What makes some podcasts successful while others languish and fail?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, podcast strategy and production expert Jeff Large talks about how to approach podcast promotion, from before you even begin recording, through to promoting individual episodes.
Jeff is the Founder of Come Alive Creative, a podcast strategy and production company that works with businesses and executives to develop and produce podcasts that build trust with their customers, establish authority, market their services, and engage their audiences.
In this week's episode, Jeff shares how he works with clients before, during and after recording podcasts to set them up for success when it comes to podcast promotion.
This week's episode of The Inbound Success Podcast is brought to you by our sponsor, IMPACT Live, the most immersive and high energy learning experience for marketers and business leaders. IMPACT Live takes place August 6-7, 2019 in Hartford Connecticut and is headlined by Marcus Sheridan along with special guests including world-renowned Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith and Drift CEO and Co-Founder David Cancel. Inbound Success Podcast listeners can save 10% off the price of tickets with the code "SUCCESS".
Some highlights from my conversation with Jeff include:
Podcast promotion actually starts before the launch of the podcast itself when you ask yourself, "What is my goal and who is my target audience?"
Defining your goal is important. Is it reach? Engagement? Something else? The answer to this question will help define what your promotion strategy should be.
Understanding your audience is equally important because your podcast needs to hit on a pain point that they have.
It doesn't matter how good your promotional strategy is, if you don't have a good product.
One and four Americans are currently listening to podcasts, so how you approach promotion will differ if your audience is already listening versus if they have never listened to a podcast.
If your audience is not already avid podcast listeners, language is very important. For example, when you use certain language, like "subscribe to my podcast" versus "listen to my podcast", subscription has this connotation that I need to pay for it.
Show notes are an important part of podcast promotion and should be approached like any other marketing copy in terms of SEO optimization and conversion copywriting.
20% of adults living in the US and the UK have long lasting disabilities and that makes it important to include transcripts of your podcast in the show notes.
My name is Kathleen Booth, and I'm your host. This week, my guest is Jeff Large who is the owner of Come Alive Creative, which is a podcast strategy and production company. Welcome, Jeff.
Jeff Large (Guest): Hello, hello.
Jeff and Kathleen having a blast while recording this episode
Kathleen: Glad to have you here.
Jeff: Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm glad we got to connect in this fashion.
Kathleen: Yeah, it's a little intimidating because you know, I kind of do this podcast, but I wouldn't call myself a podcasting pro, and I'm interviewing the person who teaches and helps other people do podcasting well, so I hope I don't mess up.
Jeff: Oh, the feeling is mutual because you told me how many stats I need to have prepared to actually be beneficial for your audience, and so fortunately I've been working on an article for the past four hours this morning that have all to do with the numbers, and I'm hoping I can just remember most of it offhand.
Kathleen: Well, it's not a test, so we'll talk through it, and we're going to get through it, but I'm really excited to have you because I've had a few other guests on who have talked about podcasting and this podcast is all about inbound marketing and podcasting itself is a very interesting tactic or channel that you can use for inbound marketing. But we tend to have focused on why you should podcast in and of itself, being a guest on podcasts.
What I think it's still interesting and selfishly why I wanted to have you on is that it's one thing to do a podcast or to be on a podcast, but it's kind of the whole old the tree that fell in the forest analogy. If you do a podcast, and nobody listens, what's the point? And so, I've always been interested in the topic of promotion and that's something that you've done a lot of work on, you're doing more research on and advising clients on, so I'm going to pick your brain and extract all the good knowledge you have on podcast promotion today.
Jeff: All right, excellent.
About Jeff Large and Come Alive Creative
Kathleen: Maybe we can start out, and you could tell my audience a little bit about yourself, and Come Alive Creative, and how you wound up specializing in this because it's a very interesting niche field.
Jeff: Okay. What would be most beneficial? Because obviously there's a huge part of anyone's story.
Kathleen: Well, let's start with you talking about what Come Alive Creative is and what you're doing now, and we can go from there. How about that?
Jeff: Oh, okay, the short story on Come Alive, and the short story on me for probably the most recent context is I originally was a teacher, formerly trained, just a couple classes shy of my Masters. Probably ... I think we've been running about five or six years now.
Come Alive started off as a web dev and digital marketing agency, went through a few different rounds of nicheing in different areas over the years like E-commerce in some different spots. And then finally about I believe it was 2016 it was about two-ish years ago now, two-ish or three-ish years ago, that for a variety of reasons decided to niche down just on podcasting, and so we off-boarded all of our clients. We only had maybe one or two at the time that were actually getting podcast services from us.
And so we got rid of everyone, kind of started fresh, rewrote the site, did a bunch of things along those lines, and so since then have been specializing on the podcast strategy and production side of things.
Kathleen: Great. I mean, it's amazing to me just how podcasts have exploded in the last few years. It's good and bad, right? It's good because there's so much great new content being created, but it's also bad because there's a lot of people who are just running into having a podcast because they think they need to and kind of taken this check-the-box approach. And so, while there's also a lot of great new content, there's a lot of new crummy content that is being created without a lot of strategy and thought behind it. So I do think it's interesting that you work with clients on the strategy side as well.
Jeff: Yeah, yep.
Kathleen: So, when it comes to podcast promotion, again, we're not going to spend a lot of time talking about why you should podcast or what your podcast should be focused on, or from a technical standpoint how to do it. Assuming somebody already has a podcast, and they would like to get it in front of a bigger audience, they would like to grow their listener base, can you talk me through some of the different ways that you approach that with the clients that you work with?
Jeff: Okay. I think in order to do that well, this is a massive topic.
Kathleen: Yeah, it is.
Jeff: So, let me give you some maybe boundaries, and then we can explore what's most interesting.
You want to think about it in terms of before you launch and after you launch. You want to think about it in terms of specific actionable things that you can do that there's really no ... there's no definitive this is the best way to do it type of guide. It's more of like, this is what we know from experience and research.
And then there's also the elements of are you marketing to people that are already listening to podcasts or people who are not already listening to podcasts?
Kathleen: Ooh, that's a good point.
Jeff: So, I mean we can tackle any of that. What's most-
Promoting Your Podcast: Before The Launch
Kathleen: Let's start with before the launch. I think I like that approach.
Jeff: Okay, so before the launch, hands down the thing that I'm always going to ask any prospect that comes through our funnel is, "What is your goal and who is your target audience?"
And so with those two things, those are just defaults for me to good marketing and depending on what your goal is, can change the success, or the quote unquote success of your podcast where I think by default a lot of us just go to, "Hey, I want as many downloads as I can get." And I'm going to ask the question why, because it's not always the case. Sometimes you don't need reach, you need engagement, or you need these other things depending on what those goals are.
And then secondly, we have to know who we're talking to in order to best cater to them, and for those types of things I could take a lot of nods from say, Andy Crestodina and his work at Orbit Media. I appreciate Joanna Wiebe in CopyHackers, Liana Patch talks about this a bit, Keeley Moore.
There's a lot of really good marketers and copywriters that talk about the need for surveys, research, dig through those book reviews, review Quora. What is your industry or your topic talking about, and educate yourself in a way that instead of just waking up and going, "Hey, I got this great idea," and putting it out there in the wild for your article or your cast or whatever happens to be, but you're actually making informed decisions based on what they want to know and what will best serve them.
Kathleen: Yeah, it's so interesting, you're the second person I've spoken to whose talked about looking at book reviews as a way of doing market research, and that's an approach that I think very few people do, but it's a gold mine.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, it's crazy. I can tell you, say for one of our casts just in the prelim stage, it's really important really at the end of the day to vet these ideas. The more that I can guarantee success before I ever spend a moment or a dollar on anything, the better off obviously I'm going to be.
And so, one of the casts that we've recently created was geared towards digital marketers, and I know you and I talked about this a little bit beforehand, but ways that I was vetting it is that I'm looking at where I'm getting my content from. I have the unfair advantage of I've already interviewed a lot of digital marketers on my own podcast, and I can see the analytics of whose episodes resonated better than others both in terms of the person that I had on, and the topic they were talking about.
So, I'm able to gear stuff around that. Because of that, I had relationships with these people, so I interviewed, sent a couple really basic questions to kind of get me started in terms of what is the problem you're actually having as a digital marketer, got feedback from probably a pool of maybe 15, 20 different people that I sincerely trust. And so, it was for me very quantified data.
And then from there, as I introduce other ideas that might not be featuring these particular people, or exactly addressing their problems, I'm going on Amazon and looking at okay, what are the top book reviews? Say one that I'm reading right now ... One Page Marketing Plan, I had to look at the shelf, is one that I'm going through now. And that has, at this point, it might have over 1000 five star reviews.
And so, I know I'm pretty safe to feature information from this book on this podcast because it's already getting ... it's highly received in that way. And so, just doing that, and then additional things that we did were look at Quora, just look through the different areas that I know these people are hanging out, and figuring out what is it that they need listening to these other episodes, and vetting the ideas before they ever get created as much as possible.
Kathleen: Yeah, that's a great point. I actually had a podcast before this one, and I was, at the time, completely guilty of what I talked about earlier which is thinking I just need to have a podcast. So, I went and created one, and there was no strategy behind it, and it was fun to make and all, but about 15 episodes in, I saw the writing on the wall that it was time consuming and wasn't going to get me the results I was looking for. And so, that was a big lesson learned.
When I created this one, I did a lot of what you were talking about, which was really thinking through who am I trying to reach with this, and what is the outcome that I would like to have at the end of the day. And it has produced a far more sustainable, and much more gratifying podcast to create because I'll be honest, in the early days I did nothing to promote this podcast. I just did it, and put it out there.
And I mean, I might've shared it every now and then on social, but it was a pretty lame and lackluster promotion strategy. But it still got listeners, and I think that really proves the point that you talked about which is that if the underlying premise is sound, and the strategy is sound, that in and of itself will solve for some of the challenge.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. And I mean, even to that note, what this really comes down to is it doesn't matter how good your promotional strategy is, if you don't have a good product, you're promoting not a good product.
And you're going to be limited in that way. And so, that's why for me, it's so key. I think you could easily get analysis paralysis and spend too much time, and there still is that shipped is better than perfect type philosophies that you need to cross reference it against. But at the same time, we need to make the best possible product we can, both from a technical standpoint, that content standpoint, a listening standpoint, there's a lot of factors that go into what makes up a good cast before we can realistically have that conversation about let's promote it.
Podcast Promotion: After The Episode
Kathleen: Amen. Yeah, the best marketing in the world can't make up for a terrible product. I could not agree more. Let's say there is someone who has put that work in on the front end, on the strategy, and they've got a really solid concept and topics, and format, then what? When you think about the episode is made.
Jeff: Yeah, see this is where it gets kind of crazy. Which route should we go now? Do we want to think about it in the context of ... actually, let me flip it back on you. Let me ask you a question. What kind of cast is this? Is it a narrative style cast where kind of public radio-esque? Or is it going to be an educational based type podcast, maybe interview like what we're doing now?
Kathleen: I mean, I would say my audience by and large is, if they're podcasting, they're podcasting to establish thought leadership or drive leads for their business, so odds are it's the second type.
Jeff: Okay, yep. And that's fine. That's good for context, because the way that you would approach those would be drastically ... ah, maybe not drastically, that's kind of a big statement. But they would be different. That plays into more of kind of holistically, and I don't think I need to touch on it as much, because it doesn't affect ... when you're niched, it's not as important but there is this element that we need to consider from the people that are already listening and that are already kind of podcast advocates, and then there's the people that are not.
And the thing that we need to realize is that it's around one and four Americans are currently listening to podcasts. And then there's actually a fair amount of studies that are being released, and I don't have these numbers off the top of my head, but I know Australia's done some work, I think there's been some work recently in Europe, and then also I have an acquaintance of mine whose done a fair amount of work even in South Africa in terms of listenership across the board.
And overall, we're looking at growth for sure, but when we're realistic with ourselves, most people don't listen yet. And so, for me, when you're in it, it's really easy to think, "Podcast, podcast, podcast." But that's just not the case.
And so, when you are doing shows that need to appeal to numbers, that need to appeal to reach and quantity more so than just the quality of audience, we need to start thinking about where are those people who are not listening? What can we do to make them able to listen? And just really broadly speaking, I mean, it's everything from ... I know they've done certain more popular shows might pull out billboards, and it could just be like a kind of a fancy, more movie style image with the simple title, and then there's a very, very easy call to action, like listen on iTunes. Or listen on Apple Podcast and there's that logo.
Or it might be fliers that you hand out at an event, kind of like guerrilla marketing style stuff. But it's just realizing where are those people who aren't listening, and how you pull them in.
I think for me, a big piece of my own personal background is literature and language, and I think language matters a lot because there's been ... Triton Digital slash Edison Research put out this video, I think it's gotta be available online somewhere, but they played it at Podcast Movement this past year, the one that was in Philly, and it was these interviews with people who have never used a podcast before. And even that was super entertaining just to see how they reacted.
And when you use certain language, like "subscribe to my podcast" versus "listen to my podcast", subscription has this connotation that I need to pay for it-
Kathleen: Oh, that's interesting.
Jeff: Yeah. It's stuff like that, that we just take for granted because we're so used to vernacular, and we're so used to the jargon that goes along.
But for somebody that's hitting it for the first time ever, they're like, "I don't have a podcast app." And then we ask, "Do you have an iPhone?" And then they're like, "Yeah." And then we say, "Yeah you do, let me show you which one it is." And it's those kind of things, it's more of a usability.
And so, we have to think about it really just dumbed down to if you have not interacted with this medium before, how can we talk about it? How can we present it and walk through? And maybe it's just you taking a couple of seconds on a social video that you put out there of like let me show you how to subscribe to my cast. And then you screenshot it, or whatever you're going to do. And it's simple things.
And so, I think that's hopefully enough in that realm. Do you have any questions there?
Kathleen: No, that makes a lot of sense. And I think people do forget to think about that, that we are so deep into this world of digital marketing and the lexicon around it is something that we're used to using.
I had this realization this past two weeks, because I hired somebody new for my team. IMPACT is a digital marketing agency, we all do our marketing speak all day long. And the person I hired is actually going to be working on our content, and he does not have a marketing background. He has a writing and editing background. And we were like, "Perfect, that's what we need you to know. We can teach you marketing."
But it was easy to forget, and in the first two weeks that he came on board, we're throwing around terms like SEO, and TOFU for top of the funnel, and he was just like, "What are you people talking about?" And it was a really good reminder that all this stuff that we talk about every day, and the language that we're used to using is not something that the average person uses, or is even familiar with.
Jeff: Absolutely critical. So, all that stuff to say is just something you want to consider depending on who you're going after. So, it absolutely comes into play when we're talking about large project that need high amounts of downloads to justify when you are doing more of the story and entertainment style pieces.
But I will say, we've spent, even as a company, we've spent a lot more time in what you're talking about. This thought leadership. A lot of the times, people will come to us because they want to build authority in the space, or thought leadership. They're trying to drive interest around a service or a product. They might want to convey say, the company culture, or have that inside look if they're like ...
We have one company that we're courting right now, they do a lot of work with Advise financial advisors, and so they become the backend and they really like their culture, and they think it's good in that sense. And so, they want to be able to sort of pull back the curtain and show that to other people.
And so, there's all these more niche reasons to podcast.
We have another one, for example, it's geared towards ... we're in the middle of producing it now, it's in the healthcare space. It's geared towards specifically CDI, which I don't even remember off the top of my head what it stands for. It's like clinical documentation improvement, I believe?
And so, basically how are doctors and nurses writing down the notes of when you're sick and you go tell them your symptoms to make sure that they're accurate and being tracked properly, and submitted to insurance properly.
And so, it's like there's very niche audiences we're dealing with here. And so, that's why all of a sudden it doesn't matter if we appeal to the masses, we need to appeal to the right people well.
And with that, there's again, a variety of things that we could touch on. And I want this to actually be helpful for you too. If I was going to do the shortlist, things like being consistent, guesting and cross promotion, leveraging the other aspects of our medium, so not only just the audio but the visual and the written, looking at things like our call to action, considering other aspects like accessibility, the networking pieces, repurposing content.
There's a lot of areas we can dive into. So, again, lead the way. Where do you want to go?
Podcast Promotion: Show Notes
Kathleen: So, I'm gonna be selfish, as I usually am. It's funny, once I had a guest who came on and she said, "Is this really just a paid consultation in disguise?" And I was like, "Why yes, it is."
So, selfishly, one thing that I'm really fascinated by is show notes. And there's a lot of content online about show notes, but not a lot of it is actually really helpful in terms of what some of the best practices are, and why you would do them?
For example, we have five or six podcasts here at IMPACT, and the way we do show notes for each of them differs dramatically. In my case, I happen to transcribe fully the audio from my podcasts, and I have a complete transcription, but then I have like a summary at the top, if you will, for those who don't want to have to read the whole thing.
Then we have other podcasts that don't have any transcription, they just put the main links, the key points, et cetera. I'd be interested in hearing you talk through kind of the pros and cons of some of the different approaches, and if there are certain approaches that work better when it comes to actually helping promote the podcast itself.
Jeff: Okay. If we're looking at it from a copy standpoint, let's set the stage with what aspects we're looking at. So, for me, and anytime that we're approaching these, you gotta think about it from your title. That's obviously very self explanatory.
You have to think about it from the excerpt and the summary, and so this is usually that shorter portion that when we're talking about websites is just that tiny excerpt that if you feature the post, the website post on the front page, like it's just that little snippet. Sometimes you automatically pull from the full article, sometimes you have a designated thing. It's also the piece that gets used on most podcasting platforms, so the distribution networks when you pull it up in your app, or if you're just searching Apple, or whatever it might be, or Google, it's that small snippet that explains what's going on.
And then there's the actual show notes portion. And so, this is the element that would be usually associated with the post if you're putting your podcast, own episodes on your post on your site, or if you have the more filled out version on, say, if you're using a hosting company like a Bluehost or a Simple Cast, or whatever it might be.
And then actually, the last part too where some people lump these two things together is the transcription. And if you decide to include that.
So, again, for me, one of my big things that I like doing is I like learning from everywhere, and I just think certain people do stuff better than others. And so, for me this no longer becomes a podcasting problem, it's more of a copywriting problem, and I would default to most good copywriting practices.
And so, again, some of those people that I mentioned earlier, like Andy, like Crestodina, or Wiebe, or these others, would be who I'm taking my hints towards. Or from, rather.
And so, things like say, the excerpts. For me, these normally have to be brief, they should be engaging. You have to take it from the standpoint of somebody's just scrolling endless amount of content, what is going to grab your attention? And there has to be some sort of combination between a well written headline that represents the episode well that makes a promise and delivers on that promise so people learn to trust you, and then that excerpt should fill that out a little bit more.
So, I get my attention caught by the headline of oh, this kinda fits the itch that I have right now, and then I can read that excerpt and go, "All right."
Because for the majority of us, let's see here, I want to say mobile usership is a lot. I don't remember the number off the top of my head, but mobile ... the way that we're listening is more on mobile than anywhere else.
Kathleen: Oh yeah. I believe that.
Jeff: Yeah. And so, there's also been even a 10% increase over this past year in smart speakers, and so you're actually not even hitting any copy in that regard. It's usually you're already signed up for it, or you're seeing it through the app site. Actually, I take that back a little bit. But those are the kind of things you want to think about there.
When it comes to the show notes themselves, again, this is where normal good writing practices come into play. We want to pay attention to things like keywords, and key phrases. We want to actually be leveraging anything that's going to positively influence our SEO.
And so, for that type of stuff, I'm going to, again, default back to probably the work that your team's doing. Places like Yoast Blog, Moz Blog, different people that are actually companies and people that are authorities on SEO. I appreciate a lot of the work that say, even Donald Miller is doing with StoryBrand, and how he lays out ...
It's more of a holistic website thing, but it's still just good in terms of conveying things well.
And then last, and I think that one of the places that are really interesting for me is transcriptions, because there's this what I would consider a fallacy around if you have your transcriptions that you get better SEO. And I would argue, from everything that I've seen, that's not the case. Normally the way that we speak as humans, it doesn't lend itself to good SEO by any means.
But we still, I would argue, want them. And I'll confess that not all of my podcasts have the transcriptions, but from an accessibility standpoint. And so, I had a really great conversation a while back with Kate Pescal. She's a professor out of Barcelona, and she actually does a lot of work with Epic Games, they're probably best known for Fortnite on their-
Kathleen: Oh yes, I have a 12 year old boy. I know all about it.
Jeff: Exactly. And so, she does a lot of transcription work for them, and she's just a disability expert. And so, even some of the stuff that she mentioned to me is that roughly like 20% of adults living in the US and the UK have long lasting disabilities. Often times there's some stats that say 70% of disabilities go completely unnoticed, so you're not even realizing you're having them.
Not to mention the fact that we're sometimes in situations where we just can't listen. We might be at work and we're not able to listen, but we want to see this episode or this interview. And so, transcriptions really, from my point of view, should be utilized more as an accessibility piece, and more as an angle of inviting more people to come in and actually consume this content in a non-traditional way, or just a different way if they don't have access to that audio.
Kathleen: I could not agree more. Now, I am biased because I transcribe my podcasts, so obviously I'm already coming at this from that angle, but ... You hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned, because yes, there is an accessibility issue that if you're really invested in making your content available to everyone who's interested in listening, the transcription is ... I think it's essential.
But I just know myself, and what you said resonated about people can't always listen. It's not even just that people can't always listen. I am a really impatient person. This is ironic, because I create a podcast. And I do listen to podcasts, but I only listen to them if I'm someplace where I can't otherwise be productive with my ears. And what I mean by that is I'm at the gym, or I'm grocery shopping, or I'm vacuuming, or I'm mowing the lawn, my body and my hands are occupied, but my head and my ears are not.
And so, it's like, "Oh, I'll listen because this is a way to be more productive with the time I have." If I am at my desk, I never, ever listen to a podcast at my desk because I'm doing stuff. But if a podcast comes across my radar at work, and I think, "Ooh, there's something important in there that I want to learn", I actually really like to be able to just quickly visually skim the transcription to get to that section where I think that important content might be, because I'm a much faster reader than I would be able to listen to something. So, for me it's like just a quick and efficient way to get right to that ... zero in on that point and then be done.
Jeff: Yeah. Are you a one and a half or two times speed person when you listen?
Kathleen: Yeah. I listen to Audible books on like 2X speed. I'm super impatient, so ... But podcasts I don't, actually. Podcasts I listen at regular speed. Because again, I'm stuck at the gym or I'm mowing my lawn, and it's like, "Well, I don't need to be fast." It's really like business books that I listen to at 2X speed because I wanna just get through them.
Jeff: Yeah, that makes sense.
Kathleen: But no, so that's very interesting. And I have had people reach out to me and say, "Thank you so much for having a transcript. It made it easier for me to consume this." So, there is something to that.
Another thing that I'm wondering about with respect to this topic is, I did just see in the news in the last two weeks that Google has announced it's going to be indexing podcast episodes more now. And there's some new structured markup language around podcasts. Does having a full transcript help at all with that? Or is that really more around the schema markup that you're using?
Jeff: I can not, at this point, speak authoritatively on that. So, I don't know regarding the transcript aspect. With the way that everything is trending, I don't ... you wouldn't be hurting yourself by any means to have a transcript. In terms of what I do know of what currently exists, and even some of the ways that I've seen Google play this out, it is more to do with that podcast schema.
A lot of the times depending on how you have your podcasts set up, whether it's through these hosting companies or say you're running like a WordPress based blog and you have a Seriously Simple plugin, or you have say the PowerPress plugin, like a lot of them will just automatically handle that for you, so you don't even need to worry about it. And most of the time it's happening and you don't even realize it's happening.
But it is quite unique, because you're going to start to see, and I've already seen it a bit, where you search even a particular cast or episodes, even the way that Google will return it in terms of listing them all and it's not just the standard what we're used to of link, and then metadata of an article.
And so, it is quite fascinating, and even to your earlier points of everybody's jumping on this bandwagon, I think this is one reflection of stuff's moving quick. We're still kind of at the beginning of the wave in my opinion with all of it, even though it has grown a lot ... in popularity. But some of these software changes, from many major players, like they're having really good positive effects for people that are doing this type of work.
Kathleen: Yeah, it's crazy. I mean, so I've hosted my podcast on Libsyn, which stands for Liberated Syndication, for those who don't know. And it has its pluses and minuses. One of the pluses being it makes distribution really easy because I just pop it into Libsyn, and then it shoots it out to Apple Podcast, to Spotify, and Spotify being another one of those ... like if people aren't aware, they are making a huge play in the podcast space.
Podcast Promotion: Where To Host Your Podcast
Kathleen: Yeah. I mean, there's going to be more competitiveness soon as far as who owns the world of podcasts. So, you know, do you generally ... with your clients, do you generally recommend a particular host? And software for distribution?
Jeff: For me, in terms of ... you gotta think about it in a couple different ways. And this, I don't want to get too far into the weeds, but you have the area of where your podcast audio files are living, and that happens to be your media host.
And so, again, if you're not as familiar with this space, your website's hosted somewhere. It's on servers somewhere. And the same way, your media files for your podcast need to be living somewhere, and you want a dedicated media host just because it's their designed to do. They're designed to be reliable, and to send it all out to everyone no matter where they are in the world equally, and like all of these things. And so, it's just a more foolproof solution than trying to throw it on your shared hosting server or something and crash your whole website and like four other people's sites too.
And so, it's stuff you need to keep in mind. From the hosting standpoint, I don't think there's right or wrong. Again, I've used a ton of them, and so I don't ... I have only ill thoughts on maybe a few, which I'll just keep to myself because I'm not a huge fan of throwing people under the bus.
But what I will say is that we primarily, if I can choose, which we can fortunately, most of the time, I'll encourage my clients to either use Simplecast, or Megaphone, depending on what they need.
Simplecast just recently released a 2.0 version, and I will say there were some bugs that they've been working out, but they're getting a much better handle on it. I've been able to interact with their CEO, Brad, multiple times now. He has a really, really good team. I appreciate his own vision.
The analytics that they're getting into are extremely detailed. It's types of things that we haven't been able to do in the past with the nature of how an RSS feed works, where most of the time the only thing that we got to understand was like who maybe downloaded this and where were they were like the stats that we got for a long, long time. Where now, they're actually able to use the tech that they have to diagnose individual users, kind of look at heat maps in terms of when people are dropping off on episodes. They're doing some really revolutionary stuff over there.
And then the other one would be Megaphone. And I appreciate them because they have capabilities of doing targeted ads, and so traditionally speaking, when you have an ad on a podcast, like if you take that route, whether you're doing some self promotion of your own products or services, or you're actually having paid sponsorship, it becomes a lot more appealing because you normally would just hard edit whatever that ad was into the episode itself.
And then it's just there forever. But the way that Megaphone approaches it is that you're able to target your ads. And so, you have the episode as-is, you designate spots within that episode of where you want the ad to show up, and then from there you're able to customize it based on the listener's geographical location, based on date ranges, based on whatever that episode happens to be, and you could have, say ... For example, we have a couple of my clients have large company sponsorships that might be doing multi conferences across the US. We can target it so people on the East coast are receiving an ad for conference A, and people on with West coast are receiving an ad for conference B based on-
Kathleen: That's cool.
Jeff: And so, it's stuff like that. And so, those are kind of the two major reasons why I like those particular hosting companies over others.
Podcast Promotion: Social Media
Kathleen: Nice. Now, what about social media? How have you seen podcasters use it successfully to get more people listening to their episodes?
Jeff: I'll give two shorter stats. I'm not going to be able to speak on that one super well.
I can tell you that from the recent Edison research, it looks like podcast listeners are more active on every social channel, and so some of the data that they've found is that 94% of podcast listeners are active on at least one channel, versus 81% for the entire population. And so, they got a big of an increase there.
In terms of actually using it, that's not an area that I've personally spent a lot of my time. I inherently dislike social media. It's just a personal bias. And so, for me, the things that govern that is our actual ... our team runs a lot of that. We will often create the assets that are being used, and so whether we're talking, like for example, for most of our clients, the way that we write our show notes, and the way that we craft our excerpts and these different pieces that we're talking about, is intentional so it can be repurposed in other places.
So, the excerpts, we'll write them in a way that it makes sense to have them on Apple and all these different distribution networks, but it also would make sense to include them in, say, like a newsletter. Of hey, here's this episode. Let me tease it with the title, and whatever, pulled straight out of the copy that we got from Jeff's team.
We'll often pull quotables. And so, those can be used in multiple ways, whether you're just straight quoting the person, and then putting that out on your social media platform of choice. It might be using that, knowing where it is, timestamped wise in the episode so you can pull the audio and create what's ... a lot of people refer to them as audiograms. It's basically a kind of a mock video version. It's just the audio, and then you put a little visual. Normally people, you'll see it's like a square, and you'll see the audio wave files kind of going up and down as they talk, and there's different ways to promote that. And the idea is like oh, cool. I like that little snippet, I want to listen to more.
Depending on the platform, we'll get intentional with like, say if it's LinkedIn, it usually is helpful to have my host or whoever is the person running that particular cast, give a genuine reflection of say, like hey, I interviewed this person, and I really appreciated these aspects of the interview, or the transparency here, or I disagreed with him here, and if you want to listen to more, here's the link.
And so, there are tactics that we're using that work, but again, I would default to some more of the definitive people in the social media space, and then seeing what we could pull from them in order to make this a best practice. Does that make sense?
Podcast Promotion: Repurposing Content
Kathleen: Yeah. And you had talked earlier about the potential of repurposing podcast content. Is that kind of what you're talking about here in terms of the quotables and things like that?
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah, for me, just recycling content period is so important, and so necessary. What we'll often do is create a single piece of content, and then just put it out there. And maybe if we're lucky, we'll reuse it in one or two different ways where you kind of have the generic oh, go listen to my new episode, or hey, this podcast got released here.
But the reality is, is like there's so much that we can learn from it, and on top of it, our listenership or just humans in general, we learn in different ways. Very much like we already talked about with the transcriptions. Sometimes we want to read, sometimes we want to listen, sometimes we want to set. And it's a matter of tapping into these different styles, coupled with all the different technology that we currently have in terms of communication with social and all these different funnels and forms, and ways that we can talk to people and getting creative about how can I take this piece of content and really use it to its maximum potential and trying to have it in all these different places?
And so again, generally speaking, a rule of thumb for me is if I can't reuse this piece of content, whether it's audio or written or whatever it is, that I'm about to create, in at least three ways, I won't do it. Just because I want it to go that far, and I want to be smart about it in the beginning.
Kathleen: Yeah, that makes sense. People talk about that with content in general. If you're going to write a blog, you should spend at least as much time promoting it as you do writing it. And I think a lot of content marketers get that wrong. They just think that they need to pour their energy into building the thing. It's the whole Field of Dreams, if you build it, will they come? And while it might've worked in Field of Dreams, it doesn't work as well in the real world.
Jeff: It's tough. I had a really good conversation just the other day with a marketer friend, and he was just saying, "The longer we wait, the harder it is."
Jeff: And been the case, if I would've started podcasting five years earlier than I did when I actually did, I would've been that much further ahead. And so, it's a matter of acting faster, but also like you just said, acting intentional. And knowing what we talked about, like from the beginning of our conversation, of knowing who we're talking to and what they care about, actually creating the content and sharing it in a way that makes sense, and then having a plan once it's live, to get it to the right people. So, I don't know, it's a big process, for sure.
Podcast Promotion: Leveraging Guests In Your Promotion Strategy
Kathleen: Any particular tricks or tips for podcasters like myself, how have interview style podcasts in terms of how you can leverage your guests to help with promotion?
Jeff: What are you doing now?
Kathleen: Let's see, what do I do? Well, I tag my guest in LinkedIn and Twitter. When I post the episode, I send them an email with the link. I create graphics for an Instagram story where I tag them. I usually pull out what you refer to as a quotable, and I create like a meme, and I'll put their quote maybe along with their picture and their handle in that and tag them in that post. I'm playing around with a lot of different stuff.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Where have you seen the most benefit?
Kathleen: Well, some of what I'm doing is too new to say. Like the Instagram stories, I just really started that a few weeks ago. I definitely have seen a lot of benefit from tagging people in LinkedIn. Just because the way LinkedIn's algorithm works. What I've found is that not only does that person see it, but a lot of their connections see it who might not have previously been listening.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I think a couple things, I mean even with what you're telling me, a couple things come to mind off the top of my head.
For me personally, this isn't the case, say for all of our clients, because we have different clients with different target audiences in different places. But for me personally, I get the most success from, say, LinkedIn and Twitter. Part of it is because I'm most personally active on Twitter, and then in terms of a networking standpoint, LinkedIn just makes sense based on the way that the platform works. We'll utilize it in ways that I mentioned in terms of LinkedIn tends to be a little bit longer, tends to be a little more reflective, highlights the things that actually happened. Again, making promises and delivering on those things don't make anything ever clickbaity, or you'll lose everyone's trust super fast.
And in particular, with Twitter, and the thing that I would even caution is that a lot of the time, it's easy, and this is something that I talk to my team about at times too, for our own internal promotions, it's easy to say, "Hey, I have a new episode with this guest." Well, the reality is, going back to language, nobody cares. Why is it engaging?
And so, the medium doesn't matter. It's the same thing like, if a client comes to us to make a podcast, their pain point is sort of that they can't make it, but they're trying to get something else. Like we said, thought leadership is a huge thing. That's the end goal. Nobody really cares of I'm achieving that via audio, or written, or visual, or whatever. It's a matter of getting to that end goal.
And so, in the same way, people don't necessarily care. Like I'm going to listen to a podcast because it's a podcast. We listen because we want the story. We want to know what we're getting from it. And so, when you present these things, talk about it in a way that actually highlights the person, their achievements, why the interview is interesting.
And then I think the other piece too, and I haven't received it yet, because obviously we're just recording now. But the email that you send out as a followup, one of the things that I picked up from Dan Misener, from Pacific Content, and he has a really good course ... he has a couple courses on Creative Live, but he has one about growing your listenership. And it's this idea of we'll default to like, "Hey, do me a favor and promote this if you want to." The reality is, invite them in. Go, "Hey, this episode was awesome. You're going to want to promote it. I'm also doing you a favor."
And don't come across like, condescending. But it's like, "Hey, this is what my team's doing." And you list everything that you just told me. We're going to promote it here, here, here, and here. Here's the link, do what you can to promote it on your end. I'd really appreciate it.
Jeff: And have a clear confident call to action for your guest of do your part, too. Let's make it beneficial for the both of us. Let's make it happen, and then have that proof of this is what we're doing because it matters. This stuff's important, get it out there.
Kathleen: That's a great point. And it's like any marketing or sales, right? You have to have a good call to action. If you don't ask someone to do it, how are you going to expect that they're going to take any action?
Kathleen: Love that. Well, that's all really good advice.
Kathleen's Two Questions
Kathleen: I know we're running short on time, so I want to make sure before we wrap up I ask you the same two questions I ask all of my guests. Which is, when it comes to inbound marketing, company or individual, who do you think is doing it really well right now? And I'd love if you would pick somebody who's doing it well with podcasting.
Jeff: [crosstalk 00:43:56]. Yeah. Who I just mentioned, Dan Misener at Pacific Content, two of the companies that I look towards and appreciate what they're doing in this space would be Gimlet Media, so Alex Blumberg and his team. And then Dan, and he's got several other team members, but Dan tends to be more of the public face of their company for Pacific Content. Gimlet is just out there doing it. They're just making it happen, and they're producing some amazing shows, and they have a terribly unfair advantage from like a radio production standpoint and the fact that Alex worked with Ira Glass and these just legends in the radio space. Puts them up there, and I've been able to work with some people on their team, or ex people from their team, and they're very talented.
And then Pacific Content, Dan is hard to keep up with in terms of producing very quantified legitimate content in terms of how podcasting is working, and I reference his articles probably more often than I should, in terms of getting good data and feedback and seeing what he's analyzing and looking at. And both of those companies I think are very talented.
Kathleen: Ooh, I can't wait to check out ... I'm familiar with Gimlet Media, very familiar. But I can't wait to check out Pacific Content, that sounds like a really good one.
Jeff: Yeah, they're great.
Kathleen: Second question. Digital marketing is changing so quickly. The world of podcasting is changing so quickly. How do you stay up to date?
Jeff: I like learning, like I said. Have you ever taken the strength finder's test, from Gallop Poll?
Jeff: Okay. My number one is learning, and so by default, I'm usually just reading and listening, and doing all that a lot. I have simple, more like some maybe more tangibles that would be helpful for the audience. Like if I want a book, I normally just buy it. I take the whole Ramit Sethi thing of like ... what are you out, like 10 bucks, 15 bucks if it didn't go anywhere? But what do you gain? Potentially, a ton.
And so, I'll just buy books. I'm a physical book guy. When I see articles, I have Pocket, just capture them all with Pocket is the way that I kind of manage all that. So, I'll see articles, often can't read them in the moment, but load them up into Pocket and then I'll just take time later to kind of skim through, and then I would say huge piece of it is just being able to talk with awesome people. Like yourself, like the people that I'm able to have on my cast, going to conferences, networking and that regard.
And just really putting people in the network on the forefront of what we're doing, and taking time to meet new people on a regular basis. Because honestly, a part of it is just because I'm giving this off the cuff, I didn't anticipate answering that at first. I think that's the biggest thing is just being in contact with really good and really smart people on a regular basis.
Kathleen: Yeah. Absolutely. That's why half the reason I have the podcast, it gives me an excuse to talk to people like you and learn from you. It's a great reason to get in touch with people you otherwise might not have any reason to do so.
Kathleen: Well Jeff, thank you. I have learned a lot. And it's such an interesting topic. So you said in the beginning, there's so many directions you could take with this, and it's such a rabbit hole you could travel down, but I think for me, one of the biggest takeaways I got out of the conversation is just how important it is, is the foundational stuff. How before you even get started making sure that you've thought through your strategy, your audience, your targeting approach, and that will solve so many of the headaches that otherwise would come later on.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, I would agree.
How to Connect With Jeff
Kathleen: Well, thank you again. And if somebody is listening, and wants to learn more, is interested in connecting with you, what's the best way for them to get in contact?
Jeff: I'll give you, I will say, two places. I'm going to break the rules of the one call to action. Either my company website, comealivecreative.com, or if you want to check out my personal hub, it would just be my name, JeffLarge.com. And both those sites link to each other, so it'll be pretty easy to find once you go to one or the other .
Kathleen: Perfect. I will put those links in the show notes, and if you are listening, and you enjoyed what you heard, I would love it if you would leave a five star review on Apple Podcasts. And if you know somebody who is doing kick ass inbound marketing work, tweet me at work mommy work, because I would love to have them as my next guest. Thanks so much for joining me, Jeff.
Jeff: Thank you.
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