It should be easy for people who know how to listen to podcasts to listen to your podcast. No education required, right? I agree with you that it should be easy. But only if you’re doing your part, podcaster.
All this week, I’ve been talking about — the perfect listener for your podcast — and their experience with podcasting. Because their experience with your chosen communication medium — a podcast — impacts whether or not they can even listen to your show. On Monday the topic was focused on those who discovered your podcast through word of mouth but have no idea what podcasting is. On Tuesday, we talked about what happens when the people you driving to your show’s website know nothing about podcasting. And yesterday, I shared ideas on how to get more people “stumbling across” your podcast episodes, and what happens to the 75% of them who are not likely to have any experience with podcasting.
Today, I’ll share a seemingly straightforward tactic that ensures your show is appealing to the other 25% — those of us who actually have experience with and know how to listen to your podcast.
You’d think this would be easy, as I just mentioned at the top of the program. And in fact, it is easy. Experience podcast listeners really only need to know two things to listen to your podcast:
- The knowledge that you, in fact, have a podcast
- The name of your podcast (and gods help you if you used funny spelling)
As podcasters who want our show’s audience to grow, we put a lot of our focus on sharing our website, our podcast landing page, our specific episode pages, or our media files. We come up with all sorts of interesting things to push out content that we hope connects with our avatar, no matter where they are.
But when we think about our avatar, the perfect person who should be listening to our podcast, as someone who has experience listening to podcasts, one thing becomes clear:
We have no idea how this person prefers to listen to their podcasts.
Yes, many people do use the default Apple Podcast app to listen to podcasts. But many is not all, and every time you push a link to Apple Podcasts to someone who doesn’t use Apple Podcasts, you’re not helping.
Your perfect avatar might listen to podcasts on YouTube.They may prefer to navigate to their favorite podcaster’s YouTube channel, push play on the assembled YouTube playlist, set the phone down on the seat beside them, and make their commute to work. Lots of people choose to listen to their podcasts this way.
But you don’t know this. In fact, you can’t know this.
Here’s the rub: Submitting your show to Apple Podcast is not enough.
People who already listen to podcasts are free to use whatever app they want to use. And after my experience last week where I attempted to split my podcast playlists across various podcast listening apps, I can assure you that the switching costs are astronomical. So don’t try and force it, no matter how much you love your listening app of choice. And no matter how much you dislike the politics/business practices of some other app.
It is an unreasonable expectation for you, podcast creator, to assume that you can dictate what app people use to listen to your show. If you were an author, you wouldn’t make your book only available in one particular store… unless that storefront gave you a massive incentive to make your book exclusive to them. (Your free podcast receives no massive incentive to do that.) If you were a recording artist, you wouldn’t get to dictate which radio stations or music streaming services played your content… unless those stations offered you payola or those music streaming services is offered you a much higher royalty rate. (Your free podcast doesn’t have that.) You don’t get to dictate which browser people use when they come to your website… unless you’re stuck in 1997?
You have the responsibility to make sure that your show is available on every single podcast listening platform. When I launch a show for a new client, we submit that show to about 20 different services. And that’s in addition to places like YouTube and Facebook, where we also publish every single episode in an appropriate format. 20. Not two or three.
Here’s another interesting fact you can probably relate to, even if you haven’t thought much about it: When an experienced podcast listener hears about a new podcast, they probably don’t bother to go to the website of the podcast.
Why would they? When you hear about a brand new movie, do you run to the website of that movie to check it out? Nope.
When you hear that your favorite author has a new book, do you rush to the author’s website or the book’s website to check it out? No.
When you hear about a new television show that’s just started, do you go to that television show’s website to check it out? Not likely.
You don’t visit those websites because you have a preference on how to consume these media!
So you go to your preferred book retailer to order the book.
You go to Moviefone, Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes or somewhere else to get more info on the movie and maybe buy tickets.
You pull up the channels guide on your cable package, or you pull up the appropriate streaming service to watch the show.
Podcasting actually wins over all of these examples because of our ability to be ubiquitous. The distributed and decentralized nature of our medium makes it easy for us to ensure our content is every single place where our perfect avatar might choose to listen.
If you need some help with thinking through your distribution strategy and navigating your way within the limits of your hosting provider, company culture, or even weird rights restrictions to making sure that your show appeals to your avatar, no matter how they prefer to listen to podcasts, get in touch with me. firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out Podcastlaunch.pro to see some of the services that we offer to our clients all around the globe.
Since you got this far, how about mashing that 👏 button a few dozen times to let me know you dig the written-word version of my thoughts on these podcasting topics? I’d sure appreciate it!
This article started life as a podcast episode. The 194th episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen. Here’s an easy way: 👇
Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler Media Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.