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I have to admit my Podcasting Microphone Pet Peeve: The Blue Yeti Mic. Recently I attended a coaching group meetup, and the presenter was a consultant who also considered herself a podcasting expert. And it was put to us in dogmatically certain terms that "The Blue Yeti Podcasting Mic Is Simply The Best Microphone For Podcasters". And in this post it is my solemn duty to disabuse our dear prospects and Yeti fans of this notion.

First of all: There is no such thing as a Blue Yeti Podcasting Mic. It is simply the Blue Yeti Mic. At the coaching meetup I kept my mouth shut, but it was hard. And, this is not the first time I heard this, and we have worked with lots of podcast clients who approach us with initial Blue Yeti podcasting pride.

Microphone talk is a favorite topic among podcasters, and mostly beside the point.

Great microphones never guarantee a great podcast.

But the blind devotion that the Blue Yeti seems to inspire among novice podcasters has always been a source of mystery for me. The Blue Yeti may be an excellent microphone, technically speaking. But it is usually the wrong choice for podcasting, for the following reasons:

Why the Blue Yeti Podcasting Microphone Is Often The Wrong Choice For Podcasters:

Blue Yeti Podcasting Microphone Is Often The Wrong Choice
Photographer: Jon Tyson | Source: Unsplash
  1. It is a condenser mic, not a dynamic mic. Condenser mics will pick up sounds a mile away, and there are indeed valid concerns around air conditioners running etc. 
  2. This also means they pick up the sound of the room. If you are recording in a kitchen, bathroom or basement, the sound of the room, and the reverberations in it, will be super apparent. There is no way to remove reverberation once recorded. So for your ghost story podcast the "basement sound" might be ideal. In most other cases, not so much.
  3. The Blue Yeti in particular, in spite of its sexy switches and cardioid pattern option, is “roomy” sounding, not what you want for distraction free and intimate sounding audio.
  4. The Blue Yeti is heavy, large, and cannot easily be mounted on a boom arm, which is necessary to move it close enough.
  5. Most people make the mistake of leaving the Yeti on its stand positioned on their desk, 1-2 feet from their mouth – instead of having it inches away from their mouth. A desk stand Yeti is never going to sound great, unless you are in a sound isolated booth or purposefully built studio. 
  6. The Yeti is an expensive choice, once you buy the shock mount and boom arm and pop filter needed to use it in a “podcasting setup” – in other words close to your mouth.

The Advantages Of Dynamic Mics

Dynamic mic advantages compared to Blue Yeti Podcasting Mics
Photographer: Bogomil Mihaylov | Source: Unsplash
  • Dynamic mics on the other hand reject much of the background noise and are ideal for podcasting.
  • They are also less costly.
  • They are easy to mount on a boom arm, a must have for podcasters in getting their mics close enough while also being comfortable.
  • Lastly there are options with BOTH XLR professionally grounded cables, as WELL AS USB connectivity.

One last thing: USB connections will seldom be enough for a strong enough recording signal, for either dynamic or condenser mics with built in USB connectivity.

Better sound comes from a XLR condenser mic not directly connected to your PC or Mac directly, but going through a small desk USB pre-amp like the Focusrite in the equipment list below. Here is a direct link to what most of our podcast clients use (a budget conscious version, the mic is $79): 

Podcasting Starter Pack
From our Podcasting Resources Guide, the One Person Solo (or Interview) Starter Package

So I am sorry if some of this is unwelcome news. 

And if you are committed to using a Blue Yeti, feel free to ignore this advice.

I do not know why the Blue Yeti inspires such devotion among some people. I have yet to meet a podcaster with more than 10 episodes under their belt that still has it. But for podcasters that inherited the device , or are not able to spend money on a new mic, here are some tips to make the Blue Yeti work better:

Tips to Make The Blue Yeti Work For Podcasting

Recording in a closet with a Blue Yeti
Photographer: Adrienne Leonard | Source: Unsplash
  • If you have a sound proof, purposefully built studio to record in, ignore this post, your Blue Yeti will work fine. Then again, if you have a purposefully built studio, you are extremely unlikely to own (or want to use) a Blue Yeti in the first place.
  • If you have a small closet, are not claustrophobic and comfortable in small spaces, your Yeti will work.
  • If you have lots of furniture and carpets in the room, and few reflective surfaces, and can position yourself close to the mic, your Yeti might just work.
  • But be sure to do a test recording and listen to it – before recording that epic 1st one hour episode.

End of rant.

Things are always changing, and this is especially true in content marketing. Podcast content strategy is still wide open to get your brand, message, or business out there. If you're in this field, you'd be aware that the internet runs on content. With regards to lead generation and attracting the right traffic with SEO savvy, the rules change often.

Add to this a bewildering array of potential channels for content, it's no wonder that navigating this terrain can seem difficult. With so many bright shiny objects everywhere, many of us lose our way.

I. A Podcast Content Strategy Avoids Digital Sharecropping

We've seen exhausted clients pour all of their efforts into “rented” social media platforms, posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Medium, Twitter, YouTube and other channels. To them, it seems like they are doing the right thing. They gravitate to where they feel their audiences' attention is.

Nothing seems wrong with that. But often there is a lack of underlying strategy. More on that in a minute.

Digital sharecropping
Digital Sharecropping – building you online presence on platforms you don't own

Meanwhile, our clients' website's content often lies neglected. It is no longer at the center of their efforts or content they publish. For most clients, social media seems so much easier than blogging. The occasional viral attention gained appears more attractive than building a body of authority content – a convenient and sexy shortcut.

The issue is that social media content has a limited life span. It disappears up Facebook's or Twitter's timeline. Thus it serves no real purpose in growing a website, domain authority and SERP rank. The social posts need to refer to and drive traffic and engagement back to the central website.

The social networks fight this tooth and nail, they want ALL engagement to take place on their own platforms.

So what's the solution?

I won't pretend to have all the answers, but in the last couple of years we have discovered a self-generating content strategy that seems to works well for the “content marketing” challenged: Podcasting as a Content Strategy.

This might surprise you, or you may think of it as another content fad; but hang on for a minute and allow me to explain the often surprising benefits.

II. Podcasting is a Self Generating Content Strategy

Instead of laboring over creating blog content, our clients interview other people in their field. They love doing it, it’s fun, energizing and not as time consuming as blogging. They jump on a Skype call, hit the record button and discuss a topic they and their guest find energizing, and voilà: original content.

I’m not saying it’s easy or less work, but it’s a less intense effort for clients. They focus on recording a meaningful conversation, and we, as their podcasting partner, take care of the rest. For example, we use a transcription service and edit these conversations, and have an almost instant 5,000+ word article. We then apply both technical and other SEO optimizations – in fact the topics and episode titles are based on SEO research and low competition key phrases in the first place.

Podcasting can serve as the missing center for a multi channel strategy

Once a podcast is recorded, the show notes become the central business asset from which all multi-channel and social media efforts emanate. So yes, we still do “traditional” social media content distribution campaigns to share and boost the podcast show-notes. But that’s only the beginning.

Podcast content strategy as a multi channel approach
Podcast Content Strategy as Multi Channel Content Distribution

We often produce videos from our podcast episodes. There are some automation tools that help us. These transform audio into video. Later, we publish these episodes on YouTube, DailyMotion and other social video channels.

For an example of this audio video combo, check out our episode about "Podcast Guesting".

And for a completely automated tool that converts audio into video, check out a tool called “Headliner”. It produces audiograms and even adds relevant images and slides to the videos. In our previous post, Podcast Audiogram Alternatives For Promotion and Visual Storytelling, we are excited to show how we now use the Invideo platform as our video platform of choice.

Social Content Platform Syndication:

We syndicate the content to platforms with existing engaged audiences and built-in internal search engines, for example Medium, Blogger, Facebook Stories or LinkedIn.

Snackable Videos:

Michael Seltzner’s “Social Media Examiner” team recently cancelled 3 Facebook video shows. He moved them from Facebook to YouTube. Why? Because the data shows that videos longer than 1-2 minutes penalize your Facebook page rank. So when publishing video to Facebook, the idea is to take 15-45 seconds from the podcast video episode and publish it as “teaser content“ with subtitles. I’m still working on automating this part of the process.

Syndication And Content Distribution Automation:

We use a smart and affordable content syndication and distribution platform from a Belgian company called StoryChief. The reason I like it so much is that it can publish natively to multiple platforms (like WordPress, Drupal etc.), and supports podcast player embeds.

What’s smart about it is their use “rel=canonical” tags. You get to decide where your primary content should live. For those unfamiliar with this tag, it lets search engine indexing bots know where to apply the SERP rank credit and link juice. This way, your podcast show notes will rank pointing to your site, NOT to Medium or other platforms.

Podcast directories RSS syndication:

Promoting a podcast requires submission to dozens of podcast directories. These directories will automatically link to each published episode and your primary website. This results in a valuable SEO benefit, namely, links from high domain authority sites.

III. Podcasting as SEO Cornerstones

A lot of podcasts tackle content themes. In podcast parlance, these can be thought of as "Seasons". For example on an SEO podcast, you might focus on "Technical SEO" in Season 1, and "Link Building Techniques" in Season 2.

This is the genesis of a cornerstone strategy. You cross link this content to other important long form content pieces on your site. Such content will naturally rank higher because of the relevance of all participating articles. Furthermore, we have seen this content rank very quickly.

Podcast Guesting as a Lead Generation & SEO Link Building Initiatives

For people not interested in launching their own podcast, “Podcast Guesting” is an alternative. It results in effective link building, lead generation and launch strategy for any business. For example, this method has become a very popular book launch technique. The idea is that you find relevant podcasts in your niche and then run an outreach campaign to approach the hosts of these podcasts to invite you on as a guest.

Benefit: Intimacy With Your Ideal Audience

The first set of big benefits include getting to talk to your ideal and relevant audience when they are in a receptive mode. Think about what people are doing when listening to their favorite podcast, the one you are appearing on. They are likely commuting, working out, going for a walk. The modality is very different from interrupting an audience in the middle of browsing through their Facebook feed.

This is why Podcast Listeners are such a lucrative audience. And you get to present your core ideas to them.

Benefit: SEO Back-Links

The second big benefit is SEO related. Each podcast you appear on will create show notes that feature highly valuable back-links to your site and product or launch. SEO agencies charge a lot for high Domain Authority back-links. And the link building process can be onerous.

You can automate the outreach campaigns, or you can hire agencies to do this for you. We have a free downloadable podcast guesting outreach automation system for this, including outreach email templates and mail merge tools. To learn more how these campaigns can be automated for free, check out our podcast guesting system and templates.

Podcasting Benefits Summary

Our clients love having a podcast. It helps them re-connect with content as their own business asset. “Having a show” re-introduces a strategic purpose and promotes content discipline. Our clients keep on a weekly schedule much more easily than when they were just “blogging”.

The ROI behind podcasting as a content strategy

The ROI is in lead generation and list building and SEO. A year into their podcasting journey, most our clients with medium sized shows get 65% of their traffic and leads from organic search and podcast listeners. These are for keywords they would otherwise have to pay $1,000's a month for on Google AdWords.

Guest post by author and SEO expert Andrii Gorh. Podcasts are one of the hottest content types right now. Recent acquisitions by Spotify in podcast media hubs just prove this point. It can be super challenging to create a high-quality podcast, which will gather the attention of millions of listeners, but SEO and search engine discoverability can help. In this blog, Andrii presents some SEO tricks, which might help you grow your podcast to be discovered in different mediums.

7 Methods to Grow Your Podcast

In short, you need to know how to grow your podcast and leverage it for SEO, but also how to rank well on the platforms, where you publish it.

  1. Catchy episode titles
  2. Use your website
  3. Optimize RSS feed
  4. Use Youtube
  5. Recycle your content
  6. Try Pinterest
  7. Link building with podcasts

1. Catchy episode titles

Catchy Episode Titles Help Grow Your Podcast
Photographer: chuttersnap

Start with a well-written title. This is how one can find your episodes on iTunes or Google Play. These marketplaces put a heavy emphasis on keywords, which are in your title.

Of course, also if the title is catchy and engaging – there is much more chance a user will click on it. For Youtube videos it is thumbnails, but for podcasts – it is all in a title. Check out Polymash’s own post about 4 Ways to Create Amazing and SEO Savvy Episode Titles.

Certainly, don’t try to clickbait or stuff your podcast title with keywords – you might be punished by the algorithm of podcast search engines.

2. Use your website

USe your website for Podcast SEO
Photographer: Austin Distel

If you own a website – use it to earn more traffic to your show notes, and increase your episode downloads at the same time. If your show does not have your own website – I highly recommend creating one on your existing domain, or with your own new domain name. It is the entire idea behind creating a podcast as an inbound content strategy.

A podcast is a fantastic content type, which can attract a lot of organic traffic and backlinks to your site. Don’t waste this opportunity.

To get more organic traffic to your site, you can use a standard SEO playbook: original content, link building, on-page optimization, keyword research, tech setup, etc.

I would really recommend transforming your audio content to text, SEO optimizing it and using it on a blog for show notes entries.

Also, consider expanding your podcast’s blog beyond episodes, additional content ideas for your podcast blog could be:

  • Some key takeaways from recent episodes;
  • Introducing a new series of episodes and explaining why;
  • Additional supporting visuals (especially infographics);
  • “Best of” recaps and themes;
  • Include lead magnets or some downloadables – e.g. checklists, e-books – a great way to collect e-mails;

But, don’t just copy paste your transcript – make it more engaging, readable – so it can produce a long session time on your website. We have an entire workflow to transform your show notes into an SEO asset for your site.

Another reason to have a website – it is an insurance strategy against algorithm changes on podcast networks. Let me explain. If you host your podcast only on third-party mediums – you are completely dependent on their rules. If one day something happens (e.g. Spotify doesn’t want to rank content about pets :) ) – your website would be a supporting channel to distribute your podcast.

3. Optimize RSS feed

Optimizing an RSS feed for podcasting SEO success
Photographer: Taras Shypka

RSS feed might sound like an old-school phenomenon, but it is really important for podcasts – this is how your content is distributed to iTunes, Google Play and most other platforms.

So, you need to keep best practices for titles, descriptions, images, category updates as well as your latest copyright information etc.

The best way to have full control of your RSS feed is to use services similar to Libsyn or free Powerpress WordPress plugin.

4. Use Youtube

Use Youtube to promote your podcast
Photographer: Christian Wiediger

Youtube is the second biggest Search Engine in the world after Google. You should obviously use the power of Youtube to bring more traffic to your podcast.

Create a channel and post highlights or full recordings of your podcasts. Maybe they will gather millions of views and subscribers!

Also, there are many services, which can convert your audio podcast to Youtube video.

5. Recycle your content

Recycling your content for podcast growth
Photographer: Lacey Williams

High-quality content might take a lot of effort and time. It would be a shame to use it only once. Repurpose your content in different forms. For example, from one podcast episode you can make:

  • Infographics and visuals
  • Slide decks
  • Blogs and articles
  • Videos
  • Downloadables and so on.

With more content, you will definitely increase your reach.

6. Try Pinterest

Using Pinterest to grow your podcast with SEO
Photographer: Charles

Pinterest is the fastest growing visual search engine in the world. Personally, I like Pinterest more than Instagram – because it brings evergreen traffic. It means, that even old posts bring traffic to your podcast or site, unlike Instagram or Facebook.

Learn Pinterest tactics, test different pin designs, see what works for you. Ideal pins are those, which bring click-throughs and traffic. Try to solve a problem within a pin text: e.g. “Find out 10 ways to save money in our new podcast episode”.

7. Link building with podcasts

Link building is an integral part of growing a podcast
Photographer: Bryson Hammer

A viral podcast episode can bring a lot of backlinks – other sites linking to your site. It will be a huge benefit for your website, where you embed podcast episodes (check out advice #2). Backlinks are one of the most important factors in Google ranking – the more you have the higher you are on SERP (Search Engine Result Page).

The easiest way to get backlinks is to collaborate with guest speakers, publish content on their sites and get free backlinks, mentions to your site. Also, try outreach – email other bloggers, influencers in your niche, mentioning your podcast and asking for a backlink. You can also ask for a guest contribution on their blog, in exchange for a backlink.

About our guest author:

Andrii Gorh
Andrii Gorh: SEO ninja

Andrii Gorh: SEO ninja with 10+ years of experience. He LOVES keyword research, rank tracking and tech SEO tricks. Check out his advanced SEO blog: Online Hikes and other tech hacks at MrHack.io. Featured image credit: Web Hosting

As a podcast production and marketing agency, we have run into several anonymous podcasting situations where someone wants to launch a podcast, but may wish to remain unknown rather than revealing a personal brand or identifiable information.

A Disclaimer About Podcasting With A Pseudonym

A disclaimer about podcasting with a pseudonym

Please be advised that what follows is in no way a suggestion, endorsement or recommendation. Depending on the situation I strongly suggest getting professional legal advice if you are launching an anonymous podcast with a pseudonym. After having talked to several podcasters who want to do this, I have come across perfectly legitimate reasons for doing so. But there are also cases where podcasters are trying to circumvent employer guidelines or even legal requirements, and this could cause serious trouble down the road.

Some podcasters may wish for their employer to remain un-aware of their podcasting efforts, for any number of reasons. For example, would you want your employer to know that you are running an alcoholics recovery podcast? Or a raunchy comedy podcast? So some of the reasons may simply be reputational or privacy related. But others may violate your employer's stated policies and put you at risk of dismissal.

More serious even would be industries where one cannot provide advice under a real name, such as in financial services or investment advisors, or for certain government or legal organizations.

Is Launching An Anonymous Podcast it Worth It?

In most cases the drawbacks, extra work and many questions that arise around launching and marketing such podcasts simply make it not worthwhile to pursue the effort.

However, while it may take a little extra work, it is possible to launch a podcast anonymously. Here's how to set that up.

Anonymous Podcasting Is A Special Situation

A special situation for podcasting anonymously
Is it unusual to podcast anonymously? Photographer: Tom Roberts

At first glance it might strike us as an unusual situation.

And you may wonder, well, what, under what circumstances does that happen? That seems like a really disadvantage, right?

I mean, most of us podcast in order to be found, in order to communicate something about our businesses or to be contributing something to a community where we are a known entity.

It takes a little bit more work, but basically I think with that extra work, it's totally possible to launch a podcast anonymously.

Considerations for Creating An Anonymous Podcast

Considerations for anonymous podcasters with a pseudonym
Considerations for anonymous podcasters with a pseudonym – Photographer: Tachina Lee

Before we delve into possible solutions or suggestions, let's talk about some of the areas where we might want to think more carefully about what the impact is.

  • You will need a separate Apple Id – and that implies having a different email address
  • With podcast hosting companies, Libsyn for example, you probably would not want to have that tied to your personal identity
  • The same goes for social media profiles, your email address and your websites
  • There are also some questions around promotion and discoverability
  • There are considerations for what branding of an anonymously hosted podcast looks like
  • And if you are receiving sponsorship or are monetizing your show, there are legal questions to consider

So I thought I'd give some thoughts to all of these.

Email Address And Domain Setup

Email address setup for an pseudonym podcaster
Email address setup for an pseudonym podcaster – Photographer: John Schnobrich

Creating a pseudonym for anonymous podcasting starts with creating a new email address. And in order to create a new email address that's completely separate from your existing sort of identities, really what we're talking about is creating a different domain for your both your website and for your show.

This is something that you should need to promote your show anyway, and that new domain will determine your pseudonym's email address: for example info@myanonymouspodcast.com

In order to establish such an email you want to take out and register a domain for your podcast with a domain registration company like GoDaddy.

But when you do that, be sure to select all of the privacy options offered during the domain registration process with GoDaddy.

The point where you need to use your real email address is when you register your domain in the first place.

But there's a thing called WHOIS lookup, a service where anybody can look up who owns a particular domain. Every year, millions of people, businesses, organizations and governments register domain names.

Each one must provide identifying and contact information which may include: name, address, email, phone number, and administrative and technical contacts. This information is often referred to as "WHOIS data."

And so just the fact that you might have a domain for your podcast doesn't mean that it remains private. But if you pay the extra to remain anonymous in the DNS lookup space, then your real name and email address is protected. From that moment onward, you basically will start to establish all of the other things you need for your podcasting under your pseudonym.

Web Hosting For Podcasting Anonymously

Web Hosting For Podcasting Anonymously
Web Hosting For Podcasting Anonymously – Photographer: Jordan Harrison

Establishing a website then is part of establishing a pseudonym, in my book anyway. So once you have a domain registered for your private podcast, go ahead and sign up for some web hosting.

This is because most web hosting plans actually come with a bundled email plan, where they provide you with a free email account that's tied to the new domain that you just took out.

So when you get your hosting account, create your email account there, set it up with your new domain, set up a new basic website.

Configure Your Email Client

Setting up an pseudonym email account for podcasting anonymously
Setting up an pseudonym email account for podcasting anonymously – Photographer: Brooke Cagle

Configure an email client on or application on your PC or a Mac or mobile device so that you can actually start receiving emails that are sent to that new anonymous podcasting related email address.

One additional step you could do for the podcast itself is setting up a coming soon page. And basically now you will have a functioning email address as well as a website for the new name of the podcast. Once you've tested that, basically it's on to the next steps.

Branding

Branding considerations for anonymous podcasting
Cartoon branding can work for anonymous podcasters – Photographer: Doug Maloney

Thinking about branding, obviously you don't want to use your real profile photos or anything personally identifiable. A cartoon style podcast icon could be an option where you still have a likeness that kind of looks like you, but isn't really identifiable.

This allows you to still come across as a real person or a hosting personality.

Some of the places I can recommend in creating podcast graphics like that are 99 Designs and Fiver. Fiver will be a little bit cheaper, but with 99 Designs you can send a picture in and graphic artists will send you a bunch of drafts and proposals back and you only pay for the one that you actually wind up liking.

Apple ID

Podcasting anonymously requires a separate Apple ID – Photographer: Kotagauni Srinivas

You do need to create a different Apple ID in order to eventually submit your show to Apple Podcasts, and you need to use your desktop iTunes application for this step.

I think in the future there will be push-back around setting up what might be considered "fake" accounts, and I expect for this to eventually become harder, but currently it is still possible.

In practice that means you might have to explicitly log out of your iTunes or Apple Podcast desktop app in order to go through the process of creating a new Apple ID.

It's because it's important to do that on your desktop because when you're submitting your podcast to Apple Podcasts, if you originally created the Apple ID on a mobile device, currently your podcast submission will fail. I don't know that it's a bug, but Apple currently requires you to create your account using your desktop app.

You do need to provide a mailing address at some point in the process, but this is not publicly visible.

Podcast Hosting

Podcast hosting should also be set up with your pseudonym
Establishing a Podcast Hosting Account using your pseudonym – Photographer: Austin Distel

Podcast hosting should also be set up with your pseudonym. The idea is that everything related to your podcast from this moment on uses your pseudonym and pseudonyms email that's associated with your podcast.

Social Media

Establishing a Social Media Presence for a podcasting anonymously
Establishing a Social Media Presence – Photographer: Jakob Owens

And it's a good idea to establish a social media presence. I guess this is where it gets into doing a little bit of extra work, but I think this is really worth it.

At a minimum you anonymous podcasters should create a new Twitter profile, using the pseudonym email address. Also it will be good to create a new Facebook account in order to set up a Facebook page and group for that show.

And that can be a little bit extra work because if you are very active on Facebook, you're going to have to manage two separate logins.

When you want to interact with the Facebook community and page that you're establishing for your podcast, it's important that you switch to the pseudonym account and login from scratch.

Email List Service Provider

List Building and Email Service Providers for anonymous podcasts
Email Service Providers are key for list building – Photographer: Host Sorter

Capturing email addresses is part of modern podcast growth, and so you will need a list building tool like MailChimp or ConvertKit.

Several of these have "free to get started" options, for example Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor. If you're just getting started, you may not want to spend anything until your show grows. Again, you can start building an email list where people basically subscribe to your podcasts to receive episode notifications and any other resources that you want to share with your community.

Promotions and Discoverability

Photographer: JJ Ying

Once you're set up with consistently using your pseudonym, it really shouldn't make that much of a difference when it comes to promotion.

Of course you will most likely not be well established on social media in terms of followers and fans. You're kind of starting from scratch when it comes to promotions, and this is why it's important to create those social media accounts early on, and to engage with your social media audience heavily to establish a presence quickly.

You might use your real profiles to then retweet or cross-promote.

Sponsorship and Monetization

Photographer: Pepi Stojanovski

You can still create a sponsorship page on Patreon for the podcast to allow people to sign up for that.

But in general terms, I think that once you start accepting money, it gets into some more tricky areas.

And I think that brings us to sort of the legal aspects.

Getting Professional Legal Advice

Legal advice for accepting money
Seek Legal Advice – Photographer: Giammarco Boscaro

I am not in a position to give anything resembling legal advice at all. You need to consult with your legal advisor and get some professional advice.

Typically what is involved is to actually establishing a separate business identity so that there is liability separation. You personally being responsible or being held to account versus you operating as a separate legal entity.

People usually do this through an LLC, and that constitutes a separate business and a separate tax structure.

You could set up a separate bank account and credit card. I mean it depends on how far down the road do you want to go. I'm assuming that, when first starting out this isn't a primary concern.

Conclusion

So I hope these thoughts are helpful for anyone looking to get into anonymous podcasting. Let me know what you think, and if I'm leaving out anything here. If you can think of other aspects that might be very important or if you have questions, feel free to reach out and contact me.

Guest Post by Milja Milenkovic, community manager at DesignAdvisor.Net: The colors you choose for your podcast cover art can greatly influence listeners’ first impressions and could even affect whether someone takes the all-important step and presses “play” in the first place. You might be thinking, ”Podcasts are audio, and the minimal visual aspect is not the main point at all so why bother with it?” The very fact that the visual element is so small means that you need to make it count!

Table of Contents

The Impact of Color

Color choices for podcast cover art can be a science
Color choices for podcast cover art can be a science

Human beings are such visually wired creatures that even the small bit of cover art on your podcast can set the tone for the listening experience. Various color choices can trigger a whole host of different emotions and convey different meanings to the observer. The impact on color is more significant than most people realize. In fact, Design Advisor claims that 62-90% of product assessment is based on color alone!

So let’s take a look at how you can enhance the impact of your podcast through the colors you use for your icon and podcast cover art, and even your website. First, we will break down the messages conveyed by each color and follow that with a few questions you should be asking yourself when deciding what colors will work best for your particular podcast. Color psychology can be a significant ally in web design as well not only in terms of aesthetics and mood but also when choosing the color of CTA buttons and other elements. To learn more about how the psychology of color can boost your website conversions, take a closer look at the infographic below.

What Kind of Message Does Each Color Convey?

Green: Growth and Health

Podcast pover art closeup photography of green leaf plant
Photographer: Hello I'm Nik | Source: Unsplash

This calm and peaceful color gives a sense of health and harmony, but also symbolizes nature and growth. Depending on the topic of your podcast or business, green could be a great cover color to attract your listeners. It’s a popular choice within the energy sectors as well as finance, household, technology and some subsections of the food industry.

Blue: True and Trustworthy

podcast cover art blue wall and shadow image
Photographer: MAURO BIGHIN | Source: Unsplash

There’s a reason why they say ‘true blue’ for something that is tried and tested. Blue is a tranquil color that is a worldwide favorite across the board. If you want to send a message of stability, reliability and trust, you can’t go wrong with blue. Remember, there is a myriad of different shades of blue available, so don’t be worried about not standing out.

Red: Bold and Passionate

podcast cover art person wearing red running shoe
Photographer: Martin Widenka | Source: Unsplash

There’s no denying that red stands out. That’s the reason it’s used for anything from clearance sale signs to stop signs. The sight of red has also been shown to increase people’s heart rates, and it is undoubtedly the color of emotion and passion. If the content of your podcast is bold and passionate, maybe red is the right color for your cover design.

Orange: Ambition and Confidence

orange fruit with orange background
Photographer: Holger Link | Source: Unsplash

Orange comes between red and yellow on the color wheel and is a warm and enthusiastic color. Orange gives a feeling of confidence and is said to stimulate the logical areas of the brain and also to encourage creativity. It is a favorite with kids and young people, as well as those who are young at heart.

Yellow: Bright and Sunny

podcast cover art headphones on yellow
Photographer: Malte Wingen | Source: Unsplash

This warm and cheerful color has a powerful effect, especially when set against a dark or contrasting background. Yellow stands out in the crowd and works well for the food industry, household and energy sectors. It is a symbol of joy, cheerfulness and optimism.

Purple: Rich and Regal

photo of ice cream
Photographer: Sharon McCutcheon | Source: Unsplash

The color of kings and queens, purple is indeed associated with royalty and wealth. It is a favorite in the beauty industry and for anti-aging products. Purple suggests eternal youth and wisdom, with a whiff of mysticism. Does the message of your podcast fit with this image? Then perhaps purple is the color for your cover!

Pink: Pretty and Positive

pink balloons
Photographer: Amy Shamblen | Source: Unsplash

As a lighter shade of red, pink is also a passionate color, but with a much softer touch. There are many different kinds of pink, from pastel salmon to bright fuschia. In color psychology, pink denotes compassion, nurturing and hope. The feelings which tend to be evoked by the color pink are usually positive, warm, comforting and calming.

Grey or Silver: Stylish and Sophisticated

The color silver as it applies to podcast cover art
Photographer: Robert Haverly | Source: Unsplash

Silver and its close cousin grey are very useful as neutral colors that bring balance and give that sleek accent, much like the proverbial silver lining. Silver and grey can be beautifully matched with just about any other color.

Black: Classic and Elegant

silver headphones on top of black surface
Photographer: Frank Septillion | Source: Unsplash

Black is in a class of its own. It speaks of luxury and elegance, as well as power, authority and strength. If you want a professional and timeless look to your podcast cover, you might want to choose a simple black and white design.

White: Pure and Perfect:

Photographer: Verne Ho | Source: Unsplash

White is such a versatile and useful color, whether you use it as a background for your podcast cover art or as part of your icon. White gives a fresh feeling of cleanliness and perfection, and can also stimulate creativity.

Questions to Help You Choose Your Podcast Cover Art Colors

What is the topic of your podcasts?

What are your podcasts about? What is your message and what industry or sector do you identify with in terms of your product or service? Given the above basic messages associated with the different colors, which one most closely fits for you?

Who are your listeners?

Do you anticipate that most of your listeners will be men or women, wealthy or budget conscious, professionals or amateurs, younger or older folks? Bear your demographic in mind when making color choices as different groups of people tend to respond differently to colors.

Do you have a logo or brand color?

If you already have a logo or brand color, then you are more than halfway there. Let your listeners identify you immediately when they see your logo. Make sure that the format you use for your podcast cover art and icon will look good on any platform you might choose to use.

What about color combinations?

Once you’ve identified what your main color should be, you may want to add an accent color or two. You could choose a shade or tone of the same color, or go for a different, complementary color. Try to limit yourself to no more than three colors to avoid an over-the-top appearance.

What kind of impression does the overall look leave?

With the limited space available for your podcast icon, you need to make sure that your overall look is not cluttered or messy. Keep it clean and simple with fonts and images that stand out, are easy to read and recognizable.

Now that you have some ideas and pointers about the power of color in visuals, it’s time to choose that icon and cover art for your podcast! Let them be a fitting visual complement to your amazing audio content!

Infographic: 40 "Psychology of Color" Facts

Infographic: 40 "Psychology of Color" Facts

Spotify is well on its way to becoming the Netflix of podcasting. They single-handedly propelled the business of podcasting into the big leagues this week. Spotify announced they are planning to spend a cool budget of $500,000,000 (That's 1/2 a billion!) on podcasting acquisitions. For starters, they purchased Gimlet Media, reportedly for some $230M, as well as the Anchor podcast platform for $60M.

From the Spotify perspective, I agree with the analysis of the Wall Street Journal and others: This model means a focus on premium content and acquiring exclusive podcasts only available on Spotify. I think this theory covers both Gimlet as well as Anchor acquisitions.

Of course there are more questions than answers at this point. So what follows is speculation:

Does Netflix of Podcasting Imply Exclusive Content?

I could see that if their strategy succeeds, exclusive versions of the best and most desirable podcasts may only be available on Spotify, driving new subscribers to their overall platform.

So yes, I anticipate that Gimlet Media will produce some bespoke content for Spotify.

But I also I think there are a lot of variations on how this could play out when it comes to exclusivity – for example offering ad supported versions of exclusive podcasts outside of Spotify, meaning iTunes and elsewhere.

The Future of Podcast Monetization?

Also, I would predict that podcast hosting, ad platforms, monetization and reimbursement models will be routed through Spotify. Could they be going for a model of reimbursing premium podcasters as they currently reimburse musicians?

This could mean a democratized monetization model for mid-level podcasts, with micro payments to podcasters that are not currently commanding enough downloads to easily run ads inside their shows. I see this as a positive alternative for podcasts that don’t have any monetization options outside of Patreon.

However, the emphasis being on MICRO-payments, as in “Podcasters, don’t quit your day job”.

Symbiotic or Competitive?

I am also wondering if this is symbiotic with Apple and iTunes, or competitive when it comes to discoverability?

Will Spotify finally be able to break up Apple’s quasi monopoly in the podcast discoverability space?  

Just considering my own  behavior: I happen to have a Spotify music account. I NEVER search for any music on iTunes anymore. I search in Spotify directly. So just imagine a future to where Spotify would be the first place to search for interesting podcast content to listen to.

Considering Anchor

If you want to be the Netflix of podcasting, you need content. Content you develop, or acquire. My understanding is that Anchor owns the podcast content hosted on their platform, and so I am assuming that with this acquisition Spotify will acquire direct ownership of a massive amount of transitioned podcasts, leaving them to be able to decide on monetization and subscription and discoverability models.

Considering Gimlet

From the Gimlet perspective, this is the best exit their investors could expect now or in the future. In my opinion, I think there may also be an opportunistic element for Alex Blumberg to get his life back and move forward in the best possible way.

I imagine him being able to move towards more fun and meaningful opportunities within Spotify. Gimlet with its storytelling chops should be the perfect podcast content strategists. I think Alex and his team could be focused on developing interesting content – rather than Gimlet being a money making entity beholden to investors. 

One of the most compelling aspects of Startup as a podcast has been the intimacy of sharing of his journey, including the stress on work life balance. Listening to the last few episodes of that, combined with the show WithoutFail, it seems like the stress levels have not lessened, so with this exit perhaps the pressure from keeping investors happy will be eased.  

More acquisitions coming?

I am again speculating for now, and I think the picture will become clearer over time.

But yes, Spotify's CEO Daniel Ek's  $500 million budget leaves room for additional deals. In addition to new acquisitions of  podcast networks and content I would not be surprised if Spotify will also start to acquire podcast specific technology and ad platform companies. Not naming any names at this point. And rumors are afloat that Netflix might acquire all of Spotify.

So as a podcast producer, how do I feel about this all?

I think any movement within the podcasting industry that rivals Apple, or makes them move a bit faster on the innovation front, is a good thing. 

In this season we have occasionally touched up our own podcast workflow. For those of you who follow us, you realize that we often talk about "podcasting as a content strategy". So as we approach the end of season 1 of our Podcast Growth Show, I thought it was time to zoom out for a big picture episode.

Basically, this episode is our blueprint to go from podcast content strategy to execution.

Podcast Workflow Overview

Here is how to listen to this episode on the web:

From Podcasting Strategy to Execution Blueprint

From Podcasting Strategy to Execution
From Podcasting Strategy to Execution Blueprint, Click for expanded detail

So I'd like to reveal our overall podcast workflow, all the way from strategy to execution. And in this episode I'll reveal all our little secret tips, tricks, tools and gear we use to save massive amount of time along the way.

Strategy Segment

For both new and existing podcasts, it is good to start with the end in mind, to have clarity about your audience, as well as confidence that the value proposition for your listeners, as well as the reason why you are doing a podcast is clear.

Planning Segment

A lot of people just want to get started and hit the record button already. But unless you already have a dozen or so episodes under your belt, you will discover that there is a lot of planning involved. Especially if podcasting as content strategy is something even remotely on your horizon. I talk to new podcasters all the time, and some get lost in the planning stage. Let's discover how having a planning framework helps us retain clarity.

Execution Segment

I'd like to go into how we approach podcast production ourselves. This is only one of many possible ways, and in no way am I suggesting you should adopt our methods. There is a lot involved, and it can sound scary. We tolerate an amount of complexity because it produces results for us. And complexity doesn't mean things can't be automated, simplified or even outsourced. Both complexity and simplicity can co-exist. For us, it's the results that count.

Promotion Segment

This entire season has been about how to promote a podcast. So we may already have covered some of the methods we use to promote each episode. I'll keep that segment short.

Season Strategy

Podcast seasons can help organize our podcast workflow
Podcast seasons can help organize our podcast content strategy

We like the concept of seasons, as it provides some amount of flexibility when thinking about the overall goals for your podcast as business content strategy.

Advantage of Seasons

Do we have a solo show or an interview based show? Do we have a co-host? Does our podcast have a theme? Would we like to try a different episode structure? Are we afraid your audience is getting bored with our content? What if we want to change up? Or are we suffering from "podfading" and just plain tired and need a break?

All of these can be addressed by organizing our podcast into separate seasons:

  • They allow us to take a sabbatical from your own show if we need a break
  • They enable us to develop focused themes for each season
  • We can switch the format of the show, including who is hosting, guesting or if it's a solo show
  • And all of that with no surprises for our listeners, as we announce the end of the current or start of the next seasons
  • Each season is a good excuse for a podcast re-launch and much needed promotional activities

Value Proposition Design

I know a lot of podcasters who just barrel on producing episode after episode without ever pausing, re-thinking, changing direction or taking stock. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the audience is with us on this.

Other podcasters plan each season carefully, and conceptualize exactly what they want to cover, who their guests will be, and most importantly what experience they want to create for their audience. Either way:

Periodically revisiting the value proposition of our podcast is an excellent habit.

But just how we do that? We have developed a process for developing a podcast's branding and value proposition. This Value Proposition Design (VPD) process is driven by over a hundred trigger questions designed to achieve clarity about our audience. To be more specific, clarity about what our listening audience is experiencing, what problems we help them solve or wrestle with, and what goals and transformation we help them achieve.

Not only that, there are also over 100 trigger questions to get us to think about how well our podcast topics match up to our audience desires, needs, tasks and expectations.

We have online forms for these trigger questions, and the answers we produce during this process are worth their weight in gold: They become a rich source of podcast themes, episode topics, SEO keywords, episode titles.

Think of your podcast as a product – with a market fit

This clarity is what you can when going through the VPD process.

Focus on Overall Goals

It is also important to keep focused on our podcast goals, and to periodically revisit these.

Perhaps we started out just wanting to have fun and get our message out to the world, but now we are finding ourselves wanting to build a list, or speak on stages, or to use your podcast as a vehicle to help promote a book. These are significant shifts in goals, and require significant adjustments to the way we utilize and market our podcast.

Strategy Planning Session 3 Month

Of course none of this has to do with the week to week podcast workflow of producing episodes in the middle of a season.

I'm just pointing all of this out as an important baseline activity that we try to do every 3 months or so. And to point out 3 things:

  1. If you are about to launch a podcast, take the time to go through the VPD process to achieve clarity and a product market fit for your show
  2. If you already started to podcast without any of this in mind, it's not too late to start and revisit once in a while
  3. If you have a podcast based on seasons, revisit your goals and value proposition for each seasons

Podcast Episode SEO Research

SEO for Podcasts

Why do we do SEO research for something audio based?

SEO = Developing A Business Asset With Positive ROI

Our own podcast website gets 65% of subscribers from SEO search. 50% of my new clients come from search. Our podcast is less than 2 months old at the time of this recording, and has yielded 4 new clients and many more prospects. Not from iTunes discoverability, not referrals. So our entire podcast workflow is based on solid SEO research.

You may think that this is all overkill. And again, I will point out that this is just the process we follow because it works for us and our results speak for themselves. BTW, we have a whole course on podcast SEO.

For Our Podcast, 80% Planning and 20% Execution is Normal

Topical Research

So the assumption is that we do have clarity about our goals and value proposition for the audience. At this point, we want to identify potential SEO opportunities and turn these into topics for our season long episode plan.

The goal is to be able to rank for our show notes pages.

And there are 2 important pitfalls that we avoid by doing some quick SEO research:

  1. If we target impossibly difficult keywords, we will never rank on page one in Google, and thus we will never get search result traffic or new listeners
  2. If we target obscure keywords that no one ever searches for, we may rank on page one of the search results, but no one will ever visit our podcast from that.

SEO Keyword Opportunities

I myself may have a bit of an unfair advantage, because Polymash started life in part as an SEO agency. So we have access to some enterprise level SEO tools.

But the good news for podcasters is that there are affordable and even free tools out there to do the same thing.

So here is a quick demo (at 13:50 ) of how we identify high opportunity keywords using Mangool's SEO suite, particularly the KWFinder utility. This is a central part of our podcast workflow, and KWFinder is by far my favorite and simple to use SEO keyword research tool. We have coached a ton of podcasters to use it to good effect.

Disclosure: This free sign up is an affiliate link

It gets better: This keyword research tool is only on part of an entire SEO suite to quickly add the following capabilities to your podcast planning:

  • KWFinder: Our favorite keyword research utility for podcasters.
  • SERP Watcher: Allows us to track progress as you start ranking for your desired keywords
  • SERP Checker: Provides deep insights into Google search results, and allows us to judge which keywords to target and which to stay away from

Converting Podcast SEO Keywords into Episode Ideas

So in the podcast workflow, once we have identified a list of keywords with potential, it is time to take these keywords and base our episode plan on these.

In our Google Sheets planning template we have developed a formula to address the following SEO issue:

Each site has something called Domain Authority and Alexa Rank, which indicates how likely the site's content will rank on Google. This means every site needs to target keywords that are commensurate with their Domain Authority and Alexa Rank.

For old, established and popular sites it is easier to rank for more difficult keywords.

But new site owners with low DA and Alexa rank need to choose key-phrases they can actually rank for.

The formula we have developed matches the domain authority of any site with the keyword difficulty to target on KW Finder. This is all about prioritizing high opportunity topics, from high opportunity keywords.

Google Sheets to Organize Output

We have developed a Google Sheets template to help map this out.

Episode Topic Identification

Identifying topics for each podcast season
Identifying topics for each podcast season

Here is the process we follow to identify episode themes and topics based on our Podcast SEO research.

SEO Based Topics

As I mentioned earlier, we base our podcast episodes on our prior SEO research. By the time we are mid-season, we usually have a range of potential topics for a season to choose from, and hundreds of potential SEO keywords to choose from as well.

Initial Titles

Initially we develop working titles for each episode before we even incorporate relevant SEO keywords from our list. But at some point it is important to design episode titles with relevant keywords that fits the topic, and that are commensurate with the ranking power of our site as well.

Episode Title Optimization

The exact wording of our episode titles is more important than many podcasters realize. You can have a great episode, but if the title is not compelling, click worthy, interesting or thought provoking, people will never click through.

Sure, your existing subscribers may listen. But this is about attracting new listeners and subscribers. Just think about where your episode titles appear, and what role they play in your podcast workflow and the way people consume podcasts.

  • People may see your episode title on their iPhone or listening device of choice. Will they be interested enough to tap and listen?
  • People may come across your show notes and episodes as a result of a Google search. But will your episode title be compelling enough for them click through?
  • Your episodes titles may appear on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Will it arouse people's curiosity?

So what makes a click-worthy episode title?

CoSchedule Headline Optimizer

There are a bunch of tools out there that help, for example the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. CoSchedule is a well know the social media scheduling platform we use, and they have developed a wonderful tool for designing highly converting titles for blog posts as well as for podcast episodes.

The tool is free, and you can try it out here. Their recommendations are based on a ton of research, word usage and title patterns proven to be successful on social media. Their algorithm checks for the presence of unusual words, power words, emotional words and the structure and length of each title.

Of course, fair warning: Don't become a slave to such a tool.

Making Title Optimization Part of our Podcast Workflow

But my point is more about following this thinking process and formulating a range of potential titles. I guarantee you this: If you formulate only a single title for each episode, it will never be as good as if you formulate 7+ titles to choose from. So it is making this discipline part of our podcast workflow that makes all the difference.

Google Sheets to Organize Output

For us to stay organized and to collaborate on SEO research as well as podcast topic and title planning, we again use our trusty Google sheet template to stay organized.

Episode Recording Preparation

Episode Recording And Script Preparation
Episode Recording And Script Preparation

OK so we've finally gotten closer to actually recording an episode.

Pre Recording Notes

Our own podcast's current season is a solo recording effort.

Using StoryChief For Script Development Ahead Of Time

If you've listened to our previous episode "How To: Easy Podcast Distribution And Content Syndication [S1E08]", you would have learned about the StoryChief app we use to distribute our show notes to more than 16+ platforms.

Podcast Syndication With StoryChief

But we also use StoryChief to develop our solo episode scripts. This saves us a lot of time later, after the recording process. And because this season is video based, the podcast workflow to incorporate video is by nature a bit harder.

If you are interested in giving StoryChief a try, they offer a free account:

Our podcast workflow utilizes Story Chief
Disclosure: This free sign up is an affiliate link, if you choose to upgrade the account later

Beyond this it's 5 stories for 10$/month, 10 stories for 20$/month, 15 for 30, 20 for 40, 25 for 50 up until 30 for 60$; and 20% discount if you pay yearly.

Episode Specific Template Google Docs

Google docs are great for collaboration with clients, and we have designed our template to work for preparing, ID3 tagging, and creating show notes.

Episode Metadata

Our episode preparation template on Google docs that works for solo, interview or co-host driven formats. We also use this for our own podcast, but that is for capturing titles, descriptions, video metadata, ID3 tag information, embed codes for the episodes once everything is done.

Episode Video Data

This season combines an audio podcast with a video tutorials, demos and more. Because we cross publish each episode to our YouTube Channel as well, it is important to formulate the YouTube tags, description and links for each episode, and again our template allows for this.

Our Podcast Workflow Process for Video + Audio Recording

Podcast production workflow containing audio as well as video
Podcast production workflow containing audio as well as video

Finally, after all this planning, we are ready to record something.

ScreenFlow Video Templates For Youtube Channels

I use a somewhat unusual setup for podcast + video recording. You may have heard of desktop screen recorders like Techsmith's Camtasia and Telestream ScreenFlow? These are screen recorders that also use your webcam. Many people use them for creating courseware or evergreen webinar content. We've used both extensively here at Polymash. But for our podcast workflow a clear winner emerged:

ScreenFlow launched an innovation this year that I had been looking for a long time.

It automates the production process with the ability to configure recording templates. These templates then place your video into a template with a pre-existing intro, outro, lower thirds, resizing and repositioning the webcam image as a picture in picture on the screen.

ScreenFlow templates save us an amazing amount of time for our YouTube channel

If you click play on the video above, you can see the effect. After the initial setup of my YouTube channel, I do nothing more to produce these videos, other than to press the record button. Clever, no?

If you are relatively new to podcast, and video is not something you are considerding right off the bat, here is our review of several new and highly innovative podcast recording software

TelePrompter Secrets

You might also have noticed that in my opening sequences I talk directly to the camera. Hopefully I come across as fluent in these videos, but what you may not realize is that I'm assisted by a mini teleprompter attached to my webcam.

  • My scripts live on an iPad on my desk, which I can speed up or slow down as I record. It's a strictly one man operation.
  • The actual teleprompting screen is driven by my iPhone, and all of this allows me to look directly into the camera as I record my episodes.

If you are curious about this setup, below is an (affiliate) link to this amazingly small and affordable teleprompting device.

Meet our unique mini teleprompter

Big part of our podcast workflow: The ability to record smooth video
Big part of our podcast workflow: The ability to record smooth video

We use a compact, versatile, and easy to use teleprompter that helps us quickly deliver polished show notes to our listeners.  Until now, teleprompters have been clunky, expensive, and difficult to operate–and many required film studios or a production team.  This teleprompter changes all of that.  

It’s a simple tool that helps us nail smooth delivery using just a smartphone and our desktop computer, DSLR, or webcam.

Our video production workflow is so much easier using a mini teleprompter
Our video production workflow is so much easier using a mini teleprompter

Podcast Quality Audio While Recording Video

One issue with doing a video podcast, especially one where one stands or moves around, is audio quality.

While sitting I can use my microphone and arm easily, but if I'm standing or moving around I like to use a wireless mic. This is also true for general video production or conducting on-camera interviews. I really did a lot of research before investing in this piece of kit.

What we use is what I feel is the most affordable and yet high quality pair of wireless lavalier microphones on the market. I think the quality is as good as the famous Sennheisers, but the price is 1/2. The system is called the COMICA CVM-WM300(A). There is also an optional interview mic to take this setup on the road and conduct amazing mobile podcasts and or video interviews.

Again, if you'd like to check it out, below is an (affiliate) link.

Lavalier systems can be useful add ons to podcast and video recording workflows
Lavalier systems can be useful add ons to podcast and video recording workflows

Live Audio through Loopback and Audio Hijack

We produce our client podcasts using a professional audio editing platform called Adobe Audition.

One of my favorite things is when podcast clients comment on how amazing they sound on the podcasts we produce for them.

This is in part because as a former audio engineer and record producer I have a few tricks up my sleeve to get that professional "broadcast" sound. (Let me know in the comments if I should do a special episode on that, happy to share!)

But it is also because Adobe Audition comes with some professional and sophisticated tools to help us shape a warm and inviting sound profile for each podcast host of guest.

So far, so good. But when recording video as well as an audio podcast, things become more complicated. And time consuming.

We would have to extract the audio tracks from video to import them into Adobe Audition to achieve the same custom broadcast ready sound, and then re-import them into the video. Too much work…

Luckily, I'm both lazy and smart:

Loopback interface for routing audio on my desktop
Loopback interface for routing audio on my desktop

So we've come up with a shortcut to get broadcast quality video sound, using 2 apps by a company called Rogue Amoeba:

  1. Loopback to create virtual audio devices to take the sound from apps and audio input devices, then pass it to any audio processing software.
  2. Audio Hijack, which functions like a real-time, virtual mixing console with EQ, compression and noise gating built in.

These 2 apps allow me to apply sound profiles in real time. Ordinarily this is done with a mixing console or in post-production, but this happens live. So the final video has that "broadcast" ready sound as it is being recorded.

Our Audio Hijack setup to produce real time optimized audio
Our Audio Hijack setup to produce real time optimized audio

The other advantage is that I can create profiles to attempt to make my lavaliers sound the same or similar to my Heil PR40 mic. (I can hear audiophiles groaning now). But at least I can get similar sound quality.

Audio Extraction and .mp3 Files From Video

Our podcast workflow includes several conversion tasks
Our podcast workflow includes several conversion tasks

So now that we have the video portion of our podcast recorded, it's time to extract the audio from the video and to export and upload it to our podcasts' .mp3 file

Video to Audio Conversion

We use the Wondershare Video Converter app to extract a high quality audio file from the video.

Loudness Standards, Noise Removal, Voice Leveling

A swiss company called Auphonic has developed a brilliant set of audio automation tools every podcaster should check out. We use Auphonic desktop app to automate the following steps:

  1. Establish a noise profile
  2. Applying Noise reduction from that noise profile
  3. Speech Volume Leveling
  4. Industry standard loudness standards for broadcast ready files at -16LUF
  5. Export to .mp3 formatted output file

This automation saves us at least 20 minutes per episode.

Audio Export to Libsyn

So now we finally have the .mp3 file to upload and release on our podcast hosting software Libsyn. First we apply the episodes title, descriptions and other podcast metadata to the .mp3 file. Then we upload to Libsyn and schedule the episode to go live at the desired time.

Video Export to YouTube

Remember we are using Screenflow to record our video content. It has the built in ability to export each video to our Youtube channel, including custom thumbnails, tags, descriptions and links. So the video portion of our podcast was already uploaded and scheduled on YouTube in a previous step.

Multi Channel Show Notes Syndication

Sign Up For Free, Disclosure: The above affiliate link, if you choose to upgrade the account later
Sign Up For Free, Disclosure: The above affiliate link, if you choose to upgrade the account later

I will keep this short, since syndication and distribution of show notes was the topic of an entire episode, episode 8. Suffice it to say this:

A critical step in our podcast workflow is to distribute and syndicate our show notes to as many platforms as possible.

After all, our podcast's audio files are being syndicated to be available in iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play.

Content syndication with StoryChief is to show notes what RSS feeds are to your podcast audio.

Finalize Episode Show Notes on StoryChief

Because we prepare our episode scripts in StoryChief, by the time we record our episode the show notes are 90% written already.

Embed YouTube Video Player

So all that's left is to embed the episode video into StoryChief.

Embed Libsyn Audio Player

We love StoryChief as a content syndication in part because it is podcast ready. We easily embed the Libsyn player widget into our episode to allow site visitors to choose their modality: Read, Listen or Watch.

Embed Lead Generation Widgets

Another reason we love StoryChief is that it allows for embedding various lead generation and email capture widgets. So if our episode has a "Lead Magnet" like a bonus guide, mind-map or check-list, we embedding it right in the StoryChief show notes.

Publish to 16+ Channels

At the end of the day, our show notes are scheduled to go live and to trickle out to an ever growing list of platforms, communities and blogs and "Ambassador Networks"

1/2 Year Evergreen Social Boost Campaign

Saving time in our podcast workflow involves creating evergreen social campaigns
Saving time in our podcast workflow involves creating evergreen social campaigns

In an upcoming episode I am planning to go into detail about how we create a 1/2 year long automated campaign to promote each episode on social media. Over the years we have tried and used a ton of different platforms for this.

The one I think is most innovative is called CoSchedule. It allows us to design a social campaign on autopilot.

I am lazy, but engagement cannot be automated

I answer every RT, question or DM related to our podcast episodes. But that does not mean I want to spend a lot of time on social media crafting individual tweets and social shares for our episodes.

CoSchedule has a clever automation concept called "social helpers". These are content snippets that help to produce a varied social feed, with different hashtags, images, messages. It shares our episode show notes content, but does not repeat the same tweet or image all the time.

Again, it's the sort of one time up-front effort that takes some time to set up initially, but then saves a ton of time for each episode. If you are interested in seeing this in more detail, let me know in the comments.

Conclusion

Again – this episode was just the process we follow because it is producing results for us. I do not recommend it to everyone, and the fact that we are producing video alongside the audio portion complicates things a bit.

If you are a new podcaster or a business considering podcasting as a content strategy, you may well think all of this is overkill.

But keep in mind that the lion share of the work goes into the initial planning, the setting up of templates and designing and implementing the various automation steps. And this is a one time only effort. And the routine production can be done by other people.

If you'd like to chat and explore possibilities for your own podcast workflow, feel free to book a time with me.

Podcast Content Syndication – Beyond Podcast Directories

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.

Listen to this episode on podcast distribution and syndication on the web

Overview & Episode Content

  1. What is Content Syndication? (01:10)
  2. What Are the Benefits For Podcasters & Bloggers? (01:45)
  3. How does this work, and how can I automate it? (04:20)
  4. SCREENCAST: The StoryChief platform we use for this (07:45)
  5. DEMO: Our podcast distribution and syndication process (12:25)
  6. COMPARISON: StoryChief's free, basic and pro plans compared (21:45)
  7. CASE STUDY: Results we have seen

What is Content Syndication?

Content distribution and syndication for podcasters
Content syndication for podcasters

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?

Podcast Distribution & Show Notes Syndication Benefits
Podcast Distribution & Show Notes Syndication 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.

SEO Backlinks

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?

Automating Podcast Content Syndication
Podcast Content Syndication Automation

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.

Why StoryChief?

We use StoryChief for Podcast Show Notes Content Syndication
  • 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)

podcast distribution and syndication
StoryChief podcast distribution and syndication map

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)

Content Syndication Demo

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.

Story Chief Editor embeds that are podcast syndication ready
Podcast distribution ready

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

Try it for free, but the basic version costs only $10

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.

StoryChief Free Account Link
Get started for free and set up your account

Get started for free, but the basic plan is only $8 a month (when paid yearly)

It's 5 episodes (or stories) for 10$/month, 10 episodes for 20$/month, 15 for 30, 20 for 40, 25 for 50 up until 30 for 60$; and 20% discount if you pay yearly.

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.

Feature comparison

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
  • Newsletters/Emailing
  • 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

podcast syndication and distribution results
Backlinks to my podcast and site have increased by 229% (Source: KWFinder)

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.

Keyword rank index increase from content syndication
Rank index increases (source: SERPWatcher)

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.

5 reasons why the recommended Facebook ad process to promote a podcasts is flawed

You may think running Facebook Ads would be an excellent vehicle to promote a podcast. Facebook ads allow you to precisely target your audience amd promise to increase your subscribers in a cost-effective way.

And I totally agree. Facebook is the best paid promotion platform for a podcast, our regular listeners may remember Episode 3 "Paid Podcast Advertising – a Look Behind the Scenes".

My point with this episode is not to argue that Facebook is a poor platform to advertise podcasts on. Rather to point out that the Facebook Podcast Promotion Process most bloggers and marketers recommend it is flawed.

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

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

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

Many marketers recommend promoting Facebook episodes by directly linking to the iTunes or Android or Spotify 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, or to simply go with your podcast host's default episode pages and minimal content
  • The writers make the point that iTunes and Stitcher is, after all, where you want people to go to subscribe to your show
  • The advice is that direct links to the iTunes episode is the best way for Facebook ads to capture people on mobile devices. And also for targeting Android audiences by sending these ads to Google Play or Stitcher episodes directly

And we see many podcasts following this advice and missing out in the process.

I fundamentally disagree with sending your Facebook Ad traffic directly to your iTunes and Stitcher podcast links for the following five reasons:

#1: It Costs Too Much

The Cost To Promote a Podcast
Facebook Ads cost too much if all they are used for is to send traffic to iTunes

Sure, your ads may get you more listeners for your podcast on iTunes and Stitcher. But Facebook podcast marketing ads should also have a better goal in addition to just adding listeners. Because 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.”

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, 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.

FB Ads for Podcasts: ‘Cost per anonymous listener’ <> ‘Cost per qualified lead

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

Apple and Google don't need more traffic from promoting a podcast
Apple and Google don't need more traffic from your promoting a podcast

You are paying for ads traffic that you are sending to iTunes and Google Play Music.

Really?

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

#3: Blind Dates

Would you go on a date without ever asking the other person's name?
Would you go on a date without ever asking the other person's name?

Don't let your site visitors and podcast listeners stay anonymous. That's like going on a date without ever asking the other person's name.

iTunes and Facebook may know who your listeners are. But they won't let you, the publisher, in on that secret. You won’t know how many listeners subscribed to your show on those platforms.

  • Click here for a complete analysis of Google AdWords vs Facebook Advertising for podcasts

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 attract listeners to visit your show pages, you are essentially going on blind dates – without ever even asking for a name. So, a very passive way to promote a 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. They could discover links and resources about your guests. And they could be downloading relevant resources from you in exchange for an email address.

So, when recording your podcast, make sure you mention an easy to remember episode show notes link like “mypodcast.com/132”. 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

Digital sharecropping
She who does the work should benefit

In 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.

The term "Digital Sharecropping" was first coined by Nicholas Carr

…the distribution of production into the hands of the many – but the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.

So, what we often see with new clients who come to us for help is this: They post all of their valuable intellectual capital and thought leadership content on platforms like Medium, LinkedIn or Facebook. Their videos can be found 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 all social and ad traffic to promote your podcast should land on your own great conversion optimized podcast home page. We recently published a video walkthrough which showcases a highly converting podcast website design pattern. It is called “The Upside Down Podcast Home Page”.

The effort (or cost) involved in creating a podcast home page and maintaining your podcast show notes are well worth it in the long run. The time spent pales in comparison to the effort of actually creating your content in the first place.

Your content should live on your own site FIRST AND FOREMOST.

Only then should it be shared from there centrally, spreading out to 3rd party platforms for social engagement. Especially if you are using Podcasting as Content Strategy.

Outward Syndication

We call this process "Outward Syndication". Many podcasters build their own system for sharing new podcast episodes once they are published.

The process we follow for our clients cross promotes their episode show notes posts gradually, across a range of platforms. These syndication channels include Youtube, Medium, Blogger, Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages, Linkedin Personal pages, LinkedIn Business Pages, Google Plus, BeBee, and other social networks.

Why do this gradually?

Before episodes are promoted on any 3rd party platforms, we want to ensure that the show notes page goes live on our own site first. And that our own episode page gets indexed by Google first. We don't want to search for our episodes online only to see our medium article pop up in the search results. Therefore we use a "rel=canonical" tag to indicate where the original article lives. This is true to Google, Bing and other search engine crawlers as well.

There are several ways to do this and to ensure our episode is indexed on our own site first. First, we can use Google's webmaster tools (AKA Google Search Console) to manually submit our episode post for indexing. This is quicker than waiting 2-3 weeks for Google's crawler to come around and visit your website. Typically we do this the day we publish to instantly be included in the search results. We discuss the importance of SEO based podcast cornerstone content strategy elsewhere on my blog, but we have seen episodes rank in the top 30 results within a week using our approach.

Delay by 2-3 weeks

So it is only after that has happened that we publish and syndicate on other platforms. Getting back to the "rel=canonical" setting when publishing on other platforms. Take Medium for example: It is very important to use their own content import tool, which uses the "rel=canonical" tag and honors the original source of the article and channels the Google rank score to that original post. So do not just copy / paste your episode show notes into a new Medium article, use their import tool.

Podcast Promotion and Syndication with StoryChief

Automating MultiChannel Syndication For Podcasts

We utilize a platform Called StoryChief, which automates the cross platform syndication of podcast and blog content. What I really like about StoryChief is that it

  • Automatically applies the "rel=canonical" settings when publishing on other platforms.
  • Supports Libsyn Podcast player widgets

I will talk about how we utilize StoryChief to automate much of our podcast episode syndication in an upcoming episode. If you'd like to find out about StoryChief in the meantime, below is a link (disclaimer – this is an affiliate link:)

StoryChief Content Syndication Platform

Content syndication for your podcast episodes

There is a one-time up-front effort in setting up multiple platforms to syndicate to, but promoting an episode to multiple platforms with built in audiences like Medium makes this worth it.

To conclude the topic of "Digital Sharecropping"

Having your own SEO optimized podcast show notes pages builds a much more valuable asset on your site, audience, and email list.

  • Would you not rather build free traffic and rank for your site? Don't overlook the value of SEO for your show notes pages. This is one of the deadly podcast marketing sins I often write about.
  • I think most marketers would agree that an email list is still the most valuable asset to build for your digital presence.

#5: Analytics & Measuring Performance

Analytics is important when using Facebook to promote a podcast
Analytics are important when using Facebook to promote a podcast

How do you measure your investment in Facebook ads?

For me the answer is this:

Success = how many people SIGN UP for your podcast or blog.

The Facebook marketing term for this is called a "conversion". It is NOT how many people clicked on your ad, nor how many more anonymous 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 ads cannot measure who subscribed to your podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Facebook won't know 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.

So don't set this as your Facebook Ad campaign goal.

A better goal is to measure “Conversions”

Facebook algorithms are more effective when optimized for conversions. When setting up an ad campaign on Facebook, you can choose "conversions" as the goal. A "conversion" is triggered every time someone goes to your podcast subscriber "thank you page", so you will need one of these on your site.

Facebook learns from who signed up and then increasingly shows your ads to the best possible and highly “converting” audience. You will 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)

Conclusion

If you use Facebook to boost or promote your podcast, don't send traffic directly to your episode pages on iTunes and Stitcher. Instead, send traffic to your own episode show notes pages. Be sure your site features a "subscribe by email widget" that redirects to a thank you page, and triggers a "conversion" on Facebook.

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.