All posts by Blubrry

iOS 11 Is Here! Is Your Podcast Ready?



Earlier this week, Apple released iOS 11 – and with that release came several changes to the Apple Podcasts directory that will add new functionality and enhance the experience of finding and listening to podcasts. Here are the new podcast tag types:

New Serial program/show type. Not to be confused with the podcast of the same name, this tag will be useful for shows that release content in seasons. Previously, there was no built-in way to direct new listeners to start at episode 1 of the latest season, rather than just jumping in at the latest episode as podcast listeners are accustomed to doing.

While this new tag won’t affect most current podcasts, we have noticed an uptick in the popularity of serialized podcast episodes and podcasters who follow this format will benefit greatly from the new options. If your podcast follows a serial format, be sure to utilize the new tags by selecting “serial” in the iTunes Type field of your iTunes tab in the PowerPress plugin settings. Hover over “PowerPress” in the lower left-hand column of your WordPress dashboard, choose “settings” in the menu that pops up, then the ‘iTunes” tab in the main window to find the field:

New Title field: Apple Podcasts has made a move toward displaying “clean” titles to listeners during playback – that means no episode numbers or other extra information. For example, if your podcast episode is titled “The Best Podcast Episode Ever, #143,” a potential listener would only see “The Best Podcast Episode Ever” displayed as the episode title.

Luckily, here at Blubrry we’ve been on top of these changes for a while. We included support for these new attributes in PowerPress back in June’s 7.1 release and also within Blubrry’s publisher interface, and we’ve also updated our media uploader for Blubrry hosting customers so that upload speeds can be maximized. In other words, if you’re a Blubrry hosting or PowerPress user, you’re already ahead of the game. We hope you’ll find that these additions to Apple Podcasts have a positive impact on your podcast, and remember that if you have questions, our top-notch customer support team is always here for you.

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8 Tricks To Help You Land Guests For Your Podcast – Even If Your Audience Is Small



Anyone whose podcast depends on interviews with guests faces the same dilemma in the beginning: without guests, you have no show. But before your show is well-known, how can you get guests?

These 8 tips from the Blubrry team and podcast hosts will help you land those guests and put out a great show, even if you’re just getting your podcast off the ground:

 

  1. Just ask. Graham Smith and Kirsten Dunlap, co-hosts of The Home Hour podcast, have had success booking well-respected experts even though they just got their show off the ground about six months ago. Their number-one piece of advice? Just ask. “The reality is, you’re offering a great service to potential hosts,” says Dunlap. “Be confident that you’re giving them a lot of value – it’s an even exchange.”
  2. Play up your strengths. Just starting out? Don’t focus on the small size of your audience, but accentuate the positives about working with you, suggests Dunlap. “You might say “we have an audience full of women who are interested in these kinds of things,” she says. “Don’t focus on the numbers if they aren’t impressive – they may not ever ask, so don’t let lower numbers hold people back from saying “yes.”
  3. Land a big fish – and talk it up. It might take a while, but if you can reel in a well-known guest, you can use that name as bait to hook other guests in the future, suggests Smith. After getting a B-list celebrity to agree to be on a future show, Smith began dropping her name in conversations with other potential guests. “It’s some level of flattery – suggesting that you believe the person you’re asking is in the same leagues as your famous guest. Once the episode with a well-known guest has actually aired, you’re in an even better position to capitalize on the connection via your podcast website and social channels. But don’t worry too much about your potential guests’ audience size, suggests Dunlap. “In the beginning we got a little starstruck and had on some guests with giant followings. But those people are busy and don’t always share your stuff to their audience.” She shares that guests with smaller to medium-sized followings are usually much more generous with sharing the episode out to their following. “You don’t have to get a big name to have a good show with a great guest,” says Dunlap.
  4.  Make the ask personal. “I always find something personal to add to my initial outreach email – it’s never a mass email,” says Smith. Dunlap agrees. “I think if you find guests who really bring value to your listener, it comes across in your ask and helps you narrow down which guests to ask.
  5. Make it easy. “I offer potential guests flexible appearance times, and make sure to respect their time by staying within the time allotted,” says Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane.
  6. Do your homework. “I do a lot of research before inviting a potential guest on the show,” says PowerPress Podcast Host, MacKenzie Bennett. “If it turns out they’re not a great guest in the end, it’s usually on me.”
  7. Partner with a publisher.  The publicity department at a publishing house, or even independent publicists, can be rich sources of interview material, since they will be looking for PR opportunities whenever new books come out. Try reaching out to the publicist of a book you really love or an author you’d love to feature: once you connect with them and have a good experience, chances are great they’ll keep you on their “list” and pitch you for future authors as well.
  8. Consider legal matters. Some hosts ask potential guests to sign an agreement signing copyright of the interview over to the host. This may seem extreme, but there’s a reason. “When someone appears on your show, the words they say belong to them via copyright,” explains Barry Kantz, Legal Officer and CFO at Blubrry. “It’s assumed that you have permission since they are appearing on your show, but they can withdraw that permission any time they want.” It’s not terribly likely this will happen to you, but if you’re interviewing a big name or the interview topic is at all controversial or could potentially be something the guest might want to distance themselves from in the future, it’s definitely a possibility and something to keep in mind. Of course, in that case, the guest may not be willing to sign anything, so you’ll have to ask yourself: how important is it that I have this guest now, versus the possibility of losing the interview later?

Armed with these tips, you’re ready to get started. Remember our number-one tip, Just Ask? That’s something that’s in your control right now, even if you’re just starting out. So show some bravery and reach out! You might be really surprised by just who says “yes.”

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No-Fault Hosting And Long Tail Podcasting: Two Ways Blubrry Can Save You Money



As experienced hosts know, podcasting can be full of surprises. An episode may perform better than you expect, or you might find that it contains an error after it goes live. Since a big part of Blubrry’s philosophy includes providing excellent customer service and supporting podcasters so they can put out the best possible show, we’ve built in several features that will allow you to deal with unexpected bumps and blips without losing time or money.

For example, No-Fault Hosting allows a podcast to go over storage limits by 25% without penalty. “For example, a 500mb storage account can get up to 125mb of extra storage if needed,” explains Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry. “The way this works is pretty simple, but also important. If a show has used 475mb of its storage for the month and the podcaster has a 75mb file to upload, we will allow the episode to be posted and published going up to 550mb. But once that is done, no more data can be published: it’s a one-time usage per month.”

But what happens if you publish an extra episode out of normal rotation. You may need a bigger bump in storage than what no fault allows that does not warrant increasing your hosting plan, “We will sometimes bump folks up on a one-time, case-by-case basis, to help them in a special production month. If the show regularly runs out of storage by the 25th, we generally recommend that they upgrade if its part of their normal show production.”

“We always give our customers the benefit of the doubt,” agrees Blubrry CIO Angelo Mandato. “If Thursday is their release day but the start of the month is on Friday, we see no reason to make a customer pay us a fee just to push one more episode out. With No-Fault hosting, they can push their normal quota without worrying about it.”

Bottom line, whether you’re experiencing a temporary spike or a slower climb, Blubrry is here to help. “We try to help podcasters the best we can and be accommodating,” says Cochrane. “That’s why we have free migration for 30 days for new account holders. Even if they don’t manage to get their migrated within 30 days, sending an email to support is usually all it takes for us to add another 30 days to their migration.” Cochrane points out that while migration does not count against a podcast’s standard quota, the user will need to use the migration tool in PowerPress or on the podcaster dashboard at blubrry.com.

Long Tail Podcasting is another Blubrry service that can save podcasters time and money. “Sometimes someone needs to do a edit or change an ad. Long Tail allows the podcaster to over-write a media file with a file of the same exact name, so long as the new file stays within reasonable size of the old one. They can replace a file and not go against their current quota, even if the original file was published months ago.”

It should be noted that it can take a few hours for the file to clear the cache at the CDN. “If the podcaster wants us to flush the cache faster, they have to contact us during normal business hours,” explains Cochrane. “A replaced file will update across the CDN naturally, but it is important for folks to understand this is not instantaneous. Uploading the new file and immediately checking for it will likely result in confusion, as the file is not updated with the CDN.”

Long-Tail Podcasting and No-Fault Hosting are just two ways that Blubrry is committed to looking out for you, the podcaster. No matter how big your show grows, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

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Blubrry’s Largest-To-Date Team Meeting Brings Innovation And Ideas Together



On July 14, 2017, Blubrry/Rawvoice brought together ten crucial staff members for the team’s largest and most comprehensive meeting to date.

Todd Cochrane, CEO; Angelo Mandato, CIO; Barry Kantz, Finance and Legal Director, Brian Yunke, Creative Director; Winnie Verzosa, Programmer; Mike Dell, Lead Support Technician; MacKenzie Bennett, Services and Affiliates Coordinator; Lena Taupier, Programmer; and interns/programmers Thomas Matlak and George Chen were present at the meeting, which was held at a lodge in the Columbus area.

“It was nice that we were able to spread out, enjoy some comfortable furniture, and eat while we discussed how we are working as a team and what we can improve,” says Services and Affiliates Coordinator MacKenzie Bennett. “We talked about our current services, what we’d like to change, things we’d like to create in the future, and some overall company policies.”

With over 50% of Blubrry’s team working remotely, regular in-person get-togethers are a necessity. “We strive to be a nimble and forward-thinking company, and allowing employees to work remotely wherever they happen to live allows us to find and hire the best talent across the country rather than being tied to any one geographical area,” says Todd Cochrane, CEO of Rawvoice/Blubrry.

Employing a mostly-remote staff also keeps overhead costs down, which allows the company to innovate more quickly and invest in things that improve the customer experience, like world-class tech support. By planning regular in-person meetings on top of the team’s regular communication via email and Slack, the team has a chance to take a broader view of the company’s progress, discuss big ideas, and meet challenges head-on. 

Our team dynamic is, be open to change,” explains Bennett. “As a result of this meeting, we now have a plan for some new ideas we will be implementing soon that will continue to improve Blubrry customers’ experiences.” 

Even without the benefit of regular in-person meetings, Blubrry has managed to build a cohesive and effective team by relying on technology and ingenuity. “We started the company using our cell phones, chat and email,” says Angelo Mandato, CIO. “We were virtual from the beginning. It is amazing to see how much we have done without being in the same building or town for more than one or two days at a time.”

That said, more in-person gatherings are definitely an objective moving forward. “Even though we have good communication virtually and everyone gets along great, getting together in person allowed the entire team to see the passion everyone has for what we do,” says Mandato.

CEO Todd Cochrane agrees. “My goal is to bring the team together more often,” he says. “As a collective we shared a lot of information and communicated things we need to improve on or change. It was a great day for the team and I look forward to it again so that we can improve what we do best in providing great tools and service to the podcasting world.”

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Warning: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Switch Your Podcast Service Provider



It happens to many podcasters: you got set up on a platform that allowed you to start quickly without investing any money up front. The platform may have made it possible for you to get started for free, but it also requires you to direct listeners to the host’s website to listen to your show, or perhaps the host’s branding is all over your podcast site. Now you’ve been regularly publishing for a while and your audience is growing – and you realize you’ve outgrown your original setup.

“Over the years, we’ve seen that many podcasters start on a platform that they wind up graduating from. They learn that the platform is limiting their ability to build their brand and reach their audience,” says Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane.

If you haven’t already established your own .com or aren’t using a publishing platform like WordPress + PowerPress + Blubrry hosting that allows you to use a streamlined post, upload, publish method, you might wonder if you really need to move to that level yet. We feel the answer is “yes.”

“Over time, we have proven that shows with their own .com, and building their brand on their own branded site versus building their brand on top of a hosting company’s brand, is a better long term strategy,” explains Cochrane. “And a streamlined publishing platform like PowerPress can save the host a lot of time.”

But the most urgent reason to make the switch now is the overall security of your show. “If the platform you’re using closes down and you don’t own your podcast feed,  your show will go extinct. When you don’t control your feed or your brand, your show can simply go away and recovering it will be a big challenge. You’re in a much better position if you switch before there’s a crisis.”

For shows ready to make a move, the transition doesn’t have to be painful! “Our team can migrate podcasters into our eco-system where they get a free WordPress site,” says Cochrane. “We can do everything: migrate the blog posts and media and get their show into a position of not facing an extinction event.”

Once you’ve made this simple move and are safe from losing your show, says Cochrane, you can take steps toward making your podcast even more professional. “Our team can then help guide the podcaster into picking out their own domain and upgrading the free WordPress hosting we provide in PowerPress Sites Basic to Deluxe which includes built-in tools and the best plugins to enhance and brand their podcast website.

Even after the initial switch, we’ll be there for you every step of the way. “Blubrry’s support team offers phone and email support, and when you use PowerPress Sites, our technical team manages, updates, security and backups of your site so you can focus on the content. We provide the best-in-class tools and services without imprinting our brand on your show, meaning you can focus on creating and controlling your own brand,” says Cochrane. Getting started is simple.  Just sign up for Blubrry hosting and we can help you start the transition to taking control of your brand.

Don’t fall for scare tactics that make it sound like you can’t switch providers once you’re locked in. “Moving a podcast to Blubrry is not difficult or risky if it’s done in the correct steps,” explains Cochrane. “The real risk is waiting until things go wrong with your current platform – that’s when it gets much more difficult.”

“Our goal is to keep podcasters producing their shows, getting control of their brand and feed, and then helping them build their sites’ brand around their show content,” says Cochrane. “This will lead to Google taking notice, indexing the show and driving content to the podcasters’ brand versus the podcast host’s brand.”

 

 

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PowerPress Version 7.1 Including Apple iOS 11 Support Is Here!



PowerPress, the number one podcasting plugin with over 1 million downloads worldwide, has just launched PowerPress version 7.1. Here’s what you can expect from the new version.

New Tagging:

As you may already know, in iOS version 11, Apple added new tags to provide better support for serialized content, and these are now supported in PowerPress 7.1, including:

  • iTunes:type, iTunes:episode, and iTunes:season: These tags were added to support serialized content. “Before this, all podcasts were assumed to be episodic,” explains Angelo Mandato, CIO of Blubrry.
  • iTunes:episodeType: “This tag adds a way to mark special episodes,” says Mandato.
  • iTunes:title: “At the episode level, this is Apple’s solution for podcasters who add episode numbers and other extra information to their blog post titles. The iTunes title should be clean of such meta information, since this information can now be specified by the other new tags previously mentioned.”
  • content:encoded & iTunes:summary: This is a value containing the show notes for your episode. PowerPress has supported these tags for many years.

“We’ve known the content:encoded tag was necessary for years,” explains Mandato. “We have worked with the Apple team confirming we are in full compliance of Apple’s latest documentation.” Check out this helpful PDF from Apple laying out the new and updated specs to learn more about Apple Podcasts and tagging in iOS 11.

Other Additions:

Powerpress Version 7.1 contains a few other upgrades and improvements, such as: 

  • Subscribe on iTunes has been changed to Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.
  • Secure HTTPS websites using Blubrry Podcast Media Hosting are now automatically supported. Media URLs are now automatically converted to HTTPS. You no longer have to edit past episodes if you switch from HTTP to HTTPS.

Please see the change log for a full list of upgrades and improvements.

Something we hope you won’t miss:

A barely-used feature has been removed due to being outdated and seldom-used. The Windows Media Player embed for wmv video and wma audio has been removed. Chrome, Safari, Firefox as well as Microsoft Edge browsers do not support the Windows Media Player embed, providing support for this is no longer practical. In its place will be a play link which will open the media on the device’s default media player.

Some not-so-fine print:

  • PowerPress 7.1 requires WordPress version 3.6 or newer. WordPress 4.8+ is recommended.

Ready to try PowerPress 7.1, the very latest version of the world’s most popular podcasting plugin? Here’s where to get your FREE download.

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WARNING: Your Service Provider Could Go Under. How Will You Protect Your Podcast?



Soundcloud, primarily a platform for streaming music, also gained popularity several years ago as a place to host a podcast. But public statements and rumors of cancellation of salary reviews is another sign that all is not well and SoundCloud may not be around much longer. If the company folds, it will be just one in a long line of podcast service providers to disappear – often without much warning, leaving their customers high and dry.

What will that mean for podcasters who currently use SoundCloud? Here at Blubrry, we worry about podcasters who’s podcast feed is tied to the service. If they pull the plug with short or no notice a lot of podcasters will be left high and dry with no way to redirect their podcast feed, migrate their data, and have a seamless transfer. Some shows on the platform have their sole presence there with no external website which would mean the death of their shows. Whether or not SoundCloud gets desperately needed funding their last round was a loan, it’s wise to protect your podcast starting today. Follow these three simple tips:

  1. As a podcaster, it’s vitally important that you own and control your own feedThis protects you in the surprisingly-likely case that your podcast service provider suddenly disappears or experiences an outage. (It happens more often than you might believe, and can occur without warning.) At Blubrry, by using PowerPress on your own website you control your feed. That means that if we disappear one day or simply experience an outage, your feed is still controlled by you – period. And when you control your feed, you can host your media anywhere you want. Check out our step-by-step tutorial that offers specific instructions for migrating your podcast from SoundCloud, Libsyn, PodOmatic and more. Blubrry continues to advocate owning and controlling your whole stack and providing tools that make podcasting possible while not imposing our brand on your shows.
  2. Back up your media files. Hosting files can disappear without warning, and no, a copy on your hard drive isn’t exactly a secure backup plan since they can become corrupted or even lost. Use a cloud-based backup system to give you extra peace of mind. After all, you don’t want to lose that content you worked so hard to create. Having a backup can protect you from a podcast hosting providers demise and allow you to get your show back online quickly, so long as you control your podcast feed.
  3. Make sure you own your brand, not just your show. Without the ability to direct your listeners to your own branded site which you control, you could lose your audience overnight. “The concern I had from the beginning with SoundCloud is their constant desire to send people to THEIR app to listen to our content,” explains Zack East, Digital Media Manager at Midwest Family Broadcasting in Benton Harbor, MI, who recently switched his radio stations’ entire podcast catalog from SoundCloud to Blubrry.  “Even when we embedded players in to our website content, they still wanted people on mobile devices to go to their site instead. Blubrry allows us to keep our listeners on our websites, easily able to listen, download, subscribe and follow our content and gain new fans! “Many podcast services companies seem to care more about using your listeners to their advantage than in helping you build a successful brand of your own. Here at Blubrry, we’ve always been focused on helping podcasters find, reach, and retain their audiences. We make it easy to develop your own brand with PowerPress Sites, an all-in-one podcasting and website solution. With account levels ranging from basic and free to pro, there’s nothing keeping you from having a customized and branded website of your own so that no matter what happens in the world of podcasting, your listeners stay yours always.

 

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Podcast Statistics 2017: Will Android Continue To Gain Market Share While Apple Slips?



A quick look at Podcast Statistics 2017. Here at Blubrry, we take statistics seriously and devote a large portion of our time and resources to tracking the trends that affect you as a podcaster. As of May 2017 we measured over 50,000 podcast programs. Our statistics have the largest reach in the industry, with a portfolio ranging from amateur podcasters to enterprise clients including ESPN and ABC radio.

When it comes to predicting which platforms will continue to see growth and which will slip, we’re pretty well-positioned to make a very-educated guess. So where do we fall on the question of whether Apple will continue to dominate the podcast market? To put it simply, we anticipate that the tables will slowly turn, with Android gaining ground faster in global podcast consumption.

Apple Vs. Android: Which Will Dominate Podcasting?

“We predict the Apple’s direct market share – not third-party iOS apps – will fall below 50% by midyear 2018, as podcasting continues to become popular on Android,” says Angelo Mandato, CIO of Blubrry.

Mandato’s educated opinion is based on two basic facts:

  • We’ve seen Android podcast consumption nearly double over the past two years.
  • We don’t see Apple’s additional tags to podcast feeds giving them an edge and changing podcast consumption. It’s great to see innovation from Apple, but unless Apple creates an Android podcast app, the trends we see will continue their market share decline.

Following are the numbers we have documented that illustrate this shift:

Apple’s iOS Podcast App/iTunes Desktop market share:

  • May 2017: 55.5%
  • May 2016: 59.7%
  • May 2015: 64.8%
  • May 2014: 68.6%
  • May 2013: 68.7%
  • May 2012: 73.1%
  • May 2008: 73.8%
  • May 2007: 96.5%

Why is this shift happening? While we at Blubrry can’t make any definitive claims, Mandato offers this in-depth look at the trends and technological developments that have informed consumer behavior, as they may serve to act as a narrative explaining Apple’s slow, but steady, slippage:

May 2008 – Early podcast consumption required syncing between a computer and a mobile device.

At that time the Zune App showed great promise with 6.6% market share. The following year, Zune reached over 10% market share of podcast consumption, a level no other app since (other than Apple’s) has achieved. 2008 is an important year, as it was the last year that there were no mobile apps for podcasting.

In 2008, Apple’s desktop market share was 73.8%. It would prove to hold steady between 70 and 80% for the next 5+ years. There were no mobile apps at this time for iOS, Android launched fall of 2008 and the first podcast mobile app for Android appeared in 2009. Desktop browsers made up 5.8% market share. Browsers did not have built-in media players at this time, so podcasters were required to use Flash-based players.

In 2008, a desktop app called Juice (previously called iPodder) spearheaded by Adam Curry, the “podfather” of podcasting, still enjoyed nearly 3% market share.

May, 2012 – A pivotal year in which apps on mobile devices started to dominate the market

2012 was the year we saw podcast consumption shift from desktop computers synced to mp3 players, to apps directly on mobile devices – as well as the start of Android podcast consumption providing meaningful data. We saw modest growth in desktop web browser consumption thanks to HTML5-based built-in browser players becoming the norm. The Podcast iOS app launched only one month later, which quickly displaced more than half of the podcast consumption from iTunes desktop directly to the iPhone in only a few short months.

In 2012, Apple devices dominated the market with nearly 75% market share of podcast consumption.The combined Apple app market share was 73.1% who used either the iOS iTunes app (36.2%) or iTunes Desktop (36.9%). (Before the iOS podcast app launched in 2012, podcast consumption on the iPhone was done directly within the mobile iTunes app.) Apple’s third-party iOS app market share was 1.5%, which included Downcast (0.6%) and others.

Contrast that to Android, which enjoyed an app market share of only 4.7%, primarily including the default media player on Android as well as apps such as BeyondPod and Google Listen (a now-defunct Android podcast app that used Google Reader: both met their demise the following year).

We watched Android consumption stagnate from 2012-2015, due to the lack of a standard way to subscribe to podcasts on Android. And the Zune App, which worked with the Zune media player at the time, had a quickly-shrinking 1% market share.

May, 2017 – Modern podcast consumption

In the ensuing five years, the picture has changed fairly dramatically. At this time, Apple has just 55.5% of the app market share, split between the iOS podcast app (51.1%) and iTunes Desktop (4.4%). Apple 3rd party market share is currently 7.7%, which includes 3rd party iOS apps such as Stitcher radio (1.8%) and Overcast (2%) for iOS.

But while Apple devices still dominated the market as of last month, with over 63.2% combined market share of podcast consumption, Android apps have slowly and surely intruded on Apple’s once seemingly-unshakeable market share, boasting 17.8% market share in May 2017 including apps such as Stitcher radio (1.7%) and many more.

There are over 12 Android podcast apps that support the subscribe on Android protocol (http://subscribeonandroid.com/), which lists the majority of the Android apps used today. As of last month, desktop browsers made up just 12.6% market share, which included Chrome (10.2%), IE/Edge (1.1%), Firefox (1.0%) and Safari (0.3%).

Whether our predicted date for the eventual tipping point is accurate or not, the numbers definitely indicate that a change is coming. Which presents a big question for podcasters: if you knew Apple no longer owned podcasts, how would it change the way you produce and promote your show?

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The WeCast Podcast App is Available for Subscribe on Android



With so many podcast apps on the market, is there room for a new contender? If you’re looking for a customized, streamlined podcast-listening experience, the answer might be “yes.” WeCast, the 14th app added to Blubrry’s Subscribe on Android service, offers a user-friendly and multi-faceted way to consume podcasts.

“We don’t have all the possible features available on other apps,” explains Eduardo Baião, creator of WeCast. “Instead, we chose the ones that could satisfy the majority of podcast listeners,” including notifications when new episodes are played, automatic download, sharing features, and the ability to backup and sync subscriptions between devices, among others. But the app also one unique feature with the potential to greatly impact the way podcasts are consumed: users can add text, links, and images to a timeline to create a richer listening experience.

“Imagine the following scenario,” says Baião. “You’re listening to an episode of a podcast and someone mentions a topic you don’t know or can’t remember. It could be the name of an actor, a movie title, a character in a video game, or a historical event. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to look at your smartphone screen and see, at that very moment, a picture or text informing you about that particular topic, such as a movie poster, the actor’s photo, a book cover, a picture of the character, or the discography of a band? You can do that on WeCast.”

The app costs $1.99 to download for both iOS and Android, but Baião believes that it could be a great gateway app for potential podcast listeners who haven’t embraced the medium yet, so if you’re looking for techniques to turn your blog readers into podcast listeners, WeCast could be a way to ease them in. And a couple of bucks may prove to be a small price to pay for a multi-media podcast listening experience. If you’re already promoting Subscribe on Android, it may be worth mentioning WeCast to your listeners to see if they like what they hear – and see.

 

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How To Make The Most Of Your Sponsored Spots



A few weeks ago we discussed choosing the best placement for advertisements in your podcasts. But of course, there’s a lot more to a successful sponsored campaign than where the ad actually lives. In this post we’ve compiled four pro tips to help you nail those sponsored ads.

1) Make It Personal.

“The power of podcast advertising is the power of the endorsement,” explains Heather Osgood, CEO of True Native Media, an agency that connects podcasters with advertisers. “The best scenario is a live endorsement ad,” in which the host talks about his or her personal experience with the product or service. Osgood admits, however, that it’s not always possible or practical to personally experience every sponsor’s goods. “If the product or service can’t be sampled by a host, then a live-read ad is best,” she says. As for canned (pre-produced) ads? “True Native Media has not run any canned ads to date,” Osgood says. “Canned ads would only make sense if the ad were dynamically inserted across a number of different podcasts.”

2) Go Above and Beyond.

If you’re working with an advertising network, anything you offer on top of your endorsement or ad might not lead to more dollars…right away, at least. “Most advertisers are thrilled to receive posts on social platforms, but they are not typically interested in paying additional for that reach,” explains Osgood. But that doesn’t mean that going the extra mile won’t pay back in the future. If you’re selling your own sponsor spots and have a decent social media reach, you may be able to interest an advertiser in an integrated campaign that incorporates your podcast, show notes post, website banner ads, and/or social media amplification. And at the very least, giving a little extra effort to your current sponsors might make them more eager to work with you in the future. “I think an effective podcast sponsorship is a three-pronged strategy: banners, text mention in show notes with a hyperlink, plus the host-endorsed spot, followed up with at least 1 weekly social mention with proper disclosure (#ad or #spon),” says Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry. “That way the listener ideally hears the ad, sees the banner, and reads the ad in the show notes, and it’s reinforced with the social reminder.” And if your ad is an affiliate, going the extra mile to promote the brand carefully will net you larger sales.

Bottom line: you have a platform, so why not use it to its fullest extent?

3) Package Thoughtfully. 

While your network may offer you ads that require only a midroll placement, it never hurts to quickly remind your listeners about the sponsor at the end of the show. And briefly teasing the sponsor at the beginning of the show may also help the message stick. “The ideal sponsorship package will include a quick preroll thank you to the sponsor, a midroll 60-second ad, and an endroll thank you,” says Cochrane.

 4) Think About Your Audience First.

Remember that all of the above are only guidelines, and sometimes rules are made to be broken. Maybe the tone of your particular show lends itself more to a snarky review or parody than an earnest endorsement. Maybe your show is so engrossing that a midroll break would be jarring, or so quick-moving that 60 seconds would seem like an eternity. And just because every other podcaster in the world seems to be working with a particular brand, ask yourself: is YOUR particular audience likely to be interested in Casper mattresses or a plug for Squarespace? When done thoughtfully, podcast advertising can offer the best of all worlds: honest and helpful information, presented in an authentic and appealing way, which also happens to earn you money! If you aren’t sure what kinds of products or services your audience might like, survey them to find out. And remember: focusing on adding value for your audience before anything else is the most surefire way to find success with sponsorship.
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