While we always want our new podcast episodes to be fresh and relevant, our past episodes still have a lot of value. The back catalog is as great resource, especially for new listeners. In this episode, Tracy Hazzard and Tom Hazzard look at several ways to make the most of your podcast’s past episodes. They give several tips and describe what they do to leverage older content. Tune in to this informative episode and learn more about the world of content creation and podcasting.
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Getting New Listeners To Tune In: Leveraging Your Past Episodes To Drive Interest
In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to boost your exposure using your back episodes. What else would you call it, Tracy?
It’s increasing listeners of those back episodes. That’s what we really want. The thing is that we’re all about the new. We’re all about the new guests we have on, the new show or the new thing. We like to think about our new but we forget that the back catalog is so valuable. Those back episodes are so useful to someone new who just found you and so often, that is an underserved market. We aren’t repurposing, reusing, making mentions and throws to back episodes. We don’t do that enough to be able to get more circulation to them.
What we do find is that our entire back catalog typically gets about 60% of our monthly listens every single month. Meaning that our most current episodes, if you do one a week, that’s four in that month. All the other episodes you have, but those four get about 60% of your listenership each month. That’s a huge amount of people that are finding you, catching up on you or whatever that might be, but they’re listening to these episodes that you consider old and not as important, but they got to them. What we want to do is talk about some ways that you can cross-reference, re-promote or do some things to boost even more back episode listenership.
I don’t know if this is on your list, Tracy because we’ve been so busy. We haven’t had time to compare lists. I barely have time to make a list.
I got a list.
One of the ways is when you are planning a new episode, think about, are there any episodes you did in the past that relate in any way to a portion of or even in its entirety, to this episode you’re about to record? Make sure you have either the title of that episode or, if you do use episode numbers, the episode number and reference it when you’re recording this new episode. You give people a reason who are listening to this one to go back and listen to an earlier one because maybe they didn’t binge through all your stuff.
I have a thing that I do every time I’m recording a show because I very frequently refer to past podcast guests because my show, The Binge Factor, is interviewing successful podcasters. I referenced their show, name or something about them. I remember the stories better than I remember the names. It’s something that I’m not always great at, like identifying their show and remembering it exactly right. I hate to get somebody’s show name wrong.We like to think about our new episodes, but we forget that that back catalog is so valuable. Click To Tweet
Here’s what I do. I pull up my Podetize portal. I pull up my portal because it’s the way I can see the list of shows quickly so that if I’m in it and I’m thinking through, as someone’s talking, I’m going to make a reference to Kim Seltzer’s The Charisma Quotient. Sometimes, I mess up what The Charisma Quotient’s name is. I can’t think of it. Because I know when I did it, I know when I mentioned it, I could scroll through it quickly and look at all of them.
Another place is if you’re using the Fusebox Archive Player, which we provide for our clients. If you’ve got that, which is a player that shows all the episodes, the latest one doesn’t make you scroll from page to page. The old one used to, but this one allows you to scroll as if you would on a feed through your whole episodes. Another idea is to have your phone and your feed up in there. You could scroll through it quickly and identify the episode name. Don’t use numbers. Use the names. People remember the names much better than they’ll remember the numbers.
We’ve had some people in the past who are good at referencing all their episodes use episode numbers. I don’t know how they remember the numbers, honestly, but that’s been done a lot in the past. Episode numbers are falling out of favor in general. We’ve talked about why that is. We don’t have to rehash it now, but definitely, the title or the guest’s name and something like that. Tracy, good idea on the Podetize portal. We have a good search function. You can search on the guest’s first name or last name or any keyword term that might be in the title if you don’t remember roughly when it was. You’ll have that and you reference it.
You can scroll fast and that’s what I do. I’m not clicking or doing anything during the interview, but I can scroll fast because I remember, “It was in June of 2020 or when it was.” I can find it quickly for myself. It’ll stand out. I did this, which is another one of my tips is that I repurposed episodes in social media in an evergreen way, but I also bring them up to relevance. I have an article that I wrote and a couple of interviews that I did that relate to Star Wars. Every May 4th, I bring those same articles back up. After having done it for years in a row now, they are some of my most trafficked high-value articles. I do the same thing with episodes.
My team said, “We’re ready for the Mother’s Day post. What do you want to post?” I said, “I’ve got three great shows that I want to highlight. Let me bring up those for you.” Moms With Dreams is one of them. I thought, “Let’s do the Not A Momma Life and get Raphie Wagner’s show. She was a guest.” I brought an episode and said, “Let’s provide the opposite for all those not moms out there. Let’s have an episode for them as well.” I’m highlighting all three of the top episodes of shows about moms or not a mom.
I like what you’re doing. Your episode references, Tracy. I have to say, May the 4th, that’s particularly geeky. You don’t usually do that.
I’m pretty geeky.
I don’t know, not that much.
We’re a Star Wars family here. I have a Rebel Rey backpack. It’s the first backpack. I do. We’re a little geeky here. Tap into that and utilize that as a reason to reshare an old episode. It doesn’t matter. It’s got relevance right now because it’s Mother’s Day, May 4th, Father’s Day or whatever that might be. Use it as an excuse to bring that back up. I’m not a big fan of holiday posts. I don’t love those posts that say, “Happy Mother’s Day.” It’s great. I wish all the Mother’s Day great but I want to like hideout and have a quiet Mother’s Day.
The last thing I want to care about is when I’m posting on social media on that day for myself personally. I feel like it’s disingenuous in business to do it. When I can make something useful, relevant and highlight a few great moms or if you’re not a mom, I would rather do that. That, to me, is a better service. That’s how I like to use our social media evergreen posting trying to find relevant reasons to share them over time. That’s a great way to bring up and recycle the original posts you made. We don’t make new posts. We might make a new caption to the post about Mother’s Day that’s why we’re sharing these new shows, but we don’t make new graphics or anything like that. We’re reusing what was done originally when the episode was posted. We aren’t making a lot more work for ourselves.
The other great thing to do when you’re doing this is it’s not just to refer to it in the audio, but definitely, if you have a blog post for your episode, and obviously, if you’re working with us, we do this for you. For those of you DIY-ers out there and you’re not working with us yet. You’ve got a blog post for your episode and you referenced an early episode, in that blog post you want to put a link in that post for the other blog posts you have for that episode you referenced. If you don’t have a blog post, then at least reference the other episode and you could even embed the audio within the new post. You want to reference that.
Let me mention that while you’ve got one of those blog posts ideas, this is another tactic to use that’s great. There are a lot of plugins for WordPress that utilized related posts. Some of them use keywords as the way to do that. Some use tags, your choice, categories, tags. There are different types of plugins that utilize those different purposes. I’m not a big fan of Twitter. It’s not something that we use a lot and it hasn’t grown our business. While we do tweet, I don’t love the tweetables and that’s what a lot of people use within the blogpost.
I was like, “What are we going to replace tweetables with that would be useful.” Otherwise, it’s nice to highlight a quote and it looks pretty good even if no one ever clicks it. I’ll still use that. I came up with some of these related posts and what I found is sometimes the related posts pull up things that I forgot about. I’ll go to the blog post and I’ll be like, “It’s showing me related posts,” that I was like, “That is related. I didn’t realize that.” That’s a great episode to bring up next to this.
Depending on how you categorize yours, you can make it richer. If you use the keyword one, it’s a little tighter. If you can find one of the plugins that work with your theme and blog post, that does it based on keywords, it can be a little bit better. If you’re good about categorizing it, which I am. I categorize the different types of shows and different types of reasons. If your categories are good, to begin with, you can at least do that.It's nice to highlight a quote and it looks pretty good, even if no one ever clicks it. Click To Tweet
You can use that related post. You can use the plugin more than once on a single page. You could have a couple of related posts going through your very long tail blogpost. That’s a great way to tie that in and you don’t have to do any work because it’s automatically choosing the other posts to share. Remember, it’s sharing the blog posts and not the audio file. They’d have to click through to that page to go to the audio file but if they’re already on your blog page, it doesn’t bother them.
This makes so much sense, Tracy, because a lot of us have subjects we talk about where we have some bigger picture, more general, maybe introductory-level discussions or episodes about certain topics. Later on, we may take a deeper dive into a tighter niche within what was a bigger subject. It’s an opportunity for you to say, “We’re going a little deep and more in-depth here on this subject. If you’re a new listener to the podcast, if you haven’t heard our earlier discussion where we cover the basics here, then definitely go back to this episode and listen to that one as well.”
One of the things that I learned from working for Inc. Magazine and writing my column for so long was that they have a policy within the first two paragraphs of any article that you need to refer to three past articles. They have the rule of three. You must link back to another article within the first three. In the early days, when I didn’t have a lot of articles, that was difficult. I was writing a broader genre. I would have to refer out to somebody else’s column or set of articles, but I learned to do this simply.
For our purposes, when we were writing those things, I would have a list of all the past articles. It was so hard because I would have to keep a spreadsheet. Now, it’s so easy with the podcasts, with having your feet in one place. You’d have everything you need all right there. That’s also why I choose to use the portal as a way to look at that. If I’ve got my feed that’s within the portal, I also have all the links to all the episodes and everything that I would need in one place. If I was doing it myself, of course, I’m not, but it’s all in one place.
That rule of three is what has led me to make a concerted effort to try to do that. I try to do two related posts and one direct mentioned in every single episode that I do. I’m always looking for an opportunity, whether it’s at the end of my show. A post commentary or it’s during the show where I’m mentioning another episode or another article or another podcast host that I want to make sure that I highlight in that.
What other good tips have you got?
How about doing an update interview? We found that doing reruns was an absolutely bad user experience and we got nasty emails and messages from our subscribers.
We did this back in 2017. That was one time we did it because our daughter got married. We were overwhelmed that we couldn’t publish regularly. We decided, “Let’s take some older episodes and run them again.” We were hoping it would work, but as I’m always fond of saying, “Hope is not a strategy.”
It didn’t. We got some messages back because it comes up new in their feed and there was nothing new about it. They’d already heard about it. What was the thing that’s eye and ear opening for us is that our listeners were listeners. They didn’t miss an episode. These were truly repeats. If you think you’re bringing back your old volume one and that’s okay, it’s not okay. One of the things that we did, we did this both for Hewlett Packard, when we did the series for 3D printing on our WTFFF show. We did this where we’re taking some older episodes that had high Google ranking value as blogposts. They were already ranking up on the first page, usually within the first five options, definitely within the first ten, but probably usually within the first 3 to 5.
We wanted to make sure that the audio got new listenership to it again and we wanted to bring it back. What we did was we recorded a brand-new introduction to the show and then re-aired an edited version. Sometimes we would take a few things out or things that might not have been relevant anymore. Maybe some mentions to older episodes weren’t as relevant to what we were trying to refocus it.
We did one specifically on 3D print careers. It was relevant because it was at the start of the pandemic. People were thinking about my resume. Should I level up my skillset? There was a great episode and an interview with someone, how you could beef up your resume to be better at presenting yourself for a 3D print career. That was the new framing focus. We presented it as, “For those of you long-time listeners, yes, this is a replay of it, but here’s why we’re doing it.”
The difference is you’re replaying it now. You’re not going to send people to go back and listen to an older episode. You’re repurposing an old episode making it more relevant, putting some current context on it, and you get a longer piece of content without having to do as much new recording.
By doing that new introduction on it, it’s important. Another time we did it where we couldn’t do an interview with a new interview with guest we had on. It was because they were 3D printing resources and parts out in the world where there were national disasters. They needed to raise awareness of the episode we did with them because they needed more funds. They came from a lot of private funds, but they were out in the field because there was a tidal wave.
One of them was the earthquake in Haiti.You don't want to do full recaps. You want to tease people enough to make them want to go and listen to your past episodes. Click To Tweet
The earthquake in Haiti had happened. When they talked to us the first time, there wasn’t a national disaster they were serving right at that moment. It was a longer interview. What we were able to do was to get an update on what they were doing in Haiti and then be able to add that to the longer interview episode, which was an ability for us to go say, “Donate to this worthwhile 3D print cause that is doing good around the world.” It gave a framework for why we were putting that on and that was important. Another idea is to bring back an old guest. Do a new interview and reference the old interview in it. Why not bring back somebody new and have them tell you what’s going on in the world? What’s happening? What’s changed?
Another one I like to do after you’ve hit a milestone of episodes like 50 or 100 or 150 episodes is to do a highlight episode with some key soundbites from some old interviews or episodes. It can be anything from great quotes to maybe you have a podcast where at the end of an interview, you ask each guest the same question about something and getting their take on the same question you ask everybody. Some people asked three questions that are the same every time. You can do a highlight episode of those segments and not air the whole old interview. You do a highlight section that references 8, 10, 6 past episodes and breathes a little new life into them. It gets people to go back to them.
When you’re doing that, if you’re recording this yourself, doing it yourself and don’t have the capability of adding in sound bites and doing all the pieces, that’s a heavy editing job for you, and that’s a little too much stress and work, you can do a discussion of your favorite episodes. At a minimum, do that. You can physically quote and say, “This is what that person said. Now listen to that episode. They’ll all be linked to in the blog post for this episode at my website.”
You’re giving them a place to still go, but you’re talking about it with the passion of these are my favorite episodes or some of the best of what we did in the last series. I have interviewed a few podcasters who do it every 25 episodes because that’s a series. It’s like 24 episodes and then a compilation. That means one will always appear in the short version view of the feed of what shows up on Apple. Most of the apps are now doing longer feeds. You can scroll through all the episodes without having to add more.
If you quickly span through it, you’ll hit 25 and see these episode points. For binge listeners, finding your show for the first time, those episodes help catch them up. It can also say, “I’m only going to listen to the catch-up once.” You don’t want to do full recaps. You want to tease them enough to make them want to go and listen to those episodes. Over time, if you do these compilation-style episodes, you’ll find that those episodes that you’ve mentioned on the shows are like the first five episodes of your show.
They will be the most trafficked and the most listened to over time. You may want to rotate your catalog and make sure that you’re rotating enough to be able to hit enough episodes. That’s why I think these podcasters are choosing to do it every 25 so that they don’t have to reference a ton of episodes each time, but they can pick the five best from each back catalog. They’re still getting enough listenership on their overall episodes. If you only do it every 100, you can’t mention more than ten episodes total without overwhelming your listener.
We used to do this. When we did our 3D print show, we would do a best of. We would talk about our favorite episodes and you can do something like that. We would do a best of catalog and review that. You would have your top five and I would have my top five. That would work well for us in terms of an interchange between the two of us. We have a debate and discussion. It’s like, “That’s so interesting on why you liked that one best and it didn’t make my list at all.” We would compare notes to make sure we weren’t overlapping in our choice or if we did, save that one for the very end and say, “This is the only one that made both our lists.” We would highlight that episode.
The other great thing about doing that, especially if you’re doing a lot of interview episodes and you’re highlighting the top five interviews you’ve done with your guests. The benefit of doing that is that you now have one episode that you can reach out to all those top guests that you highlighted again and say, “I made a new episode highlighting my favorite episodes of 2020 or whatever time period it is and you made the list.” You can get them to share that again. That helps boost your podcasts, get you more exposure and raise awareness for your show. The downside is that you have some guests who won’t be highlighted and then they might not be too thrilled.
They might get jealous and want to and reach out to you for a new interview. There you go. You might create this competition going in there. Making sure that you do send the email out to everyone who’s mentioned. Just because they weren’t a guest on the show, making sure that you do send your guests notification. That’s what we call it in our system here at Podetize and making sure that everyone’s email addresses are included. They all know that they’re mentioned in that episode is a great way for you to also circulate and get them connected to each other as well and cross-sharing between each other. Tagging, emailing and doing all of those things are important if you’re going to do one of these types of episodes and getting the search. Did you have anything else on your list, Tom?
For the back episodes, I have a tip that is related. We encounter a lot of podcasters who come to us looking for support and they’re already podcasting. They’ve already got 50, 100, 150 or 200 episodes or more done, but they have not published any blog posts for them. One of the best opportunities to get the best return on the time you’ve already invested in your podcast, creating a long-form blog post, what we call verbal SEO for those past episodes, which can accelerate your keyword ranking and traffic to your website help raise awareness for your show.
In this sense, what I’m about to say is it’s also an opportunity for you like we were talking about highlighting the best of, and some of these guests you’re highlighting again and getting them to share it. You already aired the podcast. You had a guest. You provided them a link to your audio and asked them to share it. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. Once you now have a blog post, maybe with a unique graphic at the top for that episode. You do this for your past episodes. Reach out to that guest.
When you say, “I’ve got this new blog post that features the episode you were in and I’ve got this new graphic, here are some links to it.” You may want to share that with your followers. You have a new piece of media for them to share. It’s something new for them to talk about and it highlights them. You can get them to reshare your show even if you haven’t re-aired the show. It’s not a highlight show. You’ve created more material for that episode. Especially because they’re your guests, if you gear that material, it helps show the guests off in a good way in a flattering way. They’ll probably share it. That’s a related tip.
Don’t also underestimate if you’ve never done video before of doing audiograms and even full-length ones so that you add it to a YouTube channel and that adding listenership, views and traffic back to your website for all of that. That repurposing in different media types is extremely valuable for you.
Along with audiograms, if you’re recording video and publishing a real video in any way or maybe you have the Zoom video from recording an episode or a streaming video, and you have not published that video in its entirety on YouTube, you can take little pieces, sound bites and make a video meme. We do that as well for some of our shows. Video memes, as well as audiograms, help get a lot of traction.If most of your catalog is great content, then you should be using again and again. It's not going to be old to someone who just found you. Click To Tweet
I take it one step further, too. I also repurpose my episodes into articles. I write articles from The Binge Factor and I turn them into articles in Authority Magazine. At the bottom, I’m not able to add the audio file, but I’m able to add the video. I utilize the video there as a way for people to check out the episode. I write the short article and check out the full interview here. I get a lot of traction from doing that and repurposing that. It’s moving into a different format.
That’s a useful way for us to do that as well. If you’re not a writer, that may not be ideal for you, but if you are, then it’s a great way to add that on. You can also mention articles. I do sometimes mentions in Buzzfeed where you end up with whether you end up with like the highlights from that single question you ask if I asked five things. I’ll sometimes pull together different mentions of who said what on how to increase listeners or get great guests.
I’ll bring out quotes and things referencing the original episode. That’s also a great way. If you have any way to have an outreach, you have any reach in terms of other publications, newsletters or other things, please do that and make sure that you do that. Add your episode back into those newsletters, articles, other places because it’s a great way for you to get traction to that single episode or that larger group of people that you’re mentioning over there.
The last thing I have, Tom, was a great mention, and I was on his show. It’s a good time, Thrive LOUD with Lou Diamond. One of the most episodes I’ve done on The Binge Factor came out, but I was on his show. They won’t air for a while, but I was on his LinkedIn Live. We did a live stream out to all the different places. We had a lot of fun with that. Doing an update interview or a second interview or a short interview, some kind of thing out. What Lou does that’s great is Lou brings together a grouping of a panel of a couple of different people from his interviews because he does a lot of different shows. He does a lot of different interviews. He has a lot of content. He might bring three people together and pull together a Clubhouse room. Obviously, now you could do a Facebook room because we discovered that accidentally.
Everybody’s trying to jump on the Clubhouse bandwagon. Every different platform is trying to make its own.
You could create a panel discussion with three of your guests into a room that sends out to those three episodes. If you want to group your guests together into a panel on health and wellness or a panel on a specific aspect of business that you want to talk about, then now you can group your podcast episodes by gathering the guests together on episodes. I think that’s a great strategy. You can create a Clubhouse room for it. You could do a single Facebook Live, bringing them back, do a tease, that thing out to try to help circulate back to those older episodes, that back catalog.
That’s what we’re talking about boosting. That’s a great way to do it. You’re utilizing a new media type, something new that you’re trying to grow like a Clubhouse room. You’re being able to also though get traction back to your existing network of people, all those guests that you’ve interviewed and utilizing that and adding value to all of them in that process, but also getting a boost in listenership to all of your back episodes, which is the important part of what we’re talking about.
Lots of ideas here and different places at which you could utilize back episodes. You could repurpose them. You can mention them. Lots of different places to squeeze them in. I think the biggest message that I want to close with is that those back episodes aren’t old. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes some are outdated and we are going to stop mentioning them. Most of your catalog is great content that you should be using again and again. It’s not old to someone who found you. If they’re finding you, but they’re having trouble navigating because now you have so much content. You have hundreds of episodes, it’s our job to make sure that we’re circulating through that, providing the features, ideas and ways to get to the best of, some of these great relevant episodes, to me, your new listener.
Let’s leave it there. I hope you found this valuable and useful. I’ll tell you it’s the most underutilized aspect of podcasts that have been out there for a while. They’re new to whoever is listening to them now. Check it out and take advantage of it. That’ll wrap it. Thanks for reading.
- The Binge Factor
- Fusebox Archive Player
- Moms With Dreams
- Not A Momma Life
- Lou Diamond – Previous episode
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