to use a common element in different places like a newsletter sign up or a call to action. A good page-builder will be able to let you make this and then call it into use where you need it without having to rebuild it again and again. In the case of Divi it uses shortcodes to allow you to place the content where you need it quickly. 4. A page-builder lets you build sections and pages “in your own image” If you want your background color to be purple for example then you can have the background as purple as you’d like. You can make the pages look just like you’d like them to regardless of what the theme you’re using may have set as a color. Speaking of colors; One of the best design concepts you can learn is contrast. Making sure that things that need to look different from each other do so. And things that are supposed to be connected look similar. The way that two different colors work together is very important too as to not only how the page looks overall but also how well it can be read. Contrast also applies to fonts as you don’t want to mix fonts that crash with each other either. 5. Page-builders will probably someday integrate directly into the Gutenberg editor I know a lot of people don’t like the Gutenberg editor as it’s so different than what you may have grown used to with the old WordPress editor. But even if it bothers you I suggest that you work with it as much as you can because it works in much the same way that page-builders work. So, if you can use Gutenberg then you can use a page-builder and vice versa. The way things are going with the development of Gutenberg and page-builders we may well see the day where instead of working in a page-builder outside of the WordPress editing screen it would instead be integrated right inside. This would allow you to make changes all in one space and adding in a page-builder would open up new functionality. Start with a page-builder now so you’ll be ready for it when that sort of functionality arrives. Tips for using a WordPress page-builder 1. Ensure your theme is compatible Most page-builders work with most WordPress themes but there may be some conflicts. You’ll need to check for this before committing in case there’s a conflict that might break your site. 2. Use a page-builder only when you need more than Gutenberg can offer It’s really easy to get excited about what a page-builder can do but don’t jump to one too quickly. Gutenberg brings a lot of functionality to the WordPress platform that you simply couldn’t do with with the old WordPress editor. You may have just what you need already built in so consider this before making that leap. 3. Avoid page-builders for full post content Don’t write your show notes inside a page-builder for example. Thinks of a page-builder as for special content. A page-builder is designed to help you build pages. An About page, your store page, your Opt-in page, a subscribe page, or a gear page for example. Speaking of which I’ve got a new gear page! I used a page-builder to make the page and the individual elements inside the page and it was much easier that it would have been had I done it manually. Another reason to not use a page-builder for the full post content is what might happen should you decide to stop using a page-builder or perhaps change to another. You may end up with broken pages or lots of extra code laying around making it very hard to get straight. There may be tools in place to allow you to back out of the use of a page-builder or transition to another one but I’m not aware of any yet. 4. Use global styles over single styles whenever possible Think of a button you’d like to be blue, don’t build all sorts of buttons styling them one-by-one to be blue. Instead, go into the page-builder settings and set the style to how you’d like it to be. Doing so will allow you to easily change all of the buttons later by changing one setting instead of chasing down many more than that to get it right. 5. Look for free or premium addons to extend your chosen builder Do this before you consider switching builders. For example you might be on one of my 2 top recommendations; Elementor or Beaver Builder and see the other one and get excited about feature the other has that yours doesn’t have. This might make you want to switch but before you do so look for free and paid plugins or add-ons that might do just what you need to the page-builder you have already. Both of these page-builders are very popular and there are a lot of add-ons available. As I mention in last week's episode SecondLine Themes includes the free version of Elementor page-builder and comes with some Elementor widgets for you to use. Our favorite WordPress page-builders 1. Elementor Pro Much of what Elementor Pro has going for it is also available in Beaver Builder. All of what you get in Elementor isn’t all that’s available. There are add-ons and features that you can add to enhance an already great framework. For example I use Elementor on The Audacity to Podcast as well as My Podcast Reviews and I purchased ‘Essential add-ons’ plugin for Elementor to use on My Podcast Reviews as it had some features that the add-ons did better than Elementor Pro. It was easy to use as all I had to do was make the purchase, install the plugin and what I needed was in place ready to use. There’s also a free version of Elementor! It’s included with SecondLine Themes so if you purchased a theme there based on episode 336 then you already have Elementor in place. I upgraded to Elementor Pro for some of the advanced widgets, the pop-up builder, and the theme builder. For example check out my Podcast Movement 2019 Interviews and my gear page. When you get to the gear page look at the header and you’ll see different sections for different categories of gear. In each of those sections you’ll find different items and each of those individual pieces of gear standalone and can be used in other places as needed easily. That way if I ever need to update anything about that piece of gear I can do so in one place and it will update everywhere I have that content inserted. Keep in mind you don’t have to upgrade to Elementor Pro as the free version does a lot as is. Elementor Page Builder 2. Divi Builder Previously Divi was #4 in my list but shifted as I was recording the episode due to the new version they just realized. Elegant Themes makes one beautiful theme and a couple of plugins too. You could get it as part pf a theme and as a standalone plugin as well. What made Divi difficult though was it was only for page content. It looked beautiful and was easy to work with but it made it hard to work with other elements like buttons for example. Version 4.0 was just released and brings theme-building features so now you can use Divi to build your header, or your footer or your entire site for that matter. You can get Divi as an annual renewal or with a lifetime purchase. Unfortunately, there’s no free version. If you decide to try it you’ll need to purchase it and if you find you don’t like it then they have a return policy. 3. Beaver Builder Similar to Elementor not only in the functionality but also in the ay it allows other developers to create add-ons. Updates aren’t as frequent but when the do release new versions they’re really good. But there’s a free version of Beaver Builder! WordPress Page Builder – Beaver Builder 4. Themify Builder Themify puts out a lot of beautiful themes there themes all include the Themify builder or you can use the builder on its own. Themify builder gives you a lot more granular control, great if you have some experience in basic web technology. One of the things I don’t like is that their updates have often broken things. For example they might add new fields but have placeholder text that reads “Add subtitle here”. This actually happened to me once and the placeholder text showed through and displayed on the website! Themify offers many beautiful themes and handy plugins, which are all included in some membership options. Themify also has a free version. It was because of the granular controls available in Themify builder that I was able to do certain things on Podcasters’ Society the the other builders simply couldn’t do. Themify works really nicely with Gutenberg editor too. Themify Builder With all of this said, keep in mind what you need to do without getting too wrapped up in what you can do. If you've ever read a Spider-Man comic or seen one of the movies you know that “With great power comes great responsibility” and your site is no different. Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Podcasters need a WordPress theme designed with features and flexibility to support podcasting. Here's why I think SecondLine Themes are your new best choice! 1. Integration with PowerPress The reason I’m listing this as number one is because Powerpress is the top podcasting plugin for WordPress and is used by more than 60,000 podcasters. It’s also a really good framework for supporting podcasting on a WordPress website. With PowerPress in place, if you wanted to switch your podcast player, you simply switch the player plugin and it automatically changes for all of your past and future podcast episodes. No need to go back through each episode post and change the player. If you’re publishing your RSS feed from PowerPress, then having a theme that works with it is really a no-brainer. I’m surprised how many WordPress themes say they’re a podcast theme, but they don’t support PowerPress! SecondLine Themes does support PowerPress, which is really important to me and I think it is important for any podcast WordPress theme to do. 2. Support for other podcasting plugins for WordPress If you don’t use PowerPress, then no worries! SecondLine Themes also supports other podcasting plugins: Seriously Simple PodcastingSimple Podcast PressPodLove (WP plugin)Buzzsprout (WP plugin)Smart Podcast Player (from Pat Flynn) Smart Podcast Player doesn’t support PowerPress by itself, but you can easily integrate it with PowerPress by using SecondLine Themes! If there’s a major plugin that SecondLine Themes doesn’t support, or that’s really important to your workflow, reach out to their support and they can probably get it integrated easily and quickly. 3. A versatile embed field for more player options Maybe you don’t want to use a WordPress plugin to put a player on your website and would rather use one from your podcast hosting provider, such as Libsyn, Captivate, Simplecast, Anchor, and such. SecondLine Themes makes it really easy to paste the embed code for your player into a special embed field and then it will display that player in the normal places instead of the built-in SecondLine Themes player. This embedded player can be HTML, an iframe, or Javascript. Simply paste that code into the special embed field and the theme will take care of the rest. Just getting a player to display with the excerpts for your episodes can be really difficult if that player doesn’t have a WordPress plugin but SecondLine Themes makes that really easy. You can even use it for one-off things like a special embed code from another podcast or a YouTube video. 4. Beautiful design Yes, SecondLine Themes have the standard theme features: responsive design, support for SEO, optimized for speed, and such. But let’s focus on the aesthetics! SecondLine Themes are beautiful! They’re clean, modern, and future-technology focused. There are some podcast themes that focus on using images, but images will slow down a website. Images don't look good on all devices, especially smaller screens or high-resolution displays (iPhones, Google Pixels, MacBooks, etc.). If you do like to use images with your episodes, as I like to do, SecondLine Themes have some great options for how to display those, even with special effects! I personally designed and custom-programmed The Audacity to Podcast's previous WordPress theme, built on the Genesis Framework. People would ask where they could get the theme, but it wasn’t for sale and I no longer offer web design services. But with SecondLine Themes I can recommend a solid design that they can use. 5. Podcast-focused features In addition to supporting PowerPress, other podcasting plugins, and embeddable players, there a lot of podcast-focused features that many podcasters want on their sites. A big feature you might love is that several of the themes from SecondLine Themes have built-in support for a podcast network! Even if you don’t have an official network, you may have multiple shows. On The Audacity to Podcast website, I actually have multiple shows: The Audacity to PodcastInside the Podcasting Business (which I may bring back)I’m also a co-host on Podcaster’s Roundtable (but that has it's own website for the content itself)I also publish a separate Podcasting Videos by The Audacity to Podcast (and upload to YouTube and Facebook) Tusant and Bolden have built-in features for podcast networks (and the other themes probably will eventually, too). These let you associate individual episodes with your separate podcasts so that they look different for those separate shows. For example, each episode can use a show header that includes the podcast title, cover art, and subscription buttons. Then, when someone lands on the single episode webpage, they see the promotion for the show in a beautiful way. Plus, SecondLine Themes include a great subscribe buttons plugin that is a pretty good competition for my own Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress. Some podcast themes are still talking about “iTunes” (now called “Apple Podcasts”) and they may not even support Google Podcasts, Subscribe on Android, Spotify or others. The subscription buttons plugin that you can get with SecondLine Themes does support these! If you don't want to mess with third-party player or podcasting plugins, SecondLine Themes still has you covered! Yes, many WordPress themes have audio players, but they aren’t ideal for using with podcasts and really have no true podcasting support. But the players SecondLine Themes includes are meant for podcasts and work very well. There's also built-in styling for popular email-newsletter-subscription plugins! 6. Easy setup I was blown away by how easy it was to get set up with SecondLine Themes! For example, it asks for your license key as you’re installing the theme, so you don't have to find where to enter that later. And it recommends and auto-installs plugins for you. It can even import a bunch of sample content for you to use while setting up your website! This makes the onboarding experience much better most themes. 7. Friendly Elementor page builder There are many different page builders out there, and my next episode will talk more about what a page builder is, how to use one, and my recommendations, which include Elementor. In short, as the name implies, a page builder helps you to build a webpage. But it does so very easily without your having to know all about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or PHP. You can drag and drop items, scale them as you’d like, and more to get exactly the results you’re looking for. Elementor is, in my opinion, the best page builder. It’s very powerful and there’s even a free version to get you started! But you don’t have to pay for Elementor Pro because SecondLine Themes includes the free Elementor version. Plus, the themes include Elementor widgets for you to display a list of episodes with players, and more. 8. Extensive customization options SecondLine Themes contain a lot of options for you to change how your site looks through the standard WordPress Customizer. You can change fonts, colors, layout options, toggle features, and much more all without having to know code. Plus, you can see what your changes will look like before you publish. 9. Fantastic support and updates I have emailed Thomas from SecondLine Themes a lot! I've suggested things, reported bugs, and asked for help. The support they provide is fantastic! They’re fast, they push out updates frequently, and they are supporting the theme really well. There was a previous theme for podcasters that I recommended, but then they just disappeared. Their support team disappeared first then they stopped answering emails, then the website broke. Then it came back but they stopped putting out updates. But SecondLine Themes is very active in supporting their themes and I expect them to stay strong for a long time. Also, SecondLine Themes doesn’t require you to buy another framework (like the Genesis Framework) in order to use their themes. Pricing and licensing are simple! SecondLine Themes makes it easy. You can subscribe to only one theme, a bundle, or you can purchase lifetime access. (I suggest the lifetime option as it gives you access to all of their themes, lifetime updates, and is ideal if you have multiple websites.) 10. Plus: free podcast-importer plugin They also offer a free podcast-importer plugin great for re-syndicating your podcast. For example if you had a network website and you have separate podcasts on different websites with different RSS feeds, you can use the free podcast-importer plugin to bring those all in to the central network site, regardless of how the other podcast feeds are generated (even if they're not WordPress)! If you use one of those network-ready themes—currently Tusant and Bolden—then this importer plugin can automatically put things in the right places so your network site can look and work great for you! 11. For me, Tusant already did about 90% of what I wanted! For my own websites, I've worked with Themify, Divi, and Beaver Builder, and some other themes. I had an idea of what I wanted to do with my site, but it was taking so long to develop. If you’ve been following The Audacity to Podcast for a while, you may have noticed that I updated the cover art but didn’t update the website design to match. I was digging into PHP code and other elements trying to get it different themes to work, then updates would break things. It was a mess and was taking too long. But Tusant already does about 90% of what I was looking for! And as they update it, that number is only going to climb without my having to do any sort of custom coding. I was working with other themes for a couple of years and didn’t launch the redesign of the site. With Tusant, I had my site nearly ready with only a couple hours of work, and then was able to fully launch over a weekend. So if you want the best WordPress theme for podcasting, I highly recommend any from SecondLine Themes! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> After a nearly two-year hiatus, it’s time to bring back The Audacity to Podcast! The format and production will be a little different from before, but I will continue with what has always been my goal: to give you the guts and teach you the tools to start and grow your own podcast for passion or profit. My next few episodes will be about some great new and updated podcasting tools I think you should try, such as the much-hyped RØDECaster Pro, SecondLine Themes for WordPress, Captivate’s new podcast hosting, and more! So watch TheAudacitytoPodcast.com and your podcast app for new episodes of The Audacity to Podcast on Tuesday mornings! While you wait, please check out my videos from Podcast Movement 2019 where I interviewed 18 exhibitors to share new podcasting resources with you. And I hope you’ll join me, Daniel J. Lewis, for the return of The Audacity to Podcast on October 22! Thanks for listening, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the support and encouragement! Stay subscribed! Stay podcasting! And you’ll hear from me again soon!
Podcast media (whether audio or video) must live somewhere on the Internet so it can be downloaded via RSS feeds. This hosting needs to be powerful enough to deliver the media files quickly and handle the load of hundreds or thousands of simultaneous downloads when new episodes are released. Here are the performance results from the most popular podcast hosting companies. Does podcast hosting speed even matter? The short answer is yes, but only to a point. I started this project curious about feed-hosting performance between separate web hosting providers (shared, managed, and VPS), different caching options, and mirroring tools (FeedBurner and Podcast Mirror). Aside from two specific exceptions (more on that below), feed performance from numerous providers was acceptably fast. While one host might be faster than another, it was faster by less than a second on feeds that were already loading in under 1 second. So as long as a feed loads within 1 or 2 seconds, exact speeds become a moot point. If, however, a feed takes several seconds or longer to load, that increases the possibility of timeouts, which can result in a podcast app's failure to refresh podcast RSS feeds to even see what new episodes are available to download. I've seen this happen before where one podcast app could download all the episode, but another app wouldn't refresh the feed. And then, I realized my test could be easily adapted to measure and compare file-hosting speeds. So I turned my attention to media files, which were easier to compare and possibly more important to measure. But as with feeds, media hosting across most of the providers was fast enough that it wouldn't cause any noticeable difference. A feed and media host is fast enough when someone can press a button and start listening with little to no delay. (Podcasters can make the mistake of attaching large images to ID3 tags, which can cause playback delays because the ID3 information must download before audio data.) It's also important to remember most podcast apps will check feeds and download new episodes automatically in the background. So even if it took five minutes for an episode to download, most of the audience might not be affected because the episode will be there waiting for them when they open their podcast app. This audience-helping benefit is a big reason we need to keep downloading possible in podcasting, instead of catering to money-focused advertisers who want to kill the download and switch to streaming. But that's a different discussion. Testing methodology You're free to skip this part if you don't want the technical details. I wrote a program in Node to measure the time it takes to download a feed or media file from a given URL. I included options to test feeds with Gzip compression or HTTP/2. You can view my Podcast Speed Test source code and try it on your own computer or server. Each feed or media URL was tested 10 consecutive times and then combined into average and median results. If there was a significantly different average from median, I would re-run the test, except in the case of Podiant. Every first one or two tests of Podiant resulted in very slow download times. I suspect Podiant doesn't propagate a media file to local servers until it is first requested from that location, and thus the first download is slow. Because this was predictable and repeatable, I left the data in (reflected on averages) and I think it's concerning for that poor first soul who must download from their local server more slowly than the next person. Using Vultr as my VPS provider, I tested from sixteen regions: Atlanta, Georgia, USANew York/New Jersey, USAChicago, Illinois, USADallas, Texas, USALos Angeles, California, USAMiami, Florida, USASeattle, Washington, USASilicon Valley, California, USAToronto, Ontario, CanadaAmsterdam, the NetherlandsParis, Italy, FranceFrankfurt, GermanyLondon, England, United KingdomTokyo, JapanSingaporeSydney, New South Wales, Australia Each region has a high-speed network connection of multiple gigabits per second. Feed testing specifics Podcast RSS feeds can be difficult to test and compare because each feed-generator (WordPress with PowerPress, Libsyn, Buzzsprout, Spreaker, etc.) may do things differently. And it wasn't reasonable to try replicating a complete RSS feed across every tool. Some tools may include extra tags for every episode, while other tools omit such tags. Some tools may truncate the show notes, while other tools publish full show notes. Instead, my method was to find a small feed (100–250 KB) and a large feed (2 MB or more) from each generator, mirror those feeds to a benchmark host, and then compare the performance against that consistent benchmark. I chose FeedBurner and Podcast Mirror, but FeedBurner can't handle feeds larger than 1 MB, so I used it for only small and medium feeds. A third option I could have used would have been to copy the RSS feed code to my own server, but I stuck with Podcast Mirror because it's something anyone can use. This kind of mirroring resulted in only a 1–2 KB difference in feed size, but gave me a relative standard. After 10 consecutive tests, a sample feed's median result would be ranked based on its performance factor compared to the feed on Podcast Mirror as the benchmark. Thus, each feed would be above or below 1.0 compared to the Podcast Mirror benchmark. Media testing specifics Media hosting was much easier to test than feed hosted. I used the 1-hour MP3 from episode 229 of The Audacity to Podcast. That file was 44.1 KHz, mono, 16-bit, 64 kbps, giving me a 27.5 MB file. I uploaded that to every media host I reasonably could, and ran the same download tests. Unfortunately, some media hosts re-encoded my file, changing the file size, and thus making the measurements a little unfair, but I included them nonetheless and indicate the file sizes in the charts. Try your own tests! If you're comfortable installing and running Node from a command line, you can download my Podcast Speed Test source code to run on your own computer or server. Use at your own risk, and some of my sample tests may be removed or broken by the time you test. Feed performance results Because of the complicated nature of testing feeds (described above), I didn't run as many tests, because I realized it was mostly a moot point with nearly every feed provider loading feeds (which are usually smaller than 1 MB) in a fraction of a second. So for the sake of brevity, I'll omit all that data for now. But there were two important exceptions. SoundCloud feeds were consistently the slowest, taking seconds to load a small feed, and longer to load larger feeds. Because of this, I recommend never using a SoundCloud RSS feed. If you must use SoundCloud for podcast hosting (they're a really bad podcast-hosting provider), mirror your feed through Blubrry's free Podcast Mirror service or even use FeedBurner (but I still don't recommend FeedBurner's features, like SmartCast). Uncached feeds were as bad as SoundCloud. Sometimes slower, sometimes faster. Such feeds were usually powered by WordPress or another content-management system. But all it took to fix that performance was simple caching. With caching, it's important to check that the podcast feed is being cached with whatever caching option you're using. For example, caching plugins like WP Rocket and WP Super Cache allow custom inclusions and exclusions, usually defaulting to include the RSS feeds. But other caching plugins might not offer such options, or might not refresh all the caches when you publish a new episode, or might exclude the RSS feeds altogether (SpinupWP's page caching excluded the feeds, but Liquid Web and Flywheel included the feeds). So the takeaways here are: Don't use Soundcloud (for hosting your feed, or if you do, then use Podcast Mirror).If you generate your feed with WordPress, implement proper caching or use Podcast Mirror.Any poorly performing feed could be improved by switching to Podcast Mirror. Podcast media performance results For hosting my sample MP3 file, I tested: Amazon S3*Anchor, which uses CloudfrontArchive.org*Audioboom (re-encoded to 55.6 MB)BlubrryBunny CDN*BuzzsproutCaptivateCastosFiresideiVooxLibsynOmny Studio (thanks to Adam Jaffrey from Wavelength Creative)Pinecast (thanks to Dave Jackson from School of Podcasting)PippaPodbean Unlimited AudioPodbean Unlimited PlusPodbean Business BasicPodcast.coPodiant (re-encoded to 41.2 MB)Podigee (re-encoded to 35.7 MB)Podmio, which uses Amazon S3 (thanks to Podrick Scuadrick from PodScure)podOmatic (re-encoded to 41.37 MB, but paid plans make re-encoding optional)Podserve.fmRedCircle (re-encoded to 55.1 MB)SimplecastSiteGround*SoundCloudSpreakerTransistor (thanks to Podrick Scuadrick from PodScure)Whooshka (re-encoded to 55.1 MB)ZenCast *Not a podcast-hosting provider. I could not get test accounts with Art19 or Megaphone. Please note that some of these hosts re-encoded my MP3 file without my option to change it, always resulting in a bigger file than I uploaded. One exception is Buzzsprout who re-encodes only down, but never up. So my 64 kbps mono file was not re-encoded up to 96 kbps mono on Buzzsprout like it was re-encoded up to various rates with the other indicated hosts. For disclosure, some of the paid-for hosting options were provided by the respective companies at no cost to me for the sake of my testing and review. I also invited any hosting company to preview this article before publication, which often opened a beneficial dialog, but did not affect the data. If you represent a podcast-hosting company I didn't include and you want to see your service tested and listed here, please contact me! Combined global averages and medians First, let's look at the combined global timings for each hosting company. Each test was performed 10 consecutive times and those results combined to calculate regional and global averages and medians. Where the average and median greatly differ illustrates potential slowness in a host. if(typeof(wpDataCharts)=='undefined'){wpDataCharts = {};}; wpDataCharts[9] = {render_data: {"options":{"data":{"labels":["Amazon S3*","Anchor (Cloudfront)","Archive.org*","Audioboom (55.6 MB)","Blubrry","Bunny CDN*","Buzzsprout","Captivate","Castos","Fireside","iVoox","Libsyn","Omny Studio","Pinecast","Pippa","Podbean Unlimited Audio","Podbean Unlimited Plus","Podbean Business Basic","Podcast.co","Podiant (41.2 MB)","Podigee (35.7 MB)","Podmio (S3)","podOmatic (41.37 MB)","Podserve.fm","RedCircle (55.1 MB)","Simplecast","SiteGround*","SoundCloud","Spreaker","Transistor","Whooshka (55.1 MB)","Zencast"],"datasets":[{"label":"Global Average of Averages","orig_header":"Global Average of Averages","backgroundColor":"rgba(255,99,132,0.2)","borderColor":"#ff6384","borderWidth":1,"data":[2298.625,402.125,2589.6875,1188.9375,2139.125,685.875,362.5625,517.5,365.1875,251.6875,1613.6875,402.25,1310,621.625,345.875,21612.0625,24667.8125,345.5,451,3036.3125,5194.75,2115.6875,21447,1043.875,3415.125,991.4375,10127.5625,422.9375,2414.3125,380.5625,1001.625,2951.875],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Global Median of Medians","orig_header":"Global Median of Medians","backgroundColor":"rgba(54,162,235,0.2)","borderColor":"#36a2eb","borderWidth":1,"data":[1490,131.25,2462.5,318.75,102.25,151.25,225.25,188.75,157.75,179.25,1033.75,92.25,333.5,227.75,187.5,7596,9036.5,122,173,251.75,2888.25,1450.5,3256.75,202.75,2496.75,187,3688,145.25,2342.5,198.5,212.25,2491.75],"lineTension":0}]},"options":{"maintainAspectRatio":true,"scales":{"xAxes":[{"scaleLabel":{"display":true,"labelString":""}}],"yAxes":[{"scaleLabel":{"display":true,"labelString":""},"ticks":{"beginAtZero":false,"min":0}}]},"title":{"display":true,"text":"Global podcast media hosting speeds (unfiltered)","position":"top","fontFamily":"Quattrocento Sans","fontStyle":"bold","fontColor":"#333333"},"tooltips":{"enabled":true,"mode":"single","backgroundColor":"rgb(0,0,0)","cornerRadius":3},"legend":{"display":true,"position":"top"}},"globalOptions":{"defaultFontSize":"","defaultFontFamily":"Quattrocento Sans","defaultFontStyle":"bold","defaultFontColor":"rgb(0,0,0)"}},"configurations":{"type":"chartjs_column_chart","container":{"height":"600","width":0},"canvas":{"backgroundColor":"","borderWidth":"0","borderColor":"","borderRadius":"0"}}}, engine: "chartjs", type: "chartjs_column_chart", title: "Global podcast media hosting speeds (unfiltered)", container: "wpDataChart_9", follow_filtering: 0, wpdatatable_id: 8, group_chart: 0} About Podbean and podOmatic Whoa there, Podbean and podOmatic! Those two were the slowest hosts. Podbeans Unlimited Audio and Unlimited Plus plans are designed with lower performance to be more budget-friendly, while the Business Basic plan performs on par with competitors. This slower performance may seem horrible, but remember this is a 60-minute MP3 that downloaded completely in a global combined median under 10 seconds. That's about 6 minutes of audio downloaded in only 1 second. Even if the MP3 was encoded at higher bitrates, it's still fast enough that most podcast consumers would not notice a difference. Nonetheless, if you have a large audience or your business depends on your podcast, it's worth investing in a faster hosting option. podOmatic didn't appear to have a free trial for their premium plans, so I wasn't able to test for differing performance. If you host with Podbean's Unlimited Audio and do not use their RSS feed for your podcast, I suggest updating your download URLs to the new mcdn.podbean.com URLs, which nearly double the previous performance, as shown in the following chart. if(typeof(wpDataCharts)=='undefined'){wpDataCharts = {};}; wpDataCharts[14] = {render_data: {"options":{"data":{"labels":["Old Podbean Unlimited Audio","Old Podbean Unlimited Plus","Old Podbean Business Basic","New Podbean Unlimited Audio","New Podbean Unlimited Plus","New Podbean Business Basic"],"datasets":[{"label":"Global Average","orig_header":"Global Average of Averages","backgroundColor":"rgba(255,99,132,0.2)","borderColor":"#ff6384","borderWidth":1,"data":[50693.75,6988.8125,402.3125,21612.0625,24667.8125,345.5],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Global Median","orig_header":"Global Median of Medians","backgroundColor":"rgba(54,162,235,0.2)","borderColor":"#36a2eb","borderWidth":1,"data":[35116.25,2408.75,134,7596,9036.5,122],"lineTension":0}]},"options":{"maintainAspectRatio":true,"scales":{"xAxes":[{"scaleLabel":{"display":true,"labelString":""}}],"yAxes":[{"scaleLabel":{"display":true,"labelString":""},"ticks":{"beginAtZero":false,"min":0}}]},"title":{"display":true,"text":"Podbean old vs. new URL speeds","position":"top","fontFamily":"Quattrocento Sans","fontStyle":"bold","fontColor":"#333333"},"tooltips":{"enabled":true,"mode":"single","backgroundColor":"rgb(0,0,0)","cornerRadius":3},"legend":{"display":true,"position":"top"}},"globalOptions":{"defaultFontSize":"","defaultFontFamily":"Quattrocento Sans","defaultFontStyle":"bold","defaultFontColor":"rgb(0,0,0)"}},"configurations":{"type":"chartjs_column_chart","container":{"height":"600","width":0},"canvas":{"backgroundColor":"","borderWidth":"0","borderColor":"","borderRadius":"0"}}}, engine: "chartjs", type: "chartjs_column_chart", title: "Podbean old vs. new URL speeds", container: "wpDataChart_14", follow_filtering: 0, wpdatatable_id: 9, group_chart: 0} (This CDN change is automatic for customers using the Podbean RSS feed.) Regional medians Get ready for data overload! Here are the median results from all 16 test locations. Click on items in the legend to hide that date from the chart and make other data more visible. (I'll embed the full data table at the end of this article.) To make the charts more visible, I split the slowest hosts into their own chart. if(typeof(wpDataCharts)=='undefined'){wpDataCharts = {};}; wpDataCharts[12] = {render_data: {"options":{"data":{"labels":["Amazon S3*","Anchor (Cloudfront)","Archive.org*","Audioboom (55.6 MB)","Blubrry","Bunny CDN*","Buzzsprout","Captivate","Castos","Fireside","iVoox","Libsyn","Omny Studio","Pinecast","Pippa","Podbean Business Basic","Podcast.co","Podiant (41.2 MB)","Podmio (S3)","Podserve.fm","RedCircle (55.1 MB)","Simplecast","SoundCloud","Spreaker","Transistor","Whooshka (55.1 MB)","Zencast"],"datasets":[{"label":"NY\/NJ","orig_header":"NY\/NJ Median","backgroundColor":"rgba(255,99,132,0.2)","borderColor":"#ff6384","borderWidth":1,"data":[345,149,2559,282,71,118.5,299,196.5,150,240.5,90.5,106.5,265.5,228,189.5,149,181,219,363,97,1760,147,143.5,1290,247,239,2046.5],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Chicago","orig_header":"Chicago 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Median","backgroundColor":"rgba(153,102,255,0.2)","borderColor":"#9966ff","borderWidth":1,"data":[1421.5,136,404,151.5,56.5,298,252,266.5,400.5,152.5,1134,125,151,210,193.5,79,164,325.5,1427.5,196,5095.5,100.5,147,2376.5,162,169.5,3449.5],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Atlanta","orig_header":"Atlanta Median","backgroundColor":"rgba(255,159,64,0.2)","borderColor":"#ff9f40","borderWidth":1,"data":[479.5,896,2366,1062,128,188,342.5,198,161,219,241,138,1209.5,386,249,120,455,392,530,505.5,1995.5,189.5,375,2531,242.5,281.5,2514.5],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Miami","orig_header":"Miami Median","backgroundColor":"rgba(166,206,227,0.2)","borderColor":"#a6cee3","borderWidth":1,"data":[559,174.5,2214,410.5,68,175.5,501,181,147.5,198,603.5,64.5,443,274,174.5,109,115,544,589.5,697.5,1287,205.5,180.5,1553.5,172.5,281,2469],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Seattle","orig_header":"Seattle Median","backgroundColor":"rgba(106,61,154,0.2)","borderColor":"#6a3d9a","borderWidth":1,"data":[1558.5,114.5,556.5,248.5,400.5,349.5,209.5,452,258,227,1722.5,394,322,284.5,153,119,151,83.5,1473.5,668,1886.5,568.5,545.5,3585,216,164.5,3811.5],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Toronto","orig_header":"Toronto Median","backgroundColor":"rgba(177,89,40,0.2)","borderColor":"#b15928","borderWidth":1,"data":[598.5,466,2022,686,255,970.5,175.5,147,139.5,187.5,518,63,1209,183,160,491,136,273,637.5,209.5,1308,813,459.5,2376.5,220.5,1605.5,1982],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Amsterdam","orig_header":"Amsterdam Median","backgroundColor":"rgba(251,154,153,0.2)","borderColor":"#fb9a99","borderWidth":1,"data":[2125,126.5,3127.5,244.5,68.5,145.5,156.5,101,154.5,151.5,575.5,81.5,231,941.5,180,163,125,131,1838,168.5,2886,206,116.5,999.5,120.5,487.5,398],"lineTension":0},{"label":"Paris","orig_header":"Paris 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type: "chartjs_column_chart", title: "Regional podcast media hosting speeds (slower)", container: "wpDataChart_15", follow_filtering: 0, wpdatatable_id: 8, group_chart: 0} About half of the providers offer extremely-fast hosting for North America, but slow down in other parts of the world, especially Sydney and Singapore. Buzzsprout, Fireside, Pinecast, Pippa, Podbean Business Plus, Transistor, and, surprisingly, Soundcloud were the only options with consistently fast downloads to every test region (including Sydney and Singapore). Remember these are medians, not averages. So a single bad test out of 10 consecutive tests would barely affect the results. Wi-Fi timings Wi-Fi is a significant normalizer for download speeds and it's more likely how most people will download podcast episodes. Here are the results of the same download tests conducted over a Wi-Fi 5 network (formerly known as 802.11ac) with a 200 mbps (down) Internet-service provider in greater Cincinnati. if(typeof(wpDataCharts)=='undefined'){wpDataCharts = {};}; wpDataCharts[13] = {render_data: {"options":{"data":{"labels":["Amazon S3*","Anchor (Cloudfront)","Archive.org*","Audioboom (55.6 MB)","Blubrry","Bunny CDN*","Buzzsprout","Captivate","Castos","Fireside","iVoox","Libsyn","Omny Studio","Pinecast","Pippa","Podbean Unlimited Audio","Podbean Unlimited Plus","Podbean Business Basic","Podcast.co","Podiant (41.2 MB)","Podigee (35.7 MB)","Podmio (S3)","podOmatic (41.37 MB)","Podserve.fm","RedCircle (55.1 MB)","Simplecast","SiteGround*","SoundCloud","Spreaker","Transistor","Whooshka (55.1 MB)","Zencast"],"datasets":[{"label":"Median","orig_header":"Wifi Median","backgroundColor":"rgba(54,162,235,0.2)","borderColor":"#36a2eb","borderWidth":1,"data":[2519.5,2548,3812.5,3278,1778,2542,1840,1823,1769,1698,2670.5,1781,1709,1696.5,1703.5,19652,22161,2048,1788,2625,6917,2533,13086.5,2325.5,3943,1792.5,3022.5,1767,5138,1702.5,4113,2637],"lineTension":0}]},"options":{"maintainAspectRatio":true,"scales":{"xAxes":[{"scaleLabel":{"display":true,"labelString":""}}],"yAxes":[{"scaleLabel":{"display":true,"labelString":""},"ticks":{"beginAtZero":false,"min":0}}]},"title":{"display":true,"text":"Wi-Fi podcast media hosting medians","position":"top","fontFamily":"Quattrocento Sans","fontStyle":"bold","fontColor":"#333333"},"tooltips":{"enabled":true,"mode":"single","backgroundColor":"rgb(0,0,0)","cornerRadius":3},"legend":{"display":false,"position":"top"}},"globalOptions":{"defaultFontSize":"","defaultFontFamily":"Quattrocento Sans","defaultFontStyle":"bold","defaultFontColor":"rgb(0,0,0)"}},"configurations":{"type":"chartjs_column_chart","container":{"height":"600","width":0},"canvas":{"backgroundColor":"","borderWidth":"0","borderColor":"","borderRadius":"0"}}}, engine: "chartjs", type: "chartjs_column_chart", title: "Wi-Fi podcast media hosting medians", container: "wpDataChart_13", follow_filtering: 0, wpdatatable_id: 8, group_chart: 0} This raises the floor from milliseconds to seconds. There's still some significant difference between hosts (such as Podbean and Buzzsprout), but the Wi-Fi connection (at least at 200 mbps) makes more of the hosts perform about the same as opposed to the multi-gigabit network speeds of my Vultr servers. Untested factors My regional tests were performed on virtual private servers with a multi-gigabit network connection. Real-world results will vary greatly depending on Internet speed, wireless signal strength, and device hardware. That's another reason you may not need the fastest host: typical Wi-Fi connections and local bandwidth could normalize a lot of these results. Every test was performed consecutively, with no overlap. Thus, my data doesn't reflect potential performance differences when there are hundreds or thousands of devices requesting the same thing at the same time. But I think it's likely that the best perform providers also have the backend performance to meet the high demands of simultaneous downloads. And this is why a CDN is important: if the file lives in only one place on the Internet, such as with Amazon S3 or a web host, then simultaneous downloads can easily overload the bandwidth of that single point. But with a CDN, someone in California could be downloading a file from a completely different server compared to someone in London. I also could not test the upload performance of each podcast host. I've heard from some podcasters outside North America that uploading to some providers is extremely slow from their region because the media must first go to a server in the USA before spreading across the CDN. As frustrating as this could be for podcasters, it's something that occurs only once per episode and doesn't affect the audience. Nonetheless, if it becomes too frustrating for your situation, you might want to consider a different host. An important discovery on stats Only a podcast-hosting company will provide podcast stats. This is a big reason to avoid hosting your podcast media on a non-podcast host (like Amazon S3, your web host, or a private CDN) unless you can layer reputable tracking (such as Blubrry Stats) into your download URLs or, of course, you build your own IAB certified system to analyze the raw download logs. Because my testing was done with bots that were not declaring a user agent (let alone a podcast-app user agent), I wanted to see how some of these hosts would count my test downloads. 0 would be best, 16 (1 per test region) would be acceptable, and anything more than 16 would be concerning. if(typeof(wpDataCharts)=='undefined'){wpDataCharts = {};}; wpDataCharts[8] = {render_data: {"options":{"data":{"labels":["Anchor (Cloudfront)","Audioboom (55.6 MB)","Blubrry","Buzzsprout","Captivate","Castos","Fireside","iVoox","Libsyn","Omny Studio","Pinecast","Pippa","Podbean Unlimited Audio","Podbean Unlimited Plus","Podbean Business Basic","Podcast.co","Podiant (41.2 MB)","Podigee (35.7 MB)","Podmio (S3)","podOmatic (41.37 MB)","Podserve.fm","RedCircle (55.1 MB)","SiteGround*","SoundCloud","Spreaker","Transistor"],"datasets":[{"label":"Stats","orig_header":"Stats","backgroundColor":"rgba(255,99,132,0.2)","borderColor":"#ff6384","borderWidth":1,"data":[16,32,0,0,0,0,160,32,0,0,0,160,0,0,0,160,32,16,160,0,16,16,0,24,16,0],"lineTension":0}]},"options":{"maintainAspectRatio":true,"scales":{"xAxes":[{"scaleLabel":{"display":true,"labelString":""}}],"yAxes":[{"scaleLabel":{"display":true,"labelString":"Downloads tracked"},"ticks":{"beginAtZero":false,"min":0}}]},"title":{"display":true,"text":"Bots counted as podcast downloads","position":"top","fontFamily":"Quattrocento Sans","fontStyle":"bold","fontColor":"#333333"},"tooltips":{"enabled":true,"mode":"single","backgroundColor":"rgb(0,0,0)","cornerRadius":3},"legend":{"display":false,"position":"top"}},"globalOptions":{"defaultFontSize":"","defaultFontFamily":"Quattrocento Sans","defaultFontStyle":"bold","defaultFontColor":"rgb(0,0,0)"}},"configurations":{"type":"chartjs_column_chart","container":{"height":"400","width":0},"canvas":{"backgroundColor":"","borderWidth":"0","borderColor":"","borderRadius":"0"}}}, engine: "chartjs", type: "chartjs_column_chart", title: "Bots counted as podcast downloads", container: "wpDataChart_8", follow_filtering: 0, wpdatatable_id: 8, group_chart: 0} These podcast hosts did not count any downloads from my bots: BlubrryBuzzsproutCaptivateCastosLibsynOmny StudioPinecastPodbeanpodOmaticTransistorWhooshkaZenCast These podcast hosts counted some downloads: Anchor: 16Podigee: 16Podserve.fm: 16RedCircle: 16Simplecast: 8 (I'm guessing it counted only one per continent)Spreaker: 16 Podcast stats were not available from Amazon S3, Archive.org, SiteGround, and Bunny CDN because they're not podcast-hosting companies. And here are the concerning hosts I suggest avoiding because their stats counted more than 1 download per bot (for unknown reasons): Audioboom: 32iVoox: 32Podiant: 32SoundCloud: 24 And here's the current naughty list of hosts that counted every bot download (at the time of this test), resulting in 160 fake downloads. Fireside—working on changes in July that should better filter downloadsPippa—see below for how to change the default and make Pippa stats more accuratePodcast.co—working on changes in July that should better filter downloadsPodmio I hate to throw any company “under the bus,” but the tracking from these four offenders was so vulnerable that I could have a single bot download the same episode 1,000 times in 15 minutes, and it artificially inflated the stats by exactly 1,000. In the interest of journalistic integrity, I reached out to these four hosts to alert them of the vulnerability and let them see my data before I published, so they will probably work to resolve this vulnerability as soon as possible. Fireside was already refining their tracking, and Pippa pointed me to a buried option. Pippa's buried “analytics windowing” Pippa offers an “analytics windowing” option buried in the advanced settings, described as follows. Windowing affects the way that plays of your podcast are counted and presented. For example, with a 1 hour window, if the same device plays the same episode twice within 1 hour, then only 1 play will be counted in the analytics. Windowing does not affect delivery of the podcast to listeners, only presentation of the analytics. Your chosen window will be effective going forward, not backwards. (When Pippa says “play,” they really mean “download.”) Thus, Pippa presents three windowing options: deactivated (the default), 1 hour, and 24 hours (IAB's measurement guidelines). I conducted my tests with the default show settings, and thus with windowing deactivated. This explains why the stats were so easy to manipulate on Pippa. When I changed the windowing option and retested, Pippa counted only 1 download per region. That's an acceptable number, but leaving this option to the user, buried in advanced settings, and having it deactivated by default is still corrupting the data. For Pippa stats, this would always require the question, “How is your analytics windowing configured?” Thus, it's possible to have three separate podcasts with identical audiences report three completely different numbers. Conclusion If you want the truly fastest podcast media hosting, or you want to ensure your hosting can handle the high demands of simultaneous downloads, then I recommend choosing the best performers from this list (in no particular order). Top recommendation still: Blubrry or Libsyn tied for first place—IAB certifiedCaptivate—claims to follow IAB guidelines and interest in certificationTransistor—claims to follow IAB guidelinesSimplecast—IAB certifiedBuzzsprout—claims to follow IAB guidelinesPodbean Business Basic—claims to follow IAB guidelinesPinecast—claims to follow IAB guidelinesWhooshka—IAB certified (but they re-encode up) Complete data table Host Stats Wifi Average Wifi Median Global Average of Averages Global Median of Medians NY/NJ Average NY/NJ Median Chicago Average Chicago Median Dallas Average Dallas Median Los Angeles Average Los Angeles Median Silicon Valley Average Silicon Valley Median Atlanta Average Atlanta Median Miami Average Miami Median Seattle Average Seattle Median Toronto Average Toronto Median Amsterdam Average Amsterdam Median Paris Average Paris Median Frankfurt Average Frankfurt Median London Average London Median Tokyo Average Tokyo Median Singapore Average Singapore Median Sydney Average Sydney Median Amazon S3* 3,638 2,519 2,298 1,490 485 345 530 536 703 699 1,163 1,151 1,419 1,421 502 479 586 559 2,681 1,558 679 598 2,127 2,125 1,712 1,774 2,039 2,012 1,657 1,614 6,773 3,752 8,847 4,945 4,875 4,582 Anchor (Cloudfront) 16 2,548 2,548 402 131 280 149 411 236 862 164 102 102 200 136 1,084 896 367 174 122 114 590 466 636 126 319 75 290 68 495 151 91 82 169 106 416 111 Archive.org* 3,907 3,812 2,589 2,462 2,546 2,559 1,701 1,379 950 988 566 360 475 404 3,169 2,366 2,415 2,214 602 556 2,445 2,022 3,194 3,127 3,421 3,489 4,848 3,981 2,796 2,747 2,671 2,607 4,678 4,205 4,958 4,539 Audioboom (55.6 MB) 32 3,284 3,278 1,188 318 383 282 511 360 499 355 229 222 289 151 1,219 1,062 597 410 469 248 802 686 273 244 317 135 335 128 538 253 2,526 2,503 4,928 4,808 5,108 5,018 Blubrry 0 1,807 1,778 2,139 102 104 71 142 61 203 80 113 96 78 56 138 128 95 68 414 400 261 255 391 68 516 189 110 108 434 78 1,975 1,882 26,180 4,665 3,072 2,984 Bunny CDN* 5,188 2,542 685 151 464 118 164 111 528 235 145 143 1,756 298 184 188 243 175 781 349 1,736 970 818 145 1,500 95 488 103 154 157 109 106 135 112 1,769 331 Buzzsprout 0 1,837 1,840 362 225 338 299 447 347 336 281 259 237 621 252 320 342 481 501 216 209 419 175 375 156 282 159 274 127 345 213 271 206 262 261 555 154 Captivate 0 2,019 1,823 517 188 263 196 157 118 271 130 255 239 321 266 208 198 328 181 570 452 169 147 328 101 490 270 128 130 404 221 161 150 149 148 4,078 2,487 Castos 0 1,806 1,769 365 157 169 150 129 116 226 226 192 174 427 400 198 161 185 147 266 258 148 139 204 154 207 207 166 145 288 170 438 147 496 146 2,104 2,076 Fireside 160 1,695 1,698 251 179 415 240 264 262 254 242 200 179 154 152 223 219 203 198 232 227 189 187 165 151 175 179 152 162 349 130 332 164 356 109 364 145 iVoox 32 3,056 2,670 1,613 1,033 113 90 1,236 991 816 437 1,243 1,222 1,556 1,134 264 241 662 603 2,069 1,722 753 518 806 575 2,164 2,074 2,263 2,149 1,893 1,736 1,675 1,076 595 482 7,711 7,343 Libsyn 0 1,787 1,781 402 92 234 106 248 80 397 95 132 129 128 125 300 138 83 64 452 394 298 63 105 81 709 193 89 73 436 83 88 75 110 89 2,627 2,172 Omny Studio 0 1,811 1,709 1,310 333 305 265 689 367 936 345 227 223 240 151 1,482 1,209 503 443 346 322 1,295 1,209 865 231 727 129 165 135 268 243 2,495 2,476 5,101 5,028 5,316 5,214 Pinecast 0 1,696 1,696 621 227 276 228 266 224 856 319 192 198 528 210 421 386 431 274 420 284 260 183 2,397 941 1,199 296 322 207 599 227 462 197 499 155 818 944 Pippa 160 1,687 1,703 345 187 223 189 277 278 359 309 189 194 633 193 241 249 192 174 161 153 154 160 188 180 118 114 195 199 428 178 559 177 783 185 834 237 Podbean Unlimited Audio 0 20,363 19,652 21,612 7,596 6,751 7,629 5,049 4,757 4,136 4,089 8,165 5,505 5,879 4,695 6,339 5,957 7,081 6,340 9,277 7,563 4,835 4,771 20,327 20,907 29,214 30,074 11,544 10,057 12,033 13,649 13,879 12,563 178,954 137,692 22,330 25,055 Podbean Unlimited Plus 0 21,882 22,161 24,667 9,036 6,775 7,104 4,250 4,377 2,842 2,581 9,716 9,381 7,002 6,637 6,795 6,998 10,297 10,211 10,319 7,576 5,284 4,160 26,152 25,962 31,526 22,927 15,470 13,978 11,101 8,692 17,240 16,634 203,250 133,332 26,666 25,081 Podbean Business Basic 0 2,066 2,048 345 122 166 149 204 140 220 135 196 83 231 79 159 120 286 109 248 119 518 491 1,291 163 232 216 459 176 272 124 371 73 149 98 526 75 Podcast.co 160 2,013 1,788 451 173 293 181 596 283 284 252 322 211 302 164 583 455 192 115 289 151 365 136 268 125 259 243 364 185 289 138 584 106 128 126 2,097 2,123 Podiant (41.2 MB) 32 4,267 2,625 3,036 251 5,911 219 4,266 171 2,597 230 2,656 96 6,096 325 400 392 1,679 544 1,321 83 280 273 1,266 131 1,516 488 7,790 112 2,342 114 3,315 575 3,341 451 3,805 3,893 Podigee (35.7 MB) 16 6,799 6,917 5,194 2,888 1,870 1,821 3,333 2,951 2,928 2,905 3,522 3,479 3,457 3,454 2,841 2,871 2,833 2,761 3,360 3,372 2,342 2,330 360 336 1,007 907 170 146 623 492 6,167 6,181 35,234 33,151 13,069 10,275 Podmio (S3) 160 2,544 2,533 2,115 1,450 401 363 539 531 814 816 1,233 1,195 1,441 1,427 688 530 632 589 1,478 1,473 637 637 1,864 1,838 1,666 1,677 1,903 1,900 1,561 1,551 3,500 3,447 5,951 4,792 9,543 4,533 podOmatic (41.37 MB) 0 12,072 13,086 21,447 3,256 2,190 2,060 2,175 2,117 2,146 2,166 1,498 1,449 792 794 3,056 3,055 2,989 2,514 2,517 2,007 3,528 3,458 9,774 10,017 6,721 5,431 5,651 5,697 5,046 5,156 7,828 6,660 259,541 171,036 27,700 26,927 Podserve.fm 16 2,634 2,325 1,043 202 173 97 434 376 78 77 78 76 198 196 477 505 718 697 706 668 215 209 244 168 728 83 271 164 307 171 2,093 2,126 6,621 6,483 3,361 3,128 RedCircle (55.1 MB) 16 3,966 3,943 3,415 2,496 1,927 1,760 1,261 1,124 1,273 1,161 2,303 2,206 5,053 5,095 2,200 1,995 1,442 1,287 1,919 1,886 1,419 1,308 2,975 2,886 2,886 2,879 3,236 3,205 2,865 2,787 4,225 4,188 9,582 7,993 10,076 8,949 Simplecast 8 2,462 1,792 991 187 183 147 271 184 150 149 193 93 200 100 265 189 202 205 569 568 877 813 341 206 238 106 286 133 317 141 1,718 1,646 3,111 3,102 6,942 5,936 SiteGround* 3,278 3,022 10,127 3,688 3,240 2,928 4,410 4,330 2,877 2,730 5,227 4,914 4,425 3,793 2,932 2,705 3,089 3,027 3,030 2,958 2,693 2,680 3,642 3,479 4,846 4,564 3,719 3,599 4,116 3,777 70,788 10,282 34,359 26,537 8,648 9,262 SoundCloud 24 1,871 1,767 422 145 190 143 321 230 207 156 135 121 788 147 428 375 240 180 561 545 499 459 1,681 116 360 77 223 71 295 154 83 80 234 114 522 100 Spreaker 16 7,424 5,138 2,414 2,342 1,322 1,290 2,007 1,845 6,433 5,050 2,291 2,308 2,271 2,376 3,358 2,531 1,452 1,553 3,567 3,585 2,476 2,376 1,708 999 581 381 443 442 427 391 3,242 2,997 2,993 2,906 4,058 4,054 Transistor 0 1,709 1,702 380 198 506 247 468 350 245 234 260 209 171 162 511 242 270 172 225 216 329 220 649 120 386 188 385 155 408 185 409 211 436 141 431 157 Whooshka (55.1 MB) 0 4,415 4,113 1,001 212 697 239 888 271 826 242 474 164 912 169 698 281 926 281 468 164 1,782 1,605 3,205 487 811 165 784 166 2,130 190 405 172 636 176 384 234 Zencast 0 2,622 2,637 2,951 2,491 2,443 2,046 2,397 2,399 2,611 2,617 4,761 3,167 3,414 3,449 2,488 2,514 2,401 2,469 3,789 3,811 1,941 1,982 404 398 388 396 462 433 491 502 6,036 6,100 6,309 6,264 6,895 6,887 table.wpDataTable td.numdata { text-align: right !important; } Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
In the middle of 2018, Apple started cracking down on keyword-stuffing in podcast tags. My own show, The Audacity to Podcast, was even affected, and I've been tracking and testing other podcasts. Here's what I found! TL;DR: Make the title tag the title, the author tag the author(s), and put descriptive text in descriptive fields. Don't try to game the system. Background First, I'll admit I knew I was crossing this new and not completely defined line for what was allowed in podcast tags. Although I never encouraged stuffing or spamming your RSS tags with keywords, I had been giving the advice to include some keywords in the form of a sentence-style tagline as this can help with podcast SEO. But when some unethical podcasters learned how Apple Podcasts / iTunes search works, they would abuse these tools and spam their RSS tags with keywords, hoping to boost their podcasts' findability. For the whole of this blog post, only my own podcasts and those acceptable examples will be real podcasts. Unacceptable examples will be fictionalized. (But do the spammers really need the protection?) How much is “spamming”? Because Apple Podcasts currently searches only the title and author tags (show-level and episode-level), some podcasts would fill those fields with extra keywords and descriptions. Here's a clear example of abuse (again, this is fictionalized but based on actual samples): Title: My Awesome Podcast – Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Passive Income, Relationships, Bitcoin, Business, SEO, and Vanilla Cream Soda Author: John Smith, expert entrepreneur who interviews and discusses marketing ideas from people like Pat Flynn, Seth Godin, Zig Ziglar and more. If Steve Jobs was still alive, he would be on this podcast I'm going to assume you're among the intelligent and ethical podcasters and podcast-fans. So you can probably immediately recognize that this example is trying way too hard. Without a doubt, if your podcast has a title or author tag that looks like the above, it will be rejected. This is happening immediately for new podcasts submitting through Podcasts Connect, and it's also happening to existing podcasts (read on for when that seems to happen). The unacceptable gray area Perhaps a podcaster is trying to be ethical but also trying to make their podcast findable for relevant search terms. Thus, they may be more conservative with their keyword usage, even in line with what I used to teach. Here's what my own podcast was before Apple rejected it. Title: The Audacity to Podcast – how to launch and improve your podcast Author: Daniel J. Lewis, podcasting industry expert and how to podcast teacher I left my podcast like this when Apple started tightening the standards and I knew my podcast had the potential to be removed. But as you can see, I wasn't stuffing my tags with a list of keywords; I was giving my podcast and myself what I consider to be “taglines” or “subtitles.” In the process of discussing things with the Apple Podcasts support team, I learned that while my title contained extraneous information, it was especially the author tag that got my podcast kicked out of Apple Podcasts. What is the acceptable limit? If your own podcast has been rejected by Apple, you've probably seen this response verbatim from their support team. Your show was rejected because the author field or title field contains extraneous information that should be included as part of its description (<description>, <itunes:subtitle>, or <itunes:summary>) tags. While you might think this is a vague response from Apple, I think it's a clear enough definition of the limit. Not the “extraneous” part, but “information that should be included as part of its description.” In my own podcast, “how to launch and improve your podcast” was not the title; it was a description. And “podcasting industry expert and how to podcast teacher” was not the creator of the podcast, it was a description of the creator. Put in a profound way: The title tag should be only the title. The author tag should be only the author. The descriptive tags should contain the descriptions. “Duh,” right? I think Apple's standard does make total sense. If you have multiple regular cohosts or there's a company or network behind the podcast, it would also be acceptable to include those names in the author tag. They are, after all, authors of the podcast! Thus, author tags like the following are acceptable: Daniel J. Lewis | Noodle Mix Network Mike Carruthers | Wondery John Smith, Jane Doe, and Christian Wolff • ZZZ Accounting Focus Features, Stitcher, Limina House & Jad Abumrad Malcolm Gladwell / Panoply In further correspondence with the Apple Podcasts support team, I learned there's a little more flexibility with the title, but not much. A quick look at the top 200 of all podcasts in Apple Podcasts gives several good examples of acceptable flexibility in titles. Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. Dark Topic: A True Crime Podcast Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked Steve McNair: Fall of a Titan The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Ears Edition Oprah’s Master Class: The Podcast Let's Not Meet: A True Horror Podcast UnErased: The History of Conversion Therapy in America Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories The Church of What's Happening Now: With Joey Coco Diaz Death by Misadventure: True Paranormal Mystery Fantasy Footballers – Fantasy Football Podcast Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Addendum Notice that, contrary to some of the legalistic fear and advice, these titles do contain separators, such as colons (:) and hyphens (-). Some of these titles are even unnecessarily redundant with the host's name in the title! (So, yes, there's still some room for improvement, but I recommend not including the host's name in the title.) Also, notice that none of these titles contain a tagline in the title. The extra text is either part of the unique branding (such as Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked) or a generic title of the genre (such as “true crime podcast”). This leads me to believe my biggest concern for findability—fan podcasts—will still be allowed to include the title of the fandom inside the title of their podcast. Thus, I think titles such as the following would be acceptable and serve the need for podcast SEO. ONCE – Unofficial Once Upon a Time podcast Welcome to Level Seven: Agents of SHIELD fan podcast What about podcast SEO? I was the first to thoroughly study, test, and create a complete course on SEO for Podcasters (major revisions planned for 2019!). And I know that the big reason podcasters want to get extra keywords in their tags is that this helps with search-engine optimization (SEO). As the thinking and my previous teaching went, the “My Awesome Podcast” show would be more findable for a topic like “marketing” if that keyword was in the title or author tags, since that's all that Apple Podcasts and iTunes currently search. (Most other podcast apps also search the show-level description tags.) But in my example, “marketing” would be a description of the podcast, not a title. Thus, it shouldn't be in the title. So how else could the podcast be found for that and the other topics? This is where other ethical podcast-SEO strategies need to take priority. Many of the top podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts/iTunes, include some information from individual episodes. Web searches especially prioritize the individual posts' information. Thus, if you want your podcast found for certain keywords that aren't part of your show-level title, I suggest making well-titled episodes about those topics. Using my fictionalized example, I could make episodes like the following. Awesome Marketing Tips Should You Invest in Bitcoin? Why Vanilla Cream Soda Is the Best Thinking of Becoming an Entrepreneur? 10 Passive Income Strategies How to Make Relationships Last You can even apply this to fan podcasts. Top 10 MacGyver Episodes The Best LA Dodgers Games Why Watch Once Upon a Time? Most Popular iPhone Models These episode titles contain those target keywords, so they contribute to the overall show's findability for those same keywords. But even more importantly, these titles make a better experience for the audience by clearly communicating the subjects of each episode. So when you practice better SEO techniques, you're actually serving your audience better! And that leads to a question you may be wondering. Why does Apple suddenly want to stop the keyword-stuffing? I think Apple cares about cleaning up the podcasts in their catalog for one huge reason: the user experience. There seem to be three sides to this. 1. Cleaner listings Scrolling through a chart of top podcasts or a subscription list is actually a much better experience when the titles are clean, clear, and concise. I noticed this when I was looking through my own podcast subscriptions. The shorter, non-truncated titles were easier to read, the screen was less cluttered, and the titles actually stood out more! My subscriptions went from something like this: The Audacity to Podcast – how to launch and improve… Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs: effective ways to… Overcoming Fear: Everything you need to succeed in… Everything about Everything: The podcast that covers… To now something like this: The Audacity to Podcast Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs Overcoming Fear Everything about Everything The charts and feature lists in podcast apps are also a lot easier to read when titles and author tags are not truncated! These cleaner listings really do make a better user experience! 2. Voice-based interactions Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and more vocal interaction technologies are entering our world through smartphones, smartwatches, smart speakers, entertainment systems, apps, automobiles, and more. These interactions are supposed to feel natural and not robotic, and I think this is a big reason Apple wants to clean up their podcast catalog. A couple months ago, if you said, “Hey, Siri, subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast,” should would have responded, “Just to confirm, do you want to subscribe to the podcast ‘The Audacity to Podcast, how to launch and improve your podcast,' by Daniel J. Lewis, podcasting industry expert and how to podcast teacher?” Imagine if my title or author tags were longer! But when the title and author tags are cleaned up, Siri's response isn't so overwhelming: “Just to confirm, do you want to subscribe to the podcast “The Audacity to Podcast” by Daniel J. Lewis?” Isn't that nicer? And although this is probably not required on any voice assistant, can you imagine having to say the entire title correctly in order to subscribe to the podcast? “Alexa, subscribe to My Awesome Podcast.” “I found 200 podcasts by that name. Which one do you want?” “Alexa, subscribe to My Awesome Podcast – Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and Business.” “I'm sorry, I can't find a podcast by that name.” “Alexa, subscribe to My Awesome Podcast – Entrepreneurship, Marketing, SEO, and Bitcoin.” “I'm sorry, I can't find a podcast by that name.” “Alexa, subscribe to My Awesome Podcast – Business, Relationships, and something about soda.” “I'm sorry, I can't find a podcast by that name.” “Alexa, throw me out the podbay doors.” Cleaner tags make a much better spoken user experience! 3. Cracking down on spammers and cheaters At the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2018, James Boggs, a manager in the Apple Podcasts team, said: We're continually refreshing and managing our directory, automatically retiring shows which become technically unavailable or those that run afoul of our directory content guidelines, such as those with spammy content or shows seeking to manipulate our top charts. Don't do that. Just please don't do that. —James Boggs, WWDC 2018, session 501: “Introducing Podcast Analytics” Content creators are already familiar search engines tweaking their algorithms to demote or blacklist sites using unethical tricks in attempts to cheat their way to the top of search results. I think James Boggs made it clear that Apple is seeking to do the same thing with Apple Podcasts, probably with the hopes to expose and reward those with high-quality content and a truly engaged audience the podcasts earned legitimately. We can apply this to many other fields and quickly realize how annoying it is to be confronted by those who are trying way too hard to close the deal: used-car salespeople, politicians, and those overly zealous people at mall kiosks. How is Apple finding podcasts to reject? The first place Apple is looking is at newly submitted podcasts. For years, we've been familiar with rules for podcasts in Apple Podcasts, such as avoiding profanity in the text or cover art, a valid podcast RSS feed, and some more requirements and guidelines. If a podcast doesn't meet these standards, it gets rejected before even entering the Apple Podcasts catalog. But, like my own show, many existing and even long-running podcasts are being rejected (unfortunately, it seems to be without notice, too). What I can tell for sure, based on data from tracking tools I've developed, is that Apple is keeping a close eye on the top 200 of all podcasts and probably featured sections (“New & Noteworthy,” “What's Hot,” and such). I've been tracking several podcasts I thought would likely get rejected, some of them, including my own, have been going for months or even years. But in most cases, the very day they made it into the top 200 of all podcasts, they got rejected. I've seen this happen as quickly as three hours after breaking into the top 200. And you may think this means your podcast is “safe” from ranking in the top 200, but the top charts in Apple Podcasts are based on new subscriptions. And as testing and data consistently confirm, it really doesn't take a lot of new subscribers in a day to push a podcast into the top 200. My own The Audacity to Podcast was sitting below the top 200 for months and then it must have been featured or mentioned somewhere else because it jumped overnight into the top 200—and I didn't do a single thing! It's even on a hiatus (this important episode being the exception)! For clarification, I'm not referring to the top 200 within any of the 67 genres or categories in Apple Podcasts. Instead, I'm referring to the top 200 of all podcasts in Apple Podcasts. While I've seen several podcasts get away with spammy tags in the top 200 of those other genres, I doubt it will be long before Apple expands their scope to police more areas. It also seems Apple is auditing podcasts that change their show-level information, such as the title, author tag, description, or cover art. Beyond that, there could be some other algorithms to help surface suspected podcasts, such as monitoring shows with heavy activity or recently published episodes. And I think what catches Apple's attention might not be any kind of separator (like a colon, pipe, or dash), but the length of the title and author tags. That's not to say something long will get kicked, but something long might be more likely to catch Apple's attention, so simply omitting a separator is not adequate protection. I've seen podcasts kicked that were abusing only one tag, but not both. What happens if your podcast is rejected? Maybe you didn't fix your podcast in time, or you want to know what the risk is. Here's what I've observed. New podcasts: fix and resubmit If you are submitting a new podcast to Apple through Podcasts Connect and it gets rejected, the best thing to do is clean up your tags, get a new feed URL (even if by simply changing one character or using a service like Podcast Mirror), and then submit that new feed URL. Because this has the possibility of requiring you to change your feed URL, I recommend submitting to Apple before submitting anywhere else. That way, you'll know you have an acceptable feed and won't have to mess with maintaining multiple URLs or switching other destinations. Apple may notify you of the rejection, or you may have to log in to Podcasts Connect to check on the status of your submission in order to know that your podcast was rejected. Existing podcasts: fix and contact Apple If your show was already in the Apple Podcasts catalog and it got rejected, make the changes in your podcast feed and then contact Apple through Podcasts Connect. Ensure your changes are visible in your feed and tell Apple that you already corrected the issue. Then ask for your podcast to be reinstated with its ratings, rankings, and reviews intact. The more information you can provide Apple, and the less back-and-forth you initiate, the quicker you can get your podcast restored. I haven't heard from any podcasters who were notified by Apple that their podcasts were kicked out. You could check for yourself on a regular basis if you're walking that ethical line, or you'll soon be able to use a special tool I'm creating to be notified if there's a problem. Or, simply don't do bad things and then you probably won't have to worry about it! Will the rejection affect existing subscribers? This was a big concern of mine and I shared a bunch of in-depth details inside Podcasters' Society. But I'm pleased and relieved to confirm that no, your existing subscribers will not be affected. This is thanks to the decentralized nature of podcasting. With only a few exceptions (Spotify, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, and maybe some others), podcast apps will subscribe people directly to a podcast's RSS feed. This is even the case with Apple Podcasts. I did have a concern over how Apple Podcasts behaves with their mirror URLs (such as https://pcr.apple.com/id[ID_NUMBER]), but through testing, I've confirmed that even if the mirror URL is broken (as happens when Apple removes a podcast from their catalog), your subscribers are still connected directly to your RSS feed. Thus, even if your podcast is removed from Apple Podcasts (or other podcast apps, with only those few exceptions), your subscribers can continue to access your RSS feed and download your new and past episodes. There is a warning with this. If you submitted the mirror URL Apple gave you (https://pcr.apple.com/id[ID_NUMBER]) to any other apps or directories, a rejection from Apple will disconnect you from your audience. But this is only if you submitted that mirror URL to other places or linked to it, which I and other podcasting experts have advised against and I doubt many (if any) podcasters have done anyway. We also urge you to subscribe to your own podcast(s) in Apple Podcasts or iTunes and in your preferred podcast app if you use something other than Apple's apps. This will not only confirm for you that your podcast is still available to subscribers, but it also lets you see that your latest episode downloads even when it's not yet visible in Apple's catalog. Your podcast in other apps There are many other popular podcast apps (such as Overcast) using the iTunes Search API. This allows those other apps to not have to maintain their own podcast catalog with creator submissions, but to instead search the most popular catalog to which most podcasters have already submitted their shows. When your podcast is rejected from Apple Podcasts, it also gets removed from the iTunes Search API. This makes your podcast not findable in those other apps, and thus makes it much harder for people to subscribe to your podcast in those same apps. (Any good podcast app will still allow manual subscriptions by pasting a podcast RSS feed URL, but that's a cumbersome process.) Like Apple Podcasts and iTunes, no longer being findable affects potential new subscribers but not your current audience. What you need to do NOW Yes, I think you should make some changes immediately. 1. Don't wait Please don't wait for Apple's “ban-hammer” to come down on your podcast! You may think your podcast is safe because it's never “at risk” for being a top-200 podcast. You may think it's safe because you removed separator characters from the <title> or <itunes:author> tags. But it really could be any moment that your podcast catches Apple's auditing attention and gets kicked out of Apple Podcasts and iTunes. 2. Clean up your show title Make your podcast title tag contain only the title. If you host a fan podcast, go ahead and include one title of the object of your fandom, but still keep it as clean as possible. For example, don't make it something like, “ONCE – Unofficial Once Upon a Time fan podcast with theories, reviews, interviews, and your feedback,” make it simple, “ONCE – Unofficial Once Upon a Time podcast.” 3. Clean up your author tag Who creates, owns, and hosts your podcast? That's what should be in the author tag. There should be only names in there: no titles, no taglines, no keywords. It's okay to have multiple names of regular cohosts, but don't include the names of guests, mentors, or inspirations. 4. Improve your episode titles Like show-level titles, your episode titles need to be clean and not stuffed with keywords. But episode titles are easier to work with because they can be far more specific and descriptive than a show title can be. So please don't title your episodes with only bland numbers or dates. Be descriptive and compelling, especially for topics people might be searching for. And don't try to stuff your episode titles, either! Remove extraneous text that belongs in other places, like the show-level title or repetitive (and thus probably useless) text. 5. Make episodes to cover your keywords Lastly, if you don't already have episodes about those topics you wanted to stuff in your other podcast tags, start making those episodes now! Like my previous tip, ensure these titles are clear, concise, and compelling. Following these best practices will help ensure podcast apps don't kick out your show. And these principles help you build a stronger brand, and help make a better experience for your audience!
A podcast failure doesn't mean you should quit podcasting. Here are 9 steps to help you recover and keep moving forward! 1. Stop complaining Complaining about what you call a failure is only wasting time. Your complaining won't improve anything, it won't fix the problem, and it won't inspire others. Complaining gives your mistakes more power over you. When you stop complaining, you can start doing. 2. Define your “failure” What actually happened that you are calling a “failure”? Try to define and even measure it. Shift away from using the “failure” label and into a descriptive and measurable goal you didn't reach. You should be describing a fact, not an interpreted consequence. This, alone, may help correct your perspective because you might realize what you called a “failure” was only one small missed goal. For example: “My podcast launch failed” might really be, “I didn't get into ‘New and Noteworthy.'” “I failed at monetizing” might really be, “I couldn't get the 5 sponsors I contacted.” “My cohost is a failure at podcasting” might really be, “My cohost didn't do what I expected.” “I'm failing at consistency” might really be, “I haven't been publishing episodes on the same days every week.” As you get more descriptive and measurable in how you define your “failure,” you'll probably realize it was merely one goal you didn't achieve—and maybe only not yet. 3. Take responsibility Most likely, you're the leader in your podcast. Regardless of how you describe the failure, you need to take responsibility for it. Don't blame Apple, your cohosts, your audience, the technology, the niche, the competition, or anyone or anything else. Doing so is like handing over your success and control to someone or something else. This is probably hard to accept: you are responsible for what went wrong. Maybe you didn't work hard enough. Maybe you didn't make pursue excellence. Maybe you didn't do the right things. Maybe you didn't communicate properly. Maybe you didn't have the right expectations. Yes, mistakes or bad things can happen that are outside your own control. But letting these things wreck your podcast is your responsibility. This really isn't about what happened, but about how you contributed to it and how you handle it. 4. Understand what went wrong When you have your “failure” defined and you're taking responsibility, you can seek to understand how things led to what you call a failure. For example, if your cohost has been a horrible companion for your podcast, look at what kind of expectations you set for them as well as held yourself. Look at how you communicated. You might realize your cohost never knew what you expected of them, or maybe you never reinforced it. Most importantly, when you know what broke, you'll know what you need to fix. You may have even already had a plan, but maybe you didn't follow it—either because you chose not to, or you were unable to. 5. Make a new plan Recovering from any level of failure requires a strategy. You have to know what you'll stop doing, what you'll change, or what you'll start doing. This means making a new plan (because, obviously, your old plan either didn't work or wasn't followed.) You must clearly communicate this plan to everyone else involved. Ensure your new plan doesn't have the same problems as your old plan so you won't be making the same mistakes. 6. Remove, repair, or replace the broken parts This far into the process of recovering from a failed podcast, you probably recognize what's not working for your podcast. It could hardware, software, workflow, perspective, people, content, and more. With each problem area, you can do one of three things: Remove it—This may give you more time, money, or other resources to invest elsewhere in your podcast. Repair it—This allows you to keep things you want, but make them perform better. Replace it—You might not be able to repair something, and removing it would leave a horrible void. In such cases, you could replace it with something better. 7. Rebrand or relaunch When you're ready to move forward with your show you have three choices: Rebrand when it's a fresh take on the same topic for the same audience. This is a great time to adjust your visual and audio branding, too. Relaunch with a new podcast when it's a new show for a similar or different audience. Listen to “Should You Rebrand a Podcast, or Launch a New Show?” (episode 268) for more help on this decision. 8. Build anticipation in your audience Whether you feel you need to rebrand your existing show or launch a new one, let your existing audience know what's coming. Instead of apologizing for change, get them excited about the new direction! Make sure you also include simple instructions for what they need to do to get the new show. If you're rebranding, ask them to stay subscribed so they'll receive the new episodes, but to expect the title and cover art to change (if true). If you're relaunching, ask them to visit the new podcast's website where they can learn more and subscribe. 9. “Keep moving forward” In the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons, a boy's invention fails on its first try. But that small failure is celebrated with the line, “Keep moving forward.” I think a failure is truly a failure only if we let it beat us and we quit there. Make the necessary adjustments in your podcasting and keep podcasting forward! Thank you for the podcast reviews! Logo17, from the USA, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “Absolute Gem. Daniel has an angelic voice. His free podcast has been an INCREDIBLE resource for helping me with my own Podcast. I’m so so thrilled I found this when I did.”Charone, from the USA and host of Habeas Humor, (hay-be-us) wrote in Apple Podcasts, “A must-subscribe. I recently discovered TATP, and I became a big fan after hearing just a few episodes. There is great information here. For example, one of the recent episodes gives a list of things you should check for with your RSS feed. Before listening to this, I barely knew what an RSS feed was. I also had no idea that a show can make it into Apple's new and noteworthy if it is not new. (I thought both labels had to apply.) This show offers both advice and encouragement to podcasters. Plus, with hundreds of episodes in the archive, you can just browse for the topics you are most interested in. Take advantage of this resource!” Your reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or Stitcher! Use My Podcast Reviews to get your own podcast reviews automatically checked daily and learn how to grow your audience with reviews! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Many podcasting tools offer the ability to automatically crosspost your audio podcast to YouTube. Here are eleven reasons I think you shouldn't do that. I often use the term “fake video” to describe what some podcasters make. It's when they take the whole audio of their episode, put it into a video file, and display a simple image (static or sometimes moving). It's essentially audio with pixel dimensions. I think the short, animated videos commonly called “audiograms” are entirely separate and beneficial. My following thoughts address the “fake video” approach. 1. The supporting reasons are mostly misunderstood and short-term I usually hear four reasons to publish fake video on YouTube: To make your content discoverable on Google and YouTube—Maybe true, at first, but it will soon be demoted. It's easy and maybe even automated with publishing tools—Simply because something is easy doesn't mean it's good. It reaches a non-podcast audience—True, but it's reaching them so ineffectively, you might not see any positive results. “It can't hurt”—Actually, it can hurt, as you'll understand from the following points. 2. It's abusing the platform YouTube is a video platform. It's designed for videos. When people search or browse YouTube, they expect to watch videos. Posting fake video goes against the simple premise of video. If someone writes a long blog post, takes a screenshot, and shares that image on Instagram, we would consider that abusing the platform. If someone makes a blank image and uploads to Instagram only so they can write a long blog post, we would consider that abusing the platform. If someone releases a series of silent podcast episodes only so they can put out the titles in podcast apps, we would consider that abusing the platform. And if someone publishes only audio, but no video, on a video-based platform, we should also consider that abusing the platform. This is not an effective technique for sharing content appropriate to the platform. This is more like a blackhat hack with a bait and switch. 3. The “view” stats are meaningless If you publish fake video, or you see other fake videos, you may initially think it's a success because of the view counts. But like “downloads per time,” view counts don't tell the whole story and are a meaningless stat. Social networks count something as a “view” after different amounts of time. YouTube seems to have a 30-second threshold. So someone could watch a video for only 30 seconds, and it would be counted as a view. But if your video is as short as a few minutes or much longer, only 30 seconds is meaningless to actual consumption. Think of it as a local store. The way YouTube and other social networks work, they would count you as a customer every time you drive by and look at the store. But were you really a customer if you didn't at least go inside? Contrast that with the nature of podcast downloads and consumption. This is more like counting everyone who entered the store. True, maybe not everyone stays in for long or even buys anything at all, but they were still a customer by entering and behaving like a customer. I've seen data on some fake videos that seemed highly successful: as many as nearly 23,000 views on one video! But the real truth is in the retention stats. Only a 3.4% average view duration. 90% of the initially 23,000 viewers were gone within 90 seconds! All data I've seen, from multiple sources, show that most fake videos lose 90–95% of the audience within only 90 seconds! Interestingly, this does seem to differ among countries. But that makes sense, considering that podcast consumption is not as popular or possible in some other countries. You might think that later videos, which averaged about 200 views, had filtered down to loyal fake-video consumers. Retention rates were, indeed, better. This time, it took only about 4 minutes for 85–90% of the “loyal” audience to abandon the videos! Retention stats on a later video with 175 views. The resulting audience who did stay to consume the majority of the video ended up being only 6–8% of the view count. Thus, only about 16 people benefitted from the video. That's 16 out of an initial audience of nearly 23,000! 4. Engagement rates are horrible If you dismiss the meaningless view counts, you must measure other forms of engagement: retention, likes, comments, subscriptions, clickthroughs, and shares are common metrics on YouTube. A video with nearly 23,000 views received only 35 likes, 24 comments, 2 shares, 18 subscribers, and 19 dislikes. Fake videos show horrible engagement in all these metrics. I've seen videos with more than 20,000 “views” receive only a few likes, subscriptions, and no comments. This shouldn't be surprising when you consider that almost all the audience is gone within a few minutes. But even of the small number of remaining viewers, they still don't engage with the fake video. Comment, like, and dislike engagement rates are almost nonexistent compared to the supposed view counts. 5. Your channel's and videos' rankings will be demoted The top reason I hear people advocate for fake videos is that they make the content show up in search rankings. That may be true at first, but it doesn't last. Furthermore, the consequences can prevent future videos from ever ranking. YouTube, which is owned by Google, uses several factors to measure a video's popularity and thus rank it in search results. They use all those same engagement metrics: Retention—if most people quickly abandon the video, it's probably not worth ranking Likes and comments—if no one is interacting with the video comments, it's probably not worth ranking Subscriptions—if no one is subscribing to the channel as a result of the video, it's probably not worth ranking Clickthroughs—if no one is clicking through to other videos and staying engaged on YouTube, the video is probably not worth ranking Fake videos perform notoriously low on all these metrics. Consequently, Google's algorithms will consider the video a waste and demote it in the rankings. After all, if almost everyone else doesn't like it, why would they recommend it to others? Could you imagine my recommending a doctor by saying, “No one ever sees him, and he's not a very good doctor anyway”? 6. YouTube doesn't like your making people leave Google wants people to stay on YouTube. It's easy to waste hours and hours on YouTube because it was designed with exactly the scientifically proven tactics to get you to stay! Even when I was preparing this episode, I got sucked into watching video after video (real videos!). YouTube won't like it when you make people leave YouTube, either by closing the browser tab or by following a link that takes them away from YouTube. Such links might be to your website or your podcast in a podcast app. They'll either demote your video or sometimes even find other ways you might be violating their community guidelines. 7. Content ID gives content owners control over your videos When you upload a video with any copyrighted material (regardless of your use), YouTube's advanced bots will recognize and flag it with Content ID. The copyright-holder can then control many things about your video: Keep your monetization (or share it, if they're generous) Block the video from some countries or worldwide Block the video from certain platforms (such as mobile or embedded) Mute the video I've seen many legitimate videos get flagged by Content ID, such as a movie-review podcast that comments on and plays a portion of the movie or soundtrack. You can dispute a Content ID claim, but failing that could lead to even bigger consequences. 8. Copyright strikes are aggressive In extreme cases, your videos could give your channel a copyright strike. This usually means the video will be removed and you'll carry a strike on your account, which might limit features (such as monetization or live-streaming). Further abuses will usually result in a complete closure of your account. 9. Monetization may be limited YouTube is a monetized platform. They don't really like it when you monetize your own content without letting them have a piece of it. Podcast sponsorships, promoting your own products, and affiliate links can be in this gray area. YouTube has already cracked down on this kind of monetization when a product or logo is displayed as a paid advertisement. Regardless of how you monetize your own podcast, YouTube can decide to ban it from YouTube at any time if they decide it's not in compliance with their standards. 10. YouTube may flag your fake videos as spam Most fake videos look the same. Usually, that's simply the cover art. Sometimes, it contains “buttons” or calls to action. When YouTube sees multiple videos being uploaded regularly and they all look the same, their algorithms have often flagged this as spam. But I'm not surprised because it really does look like spam! Video, channel, and comment spam It's not okay to post large amounts of untargeted, unwanted, or repetitive content in videos, comments, private messages, or other places on the site. If the main purpose of your content is to drive people off of YouTube and onto another site, it will likely violate our spam policies. It's not okay to post large amounts of repetitive and/or re-uploaded videos to your channel. If the main purpose of your channel is to monetize other channels' content, it will likely violate our spam policies. If you believe your copyright-protected work was posted on YouTube without authorization, you may submit a copyright infringement notification. [“Spam, deceptive practices & scams,” YouTube.com, emphasis added] 11. It makes your channel the little boy who cried, “WOLF!” Each time you publish audio on a video platform, it's misleading your potential audience. As more and more of your fake videos show up in search results, they'll learn to not trust your channel. It's like the boy who cried, “WOLF!” I've seen this with some experimental channels. With each fake video released, the view counts and retention get worse and worse. Then, the ranking starts to fall because of all the other metrics. Absolute view counts of the first 15 audio episodes published on YouTube show significant dropoff after the initial attention So if you ever want to do a real video on your video channel, publishing fake videos will have demoted your channel so much that your real video may never receive attention. Conclusion: Publish fake videos if you don't actually care There are better ways to use YouTube with podcasting (episode 186). You can live-stream, make video promos, make specialized video content, make short snippet animations or videos, and more. If you really don't care about the YouTube platform and don't care much about its users, then go ahead and publish fake videos. But keep in mind the potential consequences, costs, and extremely low return on your investment (time, skill, or money). Thank you for the podcast reviews! nabus19, from the USA and host of The Redrum Theatre, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “High Five Brother. I love podcasts, and have enjoyed them as a media for 10 years now. Recently I began my own, and I was looking for some wisdom in doing this well. Of all the How-To podcasts I listened to, this is the only one to survive. Great topics, current issues of podcasting, and real knowledge from a professional podcaster. I especially love when he used to review a podcast and give some helpful tips. Bring it back brother! My podcast is called The Redrum Theatre, … We watch movies, we love movies, we were raised by movies.”Covert Nerd, from the USA and host of Covert Nerd podcast, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “… Because of you I have stepped out and started a hobby podcast. Right now it isn't that good, but because of you I got the courage to at least start. I am sure many others have done the same thing because of your work. I would encourage other like you do to just start your podcast and you can work out the details as you go. …” Read the full review. Your reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or Stitcher! Use My Podcast Reviews to get your own podcast reviews automatically checked daily and learn how to grow your audience with reviews! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Working with other podcasters can be energizing, but it can also feed your inner troll. Here's how you can build friendships instead of enemies in podcasting. Respect One of the first times I met Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, he told me of his then-upcoming 48th wedding anniversary. So I asked him what he considered the secret to his long and happy marriage. He said, “One word: respect.” Oh, how much better our world would be if we had respect—and even love—for one another! Insulting someone's intelligence or attacking their preferences won't help anyone. We must have a heart of respect for each other, and that can go very far. Treat each person individually If you hang out in online communities for long, you'll see the same questions asked several times. While you probably don't mean to, it's easy to pile up your feelings about the repetition of those questions. So when you see the thirtieth person ask the same question, it's may be easy to lash out either overtly or passively. But look at things from that person's perspective. They need help and they went to that community hoping they could get the help they needed. True, they probably could have found the solution by searching, but being in anxious need often seems to distract us from the obvious. Consider a community for podcasters. If someone comes in and asks, “How do I upload my podcast to iTunes?” and they get a flurry of harsh responses, that person may see them as saying, “You're stupid.” And then be hurt from their experience. I must honestly call myself out on this one, too. I don't think we do this kind of thing intentionally. But treat each person individually—again, with respect. Accept different methodologies Blubrry, Libsyn, SoundCloud, Anchor, Podcast Websites, SquareSpace, FeedBurner, WordPress, and much more are merely tools to accomplish certain goals within podcasting. While some tools are certainly better for certain tasks than others, that doesn't mean we must try to convert everyone to that tool. I once met a fresh new podcaster at an event. They had just started their podcast and website, and they met a vendor with a competing product to what they used. Instead of helping that podcaster understand the benefits of the competing product, that vendor came across as belittling to that podcaster, and a poor opinion was formed. Sadly, I've actually seen that happen many times, and I might have even done it myself a couple times. We don't need to act so exclusive about how to podcast. It's not a moral issue; there's no single right way to podcast—and that's what makes podcasting wonderful! So whether you're discussing PlayStation vs. Xbox, Windows vs. Linux vs. macOS, Android vs. iOS, Democrat vs. Republican, or anything else, respect others' decisions and don't try to change them (at least not right away). Even when there is only a single right way to do something (like an RSS feed with enclosures in order to get your podcast in Apple Podcasts), we don't have to be jerks about it. Foster community, not competition What do you do when you see someone else start a new podcast about your same topic? What if they get attention when you don't? How you treat your competitors is a reflection of your maturity. Sometimes, we adults can be quite childish. Instead of trying to conquer your competitors, find ways to collaborate as colleagues in a larger community (listen to episode 108 for more about that). Choose positivity Who are you going to be among other podcasters? Will you be the self-promoter? The giver? The passive-aggressive troll? The encourager? We can choose and control the attitudes we communicate. It can be a real challenge, sometimes, but that's what makes us stronger. Exchange value In a thriving community or marketplace, there's an active exchange of value. Some people deliver products, some offer services, some offer payments. Look at podcasting the same way. This doesn't mean we should all be each others' financial patrons. (If we're each giving each other $5, the service providers get to keep a little off the top, and we lose that little bit of money with each exchange.) Instead, exchange value. That could mean offering some help, being an evangelist, or participating in the community. These and more have actual value—tangible or intangible. There may be times you buy something from a podcaster and they buy something from you. But in that process, you're still exchanging value outside of the money. For example, I pay to be a member of Mike Morrison and Callie Willow's Member Site Academy, and Mike pays to be a customer of My Podcast Reviews. This isn't any kind of unfair or ungrateful exchange, it's a respectful acknowledgment and exchange of value. Looking for a place to grow with other podcasters? If you're ready to improve and grow your podcast, connect with other passionate and encouraging podcasters, and get the training you need to overcome the challenges of podcasting, then Podcasters' Society is the best place for you! We offer expert support, encouraging community, and in-depth training. Thank you for the podcast reviews! gopstud, from the USA, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “I listened to this wonderfully informative podcast about listening to podcasts on iOS 11 on iOS 11. This review is proof of the new simplicity of user interactivity of the Apple Podcasts app. I’m from Clinton, Iowa and I will be a podcaster someday. This show keeps inspiring me to do so!”Joe Lamp'l, from the USA and host of The joe gardener Show, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “Best Podcasting Resource of All Time. I've been listening to Daniel's incredibly helpful podcasts for about a year. Not surprising, the audio quality is perfect. That alone should get the attention of would-be podcasters. This guy knows the technical side to everything we need to know to make a great podcast too. The beauty is, Daniel is so skilled in simplifying the tech details and is completely prepared with every episode he delivers. The information is priceless and presented in a clear and concise manner. I love the delivery and format he's developed over the years. Thank you, Daniel, for all you do. The podcasts, videos, and training you offer are the best! …”Tony Chan, from the USA and host of Game Dev Loadout, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “Thanks, Daniel, for all of the awesome tips. My podcast just turned three months today, whoop whoop! My download numbers were okay in the beginning but when I implemented your SEO tips and advice on giving back to my audience, my numbers slowly started to rise. People have been sending me thank-you messages which are really heartwarming and fuel my drive to make the podcast even better. Honestly, I notice that a lot of game developer podcasts don't last long, and so I was worried that mine would be the same. You motivated me to keep going and realize that I need to be patient. …” Your reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or Stitcher! Use My Podcast Reviews to get your own podcast reviews automatically checked daily and learn how to grow your audience with reviews! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Feed hits and monthly downloads are two podcast stats the may confuse or mislead podcasters. Here's why you should never rely on these meaningless numbers. Why feed hits are a meaningless stat Every time a podcast app check for new episodes, it's checking for updated information from your RSS feed. That counts as a feed hit each time. Tools like FeedBurner, FeedBlitz, and some startup podcast hosting companies may offer stats on how many times your feed is loaded. But such a stat doesn't tell you the true size of your audience, for the following six reasons. 1. There is no measurement standard Unlike the industry standard we have for measuring podcast downloads, there is no association setting a standard or guideline for measuring feed hits. For example, should only full downloads of the feed be counted, or should head requests (probably checking the “Last-Modified” date) be counted, too? 2. Apps refresh feeds throughout the day Whereas a podcast episode is usually downloaded only once, a podcast RSS feed will be loaded multiple times. Some apps refresh the feed every hour. Some apps refresh even more frequently than that! This then requires more filtering to reduce the excessive duplication by IP address. 3. There's no way to track a single device across multiple IP addresses Speaking of IP addresses, most mobile devices will probably have at least three different IP addresses in an average day: one for home, one for work, and one for mobile. But there could be even more if your mobile device automatically connects to additional wifi networks (such as a store, a coffee shop, a friends house, etc.). And if you leave a particular region, it's likely your mobile data provider will give your device a new IP address as the location changes. For media downloads, this kind of IP address behavior can be accounted for with some different filtering and crossreferencing. Even at the simplest level of measurement, podcast apps will download an episode only once unless the user forces it to redownload. But since mobile devices refresh the feeds throughout the day and their IP addresses change as their location changes, a single device could show up as multiple devices based on RSS feed hits. 4. Feed traffic varies every day Podcast RSS feeds are only checked based on app settings and user interaction. This usually results in lower activity on the weekends. Measuring RSS feed hits would make it seem like your audience unsubscribes on the weekends. Many website statistics tools, such as Google Analytics, will track a user across multiple visits, so it's easy to see how many unique visits you had across time (such as a week or month). But FeedBurner and other RSS tools don't offer such tracking, and thus report only a daily number or an average across days (but not tied to actual users). 5. Feed stats exclude non-RSS plays Trying to measure “subscribers” raises the question, what really is a “subscriber”? While it may seem reasonable to say anyone who has pressed “Subscribe” on your podcast is a subscriber, that excludes many loyal audience members. Some people will faithfully visit your website and press play on your latest episodes. Some people will watch or listen on social networks. Some people will add your podcast to their app without actually subscribing to it. Some people use apps or services that subscribe to your feed only once for thousands of users (such as Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or Google Play Music). People on those platforms could still be loyal consumers of your podcast, but they're not individually subscribed to your own RSS feed. Thus, anything that tracks you audience through RSS hits or downloads will not count any of these other loyal fans. 6. iOS 11 refreshes feeds repeatedly (possible bug) Lastly, Apple Podcasts in iOS 11 introduced some strange new behavior regarding podcast RSS feeds. This is resulting in a significant increase is feed hits since iOS 11. A significant increase in feed hits started with the release of iOS 11 on September 19, 2017. (Weekend dips removed for clarity.) While there are different theories to explain this, we do not yet know whether this is an intentional design by Apple or a bug in the app. But we can compare these daily feed hits to daily downloads and see this increase is not an actual increase in audience. Why downloads per month/week/day is a meaningless stat You'll often see podcasters speak highly of their downloads per week, per month, or per day. While some numbers can be fun to celebrate (my own Noodle Mix Network reached 15 million total downloads in Fall 2017), these “downloads per time” (DPT) don't really mean much; they don't tell you any truth about the size of the audience! Here's why. 1. It's not enough information Downloads per time tell us nothing about the podcast's actual reach. It doesn't tell us how many episodes were published, how many episodes were already available, how many people downloaded episodes, or how many episodes people downloaded. Downloads per time would include downloads for new episodes released during that time and all old episodes also downloaded during the same time. For example, if I say I delivered 10,000 downloads in a month, that may sound impressive until you learn that I published 10 episodes that month and I have 1,000 episodes in my back catalog. But even with that information, you still can't calculate the audience size, because these numbers don't tell you how many people downloaded your episodes. It seems most podcasters like to share this meaningless number because it's an impressive number or they don't understand the lack of information. 2. It will always be changing You may think downloads per time will grow with your podcast, but that's not the case. Downloads per day, for example, will always be highest the day you release your latest episode unless you publish late in the day. Weekends will be low for some shows and high for others. Downloads per week or per month will also change based on how many episodes you published or skipped during that time. Trying to account for these constant changes could drive you crazy! 3. It's easy to inflate without growing the audience Here's a little secret. Want to double your downloads per month? Simply publish twice as many episodes! Or, go from publishing weekly to publishing daily and septuple your downloads per month! While these things will increase your downloads per time, the inflated stat does not reflect an increase in actual people consuming your podcast. In other words, you can increase your downloads without ever growing your audience (episode 260). 4. It's misleading to advertisers Absolutely don't use your misleading downloads per time stat to entice a sponsor! They may expect their ad to receive that same reach, but because of these reasons I just shared with you, your actual reach could be a much, much smaller portion of that impressive number. This is because most advertising will be put into only specific episodes. There are some dynamic ad-insertion technologies that can put an ad into every episode in your entire catalog, but setting that up can be complicated, especially if you didn't prepare for it with all of those episodes. Plus, dynamic ad-insertion can feel even more disruptive to your audience. How should you measure your audience? The industry standard we've had for years is downloads per episode (DPE), typically 30 days after release. But raw download logs are still not accurate. That's why Association of Downloadable Media (ADM) many years ago and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) more recently have created podcast measurement guidelines. These account for things like partial downloads, bots, public IP addresses, user-agent filtering, repeat downloads, and much more. Blubrry, Libsyn, Podtrac, and soon Spreaker, contributed data to and are in compliance with these agreed-upon industry standards. That's why you hear these companies recommended by professionals—we know we can trust these companies to uphold the standard and conform where necessary all in the interest of accurate measurement, not impressive data. Thank you for the podcast reviews! Tony Arsenal, from the USA and cohost of Reformed Brotherhood, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “Great for both new and seasoned podcasters. When I started my podcast, the Reformed Brotherhood, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I stumbled through it like a blind man. After about 40 episodes I discovered The Audacity to Podcast and it was an eye-opener. Daniel helped me understand what I had done right, and what I had done wrong. My podcast is demonstrably more successful than it would have been otherwise.”Kit Parks, from the USA and host of Active Travel Adventures, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “Helped me to launch! I've only been on the air for a week and Daniel's The Audacity to Podcast has been a lifesaver! He gives clear, actionable advice on how to do the best job possible on your podcast with the least amount of headaches. I highly recommend subscribing and then going back and reviewing his show notes afterward so you can put into place his recommendations.”Gloria Mitchell, from the USA and host of Living a Phenomenal Life with Gloria Mitchell, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “The best podcast on podcasting! Daniel provides INCREDIBLE value every week! He is always up on the latest in the podcasting world and always offers tips to help you make your podcast better. As a result of listening to his show, I was able to launch my podcast with confidence! Daniel, Thanks for always putting out great episodes! …” Your reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or Stitcher! Use My Podcast Reviews to get your own podcast reviews automatically checked daily and learn how to grow your audience with reviews! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
November is National Podcast Post Month (#NaPodPoMo) and I decided to participate by not only publishing a daily podcast episode, but launching a whole new show! Journey inside the podcasting business with me, Daniel J. Lewis, host of The Audacity to Podcast. I'll share behind-the-scenes peeks at how I run my podcasting business of helping podcasters. You'll learn about the tools I use, how I delegate and work with others, how I market, and more! This show will run every day during NaPodPoMo, but may even continue after that. The show is so new, raw, and authentic it doesn't even have cover art yet! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts Subscribe on Android Listen on Anchor Despite all the ways Anchor is currently bad for podcasting, I chose to use Anchor for the quick simplicity. Comment below or tweet me if there's something specific you'd like to know about running a podcasting business!
A podcast launch can be fun and jumpstart momentum for growth. Starting your podcasting with multiple episodes is often advised, but is it right for you? Don't believe the myths about launching with multiple episodes You may hear some “gurus” and “marketing experts” say you must launch with multiple episodes in order for your podcast to succeed. But that's a big myth that shows up in three different ways: Myth: More episodes help the podcast get featured in “New & Noteworthy” “New & Noteworthy” (N&N) is a combination of two kinds of podcasts: those that are new, and those that are noteworthy. Apple has 100% editorial control over what appears in N&N. If you actually look closely at podcasts in there, you'll see old and new podcasts, and you'll see some podcasts with only one episode, others with more. Myth: More episodes make the podcast rank better Podcast ranking is based on subscriptions, not episodes. However, there is a very small, indirect truth to this myth. More episodes provide more keywords for search, which can make your podcast show up in more relevant searches when you have more episodes, but your position in such results is not based on the number of episodes. Myth: More episodes mean more downloads The default behavior of most podcast apps is to download only the latest episode of a podcast when subscribed. So merely launching with more episodes doesn't mean they'll all be downloaded; they'll only be available to be downloaded if your new subscriber chooses to do so. How many episodes should you launch with? One episode is all that's required to get your podcast in nearly all apps and directories. And it doesn't even have to be a full episode! With iOS 11, Apple now provides a “trailer” episode type you can use. But even without that, your first episode could be a 30–60-second trailer of the podcast yet to come. This is not an “episode 0.” Most of these end up being all about the podcaster and what's to come. I think these kinds of self-centered episodes are a waste of opportunity and time. If you want to build excitement for the upcoming podcast, do that in 30–60 seconds. But make your first episode deliver so much value your audience will feel compelled to subscribe. So when I'm referring to launching with multiple episodes, how many should that be? I will be basing the following benefits and disadvantages on launching with 3–5 episodes. I think that's a good number because it's small enough that can do it quickly but large enough that it gives your audience a great taste of your podcast and gives you more opportunities. However, my advice does exclude the “seasonal dump” approach of publishing an entire season of episodes all at once (such as S-Town, ConversionCast, and some Netflix or Amazon Prime shows). Benefits of launching with multiple episodes The decision of launching with only one or with multiple episodes is up to you. I will share the benefits and disadvantages I see, but the mere number of one or the other shouldn't be your deciding factor. You must decide what's right for yourself, your podcast, and your audience. 1. Showcases more of your content Assuming you have good episode titles, launching with multiple episodes gives potential subscribers a good view of what your podcast is about. They can preview your topics without having to read your podcast's description. 2. Boosts search-engine optimization (SEO) In Apple Podcasts, some other podcast apps, and website search engines, each episode and accompanying post contribute to the findability of that podcast. For example, even if your podcast title or description don't include “Best vanilla cream sodas,” an episode by that title can make your podcast or website appear in relevant searches. Thus, the more episodes you launch with (and eventually hold in your RSS feed), the more opportunities your podcast can be discovered! 3. Demonstrates commitment to consistency “Podfade” is the probable unintentional consequence of inconsistency. It's when a podcast slowly fades from active status because episodes are no longer published and there was no official announcement about the podcast's future. According to Blubrry's year over year statistics, most podcasts podfade within 7 episodes. I've seen the same thing in casual browsing, plus, they usually had an inconsistent publishing schedule. That doesn't mean you must launch with 7 episodes. But if you're committed to your podcast, you can show that by launching with multiple episodes. When you do this, backdate your episodes so they reflect the publishing schedule you want to have. WordPress with PowerPress, Libsyn, PodBean, and other good publishing platforms give you the ability to change the date on already-published content. 4. Sets expectations When you market and write the description for your podcast, you're making a kind of promise with your audience. You're promising to provide certain content, to promote certain results, with certain perspectives, and on a certain schedule. Launching with multiple episodes helps set those expectations for your quality, uniqueness, consistency, and more. 5. “Hooks” your audience People often like to binge on what they like. Launching your podcast with multiple episodes not only gives them that opportunity to binge on your new show, but it also gives them a deeper taste of your content. That can result in their getting hooked more easily. Unfortunately, there's a fine line between marketing and drug-dealing. But the point of marketing should be to give people what they need to improve their lives! That said, consider addictive substances for a moment. Most people don't get hooked with a tiny taste; it takes a bigger sampling. You can often see this in TV shows, too. One episode may not be enough, but after you watch a few episodes, you probably get more wrapped up in the characters and plot. I've felt this way about several podcasts myself. 6. Creates more engagement opportunities Each episode of your podcast can create engagement. Launching with multiple episodes multiplies those opportunities. Things like your website address, email address, phone number, or social accounts will be more memorable when they're heard multiple times, especially if in a short amount of time. 7. “Blitzes” your promotion There are many ways to promote your podcast to grow your audience. If your episodes can stand alone, launching with multiple episodes gives you that many more pieces of content you can use to promote and grow your podcast. 8. Builds trust, respect, and authority faster Consistency is one of the most important ways to build trust, respect, and authority, but that takes time. You can give yourself extra momentum in the beginning by launching with multiple episodes. This allows your audience to receive a larger sample of your passion, communication skill, and production quality. Each episode is a little boost to your reputation, so launching with multiple episodes can give a jumpstart. Disadvantages of launching with multiple episodes There are plenty of positives, but also some negatives. Don't let this be a mere numbers comparison, but figure out what applies to your situation. 1. Increases startup “costs” Each additional episode you include in your launch increases the “costs” by almost a whole factor. That cost could be in time, creativity, or even actual financial investment. The profound truth is that launching with 3–5 episodes “costs” about 3–5 times as much as launching with only 1 episode. It's like launching a business with 10 employees versus only 1. You must consider whether the increase in startup “costs” is worth it. 2. Postpones the launch Because launching with multiple episodes costs more time, that time will most likely mean your podcast will have to launch later. This happened to me with the launch of my Once Upon a Time podcast. I was so focused on launching with multiple episodes, that we didn't actually launch until right before the show went on a hiatus! But before you think a botched launch means the failure of a show, we were still able to grow our podcast to the #1 unofficial podcast for that TV show. Remember that your podcast—no matter the subject—has the potential to positively change lives. So do you really want to postpone that change so you can launch with more than one episode? 3. Reduces agility Unless you have massive skill and resources at your disposal, your first one or several episodes will probably not be as good as later episodes. You can improve as you go! Your audience's feedback is crucial to helping you improve your podcast. So if you launch your podcast with multiple episodes and your audience points out something that needs to be improved, you won't be able to improve it as quickly. It could be several episodes before the changes make their way into your podcast. And in the meantime, your show's shortcomings could be turning away potential subscribers. But if you can have a more agile workflow—that is, able to quickly change as necessary—you can make important improvements before the next episode, and your audience can enjoy the fix right away. 4. Delays audience involvement Getting your audience engaged and even involved with your podcast is key to turning them into ambassadors. If you involve your audience in any way, launching with multiple episodes means they won't be included for a while, depending on how quickly they listen to your episodes. This is especially apparent if you're asking for audience participation. You'll sound lonely and unappreciated if you're asking for several episodes before you have anything to share. 5. May hurt your timeliness If your podcast covers any kind of current events, such as news or sports, trying to launch with multiple episodes is almost pointless because your older episodes will probably be irrelevant. This only partially applies to podcasts about TV shows and such, because true fans will probably be interested to hear older episodes anyway. However, those older episodes may sound stupid considering the knowledge you and the other fans may have by the time you launch. Thank you for the podcast reviews! Rosie:82, from the USA and host of On Deadline, wrote in Apple Podcasts. “Love it. This podcast is clear and easy to follow with the right mix of practical knowledge and personality. I’m a television reporter at ABC27 News in Harrisburg, and we launched a podcast called On Deadline almost one year ago. At first, it was difficult because we didn’t have any other comparable podcasts to follow as a model. But discovering your podcast allowed us to set concrete goals and develop strategies to get us there. The media landscape is changing, and it surprises me that more news organizations aren’t branching into podcasting. By the way, I especially like your episode about fixing interviewing problems; great insight for journalists, regardless of podcasting experience. Thank you for developing this resource!”Austin Carroll, from the USA and host of Fastpass to the Past: The Theme Park History Podcast, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “A Podcast for Podcasters. Thank you, Daniel, for encouraging me to start my own podcast. Your episodes are so in depth and I am so glad I found your podcast. I even went back and found older episodes that walked me through my specific needs: SEO, Podcast Titles, etc. This podcast is a must listen to for even the most seasoned podcasters. …” Your reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or Stitcher! Use My Podcast Reviews to get your own podcast reviews automatically checked daily and learn how to grow your audience with reviews! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Regardless of who you use to host your podcast media and generate your podcast RSS feed, check these eight things to own your platform. Episode 270 will help you decide whether you show use your media host to also create your RSS feed, or host it yourself. 1. Check which RSS feed is actually being used I'm surprised how often podcasters either don't know which feed Apple Podcasts and other apps are actually using or they don't even know their own RSS feed URL! Regardless of your own situation (I'll assume the best about you), here are a few ways to check what feed is being used. Log in to Podcasts Connect, click on your podcast, and look at the “URL” field. Use this tool by Regan Starr to search for your podcast by title or author and see what feed is listed. (Sometimes, you have to re-enter the search if no results show.) Subscribe to your podcast in the app and you may have an option to copy or see the feed URL. (In iTunes, right-click your podcast in your subscriptions and click “Copy Podcast URL.”) Subscribe to your podcast in the app, export your subscriptions to an OPML file, open that file in a text-editor, look for your podcast name and the feed URL after xmlUrl= in the same block. Feed URL changes from redirects or the <itunes:new-feed-url> tag may take up to a couple days to be reflected in podcast apps and catalogs. 2. Check who controls the Apple Podcasts Connect account Without control of your podcast in Apple Podcast Connect, you won't be able to fix Apple compliance issues, you won't be able to refresh your catalog listing, and you won't be able to see your podcast analytics from Apple. Most likely, this isn't a concern for you because no good podcast host submits their clients' podcasts to Apple. If a company does do this, then they're not a good podcast host! Apple is in the slow process of verifying and moving podcasts between Apple IDs (or assigning them where missing). So please be patient with their team. I suggest waiting until the second quarter of 2018 before you contact Apple to change or add your Apple ID. 3. Check whether you can redirect the RSS feed Although we can debate the finely detailed definition of “owning” and “controlling” your podcast RSS feed, I think the most important requirement is the ability to redirect your feed to somewhere else. This level of control ensures you can move your podcast feed to anything else and take your audience with you. Ideally, this redirect should be three things: A 301 permanent redirect (not 307 temporary)—All my top-recommended hosting companies do this Remain in place even after you cancel your service (forever is best)—Some companies (Libsyn is one of them) may charge extra for this An option you can set yourself (with several safety precautions)—This is quite mixed with companies and it probably depends on your account status Learn more about the different types of redirects in episode 280. 4. Check that your email address is in the feed Even if you don't control the Apple ID used to submit your podcast to Apple, it's easy to verify ownership and stay informed about issues with your podcast when your email address is in the RSS feed. There are two places an email address appears in a podcast feed: The <itunes:email> tag inside the <itunes:owner> block—This is the most important. The <managingEditor> tag—this is less important, but still best to be your email address. The email address itself isn't important, but it is publicly accessible, so you should probably make it something branded to your podcast and not your personal email address. But that you have access to that account is important. Some podcast hosting companies will default to using their own email address. I consider that a sin, but many companies (even SoundCloud) will let you change that to your own email address. But if a company puts their email address in <itunes:email> and they don't let you change it, leave now! 5. Check that the website URL points to your website RSS feeds contain simple <link> tags that point to web pages. The top <link> tag (before the <item> tags) should point to your website for your podcast. I recommend inserting the URL to your podcast-specific page if your podcast is not the primary purpose of your website. Most podcast media hosts will default to inserting their URL for your web page on their platform, but you can usually change it to your own website. Many podcast apps and directories will link to this URL in their catalog listing for your podcast. In iTunes and Apple Podcasts, for example, this is the “Podcast Website” link in your listing. This is most likely not a problem if you're generating your podcast feed from your website (such as with PowerPress or if you want the podcast host's web page). But you may still need to update the URL if your podcast is not the primary purpose of your website. And you should change this if you're creating your RSS feed separate from your website. 6. Check that episode links point to the correct episode web pages For a while, there have been concerns over search-engine optimization (SEO) and usability if your episode links pointed to the wrong web pages. Apple Podcasts in iOS 11 made this a whole lot more important because each episode now includes an “Episode web page” link in the app. This URL usually comes from the <link> tag for each episode (in the <item> tag), but some apps may also look at <guid> if it is a valid permalink URL. However, that tag is usually set to <guid isPermaLink="false">, which is a way of saying that even if the GUID looks like a URL (such as from PowerPress feeds), to not treat it like one. This is most likely not a problem if you're generating your podcast feed from your website (such as with PowerPress or if you want the podcast host's web page). But you should change this if you're creating your RSS feed separate from your website. 7. Check that you can include HTML in the show notes Many podcast apps will display the full blog post or show notes with your episodes. That would come from the <content:encoded> tag if your feed includes it. WordPress feeds, for example, have the option to use only the summaries, and not the full content, and thus would not include your full show notes. Because of this wide support, it's becoming easier to tell your audience to get your show notes from inside their podcast app instead of always sending them to your website. And if you want basic formatting of those notes, including lists and especially hyperlinks, you need the ability to include HTML. This doesn't mean you have to know any HTML. High-quality platforms like WordPress (with PowerPress) and Libsyn give you a rich text editor that makes hyperlinking as simple as a click of a button on some selected text. Some platforms, like SoundCloud, strangely support HTML in the content, but they don't let you enter it yourself. But if the content was entered with an API (such as Libsyn's OnPublish), then the HTML and carried through. Other platforms allow only plain text. But most apps will still hyperlink a plain-text URL as long as it is a full, valid URL (including the http://). 8. Check for full support of the new iTunes tags Apple's iOS 11 introduced new features in the Apple Podcasts RSS spec. These new features are not mandatory, but implementing them can make your podcast a better experience for your current and potential audience. Plus, it's more likely Apple will feature your podcast if they see you are using their new tags effectively. Not every podcast needs to have seasons, use the serial type, or include trailer or bonus episodes. But I do think it will make a better experience if all podcasts use the new <itunes:episode> tag for episode numbers and <itunes:title> for clean episode titles (without episode numbers or podcast titles). These are reasons why I think full support for the new iTunes tags is an absolute requirement for any podcast media host. Blubrry, PowerPress, Libsyn, and Podbean were quite quick to support the new tags. I've also been pleasantly surprised by how many of the less-popular startup hosts had full support in place before iOS 11 was released: Art19, SimpleCast, Megaphone, and Podiant supposedly had full support in time (though I haven't verified). The companies you hear professionals diminish will probably never offer such support. Thank you for the podcast reviews! Andy Wang, from the USA and host of Inspired Money, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “Found the answers when I needed it. Thanks Daniel for providing so much information and being a fantastic resource to podcasters. Your blog/podcast really came in handy recently when I was up late one night uploading files to Libsyn for the first time. With the help of The Audacity to Podcast, my podcast Inspired Money has been launched. … ” Read the full review.Scott Albrecht, from the USA and host of Ice Fishing Radio, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “After listening to your podcast my podcast has gone from novice to somewhat not novice, but this is not due to the lack of your explaining things it's due to the slow learning curve. Your advice on missinglettr.com has really boosted my Podcast from my marketing standpoint and the information on how to best brand and Market your Podcasts.  … [I] often drive by Cincinnati listening to your podcast. It's because of your podcast that I know that my podcast is both a TV show podcast and a current events podcast and thanks to you I know why I podcast and that's the F in profit which is for fun.” Read the full review. Your reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or Stitcher! Use My Podcast Reviews to get your own podcast reviews automatically checked daily and learn how to grow your audience with reviews! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Podcasting is a time-shifted media. While many subscribers will consume podcast episodes as they're released, some fans will binge on all your content, which can reveal some areas to improve your podcast. I use my own My Podcast Reviews account to automatically collect and notify me of reviews from all 155 Apple Podcasts catalogs. The reviews are usually positive and encouraging. Even though they're reviews on my podcast, they often include insights you can apply in your own podcasting. On September 5, Damian, from the USA and host of Adventures in Erylia, wrote the following 4-star review for The Audacity to Podcast (contains minor edits for clarity). There are some great podcasting lessons here! Great Content, But I Miss The More Amateur Vibe I'll preface this by saying, my listening habits and experiences are far from the norm. I began listening to The Audacity To Podcast [TAP] in early July. It is now early September and I am caught up. That's right, in about 2 months, I have listened to over 300 episodes of TAP. I'll start with the good. Daniel is very good at what he does: presenting. You don't listen to someone talk in your ear for 200 hours if they aren't a good presenter. He is extremely knowledgable at his topics. I have learned so much information that I can, and am, using to improve my podcast since listening to his show. TAP is what gave me the drive to stop pointing my podcast domain at free services and get my own webhost and my own wordpress site up and running. It is still a work in progress. I learned about Chris' Dynamic Compressor and feel that using that has greatly increased my sound. I've been learning all sorts of tips and tricks for my SEO and how to market myself and my podcast. I have binged through everything and the content is so good I will continue being a loyal listener. However, the show isn't without what I would consider some faults. In the beginning, the ads for Citrix drove me crazy. Keep in mind, I was hearing a new, ham-fisted, Citrix ad every hour for days on end while listening through, while if you listened early on or at a slower pace, it's only once a week. It really bummed me out when Daniel made the switch from Audacity to Audition. I get that this was a good move for him, but to me, this was the beginning of the show losing it's amateur feel. I use Audacity, largely because I can't afford to move to something like Audition, and Daniel's use of Audacity, as well as his routine of focusing on how to use it every 5 episodes really connected me to the show and told me that I could have a successful and profitable podcast with this free software. That being said, if I could afford the switch, I'd look into it, too. My biggest criticism of TAP is his cross- and self-promotion. I don't mind his promotions for My Podcast Reviews so much because of a few pieces of criteria, but I can't stand the ads for Podcasters' Society. My Podcast Reviews gets a large pass for me because Daniel does offer a free version that you can use to get a feel for the tool and see what value it brings to you. I am signed up for it, though I am haven't gotten any reviews from foreign stores to really benefit from it so far. I also enjoy his usual way of promoting it, by reading some of these reviews and promoting the shows of those that leave him a review. Sometimes when he tries to work it into other parts of his show, it carries on a little too long for something you already know about and was only brought up as a promotion tool. Podcasters' Society has really ground my gears, for a few reasons. This has especially been an issue while binge listening. I wish he could work things out to have the “free for an extremely short amount of time” webinars be free indefintely as a trial. As an amateur and a hobbyist, I simply cannot afford the $50/mo it takes to join his elite club. I understand that there is a lot of work that has gone into the society, but there isn't a good way to check it out and see what value would be brought by joining at such a high price. There is also the issue of it being closed to new members so often. Even if you have the money to join, you often can't because he closes it to new members regularly. It's exceptionally annoying to be advertised to for a service that you couldn't even join if you wanted to. I digress though, this is another thing I know I would sign up for without any issue if it wasn't so out of my budget. It's unfortunate to hear about a service I am sure I would get great value out of, but know I cannot experience. If I have such a problem with a big part of his content, why am I still giving it 4 stars? The answer to that is simple. Daniel runs a business. He needs to make money off of his products and services to provide for his family. He also offers a ton of knowledge outside of his premium tools for absolutely free. If listening to him talk about a product he worked hard on (that I can't afford) for a few minutes is the price I have to pay for him to keep doing what he's doing, so be it, he deserves a high review, and it'd be 4.5/5 if I could. And for you Daniel, as I know you are reading this. Thank you for what you do for the podcasting community, please don't take what I said too harshly. My podcast is Adventures in Erylia over at adventuresinerylia.com. We are currently on a hiatus because we switched from a Blue Yeti for 5 people to a Zoom H6 and 5 dynamic mics. We will be relaunching on September 30, AKA International Podcast Day. 1. People will binge when they like your show I'll preface this by saying, my listening habits and experiences are far from the norm. I began listening to The Audacity To Podcast [TAP] in early July. It is now early September and I am caught up. That's right, in about 2 months, I have listened to over 300 episodes of TAP. … You don't listen to someone talk in your ear for 200 hours if they aren't a good presenter. … I have binged through everything and the content is so good I will continue being a loyal listener. Damian found my show and liked it enough to go back and listen to about 300 hours of content! Feeding this level of passion is why I recommend letting your RSS feed contain as many episodes as possible. This is also why your first episode will usually be one of your most popular. Some people will get your latest episode and then jump all the way to the beginning, and some people will start at the beginning and work their way to the present. 2. Your audience will stay when you consistently deliver value I'll start with the good. Daniel is very good at what he does, presenting. You don't listen to someone talk in your ear for 200 hours if they aren't a good presenter. He is extremely knowledgable at his topics. When someone finds a podcast they like, they tend to stay subscribed. This is why the audience size for any decent podcast should be generally growing: every new subscriber stays and thus causes a minor incline. The greater the incline in per-episode consumption, the more your audience is growing. If your podcast's stats are in a consistent range (neither increasing nor decreasing), then you're probably losing subscribers at the same rate you're gaining them. And if your stats are on the decline, then you're losing subscribers faster than you are gaining them. There was once a podcast I was extremely excited over. Having only read the description, I was sold on its being my new favorite podcast. When I finally did listen to one of the episodes, it confirmed all my hopes: this podcast was exactly what I needed and wanted. But then I listened to more episodes and saw a lot of cheap repetition, forced outlines, and sacrificed depth. Each episode failed to deliver at least the same value (or close to it) as the episode before it. Although I had plenty of available listening time and had thus downloaded all the back-catalog, I gave up on the podcast and deleted the episodes. And this had very little to do with the length of the episodes. However long they were, they were too long for what little value they delivered. On the other side, I recently listened to my first episode of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Being raised a military brat, I was drawn to Dan's episode 59, which was all about nuclear weapons and the crisis they present. That the episode was three hours long didn't matter to me because there was so much value. In fact, the episode wasn't three hours long, it was nearly six hours long! Even though I listened across many sessions, I kept coming back because of the value Dan delivered in every minute. Can your audience say the same thing about your podcast? Are there moments they skip because of low value? Is your growth stagnate because you're not consistently delivering value? 3. Your message can change lives Ever since my epic 3-hour-long story of how my life was changed and saved through podcasting, I finally found my “why”: I believe you can share a message to change the world, and podcasting is the best way to do it. “Changing the world” may not be on the scale of global, national, or even regional issues. But you may change the world for one person. You may give them hope when they're hurting, encouragement when they're empty, community when they're alone, entertainment when they need to be distracted, education when they want to learn, and much more. Although I talk about podcasting—technology, technique, and more—I changed Damian's life for the better in a small way, which will help him to better reach others and change their lives, too. I have learned so much information that I can, and am, using to improve my podcast since listening to his show. TAP is what gave me the drive to stop pointing my podcast domain at free services and get my own webhost and my own wordpress site up and running. It is still a work in progress. I learned about Chris' Dynamic Compressor and feel that using that has greatly increased my sound. I've been learning all sorts of tips and tricks for my SEO and how to market myself and my podcast. So whether your podcast topic is silly or serious, you can improve the lives of your audience. 4. Repetition across episodes can become annoying Now, we get to the constructive criticism. … the show isn't without what I would consider some faults. In the beginning, the ads for Citrix drove me crazy. Keep in mind, I was hearing a new, ham-fisted, Citrix ad every hour for days on end while listening through, while if you listened early on or at a slower pace, it's only once a week. One of my greatest regrets in my history of podcasting is my “selling out” for some extra money. Sure, it was nice to get some bills paid, especially when I had not yet launched a business from my podcast. But the products I was advertising were barely relevant to my show or my audience. Someday, I would love to edit out all the irrelevant ads from my past episodes. (You're welcome to help by telling me timecodes when those irrelevant ads start!) Repetition is a powerful thing and I wasted it in my early days by trying to fit in a sponsor who really wasn't relevant, even though I used them for a time. Aside from ad spots, this same negative aspect can apply to anything else you include in your podcast. Maybe it's a particular flow of questions or a call to action. The easiest way to make things less annoying is to rotate through what you promote. For example, for each week of the month, you might have only a single, strong call to action: First week: subscribe to your email list Second week: share the episode Third week: buy your thing Fourth week: send feedback That's not to say you have to avoid all other calls to action. But this is about what's strongest and avoiding an annoying recurring pattern. But if you can't rotate through separate calls to action, consider changing how you do it each time. 5. Repetition is also powerful to make things stick That Damian could remember Citrix, My Podcast Reviews, and Podcasters' Society after more than 300 episodes proves another point: repetition is effective. This is why podcast sponsorship works best when it's done consistently for at least a month or two. It takes repetition for it to stick. Since I'm running a business, it's important for me to bring podcasters to the products and service I create to make their podcasts better. Of the three brands Damian mentioned in his review, one of them isn't mine. But that the other two are mine, and they stuck because of the repetition. It's interesting and even amusing that Damian didn't mention D.Joseph Design, which is the legal name of my company and the brand (and collection of now-retired services) I also promoted in my early days. So either my promotion wasn't effective, or my other repetitions pushed out that brand. Look at what you repeat across episodes. Is it something you actually want to stick in your audience's minds? For example, do you really want your request for reviews to be the one thing that stands out and sticks more than anything else? 6. Your audience may not be ready to grow at your pace Like TV shows with child actors, long-term podcasting presents challenges with personal growth. You're probably not the same person today as you were when you first started your podcast. Your experience, perspective, knowledge, and more have expanded with time and new information. That's a great thing! Unfortunately, it often means outgrowing either your audience or the premise of your show. It really bummed me out when Daniel made the switch from Audacity to Audition. I get that this was a good move for him, but to me, this was the beginning of the show losing it's amateur feel. I use Audacity, largely because I can't afford to move to something like Audition, and Daniel's use of Audacity, as well as his routine of focusing on how to use it every 5 episodes really connected me to the show and told me that I could have a successful and profitable podcast with this free software. That being said, if I could afford the switch, I'd look into it, too. When I first started The Audacity to Podcast, it was always going to be first about podcasting. But I didn't explain that well, and my early marketing intentionally attached me to the Audacity software. Although I still recommend Audacity for beginners, my needs have grown and I've found more limitations in the software (and I certainly felt I reached the limit of what I could talk about in Audacity for podcasting). So if my audience was joining me primarily for the Audacity information, I slowly stopped feeding that desire. Now, after 326 episodes, I still stay focused on my core theme of podcasting. If my podcasting led me along a different path and I changed the show's premise to follow that path, I believe I would be breaking an implied promise with my audience and doing them a great disservice by changing my show too much. This doesn't mean change is a bad thing. It's about potentially leaving your premise. Consider this example. Because I've been displeased with some weight I've gained, I've been making changes to my diet and also trying to get back into my favorite physical activity—karate. With a simple look at what I was eating, I realized my diet had way too many carbs, so I've had to cut back on that. One of the easiest ways I've done that is to eat eggs for breakfast instead of something filled with carbs. How many ways can you cook an egg? (There's a podcast waiting to hatch!) There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to cook eggs, or using eggs as the primary ingredient. But take the eggs out or demote their importance and you're no longer cooking eggs. However you grow while you're podcasting, remember your audience may not be able or willing to grow with you. As long as you continue to deliver value on your premise, your audience will probably stay. But if you grow beyond that premise, the shift may be too radical for your audience to follow. 7. Satisfied audience members won't mind engaging promotion My biggest criticism of TAP is his cross- and self-promotion. I don't mind his promotions for My Podcast Reviews so much because of a few pieces of criteria, …. My Podcast Reviews gets a large pass for me because Daniel does offer a free version that you can use to get a feel for the tool and see what value it brings to you. … I also enjoy his usual way of promoting it, by reading some of these reviews and promoting the shows of those that leave him a review. Why did I start giving shout-outs to podcasters who wrote reviews for The Audacity to Podcast? It helped me (1) get to know my audience better, (2) encourage more reviews, and (3) create more opportunities to naturally promote My Podcast Reviews. And because that promotion is engaging, I've heard from many podcasters who don't mind it or even enjoy it. The same thing goes for ads I hear in podcasts, too. I usually skip the ads for the same-old current wave of podcast sponsors. But when a host either integrates that promotion into their content, or makes the promotion engaging, I intentionally choose not to skip the ad. And those ads then become more memorable. I still remember sponsors of Good Mythical Morning, FilmRiot, The Way I Heard It, and more because the ad engaged or entertained me—yes, even when the ad might have seemed irrelevant to the show! 8. Squeezing promotion everywhere it fits is too much Sometimes when he tries to work it [My Podcast Reviews] into other parts of his show, it carries on a little too long for something you already know about and was only brought up as a promotion tool. On the extreme end of making ads, calls to action, or any kind of promotion engaging is obnoxious integration. Imagine if I mentioned My Podcast Reviews and gave you the URL every time I referred to Damian's review! Integrating promotion is like a seasoning or spice for food. It only takes a little to be effective. 9. Timeless content complicates timely promotions Yes, we will probably all have something timely to promote at some time. It could be the Podcast Awards, an upcoming event, a special sale, or anything else that may happen only at a specific time (even if repeating). The first iteration of what become Podcasters' Society was Podcast Master Class. That was an intense month-long course with in-depth training, podcast evaluations, personal coaching, and more. I stopped doing it after the first time because I struggled too much to include promotion in my episodes. The struggle was twofold: simply remembering to include it and recognizing that the promotion would be a permanent part of those episodes for years to come. This kind of timely promotion bothered Damian, too. My biggest criticism of TAP is his cross- and self-promotion. … I can't stand the ads for Podcasters' Society. … Podcasters' Society has really ground my gears, for a few reasons. This has especially been an issue while binge listening. I wish he could work things out to have the “free for an extremely short amount of time” webinars be free indefintely as a trial. When I created Podcasters' Society, I knew it could finally be something I could regularly promote without worrying much about time-sensitive offers. However, time-sensitive stuff still happens. So anytime I promote something timely, I try to include some way to keep the promotion timeless. My approach to “free for an extremely short amount of time” makes a whole lot more sense when they are recurring events. However, that the high-value content then becomes exclusive to members of Podcasters' Society also increases the value of membership, and creates something I can continue to promote. It's a careful balance. Your audience could miss the timely thing by a couple days or by years. I don't think it's reasonable for you to keep timely promotions available forever, but I do recommend finding a way to make your promotion timeless. For example, if you're promoting an upcoming event (whether in-person or online), consider pointing to a URL that will always have updated information. Or, that URL could contain the recap for those who missed it. 10. Don't overprice for the audience you want Pricing may always be a challenge because not everyone values something the same. Even something as seemingly simple as milk could be available in some form that costs ten times what the cheap stuff costs. If you ever hire or act as a consultant, then you have experienced this same challenge. Consider someone like Gordon Firemark. He's an entertainment lawyer and he's an expert dealing with intellectual property (especially for podcasters). An hour of his time could cost thousands of dollars or more, but if that time either saves or earns you tens of thousands of dollars, isn't it worth it? As an amateur and a hobbyist, I simply cannot afford the $50/mo it takes to join his elite club [Podcasters' Society]. I understand that there is a lot of work that has gone into the society, but there isn't a good way to check it out and see what value would be brought by joining at such a high price. … this is another thing I know I would sign up for without any issue if it wasn't so out of my budget. It's unfortunate to hear about a service I am sure I would get great value out of, but know I cannot experience. That Damian felt there wasn't a good way to see proof of the value is definitely something for me to work on. There's also another issue here that you may run into: pricing for the audience you want. If I made Podcasters' Society only $5/month, either no one would use it or it would be abused (and some people would still say it's too expensive). Look at your value in the same way! I commonly hear business say it's the cheap customers who cause the most problems and ultimately cost the most. Money is an exchangeable measurement of worth. When someone pays a high price for something, they take good care of it because they've assigned a particular worth to it. And when they pay a low price, the thing has much less assigned value and is often treated the same way. So when you sell something at a price—whether a product or service you create, or even your own podcast for sponsors or donors—you are assigning a measureable value to it. If you charge too little, it won't be respected. If you charge too much, it won't be purchased. I know the value of Podcasters' Society is worth more than I'm charging for it. Several members have already said similar things, even in regards to a single small but relevant resource. But at the same time, I have to charge a price in line with what my ideal customer will consider a fair value. After all, it's often not about the real numbers, but about what those numbers mean to us. 11. Avoid “breaking” timeless promotions If you do succeed in promoting timeless or even timely things in a timeless way, ensure that never breaks! There is also the issue of it [Podcasters' Society] being closed to new members so often. Even if you have the money to join, you often can't because he closes it to new members regularly. It's exceptionally annoying to be advertised to for a service that you couldn't even join if you wanted to. Closing Podcasters' Society was something I hated doing. I see some sleazy marketers talk about creating a false scarcity. But since Podcasters' Society provides ongoing value, there's no true scarcity to it. So the reason I most recently closed it for several months (costing me a lot of potential new members, too), was because I genuinely needed to rebuild the inside of it and I didn't want new members coming in when things were broken. And where that especially hurt was when I had already previously said Podcasters' Society would be open indefinitely. So in my case, rather than merely closing it, I offered a waiting list and kept those interested subscribers informed on how things were progressing. And when I was ready to finally reopen, I gave them a special offer for their patience. Among many reasons, what I love about Podcasters' Society's being a membership site instead of being a month-long course like Podcast Master Class™ was is that I can promote Podcasters' Society at any time. So if you have any kind of timeless promotion in your podcasts, make sure it's either always available—even years later—or that there's some appropriate substitute or promise. 12. People will accept your selling when you give value first After all that stuff Damian said he didn't like about my promotions or one of my products, he still likes the podcast and continues to listen. Why? If I have such a problem with a big part of his content, why am I still giving it 4 stars? The answer to that is simple. Daniel runs a business. He needs to make money off of his products and services to provide for his family. He also offers a ton of knowledge outside of his premium tools for absolutely free. If listening to him talk about a product he worked hard on (that I can't afford) for a few minutes is the price I have to pay for him to keep doing what he's doing, so be it, he deserves a high review, and it'd be 4.5/5 if I could. And for you Daniel, as I know you are reading this. Thank you for what you do for the podcasting community, please don't take what I said too harshly. There are two big things in what Damian said. First, he recognized that I'm running a business that must provide for my family and others (I regularly pay several other people who do valuable work for me). He respects the reason I sell. So if you're trying to sell something, too—product, service, sponsor, donations, etc.—make sure your audience knows the reason you're selling. “Donate to the podcast because it lets me buy a fancy latte.” That's not a good reason; it's selfish. “Donate to the podcast because it helps us to continue giving value to you.” That is a good reason. The second thing in Damian's comment is that he accepts the “selling” because he already receives so much value. This principle plays out in many areas of life. We accept certain inconveniences because of the value we receive despite those inconveniences. So if you want to sell anything to your audience, make sure you first give! Give, give, give, give, and give some more before asking for anything in return. Make sure you check out Damian's podcast, Adventures in Erylia! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
Podcasting is unlike any other media. This is why its year-over-year growth has been more gradual than anything else. We may never see a “hockey-stick” spike, but you, as a fan or a creator, are the most powerful influence to bring more people to podcasts. For this presentation from International Podcast Day, I'm joined by Elsie Escobar (@yogeek), cohost of The Feed and She Podcasts, and one of the experts from Podcasters' Society. Much of this information has matured since my previous episode, “How to Help the Podcasting Industry Grow” (episode 265). You have the most power to help podcasting grow Because podcasting is a grassroots industry, we independent content-creators and podcast-fans are the best evangelists to encourage more people to try a podcast. 1. Share and talk about your favorite podcasts Like how you talk about your favorite TV shows, movies, and music with friends, family and coworkers, include podcasts in those conversations! Especially with today's political environment, it could be great to offer content relevant to current conversations, but without all the definite big-media bias or limited coverage. 2. Explain the podcast content, not the podcasting technology While there is a place to walk people through the technology of podcasts and how to subscribe, the most important thing is to get people interested in the content. Do your favorite podcasts make you laugh? Do they encourage you to become better? Do they motivate or equip you? Sharing these are more engaging than explains RSS feeds, enclosures, downloads, and more. You can even help attach this content to a trigger, like commuting or doing a chore. Explain the content you can enjoy during those mundane activities. 3. Simplify the podcast-consumption experience Instead of simply referencing podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music, or more, point others directly to where they can listen—even if that doesn't mean subscribing yet. For example, you could share the direct link to your media file, so no matter where they are, they can click and listen. You could rotate through different types of links, such as direct media URL, link to Apple Podcasts for their iOS device, a link to your website with an obvious player, and so on. 4. Help people find podcasts they'll like Often, your podcast may be irrelevant to the person you're talking to. So it's more important to help podcasts grow, and not grow your own podcast. Ask about hobbies, favorite TV shows, work industry and suggest podcasts that fit those interests. You could even keep in mind a few general-interest podcasts you can recommend, such as The Story Behind.  Pay attention to other places where independent podcasters share their shows, or even places like New & Noteworthy, to know what podcasts could be great to recommend. Also consider having a list of kid-friendly podcasts you can recommend, as many parents may be interested in playing podcasts for their kids (through a mobile device or smart speaker). You want someone else's podcast to be something so relevant to them, that they get hooked. 5. Teach how to subscribe After you have gotten someone hooked on podcast content they'll love, then you can teach them how to subscribe so they receive every episode automatically. Instead of likening podcasts to the radio, it might be easier to liken them to audiobooks. While you may have a podcasts app you love after trying dozens, make it simpler for the person you're talking to. Point them to the podcast app that may already be installed on their device, point them to a free app they can install, or even consider giving them a few dollars for them to pay an app you recommend. 6. Make your own podcast as easy as “visit website; press play” and include the top subscription links When it's relevant to promote your own podcast, the best way is to point people to your own website. From there, they should see an obvious player and relevant subscription links. The best links to include are Apple Podcasts, Android (with SubscribeOnAndroid.com), and RSS. Test your own website and the podcast-consumption experience on mobile devices, because that's most likely how someone will visit your website. Thus, ensure the player works on mobile, it's large enough to tap with big fingers, and the site layout is optimized for the small screen. 7. Become an advocate in your local community Go to your local library, Chamber of Commerce, universities, or other associations and offer to teach a podcast workshop. This isn't to teach how to create podcasts, but how to consume them. Keep an eye on Cincinnati for some upcoming examples of how you might be able to become a local advocate for podcasting. 8. Teach your audience language they can repeat Instead of ensuring a verbatim tagline, be so consistent with your message that your audience can easily explain it to someone else. This comes from clarity and repetition. You must know what your show is really about and why it matters to others. 9. Celebrate International Podcast Day International Podcast Day is like our own “Got milk?” campaign. Use this day to further promote podcasts. If you believe in the power you and I hold to help podcasting grow, please share this episode! Thank you for the podcast reviews! Chef Robert, from the USA and host of The Happy Diabetic Kitchen, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “The help I need! Daniel, I have heard Dave Jackson talk about you for a very long time. So happy I decided to tune in. I just heard your most current episode. WOW great stuff and I admire your passion. …” Read the full review. Your reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser or Stitcher! Use My Podcast Reviews to get your own podcast reviews automatically checked daily and learn how to grow your audience with reviews! Need personalized podcasting help? I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast. Ask your questions or share your feedback Comment on the shownotes Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221 Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome) Connect with me Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android. Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET) Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more Follow @theDanielJLewis Disclosure This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Daniel J. Lewis
Podcast Status
Unknown
Started
Jun 18th, 2010
Latest Episode
May 26th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
355
Avg. Episode Length
43 minutes
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic
Language
English

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