Many times people will have an idea and talk to other people and then run with that plan. This also happens in the world of podcasting also. Many times people will start a show without really knowing who their audience is. Even professionals do it. Here is proof…
The Tidal Flop
The famed rapper Jay Z had an idea. He saw how much money was being given to Spotify Pandora, and even Deezer. These are all streaming services that run on a subscription base. Jay Z also heard the lower quality of this music. If you know any Audiophiles they will go on and on about how horrible the sound quality is of this service and why mp3’s are so terrible. If you want to truly hear music and all the different nuances of the craft of audio engineering you need to have a High dollar system with specs and details that will cause an engineer to stop and scratch his head. Then you can almost see each note as its gorgeous reproduction is birthed in the being from $3000 speakers. Jay Z is an obvious Audio snob, and that is OK. Most podcasters become audio snobs too.
So in a fit of euphoric excitement Jay Z had an idea. He was going to have his own streaming service. This service would serve only the highest of high quality audio, and the cherry on top would be he could then charge a premium price for his service. Great idea! Who doesn’t like to have the best? People buy iPhone because they are the best. People buy Versace because they perceive it to be of high quality and worth their money. People buy the best that they can afford.
Jay Z launch Tidal streaming and it is not doing well It hasn’t been received well and it has not taken off at all. So much so that Jay Z throws a tantrum here recently. Because they will buy iPhones and Nike shoes but they will not buy his service.
Now why do you believe his service failed? Is it because the lack of quality? Is it because he charged too much? No to both. The problem I see is that Jay Z didn’t know his audience. He is used to being around people who can spend 5000 as freely as a fat kid can spend 5 bucks at a candy store. So he is, in a way, out of touch of his audience. Jay Z is roughly worth $550 Million. Yet who is listening to his music? Who is spending $.99 for his MP3’s or even $10 for his album? It is not his friends it is the people who look up to him, i.e. inner city kids, up to middle class kids. Yeah you have some young adults and older, and often the older demographics are also in the lower income brackets. What does this equal out too?
Money! Yes Jay Z fans they may scrimp and save and store away a little money to be able to get the latest Jordan’s that come out, and buy that new iPhone or Apple watch because it is a onetime purchase. That is something that can be saved up. A service where you stream high quality music cost a lot of money something that money doesn’t come out of thin air. It has to be toiled over sweat has to be spilt in order for it to be made. So Money that was diverted for those new Air Jordan’s is then reallocated to the old place after purchase. Since that is the case many people are not able to hold on to a service that is also eating up their data plan like a hungry caterpillar. So Jay Z didn’t understand who is audience was and in doing so he has to blame someone who is not his audience.
The Power of your Audience
So what is this long sad tale of the woes of Jay Z about? Know you audience. Picture your audience in your head or if you can find a picture that best represents that person then put it up where you can see it when you are recording. Know who your audience is. What their problems are about. Their problems may not be your problems so you may be going on a tract that is not helping your audience and there for your show is not growing like you want. Listen to your audience and answer their calls. Help them out let your audience know that you are there for them, and they will be more willing to spend that money on you instead of a Starbucks coffee. Provide value that your audience members can afford. Many times if you over sell they will find a way to repay you for all the value you deliver. Know you audience understand your audience, and these people will happily move mountains for you.
Social Media Tips
This is a new section that is going to appear in each week. I will talk about tips and tricks to help you fully engage your audience and help them get to know you. Twitter is the topic chosen because most podcasters have a Twitter account but some are just learning about twitter. They have been Facebook for a long while and just now starting to wade into the often confusing torrent of posts known as Twitter.
More Celebrities starting podcasts Jerry Springer is starting a show called “Tales, Tunes and Tomfoolery” it is on his site. So, I will be signing up to see what dreg of society he pulls up here, or maybe he is going to be different.
A website is your home on the internet. It is also your online store front. People who visit our site are attracted to some of the bright and shiny things that are on our pages. Yet there are also Portions of your site that are not seen by a single person unless they look at the source and wonder, “How did they do that?” Often many WordPress plugins are not so much visible as they are being evident because of their particular task. There are several plugins that almost required installs and then there are those that are needed in a case by case basis.
Advanced Image Styles – There was a time that WordPress had a few advanced features when it came to styling of your images you placed in your blog post. A few updates ago Automatic took that feature out and thanks to Dave Jackson mentioning the same problem on School of Podcasting. I use this plugin for one reason I can add a buffer space around one side of my image or around all four sides of an image. Custom CSS attributes and link attributes can be set for each individual image.
Akismet – The Spam buster! If you have a WordPress blog then you have spam. Spammers know what file on your site, they need to hit to send out poorly worded, misspelt, links to questionable websites. A great way to keep these bot comments from seeing the light if the day is to use the Akismet plugin. There is no downloading needed. This Plug in comes installed already by Automatic. All you have to do is activate it and get an API key over at the Akismet website. You can use this for one email address for free. It is worth paying for. This plugin will drive the amount of time spent double checking a comment that sounds kind of fishy by instantly knowing if it is fishy and removing it.
Blubrry PowerPress – At first there was PodPress and the developer of this plugin gave up and just left it to fend for itself. Shortly after a WordPress update, The Plugin was mortally wounded and dying. This could have been the end of this once great plugin. Yet, it was found by Blubrry was revived and improved. To the point that it is now the most popular podcasting plugin in the WordPress Plugin repository! HAZAA! Yea the story of PowerPress is just about that epic, and is improving with each update.
In all seriousness this plug in is does all you could need to be able to submit your podcast feed to iTunes. PowerPress adds the needed iTunes tags to a podcast specific feed so your RSS feed doesn’t get too big with all of the non-podcast blog posts you my add to your site. This plugin also give you a player to place in your show notes post to help people discovering your site to be able to listen and enjoy your content.
CryptX – You want it to be easy for your fans to be able to contact you. Yet, you also don’t want your inbox full of Canadian drug spam. So how do you keep your email address visible while at the same time not opening up to the spambots? CryptX is that solution. Though the magic of their programing. You can type out your real email address and bots will only see garbled gunk. So your audience may see firstname.lastname@example.org but you will not get extra notices that there are Hot Russian Brides looking for you. Which honestly who believe that?
Google Analytics by Yoast – Setting up Google analytics can be a little daunting if you do not know how to navigate the editor in WordPress. Where should you put your Analytics code? This plug in does all the hard work for you. Just enter your analytics id, which is the UA-XXXXXXXXXX code and then if the desire hit you and you don’t want to show up in your own analytics you can set it so that Admins do not register on your analytics.
Google Analytics Dashboard – another little plugin by Yoast and this adds the Analytics graph to your admin dashboard. Simple and sweet
JM Twitter Cards – Twitter has a great feature called twitter cards and this plugin helps you get your twitter card all setup so that they work the way they need to. You still have to setup everything that is needed to be set up on Twitters side but all the settings that you have to do one your side are handled by this plugin. You can validate that all is good or if there is a problem. It will add the required rules for Twitters bots to the Robots.txt file. It even has deep linking for your iPhone, iPad, and android apps.
Little Hippo (Makes your BIG job small) – One of the most over looked SEO elements are your images. Often there may be a title but it is not long enough or the Alt tag was forgotten. Little Hippo will help you correct these little SEO problems in one centralized area. If your description is a little short. You will get a notice. The first time you set it up you may be there for a while because you didn’t realize how many elements were forgotten. Well at least I was
Pretty Link Lite – This isn’t just for podcasters and redirecting to your podcast episode. This valuable redirection plugin helps in anytime you need to redirect a URL to a different location, whether it is on your site or to a different site. Pretty Link is invaluable
Use Google Libraries – There are lots of JS files on your WordPress site. And having to download these files each time can take a while. For your listener it may seem like an eternity. Each download also takes up valuable resources on your host. The best way to fix the problem is allow someone else host the common JS files. And why not just let the largest website in the world with the best Content Distribution Network send out those files? That is the Google Libraries and this plugin will help shave a few seconds off of your site.
WordPress SEO – Maximize your SEO and get tips and hints on how your SEO is working with a particular keyword. For each post
WP-DBManager – Back your database up and clean it up with this plugin
Append Link on Copy – There are website scrapers like Buzzfeed that will just take portions of your site and repurpose it for their needs. This will help credit your work for your site.
As Heard On – If you are often interviewed this is a great way to pay back the favor and show people other shows you have been on. This plug in is created by Dustin Hartzler of your Website engineer podcast
Better Click To Tweet – Great plug in for adding a clickable link for people to tweet a little quote from your
Better Writing – Having people being able to understand what they are reading is always a good thing. This plugin puts a widget on the sidebar of the post you are righting and lets you know if you are writing is being understood by using Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test. It produces a little dial that grades your post as you go.
Broken Link Checker – Sites come and go and broken links are bad for your SEO. It is good to have a process tell you if a link is good or bad so you can correct the problem quickly before Google sees it and reacts. This Plugin will email you a notice of any broken links found
Jetpack – yes a bit of a resource hog but there are a couple of good plugins in this one plugin the protect and Spelling and grammar checker are the reasons I use this plugin
Revision Control – WordPress backs up your revisions and can, after a while get a little unwieldy Revision control fixes this with the ability to lock revisions to how ever many you want.
My Shortcodes – Shortcodes are great when you figure out how easy they are. They make repeated entries like the Review the show action at the bottom of this page. Is a shortcode.
Official StatCounter Plugin – I like to have a secondary view of what my site is doing many times I will be able to get extra info or come to understand information a little better be suing a second analytics program I have chosen to use StatCounter small and as through as Google Analytics
PopupAlly – I was not one for popups for a long time but I have come to understand the power they have. As you may have noticed the pop up that shows on the site when you go to a particular page. Or when you try to leave. This is the results of this plug in. It ties into the Mailchimp and Awebber nicely
Related Posts – SEO wise you want links to your content. And this plugin links to content that is related to your posts. Now the reason that it is not in the recommended list is that it give suggested links in you post to sites outside of website.
Simple Share Buttons Adder – Social sharing is needed in today’s websites and this plug in is simple as it claims.
Smart Youtube PRO – I like this plugin because of the options it provides
Social Media Feather – Allows for links to your social media sites to be displayed at the top and bottom of your posts
Starbox – the Author Box for Humans – Microdata is needed also for SEO and Starbox adds the needed microdata to your posts for your author information.
Swiftype Search – custom search feature and allows for analytics as to what people are searching to be reviewed so you can cater to your audience’s needs
WordPress Editorial Calendar – When are you wanting that post to be published? This plugin gives you a calendar view of all posts and when they are going live. So you are able to choose what post should be released. By using an easy drag and drop feature.
Sites to use
What WP theme is that? – Often used to find out what plugin is being used on a site.
Google Webmaster Tools – helps with different problems you may be facing on your website
Google Analytics – This is a must have the information that is given is invaluable.
You home is your castle or that is how the saying goes. Your podcast has a home also it is called your website. your website is very important and as all things digital can be over run by people with too much time on their hand and misdirected motivation. These people are commonly referred to as Hackers. They may not attack your site directly but they are always looking for new sites that they can access for black hat means be it their own affiliate programs or so they can install malicious software onto your visitors computers.
The tactics these people use are sometimes amazing in execution, and results they are able to achieve border on Genius. Yet still their tactics are harmful and destructive by way of stealing viewers and/or money from your pocket. There is no way to 100% protect yourself from being the target of a hack but there are steps that can be done to keep yourself from being the easy low hanging fruit which is what hackers go after more often.
So how do you protect yourself
Update! Update! Update!
Update your WordPress
WordPress just updated to version 4.2 Powell and this update fixes a lot of “under the hood” bug fixes. This often means security fixes along with fixes to annoying problems. Updating your whole site is as easy as clicking the “Update Now” button. Though some people don’t like updating their sites because it could “Break” a plug-in or a whole site if the plugin is a part of a theme.
Update your Themes
With your site many plugin’s will either start updating their plugins before the release of a WordPress update. while others will update after the release if they are not privy to the pre-release. When you see these updates available update that theme. Many times the theme update will have the updated plugin and also repair security holes
Update your Plugins
WordPress plugins are nothing more that side programs that run in your WordPress environment. Much like how your browser runs on your Windows or iOS machine. Windows is the Operating system and your browser is a plugin. Your word processing software is a plugin. and you will get notices that these programs need to be updated from time to time.
Much like your programs you want and need to update your plugins. And update it as often as you can.Wordpress makes it easy to update and with the 4.2 update you are able to just go to your Plugins page and click on the plugin that needs the update and you will not even have to leave that page.
Remove all unused plugins
Many times you will find a different plugin that you want to try out and you find that it is better than the old plugin and so you start to have a Plugin graveyard of unused plugins. These plugins though are not being used still can provide a security hole for hackers to get in.
Back it up!
Back up your whole website and the Database. There are times that a hacker that is able to find his way into website. Will make a small change to a file in your WordPress site. This is his backdoor so when you fix the problem he is still able to get in. This spare piece of code can be anywhere. in your WordPress site. So, If you have a backup you can restore all of your files in one easy movement.
You also want to backup your database hackers love to remove that data when they hijack your site. So to keep you from losing all of your hard work, keep your database backed up once a week or No later than once a month.
Check for malware
There are several plugins that will help you check to see if you have malware
Securi Security – The Sucuri WordPress Security plugin is a security tool set for security integrity monitoring, malware detection and security hardening
Security Fence – does an inital scan that helps find any malware by referencing the core WordPress code.
Sucuri – https://sitecheck.sucuri.net/
ThreatSign – http://quttera.com/
Google Webmaster Tools is great for finding out if you are connected to a site that is causing your site to be red sites. or You are getting a “This site May Harm Your Computer” To find out just look in the “Security Issues” menu and if you have any malware that has been detected by Google it will be listed here for you to know what needs to be corrected.
Other tips you might want to use when securing your website.
Remove the Hello World blog entry and the default comment.
Remove the Admin username hackers look at this and see someone who is making it easy and has probably chosen an easy password. to make your site even tougher use Two factor authentication.
How to tell if your site has been hacked
The visible effects
Your page goes to a different site.
Your site is just different
Google Webmaster tools has a security section that will let you know what is causing your site to red sited or have the warning on the search result
your traffic stops
you start getting emails
Helpful plugins to use.
Wordfence – Great security plugin that also helps speed your site up.
BruteProtect – was actually acquired by Automatic and is not apart of Jetpack
Ways to protect your site
have a strong password the longer and more complex the better Use symbols numbers and letters. I heard there is one guy who uses his cars VIN number. A good suggestion could be an email address but not the email address you use for your site you might make up a Gmail or Yahoo address.
If there is more than one person with access to the backside of the WordPress site don’t make them admin unless you really trust them. If it is someone who is helping fix something in WordPress and then need admin access create their own login name and password and as soon as they are done remove their access. Some for if someone is leaves the group. Remove their access to the backside of the site asap.
Don’t install pirated premium plugins. almost every single one is going to have some malware code slipped into the plugin.
Podcasts.com you may of hear about this new “Free” site that is run by Emerge.com which apparently like to buy Descriptive name websites. like
and So I looked and I don’t know where they are getting this feed but they are pulling an old version of my cover art. But I decided to find out some simple questions
- With everything being free. How do you make money to be able to afford keeping the site up and running?
- I am not seeing anyway to get the direct download link to my MP3 files. How do I get to my files so that I can link them to my site? If there is no direct link for download then technically the show is not a podcast.
- Do you have stats?
- If I decide I want to leave to go to a paid service do you allow for me to redirect the feed?
- You seem to of grabbed an old version of my cover art and so how do I get the new updated version of the cover art up in its place?
Now the one item that I am finding a little odd is I remember signing up but I don’t remember adding this podcast to their line up. Because I was looking at maybe experimenting with this service. Then again if this service is just adding sites on its own I am not going to be too happy that is happening and reminds me of a service last year or so that thought podcasters should be kissing their backsides for putting them into their directory.
Then this post came out
My Podcast is at Podcasts.com – Without My Permission not good at all that they are doing this. I found my other podcast Finding Bryan listed here too and I know I didn’t add it. At the moment I am not going to spaz to much about it. WHY NOT! because I don’t know how they are making money once I see them leveraging my show to make money for them then, I will have some cross words.
Site 5 is the my choice for my website host. If you are interested in using Site 5 as your host, Sign Up
A few days ago, I was perusing the internet looking for new sites that talk about podcasting and I tripped over this website that was talking about how you can host your MP3 Files on Google Drive. I jumped in Guns blazing ready to take out these charlatans for spreading wrong information. After my rant about being a violation of Google’s TOS and that it doesn’t support Byte Range Requests the writer asked a good question. Where is this information. So I was ready to drop some knowledge bombs on this guy. Then I learned something.
Can you host Podcast Files with Google Drive?
Google Drive does not support web resources that make use of server-side scripting languages like PHP.
But still I was surprised that you could share your files that publicly on a site like Google Drive. but then there was the Byte Range Requests. Google’s not going to support Byte range requests. So, maybe I could save some face still. So I uploaded an MP3. Shared that folder. Then opened the shared link.
Saw the file and started playing the promo. As the file was playing I checked to see if Google was doing byte Range Requests and sure enough they are! Google does actually allow for you to do this server function. So yeah you can host your files and share them but if you look at actual link it is not direct link to the file. So how is the writer of this article able to use this as an actual podcast host?
The steps are fairly simple.
- Allow a Google Script access to your Google Drive account. It will create a shared folder labeled “Podcast#########” the # is a string of numbers.
- Then you upload a file in that script.
- You then click a link to get the Direct link like https://googledrive.com/host/0ByneYj3oEthrTmdhNjgxX21ma0U/HayrollingPromo1.mp3 you then have to remember “https://googledrive.com/host/0ByneYj3oEthrTmdhNjgxX21ma0U/” or you will have a whole new folder you will have to deal with each time, you go to post a new episode .
So there is a lot of work to go into trying to host on Google Drive for free, and the work is just as difficult using Dropbox or even Skydrive.
Dropbox’s TOS reads as follows
You’re free to stop using our Services at any time. We also reserve the right to suspend or end the Services at any time at our discretion and without notice. For example, we may suspend or terminate your use of the Services if you’re not complying with these Terms, or use the Services in a manner that would cause us legal liability, disrupt the Services or disrupt others’ use of the Services. Except for Paid Accounts, we reserve the right to terminate and delete your account if you haven’t accessed our Services for 12 consecutive months. We’ll of course provide you with notice via the email address associated with your account before we do so.
Another way to put it is, if you cause to much strain on their servers guess who has lost all of files. So there are risks that are being taken by trying to skirt the system.
Should you host with Google Drive?
Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. I take you, my ideal audience, seriously, and I have struggled to build a strong following. I wouldn’t risk losing to because a company, that has no problem shutting down a service (remember Reader), tomorrow. Not do I think Google is going to shutdown Drive? No they are making some money off of it. But all it takes is for people trying to share pirated software, and music to abuse the system and it is gone. I would rather apply my money to Libsyn or Blubrry
In closing you can do a lot of things you can chop a tree down with a sledgehammer and you can Use a hammer on a screw but it is not the best choice. With there being no free lunch, so you are paying in time and frustration when Google changes something and breaks your feed. In fact is you read the comments this is a common problem for many readers who did try this. I am not faulting them for trying to find a free solution to the hosting problem but I am finding out more and more, free is really expensive.
Listeners Email –
Just curious how you measure analytics on your podcast? Also, do you by any chance use podtrac/feedburner to give iTunes stats? It’s all so confusing!
Vanessa producer for Zestology
I started writing the response and as I kept going, I kept adding more information to the point that I asked if it was OK if I publish this for you to read. and Vanessa has graciously allowed me to share my response. So I wrote Using your Stats to find Your Listeners. Give Tony Wrighton and Vanessa I big hello and let them know you heard about them from Podcast Dojo.
The first episode of your show, oddly enough is a tough one to start, not just because you are afraid of what your voice sounds like or how bad your show will sound. What should the first show contain? Should you just jump into the content of your show as a whole, or would a good general introduction be in order? Do you tease who you are or just tell your whole story in that one episode?
What is episode 0?
Episode 0 is the, very first episode in your show listing. It is even before EP1, so it holds a special position of being in a position of no position. but it is also a strategy that many podcasters are using to point people to the introduction of Who the host(s) is/are, Why they started the show, What the show is going to be about, the topics and scope, and many other preliminary questions the host may believe the audience members may have about subscribing to the show.
I believe the introduction is a product of your society and putting out the customary greeting of “Hello! I am me and I want to get to know you.” There is nothing at all wrong with an introduction. In fact every podcast I have started has an introduction episode as its first episode. It is a means for the ice to be broken.
I use the intro as a means to tear down that first wall of suspsion, and for the host to extend that first relationship building handshake with a simple Hey how ya doing. This is why I am starting this show and I think your pretty rad (Do people even still use Rad?) for listening. Intro could be the imposter syndrome talking but if it helps conquer that particular fear than that is good also.
Now the Episode 0 also allows for people who don’t know you and will get you figured out along the way, to not be bored with your back story. Some Folks are don’t have time to listen to, why you started the show. They are just glad they found someone who might be talking about their favorite topic, and so they need to get the Show on the Road. Using an Episode 0 helps fix that problem.
With Episode 0 being in front of your “first” episode you can then put out the content that is meant for your show. This is helpful in a couple of ways. First of all iTunes. iTunes will not approve your show until you have at least one episode up, and if you have episode 0 and 1 up then people can get to know you faster if they choose or they can get straight to the sweet content and knowledge you are wanting to spread around. It can help with giving your audience what they want, and the ability to choose right off the bat.
So should you have an Episode 0?
Though I could say, “Yes make sure you get the episode 0 up and out before you do anything else.”
Yet the answer is no. If you don’t see the reason for an episode 0 then don’t do it. If you believe your episode 0 should tell your whole biography, as long as it is not too boring tell it. Tell it in a way that will truly engage your listeners. Share your story so it compels your podcast audience to tell their best friends about that insane event that happened.
What should you have in your episode 0?
If you do decide you want an Episode 0 there are some elements you might have listed in the show notes area.
- Your Promos
- Contact information
- Motto’s and other points that give people an idea as to who you are, and what you stand for.
- Links to your about page
Basically use this page as whatever way you feel it would work for your show.
The Patent Troll Personal Audio LLC has been defeated.
Blubrry is taking the reins to help Android users listen to podcasts.
Jeffrey Holbrook of The Daggers of the Mind Podcast and I had a great discussion on the site about Libsyn and WordPress You can join in the conversation. I enjoying the interaction and you guys are making me think which is what I love.
There has been a problem that Android users have suffered from since Android’s start. That problem being to quote Rob Walsh, “Google is not a podcasters Friend”. That is because Google doesn’t make it easy for podcast listeners to subscribe.
Normally a podcast listener on Android opens their podcatcher of their choice searcher for the podcast show they are interested in subscribing to. If they are not able to find it because of whatever reason. Then they have to do the multi-step trial of patients. Most podcast listeners give up before they even try these following steps. This is one of the reasons I do believe Google has failed their platform and not even tried to rectify the issue. This could also be the reason why listening to podcasts is predominantly Apples field and not more Android listeners.
The Traditional Steps were
- Find the website for the show
- Look to see if the RSS feed link is visible on the front page. If not, then the podcast listener may keep looking around till they find the rss feed’s address
- Once they have the RSS feeds address, the listener then copies the URL and pastes it into their Podcast manager.
These are way too many steps. The incredibly smart guys over at Blubrry have come up with a solution, and this solution is pretty innovative. The folks over at Blubrry have created the necessary protocols for podcast manager developers to add to their apps for the simple one click Subscribe on Android.
What it means for the Podcast Listener
How it works is easy. If your podcast player supports the Subscribe on Android, and you come across a podcast that has either the Subscribe on Android logo or uses the PowerPress WordPress plugin then when you click on the link, the podcast show will instantly subscribe in your podcatcher. Cuts out the hard work, by making it easier for you, the listener to subscribe to a show.
What it means for the Podcast Producer
Podcast Producers how you can help is by going to SubscribeOnAndroid.com and place your shows RSS Feed Url into the textbox press the “Subscribe on Android” button. If you scroll all the way to the bottom you will see Embed. Place that logo somewhere on your site, preferably in the same area as your other subscription buttons.. Even if you already use PowerPress. This will help the podcast listeners know that the podcast community is trying to help them by making it easier to consume podcasts.
Who supports the Subscribe on Android
As of the 10th of April Podcast Addict Version 3 is the only app that has the needed protocols but more will follow.
If you are a podcast manager developer
Then Subscribe on Android has the needed information for your app development so you can easily implement it into your app and help your listeners not have to work so hard. That information can be found under the For Developers section they lay out all of the needed details and by the looks of it it is only about 10 lines of code.
So give the guys over at Blubrry a big thank you! by using the Click to Tweet link below.
You record your podcast. You post it up, share it out to ALL of the social media sites that your audience is enjoying. Are they listening to your show? Are they listening how far along are they listening? How can I tell how many are listening?
Analytic and Statistical tools
Stats are a podcasters endearing frustration. We all look at them while some obsess and others just obsess at a lesser degree. And we should obsess about our podcast performance. Now to what level can be debated and we wont do that here.
What tools to many podcasters use to find out about their audience numbers? There are many and the common ones
The first tool is something all websites need to have in their arsenal. This can be Google Analytics or StatCounter this will let you know that there are people actually going to your web site and getting information. If you’re not getting any hits after the first month of opening the doors this will let you know that there is a problem you need to look into.
Also web Stat programs are good informing you of what your audience is wanting to know more about. If you look at the what your landing pages are, and combine that with the few keywords Google lets through, you can see what information the people coming to your site are after.
Now your WEB hosts stat program not quite the best because they show everything. Every little impression whether it is a spider crawling your site or a bot stuck in a loop. You can get many false bits of information. Good if you want an ego boost, bad if you want to help your audience.
Blubrry & Libsyn stats
There are several Podcast stat companies out there and there are more cropping up, but there are a few that are trusted in the community. Media hosting companies are pretty good in general but BluBrry and Libsyn both pride themselves in making sure to filter out the nonsense that can at times be generated because of bots and shady practices. Blubrry general stats are free but if you want to dig deep they are 5 dollars a month if you do not have hosting with them
Libsyn’s stats are for those podcasts that host with them, and are equally good.
Podtrac has positioned themselves as a podcast advertising firm but they have long been known for the free stats you are able to get through them. Compared to blubrry and libsyn their stats are good.
Feedburner was a blogging tool for people to be able to sort of track the people who subscribed to their RSS feed. The statistics it gives is there. I wouldn’t trust the numbers Feedburner says but as an RSS redirect I couldn’t recommend a better service.
Stitcher is a Podcast directory and Podcast player. This gives them a unique angle of being able to let you know not only when people listen to your show but you are also able to see how long they listen and where they dropped off in relation to the whole show.
Are they listening to your show?
Sweet, now you know about some of the services how do you tell if they are listening to your show? The easiest is to look at your Media hosts stats that are provided. This will show you that your show’s episodes are being downloaded. Yet these are not listens, and there is a difference between downloads and listens.
Downloads are the event of a mp3 file being downloaded. A listen is the act of a person consuming your content. Podcasters often want to use the downloads stats for advertisers and often with the easily obtained large download numbers, advertisers will think that the show is popular. Yet though there can be a large download number through different practices like Twitter Bombing, you can have very small number of listeners. So you want to look for the harder to find listens.
Other events that will trigger a download is Flash plugins, Autoplays, and bots. Flash auto loads the file to be ready if your listener presses play. Autoplays are an annoying way of getting download but because of the annoyance the vast majority of people instantly stop the player and though it registers as a download that person didn’t listen to the show. Then there are bots that request the file and will be triggered as a download, but I have yet have a bot buy anything from me.
Finding the elusive listener can be a little bit like being a Private Eye in that you are looking through your data over time. There are a few items that you want to look for in your stats the big list you want to employ is clients. When you go to your stats page there needs to be a clients list if you are not able to find it or your host doesn’t keep that stat. Then look to Blubrry’s Statistic service* it is only $5 and will give you all you will possibly need. Bluburry you are able to get a list of clients. This list of clients is will show you all the iTunes downloads, the Podcasts app downloads, the Pocket casts downloads, Zune, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and any other players that is available.
How I find my listeners is, I take all of these clients for a month and add them together minus the browsers and other clients that are not actual podcast players. Then average those out for four weeks. This will give me a rough idea of how many people are actually listening to the show. Then keep track of that number from month to month will give you a good idea as to if your listeners are increasing.
Why do I take the browsers out? I remove them because those are often bots hitting your site. Agreed there are actual listeners going to the site listening through the players I have on my site. But I feel those people are few and often they are just people sampling the show to see if it is worth them downloading. My actual browser listeners have a special place and they let me know they are listening by commenting on the site.
So are they listening to the whole show?
This is very difficult to show how far people have listened to a show. The best way to tell is to use Stitcher. This service is free to add your show and they give some useful stats for help to understand where your listeners are dropping off, and it will be just those people that listen to your show through stitcher not all of your listeners. So it will not give you a full idea of how people are listening to the show, but it will give you an idea.
So finding your listeners is possible in a way but getting that number is just part of the solution. Never put numbers over names getting to know who your audience is and what they do and how they use your information is the absolutely best way to find out who your listeners are. Also, when you put names over numbers you will cement you audience and help turn them into fans, and that is what we really want.
With the new version of Audacity out I thought it would be a good time to cover what is new in the new version 2.1. and refresh how I use Audacity.
Many of the improvements are you can now preview plugin settings for your audio on the fly. Now this isn’t all plugins but the Linux Audio Developer’s Simple Plugin API (LADSPA), Virtual Studio Technology (VST) and then for Mac user there is also Audio Unit but for the Windows units the first two work and it works great.
You will now no longer have Noise Removal which was a bit deceiving and improved its functions under the new name of Noise Reduction
Cross fading works a lot better now. Instead of way to many steps to get a good cross fad. You now select the two tracks at the point you want the cross fade to happen and choose Cross Fade. No longer do you choose the Cross fade out and the Cross Fade in.
You can Chain different Effects together.
There is an improvement to the Recording Meter bars. along with new spectral adjusting or editing.
You can now Truncate Detected Silence or Compress Excess Silence. Truncate Detected silence will remove sound down to 0.5 seconds while the compress will shrink silence that is crosses a specific threshold and shrink it be a certain percent.
You can read all of the release notes on the Audacity Wiki
In my research I found out Audacity has been around for 15 years!
So with the new improvements how does one use this audacity for their podcast?
For many people podcasting is done as inexpensively as they can and often the phrase you get what you pay for is also applied. Yet when it comes to Audacity it does still apply but more in the expense of time than quality. yet when it comes to the learning curve of Audacity it is step but not very high. So, you may spend a day learning the basics and then the extras are easy to figure out.
What is my Audacity workflow?
I have used Audacity two different ways Live to Drive in other words I have used my computer as the recording device, and recorded straight to Audacity and I have, and still do, import my wav files for editing and post production. For the Work flow I am going to cover what happens after the recording has stopped, and the editing is beginning.
Import extra audio and arrange
I bring in my intro outro and any other audio that I am going to use in that episode. I then name the Show tracks “Summary” and “Body” My intro track is Intro and outro is the same Each track will have a descriptive name so I can easily find it when I need to select it for editing.
I then arrange each track it the order it will appear so the Summary track is at the top and the Hayrolling trailer is at the bottom. This is to make it as easy to align each track with the next with out having to jump to the top then to the bottom and back and forth and start getting confused.
First effect I like to run is the Reduce Noise. It was Noise removal till this new update. To do this, when I am recording I give at least 20 seconds to record silence so I have any background and line hum showing up in the recording. In the Audacity editor select the the “silence” and open the Effects select Noise Reduction. In the window that opens up click the “Get Noise Profile” button at the top. Then close the Noise Reduction window select the track in this example case it would be the Body track, by double clicking. I would then reopen the Noise Reduction window and chose OK and the noise is then removed.
If the sound is not cleared to your likings then you can adjust your settings to your satisfaction. Most people are pretty satisfied by the default settings or adjusting the attack setting.
After silencing all of the noise in the background you will have lots of background space. Often times there maybe too much silence. There are two different ways you can take up that extra dead air by going to each spot and removing a portion of the silence, or you can use truncate silence.
Now silence is natural. There are normal starts and stops to your speech pattern and when removing all of the silence from your audio the sound hits a kind of Uncanny valley and become very unnatural. There for you want silence and even the pregnant pause is good from time to time. Dead air will get people attention. but if you …
Too much dead…
Air then you might want to remove some of that with Truncate silence. Now most of the time the default settings are fine for removing just enough silence, but with the new two types of settings the Compress Excessive silence would be the better choice. that way the silence is still in a natural rhythm but not too excessive. The duration is the threshold that any silence that is detected, and then it is compressed by however much percent is set. SO if there is Duration of silence that is 4 seconds long then it will be compressed to 20 seconds long. That way everything still has a natural rhythm and you don’t sound like a robot.
Now I use Chris’ Dynamic Compressor. This is when I use this effect after I have removed all background noise and taken out all excess silence. The reason is because at the end of the compression there are times I would get a strange amplification of sound and I was able to prevent that after removing all noise and taken care of the silence.
Change tracks from Stereo to Mono
Export to wav file.
If you want to keep your SEO ranking you might want to become mobile friendly. Google is changing their algorithm to place mobile friendly pages higher up on the ranking. With podcasting being a mobile medium, your site should be mobile too. Whether that is a responsive design or a mobile friendly
iTunes changes their specs AGAIN.
This is almost becoming a habit. the iTunes album art for podcasts has been changed to the max size of 3000 x 3000 pixels. The minimum is still 1400×1400 So you don’t have to change your artwork just yet but if you are tapped by iTunes to be featured then they are going to want a 3000×3000 image. So at least start working on getting it updated.
relatedLillian Yang over at Brand Bear the Cover Art Specialist would like to help you with your cover art.
A problem podcaster have is with their podcast feed being valid. You can use something like feedvalidator.org but it is a bit out of date and give a few false errors. A good alternative for Podcasters is Podbase it Checks to see if there is an RSS feed and how fast it responds to a request. Checks to see if it is a valid XML file and if it is an actual RSS XML file. It also checks your Sharing and SEO for the feed. Ten it also checks the enclosure tags to see if they are iTunes compliant. If there are any problems like the size being too big . Great service to put in your tool box.
Been a little while since I have done a review of a podcasting app for the Android OS and I will be starting up iOS reviews here soon but I will continue to focus on Android because they are so under used when it comes to podcasting, and I want the android users to know that they can listen to podcasts and they can do so easily with the right app. But this Android app has been around for a while.
Podkicker is a fairly well balanced app that is has many of the needed features for new podcasters to be able to subscribe and listen to shows. There is the great setting that allows to a file to be deleted after playing, and settings like downloading only when connected to a wi-fi access point. There are other features that are great for the dedicated listener. Like all auto play from cars and resume playing when an audio jack is reinserted. One of my favorite features. Unplug for what ever reason and the moment I plug it back in the app starts back up where I left off. Very handy.
Now I will preface this with I have gone to an iOS device here recently and so my mindset on where to find things are little different now. Like closing subwindows in the app tripped me up for a short while because I forgot about the back button. which actually surprised me because for the longest time I was always hitting the non-existent back button on the iPhone 6 but with the readjusting of my mind around how the old GS3 works I was able to find out how to unsubscribe to the shows that are already installed. Yes when you first install the app Podkicker on your Android device you will have about 8 shows that you are already subscribed to. You can unsubscribe to them if you want. They are some good shows quality and production is not bad so if you are new to listening to podcast you might find your first show in this list. Then again if none of these shows interest you then just long press on the show and choose unsubscribe and they are gone. No muss no fuss.
If you want to have the new episodes download automatically you need to go into each episode and choose the option for that particular show. I would actually like to see that set to auto from the start. Yet they do have Chromecast support if like listening from the Television.
I find podkicker to
- Starts with a show of some good starter podcast casts about GLobal news, history and the like
- Recognises rss feeds and will redirect an rss feed from the Browser to the app.
- Uses the iTunes directory so you have a large supply of shows to search through.
- Can import and export your subscriptions using OPML
The Not so Good
- Starts with a show of some good starter podcast casts about GLobal news, history and the like you are subscribed to the podcasts so you quickly have to learn how
- The navigation is not as intuitive as it could be. most everything you are going to need is found by long pressing the particular show.
- Would like to see an easier way to search for new podcasts
- Be nice of the downloads were set to automatic.
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Download the Podkicker app