Last Updated on December 27, 2020
Podcast directories aren't enough for podcast distribution. In this episode we will learn why. We will also learn how to automatically and widely syndicate episode show notes content for quick traffic and SEO rank wins. This is the primary marketing approach we are taking for our podcasts.
Overview & Episode Content
- What is Content Syndication? (01:10)
- What Are the Benefits For Podcasters & Bloggers? (01:45)
- How does this work, and how can I automate it? (04:20)
- SCREENCAST: The StoryChief platform we use for this (07:45)
- DEMO: Our podcast distribution and syndication process (12:25)
- COMPARISON: StoryChief's free, basic and pro plans compared (21:45)
- CASE STUDY: Results we have seen
What is Content Syndication?
Here is a definition from Search Engine Watch:
Content syndication is the process of pushing your blogpost, article, video or any piece of web-based content out to other third-parties who will then re-publish it on their own sites.
So this applies to podcasts as well. We want to create Brand Awareness for our podcasts by publishing our show notes stories on multiple websites, communities, social media and email channels.
What Are The Benefits?
Question: Why should podcasters care about content syndication?
Aren't we already doing a form of this when distributing our episodes to iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play?
- Answer: Yes indeed we are.
- However, we are only publishing audio content on iTunes.
- And we ought to do the same with episode show notes.
Multi Channel Presence
Content syndication is to our podcast show notes what podcast directories are to our audio files. A way to distribute our content widely. And a way to establish presence on multiple content and social platforms.
Traffic and Discoverability
This results in greater traffic and discoverability. When your episodes go live, you probably already share your show notes post on Facebook, and perhaps on Twitter. But have you thought about publishing your episode show notes as articles on Medium? (I get a lot of traffic from doing this) Or on Blogger?
The idea we are about to explore involves distribution of your show notes to as many platforms as possible.
And the benefits of this extend far beyond traffic alone.
My backlinks from high domain authority sites have increased by 231% in 2 months of launching my podcast. This is largely resulting from the podcast distribution and syndication method we are covering here. (There are some graphics and figures at the end of these show notes)
For those of you unfamiliar with SEO, increased backlinks mean increased rank in the Google search engines, and this means better placement in the search results. I have some concrete examples of this later on, but some of my podcast episodes and blog posts are ranking on page 1 or 2 of the Google search results within 2-3 weeks after publishing. And my site does not have a particularly high ranking Domain Authority.
How Does This Work, And How Can I Automate It?
You could of course distribute your show notes to a bunch of different platforms manually. Generally this involves re-posting your episode article via copy paste, or sharing your own episode show notes URL on social media. And that's perfectly fine, but it is a lot of work, and there are pitfalls:
- The manual approach is super time consuming
- Each platform has slightly different rules, layouts and features
- The more platforms you want to distribute to, the more manual work it becomes
- If you are not careful or SEO savvy, then your podcast episodes will rank on 3rd party sites instead of on your own. We've written extensively about how to prevent this, and talked about Digital Sharecropping in Episode 7 "5 Reasons NOT to Promote a Podcast on Facebook [S1E07]"
So doing this manually is a bit foolish. And there are some great content syndication platforms out there. But there is one particular platform that is great for podcast distribution of show notes. And it addresses all the above concerns.
The platform is by a Belgian company called StoryChief, and I'd like to tell you about how we use it, and how it has revolutionized our podcast content syndication process.
- Podcasting Ready
- Blogging Optimized
- Content Calendar
- SEO Ready With Canonical Tags
- Lead capture integration
- Suitable for beginners
- Suitable for advanced marketers
- Provides ready-made blog
- Built-In Coaching for SEO and Readability
- Flexible open platform with lots of embeds, integrations
- Collaboration & Approval Workflows
- Outsourcing Ready
StoryChief Podcast Distribution & Syndication (7:45)
Here is a quick summary of where StoryChief can distribute your podcast show notes.
Publish to multiple websites you own (7:55)
With StoryChief you create a layer above all your web sites, which simplifies the show notes production processes. After your show notes are finished in StoryChief, just publish it to your podcast's websites with one click. The layout will automatically be adjusted to defined branding of your website.
I especially like that on WordPress, any images you include are automatically imported into your social media library. And if you use Yoast SEO plugin, as most of us do, the SEO settings you define in your article will transfer over to your WordPress site, such as your SEO keywords or meta description.
Publish to your personal blog you get with StoryChief (9:30)
Don't have a blog website yet? You can use the free blog you get with StoryChief. It's auto generated when you start an account. Personally I don't use it or drive traffic to it, but I still publish each show note article there because I get a back link.
Create Social Media posts which link to the article (9:55)
Create Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin post to promote your story. The links will go to your primary website.
Publish to the new AMP channels (10:25)
Improve click through rate by 70% by boosting loading times on mobile devices. Publish your stories to Facebook and Google as AMP version.
Promote stories through your ambassadors and influencers (10:40)
Increase reach by 1000% by sharing your brand stories through the personal social channels of your colleagues, friends and influencers. My invitation to join our own Ambassador network is below and also at the bottom of this post.
Embed stories in automated newsletters (12:00)
Easily setup news digests by integrating your favorite mailing tools with StoryChief.
Publish to communities (12:10)
Increase reach and brand awareness by publishing to Medium.com, blogger.com communities.
Content Syndication Demo (12:25)
As you know, this is a both a podcast audio as well as video series, and in this next segment I will doing a video demo. So for those of you listening to this, I'll do my best to describe what's going on:
Podcast Distribution and Syndication Destinations (12:45)
Let's take a look at the integrations that are possible when using StoryChief. Let's go and start with the available channels that are possible to be configured. As I mentioned, StoryChief comes with its built in blog, and we can have a quick look at that so that you can see what that looks like. Here is my Polymash Podcast Growth System blog that I've set up as part of the StoryChief. As I said, I don't really use it, but I do get backlinks from it, and so that's useful.
Publish to Blogs, Website and CMS Destinations (13:10)
My primary place where I publish is WordPress. You can also hook up an API to basically publish to almost any website out there. Some of my marketing buddies out there will be using HubSpot or Magento, that's another famous CMS that's out there. So you can see you there are a whole range of choices. Another good one that's maybe worth pointing out is Shopify. I'm not sure whether that applies to you as a podcaster, but it could.
Content Hubs (13:50)
Content hubs are next, this is where you would configure Medium. Most of the time you have a personal account on Medium, but I also run a publication called Podcasting Strategy Launch and Marketing on Medium. So those are two different places that I typically syndicate this content. Let's go back to content hubs: I've also set that up the Podcast Growth Show on Blogger. As I mentioned, it's owned by Google. And finally I create an RSS feed. There are many purposes for that, that I won't go into any details.
Social Media Destinations (14:30)
On Facebook, both Facebook pages as well as Facebook groups are promoted, Twitter and Linkedin.
Ambassador Networks (14:40)
Here are the referral or the ambassador networks that we talked about a little bit earlier. I have to have them configured at the moment, one for podcasting and one for just general digital strategy. But you can easily see how, if your podcast is about multiple topics, you could easily use it for that. If you have multiple seasons, you could possibly set it up to where your podcast season one has an ambassador list that's different from season two. So this is kind of up to you to decide.
Press Releases (15:05)
Press releases, if you are big enough to warrant occasional press releases, and you have an episode on which you're talking about an event or something that are really not worthy, that would lend itself to a press release, that's a great option to have.
Email Marketing (15:25)
Email marketing, it comes built in with MailChimp. It comes built in with campaign monitor. But we'll go in a minute, we will look at what the integration strategy is. And because you can hook it up to Zapier quite easily, it basically you gain access to almost any marketing automation platform that's out there for capturing leads.
Lead Generation (15:40 & 16:30)
On the Lead Capture site, there are many ways in which you can capture a lead inside your story. So if you're mentioning something in the podcast that's a worthy add on, or you're asking people to sign up for something, or even if you don't have this built into your website. We use Thrive Marketing Automation tools to help with this. But even if you don't have anything like that, StoryChief helps you by providing it.
Mobile Platforms (15:50)
Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles is what's available right now, and that can be quite helpful. I'm still in the process of starting to utilize these.
Other Integrations (16:30)
All right, so here we are in the integration screen, where you set up, and by the way this stuff don't let it overwhelm you. These are one time set up activities. I'm just trying to point out the rich distribution potential that you get on this platform, and most of it is a matter of a one time effort, and then it is as simple as actually just clicking to publish at the end of this.
The web hook is the way that you connect at Zapier, and as I mentioned, that just opens up a whole world of other integration platforms.
Content Calendars (17:00)
StoryChief comes with a built in content calendar. But it also integrates to external content calendars. You can have everything that's gonna go live, including on social media, you can integrate that into your Google Calendar, or into your Upper Calendar or into your Outlook Calendar. So I love that part.
Podcast Syndication Ready Editor Embeds (17:15)
Editor Embeds is where it gets interesting, especially for podcasters. Because what I want to highlight is that StoryChief supports Anchor, Pippa, SoundCloud, Mixcloud and Libsyn as well. StoryChief are working aggressively on adding other audio platforms to be directly supported. I'm sure Blueberry isn't far away.
Right now, there isn't a native integration with Blueberry at the moment. But, I think that if that's something that you need, let me know. I would reach out to them. I was the one who initiated getting Libsyn on board. I suggested that on their public roadmap, and they've been very responsive in implementing some of the features that we as podcasters were pitching to them.
A Quick Overview of the StoryChief Editing Environment (18:09)
I thought we'd have a quick look at the actual Editor itself. It's broken down into sort of a number of interesting components.
Editing could not be easier (18:17)
Those of you that have you ever written on Medium, the StoryChief editor works very much like that. You just basically get a screen that is as easy as pie to just start typing something in. As you're typing it, you can turn text into headings, into quotes. You can add links, you can even comment back and forth with your team. And this ability to comment is a wonderful collaboration strategy, where you can manage multiple writers, or you could outsource your Show Notes production.
SEO coaching (19:04)
I've mentioned the SEO coaching components before. Here the show notes that I'm actually preparing for this very episode that you're listening to right now. It's in an earlier stage than what you would see on my site, but I thought I'd share with you what this looks like. StoryChief provides an SEO sidebar that actually tells you what to do, and walks you through a number of steps to optimize your show notes for SEO.
Readability Coaching (19:38)
And it also has a area here a way you can get a score on the readability of your posts. So keeping it simple, adding headings, breaking it up, not having too many long sentences, and a flesh reading score. Which is sort of like how complex is the grammar that you're using, and getting a good score of that is an SEO factor now. Google actually uses this as a rank indication signal. I don't know how much weight it carries, but it carries some. Besides it just makes for a better reading experience to have your show notes be very easy and scannable.
The approach that we take is, is that our headings by themselves allow you to scan through an episode and very quickly see what's going on. People do scan a lot these days. So that's how it's organized.
Tabs for staying organized and to simplify the UI (20:30 )
The editing environment is split into wizard-like tabs. This is where you progress from writing, to a summary, to determining your audience, to actually publishing.
And after you write, you basically go to the summary area where you can manage the episode settings and Metadata. This is also where you put a cover image, where you add an excerpt for your WordPress blog, where you apply categories and tags. So this is all baked into StoryChief and it all translates over to any other platform that you publish to. These settings are going to trickle down into WordPress, they are going to trickle down into Drupal and Joomla, and they will be honored on as many platforms as they can be honored in.
Defining your audience (21:15)
The last part of the publishing process is that you select your audience, and this is where you can schedule your shotes notes to go live at some future date.
The best part of that is, at the end of the day when you click that publish button and you see it going live …
The 16 destinations we publish to (21:40)
As you can see here, I'm currently doing my podcast distribution and syndication to 16 destinations. Facebook pages, Facebook channels, my Medium personal profile, my Medium publication, my WordPress Blogs, my Linkedin profiles and so forth. Some people that I've seen have to up to 20 or 30 channels that they've configured. I think it's a great feeling when you then actually click the publish button and you see it go live everywhere.
StoryChief Free Version, Basic and Pro Versions
So when I first thought I saw this, I thought it was super-exciting, because it just saves us so much time and it was a no-brainer for me to try to integrate this into our workflow.
Sign Up for Free To Try This For Your Podcast or Blog
I'd encourage you to try this for your own blog or podcast.
If you'd like to sign up for the free version, below is a link. Full disclosure, this is an affiliate link and if you ever upgrade I will earn a small commission at no cost to you. But I hope to have earned your trust with this site, blog and podcast – I have been putting significant work into this in order to provide next level thinking about podcast growth.
Get started for free, and then save 50% using our link
StoryChief updated it’s pricing structure in 2020, and now if you sign up for StoryChief free trial with our link, email me and I will personally send you a special code you can use when upgrading for a paid account that will save you 50% on this platform. This includes access for 3 team members, collaboration and content calendar features and the ability to publish unlimited stories on multiple of your websites.
But the paid version is extremely reasonably priced for what it does. Then some of the more sophisticated integrations that we've talked about, are available in the Pro Plan. But I think that podcasters will get a lot of use and time savings, even out of the basic version and I think it's totally affordable to do it.
As I mentioned, there is a free version that you can get, and then there's a Basic, Pro and Enterprise versions. I'll skip the enterprise one, but here's a feature comparison.
Free version for evaluating the platform
You can see that what you're getting with the free version is quite a lot. You had five stories a month, you could really get a feel for the platform and start utilizing it even with the free version.
Why the Basic version is right for podcasters
With the basic version, you actually get that ambassador network and some of the more, from my perspective, useful features that we've talked a little bit about.
The basic version is actually quite feature rich. For example, you do get the content calendar version history. You get a content approval and rejection, which are the collaboration features, to where you can assign shown notes to someone and communicate back with them.
Here's everything you get with the $8 a month basic plan:
- 5-30 Stories a month
- Unlimited Users and Collaborators
- 50 Ambassadors/Press/Influencers
- Free Blog
- Publish to your own Website
- Collaboration/Reviewer Comments
- Share Story on Social Media
- Publish to Medium.com and Blogger
- SEO Assistant
- API Access
- Export to Word/PDF/Zip
- Content Calendar
- Version History
- Content Approval/Rejection
- Lead Generation Forms (Teamleader CRM, Hubspot CRM)
- Custom Domain for your
- StoryChief Blog
- Editorial Briefs
- Access to Talent Pool (only available in Benelux)
- Feeds and AMPs (Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, RSS, MailChimp)
- Version History
- PRO Channels (e.g Hubspot)
- PRO Integrations (e.g Salesforce, Calendar Sync, …)
- Zapier Integrations
- Publish to Messengers (soon)
You get that integration into email letters, lead generation forms. You get that custom domain and editorial briefs and a number of other benefits that is appear integration. All of that is included in the baseline version for only $10 a month, or $8 when paid yearly. So I just think this is a smashingly good deal.
Results We Are Seeing
Even though we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what we can do with this tool, I hope you do see the value of distributing your show notes as widely, and to as many different networks as you can, just like you're doing with your podcast audio.
We've certainly had great results from it. Several of my episodes actually resulting in a good amount of traffic. I mean, I'm ranking for keywords that have sort of like 500 visits a month. Click here for the examples from RANK Tracker.
But if I can be on page one for that, I'm happy. I don't expect to be ranking for something that has 25,000 searches a month. That's a bit too competitive for me. I talked about that a lot in our SEO courses, how to basically match your podcasts website with the kind of keyboards and that you can actually rank for. Something that's commensurate with your site. As I mentioned, we'll be going into that in a future episode.
In terms of business benefit, I've landed several clients as a direct result of Google search from the above process. Results that featured my syndicated content. Plus, several people have contacted me to collaborate and to help them with their own podcast content strategy and show launches, something I love doing…
So I hope that you found this inspiring. Please visit PodcastGrowShow.com, get your free sign up link for StoryChief.
Can you see yourself doing this and getting similar results?
Try this out yourself and see what you think, and let me know in the comments what you're thinking, and what your process is and how you could integrate that. I'm hoping that you could see yourself doing this. Scroll up for the link to the free StoryChief sign up.
Invitation To Join Our Ambassador Network
One last thing I almost forgot is the ambassador network. If you'd like to join my ambassador network, I would hugely appreciate it. If we have complimentary topics and our content is in sync from an SEO, or Inbound Marketing or podcasting perspective, maybe there's a way that we could work together and support each other.
So here is a signup form where you could join my ambassador networks. I would love to have you be part of that, and I would love to be able to support you in any way that I can.