You can help your audience sift through your content maze and make them more engaged listeners. All you have to do is to curate a favorite list from your episodes that would help them choose what to listen to! Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard share valuable insights on how you could help your audience navigate your content and get a visual for what is working at the same time. Maybe not all your episodes are relevant anymore. Maybe some episodes are definite must-listens. So, you have to know how to guide your audience and offer them a start or shift. Tune into this episode to learn how to make your website show that you’re highly curating for your specific audience.
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Curating A Favorite List From Your Episodes That Helps Audience Pick Episodes
Tracy, what are we going to talk about?
I was inspired by one of our podcasters who’s a client and I interviewed on The Binge Factor, Paul Higgins. He has a favorites list. I thought I talked about the idea of a favorites list. When should you have one? I thought maybe we could talk about the idea of maybe spinning it off into its own feed. Should you do those things? Talking about this idea is how do we create a curated list, a special list that helps our audience and members of our groups navigate all the content we create? For us, it’s a lot of content.
We do create a lot of content. I can’t think of a better time a year to reflect on your episodes that you’ve been producing and publishing in 2020 to maybe create a favorites list even if you record enough episodes of what you’ve published in 2021. Although, there may be some other favorites lists that you might consider as well.
Paul did it and this was an interesting tactic. Paul did it when he got to his 100th episode. He gets to his 100th episode and gives a recap of his five favorites. He also talked about his top episodes, which you can see based on the listenership but sometimes those top episodes are not always the best. Those top episodes can be skewed by the fact that you had a great guest who shared it well but that wasn’t maybe a great one based on your topic or audience.
We want to make sure that we’re balancing that out by the ones that are the most useful where people can get the most information. Maybe it’s even a one-on-one list or a start here list. That can be that as well. I have masterclasses, which is my favorites video list. I call it that because usually, they’re the longer videos where I’m teaching something, not just giving a brief topic or something like that and definitely no interviews in there.
It’s the ones where I do my interview tips like on how to structure an interview, ones that I do on how to create a content calendar, different things like that. I’m constantly sending them to people that I have strategy calls with. I have a favorite, technically, a playlist that’s on YouTube but there’s no reason for you not to do something similar with your podcast. Creating it within your blog is easy. What I did was I went through and found my ten best interviews on The Binge Factor in 2020.Top episodes are not always the best episodes. Click To Tweet
I picked them. They have the most relevant content. You can learn the most from these podcast hosts. Plus, they’re successful podcasters who’ve been doing it a while so you can trust what they say as well. I picked those. I put them into a favorites list. All I did in the back end of my blog was tagged them in a category called Favorites. It’s super simple.
All I had to do was create a blog page with a feed that only pulled from the blogs that were related to the favorites list. All of them show up on that one page. We made a link to it from the very front. You can see this at TheBingeFactor.com. You’ll see the section for favorites. I created a scroll of them. You can also go through each one of them and go into that list of favorites. It helps you out to get a visual for what that’s working on but you could turn it into a feed.
You could turn it into its own podcast. This is a technique that we’ve talked about other times and is commonly used for different purposes. Maybe you have a fundamental series of ten episodes, depending on your niche or your subject matter, which are one-on-one series. If you have a very niche topic podcast in a certain field of practice or study and there are some basic fundamental ones that all your listeners would benefit from if they listened to them all, you can separate them and make your own podcast. When you get over 300 episodes, I know for some of you, it may be hard to imagine when you do get to that point but it happened to us within two years. We were publishing so many episodes a week. I think five for the first couple of years of our podcasts. We got there pretty quickly.
Once you get to episode 301, episode 1 is no longer available on all the podcasting apps. We ended up creating volume 1 of our first 100 episodes. Eventually, it changed to the first 200 episodes and it keeps growing. It can only be 300 and then we had to create volume 2. There’s another reason you could create some additional shows that keep all your content alive in the podcast ecosystem. I’m very much in favor of not just doing that but highlighting certain episodes, collections of episodes for a number of reasons. One of them is it’s brilliant to do it in favorites, Tracy.
It gives you more flexibility in how you use it. You can drop an episode in and take it out. When you’re not using the feed but you’re inviting your listeners to come to the blog or to your website and go to the favorites list is also a way to draw people in. I want the shortlist. I’m busy. I love that someone has 150 episodes. I know that they’ve got rich content in there but for me to take the time to dive through and figure out which ones I should start, that can be overwhelming.
If I start from the beginning of a show, this can be a place where you lose listeners. When you start from the beginning of a show, those episodes were green and not as good. Maybe not all those episodes are relevant anymore. Maybe some of your guests are not even doing those businesses anymore because business has changed. This can be at a place where we need to be more highly curated with how we’re guiding the audience and what we’re offering them.
Start not to have them go from the beginning all the way through and have to fend for themselves. We want to guide them in the process. We’re curators. That’s our job. Let’s curate a great list so you can have lists for different reasons. I may have mentioned before that we’re going to be breaking the Feed Your Brand podcast into five feeds. It may have already happened by the time you’re reading this or it may not have. We’re breaking it into 5 different feeds with 5 different topic bases.
This main Feed Your Brand feed is still going to exist. It will still have all of the episodes in it. If somebody subscribed to it, they’re going to get it. I’m creating a new feed in case your goal is to increase everything you want to know about guesting. Guest tactics will have their own category or you’re still launching your show so launch tactics will be its own category.
This is how we’re breaking it out to make it easier also for someone new who comes in because we’re hitting up close to 200 episodes. That’s a lot to sift through. When you get into that place where you’re trying to sift through that, that’s a hard time. While I’m doing that, I’m fixing my episodes too. I’m retitling them if I thought the titles needed a refresh because maybe they need a new context.Creating a favorite episode list makes your website easy to navigate and shows that you're highly curating for your specific audience. Click To Tweet
I am deleting anyone I don’t want to be associated with if the guest isn’t there. I don’t take it off the blog. This is my trick. I leave the blog page up but I remove them from the navigation and from all the categories. This way, if that guest has a link back to the page, it doesn’t break but I do remove it from the feed and the navigation within the site. Somebody wouldn’t stumble on it. You’d have to have billing only. It’s my trick to try to disassociate but not break your website in the process.
I know some of our readers and certainly, some of our customers have interview format podcasts where they’re interviewing very high-profile guests. Not all your guests are probably that high profile. What I like about this idea of a favorites list is somebody new who comes to your show and you’ve been publishing for several years. What are the best ones that I should listen to? Who are those best guests?
Creating a favorites list of those, you can look at and see which ones were more popular from a listening perspective. Some episodes get listened to more than others. That may have a lot to do with the guest but also, maybe it’s who you want to feature. Another good reason to do this, to highlight your highest-profile guests or the ones that you’re most proud of, is that when you are trying to pitch new people to be guests on your show. Maybe people that are harder to get, you can give them a link to that feed.
Maybe it’s a page on your website or maybe it’s a link to the feed within a common podcast app like Apple or Spotify. You can let them listen to the top 4 or 6 interviews you’ve ever done. It becomes a bit of an ego play. Don’t you want to be like these people and highlight it on my show? They’re not left to go, explore your show on their own and try to sift through hundreds of episodes, which ones are the best. There are so many good reasons it seems. I’m sure for those of you that are new and starting out and maybe you haven’t recorded 6 or 10 episodes total yet fair enough.
You could pick one favorite, though. You could highlight and say, “This is my new favorite.” You can rotate that as a feature on your website.
You can also plan ahead and think about as you’re recording your first episodes, which ones do you want to put in the parking lot for later and say, “This is one I want to note and remember. I’m going to come back and add it to the favorites list when I have enough.”
This is the other reason why we tell you again and again that we don’t recommend episode numbers being in the titles of your show because you might want to do something like this. When you have the episode numbers in there, it’s going to skip around. It’s very disconcerting to people. They get frustrated when the numbers don’t match up to the numbers that iTunes gives it on the side. They get frustrated when you’re skipping around numbers, even though they know this is a special list. I highly recommend if you’re going to make this list, if you have numbers in them to remove them, at least from those episodes before you put them in a special list.
I also think, Tracy, what you mentioned about considering retitling them. There’s one perspective of a title that you put out there that you want to cast a very wide net for as many people as you think might be interested in the subject as possible. If you’re going to segregate an episode and put it in a favorites list in a special category like, “This is the 101 Series.” Some people have travel podcasts. You could have all the episodes that are for South America, for Europe and things like that. You may want to change the title when it’s within a group to be more relevant within that favorites group. The same title may not apply. You can retitle it.
That’s fine as long as you’re creating a separated feed. Remember, when you keep a single feed, you’re messing with the titles that are in that. That’s a fine strategy if you’re doing that or if it’s okay with you and it’s not okay with some of you. It’s okay if your blog title and your episode title on your feed are not the same thing exactly. Sometimes I’ll start with a title that’s a shorter title in my episode that’s in the feed for what goes out to iTunes or Apple, Spotify and all of those places. My blog will have an extension on it. It will be longer for my blog. It’ll have the added piece to it. That’s a strategy you can utilize as well. The titling does matter.
One of the other things I want to mention because we did do this when we created the special series for HP and our 3D Print podcast was we did take our favorite episodes, our favorite and most relevant to current times, to things that were going on in the 3D printing world at this moment. We took them and updated them. We created a new introduction on them and did edit out a few things that were set in time. They weren’t as evergreen as they could be. We did make an edit of it and made that in its own special list. That’s something you can do as well.
If you’re creating this special list in a separate feed, this is certainly something where you can do a new intro on something especially if you’ve got 600 episodes. These things were from 2017. It was time to bring them up and move them through. That’s why you can do this update. The great part is that it gets an updated title. The update gets reindexed by Google. It comes back up to the forefront of your list of podcasts, episodes and Google ranking anyway. It’s a great way to utilize that.
What else do we have to say about the favorites list?
The last thing I want to mention about a favorites list and all of those things is that make whatever you can do flexible because your favorites today could be different tomorrow. Create a flexible system for yourself or like with the category tags where I can delete that easily. I don’t have to move anything around. They will stop showing up in that blog section. The feed part still exists in the main feed. I didn’t get rid of it over there.
If it’s in the news feed, I can remove it from that feed specifically. Curating a system for yourself where you can be flexible. This can be a dynamic list because your new favorites are yet to be recorded a lot of times. You never know when that’s going to happen. That’s my only suggestion on the end of it. I always try to think of something that’s flexible.
I agree with the flexibility. This is not meant to be a downer. I had a discussion with a customer that illustrates the need for flexibility. He has an episode that was published but it was recorded months ago. That often happens with podcasters. He asked us to make an adjustment to an episode especially in their blog posts and contact information for the guest, which is always there because his guest passed away.
Quite unfortunate, very sorry to hear that but there’s a reason you may want to adjust something, especially if that episode, let’s say, was in a favorites list and you’re talking about this person. They can get their contact info on your website and maybe their own website or something like that. There’s an episode that may need some editing and adjustment if you’re going to continue to put it out there.
Another idea if you are one of our clients in the Podetize system is to drop it in a special ad. We did this for some of our clients who had prerecorded episodes in the music industry, for example. They were prerecorded before COVID started. They were talking about concerts and lives. None of that was happening. She went back specifically and put a special ad spot in. The ad spot allowed her to say, “This is happening now and this episode was prerecorded. I don’t want you to miss it even though some of these things have changed at this moment in time. I’ll try to get you an update as we find out what’s going on.”
If you could do an ad spot, that’s the same idea. You could do that in your favorites list. You could create your favorites list and put a special ad that’s in there that tells you, “Letting you know that this is my favorite. Letting you know, although this was in my favorites list and it is truly my favorite, that this person passed away and I am putting this episode in memory of him.” You can put a personal touch on it. Do it in that way without having to edit in case that’s not in the ballpark for you because you’re not having a producer or you don’t normally produce your episodes like that.
That’s a possibility as well. I always try to think again of flexibility as we were pointing out that being able to drop these things at the right places where you can say something like that gives you a lot of opportunity to both make sure that they’re highly relevant to the user and also so that you have the flexibility to correct things as things move forward. The company’s name changes and all those things happen.
I have one person I communicate with a lot. His company has changed five times in two years. It’s crazy. A lot of those things happen. I want to be clear for those people reading who may not be familiar when you’re referring, Tracy, to the ad system. This is a system on Podetize that allows you to insert audio clips. They can be ads, promotions or like Tracy suggested, it can be a relevant update, special message to put a little current context on an episode that might otherwise not make as much sense now if somebody is listening to it. It doesn’t have to be an ad per se. That’s all.
We’ve roughed out the idea here for you, something to think about at the start of a new year. Whenever you pass 100 episodes or anything like that, these are great times for you to do that. As always, it’s great to be able to shift this to be able to make your website easy to navigate and demonstrate that you’re highly curating for your specific audience within that website.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. We have to think about what favorites list this one’s going into. We’ll be back next time with another great episode.
- Paul Higgins – past episode
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