All posts by Blubrry

PowerPress: The Best WordPress Podcast Plugin Gets Even Better



Last week, Blubrry released PowerPress 8.0 Beta, with a host of new features to make it even easier for you to share your story with the world. Everything from new subscribe destinations, to styling, to various bug fixes.

Given the explosion in podcast listenership–and places for audiences to discover & consume podcasts–we’ve added a few more subscribe destinations. (As an aside: are you curious about some of those podcast statistics? Be sure to check out our occasional series, Podcast Stats Soundbites, where we discuss podcast production, audience statistics, trends in the market, and what we think the implications might be. Ok. Back to PowerPress!) With PowerPress 8.0, you can submit your podcasts to Deezer, Pandora, and iHeart in addition to all the other existing PowerPress subscribe destinations.

Blubrry wants you to own your own podcast brand. Which means we want to give you as many, simple options to customize your podcast website’s look & feel. So, with PowerPress 8.0, we’re releasing a whole slew of new stying options for subscribe buttons. We’ve also added the option to remove “!important” and “text-align: left” styling to subscribe buttons and widgets.

 

PowerPress 8.0: new styling options for "subscribe to podcast" buttons PowerPress 8.0: subscribe sidebar options PowerPress 8.0: new styling options for "subscribe to podcast" buttons PowerPress 8.0: new styling options for "subscribe to podcast" buttons

PowerPress is one of the most-used podcasting tools in the world. It makes publishing your podcast and submitting it to the major podcast discovery platforms ridiculously simple, and extremely customizable. Sure, you could podcast on someone else’s platform, but you run the risk of not even owning your own podcast. With Blubrry & PowerPress, it always yours and we’re just here to make it easier for you to share your unique perspective with the world.

Plus, various improvements and bug fixes.The non-beta release of PowerPress 8.0 is scheduled for October 8, 2019. You can read all the details and documentation on our PowerPress Beta page.

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Podcasting 101: How to Start a Podcast



International Podcast Day is coming up on September 30 this year. We’ll be participating in the live events for sure, but also wanted to take a minute to reflect on the journey podcasting has taken over the past decade or so. And today we’re getting back to basics: how to start a podcast. Podcasting has become part of mainstream culture and media consumption, and it continues to increase in popularity–check out some interesting Podcast Stats Sound Bites we published in early 2019 for some examples. But, for this post, read on for some tips on how to start a podcast.

Pick your podcast topic & format

In order to start a podcast, you need to have something to talk about. Pick a topic that interests you, gets you excited, and that you could imagine talking about for hours. Maybe it’s a subject you’ve always been interested in, and want to take listeners along with you as you learn more about it. Maybe it’s a field in which you’re already an expert. Maybe you have a unique perspective on something. While you’re deciding on your topic, also keep in mind what format you’ll use: will you have co-hosts? Will you interview people? Will you go it alone? Some combination of all three?

Buy your domain and set up your podcast website

Sure, we may be biased because we’re a podcast hosting company. But we’re also right. You’ll have significantly more opportunities to produce, publish, and promote your podcast if you own your brand. One of the most fundamental ways to own & build your podcast brand online is to own your podcast feed, and to have your own website. There are tons of places to buy your domain name, so go ahead and search for one you like. Once you have your domain, you should check out podcast hosting from Blubrry. Our hosting plans come with one of the few IAB certified podcast statistics platform available in the market today. You’ll also get–included in your monthly  subscription–a WordPress website, PowerPress, no-fault overage, and syndication tools so you can get your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and the other major podcast discovery platforms. Having your podcast on your own website allows you to follow best practices for podcast SEO, rather than relying on a podcasting platform to police the spammy bad actors out there.

Podcasting gear

We love good gear here. But know what we love even more? When people just start podcasting with whatever they have. At minimum, you need a way to record your voice, a way to edit the recording, and a way to get that recording to the internet (upload it to your Blubrry Podcast Website mentioned above, hint hint). There are tons of really great free audio recording and editing software options out there. Also, when you’re thinking about microphones, computers, headphones/monitors, keep in mind there is a huge used gear market online on sites like Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace to name a few. The most important thing when putting together your gear list is: get the minimum amount needed to get started. Once you’re up and running, hitting your stride as a podcaster, you’ll have plenty of time for gear upgrades.

Upload, publish, promote

Once you’ve got your topic, format, domain, website, and gear, it’s time to record! Don’t be afraid, do like Shia Labeouf says:

Ok. Now that you have your first episode in the bag, it’s time to upload it to your podcast media hosting account. If you’re using the Blubrry Podcast Website and PowerPress this is probably the easiest of all the steps. Read all the details here if you need a tutorial. Or, if you’re a Blubrry customer, reach out to our fine folks in customer support. We’re happy to help.

Why podcasts stats are important & how to analyze them

Podcast stats are a podcasters best friend. They tell you when, how, where, and on what devices your podcast is consumed. With Blubrry Podcast Stats, you can even get partial download reporting. You can use these statistics to help determine which episodes your audience likes and doesn’t like in order to build a more loyal and larger audience. It’s kind of like reading body language in person: it helps you understand that person is doubting what you’re saying when they cross their arms and cover their mouth with their hand. In the same way, podcast stats help you understand the consumption patterns of your audience, and what topics, timing, etc. resonate with your them. Then, you can give them more of the things they like (consume) when/where/how they want it, and less of the things they don’t.

If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of podcasting, it’s probably worth perusing our Podcasting Manual. There’s detailed information about a wide range of podcasting-related topics, including answers to some questions you might not even know you have yet.

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How To Build a Podcast Network



Now that podcasting is solidly in the mainstream of popular culture, and now that there are so many tremendous podcasts out there, a lot of podcasters are beginning to look for that next edge to develop & grow their audience. One good option could be to create a podcast network. Here, we’ll briefly explain what that means and give some ideas on how to do it.

What is a podcast network and why should you build one?

Think about old-school broadcast TV networks: it’s a collection of shows that are cross-promoted, and they share overhead costs among other things. A podcast network is quite similar. A podcast network is a collection of podcasts that have decided to group themselves together in order to make cross-promotion easier, as well as possibly sharing production and overhead costs.

Why should you build a podcast network? Because your listeners are having trouble finding podcasts. We all know that podcast discovery is a big issue, and there are plenty of companies (cough)google(cough) spending plenty of resources to make that easier. One way you can make it easier is by making a podcast network. Putting together a group of shows that could potentially grow each others’ audiences through cross promotion is kind of a no-brainer. But it’s not all that easy with the tools that are currently available.

How do you build a podcast network?

Like most things, there’s the human side and the technical side. On the human side, you need to seek out and/or create podcasts that are in some way related. It could be that the podcast “on air” talent is the same. It could be that the subject matter is similar, or at least somewhat related. It could be that the audience demographics or interests are very similar. So, when you are creating your podcast network and approaching other podcasters to join forces, have a plan and a pitch as to why those other podcasters should join you. Help them understand what’s in it for them with things like revenue and cost sharing, cross promotion, etc.

On the technical side, it’s honestly not that easy right now. You can cobble together a working podcast network with some existing tools. Our CEO, Todd Cochrane, recently spoke with two podcasters who had just launched their brand new podcast network… after 3-4 months worth of work designing & coding. He mentioned to them that PowerPress is actually robust enough that you could create a network with it and in fact many have. And if you’re a Blubrry customer, our real live humans in customer support would be happy to get you up and running. Also—and we don’t usually tip our hat like this—we have something pretty big in store for later this year: Blubrry is putting the finishing touches on a Podcast Network Plugin for WordPress which will make it ridiculously easy to set up and maintain your own podcast network. We noticed that more and more of us are creating podcast networks, we have it nailed with publishing, but we wanted to make it easy to showcase a network. So what we have in the pipeline is going to extend the tools we have today. That’s how we got started way back in 2008, actually. We were podcasting, but the tools were lacking, so we built PowerPress. And hosting. And stats. Be sure to stay tuned for pricing and availability.

Podcast networks are definitely here to stay, and you might benefit from creating or joining one. But it’s still a bit tricky, on the technical side of things, to get one set up. But keep you eyes peeled for our upcoming podcast network plugin to be released.

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Shocker: Podcast Consumption Continues to Increase



Each year, Edison Research and Triton Digital release a report called taking “closer looks at the audience for podcasting in America.” The great news is everything’s coming up Millhouse (although, unlike the fictional character reading big things into insignificant events, these really are big deals that have huge implications for all podcasters).

Key takeaways:

  1. Listening to podcasts has officially crossed into the mainstream: more than half of Americans aged 12+ report that they’ve listened to a podcast; a third have listened in the past month (that’s about 90 million listeners for those of you doing the math at home), and nearly a quarter have listened in the past week. That’s about 62 million Americans who’ve listened to a podcast in the past week.
  2. Since 2014, podcasting’s “Share of Ear” has more than doubled, growing by 122%. A related bit of info in the slide deck provided by Edison: nearly a third of non-listeners don’t listen to podcasts because they don’t know how to consume them, cant find them, or are so overwhelmed by the sheer number of podcasts that they don’t know where to start. Which, in our opinion, is why you should be focusing on SEO for your podcast, and why you should own your own brand and host your podcast on your domain (with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, of course).
  3. While podcast listenership grew across all age groups, the largest gains were from people aged 12-24. Surprise surprise! Young people, who’ve grown up with social media as a utility, YouTube as their radio, and streaming video as the norm, are migrating more and more towards podcasts.
  4. Podcasting is good for advertisers: more than half of “podcast consumers say that they are more likely to consider brands they hear advertised on podcasts, compared to 7% who say they are less likely.” So, as you monetize your podcast, you’ve got a solid story to tell potential advertisers. Even more, if you’re a Blubrry Podcast Hosting or Podcast Stats customer, your podcast stats are IAB certified—the gold-standard in the industry. And, we recently launched our dynamic ad insertion platform which is both as capable as (if not more than) other offerings and less costly. That means it’s easier than ever to monetize your content, and you’ll have better margins with Blubrry.
So, keep at it. Keep podcasting, building your brand, and growing your audience. Because there are literally millions of Americans who might absolutely love what you’re doing.
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Google’s Search AI Is Listening To Your Podcast



Ok, ok. Click bait. Fine. But Google’s AI is kind of listening, in that it is creating transcripts of your show for Google search and indexing your show notes to make sure it’s serving up search results that answer questions we humans ask.

This is a good news, bad news kind of thing. Good news is, if you’ve been doing things the right way recording great content with coresponding great show notes (rather than trying to exploit potential SEO holes in the search engines’ algorithms) you’re probably in luck! Google is now including expanded podcasts content within search results. Yeah. That’s kind of a big deal. We all knew this was coming at some point, based on previous moves from the search giant, but it seems to be officially official now.

(Go ahead, we’ll wait while you search for your podcast, or if your lucky a topic you have covered in your show)

Ok, now that the (vanity) searching is done, let’s get down to what it means for podcasters and how you can leverage Google podcast search results to build your podcast audience.

First: for your podcast to show up in search results for a particular search query, your site authority matters. Meaning, does Google think your podcast website is an authority on the topic you want it to? If yes, awesome. If no… well, you’ve got some work to do. But, that work is generally easier to do if it’s on your own website, versus some other podcast hosting platform’s website. Because there are almost certainly spammers on that shared domain, dragging your podcast rankings down into the gutter with them. And The Google knows. So, what’s a podcaster to do? Own your brand and build it the right way on your own website. Blubrry Podcast Hosting is one of the most flexible podcast hosting platforms on the market, and has plenty of built-in SEO tools to help you rise to the top.

Second: include a link to your transcript file of every episode you publish. Sorry, not sorry: there’s simply no excuse for not having a transcript of your podcast episodes. Two reasons: it’s easy & free, and Google will use it as well as the one they create. For the easy & free part, Blubrry has partnered with Audioburst to enable free transcription and social sharing opportunities for all of our hosting customers. It really is that simple. Check out the details here. For the “Google wants it” part, Google’s AI is creating and looking for transcripts and comparing them to your podcast show notes (among other more secret things) to determine how relevant your episode is for a given search query. Give it what it wants, because it’s trying to give your potential audience what they want: great, fresh, relevant content.

Third, and we’ve been beating this proverbial horse dead into the ground for a while now, but you should have excellent show notes. Period. The end. Just do it. Google reads them. Your audience reads them. It’s helps both our forthcoming robot overlords and your audience get more detail about your shows.

Be sure to stay tuned over the coming weeks and months as Google continues to roll out more podcast-related items. They’re attempting to make finding great podcasts as easy as finding great websites, and if you want to ride that wave, you’ve got to play along.

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Deezer The Podcasts You’re Looking For



Blubrry Podcasts Now Distribute to DeezerSorry, we couldn’t resist the obvious pun + sci-fi reference. We also couldn’t resist making it easier than ever for podcasters to distribute your podcasts to even more listeners. Which is why, for the past year, we’ve been quietly working with Deezer behind the scenes. The result? Next week you’ll be able to submit your podcast to Deezer and their 14 million monthly active users through Blubrry, one of the most flexible and powerful podcasting platforms on the market.

How do I get my podcast on Deezer?

It’s actually pretty easy. All you have to do is use your Blubrry account–even a free one– and claim your podcast listing in the Blubrry Podcast Directory if you havent already and then submit your show through the Podcaster Dashboard. We’re putting the final touches on everything, and will have this new distribution location ready to go live next week, so make sure to check back.

Why Blubrry & Deezer?

Deezer is huge. As of January, 2019, “Deezer had 56 million licensed tracks in its library, with over 30,000 radio channels, 14 million monthly active users, and 7 million paid subscribers.” And–like about every other streaming audio platform–Deezer wants in on the growing podcast market. Which is where Blubrry comes in. “We touch in excess of 75,000 shows and have 150 million downloads a month across all of our customers” says Todd Cochrane, Blubrry’s CEO. “So, we could bring 75,000 shows to Deezer.” Even better? If you’re a hosting customer, Blubrry’s IAB  certified podcast stats platform will still give you the most reliable, accurate data available on the market today.

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Podcast Platform Updates, August 2019



In an effort to continue making it easier than ever for you to produce and grow your podcast, Blubrry is constantly tweaking, developing, and redeveloping our industry-leading podcasting platform: from Podcast Hosting, to IAB Certified Podcast Statistics, to PowerPress. Going forward, we’ll post periodic updates about our progress, and some of the major releases we think you might find interesting & helpful. Read on for some bright shiny podcast platform release from Blubrry for August 5, 2019.

Cast Feed Validator, Revitalized!

There’s always more you could do to produce and promote your podcast. Beyond curating and creating killer content, you have to actually publish your podcast and make sure it’s out there and accessible to your listeners–all listeners. You can breathe a little easier today, though. Blubrry has made that last part easier for you with our free service, Cast Feed Validator.

Cast Feed Validator checks to see if your podcast RSS feed is working properly. It’s really that simple. And it’s really free, too. All podcast directories have to read and play your podcast; and some of them–including Apple–will accept a feed that isn’t actually working the way you want it to.

Run your feed through our Cast Feed Validator and we’ll tell you what needs improvement and what is flat out broken; quick results for podcast necessities. Fast, free, and reliable assessment for your podcast feed.

We thought it was such a great service that we acquired it in 2017. We also knew it needed a bit of TLC and some updating which we’re excited to announce today. Some of the new goodness is listed below:

  • Mapping of Apple’s old and new categories. Learn more about that here.
  • SSL certificate tests
  • More in-depth tests on server behavior and metadata
  • Feed tests that look for hard-to-find bugs

But wait, there’s more! This isn’t just limited to Blubrry users, any podcaster can check their feed. We are keeping it free because a properly working directory is better for the entire podcasting community. Take a look at the new site and test your feed here

Play and Partial Download Reporting Now Fully Available

Earlier this year, we released Play and Partial Download Reporting as part of our IAB Certified Podcast Statistics platform for our Advanced Stats customers. It’s been great seeing more and more podcasters use this valuable service during our free trial period. Today, that service is still available, and it’s only $5 additional per month. Make sure to double check yours if you want to retain access to partial download reporting in your Advanced Stats.

More podcast platform updates coming soon

Every couple weeks or so, we’ll post another update, detailing some of the things we’ve been hard at work on, trying to make it easier for you to podcast.

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Full, Dynamic Podcast Ad Insertion Now Available



You work hard on your podcast—to tell great stories and to build your audience.  And, until now, ad insertion could be a pretty expensive proposition each time you wanted to swap out your inventory. But, as we all learned from Harry & Lloyd in Dumb And Dumber, just because you paid a lot for your orange tuxedo, doesn’t make it good.

Expensive ad insertion isn’t always good

That’s why Blubrry is proud to release our Full Ad Insertion platform today, available exclusively for our Pro customers—all you have to do it ask. Let our team know that you’d like access and we’ll enable it immediately. We’re positive this is going to ease your advertising worries, without adding crazy cost.

Have an ad spot or special show promotion you need to include in your episode after finalizing or publishing it? No problem. You can easily insert those audio spots into your episode with Blubrry before or after it’s published.

Combined with Blubrry’s IAB certified podcast statistics, exceptional hosting and optional websites, and easily manageable dynamic insertion, full ad insertion provides the complete solution for any professional podcaster.

“There are plenty of resources accessible to podcasters, but we truly offer a complete solution for publishing and championing growth,” said Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry. “By launching full ad insertion we’ve guaranteed another podcast component that creators can easily manage at an affordable price.”

Even Better? Our Ad Insertion Platform is more robust… AND LESS EXPENSIVE than what’s on the market today.

Full Ad Insertion costs an additional $49 a month, and a 10 cent file rebuild fee, and can be enabled for any professional customer, including those migrating or currently launching their show. Learn more about costs and how to move here.

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4 Reasons to Host Your Podcast With Blubrry



There are a plethora of podcast hosting companies out there today. Which, honestly, gets us excited. It means that there are more and more people getting into podcasting as a way to share their unique stories and perspectives with the world. It also excites us because—even as new entrants pop up—our podcast hosting platform continues to be second to none. Sure, there are some who offer everything for “free” and some who put their branding all over your hard work. Not Blubrry Podcasting. We believe you should own your brand, which is why we’ve built one of the most robust, flexible podcasting platforms available. With that in mind, here are 4 reasons to host your podcast with Blubrry:

  1. No-Fault Overage. Files too big, and might push you over your limit for the month? No worries with Blubrry’s exclusive No-Fault Overage for our podcast hosting customer. Sometimes, those files are just too big because the stories inside are so big. Ok. We know that’s not technically how it works, but we believe your stories are worth sharing. Which is why we created no-fault overage. Let’s say you just recorded an amazing episode and you upload your files. Even if they’re too big for your monthly quota (and you haven’t gone over yet this month), you can still publish. We’ll just let you know you’ve exceeded your limit and give you the option of upgrading for the future. It’s that easy.
  2. Video Podcast or Audio Podcast? Both! Honestly, storage space is storage space, and bandwidth is bandwidth, regardless of the file format. So, with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, you don’t need to decide ahead of time if you want to do audio podcasting, video podcasting, or a little of each. You can just focus on sharing your views with your audience in whichever format, at whatever time you feel is right. Video this week, audio next? Cool. And, as always, if you have any questions, our support team is only an email, phone call, or video chat away.
  3. Know your audience better than any other podcasting platform. Blubrry is the first and only podcast hosting company to have an IAB Tech Lab certified podcast stats platform. It’s really kind of a big deal, because it means that your stats are on a platform that is certified to the highest standards in the industry. Which means you can trust the numbers and your advertisers can trust the numbers. Even better? Blubrry now also offers partial download reporting to help you better understand how much of your content your audience is consuming, and if or when they tune out in an episode.
  4. A free podcast website. Yeah. Actually free, actually yours. With PowerPress Sites, you get the power of one of the most widely used podcasting plugins for WordPress. For free. PowerPress Sites makes it ridiculously easy to customize your website to make sure it’s on-brand for your podcast, plus it has all the robust functionality for publishing and syndicating that has made it the go-to for podcasters for more than a decade.

Well, there you have it: 4 reasons to host your podcast with Blubrry Podcast Hosting. Granted, there are about a bazillion other reasons, but who has time to read all that? You’ve got a podcast to produce.

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iTunes is dead. Long live Apple Podcasts.



Apple announced they are killing iTunes. What’s that mean for the podcast directory?

In case you haven’t heard, last week at their annual WWDC, Apple announced that they were officially (finally) killing iTunes this fall. 18 years ago, when it was first released, iTunes was focused on ripping CDs, storing MP3s, and buying songs. Then apps and movies and TV shows and podcasts. It’s gotten so bulky that Apple engineering lead Craig Federighi jokingly suggested “How about calendar in iTunes? I mean, you can have all of your appointments and your best tracks all in one app!” during the presentation. So, yeah, it has become a bit bloated. Apple even suggested this move for Apple Podcasts years ago.

iTunes Podcasts vs. Apple Podcasts

Don’t worry. Apple Podcast directory still exists. So keep creating great content and promoting your podcast.

All that’s really going to happen this fall when Apple rolls out its latest operating system is what Apple did to iTunes on iOS years ago: splitting out music, podcasts, and TV & movies into separate apps. This is most likely a good thing because it should provide a much better, more focused user experience for your podcast listeners. No more toggling between TV, Music, apps, etc. on the desktop iTunes application. Instead of being buried beneath multiple mouse clicks in iTunes on desktop, the Apple Podcasts directory will live in the Apple Podcasts desktop app. Nothing is really changing (except the categories, see below), just the app that houses the directory.

Apple Podcasts Directory Category Changes

Apple this week also announced this summer they’ll be adding a few new top level categories such as Fiction, True Crime, and History. They’ll also be eliminating/reorganizing some sub-categories. You can find the updated list of podcast categories here. Not to worry, though. Blubrry will be implementing the changes as quickly as we can, and there really shouldn’t be too much for you to do on your end. And, as always, Blubrry is the only podcasting services provider in the market providing complimentary support for our podcast hosting, podcast stats, and PowerPress Sites customers from real, live humans on our customer support team.

TL;DR

Don’t worry. Even though Apple is killing iTunes, the Apple Podcast directory will still exist and Blubrry will be implementing the category changes as quickly as we can. So keep creating great content and promoting your podcast.

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