Three Common Pitfalls of Podcasting

You put a lot of effort and time into your podcast, crafting it to be the best it can be.  However, sometimes you find that your engagement might not be where you want it to be, or that your audience is more stagnant than you would like.  We’ve identified three common pitfalls for the modern podcaster, and what you can do to avoid them so that your podcast can flourish.

Three Common Pitfalls of Podcasting

1. How Active Is Your Audience?

Challenge: While you are creating and publishing content, your audience is passive and doesn’t do much beyond just listen to the episode – no reviews, nothing on social media, etc.

Solution: Activate your community.

While your podcast exists to inform and entertain, you can also make it a conversation. Actively invite your listeners to answer questions or submit things they’d like to hear about on your podcast, and make a point of mentioning their questions or topics in your next shows.  By responding to them in your podcast, they’ll see that you’re really listening, and looking to make your podcast more collaborative.

Think about the “why” behind your podcast and how this relates to building a community. Create reasons why listeners would want to engage and be part of the community as active participants. Make it easy for them to do, for example taking comments various ways and even having a podcast voice mail where they can leave messages or occasional live streams where they can chat or call.

The same thing goes for your social media channels.  While having these accounts allows you to spread the word about your new episodes and content, they also allow you to connect with your listeners and fellow podcasters.  Post fun pictures, jokes, questions, or other pieces of content that invite interaction. Social media feeds in which you post nothing but updates about your latest episodes create the atmosphere of an account that’s strictly for updates and nothing more.  By posting content that asks questions or invites interactions from other users, you show that you are a podcaster that truly wants engagement and a good experience for the listeners.

We’ve spoken of this before in one of our articles giving tips on podcast promotion, but keep in mind that first impressions are crucial.  Your social media channels make you the public face for your podcast, so how you handle interactions and conversations on these platforms will color how potential listeners think of your content. 

2. Where Is Your Audience Located Online?

Challenge: You’re spending more time than you’d like on crafting posts for social media, which is detrimental to your content. You may not be spending enough time on your actual content: your podcast

Solution: Consider what your personal bandwidth is and where your listeners engage most online. This is different for different podcast audiences.  There comes a point in which you need to take a step back and take into consideration what social media accounts you prefer working with, which ones can be automated, and how you might need to adjust your posting schedule to balance efforts.

Previously, we’ve published content regarding the best times to publish on the top social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and the amount of times you should be posting per day.  While keeping these things in mind, we definitely recommend post-scheduling tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite for Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.  These tools allow you to schedule posts so you can prep your podcast’s social media for the week (or even the month) and not worry about having to go in and type out new posts every morning. Some will even automate repurposing content for you.

Podbean also has built-in social share tools that automatically push posts to various social media platforms, and other sites like WordPress offer similar automatic sharing tools.  Explore your chosen platforms, and investigate the settings to see where you can automatically cross-post and push to other platforms when you post to your main ones.

In cutting down your social media channels (or converting where you can to automatic posting), do ensure that you still take the time to check interactions on your main platforms. By focusing efforts, you can actually free up more time for meaningful interactions where you get the best results.  

3. How Do You Organize Your Content?

Challenge: Your audience varies; this week’s episode gets hundreds of views while last week’s only delivered a dozen or so.  You try to change topics to drive more people to your content, you’re not sure what method works the best.

Solution: Consistency can be what your listeners are looking for. This doesn’t mean that you need to rehash the same episode topic for the next batch of episodes, but it does mean that you need some sort of regularity within your show. It helps listeners know what to expect and to gain a sense of familiarity with your podcast.

Figure out your main areas that you cover, and turn them into segments that your listeners can come to depend on appearing in the show.  If you do a sports podcast, cover news in relation to the sports, then cover your opinions on what’s happening.  If you do a book podcast, cover new releases, industry news, and reviews. Some podcasters even name these segments (clever names that almost make listeners feel like they’re “inside your circle” can be fun) and use transitions to distinguish them and build a flow.

By segmenting your podcast episodes, you’re giving  your audience a roadmap by which they can navigate your content, and creating a level of dependability.  Your listeners will know that you’ll  have a segment on news and a segment on you and your cohosts’s opinions, for example. Some podcasters even name these segments (clever names that almost make listeners feel like they’re “inside your circle” can be fun) and use transitions to distinguish them and build a flow.

This will also help streamline your show when you record and edit it – it gives direction for you to write your shownotes, and keeps you on track if you happen to lose concentration while you’re recording.  Rather than being restrictive, episode uniformity can help you stay creative within a formula that works for you and your listeners.

Podcasting is a wild and varied form of media, with room for all sorts of podcasters and podcasting content.  What works for one podcaster might not work for another.  However, these pitfalls are something that any and every podcaster can be on the lookout for, and the solutions are methods that can be implemented by all content creators, regardless of experience or content genre.  By taking advantage of these solutions, you can ensure that your podcast takes as smooth a path as possible to your podcasting goals.

Click here to learn more about how you can engage and activate your audience in our Promote Your Podcast webinar!

Top 5 Patron Rewards

When it comes to your patrons, there are a wide variety of backer rewards that you can offer. There are specific rewards that patrons will seek out, or join your specific patron program to gain access to.  We’ve listed off 5 of the most popular patron rewards that fans look for, and what you can do to implement them in your own patron program.

1. Patron-Only Livestream

Your patron program is a great way to offer extra or behind-the-scenes content to your listeners. A patron-only livestream is the perfect place to provide that content.  Livestreams allow your listeners and patrons to interact with you in a new way by further lowering the barrier between you as the podcaster and them as the listeners.  Check out how to create a patron only livestream with Podbean by clicking this link: https://help.podbean.com/support/solutions/articles/25000022905-how-to-launch-a-patrons-only-livestream-with-podbean-livestream

With a patron-only livestream, you ensure that only those who support you and your patron program have access to these streams!  By simply setting your livestream as ‘unlisted’ in Podbean Live, no one can access the stream unless they have a link directly from you.  The livestream is not listed in the app, nor will anyone be able to enter it unless they do so through the link you send them.

The exclusivity of such an encounter – being that they are interacting directly with you via the live-chat and the call-in feature – means that more people would subscribe and donate to your patron program in order to gain access to you and your streamed content.  

2. Merchandise

Whether it be a sticker on a water bottle, a shirt to wear to your favorite comic-con, a keychain to hang off your backpack, or a pin to stick to your lanyard, people love to rep their favorite sources of entertainment.  (Or even their favorite company – Podbean loves making stickers and folks love having them, so those are a win-win in our books!)

If your listeners are subscribing to your patron account, that means that they’re willing to put money towards you and your content – meaning that they would love to rep your work outside of the internet.  Take your patron program as a way to test out merch designs, as well as get feedback and run votes for what sort of merch they’d like to see. You can also create patron-exclusive merch. 

This is also an opportunity to give out things like discount codes for your online shop, so that those who may not have received a free item from you on their tier can still have access to the wonders of your podcast merch.

3. Homemade Swag

Patrons, by and large, subscribe to you because they like you and your content, and want to help you make more.  This means that they’d appreciate any gift from you, no matter how big or small. If you find yourself as more crafty and homebrew with your patron rewards, your backers will surely love to open mail from you containing homemade gifts.

Some things we’ve seen program-runners make and send out:

  • Clay pieces (small figures to coffee cups)
  • Hand-carved stamps
  • Bookmarks
  • Patches
  • Keychains/buttons/pins

4. Services/One-On-One Time

Your patrons join your patron program because they care for you and your content. Your patrons want to hear more from you!  They may also see you and your success as a sign that you are capable of teaching them to replicate your journey to success.  

Offering services or one-on-one time with your patrons will reach to your patrons who want to learn and know more about what you do. Providing these extra services will foster deeper relationships with your patrons.  

Examples of some services to offer:

  • Voice-over tidbits (IE giving a character/word amount for your patrons to send you that you then record yourself reading for them)
  • Lessons/feedback on a patron’s work
  • One-on-one question sessions
  • Consultations

5. Exclusive “Behind the Scenes” Content

Exclusive content is one of the main reasons your patrons will join your patron program.  By including this content in your patron program, you give the followers more of what they already love: your content.  These rewards work for any tier, and can be used alongside any other gift as a way to underline the nature of your patron program.

Things to consider:

  • Early access to your content before it’s published
  • Blooper reels
  • Extended cuts/deleted scenes from your episodes
  • Commentary on past episodes/fan-favorite episodes

When it comes to you and your patrons, we know you want to give them the best experience possible with the best tools at hand.  Thanks to thing’s like Podbean Live’s unlisted mode and merchandise sites, it’s easier than ever to give back to the patrons who give so much to you.  Let us know what methods you implement over on Twitter!

Have you signed up for our Patron program yet? Learn more about it here!

Curious about our new unlisted mode for Podbean Live? Check out how to get it started here!

When Should You Publish Your Podcast?

When should you publish your podcast? Did you know that the times that you post can affect the visibility of your posts?  Or that by even adjusting the time you post your podcast can change how your listeners interact with it? There are many minute tweaks that you can do to increase visibility on your content.  One of the main things we recommend is using your various analytic tools in order to discover the best posting times for your audience.  

When should you publish your podcast?

When should you publish your podcast

Pay attention to your analytics page.  Scrolling to the bottom of your statistics page on the left of Podbean’s analytics. The Downloads By Time Of Day (GMT) chart reflects your downloads by time of day, week day.  The squares highlighted in the darkest shades of green are the days and times that you see the most interaction. You can adjust the scope of this chart by using the date selector at the top left of your analytics page.

By reviewing this activity, you can take advantage of interaction peak times and days.  So if you see that you tend to get the most plays on Friday nights, but not so much on the weekends, you should adjust your schedule to post more on Fridays and generally avoid uploading new episodes on Saturdays and Sundays. The times listed on this chart are in GMT (which is also stated on the chart) so just be sure to make adjustments for your own time zone.  

Every podcasting audience is unique, so it’s absolutely essential to use your The Downloads By Time Of Day (GMT) to discover the posting times that most benefit your podcast. That being said, here is an excerpt pulled from our Podbean’s Big, Fat 2019 Podcast Statistics and Trends Roundup article:

“The top five time slots that have the most downloads/streams on the Podbean app are:

  1. Wed 7 pm EST
  2. Mon 8 am EST
  3. Mon 9 am EST
  4. Tue 9 am EST
  5. Mon 10 am EST

Overall, the most important time period for podcasts is Monday to Wednesday in the morning (Eastern time). Consider this when scheduling episode releases, to make sure you take advantage of having fresh podcast content available during these prime listening times. If you’re hosted with Podbean, you can check your podcast’s peak listening time slots. Your podcast might have different peak listening periods than the averages.”


We’ve also put together a variety of resources to help you get your podcast in front of as many ears as possible. Check out the following links for more resources and to register for our upcoming Promote Your Podcast webinar:

Promote Your Podcast Webinar
Promote Your Podcast – 11 More Tips And Tricks
The Best Way To Promote Your Podcast

Podcast Monetization Discussion

Livestream Recording: Yann Ilunga, Podcast Consultant and Founder of Podcast Growth Mastermind, and Shannon Martin, Director of Communications at Podbean, discuss ways to monetize your podcast, tips, resources and more. Listen here:

Audo live stream about podcast monetization

Some of the topics Yann and Shannon discussed in this monetization live stream include:

Why monetize your podcast?

You might look at podcast monetization to cover your expenses, from hosting fees to software costs and equipment. Most podcasters also put a lot of time into their podcast. At some point, many would like to see a return on their investments. As Shannon mentioned, some podcasters start their podcast with a strategy to monetize it and may have monetary goals in mind. Meanwhile, hobby podcasters have to consider the effort it will take to monetize. While we would all love for our expenses to be covered, think about why you’re doing your podcast and how monetization efforts fit that.

Who is ready for podcast monetization?

Yann and Shannon both mentioned that there is no specific barometer or magic number (thanks to the member who asked this question!) for monetizing a podcast. “There’s no hard and fast rule.”

Shannon advised, however, that podcasters should not jump ahead. They should analyze whether they are ready or not, which means considering if they’re able to consistently put out content and have put efforts into quality content and building an audience. For example, an advertiser would expect consistent episodes with their ads in at as per your agreement. Listeners who might support you via Patreon, Podbean Patron or other donation or membership programs will expect to get any content you promise.

Podcast Monetization Methods

Podcast Advertising

The first method Yann and Shannon discussed was podcast advertising. This often works well for larger shows, particularly because it has traditionally been paid via CPM.

CPM Model of Podcast Advertising

CPM is cost per mille, in other words a fee that is paid per 1000 impressions. Shannon gave the example of a fairly common podcast advertising rate of a $20 CPM. This means if your podcast gets 1000 downloads per episode, you would be paid $20. CPM rates vary by placement as well as what the podcast can negotiate based on demand, audience fit, etc.

This model is mostly “a numbers game” as Yann mentioned, so don’t get so focused on it that you miss out on other “low-hanging fruit” (options that are discussed below) that may have higher ROI for you.

Value-Based Model

Yann and Shannon mentioned that many podcasters, especially those who do not have huge download statistics, would benefit from selling ads as a package and looking at different things they can offer. For example, most podcasts are part of a large digital footprint. A podcaster can share their total reach and base ad/sponsorship packages on that. They might offer exposure beyond the in-podcast ad, such as mentions on social media or in newsletters.

As Shannon noted, most podcasts are not stand-alone entities (and there are a lot of reasons they shouldn’t be). A value-based model benefits you as the podcaster, but also the advertiser since consumers typically have to hear/see a message multiple times.

Matching Platforms/Marketplaces for Smaller Podcasts to Find Advertisers

Advertising agencies and traditional platforms often require 10,000-50,000 downloads/episode to join. However, there are now marketplaces and platforms for smaller podcasts. Many use a programmatic model so that advertisers can reach their audience using multiple podcasts, or provide a simple matching service. The Podbean Ads Marketplace is one example that Shannon gave details about. Other include Podcorn (not tied to hosting), Anchor and Dynamo (by Voxnest/Spreaker).

Most of these are not exclusive, so you can participate in more than one to get the most potential opportunities. As Yann mentioned, this is also true for using multiple monetization strategies. You can pull from all the ideas mentioned to see what works best for your podcast.

Sponsorship

“Don’t just think about your podcast in terms of numbers. Think about the big picture.”–Yann

From advertising, Yann and Shannon furthered the discussion to the different ways a podcaster might look at sponsorships. The podcaster might have other activities they’d like a sponsor to support, such as events. There are many creative ways to approach attracting a sponsor and structuring sponsorship packages.

Who is this strategy for? Shannon suggested it can be good for everyone, but you need to be prepared to manage the relationship. You need to be organized and it works especially well if you have a strong community, even if it is a smaller one. Yann suggested thinking of ourselves as microinfluencers and how we can leverage that influence for sponsors.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is another form of advertising, where you can sign up for affiliate programs to get paid a fee/% for anyone who purchases the service or product through your link or code. Some examples include Amazon Associates, Audible, and Podbean. Many web hosting and other services offer affiliate programs and you may want to check with the services and products you use or those that you know your listeners enjoy. Check with the companies/tools you use to find out if they have an affiliate program and what they offer.

Shannon warned, however, to understand the value of your time, creative product and audience so you don’t “undersell” yourself. If a company wants a true advertising relationship, they should pay for the ad spots versus only paying when there are sales. Yann also cautioned that you must be explicit when sharing affiliate links and follow all the guidelines and relevant laws.

Community Support and Premium Content

Examples of platforms for this strategy include Patreon, Glow and Substack (which allows you to create a paid publication/newsletter that can also include audio). With these models, listeners can support you with monthly donations or memberships. Many hosting platforms also allow podcasters to create content for sale (whether via a subscription or for selling individual episodes).

Podbean offers a premium sales model, which enables podcasters to sell bonus episodes or subscriptions. Last year, it grew by about 60% and the top earner made around $100,000. Podbean also has a built-in Patron platform for listener support. Podbean’s is a monthly, recurring donation and podcasters can tie in whatever rewards they want, including bonus content published just like other episodes. As Shannon discussed, this strategy can work for a smaller podcast that has a very supportive community or works well for people providing learning-oriented or value-added content.

Listener Questions

A listener asked about Patreon integration. Shannon agreed they should be integrated, because your supporters start as your podcast listeners so you should be mentioning it in your podcast regularly, having links on your site, etc. She also reminded people that bonus content is only one offering you can give for Patreon/Patron. Many listeners will support you just because they like the work you do and you can offer all types of rewards at different levels.

The listener also wanted to know about fees and what cuts these platforms take. Since there are many different platforms, Shannon suggested referring to the Support Center for the particular platform or tool. Many don’t charge an upfront fee, but a % of earnings. Also, be sure to check if your hosting company requires you to monetize through them or give them a cut of any monetization or if you are free to monetize outside of their platform. (Podbean does not require you to use their tools and only charges you if you are using their specific tools, all the fees are outlined in the Podbean Support Center).

Repurposing Content for Sale (Books/Audiobooks)

Selling books or audiobooks can be a natural fit for many podcasters. You may be able to repurpose podcast content or use your skillset for narrating an audiobook.

Indirect Monetization

One of the listeners brought up that many podcasters will be more likely to make money in other ways related to their podcast, but not directly from their podcast. Shannon discussed getting speaking engagements, bringing in clients to your business, selling coaching, masterminds or other services and/or getting into podcast consulting, editing, and other services. Using your podcast as a branding tool may be one of the most successful methods many podcasters are using. A podcast can be a valuable part of the sales funnel for your business.

Miscellaneous (Livestreamng, Live Shows, Merchandise)

There are many other creative methods of podcast monetization that you may want to put into the mix. These include live streaming (some platforms offer gifting, ticket sales and other ways you can get paid for live streaming), live shows (big podcasts have been making significant money on this!), selling merchandise and more.

To continue the conversation and get more resources:

Podcast Growth Mastermind Facebook Group

Podcasting Smarter Facebook Group

Free Sample Media Kit

Podbean Webinars

7 Limited Budget Tips to Invest In Your Podcast

Whether you’ve been running your podcast for a month or a year, there are always steps you can take to invest in your podcast. Sometimes our budgets don’t want to accommodate things like investing in new equipment. However, there are ways to grow your podcast without breaking the bank, whether or not these are financially based.

1. Explore A New Social Media Platform

You need to build platforms for marketing and promoting your podcast. Social media is extremely important for various reasons. They’re fantastic for promoting your podcast, and for building your audience into a community.  In our conversation with the Gravity Beard Podcast, they utilize Facebook as a way for fans to come in and interact with each other.

Also, take the time to explore different platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, Livejournal, or Youtube.  See which one suits your desires and needs as a podcast the best. Work to incorporate that platform into your posting/interaction schedule.  By expanding where you post your content, you increase the ways that new listeners can find your shows.

There are also ways to automatically post your content to social media as you upload it to your host site, cutting down on what sites you need to personally visit and upload to.  Not only can you utilize scheduled posts (using platforms such as Tweetdeck or HootSuite), some hosting platforms feature an auto-share features that will post your content across multiple platforms.    

2. Increase The Amount of Time Spent on Each Episode

You might have your recording/editing process down to such a science that you can do it in your sleep.  Consider this to be an opportunity to tighten up your production. Pick a couple of your last published episodes and listen back to them. Is there a persisting issue that you might not have noticed before? Is your audio sound but missing something to crank it to eleven?  

Here are some ways to change your recording and production situation and make it more effective:

  • Dedicate a space just for recording, such as moving your desk setup so that your microphone/interface can sit out and not have to be put away because you’ve got other projects on your docket.
  • Declutter your workspace. However, you don’t have to go overboard. Empty space facilitates echoes in your recording. Having some items on your desk will break up the bouncing sound waves.
  • In that same vein: hang up towels, quilts, or some sort of soft wall-hanging to help curb echoes. You can invest in inexpensive soundproofing, such as acoustic foam wedges that can be mounted to your walls. Even if that’s a goal that you’d like to have in the future, hanging something will improve your sound immensely.
  • Set up your routine to give you plenty of time before your intended publish date to record and edit without feeling like you have to crunch.  For example, if you publish on Tuesdays, set up your schedule to record on Sunday or Saturday to ensure that you are giving yourself time to create amazing content, instead of recording Monday night.  (If you’re wondering if we’re speaking from personal experience . . . we are.)
  • Creating a template for your production can save loads of editing time. Have your intros, transitions, outros and ads preloaded into your session. Many DAWs like Logic Pro will allow you to even create and save custom templates.

3. Expand What Your Show Covers

How does your podcast cover your chosen topic?  Do you feature reviews, or interviews, or report on gossip within the topic’s industry? You can search within your podcast’s topic and expand your podcast to include new segments.  

Say that your podcast is a movie review show.  Expand your scope of coverage. Tell your listeners what’s happening in the industry, have a special segment that goes over classic movies or listeners’ choice in movies, or even expand into more interviews with industry professionals. This shows more passion for your topic, but also increases your podcast’s impact on your listeners.  They’ll see you as a source of news and other information, not just reviews.

4. Expand Your Posting Power

Touching on social media again: what social media platforms are you on?  Do you have a posting calendar? How do you utilize the tagging system of each one? Feel free to post about your content more than just at the time of launch. You can also re-tool your older content, or even create posts related to trending tags.

CoSchedule’s Nathan Ellering highlights a few helpful posting guidelines for the bigger social media platforms:

  • TWITTER: Algorithms tend to pick up accounts who post between 5-15 times a day, and work best when tagging with 2-5 tags.  Only insert one or two tags in the main text of the tweet to keep from keeping it illegible.
  • FACEBOOK: Algorithms tend to pick up accounts who post 1-3 times a day, and work fine with any amount of tag.  Facebook is a platform that loves video, so this is your chance to work in a new format for your content.
  • INSTAGRAM: Algorithms tend to pick up accounts who post 5-6 times a day, with a hard limit of 30 tags (although 5-10 are recommended).  Be wary of using software to schedule posts on Instagram. Some cases have shown Instagram to flag accounts using software as bots.

5. Upgrade Your Recording System

You might be soundproofing the room you record in and spending hours on editing your content. You’re wondering what you might need to put your sound over the top.  It’s at this point that you should consider what upgrades you can make to your recording and editing pipelines.

You don’t need to change out everything at once.  Decide what you’re using that could use an upgrade. Perhaps your recording and editing software, your interface, or even your XLR cables…start from there.  If you’re using a USB mic, maybe this is the time to step up and explore what you’d need for an XLR mic.  

As you change things in your setup, make sure to run recording tests to ensure that everything is hooked up properly.  Part of investing new equipment into your podcast is making sure that you know how each piece works, and that it meshes well with your podcasting style.

6. Set A Monthly Advertising Budget

There’s nothing stopping you from running your own ads for your podcast. You can easily set the ads to direct to your podcast landing page, specific directories or your own personal site.

When it comes to the cost of your ads, it can vary across the different platforms.  According to Falcon.Io, ad clicks can cost anywhere from $0.51 to $5.61.  These platforms have different costs for different reaches. They also have options to direct your audience to various actions (go to a specific website, etc). Choose the platform that works best for your podcast, and choose parameters that work best for your budget. Our examples are from Instagram, but your mileage may vary depending on the audience you market to.  

When it comes to what you want to advertise, ensure that it’s eye-catching and intriguing. Make viewers want to click the link to learn more.  We’ve found that making your ad something that can be interacted with – such as asking a question or a ‘this-or-that’ type of choice – increases your chances of interactions and link-clicking.  

7. Explore Your Options For Merchandising

The rule of 1000 (often found in the modern music industry) is that if you have a thousand fans all willing to spend $100 on you in one year, you’re able to make $100,000 for the year.  You can easily apply this attitude to your podcast and create the opportunity for people to spend money in the form of merch.  

You can go as low-tech as you want, from creating a text graphic from one of your most iconic podcast lines and posting it to a site like Redbubble, all the way to commissioning a design from an artist and getting it printed on shirts to sell from your own online storefront (or at conventions/in-person meetups). Ideally, you should start small – maybe with sticker designs on Redbubble, or purchased through Stickermule – to gauge interest and pave the way for further merch items you’d want to offer to your fans. If you still find yourself at ends of what you could use as a design, remember that you do have a podcast cover that could easily be turned into a sticker.  There’s also nothing stopping you from starting off with a commissioned sticker design – Twitter is a fantastic place to find professional-level artists that would gladly love to help you create a design. Just remember to keep your manners on and if you stiff an artist on payment, not even god will save you from me.

If you’re more artistically inclined, you could even create merch to sell yourself – we’ve seen everything from painted bookmarks, sewn coasters, and hand-carved stamps for podcasts.  

Investing into your podcast, whether it’s time or money, shows a new level of dedication that will shine through your content and draw more attention. Learn more about Podbean’s tips for further promotion here and check out more of our tips and tricks here!  

How To Make A Launch Plan For Your Podcast

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.

How To Launch A Podcast

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.  

Promote Your Podcast – 11 More Tips And Tricks

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.

Promote Your Podcast - 11 Tips And Tricks

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

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!)  

Advertising

There’s a phrase in business that “it pays to advertise.”  “Yes, we know about the advertising,” you say. “We’ve talked about this in the monetization webinar and in your Podbean 101 – Learning The Tools Of Podbean webinar, why would we include it here?”  Because it’s a way that’ readily available for podcasters like you to run ads for your shows!

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 

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.

Promote Your LiveStream – Tips and Tricks

Promote Your LiveStream

Livestream content has become an engaging form of media. Podbean now gives you the opportunity to livestream your podcast and engage your audience in new and exciting ways. What steps can you take to drive listener attendance and engagement to and with your livestream?  We’ve put together a list of best practices to promote your livestream:

  1. Utilize eye catching promotional images for social media
  2. Promote your livestream during you regularly scheduled episodes
  3. Use your email list and newsletters to promote your livestream
  4. Cross promote your podcast on similar podcasts
  5. Utilize audiograms
  6. Sponsors and advertisers (paid and unpaid)
  7. Develop a community around your podcast
  8. Find new outlets for your podcast to be discovered

1. Utilize eye catching promotional images for social media

Podbean always recommends posting your new episodes, news and show schedule via your social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.  Eye catching images do a great job at drawing attention in the world of fast mobile app swiping. By creating a graphic for your upcoming livestream schedule (whether it’s pinned to the top of your profile, or your chosen social media’s header image) you’re drawing a potential listener’s eye directly to your most important information.

If you’re familiar with our Podbean 101 webinar, we discuss that you can use any digital art programs such as GNU Image Manipulation Program (free), Adobe Photoshop, Pixelmator and others to create your images. 

2. Promote your livestream during your regularly scheduled episodes

Each of your podcast listeners is also another potential livestream listener.  By making a point of bringing up your livestream during your episodes, you give your listeners more access to engage with you. It also exists as a permanent fixture of the episode, so no matter who listens to it they get access to the information, from your longest running listeners to your newest listener. 

If you utilize dynamic ad insertion such as PodAds, record a few bumpers to insert into your back episodes that feature information about your livestreams.  By using ad insertion, you can easily change your ads to keep your livestream info up to date. You can also set reminders and links into your show descriptions on each episode for even easirt access for your listeners.

3. Use your email list and newsletters to promote your livestream

Your newsletters and email lists put you directly into your dedicated listeners’ inboxes. Along with informing your followers about convention appearances, future episode topics, and podcast-related news, you can deliver information about your upcoming podcast livestreams.  

You can also utilize your patron program (Podbean has built in seamless way for fans to support you directly from your podcast), you can also make patron-only perks for your livestreams.  You can have your patrons weigh in on topics you discuss, answer call-ins from patrons only, or set up a variety of livestream-based rewards. 

4. Cross promote your livestream on similar podcasts

Many podcasters cross collaborate on extra-special episodes and/or guest-host episodes on each other’s podcasts.  By featuring these guests, you’re allowing yourself to market to an audience that’s interested in your guest, but may not be familiar with you or your show. The vice-versa may also open your podcast up to a brand new set of ears. Many podcasts within a similar genre also benefit from cross promoting ads on each other’s shows.  

You can also use a tool like Podbean’s Ads Marketplace (as an advertiser) to create ads promoting your livestream to run on other podcasts.  By advertising on podcasts with content similar to yours, you can reach out to a wider scope of listeners.  Ads marketplace allows you to review the statistics and activity of various podcasts such as downloads per month, geographic listenership, and more.  

5. Utilize Audiograms

Audiograms are video clips of audio that play over a video or still background image.  These short clips can be perfect for posting strong, poignant episode points to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.  There are also options to include transcripts of these clips or to just have audio only. By deploying a different format to your posts for your social media platforms, you diversify your feed for your followers and create a visual contrast that’s more likely to encourage your followers to check out the rest of your posts.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with how audiograms integrate your livestream into your social media posts.  Create goals for listeners to call in with their best story or wildest joke, and the best one gets turned into an audiogram for social media. Your livestream is an event for people to plan for, but the highly-coveted (or soon-to-be highly-coveted) spot of having the best call can be a goal they can shoot for.  (We’ve been using Headliner with fantastic results!)

6. Sponsors and advertisers: paid or unpaid

There are many ways to benefit from sponsorships. As well as financial sponsorships, sponsors can offer promotional opportunities such as featuring you on their site, providing your access to events you might not have otherwise been able to attend, and discounts on products (such as gear you use and promote during your podcast). Promotional sponsorships allow you to reach a much wider audience, and allow fans of your sponsor to find you as well.  

7. Develop a community around your podcast

Community is one of the most important parts of growing a podcast listenership.  By creating a place for your listeners to congregate, you’ve now given them a place to discuss your topics related to and/or covered on your podcasts/livestream.

As examples, you can use a Facebook group or a server on the chat platform Discord to build engagement and post news about livestreams, upcoming podcast events, and other items to keep your community informed.  Much like with your patrons mentioned above, you can allow your community to weigh in on future topics, certain segments of your livestream, or primary priority for calling in on your podcast livestream.

8. Find new outlets for your podcast to be discovered

When we spoke with Gabriel Urbina, he discovered that quite a bit of the conversation for his podcast Wolf 359 was happening on Tumblr, a platform that he hadn’t been present on beforehand.  You never know where your podcast will find its audience, but by reaching out on different platforms you will be able to reach out to listeners who might not navigate your other platforms, and increase podcast livestream attendees.  

There are import/export systems in place to have your episodes cross-posted to places like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, WordPress, and Tumblr.  Explore the different platforms and formats of your show (with sites like Youtube and Facebook, your episode posts as a video), and expand invitations to your podcast livestreams to each platform.

When it comes to promoting your podcast and your podcast livestreams, there are many different paths to investigate and travel down.  By using one (or more) of these methods, you increase your visibility, and increase the pool of livestream attendees.  

Podbean Live is available to any podcaster on any hosting company. Click here to start your livestream today!

How To Monetize A Podcast – Four Effective Methods

No matter what brought you to podcasting, a question always arises: “Is there a way to make money with podcasting?”  The answer to that is always a resounding yes, but that then leads to the next question of, “How?” Take a look at four of the most effective ways to monetize a podcast.  With these tips, you’ll be able to find the right monetization method(s) for your podcast.

How To Monetize A Podcast and how to get listeners to support your podcast.

Here are some options on how to monetize your podcast:

  1. The Patron Program
  2. LiveStream With Podbean Live
  3. Create Paid Premium Podcast Content
  4. Advertising

1. The Patron Program

Patron programs have become a viable stream of income for content creators.  One of many examples is Now Playing – The Movie Review Podcast, who earn over $11,000/month using Podbean’s patron program (click here to check out their Podbean patron program). By offering pledge tiers from $1/mo. to $750/mo., Now Playing’s fans are able to show their support at a pledge level that’s comfortable for them.  Another example, according to an article on CREATORHYPE, is political comedy podcast Chapo Trap House.  One of the highest-earning podcasts using a patron program, they earn around $95,000 a month.  So there’s something to be said about patron-based programs.  

Podbean’s patron program is built into your user dashboard and made specifically for your podcast episodes.  You can set donor tiers for your patrons to pledge monthly, with specific gifts for each tier.   Give your donors exclusive sneak-previews of new episodes, hand-written postcards and letters, podcast swag like stickers and pins, the ability to vote to decide your next podcast topic – the list is as endless as your time and imagination.  

Customize it even further by creating goal-based donation tiers.  Need $150 to invest in a sound mixer or update your equipment? Set the total as the goal.  Your donors help you achieve your goal by investing in your podcast. This also helps them know what their financial support is going towards and to feel a part of the process.  

2. Livestream with Podbean Live

What’s the first thing you think when you hear the word livestream?  Some might think of Twitch, the popular platform for gamers.  Some might think Picarto, the platform for artists to stream their creative process.  With Podbean Live, now it’s the podcaster’s turn.

Podbean Live is a new way to share your content with your followers.  Host a streaming live podcast audio show and your followers can listen, interact with you in the live chat, or even call in to your livestream.  Podbean Live has room for up to four co-hosts or interviewees, so all your friends (or all the cool people you want to talk to) can pop in and speak with you. Podbean Live also allows you to earn money through Live Show admissions, as well as by receiving virtual gifts from your listeners.  

When a listener joins the stream, they can donate to you using Podbean’s gifting system called Golden Beans.  The podcast host can cash out points earned from the virtual gifts for real-world currency. Not only does it give your listeners a way to support you, but it adds a level of fun and interaction to the live stream and a new way to monetize.

The other thing we love the most?  Podbean Live is open to every podcaster for free.  No matter your hosting platform, you can use Podbean Live to host a livestream and earn money.  

3. Create Paid Premium Podcast Content

Say you’ve got extra audio that you worked really hard on – a podcast episode that dives deeper and is longer than usual, an unedited podcast script PDF, or some special educational or valuable content for listeners.

This is where the premium content feature comes into play.  This lets you give listeners content at set prices for single episodes or for a series of bonus content during a period of time like a month or a year.  On your quest for how to monetize a podcast, use this option as a way to provide special content like lessons, a bonus series, exclusive interviews and more. Utilize the exclusivity to keep your podcast gated, yet accessible.    

Price customization is under your complete control.  There are no upfront fees or costs to participate. Podbean only takes a small percentage (Podbean handles all the technical, billing and customer support needs for a simple 15% share of revenue earned), ensuring that your podcast receives the maximum profit from your premium content purchases.

4. Advertising

If you remember the last big article we wrote on podcast advertising, you know how much it’s booming.  After Mack Weldon doubled their sales with a host-read ad on Comedy Bang Bang, businesses quickly became aware of the power of podcast advertising.  Today’s podcast advertising landscape is getting more sophisticated with the use of matching services and dynamic ad insertion. In fact, according to an article on The Verge, dynamically inserted ads now account for 48.8 percent of podcast ads business.   Marsha Silver’s Digital Music News article on podcast advertising even goes as far as to say “In total, the audio ad marketplace in the United States is valued in excess of $16 billion, and podcast advertising represents only 3% of this.  By 2022, this share will more than double to 8.2%, according to the projection.”  

New tools are making podcast advertising more accessible for all podcasters. For example, Podbean’s Ads Marketplace helps podcasts of all sizes connect with advertisers. The PodAds ad management and dynamic insertion platform gives podcasters tools to more efficiently manage their ads and increase revenue.  

Statistics have shown that podcast listeners are less likely to skip ads and are highly likely to take action on ads they hear on a podcast.  This makes podcast ads an extremely powerful tool for sponsors. It’s an ever-growing method to monetize your podcast.

Click here to register for our upcoming Monetize Your Podcast webinar to learn more about how to monetize your podcast!

Utilizing the patron program, premium content, Podbean Live, and advertising will allow you to create an engaging experience for your listeners while creating multiple streams of income from your podcast.  As you cultivate your relationship with your fans, you can give them various ways to invest in your growth. Most of all, the tools available let you customize what fits best for you and your audience…and help you continue creating. And isn’t that what podcasting is all about?