First and foremost, we here at Podbean send our best wishes to our Podbean family across the globe in light of the coronavirus. All of us wish for the speediest of recoveries for everyone who has been affected and only the safest of passages through this pandemic for everyone.
Best Practices For Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Audio Gear
It is important to have a plan for maintaining your gear and taking good care of your recording space. Many of us spend hours, days, and months (even years!) using our gear to record and produce our podcasts (some of us even record and produce for fellow podcasters). We’re all more focused on cleanliness right now, but it is always important to keep your gear sanitary and in tip-top shape.
We have reached out to our friends at audio gear companies such as Apogee and Focusrite to bring you expert advice for best practices in cleaning, maintaining, and sanitizing your audio gear from microphones to headphones and everything in between!
Cody Cloe Apple Channel Manager at Apogee Electronics
With the seriousness of COVID-19, we are all doing our best to stay healthy. We’ve heard countless recommended best health practices such as frequently washing our hands, avoiding large gatherings and regularly disinfecting items we come in contact with.
Over the coming weeks, if you find yourself at home with more time than normal, you may decide to spend that time creating content for your podcast. If so, here are some tips on cleaning your audio gear.
A quick google search will provide you with a slew of different practices, some of which can be quite damaging to your product. Since audio equipment can be made up of many different types of material, it’s always best to check with the original manufacturer to avoid causing any damage to your gear.
If you’re using an Apogee product like Hype MiC, here’s how we recommend you clean it.
Before you begin, disconnect all cables from your Hype MiC. If it’s warm after being disconnected, let it reach room temperature before attempting to clean. This general practice is applicable to all audio products.
Now that your Hype MiC is disconnected and at room temperature, let’s discuss what type of cleaner to use. We recommend you avoid the often recommended hot, soapy water approach. Instead, go with a 70% solution of Isopropyl. Make sure the bottle states that it’s a 70% solution. Any higher and it can cause damage and any lower may not actually prove beneficial.
It’s very important that you never spray anything (including compressed air) on your Hype MiC. Instead, apply a small amount of Isopropyl onto a lint free cloth (avoid micro-fiber) and apply a light, gentle, quick coat to you Hype MiC and then wipe with a dry rag. It’s worth noting, soft touch paint or foam can be damaged with prolonged exposure and pushing too hard during application can easily remove UV coating.
After cleaning, let your Hype MiC sit uncovered for a short period of time. This will allow any excess moisture missed while drying to evaporate.
After completing the above steps, you’re all set and can get back to your epic content creation session!
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to our support team!
Daniel Hughley Marketing Manager Focusrite
I would suggest wiping down all of the surfaces of your audio interface with disinfecting wipes. But check with the CDC and World Health Organization for suggested brands. Don’t forget your headphones!
The idea of how to launch a podcast sounds deceptively simple – as simple as podcasting can be, anyways. Record your audio, open an account with a podcast host, submit your RSS feed, and you’re launched. Right?
While there’s nothing wrong with taking that approach, we’ve highlighted a few extra steps to take in your podcasting journey to ensure that your audience growth starts off on the right foot.
1. Talk About Your Podcast While It’s Still In The Works
In our interview with Josh Hallmark of True Crime BS, you’ll know that he spent years marketing and promoting his podcast before he ever published an episode. He bought space at conventions and passed out information. Also, he made appearances and networked in the name of this podcast. Josh pushed for the name to be as well-known as possible before the actual publication date of his first episode.
Spend a month or two before your intended release date hyping yourself up on social media. Also look into other forms of advertising. Use this time to check out your local conventions. Get a table for the weekend and hand out cards and stickers to remind people of your upcoming release. Use QR codes on your card so listeners can access your show with as few steps as possible.
2. Release Teasers and Promos Before Your Publication Date
While you’re working on creating your podcast episodes (because it’s recommended to have 5-10 episodes on deck for publication, and some even suggest releasing 3 episodes on your initial release date), you can drop clips from shows in progress. Maybe you said something funny or incredibly insightful. Maybe you scripted something completely heart-breaking and earth-shattering. Tt gives your audience a taste of your content to keep them interested. An interested audience will return when more content is available.
Also use this as a chance to post behind-the-scenes clips or even outtakes. People love to hear Freudian slips, the words you come up with when you can’t think of the right one (RIP to me as a podcaster when I forgot the word “fringe” and called them “dangles” instead). This creates a connection with your listeners. It humanizes you as the content creator and demystifies the man behind the curtain.
3. Make Sure Your Releases Have A Throughline
Whether you’re releasing teasers every week, posting pics of on-location shoots or guests, post with the intent of curating your brand. We mentioned in our promotion article to utilize a unique hashtag for your show. You can go even further by making sure that your podcast’s brand is present in whatever you do.
For pictures, make sure your album cover (or the centerpiece of your album cover) is present somewhere that’s visible. When selecting audio clips, include the intro/outro music so that your listeners begin associating that sound with your show/content. For video-based content, make sure that you utilize your title card and end card for each clip. Headliner is a great resource for making these kind of video/audio clips known as audiograms.
By developing uniqueness around you and your podcast, you are creating awareness for you and how you brand, which then unifies all the content you release now with the official content you release on your launch day and beyond.
4. Upgrade Your Website As Needed
Everyone’s got a website or a blog nowadays. It’s a focal point for you and your content. It exists as a source that anyone can utilize to find your podcast, social media, and contact info.
Ensure that your information is correct, all of your links work, and that nothing impedes anyone from getting your content. While most people aren’t so persnickety as to close a tab if something isn’t within two clicks on a website, it’s better to pretend that they are so you can streamline your site and make your most important info (links to your podcast, social media, etc) are as prominent as possible.
This is also the time to make sure everything is aesthetic and on brand as possible. It’s extremely important on your own site to make sure that everything’s cohesive, visible, and matches your podcast’s aesthetic. As long as they’re not clashing, of course – if your album cover is turquoise and candy-apple red, more power to you, but try not to make them the sole two colors of your website.
Having a website is also extremely important for search engine optimization (SEO). Having a website (especially if your podcast’s name is unique) will allow search engines to easily index your page. This will push you to the top search results when someone searches your keywords. This is especially true if those keywords are in the name of your podcast. Hosting with PodBean, you have your own custom website and can further optimize your SEO.
5. Make Your Launch Date A Celebration
While throwing a party might not be your first thought on the day of your release, it should be – and not just so you can celebrate yourself and your accomplishment. (Though, to be fair, that should be one of your reasons – you’ve put in a lot of hard work, and that should be celebrated.) With a launch party, it’s another method you can utilize to spread the word about your podcast.
When musicians release a new record, many will throw album release parties. They perform and play at the top of their game for everyone who had gathered to support them. A launch party gives you a chance to meet face-to-face with listeners and supporters of your podcast. You’ll even introduce your podcast to people who haven’t heard of it yet.
If you make the final decision and decide that an immediate party isn’t in the plans for your launch day, at least make sure that you include your listeners in on whatever celebratory thing you decide to do. There’s nothing wrong with doing a short video for your chosen social media platform, or posting pictures of your own personal celebration.
You can also celebrate in a more giving fashion, such as offering to do giveaways or shoutouts on your social media platforms. Make the celebration about your audience, and reward them for their support.
6. Keep The Momentum Going On Social Media
You’ve woken up the day after your launch, and now you’re wondering, What do I do now?
The answer is easy: you keep moving forward. Keep making and posting content, keep up with comments and interactions on social media, look for ways to keep making your podcast the best it can be. You made a lot of momentum with all your work leading up to the launch, but it’s worthless if you quit two feet past the finish line.
Be proud of what you’ve accomplished – not too many people start a podcast, despite what stats tell you. But while you’re patting yourself on the back, remember to keep your eyes on the horizon and think about your next steps.
Launching a podcast might seem easy, but there are plenty of ways that things might take an unwanted turn. But by taking these steps, you increase your podcast’s chances of a super successful launch.
You’ve now started your podcast. You want to get it into as many ears as possible. Now how do you promote your podcast? How do you rise amongst the top podcasts with millions of downloads? These eleven tips and tricks will help get you get more eyes and ears on your podcast.
Remember that first impressions matter
Creating a podcast means that you are now effectively the CEO of your podcast – as well as the COO, the secretary, the mailroom clerk, and the support team. Like it or not, being the public face of your podcast – such as attending events in your podcast’s name, reaching out to guests/interviewees, and interacting on social media – means that you have to act like it. Any interactions a potential listener will have with you will color their feelings towards your content.
Consider how you phrase things and how you come off in your interactions with listeners, fellow podcasters, and other industry professionals. If people see that you’re someone they’re comfortable around, they’re more likely to check out your content and collaborate with you.
Audiograms are a when you convert a chunk of your podcast to video, usually with a static background of your podcast cover or your chosen image, created with the intention of posting to social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. Platforms such as these benefit from shorter-form videos, which is perfect to highlight a clip of your latest episode, your favorite chunk of livestream, or even a past episode that’s relevant to a trending hashtag or seasonal event.
With this, your audiogram will function as a podcasting sampler for people who haven’t heard that particular episode, or your podcast in general. By utilizing the video player native to the platform, you give them a chance to see what your podcast is like before they click the link to check out the full episode. It also breaks up your feed to create a more diverse and interesting first look for anyone who comes to your social media page (if you’re wondering where to go, we’ve been using Headliner with spectacular results!). The following is an audiogram example from the Gravity Beard podcast.
Create a Podcast-Specific Hashtag for You and Your Users
Please don’t tag any buildings, but hashtags are a quick and functional way to introduce your podcast to someone. Create a unique hashtag that’s intriguing and specific to your podcast. As examples, it can be the title of your podcast. It can be phrase you or your hosts have coined.
With it, the only limit is your imagination and the law! Interact with the tag on social media when people use it. Feature it across your social media channels. You can use it it as a tag on all your posts or just utilize it in an image.
Understanding Social Media Outlets
When we spoke with Gabriel Urbina of Wolf 359, his surprise came when realized what conversations were happening on other platforms he wasn’t present on, like Tumblr.
You never know what medium will suit you, your content, and your posting style best. Experiment with different platforms, and figure out the different ways that your media fit into their native landscapes. Check to see if your host offers automatic sharing for your chosen platforms. Set up your accounts to have episodes automatically post when you upload your new content.
This is not to say that you should adopt a “spray-and-pray” technique to your social media marketing. Take into consideration your style of posting and the social media platform. Create a steady stream of content (episode clips/audiograms, pictures, and the like). See what platform is most suited to that style. For example, users can click a link in a Tweet, but cannot click on a link in an Instagram post description.
Join podcasting-specific groups and events
The internet is a whole made up of millions of smaller communities. No matter how niche your podcasting topic is, there is a group for you. Seek out these groups on platforms like Reddit, Livejournal, or even in physical meet-ups at local libraries and tech centers. Introduce yourself and your podcast to the groups’ members.
Also keep an eye out for themed events on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. They could be questions themed around an event or month (such as Podbean’s Podtober event), or themed around a month of creation (in the same vein as the ever-popular NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month). These events unite users everywhere around the same goal of participation and interacting with others who are also participating. Your name and podcast will be seen by others who are participating in the event.
There are a myriad of online communities for you to traverse through to promote your podcast on. The r/podcasts and r/podcasting subreddits offer amazing advice, chances to talk shop, and a place to talk about what it means to podcast.
Cross promotion with similar podcasts
When we say “cross promotion,” we don’t just mean promote yourself across your multiple platforms (because let’s face it, you’re probably already doing that). We’re talking about reaching out to your friends in the podcasting industry. Offer to promote their show on yours as a trade for them to promote your podcast on theirs. You can feature other guests on your podcast and vice. versa. This can extend your voice to a wider audience than just your own.
If both podcasts are in the same genre, of course there might be some audience overlap. However, a good portion of their audience might not be aware of your content. However, they are familiar with the podcast you’re a guest on, or featuring a host from. They will want to tune in to check out the content. By doing so, they’ll be introduced to your podcast and become part of your audience.
Making friends and connections in the podcasting industry is important. But as with point no. 1, be genuine! Don’t do so with the sole intent of being a guest on their show to grow your own audience.
Email list and newsletters
As we advance further and further with our social media platforms and technology, we start to find more and more people who wish to pull back from it. That’s where email lists and newsletters come in. This content gets delivered directly to your subscribers’ mailboxes. You can bring more information to their attention without putting the onus on them to go hunting for it.
Also, with the ever changing landscape of social media’s algorithms, your posts often have a chance to be buried to a wide majority of your audience. Your email list is comprised of fans who manually subscribed to it. You now have a direct line to your most loyal fans. With mailing lists, you can ensure that they’ll always see your notifications.
Your newsletters also allow you to introduce exclusive content. Maybe extra material cut from your scripts, or behind-the-scenes pics of your recording space. Maybe even tips and tricks you can offer to those starting their own podcasts. We’ve seen folks use MailerLite with great success!
Attend local podcasting conferences and meet local podcasters for get-togethers
Whether you’re planning on hitting up every podcast convention across the country, or just hitting up a local group of podcasters that met on Facebook first before going for drinks, there’s nothing like sitting together with a group of people in the same industry as you. They can offer advice on common podcasting issues, get the same in-jokes about microphones, and understand and celebrate your podcasting achievements.
For these get-togethers and conference runs, always keep a steady supply of business cards on hand, and be ready with some storage ideas for the business cards you receive. If you’ve got the effort and the budget, you also can’t go wrong with things like stickers or buttons. (Our marketing writer loves collecting podcasters’ stickers, so if you’re going that route and making your way to some podcasting conferences, be sure to stop by the Podbean booth!)
Your host may offer something akin to an opt-in ad service that allows sponsors to look at your podcast and offer you a deal to run an ad for a certain length of time. But did you know that you could turn around and be the one to create an ad and pay to have it run in other podcasts?
With Podbean’s Ads Marketplace, you can create an advertiser account and run an ad you’ve created for your podcast in other podcasts within the same genre as your own. This method offers you the advantage of the downloads and audience of another podcast, as well as the experience of what advertisers see when they go to look into podcasts to run their ads.
Podcast networks are podcasts grouped together by topic, genre, ownership, or just a collective decision to unite under an umbrella name. There are certain perks to some networks, such as guaranteed ad opportunities and prepaid hosting by the network, but each network is different and works by their own rules. But one thing’s for sure, a network’s audience is wider than a single podcast’s.
By joining a network, your podcast can be promoted along side others in the network. The audience of the other podcasts know you meet their quality standards in content and production. Take, for example, the likes of Critical Role, or The Brit Pod Scene – both networks have pages that list the podcasts within their network, and utilize social media to promote their podcast, new episodes and content.
Keep making your content the best it can be
“Consistency and quality help breed loyalty,” says Jason Solomon of the hit wrestling podcast Solomonster Sounds Off. “To build an audience, you need to stick to a regular schedule of recording. If people like what they’re hearing, they will keep coming back for more and are far more likely to engage with you on various platforms.”
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of picture-taking, post-writing, Instagramming, and marketing. The danger comes when you put so much of the focus on marketing that it’s a detriment to your content. Remember to keep your podcast the forefront, and to keep focus on creating content in your regular manner.
Marketing and promoting your podcast can seem like a huge endeavor, especially when you start bringing more technical and analytical aspects into it. These tips will help promote your podcast and get you to your podcasting goals.
There are many podcast directories where people can listen, subscribe and interact with podcasts. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular podcast directories and instructions on how to submit your podcast to them. Click on each header to view your specific submission instructions.
How To Submit Your Podcast To Apple Podcasts or iTunes
1. Publish at least one episode with an iTunes supported file format. You may check how to publish a podcast here and which file formats are supported in iTunes here.
2. Set your Podcast title, description , category and logo in your Podbean account “Settings” page. Pay close attention to the title, description and author fields. The iTunes Store uses these fields for search. Your Podbean channel logo will be used in iTunes as your podcast cover art. The logo image must meet the iTunes specifications: cover art must be in the JPEG or PNG file format with appropriate file extensions (.jpg, .png), and in the RGB color space with a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels, 72 dpi. Read more about specifications for podcasts on iTunes.
3. Get your podcast RSS feed by going to Settings->Feed/iTunes in your Podbean dashboard. At the top, you will see “Your RSS feed” (http://yourname.podbean.com/feed/). This is the information you need for iTunes.
4. Go to the iTunes store (you will need to login or create an iTunes store account), go to “Podcasts” and on the right sidebar, you will see a list of items including “Submit a Podcast”. Click there and you will be redirected to Podcasts Connect (or go directly to https://podcastsconnect.apple.com) , Apple’s podcast management area. You will have to login with your Apple ID. You can view and manage all the podcasts you’ve submitted here.
Once you register your podcast with iTunes, you will get an iTunes feed ID which you can input back into your Feed/iTunes settings in Podbean. Your podcast will be automatically updated by iTunes afterwards.
*Please note that there are sometimes delays with iTunes updating, which we cannot control. If you have subscribers in iTunes, they will get your latest podcast but there may be slight delays in it showing up in iTunes.
How To Submit Your Podcast To Spotify
1. Log into your Podbean account and go to the ‘Settings’->’Social Share’ page. Then click the ‘Connect to Spotify’ button. This feature is available for all unlimited and above accounts.
2. You should agree to Spotify terms and conditions before submission. Please select a primary country for your podcast (this is used by Spotify’s system; it should be the main country/where most of your listeners are located).
Once you agree to Spotify terms and conditions, your podcast gets submitted to Spotify’s system. When your podcast is up on Spotify, we will send you an email with the Spotify URL for your podcast.
*Currently, Spotify does not support video or mixed media podcast feed. Your podcast is eligible for automatic submission via Podbean if you have an unlimited or above hosting account, once you have at least five episodes published.
How To Submit Your Podcast To Google Play
You need to have at least 1 episode published and have the appropriate tags set up in Podbean: <title>, <itunes author> or <googleplay author>, and <itunes email> or <googleplay email> (Podbean supports the iTunes tags, which work for both iTunes and Google Play). Login to google and “add a podcast”. If you don’t know your RSS, simply go to Settings→Feed/iTunes in your Podbean dashboard. At the top you will see “Your RSS feed” (http://yourname.podbean.com/feed/).
After submitting your RSS feed, you will need to “confirm email” (via the email in the RSS feed). Check for the email from Google and click on the “verify ownership” button (or use the code provided if the direct link doesn’t work). You will then be brought to a page to review the information pulled from your RSS feed. Check your artwork, title, description, and episodes there to confirm and click “publish podcast”.
Your show is now submitted and will be reviewed. You will receive an approval or rejection notice to the associated email address. If you have any problems, contact Podbean support for additional help.
How To Submit Your Podcast To Google Podcasts
If you have a podcast and website (which you automatically do if you’re hosted with Podbean!), you can likely already be found there. If you’ve never submitted your Podbean site to Google search indexing before, you can submit it here.
Once Google has added your site into the search index, you can visit here to generate a direct link to your podcast in the Google app or preview how your podcast will look in Google search results.
Fortunately, we’ve made things easy by taking care of the requirements for you if you host with Podbean! We’ve made updates to all Podbean sites so they meet the requirements. If you host with Podbean and use the Podbean podcast site, your podcast will meet all the necessary requirements.
If you run your own web site, please follow Google’s instructions (read more in the link above) to add a “link” tag to your site’s home page. And, go to “Settngs”→”Feed/iTunes”->”Advanced Feed Settings” in your Podbean account to set your site url into the “Link URL in RSS2” field.
If you run your own web site, please follow Google’s instructions (read more in the link above) to add a “link” tag to your site’s home page. And, go to “Settngs”→”Feed/iTunes”->”Advanced Feed Settings” in your Podbean account to set your site url into the “Link URL in RSS2” field.
How To Submit Your Podcast To Podbean App
Podbean users with Podbean paid plans are automatically in the directory after 24 hours. For Podbean free accounts, you must verify your account first to be included in the directory. The verification steps will appear in your Podbean account’s dashboard 15 days after your account is created. Your podcast will appear in the Podbean Directory within 24 to 48 hours. Here are the detailed instructions to submit your podcast manually:
2. You’ll be directed to the login page. Log into or sign up for a Podbean account (no cost for a free account).
3. Fill in your podcast feed and click on “Submit”. Follow the steps as instructed.
If you are already in the Podbean directory but have not yet claimed your listing, simply go to the listing page and click “claim listing” on the left. This will ensure you are notified of comments and other opportunities.
How To Submit Your Podcast To iHeartRadio
Log into your Podbean account.
On the left hand column, go to Settings: Feed – iTunes.
Take down your RSS Feed. You’ll need this to submit to iHeartRadio.
Fill in all of the required information here, then press submit.
Your podcast has now been submitted to iHeartRadio. You should recieve an e mail when your podcast is available on iHeartRadio or with any further feedback.
How To Upload Your Podcast To YouTube
1. Go to “Social Share” in your Podbean dashboard and connect to YouTube. A pop up window will ask you to log in to your account and give permission to YouTube; click “allow”.
2. When you publish a podcast episode, you will now have YouTube included in the “share” section. Your episode will be shared to the networks you have connected, including YouTube. You can click any of these to turn them off if you do not wish that episode to be shared to a particular social network. Episodes will typically take about 10 minutes to display on YouTube.
The YouTube video title will be your Podbean episode title. Your show logo will be the static image for audio files. You can see all your videos, including any shared podcast episodes, under “My Channel” in YouTube.
*Please note, for content over 15 minutes in length, YouTube requires verification. You will see a note in your Podbean account; simply click the link and follow YouTube’s steps. If you have previously published the file to YouTube, they will block it from being published again (and you will get an email to this effect).
How To Submit Your Podcast To Pandora
Last updated : August 16, 2019
Log into your Podbean account.
On the left hand column, go to Settings: Feed – iTunes.
Take down your RSS Feed. You’ll need this to submit to Pandora.
Log in with your Pandora account. If you don’t have one yet, click Register For Free” to make one.
Type your RSS Feed link, then click next. You should receive a mini preview of your podcast’s RSS feed. Fill out the required information, then click Next.
Note that Pandora asks for many extra bits of information, such as social media links, amounts of episodes, and various information about your podcasts file type, so it will be helpful to have this information handy before submitting.
Your podcast has now been submitted to Pandora. Independent podcast submissions are reviewed and approved individually. Please allow 4-6 weeks for Pandora to review your podcast.
How To Submit Your Podcast To Stitcher
Stitcher is an on-demand Internet radio service that focuses on news and information radio and podcasts. In this video, we’ll go over how to submit your podcast to Stitcher.
Log into your Podbean account.
1. On the left hand column, go to Settings: Feed – iTunes.
2. Take down your RSS Feed. You’ll need this to submit to Stitcher.
4. Type in your information here, agree to Stitcher’s Terms and conditions, then click agree.
5. Fill in the fields required fields here. Type in your RSS feed URL from Podbean in the RSS Feed URL text box. Stitcher asks for information such as your Twitter handle, Facebook, average listener count, and keywords that will help Stitcher listeners find your podcast, so it’ll be important to have this information ready.
6. Click the checkbox, then press Continue. If everything looks correct, click Submit Podcast. Your Podcast has now been submitted to Stitcher. You should receive an e mail shortly that your podcast has been received for review. Please note that Stitcher states that it can take up to five days to approve or decline your podcast. You should receive a second e mail once your podcast has been approved.
How To Submit Your Podcast To TuneIn
Log into your Podbean account.
On the left hand column, go to Settings: Feed – iTunes.
Take down your RSS Feed. You’ll need this to submit to TuneIn.
Fill out the required information in this submission form. Type in your RSS feed from Podbean in the XML/RSS Feed URL text box.
Once you’ve filled in all of the fields, click the Agree to Terms and Conditions checkbox, then click Send e mail. TuneIn moderates each podcast submission, which can take one to ten days to approve or decline. You should receive an e mail from TuneIn when your podcast has been approved.
The ad itself is a live read during one of their shows, and featured Collin Willardson (Mack Weldon’s marketing manager) playing as an underwear model while comedian Paul F. Tompkins pretended to be a Mack Weldon executive and poked fun and teased him. The live read is over seven minutes long, but despite its length, it sent listeners in droves to the Mack Weldon website.
So now a quarter of their monthly budget goes to podcast advertising. They still use visual ads, of course, but there’s an added facet that drives them to continue to use it – including the lack of competition for attention during the ad slot itself.
“We paid for native and display ads on online publications before, but we found that readers could easily get distracted by 48 things on the homepage,” says Willardson.
But monetization has more effects than just hyping up the person who is sponsoring you. Take a look at the popular sci-fi radio-drama podcast Wolf 359. At its height, it was pulling in $3,500 a month (enough to pay its voice-acting crew and pay for the studio space), but by monetizing their podcast they were also able to grow as a people beyond their podcast. “I’ve gotten some of my best paid voiceover gigs because someone knew my name,” says Zach Valenti, one of the main voice actors for the show. Even Welcome to Night Vale, one of the longest-running sci-fi podcasts, started as three guys recording with Audacity in someone’s apartment and grew to a show that tours internationally through the power of podcast advertising and monetization.
There are millions of reasons to monetize your podcast, but that should never be the question. Your question should be, “What can I do to make sure my advertising is as beneficial as possible?”
At A Glance
In its current state, podcast advertising is a market that can only grow. According to a study done by WARC data, spending is expected to increase to 1.6 billion dollars by 2022 if it keeps track with its yearly 4.5% growth from 2018 to 2019. Compared to 2017-2018’s growth of a mere 1.9%, it’s clear that it is profitable enough to have advertisers and sponsors make more room for it in their budget.
But what are the listener’s opinions? 1 out of 3 people listen to podcasts worldwide, with varying degrees of the same stat across generational lines. And most listeners have stated that they’ve taken some form of action after hearing podcast advertising, from purchasing or investigating a product to reaching and following a brand on social media. The podcast as a medium is changing how people consume and interact with content, and that extends out to how they consume and interact with the advertising.
As stated before, it should never be a question as to why you should consider this – monetization is its own reward, after all – but what is the best way to do it? It is, after all, another level of responsibility beyond just producing your podcast, and you’d hate to put in a whole lot of work just to find out that there might’ve been a different path to take.
Thankfully, that’s where this article comes in.
Finding an advertiser
One of the first steps to advertising is to find someone to advertise on your podcast. There are two main routes to go for when it comes to podcast advertising: you can either find a sponsor on your own, or you can have your hosting website help you find advertising.
The one that’s easiest for newcomers would be to have your host site help you find the advertising. Hosting sites like Podbean offer something akin to an ads marketplace, where you can opt in to the service and have the ads inserted at points in your audio preselected by you. There is a cost, but it’s usually just a cut of the generated ad revenue, so at no point will you be in the negative for running podcast advertising.
The next option would be to search for sponsors on your own. This is generally more intensive than joining ad marketplaces through your podcast hosting site, but it allows you more freedom in how you want to run your ads. The best way to go about this is to take a look at podcasts that discuss the same topics you do and see who’s advertising with them. Chances are, they’d be ready and willing to sponsor your show as well.
With your own sponsor, you’ll have to figure out how you’d like to insert your ads. You can either read them organically during your recording of your audio, or you can dynamically insert them after the recording. Dynamic insertion is discussed later in the article.
How does podcast advertising work?
Podcast advertising can run in three different spots in your content: preroll (before your audio plays), postroll (after your audio plays), and midroll (a set point during your content).
Preroll and postroll audio sort of run the same route, and tend to run 15-30 seconds on average. Midroll ads, on the other hand, run 30-90 seconds on average, and have the added benefit of letting control how the ad flows in your content. Not to imply that you can’t control the flow of your preroll or postroll ads, or that the flow is automatically there if you choose to to insert your ads at the midroll point, but there are unique opportunities that make the midroll ad a more desirable slot for advertisers and sponsors.
In fact, that spot is so desirable that the industry standard pay for a midroll slot is about $25-$50 per CPM, while the standard industry pay for preroll and postroll ads runs about $18-$25. Not solely because it’s longer, but because it has the chance to be more smoothly inserted in your content to explain its story and invite a call-to-action that’s less rushed than the preroll and postroll slots.
Quick sidenote: what’s CPM? CPM is basically advertising slang for 1000 downloads or impressions. So when a sponsor offers a 40-second midroll slot for $35 per CPM, that’s $35 paid to you for every 1000 downloads or plays of the content that the ad plays in. So if your podcast episode gets a solid 2000 plays and has just the one ad, that’s $70 for that ad for that episode.
This could also include if your content is downloaded and only partially played through. Studies show that the majority of people finish a podcast episode they start, so it might not be something to worry about, but if for any reason they episode only partially plays it still counts towards that CPM.
How to manage your ad campaign and insert your ads
Your advertisers will pay for campaigns that run a specific length – say, for eight episodes, or for all the episodes of a two-month period. There are different ways to insert your ads, but the two main ways to do it would either be dynamic insertion or host-read.
Host-read advertising is recorded inside the content at the same time as the podcast. It’s incorporated into the script to match the same tone and flow as the episode, and works in the same way as Mack Weldon’s ad in Comedy, Bang! Bang! The downfall is that the content is permanently part of the content, and can’t be switched out or removed as the episode ages. This could lead to confusion with listeners over deals, promos, or discount codes offered.
Dynamically-inserted ads can be read/recorded by the host, but they differ in that you can insert them after they’ve already been uploaded to your host website. You preset specific times for the ads to be inserted, or even insert the ads as you upload the episode. This allows you to change the ads as the episode ages, or even monetize your back episodes. This option works best for those who have their own sponsors found outside of the ad marketplaces within hosting sites, or for podcast networks that wish to cross-promote across multiple channels.
There is also a chance that your chosen hosting site might charge a fee for dynamically inserting the ads, but they’re usually minimal and take from the money per CPM the ad is paying. (Podbean, for example, only asks for $1 per CPM for the dynamic ad insertion.)
Preparing your podcast for ads
Even if you don’t plan on monetizing your podcast tomorrow, it bodes well to plan on doing it at some point in the future. Not only does it give you the chance to practice how you want to prepare for your episodes, it gives you the option to monetize your back episodes. You will already have done the footwork of making sure there’s a specific spot to insert the ad, so when the time comes all you have to do is opt it in for dynamic insertion, or manually insert the ad.
The best way to prepare your podcast for advertising is to keep in mind where the natural breaks of your content lie, and to make sure you’re not cutting your content in a way to make it sound disjointed upon playback with the podcast ads. By giving yourself that clear break, and making sure it’s clean and doesn’t cut off any speech in your audio, you make that episode a good candidate for monetization in the future.
Ten years ago, five years ago, even one year ago, podcast advertising was a mere shadow of what it is now. It’s ever-growing, ever-increasing in leaps and bounds. Willardson of Mack Weldon even said that this 25% they now spend each month on podcast advertising is 100 times what they spent this time last year. It’s changing the way people think of advertising and marketing, and how they tell the story behind their services and products. And it can change the way you think about your podcast.
With podcast advertising and monetization, you can turn your podcast into something that supports itself and in time, supports you – in more ways than one.
By Jacob Bozarth, Resonate Recordings Updated by John Kiernan on March 09, 2020
Podcasting is incredibly popular these days and the trends seem to show it’s not slowing down any time soon. It’s simple to do and usually not very expensive, making it approachable for many types of people. (You can get more information on starting a podcast here. Podbean offers free starter podcast hosting plans and affordable unlimited hosting.) However, podcasting can have a learning curve to it, particularly when it comes to how to record a quality podcast. This is something I deal with on a regular basis, so I understand how important it is to make sure you have a quality recording for your podcast episodes. To help make sure your podcast recording process is simple, effective and offers you the highest quality, consider these 5 easy steps to recording a quality podcast.
1. Select Quality Podcast Recording Equipment
Podcast recording equipment can be a little daunting, especially since there are several different competing voices that recommend different things. How do you know who has the best and right recommendation? We have found the simplest recording setup happens to be the best option for podcasting, and it doesn’t have to break your bank. Here are our top podcast equipment recommendations:
A quality audio recording is the foundation for a well-produced podcast. Here are some tips for recording your audio to ensure you get the best sound possible out of your recording equipment.
Recording Tip 1 – Choose the right environment
Your recording environment is perhaps the most important element that can make or break the sound of your recording. The majority of podcasts today are self produced, with most not being recorded in a professional studio environment, which means that the environment you create is incredibly important. First, a good recording space must be quiet (no HVAC, fans, etc.). Second, a good recording space has natural sound absorption. For example, carpeted rooms with furniture or walk-in closets are going to work much better than an empty room with bare floors.
Once you create an ideal environment you need to think about the basics of the actual recording. When recording there are 2 basic things to ensure good microphone technique:
Distance – Most microphones will have what we call a “sweet spot.” This is the distance at which your voice will sound the best on that particular microphone. When recording narration, the distance from your microphone is everything. A good rule of thumb is to stay about 3-5 inches from your microphone.
Positioning – Getting your mic in the correct position is key. Depending on the type of microphone you are using, the difference between 1-2 inches can make all the difference between clear, warm, and articulate narration and hollow, muddy, or unintelligible narration. Once you have your mic at the correct distance you want to ensure that the front of the microphone capsule points directly towards the source (aka: your mouth).
Accessories – In addition to your microphone, we recommend a few accessories that will help prevent common problems when recording. A pop filter is an affordable tool that goes between your mouth and your mic that stop bursts of air that may cause a pop sound in your recording. We also highly recommend using a mic stand or broadcast arm to help enable you to correctly position your mic while also preventing handling noises.
Recording Tip 3 – Monitor recording levels
Gain – Whether you are using an outboard mic preamp, an interface, a handheld recorder, or a usb mic there should be an adjustable gain setting. But once you have found your adjustable gain setting, what is that magic level you should record your narration? A good rule of thumb is to have your mic peak around -10 to -12 dB. This means at the louder parts of your recording the level should go no higher than -10dB. Most recording devices have these numbers listed on a visual meter. However, if your device does not have these numbers listed, try to stay in the green or about halfway up your meter. If you cannot find a visual meter on your device, well this leads us to our next point…
Monitor – It is important that you have a way to monitor and listen to what you are actually recording. Even if your device has an excellent visual meter to check your recording level, we recommend you be a skeptic and never trust your eyes. In our world, you must learn to only trust your ears. For this reason, we recommend someone always monitor your recording with high quality, closed back headphones when recording. Monitoring your audio in real time will enable you to quickly recognize and address any issues with your recording.
3. Master the Art of Remote Recording
The majority of podcasters have some sort of interview on their show, and more often than not these interviews are conducted remotely as opposed to in-person. There is a right and wrong way to record remotely, and we want to help you know the right and best way to capture a quality remote recording. If you don’t do remote recordings for your show, feel free to skip on down to #4.
Hands down, Podbean Live is a strong first option for bringing in remote guests and callers. At the end of your Podbean Live show, you get a recording of the live stream which you can publish as a regular podcast episode. Also, you can use the Podbean iOS and Android apps to record directly onto the app, then publish it as a podcast episode. You can also perform editing to the recording via the app.
Another tool to help you capture a quality remote recording is the Zoom H6. We have created in-depth tutorials on how to use the Zoom H6 on our website, but here’s the basics of what you need to know:
Computer to Computer – There are many great options out there for recording a computer to computer remote recordings. In these situations you and your guest will connect, hear each other, and record through a web based audio recording application. If you are have used a video communication platform such as Skype, Zoom, or GoToMeeting.
Double Ender – In this case you and your guest will record each end of the audio locally. Many well known interview style podcasts use this setup and to be honest this is the way to record to capture the highest quality audio for a remote recording. You can record your audio locally to your computer, a DAW, or a handheld recorder. When I get interview requests to record for a podcast, I use the following setup to record the audio on my end: Skype or a phone call to only hear the host, a RE20 Microphone, into a Cloudlifter CL-1, into a Zoom H6 handheld recorder. Once we are done recording the interview, I will upload my track recorded locally on the Zoom H6 to the host or producer so they can edit and mix my track with the hosts for the episode.
Phone Call Recording – There are many apps out there that claim to be a high quality call recorder. In our experience, here is the best way to record high quality (if that exists) phone recordings:
Use a H6 or H5 handheld recorder, along with this cable to plug into the ⅛ output of your smartphone, and the ¼ end into the combo input on the handheld recorder, a microphone for your vocals and a pair of headphones. If you would like to see a sample video of this setup explained and used you can check out this post.
4. Post Production Part 1 – Podcast Editing
Editing your podcast is probably the most tedious and time consuming part of the post production process, but it is an essential step nonetheless if you want a high quality show that will retain listeners. Here are our top 5 tips for editing your podcast. (For more editing tips and techniques, you can check out this resource on podcast editing tricks parts 1 and part 2.)
Podcast Editing Tip 1: Watch your tone
One of the biggest editing mistakes is when there is a sudden shift in tone of the voice. Editing together two different segments of audio or merging different sentences together can be tricky. Not only can there be a change in the tone of the voice, but also a change in volume and a change in background noise or room tone. Another thing to listen for is room reverberation and echo. Sudden cuts at the end of phrases can prevent the natural room reverberation, so it’s best to listen for the end of the “room decay” before making an edit or cut.
Podcast Editing Tip 2: Just Breathe
Another common mistake is cutting off breaths too abruptly or missing breaths all together when making an edit. Cut off breaths occur when a breath is chopped off or incomplete. Missing breaths occur when a breath is edited out due to two different segments being put together. Double breaths can also be a problem when editing. This happens when there are two breaths back to back. All of these errors cause the dialogue to sound unnatural and choppy. When looking at audio waveforms, breaths can be difficult to spot because they are so much lower in volume compared to other parts of dialogue. To make it easier to spot breaths we recommend increasing the size of the waveforms in your DAW.
Podcast Editing Tip 3: Copy/Paste Quality Consonants and Breaths
Sometimes there will be certain consonants and breaths that are problematic and just don’t sound good. For example, a plosive (‘P’ sound) is typically caused by the host being too close to the microphone and by moving too much air through the diaphragm of the microphone. An effective fix to this problem is to copy and paste another ‘P’ sound that isn’t popped and sounds more natural over the problematic area. This is very tedious, but it makes a huge difference in the overall quality of the finished product.
Podcast Editing Tip 4: Remove Lip Smacks/Clicks
Do you ever get annoyed by hearing a continuous barrage of lip smacks? We sure do, and nothing can be more annoying than hearing a lip smack every other sentence. While lip smacks are a natural part of some people’s speech patterns, going through the work of editing out lip smacks and mouth clicks will make your podcast a more pleasant listen. In the end your audience will thank you!
One of the most useful tips when editing is to use good quality headphones. Over the ear, closed headphones work great to help isolate you from your editing environment. Listening on headphones will help you hear all of the details and nuances of the voice much better than listening on computer speakers or even on higher quality near-field monitors. This makes hearing subtle details such as breaths much easier.
Now you’ve captured a high quality audio recording and edited out the distractions, you’re ready to finalize your show to go live!
5. Post Production Part 2 – Mixing & Mastering
Having a well edited show is just one part of having a quality podcast. Too often we come across a podcasts that have great and very desirable content, but the audio quality is so bad that we have to turn it off. Sometimes it’s a podcast where one voice is loud and the other is soft; sometimes it’s a distorted, echoey, or noisey dialogue track; sometimes the audio is so “muddy” it seems like the host recorded the show underwater…the list goes on and on. More often than not we hear audio issues that could be reduced and often eliminated had the show been properly mixed and mastered.
Mixing is the post-production process where individual tracks for the podcast are improved and enhanced, so the final presentation sounds great. Mastering is the process of ensuring the overall levels are consistent throughout the episode and making sure the average loudness standard for the episode is met. When podcast mixing and mastering is done well, you provide a distraction free and enjoyable experience for the listener. When this is not done well, listeners are distracted by the poor audio quality of the show and many listeners will quit listening to the podcast.
When mixing and mastering is done properly, the quality of the show goes unnoticed by the listener — which is the best result you can hope for. Proper mixing and mastering allows your listener to enjoy the content of the podcast undistracted by audio issues. Once your podcast has been edited, mixed, and masterd you should export your audio to share with the world as a stereo MP3 file. We recommend your final file to upload to your hosting platform be a Stereo, 128 kbps, 44.1kHz MP3 file. This will ensure the final product is a high quality audio file that is broadcast ready.
Podcasting is a great way of expressing your message for the world to hear. It’s a great creative outlet, an effective marketing strategy and a very approachable way of getting your voice heard by others. No doubt it will take a little work to create a great podcast that people will enjoy, but rest assured that it is possible! By doing a little homework to make sure your recording equipment selection is right, your recording environment is distraction-free and your post-production is on point you can have confidence that your end result will be a podcast that people will love.
About the Author
Jacob Bozarth is the co-founder and CEO of Resonate Recordings. They partner with podcasters, companies, and entrepreneurs to make podcasting easy. Their in-house team of audio engineers provides professional editing, mixing, and mastering for over 200 podcasts. Sign up through this link for 2 free episodes with Resonate Recordings (1 before you pay, and 1 when once you get 20 episode credits or more) You can connect with him at:
Podcasts continue to explode in popularity. 124 million Americans have listened to a podcast, and 28% (or 73 million) listen monthly. The number of weekly podcast listeners is up by 6 million from 2017. And according to Podcast Insights, the podcast trend has grown exponentially from there throughout 2018 and 2019.
There’s a low barrier to starting a podcast and getting it distributed. But that doesn’t mean podcasting doesn’t require effort. Along with the explosion in podcast popularity, listeners now have thousands of options when it comes to deciding what to listen to. Your podcast needs to deliver quality content and value. Here are seven best practices to consider if you’re starting a podcast.
1. Think about your message. There’s a lot of content for people to consume, in all forms. What makes your podcast unique? Who do you imagine listening to it? Is there a gap you’ve found or a niche you want to fill? Do a little homework. Check out similar or related shows (bookmark them for the future, there might be some ways to collaborate). What’s missing? What special perspective will you bring that people can’t find elsewhere? What tone do you want for your show?
2. Make every second count. Listeners’ time is valuable, so keep your content concise. This doesn’t mean there’s a magic number. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is one of the most popular podcasts, and it sometimes runs more than four hours. However, that’s a rare exception. He packs his episodes with high quality, engaging content. The nature of your podcast might lend itself to some “chit chat”, but think about the value the listener is getting for the time they’re spending.
3. Plan your episodes. In your research, listen to some top quality shows. For every minute you hear, they likely spent hours researching and preparing. Not all shows take the investigative journalism of Serial. But sometimes podcasters forget about the importance of planning since it can feel like having a casual conversation. Planning might include determining show topics, contacting guests (and preparing them), thinking about your questions, making a rough outline (or even a script) of what you want to cover, and doing any research.
4. Optimize your podcast for maximum searchability. In podcast apps, your podcast and episode titles are they key to being found (along with the author tag in some), and helps listeners easily identify what your content is about. So, think about keywords your audience might search for when coming up with titles.
This is also where show notes and transcripts come in handy. Search engines crawl text, so your episode descriptions and show notes should be search-friendly. Descriptions and show notes (think a blog post that accompanies a podcast) also serve as a place for listeners (or someone who finds your show online) to see a summary and get more information, links, etc.
5. Distribute, share, promote! Once you set up your podcast with a reliable podcast host and get an RSS feed, you’re set to distribute to the many places people listen. Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes) is the biggest directory so that should be a top priority. You can also make sure your show is set up properly for Google and that they index your show for Google Podcasts. Many podcast apps will pick your show up from iTunes, but there are also many directories where you can submit. Here’s a good list of podcast directories to check out. The good news is that due to the magic of RSS feeds, you just submit your feed and then your episodes will automatically update in various directories and apps.
Some podcast hosts make social sharing easy with automated tools in their platforms. You also want to have an online “home” for your podcast. Whether that be within an existing website, a new WordPress or Squarespace site or a podcast site provided by your hosting company, this is the place where people can read your show notes and get more information. Your own website offers your listeners another place to learn about you, the type of things you podcast about, and where else to find you online. It’s essentially a landing page all about your podcast.
There are many other ways you can use this space, especially as your podcast grows and evolves. As your podcast grows, you can use it as a place to put up merch for sale, offer tickets to shows, or even promote products and other podcasts through partnerships. A website – even one with a subdomain, like the website you automatically get with Podbean – is as powerful a tool as any software or microphone.
There are also different ways you can integrate your RSS feed with different types of websites, depending on where you host your podcast and what you want to do. You can embed podcast episodes easily with a player so people can also listen online.
Getting listed in directories and set up online is the first step, but you’ll need to do most of the heavy lifting to promote your show. Think about where your potential listeners “hang out” online. Are they on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Can you draw people in from Youtube (some podcast hosting companies autopost an “audiogram” there for you or you can get the tools to do this)? Are there specific forums or blogs where you can share information and generate interest? You might also want to consider promoting on other podcasts if you can – it can be one of the most effective ways to gain new listeners.
6. Get a handle on audio production. If your podcast sounds bad, people will tune out. Check out some free audio tools like Audacity or LMMS, and learn some basic audio editing. There are other paid options for slimmer budgets, like Ardour and Reaper, but it’s best to try a free option first to get the feel for editing.
You also don’t have to spend a lot on microphones. There are different types of microphones depending if you want to just plug your microphone into your computer (USB mics) or if you want more control over how your microphone records (XLR mics), or for single or group hosts. Check out suggestions from other podcasters and podcast experts (Facebook groups like Podcasting Smarter are one good source).
There are even options to record right from your phone, and there are some decent sounding podcasts out there just using their earbuds (check out the Podbean app for recording and publishing, for example). Reducing background noise makes a big difference, so be sure you have a quiet space or add some soundproofing (egg crate foam, carpeting and blankets all do the trick on the cheap).
Another option to consider is hiring professional audio engineers for certain aspects of production. There are tons of resources out there, from professional sound studios to editors, guest bookers, show note writers and full production teams. Here are some podcast resources that I recommend.
7. Measure your success by your own benchmarks. And, make changes as needed. Your podcast hosting company will provide download statistics and various data you can track. It can be hard to know what good numbers are. It is not the same for a highly produced true crime show as a podcast about a specific type of knitting. Don’t only use numbers to measure your success. Think beforehand about your goals and measure your success against that. Perhaps you want to use podcasting to showcase your expertise and build trust with potential clients. Maybe you only get 100 downloads/episode, but you have loyal client listeners and have had several inquiries. That’d be a success for you!
Don’t be afraid to make changes. If you feel something isn’t working or get feedback from listeners, you can adapt. Most podcasts evolve in some way over time. Some do a complete rebrand, change formats or end and start a completely new show. Always go back to your goals – even if the goal is for you and your best friend to get together and chat every week. If that’s happening and you’re enjoying it, podcasting has worked for you! Evaluate how things are working and change what’s not.
Most importantly, don’t get bogged down in the details or halted by creative paralysis or perfection. With these best practices, you can prioritize what you need to do when starting a podcast. Get started and take advantage of the growing podcasting wave. Check out all that Podbean has to offer and try it out with a free month at Podbean.com.
If you want to embed your podcast into other sites such as WordPress, Blogspot, etc. you may need to get the URLs of your audio or video files in Podbean.
To get the URLs of your uploaded files, go to “Publish” -> “Media Manager”. From there just click on the file name desired, and you’ll get a pop up window showing the URL. You can copy and paste this as needed.
Podbean offers full flexibility for podcasters who decide to migrate their podcast. You don’t have to worry about moving your podcast hosting and dealing with changing feeds, losing subscribers, and all the other headaches. We doubt you’ll ever want to leave Podbean’s hosting platform, but you can be reassured that if you do so your feed will always be available and can be redirected permanently.