Recently I had a great discussion with a Internet friend of mine. He is an internet marketer and had posted an article on a site about podcasting and it developed into a natural discussion about trying to use formulas to get a show to have the most impact and fastest growth. We talked in depth about podcasting being a marathon. Now my friend thought that phrase was just a cop out as to why podcasts take so long to be popular, and I laid these following reasons out as to why podcasting is a marathon
Where is your audience?
You don’t have one at the start. Most podcasters start with a new website and build it up from scratch. Many people are able to start off with close friends and family members, net several twitter followers, and other people from social networks. So the start off is “Normally” on the slow side. Many times people talk about they started off with over 1000 downloads a month, and many of these are bloggers who have an audience who visits their site on a regular basis. How long did that take? Often building that audience to “critical mass” takes in the area of a year or more. So, when a blogger who has a good following and is getting 50,000 hits a month on their site, then when the podcast launches there are lots of eye on their site and they can quickly build an audience.
That is completely different when you are starting your site from scratch. If you don’t have a platform then you won’t have the audience to go with it. If you look at this site I was about 3 or 4 episodes in before I got a couple of downloads. Not listeners just downloads and the size has grown and my actual audience has grown with it, as the site grows and more people become more aware of the site. Now each episode gets about 100 downloads a week. Not bad for a little over 8 months of episodes. Could that of been more? Sure but I had the 6 month dry spell and that hurt the size of my audience.
Use the Slow Burn mentality.
There are reasons as to why brand new podcasters often last only 7 to 10 episodes before they fade out. Lot of it is attributed to the work that is needed to gather all the information for that weeks episode. But there are those who want to sprint. Spend all their gas on getting into New and Noteworthy and when the perceived audience rush starts to fade the show fades too. Then the person either restarts with whole new branding or gives up. Both of these are results of thinking Podcasting is a sprint.
Have a slow burn mentality. Know that it is going to take a while to get your true core followers. Embrace each new person that comes in and get to know them. The saying of stop and smell the flowers comes to mind. Stop and genuinely shake the new guys hand see how you can help. You will be able to take that time to build that relationship because you are not busy trying get to the next big milestone. You will not be distracted and will be able to give your audience your full attention and there for cementing a relationship.
You also will not be as easy to give up. If you know that that this incredible show you have created is in it for the long haul, and the money or thought leader status will happen in due time.
Spotify podcasts – Yes Spotify is opening the doors. At the moment there are only a couple of avenues you can take to get into the Spotify podcast directory, but this will be changing. Right now the easiest is to use Libsyn because they were able to partner with Spotify and with just a quick request Libsyn can create a destination folder for your show and your show will be included in the new directory.
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.
First OOPS! If you are looking for episode 30 that I was calling episode 31 just follow the link, and again sorry for the mix up.
There is a lot of discussion in the podcasting space about MP3’s and should they be encoded at 64 bps or 128bps while some people think 96 bits is what you need to use. Why are people talking about Stitchers audio quality being so bad? Why does Stitcher have such a low quality of sound? There are reasons for this. The debate is a good one to have because there are so many different variable that go into sound quality and size. There is the saying that you can not get something for nothing. The same goes for MP3s you have quality and you have file size. Both are important to the podcaster.
But we want the best quality of sound! You are correct. As a podcaster we all want to have the best sound we can possibly produce to make it to our fans ears. We don’t want to assault them with horrible audio. We want to show our listeners that we care about our show and at the same time about their delicate senses. What messes with the audio faster than a bad pre-amp? Compression, and getting that Frying Bacon Underwater sound gets more and more prevalent as you mash your audio file smaller. The Compression is done by the changing the different bit rates. The higher the bit rate the better the sound. When you have better sound you get listeners to stick with you longer and gather more value from your show.
There are many parts as to why file size is important to you the podcaster. Main one is your hosting service. Many if not all have a limit of one type or another on the size of your file. With Blubrry podcast hosting and Libsyn they both limit how much you can upload in a month. If you upload a 100MB file each week you would have to use Libsyn’s $20 plan to have enough space and hope that you didn’t go over that 100 MB in that month because you would not be able to upload that last file. Because of the limit.
If you have an account with a service like Spreaker then you are limited by the amount of space on the servers. So, after a while you have to start removing your back catalog to make room for new podcast episodes. So your audience misses out on the great content of your back catalog. So, you as a podcaster have to worry about your file size.
Then there is another aspect of the size you need to take into account, and that is your audience. The larger the file size the longer it takes to download. Now It may not be as big of a deal as it was back in 1998. When we used dial-up modems to get online and if you had a 5 meg file you were downloading it could take almost 30 minutes to download. That is if you had a good connection. Yet, Your listener who is downloading your file has limited space on their phone or other listening device. Also many people do not use Sprint and their unlimited plan. Most people in America have a tiered data plan so they are limited to a certain number of Gigs they can download. And if that person is on a shared data plan then even though they have 15 GB of data they can download through a billing period, there is the other members of the family who are also eating through the data. So, in the short form many people who are likely your listeners are going want to download your show and if you make your files too big then they will shy away from downloading your latest episode.
This also applies to those who are doing progressive downloading of your show. So if someone is listening to your podcast through the browser on their phone then they are downloading the show as they listen. This also eats up their data. So, you want to help your audience be able to consume your content.
This is one of the reasons why Stitcher has such a low compression for the shows it adds to their directory. Stitcher is sacrificing quality for size, but they do so in thought of most people will not be listening on studio cans.
64 bit Mono
96 Bit Mono
128 bit Mono
256 bit Mono
PowerPress got an update to 6.0.2
- Fixed bug where specific global podcast settings are not applied when podcast channel settings iTunes new feed URL or feed maximizer option were configured then deleted afterward. This only effected settings if you deleted the default podcast feed.
- Added wp-config define option
POWERPRESS_DISABLE_ITUNES_UTF8, when set to true PowerPress will not convert iTunes values to UTF-8. This is for the very small number of folks who are not using UTF-8 in their website.
- The subscribe shortcode embed attributes are now strictly enforced. If you enter a category or a podcast channel and it does not exist, the shortcode will be empty and will no longer fall-back to the main podcast settings.
- The subscribe shortcode embed specifying a category not displaying category fixed (thanks elembemedia for bringing to our attention)
- Subscribe links below player for category podcasts now works but only if you select 1 category. 2 or more categories complicates things.
- Added logic to fix situation with JetPack and automatic excerpts. Manual excerpts or regular content pages are not affected. (Thanks grahamharper for the details!)
- Added new “Having Issues?” option “Yes, excluding excerpts”, will apply player and links fix logic except when the_excerpt filter is called first.
- AudioObject and VideoObject descriptions are now set using the blog post if no itunes subtitle is set.
- Fixed Episode Titles bug, if you did not set a custom episode title the program title was not appended.
- Fixed “Feature Episode” bug, unchecking the option will now properly save.
- Fixed playlist player date attribute not applying when set to false (thanks trb310 for pointing out the issue!)
- Danish translation updated, thanks Team Blogos!
- Added new subscribe embed attribute “heading”, you can now customize the “Subscribe to” label, e.g. add “the” to the Subscribe to label
[powerpress_subscribe heading="Subscribe to the"
- Added new define
POWERPRESS_DEBUGfor PowerPress debugging.
Tool of the week!
Square Cash is a new tool for being able to allow your audience to donate money to your podcasting fund. The service is brought to you by the same people who brought you square. It will cost you 1.5% of the money that is transferred great way to send and receive money for services rendered or just for the coffee fund.
To sign up you have to have either an iOS device or Android powered phone.
You can see my page at cash.me/$podcastdojo and yes you have to have the Dollar sign($)