When is a podcast not a podcast? When it’s a newsletter from a podcast. No, I’m not talking about just sticking a link to your latest episode in your existing newsletter. That’s just being lazy. And it ignores the changing newsletter landscape.
I’m exploring other things your podcast can do on this week’s miniseries. Yesterday, I covered live podcasting events. Today, I’m making the case why you need a newsletter for your podcast.
Perhaps you already have a newsletter for your business, blog, or website. Perhaps you already allow people to subscribe to your podcast by email. Perhaps you even write a human-readable blog post/article based on your episode and you send that article out via email.
Keep doing all of those good email things. Email is a fine distribution mechanism for special announcements and promotions.
But there’s the utilitarian aspect of emailing, and then there’s having an intentional newsletter for your podcast.
Newsletters are having a bit of a resurgence as of late. Substack is making it super easy to create and monetize a brand new newsletter. Stoop is changing both how and where we consume newsletters, getting them out of our already crowded inboxes and into a dedicated reading app. And that’s just two examples.
As with any form of media, newsletter content should be crafted with intent. You need to consider your newsletter audience as just that: an audience. An audience, by the way, that may not listen to your podcast episodes. But they are still your audience, and it’s worth your time to create content specifically for that audience.
One of the most straightforward ways to do this is by using a newsletter as a way to catch your overspill. If your show’s episodes come out weekly or fortnightly, there’s probably a wealth of content that doesn’t make it on your show.
Your brand — or your podcast’s brand — could be publishing that content in newsletter form.
Without the time (and money) investment required of an audio episode, an intentional newsletter can be used to keep information flowing to your audience. Yes, this does require extra work, even without the audio engineering time. You still need to write the text, include the images, make links, and generally make a great start-to-finish experience.
Important side note: Resist the temptation to embed audio in your newsletter. Email clients tend to not like rich media audio embeds. Yes, you can add a link to an audio file, but it won’t play in the email client, so the UX is less-than-desirable.
Speaking of resisting temptation, don’t stop with simply republishing your blog posts as a newsletter. That’s not a newsletter. That’s email distribution of your articles. That’s fine to do. As is using email to distribute podcast episodes to those who’ve signed up for that. I do that. But neither of those things is an intentional newsletter.
Also, a summary of all the episodes you posted or topics you discussed last week isn’t a newsletter. That’s just email distribution of an update with the hopes of getting someone to click back to your site.
The goal of an intentional newsletter is to be read. And, if you’re lucky, engaged with by the readers.
That doesn’t mean you should stop using email as a promotional tool, or a revenue-generator, or whatever else you’re using it for that is getting results. (That final clause is important.) An intentional newsletter from your podcast brand is something different.
Believe it or not, because you’re a podcaster, you should have an easier time of this than other sorts of content creators. As a podcaster, you’ve already mastered the art of figuring out how to distill a conversation, a story, or an idea into audio form and in text form, right? So just do that again, without the audio and with the overt intent of distributing that new content to someone’s inbox or newsletter reading app.
I’m genuinely curious how you’re currently using (and finding success with) newsletters today. You can leave a comment below, or you can go to Flick.group/podcastponntifications and say it in our private (but free) group about 70 people now. And it’s growing!
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 236th 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.