Tag Archive for: platforms

In today's episode of the Podcasting Resources Guide, we continue with part 2 of our series on "The Digital Presence Spectrum." This spectrum consists of three stages: Building an Audience, Building Your Platform, and Scaling Your Platform. Today, we'll focus on the importance of owning your platform and avoiding digital sharecropping.

The Risks of Digital Sharecropping

The Risks of Digital Sharecropping
Photographer: jean wimmerlin | Source: Unsplash

Digital sharecropping refers to building your digital presence on platforms you don't own or control, such as social media or third-party websites. This can expose content creators and businesses to potential issues when these platforms change their rules or algorithms. Let's look at some examples:

  • Facebook: In 2018, Facebook made significant changes to its News Feed algorithm, prioritizing content from friends and family over public content from businesses and brands. This led to a massive decrease in organic reach for many content creators.
  • YouTube: The "Adpocalypse" in 2017 saw YouTube implementing stricter monetization policies after facing backlash from advertisers. Many content creators lost their ad revenue overnight.
  • Twitter: Under Elon Musk's leadership, Twitter has suspended accounts and removed verified status for various reasons. This can result in a significant loss of followers and credibility for content creators.

These examples highlight the risks associated with relying solely on platforms you don't own or control. It's crucial for content creators and businesses to diversify their digital presence by investing in building their own platforms.

Jane's Story: A Cautionary Tale

A Cautionary Tale
Photographer: Andrej Lišakov | Source: Unsplash

Let's take a closer look at Jane Smith (a pseudonym), a content creator who built her digital presence solely on Twitter, or “X” as it is now called. When policy changes were introduced by Elon Musk, her account took a significant hit. Her reach and engagement dropped drastically, threatening her livelihood.

To overcome this challenge, Jane had to quickly explore other platforms like Instagram and TikTok to reach a wider audience. She also started diversifying her digital presence by creating content for other platforms and investing in building her own website.

"Adapting to changes in the digital landscape is crucial for content creators like Jane Smith. When her Twitter account suffered, she didn't give up; instead, she explored new platforms and diversified her digital presence to protect her livelihood."

Jane's story serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the importance of owning and controlling your platform. By diversifying their digital presence and investing in their own platforms, content creators can avoid the pitfalls of digital sharecropping.

Taking Control: Building Your Platform

Taking Control: Building Your Platform
Photographer: Anthony Ciancio | Source: Unsplash

Now that we understand the risks of digital sharecropping, let's talk about how to build a platform that you actually own. Here are three essential steps:

1. Purchase a Domain Name

Claim your own corner of the digital universe by purchasing a domain name. This gives you control over your brand and provides permanence in the ever-changing online landscape. Without a domain name, your brand is like an uninvited guest at someone else's party.

Are you tired of being at the mercy of social media platforms? Learn how to avoid digital sharecropping and build your own platform with these tips!

Why is a Domain Name Important?

  • Having your own domain gives you control over your brand and content.
  • You're at the mercy of platform rules, algorithms, or potential shutdowns.
  • With a domain name, you are in control and set the rules for your podcast.

Connect Your Custom Domain

  • If you use website builders like Podpage or rely on your podcast host's website, connect your custom domain.
  • This setup helps build SEO rank for your domain rather than relying on others'.

AI-Assisted Domain Search Tools

Check out our recently added AI-assisted domain search tools on the Podcasting Resources Guide.

These tools can help you find an SEO-friendly domain name that ranks high in search results and drives organic traffic to your website.

2. Choose the Right Platform

When you hear the term "building your platform", your mind might instantly picture a website. However, we believe it's time to broaden that perspective. We view a "platform" as a dynamic fusion of where you have a public presence. It's not just about the web, but also about thriving content hubs such as Medium and establishing a robust social media footprint. And it's also about also about being a guest on other podcasts, or being featured on TV or news media.

Think of it as a strategy that embraces all these elements, not one over the other.

But for this particular discussion, we're going to focus on the traditional interpretation of the term. So let's dive into the art of crafting a compelling website.

Advantages of Using WordPress for Your Website

WordPress is a powerful platform that offers several advantages for creating and managing your website. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Full Control Over Content
    With WordPress, you have complete control over your website's content. You can easily create, edit, and organize pages, blog posts, images, and other media elements.
  2. Customization Options
    WordPress provides a wide range of themes and plugins that allow you to customize the design and functionality of your website. You can choose from thousands of free and premium themes to create a unique look for your site.
  3. User-Friendly Interface
    The user interface of WordPress is intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy for beginners to get started with building their websites. You don't need any coding knowledge to create or manage your site on WordPress.
  4. SEO-Friendly
    WordPress is built with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. It offers various SEO plugins and features that help improve your website's visibility in search engine results.
  5. Mobile Responsive
    Most WordPress themes are mobile responsive by default, ensuring that your website looks great on all devices, including smartphones and tablets.
  6. Scalability
    Whether you're starting a small blog or running a large e-commerce store, WordPress can handle websites of all sizes. It's highly scalable and can accommodate the growth of your business without any issues.
  7. Community Support
    As mentioned earlier, WordPress has a large community of developers who actively contribute to its development and improvement. This means you'll always have access to support forums, documentation, tutorials, and updates to keep your site running smoothly.
  8. Regular Updates & Security
    The team behind WordPress releases regular updates to fix bugs, introduce new features, and enhance security measures against potential vulnerabilities.

By choosing WordPress as your platform for creating websites or blogs, you gain full control over content, customization options, a user-friendly interface,
SEO-friendliness, mobile responsiveness, scalability, community support,
and regular updates and security.

3. Embrace SEO-Friendly Practices

Optimize your platform for search engines by utilizing SEO-friendly practices. WordPress comes with built-in features to improve search engine rankings, and there are various SEO plugins available to further enhance your website's visibility.

By following these steps and taking control of your brand and content, you can build a platform that withstands changes in social media algorithms or policies.

Remember, it's important to diversify your digital presence beyond just one platform or social media channel. Explore other avenues such as Medium, guest appearances on podcasts, or being featured in news media to expand your reach.

To learn more about picking an SEO-friendly domain name or explore case studies on driving organic traffic to your website, here are some additional resources:

Migrating Content from Third-Party Platforms

Building a Platform: Migrating Content from Third-Party Platforms
Photographer: Julia Craice | Source: Unsplash

If you've been publishing your content on platforms like Medium or social media, it's time to bring it home. By migrating your content to your own website, you retain complete control over it. Plus, it helps generate SEO value that can benefit your website in the long run.

Bring Your Content Home and Let It Flourish

Don't let your captivating Facebook posts, YouTube videos, or Tik-Tok clips merely linger on these platforms. Transform them into compelling blog posts on your own domain. This way, you can maximize the reach of your content and ensure its longevity.

Remember, migrating content from third-party platforms not only gives you more control but also provides an opportunity to repurpose and expand upon existing ideas. So why hesitate? Start bringing your valuable content home today!

Building Your Platform Means Diversifying Your Content Distribution

While having your own platform is essential, it's also important to diversify your content distribution. Don't limit yourself to just one channel. Maintain a presence on social media, content hubs like Medium, and other content distribution channels.

Start with Your Blog

At this point in the digital presence journey, you should change your approach. Instead of starting by writing and posting articles on Medium, create content exclusively for your blog. This allows you to establish your website as the heart of your digital presence.

Repurpose and Share

Once you have created valuable content for your blog, you can then repurpose it for other platforms such as Medium or social media. Change podcast episodes into detailed, SEO-friendly show notes that can be shared across various channels.

Casting a Wider Net

By spreading your content far and wide through multiple channels, you are able to reach a wider audience and drive traffic back to your website. Think of it as casting a wider net to catch more fish.

Remember: while diversifying is important, always make sure that your website remains the central hub of your digital presence.

Last but Not Least, Create an Email List

Building an email list keeps you directly connected with your audience and ensures you have control over your relationship with them. With an email list, you can communicate directly, share exclusive content, and keep your audience engaged. This becomes particularly valuable if social media platforms change their algorithms or policies. So don't underestimate the power of email marketing in maintaining a strong and loyal audience.

WordPress easily provides lots of ways to capture emails and sends them to your favorite email platform like MailChimp or Active Campaign.

Building Your Platform Episode Summary

In conclusion, transitioning from building an audience to building your platform is a crucial step in cultivating and expanding your digital influence. By avoiding digital sharecropping and investing in your own platforms, you can protect your digital presence and ensure future success.

Stay tuned for upcoming articles and episodes where we'll dive into the nitty-gritty details of platform scaling and development. There's a lot of valuable information coming your way!

Follow @Polymash on Medium:

*Note: The content provided in this blog post is based on the Podcasting Resources Guide podcast episode "Transitioning from Building an Audience to Building Your Platform."

Podcast Marketing With Social Contests And Give-Aways

Promoting a newly launched podcast with a Facebook contest used to be a very popular podcast marketing tactic. The idea was to launch a contest featuring a relevant give-away and to boost it with paid Facebook ads. To enter the contest, contestants were asked to subscribe to the show, leave an iTunes review, and then to email the iTunes ID name used for the review to the podcast host as proof. The podcast host would then enter the applicant into the contest drawing.

In today's episode we examine:

  • The reasons why this is not as popular launch strategy anymore
  • But also why this podcast marketing strategy is still a good idea today
  • Prize selection tips and why they are key for this podcast marketing strategy
  • Contest Structure
  • We will cover some of the best paid and free contest platforms
  • Tips for setting up and running such contests
  • Need some help for your own contest launch?

iTunes Focused Launches Have Changed

Podcast marketing no longer focuses on iTunes alone
Podcast marketing no longer focuses on iTunes alone

The reason this was a successful strategy a few years ago was that the "New and Noteworthy" algorithm within iTunes was driven by the number of reviews a podcast would receive in the initial weeks after launch. And contests were a great way to get lots of reviews in a short amount of time.

Since then, the algorithm to rise to the top of iTunes has changed. It is no longer driven by the number of reviews. Instead, at the time of this writing, the number of new subscribers have the most impact, followed by the number of episode downloads. Therefore the number of reviews no longer contribute to being at the top of the “New and Noteworthy” section.

As I have said elsewhere:

I feel that podcasters needlessly obsess about getting into the "New and Noteworthy" section.

The reality is that over the last two years iTunes has become a highly competitive space, given that major popular radio stations have shifted their energies from terrestrial and satellite radio to podcasts as a way to create a digital presence.

And there has been evidence that being featured in "New and Noteworthy" typically yields only a few hundred additional subscribers.

Podcast marketing through “Launch Contest” is less common now

The main reason is that N&N is no longer as influenced my the number of reviews a podcast gets. Besides no longer being as effective, setting up a launch contest usually takes a good deal of time to set up. You need landing pages, marketing automation capability and time. Or money to spend on contest platforms.

But if you have the passion, time and effort to spare, a launch contest will still give your podcast launch a great boost, for some of the below reasons:

But iTunes Reviews Are Still Important

Reviews are still important and should not be ignored. They lend credibility and social proof to a podcast. Seeing that dozens of people are leaving great reviews for a podcast you might enjoy might tip the scale for you to take action and subscribe. On the other hand, seeing a podcast on iTunes with no reviews at all also tells you something.

Why a Launch Contest is Still A Good Idea

Getting reviews and testimonials is as hard as it ever was. We've seen this play out countless times. People are happy to offer leaving a review, but iTunes doesn't make this process very straight-forward. So when it comes down to it, even your friends and relatives somehow don't get around to it without repeat reminders.

Contest Prize Selection

Prize selection matters in podcast marketing  with contests
Prize selection matters in podcast marketing with contests

Adding the right prizes and incentives is key. The selected giveaways don’t have to be expensive. It is more important that they be relevant, and related to the podcast topic or context.

So for example, for a customer experience podcast you might have a contest to win free tickets to the biggest yearly Customer Experience conference. That beats offering an iPad as a prize, simply because your subscriber and contest participants are much more likely to actually care about your podcast and topic, instead of just trying to win an iPad.

Another example might be a podcast about podcasting, podcast growth and promotions such as my own show. If I were to run a contest for the Podcast Growth Show, I would choose to give away a premium microphone or podcasting gear package as the grand prize.

Why Choose Multiple Prizes?

But one prize is not enough. By giving away multiple prizes, you increase the desirability and success of your contest simply because there are better odds and many more ways to win.

The most successful contests offer a single grand prize, and then a number of secondary prizes in decreasing value.

In fact, you should give away a free resource for everyone entering your contest. This could be a simple lead magnet PDF, as long as it is related to your podcast's topic and focus.

Podcast Marketing Contest Example Prizes

For the Podcast Growth Show, here is how I would plan to structure my own podcast contest. My goal would be to attract new podcasters. So my prize selection would focus on thinking about what would be relevant for new podcasters.

Pretty much every podcaster I know tried to save money during their initial studio setup. And the thing they most likely tried to save money on is their microphone boom arm. A cheap version of this can be highly frustrating to use, and a more professional model with greater reach and a more solid feel is a pleasure to use. Believe me, podcasters will appreciate the difference.

  • 1st Prize: Premium RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm (a $109 value)
  • 2nd Prize: A Great Dynamic Podcast XLR and USB Microphone – The Audio Technica AT2005 (a $79 value)
  • 3rd Prize: 15 copies of our "Podcast Marketing & SEO Online Course" – (a $97 value)
  • 9th-25 Prize: Our Podcast Marketing Bible Ebook (a $9.97 value)
  • Prize for all contest entrants: "How To Market Your Podcast" ebook and access to our online "Podcasting Resources Guide"

Contest Structure

Podcast promotion contest structure
There are many facets to consider when launching a podcast promotion contest

As I previously mentioned, the launch contests of yesteryear focused on getting iTunes reviews. But that should no longer be the only focus now. For me, it is much more important to attract the right listeners to join my email list and to subscribe to my podcast through email notifications.

So my focus would be to get contest entrants to

  1. Subscribe to my show via email
  2. Subscribe to my show's YouTube channel, because I feature lots of cool "how to" and demo videos there
  3. Like my podcast's Facebook page
  4. Join our Facebook podcast marketing group
  5. Leave an iTunes review

Multiple Actions to Enter The Contest

These are multiple actions to take, and people might think this is a lot to ask just to enter a contest. And that is right, except:

Each action completed creates additional chances to win the prize

So the logic is this: You must subscribe to my email list, that part is required because otherwise I cannot communicate with you and send you the prize. But if you complete the other additional steps, each completed tasks enters you in the contest additional times, greatly increasing your chances of winning one or more prizes.

And, each action is weighed differently: For example, subscribing to my Youtube channel is worth an additional 5 entries, but leaving an iTunes review is worth 25 additional entries.

The genius of this approach for podcast reviews is that it makes it a no-brainer for a contest entrant to do the hardest thing: Leave you an iTunes review.

Later in the podcast I explore the differences between a DIY approach versus utilizing one of the contest platforms out there. This approach of multiple contest entries for multiple actions is only possible by using proper contest management platforms like.

An example of multiple actions to increase your chances

In our video we feature a great example of this in a contest currently underway. The company is Syrp, and they are giving away some photo gear. Click below to start the video at 10:44 seconds:

At 10:44 – an example of multiple ways to enter a contest

Is it necessary to validate iTunes Reviews?

Unfortunately I don't know of any platform that integrates with iTunes directly to validate if someone actually left an iTunes review. But in my mind, most people will do so if asked, because they are afraid of missing out and being found out. What if you were to ask them for the iTunes name they left a review under before sending them their prize?

  • Note that with the Gleam.io platform, there are several easy ways to enter a contest by answering a question or by leaving a comment – and here you can simply ask the user to enter the iTunes name under which the review was left.

Creating Contest Landing Pages

If you want to create a contest, you will want to set up a contest landing page. A contest landing page is a distraction free website or page where you can send ad traffic to, and where people can learn about and sign up for your contest.

You can build such pages manually, but you may not need to when using the contest platforms we will discuss a bit later. They handle the creation of and simplify the design of landing pages, and some even allow you to create multiple versions of these pages and conduct A/B tests to see which ones perform best.

Q: Do you need to A/B test pages? A: It depends. There are people out there that have tested their contest pages. Here are some links to these tests and their outcomes. Why not learn from their tests and model your landing page on their winners? This will save you time and effort.

Generally speaking, it seems that contest landing pages with video perform better.

The Facebook Ad Campaign

Once you have a landing page, it's time to set up a Facebook campaign to boost your contest landing page. Facebook marketing is too big a topic to tackle in this episode, but here are a few tips to make this work:

Setting Up And Using Facebook Ads Manager

Creating A Facebook Ad

There are many easy ways in which you can create a Facebook ad. You shoot a quick video or FB live post, create one or more images about your contest, and come up with some fun language to use for a Facebook post.

We use the AIDA method when creating Facebook ads and landing pages for contests:

  • A =Attention – Ask a provocative question or make a statement that earns the attention of your audience
  • I=Interest – Expand on attention grabbing line with something that will peak their interest and explain.
  • D=Desire – What's in it for them to enter your contest. Duh, that's easy, right?
  • A=Action – This is the call to action, what you want them to do

Finding The Right Audience

The key in making Facebook ads effective and affordable is to show your contest ads to only your very best, most relevant audience. In Facebook parlance this is called "audience targeting". If you have never done Facebook ads before, this can be a bit tricky. Basically you are trying to limit the number of people who see your ads to only those interested in your primary topic.

Targeting Podcast Listeners

But that is not all: You also want to make sure the audience your Facebook ads are shown to are likely podcast listeners, and that part is much harder.

podcast marketing with Facebook Ads
The 5 Step Process to Advertise To Podcast Listeners On Facebook

We have a 5 step process to target likely podcast listeners on Facebook. It walks you through our method on Facebook Ads manager, and you will learn how to target people generally interested in your podcast's topic, but who also are likely podcast listeners.

Free vs Paid Contest Platforms

Are paid contest marketing platforms worth it?

Should you use a paid contest platform like the ones we outlined above? Or is there a way to build this all for free?

Advantages of Paid Contest Platforms

Paid contest platforms are the way to go. For a relatively low monthly fee they offer a range of distinct advantages over a DIY approach.

They integrate with social networks. This means they validate that someone actually shared a post, liked your Facebook Page or Youtube channel. All of this before they are entered in the contest.

Most paid platforms offer pre-built contest landing pages for you. You get up and running much more quickly, and don't have to invest in fancy landing page builders.

They send out custom email reminders. This saves you from having to create your own email funnels, saving a lot of time.

Some have A/B testing built in. This means you get to test out multiple landing pages to see which perform better.

Here are some of my favorite contest platforms to consider:

Rafflecopter

  • Rafflecopter – One of the most affordable platforms out there. Rafflecopter offers a free plan, trials for the more advanced plans starting at $13 a month at the time of this writing. While an easy platform to start with, it is basic.
  • It lacks some of the more innovative features features found on higher priced platforms.

Gleam.io

  • Gleam.io – I really like Gleam.io. It is a smart and flexible contest platform. It rewards people to take multiple actions to promote you while entering your contest. This increases the viral potential of your podcast marketing or launch contest. After having reviewed about 10 different contest management platforms, Gleam has emerged as my favorite. It is, however, not the least expensive, the Pro plan being $45 a month.

Upviral

  • Upviral – a good alternative to Gleam if the expense of that platform is a hurdle. By automatically emailing reminders, setting goals and providing incentives/rewards, your contest entrants stay on track and deliver. They get rewarded, you get new subscribers and everyone’s happy! Upviral has an example case study on their site of their own podcast launch contest which resulted in 7000 contest site visitors, 450 leads and 50+ reviews on iTunes.

Contest Domination

  • Contest Domination – a flexible platform that offers 7 day trial and a per contest payment option for $100 for a month. The benefit of their approach is that you get access to all features, where some of the other popular platform restrict their features for the basic plans.

To summarize these contest platforms, I feel that Gleam is the most innovative platform to try, and you can expect to spend perhaps $90 for a pro plan for a 2 months campaign. The major spend for podcast launch campaigns comes from Facebook ads anyhow, I would expect to spend between $20-$50 a day for the duration of the campaign. Be sure to check out Episode 3 of our podcast on Paid Podcast Advertising – A Look Behind The Scenes [S1E03]

Free Contest Platform Options

If you want to run your podcast launch contest with absolutely no additional expense, here are some ways to do it as well as some things to keep in mind:

  • To save money on prizes, you can give away content and prizes that don't cost you anything, like courseware, or eBooks or other premium content you have previously developed
  • You can use your own email list software like Mailchimp or Constant contact or even free Gmail automation tools like YAMM (we covered YAMM for Podcast Guesting Outreach in episode XX of our podcast)
  • You will need to develop your own landing pages on your podcast or blogging site.
  • Rely on your social network for free promotion and awareness of your contest, with a big enough following you can save on promoting your contest with paid ads
  • You can use tools like GoViral – a free platform from Growth Tools which ensures and validates social sharing. It is great to use as an add-on for thank you pages.
  • Try out GiveawayTools – a new contest design platform that's currently still in beta, but is free and integrates with several social platforms.

So it can theoretically be done for free, but it will require a large investment of time on your part.

My own view is that a zero cost and DIY approach is not likely to succeed

And the question you should ask yourself is about the relationship between time spent and likely effectiveness of the contest campaign you are setting up.

Need a guide to help with your own contest launch?

I've just published a resource for folks wanting to set up their own contest. This is published in "Open PDF" format, meaning the entire guide is provided on-line with no sign-up required, but you can download it guide as an option if you want.

Podcast Marketing with Launch Contests
Podcast Marketing with Launch Contests

I also offer some ways to collaborate around setting up your own launch contest, from low cost "DIY" sanity checks all the way to "Done for you" contest setup and management.

Conclusion

Apart from getting iTunes reviews, a podcast marketing contest with the right prizes and incentives can quickly add a ton of visibility and email subscribers to your podcast.

While it may not reliably get you into the "New and Noteworthy" section of the iTunes podcast directory any more, having some great reviews still lends social proof and credibility to your podcast. And email subscribers to your show are a permanent asset.

If you decide to run a podcast marketing contest, I recommend using a paid contest platform, as this will save you a ton of time and effort.