Category Archives: 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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Podcast Movement 2017 Recap



Podcast Movement 2017 has officially come and gone, and thanks to everyone that Blubrry was able to meet, catch up with and discuss anything to do with podcasting last week. We were so happy to once again be able to head out to Anaheim and sponsor and participate in one of the largest gatherings of podcasters that happens every year. Shawn Thorpe was attending for the first time this year and MacKenzie got his opinion on how the entire event felt day by day. She has been to multiple events for podcasting over the years and they had lots to compare.

Blubrry Podcasting booth at Podcast Movement 2017 before the event started.

Little bit on Shawn Thorpe: He’s been part-time tech support for Blubrry since March of 2015 (the same time MacKenzie started). He has been podcasting for 12 years now, and yet this was the first event that he has attended concerning podcasting.

Don’t expect any news articles or a PowerPress tip this episode, those will be back next episode of the PowerPress Podcast. Thanks for listening and please subscribe!

Fan of PowerPress? Leave us a review here!

Show notes:

Podcast Movement 2017
Blubrry Services – Use the code PM17 for THREE FREE months of service! Don’t miss out on this opportunity new customers!
Hyper Nonsense – Shawn’s podcast.

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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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Podcasting Services Updates, Advice and Experiences



Blubrry recently updated PowerPress, Ryan Wheaton of the Branding Brews podcast shares his podcasting experience, and Aaron Mahnke of Lore gives podcasting advice. MacKenzie and Ryan discuss the changes that came in the PowerPress 7.1 update – including the Apple RSS feed tags – and you’re able to download the latest version now. Ryan tells about why he started his show and who he thinks will benefit from listening. If you’ve ever thought about diving into a podcasting network, Lore host Aaron Mahnke, has some advise for you.

Thanks for listening and please subscribe!

Fan of PowerPress? Leave us a review, here!

Show notes:

PowerPress Update
Branding Brews
How Aaron Mahnke Makes A Living Podcasting (And How You Can Too)
Printful – After the recording Ryan thought of a useful company for merchandise. You can connect it with a number of website platforms. Customers order a product on your site, it gets sent to Printful, they print and ship it to your customer. You don’t even have to pre-order products so no inventory or big up-front costs!

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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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Advertising Revenue and Using PowerPress Multiple Times



In 2017 podcasting revenue is making a huge jump and PowerPress can be used in so many ways. Catch up with MacKenzie and her guest, Ken Gagne, as they discuss how much money podcast advertising is slated to make this year and Ken’s podcasts over the years. Podcasting advertising has been a topic of conversation on the PowerPress Podcast multiple times, and it was time for an update on the increasing monetary platform. Ken has never dabbled in podcast advertising, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t able to bring up some good questions and provide some insight about the entire process.

Ken has been podcasting for many years and has been involved in a number of shows. Currently he is the host of Polygamer, which discusses diversity and equality in the gaming industry. When he’s not working on that show it’s common for him to be contributing to other shows as well as teaching about podcasting. He teaches publishing at Emerson College in Boston and includes not only podcasting but Blubrry’s beloved PowerPress as well. Thanks for listening and please subscribe!

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Show notes:

Podcasting Revenue Will Jump 85%
Polygamer
Ken’s PowerPress Presentation
Emerson College – Ken’s courses

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New Podcast Stats and Tags From Apple – Your Podcast 008



Soundclound may be in trouble, having a Plan B for your podcast if things go sideways, Apple’s new tags and stats and lastly, speeding up support if you’re a Blubrry customer. All of that with Mike and Todd, covering a whole plethora of topics. Thanks for listening to the show and please subscribe on PowerPressPodcast.com.

News:

  • Soundcloud – Rumors they are deferring salary reviews indefinitely.

 

Topics:

  • Plan B – Have one, no matter who you’re hosting with.
  • Apple’s new RSS tags and stats – Coming in iOS 11’s Podcast app update: What is does and does not do (such as giving you stats for the rest of your listeners, like Android or 3rd part apps).
  • Global stats – Blubrry’s insight.
  • Blubrry Stats Refresh! – It’s finalllly working for our pro stats customers.

Tech Support:

  • Help us help you! – You can speed up your support time by telling us your feed address and Blubrry account email.
  • Linking! – Connect your PowerPress / WordPress site to Blubrry (including your PowerPress Site). This also helps us help you if there is a problem. Bonus – you’re included in the Blubrry directory, the largest in the world.
  • Replacing a file – On our CDN a file is propogated to data centers all over the world. If you replace a file on our hosting server, it can take time to get the new version everywhere. To speed this process up, when you replace a file email support@blubrry.com so we can refresh the cache. That helps the CDN get the file to everyone quicker.
  • Support hours – Our main hours are 9-5 ET. And remember our advice, provide the following: File name, feed, and Blubrry account email. We’ll find everything much faster.

To ask questions or to comment on the show, contact Todd and Mike here: yourpodcast@blubrry.com

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