Traditional SEO matters for your podcast, now more than ever. Podcast SEO based marketing is also more of an opportunity, now more than ever. As is marketing your podcast using Facebook, provided you are willing to spend just a little bit of money. 

The reason I feel this is true is because the sheer number of available podcasts has been rapidly climbing. According to Variety, iTunes alone now has 500,000 active podcasts from which to choose.

And podcast Facebook marketing and SEO tactics that worked in 2017 are getting harder, with Facebook changing their algorithm and the the way content is featured in users feed.

The rise of so many podcasts is great for listeners but less so for podcasters who want to grow their shows.

So, unless your show is currently in the new and noteworthy section of iTunes, then getting listeners to discover your podcast needs to happen outside of iTunes.

This is why I often write about people being overly focused on iTunes statistics, instead of on growing their podcast email subscriber list and SEO optimization of their show notes to increase their organic traffic and Google rank.

In this post, I want to outline

  1. some common podcast SEO and podcast Facebook marketing mistakes we frequently see, and
  2. ways to avoid them in the first place. 

1

Podcast SEO Mistake: Weak Episode Titles, not based on SEO Research

What I often see:

Ad-hoc episode titles that indicate a lack of podcast SEO research and content strategy

I see episode titles consist of only the guest name, or the date of the episode, or even just of the episode number. And sometimes episode titles are just plain "gimmicky" - meaning a clever phrase or mysterious title that does not indicate what the episode is about at all.

I also see show notes pages that are SEO optimized, yet the episode titles does not contain any primary SEO keyword.


Why is it important to avoid weak episode titles?

iTunes and Google make your episodes searchable, and the episode title drives this. Make sure you take advantage of this. 

Do you want to grow your show? Then you need to approach your podcast as a content strategy. It means your show notes are the vehicle for Google and iTunes to make your episodes discoverable.

  • Weak episode titles fail to take advantage of the way iTunes and Google index your show.
  • Inbound content strategy means designing "content with a purpose". And the purpose means designing episode titles to achieve a goal. The goal is to get more people to discover and subscribe to your show. So, what should your episode titles look like to achieve this goal?
  • It's a User Experience (UX) issue - your listeners will benefit from clearer episode titles 
iTunes search is weak on individual episodes. And weak episode titles hurt you on iTunes as well as Google

While episodes are included in search results,  what you search for needs to be in the title of the episode. 

  • If I want to search for an episode about "bike maintenance", and the term "bike maintenance" appears in the description of the episode but not in the title, then I will never discover that episode or the associated podcast.
  • In fact, discoverability is regressing: A few years ago iTunes allowed podcasters to add keywords to their episodes to make them easier to find. This feature has since been removed. 


What to do instead?

Learn a little about SEO. Create a content calendar or plan based on doing some keyword research. Then form your episode titles around these.

The short version of improving your titles goes like this: 

  • Be listener focused - skip the gimmicks and make the episode title descriptive of what is actually being discussed
  • Be outcome oriented -  your audience cares about your show far less than you do. But what they DO care about is what's in it for them, what they will get out of listening, what it will help them do, in short what outcome they can expect. Including an outcome in your episode titles will attract more clicks in search results, both on iTunes and Google.  
  • Learn to research SEO keywords - basically terms that people search for a lot, but keywords that are not too competitive for your site. I use a tool called KWFinder, which has a freemium model so you can get started for free. And be sure to include your researched keyword in the episode title.
  • Learn to write great episode headlines - basically headlines that are SEO optimized, yet indicate the content of your episode. And are click-worthy - which is NOT the same thing as click bait.

The slightly longer version:

  • Write down 7-20 versions of your planned episode titles - do this every time, and I can almost guarantee that the quality and click-worthiness of your episode titles will improve. We use a tool called CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to craft our episode titles.
  • For extra credit, plan ahead. If your show allows it, plan for content themes. This can enable you to implement a powerful SEO ranking technique called "cornerstone content", where several related episodes share links to one primary episode about the theme. We have consistently used this to SEO boost blog posts and episodes onto page one of Google search results.  
    • For examples of this, search for "podcast content strategy" - polymash shows up on page one, or google "customer experience podcast" - our client Customer Bliss shows up on page one, or "appreciative inquiry" - our client Positivity Strategist is on page one, or "podcast SEO course".
  • Learn a bit about SEO - think of it as an investment that will pay dividends for years to come. I offer a rudimentary free SEO course for podcasters, take advantage of this 5 day email course, or learn the basics of SEO elsewhere. This course covers how to research and create great episode titles in detail.
  • DIY or Done For You? If the concept of doing this yourself makes your eyes glaze over, invest in some help to make your show grow.


How difficult is this to implement?

IMHO, on a scale of 1-10, how much time & skills are required, and how big is the benefit?

7
Time
6
Skills
8
Benefit

2

Podcast SEO Mistake: Thin Content

What I often see:

Super short episode show notes with no value other than to be a placeholder for the podcast embedded player

After all the effort goes into planning, recording and publishing each episode, creating comprehensive show notes may seem like a pain. And this is exactly what some people's show notes look like - the avoidance of that pain. 

  • I often see podcast episode posts that consist of only the episode title, description and embed code.


Why is it important to avoid thin content?

Thin content can hurt your site's rank, and your episodes will never be easily found on Google

Ever since Google updated their algorithm to Panda, the focus has been on identifying "quality content". For Google, the term "quality" means providing the best content for someone conducting a search. A really short article or episode post is unlikely the best, highest quality content for any search term a user might have entered. Especially if Google can serve up someone else's 1,500 word article on the same subject.

  • Quality over quantity - you no longer need "a lot of content" for your site rank to increase. Nor do you need to publish content frequently, those days are over.
  • In fact, the opposite is now true: The presence of lots of thin content can dilute and lower your sites overall rank. And even though you may not be flagged for any specific "thin content penalty" or manual action by Google, you do want your episodes to be discovered. This is the real reason you want to act on this.


What to do instead?

Adapt the MVN Model: Minimum Viable Show Notes

Don't waste your time on creating mediocre show notes if you want to benefit from organic search. My view on this is providing value to listeners and visitors who found you through search results or referrals from other sites.

  • Some ideas for MVN: 700 words plus, an overview of concepts discussed, key insights from the episode, resources or downloadable PDFs from your guests and a lead-magnet or incentive to join your podcast email list. 
  • Use the Yoast plugin to help identify "thin content" - For SEO beginners, the plugin acts as an SEO coach on the bottom of each show notes page, and will warn of any basic SEO issues. Yoast recommends a length of at least 300 words minimum. And it also provides a "readability score". However, in my experience this is not enough to ever rank on page one of Google.
  • Consider adding a semi-automated transcript. Transcripts no longer have to be expensive, nor do they take long to generate. We've been testing a very affordable and highly accurate platform called Temi. It is an automated transcription service that provides fantastic results and great accuracy.
    • Temi does not handle strong accents well, so it may not be a good fit for everyone, but on podcast episodes that feature decent audio quality and well spoken English, the results have been amazingly accurate.
    • A nice new feature of the Temi platform is the ability to selectively highlight and export only selected parts of the overall transcript.
    • The benefit is that what's being talked about in each episode becomes actually indexed by Google. We've successfully used Temi transcripts to form the basis of SEO optimized show notes. No show notes posts including a transcript would likely result in "thin content".  
    • There is a free trial, so do yourself a favor and try this podcast SEO technique for at least one episode.
  • Include a lead magnet on your episode pages - Lead magnets are value-add incentives your visitors can download in exchange for an email address. 
    • For example, you could create a PDF summarizing the best insights from your first 25 (or whatever number) episodes. 
  • Do something about your existing thin content - it goes without saying that going forward I'd recommend making sure your show notes won't be considered "thin content". However, you may have lots of older episodes on your site like this already. In that case, consider going back and removing these from your site map, configuring each post to "noindex nofollow" or fixing them with better content.


How difficult is this to implement?

On a scale of 1-10, how much time & skills are required, and how big is the benefit?

8
Time
4
Skills
9
Benefit

3

Podcast SEO Mistake: Building a single podcast show page featuring a list of all episodes

What I often see:

I see podcasts being launched where the website and show notes are an afterthought. 

I recently helped a huge corporate client launch a podcast. Even though they spent plenty of time and money on creating and launching the show, their internal budget to update their corporate website was trimmed. So they decided to to create a single page for their podcast, with a simple list of all episodes.  

Most podcasters realize that their show needs to have its own podcast home page at least.

But then, perhaps to get their show launched quickly, they skip creating individual pages for each episode. And their podcast home consists of a single page they add on to over time. Such a single page often feature a list of all episodes, with podcast player widgets embedded. 

On the surface, this may seem user-friendly and efficient.


Why is a single podcast homepage less than ideal?

Not creating individual, episode level, show notes pages is a huge missed SEO opportunity.

  • A single page can only be SEO optimized for one, maybe two key phrases.
  • A single page can only have one page-title, and this controls how Google indexes and displays such a page in the search results. In effect, this time-saver prevents Google from indexing your episodes.
  • This makes it unlikely that any individual episode would ever rank or be discoverable. Basically, this is going back to the lack of episode level discovery that iTunes suffers from.
  • It also makes it impossible to have an interwoven link strategy, and SEO cornerstone content cannot be built based on a single page.


What to do instead?

Create an episode level show notes post for each episode, and a home page with a "podcast category" filtered post grid. 

After all the time and effort it takes to plan and create each episode, it seems almost silly not to spend the extra bit of time. Then design your podcast homepage to display these posts in a grid or list. Here's how:

  • Most modern WordPress themes allow you to create and assign a "podcast" category to assign these show notes posts to.
  • Then create a "podcast home page" that features an article grid, filtered on the "podcast" category.
  • If you want to try an easy way to do this based on "templates", check out Thrive Architect, in my opinion, the best visual page builder. This easy to learn system includes ready-made templates for podcast home pages.
  • Related issue and solution: Make sure to treat your podcast home page like a landing page, with a call to action above the fold. Read more about the effectiveness of that approach here.
  • Question: If time and budget allows, should you create an entirely separate site for your podcast - instead of just a podcast page on your existing site? A: yes, but if you already have a successful site, make it a subdomain (like podcastname.mysite.com) of your main site. This way, from an SEO perspective, your existing domain authority will trickle over to the new show.
  • What are some good ways to design your podcast home page?  We have a great video walkthrough post about the highly converting "Upside Down Podcast Website Design Pattern

How difficult is this to implement?

IMHO, on a scale of 1-10, how much time & skills are required, and how big is the benefit?

8
Time
3
Skills
10
Benefit

4

Podcast SEO Mistake: Forgetting or under-estimating the value of internal and external links

What I often see:

Show notes that have no links to anywhere. Or feature rudimentary links only to their guest's content

I see episode show notes that appear very complete and helpful at first glance. They can include a transcript, and even time stamps, are long enough to provide an overview or even a way to comprehend the entire episode at a glance.

For interview style shows I even see external links to the guest's home page, social media profiles or other content, and this is great and your guest surely appreciates the links.

But often what is missing are internal links. Links to other related episodes or blog posts on similar topics. Links that will allow a visitor, who is presumably already interested in your show's topic or the theme of the current episode, to discover other related content on your site. 


Why are links important?

Google thinks links are important. And Google's AI is improving in the way it uses links to index your site and understand what it is about. 

When people talk about "link building", they often mean incoming links to your show notes. And yes, these are most important, but internal link structure is also important, and is one of the things we see underutilized.

Having the right amount of links (vs. none) indicates more authoritative content to Google.  

Providing logical and interesting links as part of your show notes can also help increase the time on site and scroll time.

I've seen post increase in page rank by 20% after internal link structure was created.


What to do instead?

Create an internal link structure to related episodes, blog posts and pages on your site, in addition to external links 

Here's how:

  • Find related episodes with the same category or tag, and create links to them in your show notes.
  • Periodically, go back and revisit older episodes, and update these with links to newer episodes. I have seen this make a difference in SERP position. 
  • If you use the Yoast SEO premium plugin, it will actually present you with suggestions of previous articles to link to. Not a must have, but a nice time saving feature - however it is entirely possible to do this manually. 

How difficult is this to implement?

IMHO, on a scale of 1-10, how much time & skills are required, and how big is the benefit?

2
Time
2
Skills
5
Benefit

5

Podcast Facebook Marketing Mistake: Sharing like it's 2017, and avoiding paid ads

What I often see:

People avoid paid Facebook ads and publish their episodes on Facebook using Hoot-Suite, Buffer and other automated tools

The fact that iTunes is not a great vehicle for marketing your show is not news. So most launch and podcast marketing strategies of the past few years relied on Social Media, especially Facebook.

  • People post their episodes on Facebook, and rely on social organic reach and their followers and friends sharing their episodes.
  • In some cases, people don't even publish show notes on their site, they post on Facebook using direct links to iTunes or Stitcher. (In another post I write about why this is a terrible Facebook podcast marketing strategy)
  • Any launch contests or campaigns to promote their show are run only once, when their show has just launched


Recent Facebook algorithm changes have made it hard to reach new audiences.

This is true especially for brands or businesses with Facebook pages, whom these changes impact the most. For podcasters, organic reach of new episodes in Facebook feeds has suffered as a result. Adweek writes that

"The days of organic reach are definitely over. Businesses have to invest in ads on Facebook to get their content in front of their audiences."

However, there is some good news: This situation has created organic SEO and Facebook marketing opportunities

  • Paid ads on Facebook are more effective than before because the news feed is less crowded with organic business page results.


What to do instead?

Don't spend a lot of money. But spend some.

Learn about paid ads on Facebook, and allocate a tiny budget to get your feet wet. The hardest part is getting started. 

  • An easy way to start is to "boost" an episode post. If you have never done it before, it will at least walk you through the steps of setting up a Facebook paid ads account.
    • Pro Tip: Make sure you have great episode level artwork to promote on Facebook. Take it to the next level by using video of some kind as the Facebook "creative" content to promote your episodes. Check out Lumen5 for an easy / affordable way to design compelling videos with minimal effort.  
  • Keep your initial cost low - even if you only spend the amount of a cup of coffee per day, the insights gained will be valuable. You can compare how one episode fares vs another, in terms of engagement and clicks. And you can gain insights into what your audience responds to the most.
  • Make sure your site and episode pages are set up for conversion - meaning that your podcast page prominently offers Facebook visitors the option to subscribe to your show by email. This way you are not only attracting a new audience, but also "converting" them. For me, email subscribers are more valuable than anonymous listeners on iTunes.
  • Pro Tip #1: Add a Facebook Pixel  - adding a Facebook pixel to your site before you start will allow you to build custom Facebook audiences in the future. Facebook "remembers" people who have visited your site from one of your "boosted" or "sponsored" episodes. So when you launch a new season, or are running a podcast growth contest or promotion for your show, you can re-target this audience and increase the effectiveness of your ads.
  • Pro Tip #2: Run a campaign. Once you are familiar with Facebook marketing basics, run a campaign to promote your show. You can setup a contest, or drive Facebook traffic to your lead-magnet suggested earlier in this post. See how many additional subscribers you can get to opt in to your podcast email notifications.


How difficult is this to implement?

IMHO, on a scale of 1-10, how much time & skills are required, and how big is the benefit?

5
Time
8
Skills
9
Benefit


Conclusion - don't rely on iTunes or Facebook alone

Discoverability of podcasts on iTunes is at a record low. This is not just caused by iTunes, and it's opaque search features, but by too many podcasts on the platform. And Facebook may be a good platform to promote your show, but you have to "pay to play" 

  • Traditional podcast SEO and podcast Facebook marketing using paid ads has become a viable alternative for many podcasters in creating new reach. This approach can not only increase your listener base, but also increase your email list.

FREE 2018 Podcasting Resources Guide: Launch and market your podcast

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    Gear Guides
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    "How To" Tutorials
  • check
    Music & Sound Effect Libraries
  • check
    Software & Tools
  • check
    Guest Booking Services
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    General Podcasting Sites & Groups
Podcasting Resources Guide

Where can we send your guide?

If you have a podcast, then one of your top priorities will be to increase your audience size. After all, if you create a podcast to which no one listens, does it even matter?

So at first glance, you may think that running Facebook Ads would be an excellent vehicle to promote your podcast and help increase your listening numbers and subscribers. After all, Facebook will allow you to finely target your audience and do it in a very cost-effective way.

My point with this post is not so much to argue that Facebook is inherently a poor platform to advertise podcasts on, but rather to point out that there is a better way to do podcast marketing than most marketers recommend.

There has been a slew of recent posts on how to best advertise podcasts on Facebook, and I fundamentally disagree with the premise of these posts. Here is why:

So what’s the problem with using Facebook Ads to promote your podcast?

The issue has to do with where to send traffic once someone clicks on your ad.

So many marketers recommend promoting Facebook episodes by directly linking to the iTunes or Android episode pages.

  • They argue this is better than sending people to a show notes page on your site
  • In fact, many of these posts argue that you don’t need show notes pages at all, and can save the time and effort
  • They say that iTunes and Stitcher is after all where you want people to go to subscribe to your show
  • They advise that this is the best way to capture people on mobile devices, by targeting an iOS audience for the direct link to the iTunes episode, and by targeting Android audience and sending them to the Stitcher episode link

I fundamentally disagree with promoting your iTunes and Stitcher podcast links  for the following five reasons:

#1

It Costs Too Much

Sure, your ads may result in getting more subscribers to your podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, but Facebook podcast marketing ads should have a better goal than just to add listeners to your podcast. And the cost per new listener is usually quite high.

Think of it this way, in terms of analytics: “Cost per anonymous listener” IS NOT THE SAME THING AS “Cost per qualified lead or email subscriber.” You could be adding leads for your business, building your email list, increase the rank and traffic for your site, and building a digital asset for your brand.

Instead, you could be getting greater value and ROI from your Facebook ads by focusing on lead generation and list growth instead of on just getting more listeners.

#2

iTunes and Google Play Do Not Need More Traffic From Your Facebook Podcast Marketing

promote-your-podcast-on-itunesYou are paying for traffic that you are sending to iTunes and Google Play Music.

Really?

Instead, your site could be benefitting from greater traffic, rank, and authority.

#3

Blind Dates

promote your podcast with a blind dateiTunes and Google play traffic may slightly increase your subscriber and listener stats at Libsyn or Blubrry. Of course, this cannot truly be measured, since Facebook won’t know how many listeners subscribed to your show on those platforms.

More importantly, you don’t know whose these listeners are. Since you are not capturing their email address, you have much less of a chance to engage with them, even if they are big fans of your show. If you don’t manage to send them to your website and show pages, you are essentially going on blind dates – without ever even asking for a name. So, a very passive way to promote your podcast.

Instead, your podcast listeners could be coming to YOUR site, because you offer valuable additional episode information there. They could be signing up to receive podcast notifications via email, or finding links and resources about your guests, and downloading these resources from you in exchange for an email address.

So, during your podcast, make sure you mention an easy to remember episode show notes link like “mypodcast.com/132” – and mention this often, for example at the start of the show, create your own mid-roll segment inviting people to visit your site, and include it again in the outro.

#4

No Digital Sharecropping

facebook podcast marketing without digital sharecropping in promoting your podcastIn my opinion, too many authors, speakers, entrepreneurs and small businesses spread their entire online presence across 3rd party platforms. They want authority and recognition in their space but are also conscious of the promised audience, engagement, ease of use and time savings these platforms promise.

They post all of their valuable intellectual capital and thought leadership content on platforms like Medium, LinkedIn or Facebook instant articles. Their videos exist only on Youtube, their podcasts episode only on Soundcloud, iTunes or Stitcher. In other words, on platforms they themselves don’t own outright, but platforms that have a built-in audience and engagement.

In the long run, this is short-sighted

What to do instead? I am not proposing to avoid these platforms. However, I am saying that traffic to promote your podcast should land on your site.

And this content should live on your own site FIRST AND FOREMOST, and then be shared from there centrally, spreading out to 3rd party platforms for social engagement. Especially if you are using Podcasting as Content Strategy.

The effort involved in creating and maintaining your podcast show notes are well worth it in the long run and pales in comparison to the effort of actually creating your content in the first place. You need to build system for sharing from this central platform only once – the week to week effort of recording episodes and publishing show notes for them adds up only gradually, and much of the process and subsequent syndication of your content can be automated.

For our clients, we specialize in automation of the entire podcast production and publishing workflow, including automatically syndicating your episode content onto many other platforms. The content calendar tools and automation processes we use for this is the topic of another upcoming post, feel free to subscribe to our blog to learn more.

In short, having your own SEO optimized podcast show notes pages allow you to build a much more valuable asset on your site, audience, and email list. Would you not rather have free traffic and rank for your site? Would you not rather earn organic search traffic over time? And I think most marketers would agree that email lists are still the most valuable asset to build for your digital presence. Overlooking the SEO value of your show notes pages is one of the deadly podcast marketing sins I write about elsewhere on this blog.

The Importance of Building A Conversion Optimized Podcast Home Page

Podcast Website Design Patterns For Conversion And List Building

If you agree with the idea that your site is a valuable way to gain podcast subscribers, then you will want to build a great conversion optimized podcast home page. We recently published a video walkthrough which showcases a highly converting podcast website design pattern called “The Upside Down Podcast Home Page”.

#5

Analytics & Measuring Performance

How do you measure your investment in Facebook ads? For me the answer is how many people SIGN UP for your podcast or blog, NOT how many more listeners you might be getting on iTunes.

Before running ad campaigns on Facebook, you get to decide the “Goal” of each ad campaign during the setup process. Simply measuring “clicks to a website” is the weakest form of available analytics, yet this is the only goal you can use when sending traffic to iTunes or Stitcher.

Facebook cannot measure who subscribed to your podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or even if they listened to an episode after clicking on your ad. So how do you optimize or test your ads? If you are sending your ad traffic to iTunes and Stitcher as proposed by many marketers, then the only way you can tell if these ads are even working is to see if your Libsyn or Blubrry stats increased during the time you ran the ad. And of course, even then you don’t know the identity of the people who subscribed.

promote your podcast and know your numbers

A recent marketing webinar from SharpSpring pointed out that focus on conversion rate was by far the most important metric to measure.

A better goal is to measure “Conversions”, and Facebook algorithms are more effective in showing your ads to the best possible and highly “converting” audience. However, for this you need to install a “Facebook Pixel” on your site, so that actual sign-ups to your podcast email subscription list can be recorded on Facebook. Having a Facebook Pixel on your site is not complicated, there are great plugins for this. (My favorite is PixelYourSite, which makes installation and managing Facebook Pixels a snap)

Facebook then improves the targeting of who they show your ads to, based on who signed up, and builds in effect a custom audience for your on the fly during the campaign. This results in a much better use of your advertising dollar.

Conclusion

IMHO, having a highly converting home page for your podcast is critically important – to promote your podcast and build a subscriber list outside of iTunes. And so is having episode specific show notes pages. Most good podcasts already do. So if the way you promote your podcast is to be sending Facebook ad traffic directly to your episode pages on iTunes and Stitcher, I’d encourage you to do otherwise.

 

FREE 2018 Podcasting Resources Guide: Launch and market your podcast

  • check
    Gear Guides
  • check
    "How To" Tutorials
  • check
    Music & Sound Effect Libraries
  • check
    Software & Tools
  • check
    Guest Booking Services
  • check
    General Podcasting Sites & Groups
Podcasting Resources Guide

Where can we send your guide?

Canary in the coal mine: How often do you need to re-design your site?

We always ask our clients about what insights finally prompted them to take action to re-invent, re-launch or re-design.

The stories that emerge are often quite compelling, and a good indication of how rapidly things are changing in the online world.

In many cases the realization that their site was “out of date” is prompted by lower business performance, less traffic, lower site rank, fewer people signing up to email lists and so on.

Yet a common perception persists that a site upgrade is largely a cosmetic exercise.

This is just a canary in a coal mine, an indication of more important things that may be going amiss.

Unwelcome news – or digital transformation opportunity in disguise?

unwelcome news or digital transformation opportunitySo it comes as unwelcome news that more deep-rooted causes may be at play. Here you thought all you needed was a new theme, or a cosmetic site upgrade, and the next thing you hear is that online behavior and consumption patterns may have changed enough in the last few years to re-examine not only the type of content but even your existing business models on your site.

But “unwelcome news” can actually be re-framed as an opportunity in disguise

We live in an age or accelarating change, disruption and re-invention. Web sites are not immune, and the typical life-span of a site is now 2-3 years. The opportunity is to use the catalyst of re-designing a site to look more deeply at the health of your online business strategies, and to upgrade your content, product and list building strategies at the same time.

Age discrimination – or failing to address shifting demographics?

When we dig down into the causes of “outdated websites”, some folks understandably get defensive about their existing online presence.

  • People are proud of their older sites, even when they realize a change is needed
  • It worked well in the past
  • A lot of effort and expense went into the design

When I was a graphic design a photography student, this is the sign that hung above our darkroom:

The first line of defense is usually to blame the design or visual appeal of the site itself. And the last thing anyone wants to look at are more deeply rooted business decisions or product strategies. And there are usually other, deeper factors at play, as people’s online behavior, preferences and content consumption patterns are continually changing.

  • Attention spans have gotten shorter
  • Mobile devices may be a slight misnomer: it’s people who are in fact mobile, constantly connected and expectating to consume and engage with content on the go
  • User interface design has changed to accomodate mobile responsive screens
  • The rise of short form social media sharing has shaped our communication patterns
  • Email marketing and list building methods (as well as overall content strategy) have changed.
  • If a site is older than 5 years, there is a likely significant shift in the demographic of site visitors

So the term “age discrimination” is a bit harsh – it’s not that younger people are intentionally avoiding our content; we may simply be missing the opportunity to present our content in a way that honors evolving consumer preferences.

Evolving content preferences

I actually seem to see a big “age” related phenomena, in terms of long form emails and newsletters preferences still prevalent with Baby Boomer (50-64) and Greatest Generation (65+) consumers. It requires patience and a certain attention span to read long emails and newsletters. However for consumers below 40, super short skimmable content is increasingly necessary.

  • So from a persona perspective, list building and newsletter success these days may depend on nailing the age group persona being targeted, and being flexible enough to adjust to their preferences in the delivery format and perceived value of content.

I am constantly working with clients my age (in their 50s) that write hugely long form blog posts, lead magnets and emails, and somehow fail to connect with the younger audience that would like to attract and ultimately target.

Some tips to “Shorten Up”

  • Our recommendation is to write extremely short paragraphs, and to break paragraphs up with (H2) headlines frequently. This introduces white space into the copy, and makes content much more “skimmable”.
  • If you have an email newsletter, resist sending entire articles to your list. Instead offer short and concise headlines, a thumbnail image and teaser excerpts that encourage your newsletter readers to visit your blog for the rest of the story, earning you SEO credit in the process.
  • My theory is that writing for short attention span, skimmable content, design patterns with lots of white-space and emphasis on 1-3 minute videos are necessary to connect with a younger audience, and this is a skill that few of us older, “long form” and academic types are good at:)

Evolving pricing strategies for content owners and digital product creators

We work with a lot of content owners and digital product creators, and we often see pricing and overall product strategies for knowledge products lagging behind in a way similar to web design patterns.

The same dynamics of changing consumer preferences apply, and just as some content owners are resiting to shorter content formats, they also resist lower their digital product pricing to accomodate the market.

Of course there can not be a hard and fast rules for this, and I do not mean to imply that the overall value based pricing should be diminished.
But consumer perception on price points for knowledge products and what the market will bear for typical courses or coaching experiences change. The fact that 100s if not 1000s of online courses, universities and learning tools have sprung up in the last few years have, in my optioning, changed the perceived value and landscape of e-learning.

Some work-around tips and possible examples of alternative pricing approaches

  • I see a lot of people re-positioning and breaking up their existing mega-courses or mega digital products into bite sized components that can withstand the markets price expectation and preference for a la carte learning.
  • To launch a mega product or course as the first offering is considered my many to be a productization mistake
  • Modern courseware and digital product environments accommodate free content or courses as appetizers, and then very low cost bite sized courses as the core offering, and finally membership models and premium benefits of “in person” experiences being offered as part of a community site.
  • So in the end the same amount of content can be broken up and presented in smaller and more a la carte ways, while at the same time lowering price points and attracting a new audience.

Conclusion & Recommendations

  • Don’t just think of your site re-design project as a cosmetic excercise
  • Talk to a digital strategist, not just to web designers, and have a more wide-rangingconversation about hidden opportunities you may be overlooking
  • Too many people would rather be hurt by compliments than saved by criticism: Be open to wider ranging changes to your products, services, pricing and content
  • Download our “Ultimate Website Re-Design Checklist” and be honest with yourself.

Let’s face it, your web site design has a certain shelf life, and the time comes when even the most reticent business owners realize their site is due for a make-over. Being a visual design fanatic, graphic designer and photographer I sympathize with clients who think they have a design problem. Just recently a prospect stated something I hear a lot:

“My biggest problem has always been the design of things”

I think this comes from intuitively recognizing that “there is something wrong or missing” from their site, but failing to realize exactly what it might be. And so the focus falls on “design”, the “look and feel”, the “cool factor”, the latest font choices, video backgrounds and sliders. Thoughts turn to “mobile”, “responsive”, “more modern”.

UX Design Problems Are Hard to Spot At First Glance

hard to spot ux problemMarketers and app developers have embraced user experience as being a fundamental aspect of modern design. But for the average small business owner, blogger, solopreneur and for most lay people, UX is a difficult and mysterious concept to come to grips with, and the lack of a good user experience is hard to spot.
This means that very often site re-designs are based on visual decisions and look and feel only, ignoring the fundamentals of user behavior, research, and customer centric thinking. This also implies little research and planning.

But Digital Strategy Gaps Are Even Harder To Spot

For me, the coolest vanity site out there is useless (or at best a hobby only) if it fails to attract and convert visitors into leads. Or fails to engage consumers of our content. Visitors will come, say “wow this is cool”, and then leave, unless we have a way to capture them. Like being on a blind date with someone beautiful, without ever asking for a name. Now there’s a design problem for you.

Some examples of missed opportunities

We’ve seen carefully crafted corporate site re-designs launch, with no content other than myopic product catalogs, services and company history, all organized by internal departments, and navigable only by the initiated. Why was the site not converting?

Because that’s called an intranet.

So often the language is that of a first person narrative, it’s all me, me, me, or we, we, we.

Sorry, how are you helping your site visitors?

We see sites that advertise their products and services by shouting at a demographic, rather than starting to engage with their prospects.

If you want to start a conversation, don’t shout.

And often we see thoughtful and entertaining blog articles, marooned and hidden away in some far corner of a site without linking to other valuable pages, and without any accessible opt-ins chance to grow email lists for the content owners. Or we’ve seen famous authors book launch site giving away free preview chapters of their book, without a sign up form asking for an email in exchange. I get it, you’re being modest and are providing value, but trust me, it’s OK to have an occasional opt-in asking for a name and email address.

There is such a thing as being too humble.

So the question for me is always one of customer centricity: Who do you place at the center of your site’s experience? Yourself or your visitors?

So what should we focus on when considering a site re-design?

Let us adopt our customer’s point of view. What is our value proposition to them? How can we inform, delight and offer relevant content and experiences to them?

1.) Awareness: Start by realizing the opportunity for re-invention

It starts with simply realizing that each time a web site is re-designed, it is a huge strategic opportunity to re-invent not only the site, but also the way it contributes to your underlying business model.

2.) Education: Why and how content marketing works

Initially, spend more time researching. In my experience, most web design projects benefit from an 80/20 rule: 80% planning, 20% execution. Educate yourself about why content marketing and an inbound approach work so well for most companies that practice it. Here some quick stats and info to understand the opportunity better…

3.) Conversion: Going Inbound

There is no better way to start customer centric thinking than by implementing an inbound content strategy. It will help develop the muscle for customer centric philosophy and language. It will lead not only to a deeper understanding of your site visitors, but also to a better relationship with your prospects.

4.) Marketing Automation: The difference

For small businesses and solopreneurs, the potential of marketing automation cannot be overstated. Once accessible only to relatively large organizations and corporates, marketing automation platforms are now extremely affordable, and an excellent way to design and run sophisticated inbound content campaigns.

5.) Re-Frame the Opportunity: Converting visitors into prospects, prospects into leads

A re-design project is an ideal place to start, because it can provide you with a re-frame: Your site’s job is to convert site visitors into leads, by providing valuable content to your readership in exchange for contact info and email addresses.

Your site can become the central hub of a customer centric overall digital marketing strategy that supports your business goals (and reflects your brand of course).


I’d like to share the following FREE materials with you:

  • WebSite Re-design Checklist

    Optimized for inbound marketing, here is a check-list that you can use when first starting to plan a site-redesign

  • Marketing Automation Platform Price Comparison

    Each web re-design is an opportunity to consider how marketing automation can boost your site conversions and list generation. This price and platform comparison shows how affordable it is becoming.

  • Your Site Re-design Email Course

    Our completely free, completely non-technical site re-design email course. You will learn how to transform your site into a highly converting inbound content marketing hub.

design problems and solutions with our 3 part offer

Where can we send these
useful materials?




You might not think tips on how to start a podcast have anything to do with content strategy…

But before you laugh, for the right sort of business, launching a podcast can be an amazing content strategy driver…

How to start a podcast as content straetgy - Google trend statistics

Google Trends Interest Over Time Graphic

Sure, podcasts have been hotting up in the last couple of years, as articles in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post pointed out.  Breakout shows like “Serial” and “Start-Up”  were responsible for increasing awareness of podcasts, and most terrestrial radio stations, and their advertisers are launching podcasts as part of their digital strategy. Alex Blumberg of PBS recently left his well-paying job as host of “This American Life” and “Planet Money”, and raised $1.6M+ for his new podcast venture “Gimlet Media“.

Here are some recent market size statistics to consider as of 2017/18

  • 67 million people listen to podcasts – monthly.
  • 112 million Americans have listented to podcasts.
  • As of 2016/17, podcast listening increased by 25% per year in the United States.
  • As of 2017/18, podcast listening increased by 11% over the prior year.
  • 85% of listeners hear all of a podcast.
  • Average listeners subscribe to 6 differnt podcasts and consume an average of 5 episodes per week.
(Stat Reference and some insights about the above at: Convince & Convert)

Impressive stats, wouldn’t you agree? But the success of this approach is more pragmatic. Assuming you want to launch an interview show with thought leaders in your space, the show notes accompanying each episode can be a huge traffic generator for your site, and lead to Google rank increases, since it is in the interest of the thought leaders to cross promote each episode.

How to start a podcast - launch effect on Alexa rankings

Podcast Launch Effect On Alexa Rankings
(click to see a larger version of the graph)

We produced and launched a podcast for our client “Positivity Strategist” and as a result, the site sky-rocketed in Alexa and Google ranking within the following three months, and their email list is growing exponentially, solely due to a successful podcast strategy.

We’ve since repeatedly used Podcasting as a content strategy to grow traffic to client sites or to get them to improve their rank on a variety of search engines.

The attached Alexa Ranking comparison chart shows the effect of positivitystrategist.com (in blue) as well as one of its competitor sites (in green) launching a podcast late in 2014.

POdcasting as Content Strategy List GrowthAnother example of how successful podcasting as content strategy can be was for a client podcast that followed our launch and content strategy called “the MFCEO Project“. It built an email list of over 17,000 within 1.5 years, and their 1.5 year old website gets 35K visitors monthly. It should be noted that there was a substantial social media presence on Instagram before we started, but that is the point: Podcasting as a content marketing strategy when done right can convert anonymous followers into more concrete email list subscriber, and most marketers recognize both the importance and difficulty of this.

In his awesome article how recent Google patents are shaping the future of SEO, Neil Patel predicts both the rise and fall of podcast’s popularity as tied to driverless cars. While podcasts are a form of content that is currently taking advantage of commute time for drivers, he predicts that eventually, other forms of content will become popular once hands-free driving allows us to consume video and visual content while driving.  (Neil even kindly linked to this post in this article, a big thanks!)

One additional content marketing benefit is that there is no shortage of topics to write about since the show’s guests and schedule pretty much set a highly relevant agenda for show content and related posts.

And while we love building a loyal listenership, this article is not just about how to start a podcast, it’s about how to start a podcast as a content marketing strategy for your business and web site.

It’s not for the faint of heart, and it is a long tail type play, but for organizations with a host “personality” and a point of view, it can be a hugely successful way of generating valuable content for both listeners and website visitors.

Benefits of an interview style podcast

Some of the  benefits of an interview style podcast with thought leaders in your area of business are:

  • Meeting, collaborating and establishing working relationships with thought leaders in your space. Each episode of your podcast gives your guests a chance to talk about their experience, products, books or latest offerings. So you are essentially promoting them on your podcast, which is why it is beneficial for them to be on your show. Therefore most of the time getting guests is relatively easy, and we have seen lasting relationships come out of supporting each other in this way.
  • How to Podcast As Content Strategy BenefitsBecome an authority in your field. Often the intent of an inbound content marketing strategy is to establish your business and your websites as authorities in your industry segment. There are few better ways than to have a regular podcast interview show to establish this authority not only in your own mind but in the mind of your listening audience as well as your website visitors.
  • Google page rank, domain authority and overall SEO for your site. These factors are driven by having high-quality incoming links. SEO is an ever-changing field, and what worked in years past no longer works today, most SEO experts agree that high-quality content and inbound links are the gold standards here. And since your show notes will promote and feature links to your guest’s site and latest products, it is a fair exchange to ask that they feature your episode on their site, as well as cross-promote it on their own social media channels. So 50 episodes into your show, you will have 50 high-quality inbound links, as well as all the traffic and social media mentions these episodes generated.
  • Self-generating topics of discussion for posts on your site. Sure, you will need to prepare to think about guests and invites for your podcast strategically, but usually what emerges from each conversation is highly relevant content, easily turned into long form show notes that will constitute a large percentage of your content strategy.

Finding your passion and your voice

One caveat: You, or someone in your organization, needs to have a passion for your topic of choice. So if the ONLY overall reason you want to start a podcast is to increase page rank and generate traffic for your site, then this may not be not enough. Starting a podcast should not be a chore, it needs to come from the heart, and it needs to show passion.

  • How to podcast, bored listenerAudio is more intimate. The connection with your audience is deeper and more intimate on an emotional level, and so are the relationships you build with your fans and followers. I know that for podcasts I myself listen to, I feel “I know” the host. This may be a mirage, to use a visual metaphor for an audio phenomenon. But ultimately my experience is one of being connected more deeply than I would be by just reading someone’s blog posts.
  • Audio is an interesting medium in this way. Your enthusiasm, or lack of it, will instantly shine through to your listeners, and be either a turn-on or turn-off. The effort required to launch a podcast is high, as are the rewards, but if it does not come from the heart, and if you don’t feel you can find something of value to share, don’t even start. I would argue the same is true for writing and blogging, but in audio format, it is way more apparent.
  • Be clear about your value proposition to your listeners. Just like when writing blog articles, the listener experience should be front of mind. We love doing Value Proposition Design workshops for our clients when building web sites, and similarly the exercises we help our clients with apply here: clarity around who your likely listeners are, what they are interested in, what they can gain from listening to your show, or what pain relievers to their issues and problems you can provide.
  • Niches are good, up to a point. In thinking about topics for your show and episodes, the more narrow the niche of your topic is, the better. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there are many examples of extremely small niches doing well in podcasting, and establishing a loyal listenership. But if you are launching a podcast for your business, the focus should be on what best serves your particular audience.

Focus on concept and content more than the equipment

You might think that starting a podcast is all about high-quality sound and production value, and therefore you will need to focus on getting the right equipment.

  • Great Expectations. It is true that with the rise in popularity of podcasts there are increased listener expectations around having great sound, but there are many great sites that offer tips on how to start a podcast from a technical perspective, as well as how to do it affordably. No matter what budget, starting a podcast is relatively affordable in terms of money, but it can consume a fair amount of time.
  • What To Focus On. Having great equipment won’t automatically make you a great podcast host or producer, so the focus should go into the planning, concept, and automating the production process. Statistically speaking, most podcasts shut down after only 7 episodes. There are many reasons for this, and my own guess is that people under-estimated the time and dedication it takes. In order to see results in terms of a content marketing strategy, obviously your podcast needs to last longer than 7 episodes, so don’t over-focus on equipment, go with basic equipment for low cost to start with. If your podcast makes it past 25 episodes, reward yourself with a nice microphone upgrade:)

Find strategic guests with an existing platform

When inviting guests for your podcast, there is a strategic way to look at this:

  • podcast episode show posts are a giftIt is a good idea to set expectations with your guests up front. Be crystal clear about the fact the this is a mutually supportive endeavor and win-win gift exchange, where you create a piece of great content that promotes your guest, and that in return you expect a blog post or resource-link back to your site and the episode post in return, as well as active guest participation in sharing the episode on social media.
  • Having a platform.  Of course you want to pick your guests to be interesting and entertaining for your audience, but ideally, your guest should also have a popular site, with a Google page rank of 4+, as well as a large social media presence. It may sound harsh, but otherwise getting links back from a dormant or low-value site is of little SEO value, and guests with little or no social media following are not likely to help share your episode widely.

Write great long-form show notes

how to podcast with long form shownotesLong form content is better in terms of SEO, while 300+ words are required from an SEO perspective, 700 words plus is better.

  • Create standard headers and footer. We follow a recipe for creating a standard header and footer segment for each episode. We use automation tools like Text Expander to create show notes footers, with pre-programmed subscribe links to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher; a standard section on how to share the podcast; where to find links to books or sites mentioned in the episode.  This helps in creating longer form notes post.
  • Create some standing segments for questions you ask each guest.  You might also find that you have some standing questions you ask each guest, and you can prepare a show notes template that already includes the <H2> titles for each segment.
  • Use a Transcription Service or Dragon Dictation software: We have had some pretty good luck with using Dragon Dictation software to process our podcast recording and to transcribe the content into a text file. While this process does not produce punctuation, it is helpful in creating summary notes or themes for show notes segments. There are many transcription services that will do a better job, and turn around a full transcript of each episode in about one day. The only drawback is that this approach is a bit more expensive.
  • Podcast Transcription Services Using AI: The New Players on the Block
    • There are several very interesting alternatives emerging using artificial intelligence and Google speech to text translation engines. One of these services is called Temi, a transcription service that is automated and very effective and accurate, as long as the speaker speaks English. It struggles with accents but is otherwise very accurate.
    • IBM Watson, their cloud-based supercomputer, also features a nearly free transcription service, but I have found it not to be as accurate as Temi.
  • Include a nicely formatted audio player bar for each episode. We have found that many of our listeners visit the web page and listen to the entire episode there, using our built-in web player. This is great in terms of getting high Google analytics engagement and time on site scores, as well as very low bounce rates.
  • Invest 1-2 hours to learn the basics of SEO for podcasters, using our free 5 part SEO for podcasters tutorial series.

Build A Conversion Optimized Podcast Home Page

Podcast Website Design Patterns For Conversion And List Building

We recently published a video walkthrough which outlines a highly converting podcast website design pattern called “The Upside Down Podcast Home Page”.

It is designed and optimized to create a guided experience for your site visitors and to encourage them to subscribe to your podcast via email.

The video covers 2 versions of this – a more complete version for established podcasts with multiple seasons or topics, and a simple version for new podcast sites with a narrow niche and focused audience.

Why focus on podcast email subscribers?

In the last few years, we have been lucky to help launch a dozen or so podcasts. And most of our clients have been obsessed with getting into the “New and Noteworthy” section of iTunes. However, as of late 2018, it is worth pointing out that the iTunes charts are somewhat broken and full of podcasts that have simply hacked their way into the charts. To see how this is possible, just watch this great video by Lime Link, about how the podcast ecosystem is being hacked. Please do NOT use these techniques to get your own show to rank, Apple will at some point have to address the weakness in their algorithm, and I expect a lot of shows to get banned in the process.

Invest in your sound quality and the editing process

Make sure you make your guests and yourself sound great.

Earlier I mentioned about audio as a medium being more intimate. This means it can also be more annoying – when a lack of sound quality results in a “hard to listen to” experience, people will bail much more quickly than if they encounter one or two spelling mistakes on a blog post.

The better and more professional your podcast and each episode sounds, the more likely your guests will see it as an asset they are eager to share on their site, their social media and as part of their PR kit.

  • Sound Editing Resources. If you are editing the episodes yourself, there are several resources to help producing high sound quality regardless of  your software of choice. One of the best is Ultimate Vocal Formula, a generous course run by Rob Williams, which offers great editing tips, a terrific cheat sheet for correct use of equalizers and compression to shape your show’s sound to be broadcast standard.
  • Remove “Ums”, “Ahhs”, “You Know” and “Lip Smacks”. Unless your guests are totally fluent public speakers, if you are like us you may be surprised to notice just how many of these flubs are in the un-edited field for each episode. I can’t stress how important the editing process is in shaping the overall listener experience. I was interviewed on a podcast recently and was surprised to find I say “you know” all the time. The podcast editor removing this was a relief for me and saved much embarrassment. So take the time to make your guests sound great.
  • Be Ruthless. We not only try to remove flubs, but we may at times even delete irrelevant or repeating and rambling parts of a longer conversation, in order to create a better and more concise episode.
  • Sound Tracks and Segments. Having a great sound track and theme intro, even having repeating show segments with their own theme music can make your show stand out and sound professional and broadcast ready.

Promote and build your e-mail list

How to start a podcast email list buildngWhen people visit your show notes page, they should have an easy way to subscribe to podcast episode reminders via email.

  • Mention an easy to remember show-notes URL during each episode. Use tools like “Easy301 Redirects” or “Prettylink” to create short URLS in addition to your long episode specific URLs. This is because you want to mention an easily accessible URL during the episode to encourage listeners to visit there, find out more about the guest, or download special offers and lead-magnets. So for example, instead of “myshow.com/long-podcast-episode5-description”, create a short URL for episode: “myshow.com/5”, which is easy to remember for listeners.
  • Offer a way to subscribe via email. Make sure visitors have an email opt-in to be notified for each episode. We use a Mailchimp based automated RSS driven email campaign to send email notifications out for our podcasts. Most other marketing automation engines can generate RSS triggered emails. However, even if your platform does not offer this in an automated fashion, think of creating manual email notifications to your list as an advantage: It allows you to be more specific and personal in each email you send out.
  • Email notification do’s and don’t’s:  Be careful not to provide the entire show-notes within your email. Your email is meant to alert your subscribers to the fact that a new episode is available, and to raise some curiosity about it. And then get them to visit your site, that should be the primary goal and single CTA. Plus, who reads long emails anymore.
  • Promote opt-ins and giveaways. Where applicable, create downloadable content for each episode, and allow clients to opt-in for these using tools like LeadPages.

How much time will it take, and are there good ways to save time?

podcast content strategy - saving timeI’ve heard experienced podcasters agree that that the overall time it takes to produce a podcast episode is about 4-5 times the amount of time of the actual episode recording length. I would say that this is a conservative estimate, coming from people who have their workflow down to a finely honed art, with templated processes and automation.

Overall, the steps involved are

  • Guest Management. Identifying guests, inviting them and scheduling pre-interviews and the actual interview
  • Recording. Recording the actual episodes sound files.
  • Producing. Editing the audio files in audio software, outputting the .mp3 files, tagging the .mp3 files with show information, uploading to your podcast hosting service, and preparing episode titles and summaries, as well as scheduling each episode for release and distribution on feeds and social media.
  • Show Notes Production & Promotion. Writing a blog article to accompany each episode, with links to your guest’s site and resources, as well as managing social media shares.

However, there are ways to save time:

  • Establish a schedule and stick to it. John Lee Dumas of the highly successful “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast shares that he sets aside one day a week to schedule, record and produce content for a month. In our experience, this is no small feat, and podcast related activities tend to bleed into the rest of the week. This is, of course, subject to your resources.
  • Automate as much as possible. When producing podcasts we have templated everything, from guest invite emails to basic show notes structure, episode footers and other lead magnet downloads. This greatly decreases the amount of time to produce show notes.  (I will share our process for applying some great automation tools in the near future).
  • Get help. If your business has the resources, you can easily farm out some of the more time consuming aspects of doing a podcast. For example, you can assign interns to handle guest scheduling and invites. Or, you can take advantage of podcast production packages like the ones we offer here at Polymash, where the only thing a host has to worry about is the actual recording of the interview, and where everything else from editing to basic show notes and publishing of each episode is taken care of.

Formulate A Podcast Content Strategy

Cornerstone content is an SEO concept that works particularly well with high quality and long-form content. It builds on the most important themes of your site or business and creates an internal linked network of related content on your site. For each “cornerstone”, a long-form 2,000+ words article or “hero post” is created, and then other articles on your site are modified or created to link to this one “cornerstone” piece of content.

When Google indexes your site, these many internal links provide context and point to the “cornerstone” article as the centerpiece. Google recognizes the importance of the “cornerstone” article for your site, and typically ranks it more highly than individual shorter articles.

This approach works very well in planning out your podcast content strategy.

Podcast SEO Marketing CourseIn our Podcast Marketing & SEO course, we teach creating a 6-month podcast content strategy using step by step methods to identify the best keywords, topics, and themes for your podcast, and then implement these themes using the “cornerstone content” approach. We typically use the episode show notes, and for cornerstone pieces add transcriptions to the posts, which results in long-form content.

Since Google introduced “Rank Brain” in late 2017, their focus has shifted to measuring “quality content”. Google does this by measuring bounce rate, time on page, scroll distance and other factors. Suffice it to say that the more you can engage someone to stay on your hero post or episode, the more likely Google will rank your episode highly.

Last Tip: Define what success means for you

When first launching a podcast, it is easy to get caught up in your download stats. Don’t.

You can set your own goals and ways to measure success.

For example, building a loyal listener base can matter, or maybe it’s establishing lasting relationships with peers and clients.  There is intrinsic high value in having people want to listen and visit your site because they are truly interested in the topic. Our bounce rates on podcast episodes are below 20%, sometimes in the low teens. And our email sign-ups have skyrocketed.

This is a longer term strategic investment, but as you can see from the Alexa ranking graph at the top of this post, the reward can be massive.

FREE 2018 Podcasting Resources Guide: Launch and market your podcast

  • check
    Gear Guides
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    "How To" Tutorials
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    Music & Sound Effect Libraries
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    Software & Tools
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    Guest Booking Services
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    General Podcasting Sites & Groups
Podcasting Resources Guide

Where can we send your guide?

  • If you’ve made it this far reading a long post about how to start a podcast as content strategy, then chances are it might be a good fit for you.  I’d love to hear your perspective, please leave a comment!

push notificationsWhile I agree with the best practices described in this PandoDaily article “How to use much-hated push notifications to build loyalty “, overall I’m not sure how appropriate “push notifications” are in carrying on “conversations” via mobile.

A recent survey by X+1, showed an abysmal consumer attitude toward marketing channels on mobile, where only 6 percent of consumers surveyed, found the information on mobile apps accurate and valuable. Compared to 28 person finding personalized web experiences accurate and valuable and 32 percent finding email accurate and valuable. Email? Accurate and valuable? Believe it or not, many marketers have emerged wiser, from the early spam days, and now know that to be heard on email, is to be accurate and relevant. This lesson on creating relationships based on the useful exchange of information must be carried over to mobile.

Read full story on PandoDaily

Ways of engaging app users on mobile devices around relevant content is something we at Polymash are exploring, but I see only a minimal or supportive role for push notifications to play a part in this.

In my way of thinking, engagement around content is very difficult to achieve on mobile devices in the first place. As the popularity of a single click “Like” interactions shows, typing in longer comments can be a significant barrier to entry on smartphones at least.

However, on tablets and mobile web platforms the ability to carry on a conversation needs it’s own user interface, and unlike commenting systems on the web, standards and best practices around this are still emerging.

I feel bi-directional commenting / chat as well as single click interactions are an important component, and push-notifications merely serve as an alert system in that context.

The face of the app store is about to change again in iOS6.

Back in February Apple acquired Chomp, an app store search company. With the upcoming release of iOS6, Apple is about to showcase their integration of Chomps technologies. One likely result is that consumer app store search behavior will change forever.

Compare the current search results display on the left to the Chomp approach on the right.

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What is special about the Chomp inspired approach are two things:

1.  A card based search result interface, much larger and emphasizing screen shot previews, and with potentially more room for information about each app.
2. A new search algorithm

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Footnote: iOS6 is expected to be released to the general public later this fall.

How will this change impact app store search behavior for consumers?

This change will display cards about each app, roughly 75% larger than the current display. So I think the likely change in user behavior will be driven by the fact that 2/3 fewer apps will be visible in the search result viewport, but that more visuals about each app will be included in the resulting card display. For users this will likely increase engagement and drill down with the top search results. I would also predict that the total number of apps a user browses through in search results will decrease.

The above is true for the iPad.  I should also mention that the impact on the iPhone search results will be even more drastic, displaying a single card display users can swipe through a card at a time.

Image courtesy of MacRumors, read their post here

How will this change impact app developers and marketers?

For app developers and marketers this change will be significant. Getting into the top 25 search results will be even more important than it is already. Carefully keyword selection, as well as selecting the most compelling screenshots to entice users to check out an app in greater details will be key. But in general the opportunity to have cool screenshot displayed in the search result is good for apps and developers that have great graphic design. More challenging will be how the search algorithm will actually function.

What about the new search algorithm?

It is hard to tell exactly how this new search algorithm works. I suspect we will learn greater details about it once it is live. However, what is clear is that there are differences when comparing the results returned from an iOS5 search versus an iOS6 search.

In various Mac discussion forums some suspect at the new algorithms will emphasize popularity ratings and downloads, in favor of relevancy. The suspicion is that Apple would tweak the search results to increase sales as the primary objective. This means popular apps would get more popular, and smaller indie apps would struggle even more to be found. For indie developers this would not be good news.

However, PC Magazine Reports it differently

“… using an algorithm that learns the functions of apps, then allows users to search based on what an app does, rather than its given title.” read more…

A Stroke of Genius

I also suspect the new algorithm will play a result in driving the recently introduced Genius recommendations, which suggests other apps a user may be interested in and displays these on the bottom of the app store screen.

Watch a Video of the new UI

What do you think?

Will these changes result in app store search behavior that ultimately benefits consumers?

A Context for Mobile Trends 2012

If you look at some of the mobile trends 2012 stats we have gathered in the presentation below, it’s clear  Moore’s Law going on. With the growth in mobile devices and, as a consequence, all that has to do with being able to access the web while mobile, having your content and message able to be comfortably experienced on mobile is a growth opportunity in all ways.

For a much more comprehensive look at mobile trends 2012, please check out our Mobile Readiness Tool and 25+ page white paper on the state of mobile.

The Age of the DVR

I hardly watch commercials on TV anymore, since we skip through a lot of them using our DVR. This has had the unexpected result that when we do watch a show live, more commercials actually seem entertaining to me, I suppose due to the lack of over-saturation from TV ads.

And of course half the fun of watching the Super Bowl stems from seeing what great new campaigns are being launched.

Increasingly, Superbowl ads, and TV advertising in general, will feature a mobile component: Nearly 60 percent of mobile users planned to look at or use their mobile device during the Super Bowl, according to a survey from Velti and Harris Interactive.

So, how will we engage in these “Second Screen Experiences”?

Get your QR code scanner ready

I’ve observed an increase in the use of QR codes in TV commercials. While QR codes are everywhere these days, I feel a 30 second commercial is often not enough time to whip out your smartphone and scan the code in time. But special offers, QR based coupons and exclusive timed deals may have some folks ready to “quick draw”.

  • To me, QR codes are more suited to static / printed media.

Apps

I would predict that there will be a host of apps advertised or mentioned in Superbowl TV commercials, perhaps too many to open and interact with. From the NFL’s official superbowl app to Domino’s Pizza’s “Pizza Hero”, there will be many apps to interact with.

  • Will there be time to watch the game anymore?

Mobile Ready Web Sites

Having mobile enabled web sites will be a big advantage for second screen advertising, as few people will be using laptops as their “Superbowl Second Screen” of choice. It is far more likely that smartphones prevail in this category.

  • For brands advertising during the Super Bowl, a mobile ready web site, with flexible content layout optimized to smartphones will be a huge plus.

Messaging and Social Media

I feel text messaging and pusgh notifications will be used sparingly by brands, as the annoyance factor could be quite big. However I see push notifications as being central in the use of Social Media apps, and I think much of the interactive “Did you just see that!!!” conversions will happen on Facebook, Twitter, SMS and the like.

  • I hope SIRI can cope.

In 2011, Nielsen found that Super Bowl ads including social media tags that directed viewers to a link on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube were more 33 percent more memorable for viewers. “Advertisers are seeing second-screen opportunities as a natural move to drive engagement in the moment of big-screen advertising – especially when it comes at such a premium as the Super Bowl,” said David Hewitt, Atlanta-based global mobile practice lead at SapientNitro. “Adding an interactive component on smart phone or tablet both extends the time spent, gives consumers an opportunity to participate, and leverages a more cost-effective and measurable channel to continue the brand conversation.”

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