THIS SHOW IS CURRENTLY ON HIATUS - PLEASE ENJOY THE ARCHIVE OF CONTENT FOCUSED ON MAKING PODCASTING BETTER. Where plenty of podcasts about podcasting (PAPs) tell you what to do, Podcast Pontifications gives you what to think about in podcasting. These insightful forward-looking episodes have one central tenet: Podcasting needs to be made better, not just easier. Designed for the working podcaster, these short-form episodes get you thinking about the future of podcasting and how you can better prepare yourself -- and your shows -- for the future. The goal is simple: help you develop critical thinking skills needed to make the best future-proofed podcast you can with the tools of today. Plus a few sneak previews of what might be coming tomorrow. Hosted by Podcast Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductee Evo Terra. This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: OP3 - https://op3.dev/privacy Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy Podsights - https://podsights.com/privacy
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- You Have Reached The End of Podcast PontificationsNot so long ago, it was possible to talk about the future of podcasting in relevant terms for every podcaster. But podcasting has evolved beyond those simpler times. So what do we do in these more complex times?I'm not gonna beat around the bush. What you are listening to or reading right now is the very last episode of Podcast Pontifications that I will make. This is it. I wrote out this long and detailed outline of a script that dug deep into why I'm making this decision and what I'm doing next... but I threw it out because it was a little—OK, a lot—self-serving. Brevity is better. Episodes should be as short as you can possibly make them, right? That's something you've heard me say before. So I might as well eat my own dog food. I'm choosing to shut down production of future episodes of Podcast Pontifications for a lot of reasons, but they all trace back to a single reality: Podcasting has outgrown my ability to keep up with all the changes. That's something that's likely not going to slow down anytime soon. So I'm doing the only logical thing to do when an industry gets this fractured, and you're just one person. I'm niching down. You know. That course of action I've suggested you do with your own podcast for years now?The niche I'm picking is fiction podcasting. No, not as a maker of fiction podcasts, which also precludes me from being a pundit. I'm simply not qualified to tell fiction podcasters what they should be thinking about. No, my role in fiction podcasting starts with curation and enabling. A couple of weekends ago, I sent out a special edition of this newsletter. If you skipped that, here's what you missed:I'm helping people who love fiction audio—audiobooks, audio drama, radio theater, etc.—to discover great fiction podcasts. Not when those productions start, but when they have reached the (or at least a) conclusion, providing an excellent listening experience. I'm doing this with a newsletter I call The End, which you can—and I hope you will—sign up for free! If you like watching fiction TV or movies and you haven't yet dipped your toes into the amazing world of fiction podcasting, you are missing out on some amazing stories. Stories that just might let you cancel one or more of those expensive streaming video services!
- How Can Podcasters Make Podcast Advertising Better?The podcast advertising business is once again taking it on the chin, blasted from inside the industry and out. What can podcasters and podcast listeners do about it?From ad buyers paying for podcast plays that ran inside mobile video games. 20-minute episodes with 20% filled with ads. People are getting fed up with advertising.If a popular podcast runs ads, it's guaranteed that more than one negative review will simply read: too many ads. A valid complaint leveraged against much of the content we watch on our TVs and mobile devices. Ads we can't avoid.But podcast creators can (and often do) offer ad-free options. And today, it's super easy. Subscription services built directly into Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Ad-free feeds via Patreon, Supercast, or Buy Me A Coffee. Or network-specific apps like those from Wondery+ and Realm. The real problems are related to friction and awareness. And there isn't much we as podcasters can do about the friction issue. That's a tech problem only really solved by Apple Podcasts. And not everyone listens on Apple Podcasts.But we podcasters can do something about awareness. We can make people aware that yeah, they are listening to an ad-supported feed, so expect ads. But also make them aware that there is an option (or options, I guess) to get an ad-free listening experience. And there's one other thing we podcasters can do: We can stop complaining about ads in podcasting. Production costs—like all costs—continue to rise. The quality bar continues to be raised higher and higher, causing podcast creators who rise to that new level to again incur more costs. Podcasting may still be a fun hobby to most, and I truly hope it stays that way. But the industry is driven forward by those who treat podcasting like a business. And for many, ads (and an ad-free option) is a very big part of the business.Let's at least accept that fact, shall we?-----Sponsored by:Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting company-----LinksGot a podcasting service?
- 2023: The Year Podcasting Has To PayPodcasting managed to survive a going-on-three-year global pandemic. But the podcasting industry is starting to feel those economic realities finally catching up to us. That won't end soon.2023 Is the year that podcasting has to pay. And by "pay" I mean pay for itself. And by "itself" I mean it has to make fiscal sense for the people writing the checks that power podcasting. If you're a fiscally responsible person who diligently balances their books each month or pay period to make sure you have enough money to do the things you both need and want to do in life either as a business owner or just a productive member of society—this is not a shock to you. But just read the headlines from podcasting over the last few months, and you'll see it's clearly a shock to some people who work in the business of podcasting.Unfortunately, that shock is now settling in, getting nice and cozy with us, and promises to be a part of podcasting for a very long time. It's up to us to figure out how we each deal with it.For those at the "top" and "bottom" (I hope the air quotes came through loud and clear) of podcasting, this solidifying reality isn't going to mean many changes in day-to-day life. Well-estabished, highly-downloaded, and money-making podcasts will continue to do well, assuming they remember to stay focused on who they are for and why they are there.It's a similar situation for the indie podcaster who's not in this for fame or fortune—OK, maybe a little fame, but still no fortune—but instead are in podcasting because podcasting is something they love doing. They aren't seeking much in the way of economic gain, so serious economic pressures on the podcasting industry have less of an impact on many indies.But for those in the middle of podcasting, it's a very different story. Those who work in the business of podcasting with a range of roles and skills from producer to service provider will be—and are—feeling the effects of the "right-sizing" (I hate that phrase) and pullbacks podcasting is facing at the business level today.Things are different today. I have many friends and acquaintances who either run or work for small to medium-sized podcasting-focused companies who are telling me things are different. Where it was easy for them to do things just six months ago—things like raising money for launching a new service, or getting a bigger ticket production greenlit, or snagging so
- Podcasting's Lack Of Blockbuster Hits Is A Feature, Not A BugIf the majority of the world isn't talking about one single must-listen podcast, the industry is dead. Right? Wrong. So very, very wrong. Here's why this mythical success metric needs to die. Every time there's a negative article focusing on podcasting's inability to generate blockbuster hits, I get a little stabby. Because here's the secret: you don't need to create a blockbuster podcast—because podcasting does not need blockbuster hits.I know that seems at odds with other forms of media. There's a blockbuster movie every three or for years that everyone is talking about. Every fall, there's a TV program or two that seemingly captures the entirety of the world. A single hit song dominates the airwaves for weeks or months, and there are best-selling books that "everyone" seems to have on their shelves or talks about over coffee.But in podcasting? Not so much. Not since 2014–2015, by some yardsticks. Here's what I have to say about that:So what?You were probably expecting me to break down all the reasons why podcasting is different from those other blockbuster-driven media channels. Like the distributed architecture we built into podcasting from day one. Or the relatively low entry barrier for creating and distributing podcasts. Or the fact that "it's a podcast" tells a potential listener nothing about the audio's actual content.All of those things are true and certainly contribute to why podcasting doesn't have blockbuster hits like other media forms have blockbuster hits. I shall return to my secret once again. So what?Podcasting doesn't need blockbuster hits to survive. Podcast creators—at least those who understand our industry—don't need blockbuster hits to survive. Yes, the podcast industry must demonstrate that popular shows can attract and retain large audiences. As more shows enter the space with much higher production costs, that will continue to be a driving need within our industry.But a podcast's audience that qualifies as "large and retained" need not mean everyone. That's another power of podcasting: Establishing an audience that's many orders of magnitude below everyone can still make the efforts pay off for all of a podcast's creators. That's what matters for many podcasters. That's what matters for many podcast networks. That's what matters for many podcast service providers wh
- Making Complex Podcast Tech Disappear With AlituPodcasting should be made better, not just easier! That's the motto I started this show with. And I still stand by it! But a lot has happened in five years. What if making it easier to podcast also made it better?#podcastinghttps://podcastpontifications.com/episode/making-complex-podcast-tech-disappear-with-alituOne thing that has me terribly excited for the future of podcasting is how the entire process of making a podcast has, for many, changed drastically in the last 20 years or so. Alitu, a service from The Podcast Host, is one of those services reimagining how podcasts are made. They're the Branded Benefits Sponsor of today's episode, and I recently sat down with Colin Gray to ask him how Alitu makes podcasting better.His answer surprised me. "We've enabled our users to forget about the tech behind it all so they can concentrate just on their voice and getting their message out to the world.That's the goal; to make the tech just disappear so creators can concentrate on their message."You may be looking at that with a marked note of skepticism, especially if you've not been keeping up with how much audio tech has advanced in the last few years. "We're deeply committed to automation," Colin goes on to say, making the bold statement that quite often audio "cleanup isn't something most podcasters should worry about. It should be fixed automatically, so we do it automatically. They're partnered with Dolby Audio, "who know audio back-to-front... to do automated audio cleanup, clearing the noise, adjusting levels, automatically doing de-essing and de-plosives" and more.I asked if Alitu was something for audio pros who are comfortable using high-end DAWs. "I know people who use Alitu to create one show, but then they use something like Audition to create another complex show where they want to have the full audio engineering experience and control," was his reply. Makes sense to me.Is it right for you? We're probably spending time and energy doing things that would be better left to software and systems. Systems and software that, frank
- Podcast Conferences, Cancel Culture, & Human DignityLarge podcast conferences are at a crossroads, with the podcasting community wondering how next year's conferences and beyond will be reshaped by the winds of change. Here are three possible futures.#podcastinghttps://podcastpontifications.com/episode/podcast-conferences-cancel-culture-human-dignityPhoto by Markus Spiske from PexelsBut before you say, "Ugh, not another hot take about the kerfuffle at Podcast Movement 2022"—rest assured, I'm not adding another hot take on what happened. Instead, I want to present three possible futures I believe are likely to play out for future podcast conferences—not just Podcast Movement.One quick caveat: There's no way in hell I'm going to "both sides" this issue. I've zero patience for deplorable people. And if you're already bristling at my use of that word, you have been warned.1. The Free-Dumb Future For Podcast ConferencesIf the free-speech-at-all-cost torchbearers are not curtailed, expect protests. Activist attendees with clever slogans on t-shirts. Panelists and presenters naming names. Disruptions from the audience toward panelists or presenters who seek to undermine democracy.2. The Status Quo Future For Podcast ConferencesEqually likely is a future where...nothing happens. I believe many event organizers and attendees are counting on this future. This keeps marginalized voices away, and conferences cater to the bigger, more monied side of podcasting.3. The Responsibility-First Future Of Podcast ConferencesOr perhaps podcast organizers do make a stand and carefully vet every speaker, sponsor, and possibly even attendee. Or more conferences like She Podcasts Live and BLK Podcast Festival come into existence.Will those conferences create echo chambers? They can, sure. Do they restrict "different opinions" from being presented and limit the inclusivity they claim to uphold? Oh, FFS. Give me a break. Anyone saying that is either being disingenuous or still has no idea what an asshole they sound like to the rest of us. If they want, they can—and probably will—form their own conference where th
- How Podcasting Can Encourage The Podcast Listening HabitPodcasting is like crack for your ears, many have said. Listen once, and they're hooked for life, right? Well... wrong. What do we need to do—as podcasters and an industry—to help build listening habits?It's a harsh reality that most people who listen to podcasts don't keep listening to podcasts. 62% of the US population +12 have listened, but only 26% frequently listen, according to Edison Research's Infinite Dial survey.I blame the podcast listening app makers. But I also blame us, the podcasters who provide the content to those apps. We could both do a better job of helping listeners develop the podcast listening habit.What happens when your Netflix series ends? Netflix immediately makes recommendations. Not after the credits. But during them. And it works.What happens when you reach "the end" of an ebook on your Kindle? Amazon is making recommendations. Not after the book's back matter. And it works.Why aren't podcasting apps doing that? Podcast apps are the ones that actually own the relationship with the listeners. So yeah, it's on them! Or is it?How do they know when the end of a series or a season has been reached? We have a tag for that, but not all podcast hosts support it. How can we get better at giving app makers more data?And what do app developers do on the vast majority of podcasts that don't have proscribed endings but just keep going? Recommend a new show too quickly and piss off a lot of podcasters. There isn't an easy answer. So what do you think we should do?-----Sponsored by:Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting company-----Links-----Edison Research's Infinite Dial 2022 surveyThe moth jokeProposed podcast index namespace tag <podcast:complete>Got a podcasting service?
- Getting Past Your Personal Podcasting HumpsIt's almost impossible to make a good podcast without listening to great podcasts. But it probably takes more than listening to get from good to great. The secret is learning those not-hidden secrets.I recently discovered the secrets to restaurant-quality eggplant parmesan and crave-able Manhattans. Only they weren't secrets. They were just things I'd overlooked or rushed through. Tiny things learned when I (finally) asked people who were better than me.One thing was clear with decades of hindsight: eating and drinking great examples of both wasn't the answer. No, I needed to learn secrets (that aren't secrets) from people better than me.The same is likely true if there are parts of your podcast you want to improve. You just don't know how to make them better. And listening to more great podcasts doesn't seem to be helping.So ask. Ask a podcaster you admire. Don't ask how you can become as good as they are. Share your specific, personal pain points. Don't say, "listen to this and see what you think." Tell them where YOU think you need to improve. And if you're going to Podcast Movement 2022, you'll have an excellent opportunity to ask for help from some of the best.See you there!-----Sponsored by:Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting company-----Links-----Podcast Movement 2022Got a podcasting service? Become a sponsor of Podcast Pontifications.Serious about podcasting? Join the Advancing Podcasting Community today!-----Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media. New episodes are released weekly, providing ideas and questions every serious podcaster should be thinking about. It's created and hosted by
- Avoiding The Perils Of Un-aligned Podcast AdviceFinding advice on how to make your podcast better is easy. Knowing what advice to take and what to ignore is trickier. Before implementing any advice, take a close look at the agenda behind that advice. The agenda you have for your podcast is not the same agenda I have for my podcast. The same goes for every other long-time podcaster or podcast consultant. We all want people to keep listening and tell their friends. But what are our real agendas? And how closely do they align with your agenda?Your agenda is not your podcast hosting company's agenda. Or any hosting company's agenda. They create advice designed to keep their business in business by attracting more people to their service. But how well is their general advice aligned to your agenda?Your agenda is not a podcast listening app's agenda. They might make it easy for people to listen to your show on their app. But it's the "on their app" that they care about more than "your show."I'm not disparaging the advice offered by pundits, consultants, hosting providers, or app developers. I'm just stating the obvious: all of that advice is, to one degree or another, serving their agendas first. Not yours.So... does anyone share an agenda with you? Sure! Your ad rep firm is probably very closely aligned if you run ads on your show. Because when your ad revenue grows, the amount they make from your show grows. Win-win!The same goes for the agenda of your staff (employees, contractors, service providers). Your show succeeding means they keep a paycheck. That's a definite shared agenda! So listen to them. Listen to others (like me), sure. But listen most closely to those who share your same agenda, podcaster. -----Sponsored by:Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting company-----Links-----Got a podcasting service? Become a sponsor of Podcast Pontifications.Serious about podcasting? Join the Advancing Podcasting Community today!-----
- How Podcasters Can Generate Great Ideas For Social Media PostsPosting about your podcast on social media without posting ONLY about your podcast can be exhausting. I can't fix that, but I can give you 10 questions to ask yourself that make for great social post ideas. #podcastingPutting words into print or performing solo in front of a camera are necessary social media skills. But neither often comes naturally to podcasters who are most comfortable behind a microphone.Still, social media is part of the game podcasters play. And we know we can't get by just posting a link to our latest episode and thinking we've covered all our social media bases. Yet that damned blank text field or panic-inspiring selfie view that signals the start of a social media post haunts many podcasters. So here are ten quick questions to ask yourself the next time it happens to you:1. Did someone recently leave you inspired with a new episode idea? No need to wait for the final episode to publish. Share and tag that person!2. Did you recently record a fantastic interview? Again—tag 'em and share it! Next time, as soon as you end the recording session.3. Has anything changed in your podcast tech stack? Some in your social circles will find this interesting enough to see what's new.4. Did you recently schedule an episode? Let your audience know you've just scheduled a fantastic episode, even if it won't come out for days or weeks.5. Have you learned something new? If you picked up a new trick or technique you're excited about putting into place on your podcast—share that! 6. Did you just sculpt the most fantastic bit of sound?Take a screenshot of your DAW and use it as the background of an audiogram showcasing your mad skillz. 7. Have you made any personnel changes?Tag your new hires or your new outsourced vendors and tell your audience why you're excited.8. Have you been noodling on writing an article?All of today's social media properties allow for long-form content. 9. Are you frustrated, scared, or facing yet another existential crisis?Open up and be vulnerable about that reality. That sort of honesty is almost always repaid with an outpouring of support.10. What's happening?If all else fails, post about your life. No, not every single thing about your life is something that should be posted on social media. But at
- In The Future, Podcast Discoverability Will Be SpecializedPodcast discovery isn't broken. It's just not one thing. And it gets a lot easier to improve podcast discoverability when a podcast listening app specializes in just one type of content. So... how's that going?Photo by DS stories from PexelsFour years ago, I dreamed of a rather different podcast listening by the year 2026. Since we're at the middle point of that "prediction" (it wasn't a prediction), let's see how my prognostication is trending. (It wasn't a prognostication.)My vision for future podcast listening apps was that some of them would start to specialize. Rather than trying to service the needs of all podcast listeners, they'd narrow their focus, customizing the entire experience, from discovery to listening.And that would be pretty cool, I thought, because there are lots of types of podcasts that would lend themselves to a more customized experience rather than work sorta-kinda OK on the one-size-fits-all podcast listening apps.My prediction (again, not a prediction) seems to be coming true! I know of two apps that have done this in wildly different ways by focusing in on wildly different types of content.The first is Apollo, customized to finding and listening to fiction podcasts. It's similar to many listening apps but lists only a few thousand shows. But the experience is tailored because listening to fiction podcasts differs significantly from listening to an episodic interview show.The second is Maps.fm (I'm on their advisory board) that smartly focuses just on localized content, using a map-based interface for discovery. Again, they don't have every episode of every podcast. But they are working on indexing every episode that is about a particular geographical area. And that's just two. I'm sure there are some I don't know about. So yeah, I think my vision (totally wasn't a vision) is coming true. Here's to seeing what the next four years bring!-----Sponsored by:Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting company-----Links-----
- 5 New Reasons To Write Better Podcast Show NotesToo many podcasters skip a key step when publishing: the episode details. Or show notes, as you've likely called them. This helpful text isn't optional. It's required. And I'll give you five new reasons why.Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from PexelsFour years ago, I implored my fledgling audience to spend more time making better episode details. "Stop writing shitty show notes!" I said. That's still excellent advice. But the reasons why have changed a lot since 2018. That, and not everyone heard my plea, so I'm making it again but updating it to reflect 2022 realities for podcasting. Reason #1: Podcast players are getting better. They're more functional, often giving listeners plenty of reasons to interact with the episode as it plays. Other shows are doing it. You should be too.Reason #2: Podcast credits are becoming a thing.I love hearing 2–3 minute credit rolls. What I don't love is not knowing the proper spelling or knowing where to find more about that important person. Text! Links! Images! Please? Reason #3: Episode details are a good SEO practice.Yes, podcast apps suck at search. But some are getting better, and more of us making solid episode details encourage more app developers to take this issue seriously.Reason #4: Episode details make for great repurposed content!Twitter threads. Long-form posts on LinkedIn. An idea generator for spreading the episode far and wide. A savvy podcaster will find plenty of uses for a well-written summary.Reason #5: Good episode details prime you to do more in the future.Listening apps are evolving and adding more functionality. So getting in the habit now of taking the time to write quality episode details will keep your eye on the future. -----Sponsored by:Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting company-----Links-----The Download
- Changing The Minds Of Non-Podcast Listeners One IHNI At A TimePodcasters have a lot of jobs. One we don't often think of is being ambassadors for podcasting. But it's an important job if we're to grow the entire podcasting pie. Start by having some IHNIs at the ready.https://podcastpontifications.com/episode/changing-the-minds-of-non-podcast-listeners-one-ihni-at-a-timeWhat's an IHNI? That's a podcast episode that makes someone—someone who thinks podcasts aren't for them—look up and say "I had no idea podcasts could sound like this!"Spoiler: A lot of people feel that way. Bad experiences, misconceptions about what podcasting is... there are myriad ways why someone thinks that. The best way to break that cycle? Show them an amazing podcast episode!Do I mean an episode of your podcast? Not necessarily. Or likely, even. Set aside your self-interests for a moment. You're trying to get someone hooked on podcasting, not your podcast!Many podcasts—like mine—aren't the right choice for reluctant listeners. So we have to go out of our way to find podcast episodes that will knock someone's socks off.When you find one, save it on your phone. I use Spotify for this, as it's not my daily driver, but almost everyone has Spotify on their phone. And having my Your Episodes folder filled with exquisite examples of what podcasting can be makes me a good ambassador when I encounter a hesitant listener.You can do it too. Build your own list of INHIs. And the next time you hear someone say "yeah, podcasting isn't for me", you'll have a great opportunity to show them a better way.-----Sponsored by:Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting company-----Links-----Sturgeon's law@evoterra on TwitterThe Creators reportTwenty Thousand Hertz
- Breaking Free Of The Podcast Sandwich ParadigmListening to podcasts is like eating a submarine sandwich. Making a podcast is like making a submarine sandwich. But too many podcasters try to make one like they eat one. Let's fix that.Photo by Alex Green from PexelsDo you eat a submarine sandwich (hoagie) from the middle? Of course not. That would be silly. You start eating at one end. And you keep eating from that same end until you reach the other end. Or until you give up, decide you don't care for it, run out of time to finish, or just stop when you've had your fill That's exactly how podcasts are consumed. They're started from the front, not the middle. You listen from the beginning and you keep listening until you reach the other end. Or until you give up, decide you don't are for it, run out of time to finish, or just stop when you've had your fill.Sandwiches and podcasting have something in common when we "eat" them. But not when we make them.Sandwiches aren't assembled one bite at a time until they form a complete sandwich. But for a lot of podcasters, that's exactly how they make their podcasts. Because they don't know of any other way. Or they get turned on by all the new gear and software designed to make record-and-release podcasts.Can you do that? Sure. But I don't think you should. There are more appropriate places for the record-and-release style of audio, many of which didn't exist just a few years ago.A linear style of producing spoken word, where you start at the beginning and progress until you get to the end, adding in the music, guests, co-hosts, segments, effects, and whatever else is needed in real-time... we call that live radio. Or live streaming. Or social audio. Or whatever comes next that makes it even easier just sit down and talk. But I think we're already seeing a division in audiences and audience expectations. Those that want that kind of raw, in-the-moment experience. And those who want content that's been edited, shaped, and transformed into something that can only be experienced as a podcast. Take a look at any ranker or chart and you'll see that today's podcast listeners are voting for the kinds of shows that take more time and care than can be put into a linear record-and-release style of show or platform.
- Podcast Growth & Monetization With Buzzsprout AdsGrowth and monetization are at the top of every podcaster's wish list. At least every podcaster who's yet to achieve those two things. Or perhaps not at the level said podcaster is happy with for their own show.Buzzsprout aims to change the growth and monetization question with a new product they've just released called Buzzsprout Ads. And interestingly enough, they're tackling both of those challenges—growth and monetization—with the same solution. A solution built for indie podcasters of all sizes.Alban Brooke, Head of Marketing at Buzzsprout, thinks the new service is a great way for indie podcasters to get massive reach with promos for their podcast. And he says it's a great way for Buzzsprout podcasters to monetize their podcast.Buzzsprout Ads is pretty clever, with a dead-simple signup process for would-be promoters (like me!) On the other side, their system intelligently analyzes all episodes of a podcast to find just the right mid-roll spot. And yes, the podcaster can adjust those. How does it get scale from smaller indie podcasters? Because it's inserting ads into the entire catalog of episodes, not just the most recent. Long tail, FTW! CPM is set at $20 and the podcaster makes 70% of that. Minimum buy for promoters is currently $100. And yes, I have ads running right now. Let me know if you hear them on another podcast about podcasting! And if you want to try it for yourself, go to buzzsprout.com/ads and give it a shot for your own podcast. Let me know how it goes. Full disclosure, Buzzspout is the Branded Benefit Spnosor of this episode. But that $100 I spent was all mine!-----Sponsored by:Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting company-----Links-----buzzsprout.com/adsAlban Brooke, Head of Marketing at BuzzsproutGot a podcasting service?
- 3 Podcasting Trends To Take You Beyond 2023Politicians get in trouble for flip-flopping on issues. But for podcasters, changing opinions and approaches is a survival tactic. Think about these three questions over the next few months to prep your show for 2023 & beyond. Photo by cottonbro from PexelsToday I'm sharing with you three challenges on the horizon that will require shifts in your/our ways of thinking. I'm convinced that all of these will leave a mark on podcasting. What shape and what color that mark is I really don't know. Much of that is up to you and how you deal with them for your own podcasting efforts. 1. Dissing Of Programmatic Has Got To StopThis ongoing fad of dissing programmatic content is counter-productive. And yes, I have read the exact same studies you read that show how much more "effective" hard-to-buy, baked-in, endorsement-style, host-read ads are. I just don't believe that the majority of companies eager to spend money on easy-to-buy programmatic ads care about those studies. So even if you are anti-programmatic ads, at least be open to having your mind changed. I'd hate to see you miss out on opportunities because you thought you protecting your audience. They're probably not as fragile as you think. 2. Stop Ignoring VideoFor the new group of "listeners" coming to podcasting, there is an assumption that video will be and should be a part of their podcast experience. And when they don't find that video component on your podcast, they're going to wonder why you aren't providing that experience for them.I think the question you need to start asking yourself over the next few months needs to shift away from Do I need a video component? to line up with the question those people are already asking: What's stopping you from having a video component? 3, Lean Into Paid Subscriptions"Podcasting should be free and open!", I can hear you shouting at me right now. I'm good with that! But having the majority of podcasting be free and open doesn't preclude a paid-for and closed subset of podcasting. Nor does a paid-for and closed subset of podcasting threaten the free and open majority of podcasting. Not in my mind. I think they can live happily side by side, simply b
- Creative Ways To Get More Ad Dollars For Your Smaller PodcastBig Podcasting seems almost designed to collect advertising dollars, with very little left for small to mid-sized podcasts. Rather than fighting for table scraps, maybe the narrative needs to be changed.Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from PexelsBig advertisers like to spend money on big shows simply because it's easier than spending money on smaller shows. Magellan AI tells us the top 15 advertisers are spending more than $1.3 million on podcast ads each month. At an average CPM of $25, that's a lot of M's to manage. About 52 million impressions, in fact. If you're that ad buyer, how many podcasts do you want to spread your money around? The answer is as few as possible. Put yourself in their shoes, with a $500,000 media budget (1/3 of what the top advertisers are spending). Would you spend it $1000 at a time across 500 shows? No, of course not. How about $50,000 across 10 shows? Maybe. But $100,000 across 5 shows makes it even easier on you. And yeah... for the same return.That's not good news for shows that aren't generating millions of downloads per episode. How are shows with more modest audiences supposed to compete? By not competing, actually.Good luck trying to justify why spending $500 on your show is worth some insanely high CPM of $50 to $200 or more. That's a fight you're going to lose nine times out of 10. Instead, reframe the conversation. Don't even use the language of advertising. None of it! Offer custom sponsorships and partnerships big shows simply won't do because they don't need to.Branded segments. Branded episodes. Or a series of branded episodes. Each produced in conjunction with the sponsor. Solid, valuable content that you can only make because of the involvement of that sponsor. Smaller companies are often looking for ways to outdo (but not outspend) their bigger competitors. Getting creative and providing real value through clever partnering and sponsorships that only your show can deliver sure sounds like that's something worth trying regardless of your show's size.-----Sponsored by:
- Can You Still Make A Really Big Podcast In 2022?Today's podcast landscape is busy. So is it still possible to grow a really big podcast? Yes, but you can't rely on just good content and luck. You have to address these five realities. (And get a little lucky.)What does it take to have a really, really big podcast in 2022? It'll take more than just making great content. It'll take more than satisfying your audience. If you're not content to let your show grow over time, you have to do more. Sorry, there isn't an easy-to-follow recipe to creating a really, really big podcast. If there was, everyone would follow it. But I can, perhaps, help you out with the mindset it takes to have a really, really big podcast today.Realize That Reality Trumps A BHAGIf your goal is to have the number one podcast in your category, knocking the current leader out of their position, or to just the top 10 list, do you know what it takes to get on that list? Do you know what the shows that are already on the list have done to get there? Maybe you've set a goal of 100,000 downloads per episode so you can monetize seriously. Cool. Do you have the first idea of what you need to do to make that happen? How did other shows do it? Are you banking on luck to get you there? Become Undeniably UniqueIf you want to have a really big podcast that defines the category, it needs to be demonstrably different. You can't sit back and rely on guests or other contributors to do the heavy lifting. You have to put in the work. And it doesn't stop with episodes. You have to ensure your undeniable uniqueness carries through to all aspects of your show: your website, your social media shares, heck even the emails you send. If that means changing how you communicate on other channels... well, that's a price to pay for having a really big podcast.Your Angle Is More Important Than Your Topic Why should anyone listen to what you have to say on a topic? Especially if it's a topic that already is well covered, as most topics already are. To break out, you have to develop and pursue an angle that clearly demonstrates why you and your podcast are worthy of being called the authoritative voice. This Is Going To Cost Money So Make Sure It's Worth It Having a really big podcast today almost certainly means putting a sizeable marketing budget behind it. And by sizeable, I may mean jaw-dropping amounts
- Podcasting: Too Diverse To Fail?The next few months are looking pretty rough for podcasting. And just about every other industry. Historically, podcasting has proven itself to be rather resilient. But there are lean times ahead. Are you prepared? #podcastingPhoto by Robert Bogdan from PexelsEverything just looks... bad right now. War in Europe. A down market. High inflation. Personal liberties revoked. Even crypto is tanking. So to ask the question outright: can podcasting survive the coming storm? Yes. But not because it's too big to fail. Because podcasting is too diverse to fail.First, some good news: I'm stoked to welcome Tom Webster to the Sounds Profitable team. Both Tom and Bryan share in my commitment to make podcasting better, and you're going to love what we're cooking up. OK. Back to the bad news:I don't know a single serious podcaster who isn't looking at the world around them and wondering just how their world will change in the coming months. Me included.But I'm convinced that podcasting will survive simply because I don't see podcasting, or even podcasters, as a monolithic group. But that doesn't mean all podcasters will survive. Candidly, I think "big podcasting" will face the brunt of the onslaught, with casualties expected. Faced with financial pressures, businesses start cutting costs. And one of the first line items to be cut is always advertising and marketing. And podcasting is often under that umbrella. If you're getting paid to run ads on your show, you may see some of your advertisers pull back. So start having conversations with those advertisers now or your agency rep now. And be ready to be flexible and creative.If you're pursuing paid campaigns for the growth of your show, start talking to the other shows, sites, and services you advertise on to see what their plans are. And watch your performance metrics!If people or companies pay you to podcast on their behalf, start talking to your clients and help assuage their fears. And if you get the impression th
- Big Tech Doesn't Care About Your PodcastBig tech provided podcasting's first shot in the arm in the early days. In fact, big tech often provided the catalyst for several inflection points in podcasting's history. But recently, the tide seems to be shifting. Photo by Michelangelo Buonarroti from PexelsBig Tech does not care about podcasting the way we care about podcasting. There. I said it.Remember Twitter's big podcasting plans from just a few weeks ago? Now it's a pretty safe bet that those plans are all out the window as Twitter reshuffles to a new set of priorities now that there's a new sheriff in town. And remember a few months ago when Facebook let us link our podcasts' RSS feeds to our Facebook page? That fizzled out, and it's now "Metaverse or bust".And now we're waiting to learn more about YouTube's plans for utter podcast domination. And we've conveniently forgotten about all other instances Google disappointed podcasting over the last two decades.Paid subscriptions on Apple and Spotify haven't yet been widely adopted by a majority of podcasters. Will those tech giants shift away?Social or drop-in audio apps are seeing appalling attrition and declining user rates. How much longer will those be around?All of this reinforces my notion that Big Tech does not care about podcasting. At least not the way that you and I care about podcasting. So what do we do about it? Two ideas:1. Out-rank apps & directories. You don't have to know a damned thing about SEO to own the #1 search spot for your show. It's enough to write good content and create a fantastic on-page experience.2. Own the relationship with your audience. That can't be taken away. But it means figuring out what you can create that's worthy of them signing up to receive and looking forward to receiving. That's just two things. Two things you can start working on right away to keep you from being at the whims of cha