As you build your podcast business, you want to ensure that every aspect works well for your listeners. Your podcast cover art is an important factor to consider. Is it attracting the right listeners? If not, you must understand why your show is not attracting people and build strategies to make them interested. Join your hosts Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard in this episode as they discuss how important your cover art logo is and how you could create or change it to look perfect. Learn how to entice people to give your podcast show a try and make a great impact! If you’re ready for your cover-up to make some changes, take a listen to this episode so you could get insights and make your decisions.
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How Your Podcast Cover Art Logo Can Attract The Right Listeners – Proven Advice Every Podcast Needs
We’re going to talk about cover art. We’re really talking about cover art from the attraction standpoint. Is your cover art attracting the right listeners? At the end of the day, if we don’t get the right listeners, then what’s our show for?
I tell this to Podetize customers all the time, “Your cover art has one very important job. To attract attention, that’s the first one, and the second one is to entice people to click, to give it a try.” That’s it. If your cover art, if any aspect of it is either not doing that or inhibiting that, then it needs to be changed. Some people say, “My cover art, it’s the way it’s been for a long time.” There’s this inertia like, “I got to change it.” It’s not that hard to change. You can update your cover at any time.
Don’t worry about going back and fixing back episodes, just change it and move forward. It doesn’t matter because its point is to attract new people, not to impress the old people. The people who’ve already joined, chosen, subscribed and not that they’re old. They’ve already selected you, whether or not your cover art was good or not, it didn’t matter, they chose you.
It doesn’t matter about impressing them, it matters about impressing the people who are coming forward and attracting them to come to you. Here’s the problem. People think cover art is branding and it’s not. That’s what I want to get across to everybody. Cover art is not a branding exercise. It is not about branding. Ninety percent of it isn’t about branding, there’s about 10% branding on it.Be original in your podcast business and make sure you stand out from others. Click To Tweet
It’s in an ecosystem that is not necessarily your brand. It’s not the purpose of it. You can always have a variation of your cover art in other places. You can have a variation of your cover art that is more integrated with your brand on your website. You want to still have the basic cover art so people know it’s the same thing if they’re looking at your website and then they go to the podcasting apps so that they see synergy there. It doesn’t have to look exactly the same, just enough the same for them to get the sense of it.
If you’re promoting your show out on social, there might be a different version of the cover art that you’re using. This is one of those silly things that we always say to people is like, “Take the microphone, the RSS logo, the little podcasting logo that people tend to use, take that off your cover art,” because anyone who’s seeing it is already in a podcasting app.
To add to that, Tracy, anybody whose name of their show on their cover art within the podcasting apps that says “Podcast” in it, is redundant. They know it’s a podcast. They’re in a podcast app. The only time there may be a good time to make an exception to the rule is when you’re displaying that cover art somewhere else that is not in a context where people obviously know it’s a podcast.
That’s where you might want a social version of your cover art that has the word podcast on it or has that little logo in the corner that looks like a podcasting icon, that thing that looks like a microphone. You might want that out on social. It’s a variation on it but you don’t need it within the app. That’s the important part.
The first thing that I want to highlight besides getting it out of the mindset that podcast cover art is branding, it’s not branding you. It’s a lead generator attractor. By lead generator, I mean listener attractor. The listener is your lead. It’s your future subscriber, maybe it’s the member to your membership groups, it’s your fans and followers who are going to come and buy things from you eventually or consume more and become your fans on Instagram, whatever that is. It’s a lead generator, not a branding exercise. First things first is that.
The second part is I want how you look at your cover art needs to change and that’s what we’re talking about. How you review it and how you decide if your cover art is doing what you want it to do and attracting. The first thing we have to do is look at it from the listener’s perspective. Often, many of you podcasters out there, I find this again and again with the more podcasters I interview, very few of you are actually listeners of shows.
It’s because you’re not listening, you’re not searching like a listener is and not understanding why your show isn’t attracting people, why it especially isn’t attracting the right people. We want to do this as an exercise from the perspective of how someone is searching for the show. How do you do that?
You got to be clear on who you want to be listening to or who you think is going to be attracted or be getting value from you by listening. Who are you trying to reach?
It’s the same thing that we do in any search engine. We’re going to look at the words that person is going to use to look for a new show. “Am I looking for a show on marriage counseling, on social media marketing, on real estate investing? What am I looking for? What are those top-level words that I’m going to search for?” Keep in mind that most people are super search savvy. We’ve been doing this a long time. How long have we been using Google? How long have we been using Bing, DuckDuckGo? Whatever you’re using nowadays.
Before Google, there was a search engine called Alta Vista. How many of us back in the day, searched on AOL?
The point is, is that we’re all accustomed to it. Do you know who’s the best at googling? The next generation. Our kids can google with the best amount. More importantly, they can get Alexa to do what they want faster than we can. They know how to dial in, ask and search for the right thing already, we just need to know what those right things are that we’re serving and that we’re trying to attract.
If we want to be real estate investing, we also want to have the long tail words on there. “Passive real estate investing, real estate investing condominiums, real estate investing syndication.” Whatever those terms are, we want to utilize them. We want to utilize the ones that are for people in the know if our show is for people in the know. We’re advanced tactics.
Those keyword phrases are not necessarily something that should be in the name of your show or on your podcast cover art. I want to make that clear. For instance, one of the best podcast names that we came up with for a client who was intended to launch about real estate investing in apartments. It didn’t say real estate and apartments in the name, it was called More Doors, Less Headaches.
This is awesome because your description is doing the heavy lifting on the search part. If I type in real estate investing apartments or syndication because that’s another term for some of that, all of a sudden, all these shows line up and there’s this cool cover art that says, “More Doors, Less Headaches.” It’s the cool cover art, I’m going to select that show because it showed up.
That’s what I want you to do. I want you to type in your top-level thing for the right person. If you’re a 101, if your client’s newbie, make sure you’re using layman’s terms, not technical terms. Don’t use those terms. Use the layman’s terms. You use what you think and if you don’t know, go ask someone. What would you type in for someone who’s new to this? Ask them specifically. When they type that in, what shows up?
What I want you to do is take a screenshot of the row. If you do it on your computer, it’s better because you can get a bigger row, it’s hard to get a good one on your phone and you’ll get 2 or 3. Get a good row of six different cover arts, the first six that show up, pull them all out. What we do then is we’ll go and I will drop in my cover art and look at it compared to everyone else’s if it’s not already showing up there. If you’re already syndicated, you should be showing up there. If you’re not showing up in that place, drop it in and say, “If someone saw that, would mine be clickable? Would it be worth checking out?”
Would it pique my curiosity? Would it build anticipation and get me to click it first among all the others that show up or at least be one that, “I want to check out this one and that one, I got to check it out.” Both in the name, what it says and also how it looks and jumps off the page just to preview.
That’s what you’re looking for from a visual standpoint. If it looks exactly like all the others, you’re doing something wrong.
It may be that more shows came onto the scene and your category from when you launched it and it’s time for a change.
What happens, especially when you’re at the top of the list constantly, everybody copies you. It’s time to make a change. We changed our cover art for our very first show five times. Most often, we didn’t totally revamp it because ours was still original from that standpoint but we would change out the colors when everybody else matched up with our colors. Over time, we went from teal to bright blue, red, HP blue. We went through modifications of it because it helped us stand out. The logo itself, we’d reconfigure it a little bit, it was essentially still the same so people could clearly see the synergy of the show.Be clear on who you want to be listening to or who you think will be attracted or be getting value from you. Click To Tweet
There was some continuity there.
We kept doing that. I checked my show every single year, I checked my cover art. We make a yearly change. If we make a show, focus changes. We always make a change to the cover art as well. Over time, I’m starting to realize that this newbie audience I had isn’t a newbie, it’s advanced tactics, then I might shift the focus of my cover art, the visual impact of it. That’s what we’re looking for.
The second thing is, once you’ve got this, you dropped the logo, you finally settle on and the one you think, “I think I’ve got this right.” Here’s what we do. This is something we learned early on when we were doing product development. If you want to find out if the dogs are going to eat the dog food, you don’t ask the dogs, you ask the people who are going to recommend it. We want to make sure that we’re checking with the gatekeepers in the process.
If it’s a show for couples counseling and it’s got to appeal to the wife or the female in the couple, then that’s who we need to ask. We have to understand who’s going to recommend the show and who’s going to do it. It might be self, it might be exactly your audience, that’s the person, it’s for them. Great. Go ahead but you’re going to need to ask the right person, “Does this stand out?” You can’t go by what you think. You can say, “I think it stands out,” but you need to go by what they think. “Does it resonate with them?”
That’s the third thing that we talk about. Resonating message to both the name and the visual of it. If it’s not landing for that right person, then your perception is wrong. Often, we are wrong in what we think we’re projecting. This is the branding part of it, this is the small amount of brand. A brand is not about you.
A brand is about the perception of who you say you are or what you say this is. What is your show about? It’s about how I feel about that or how I receive that makes the connection, and it will make my deciding to click it clear or not. That’s, at the end of the day, what we’re trying to do when we’re trying to attract the right listeners. There’s a lot of bad advice out there, Tom.
Bad advice and bad assumptions.
Keep in mind, it’s because of who you’re deciding to let work on your cover art. If we go to Fiverr to have our cover art work and there’s nothing wrong with going to Fiverr. There’s nothing wrong with having somebody but remember you can’t expect them to tell you what it should look like. You’re going to have to tell them. If you don’t have the skills and knowledge to make the right choices, then you’re not going to be able to direct that design and develop it correctly.
If you don’t have clarity on who it is you’re trying to reach and what is going to attract them, it’s going to make it very hard for you to do a good job with this. If you’re just staffing this out and not intending to spend any time on it, yourself participating in that process, thinking about what it should be, reviewing it, providing feedback, it’s not going to end up something you’re happy with. You need to be prepared to participate in the process, even if you’re not a graphic designer.
If you’re going to utilize a system by which essentially, you’re doing it yourself, you’re getting someone, of course, to execute it for you. Here’s a couple of things that you can do to be more successful. One, take that screenshot that I was telling you to do before. Take that screenshot of the other shows so that they can clearly see what you want to stand out from.
You’re going to say, “These all are here, I want to stand out from here.” It doesn’t have to be in your category, it can be in any other category. Now, go and make another screenshot and point out what one that stands out that you like looks like so that they understand the concept of stand out from the crowd. Your definition of standout might be different than my definition of stand out.
I might be wild and crazy, want the super standout and you just want to be like step above everybody else. Making sure that you’re clear about what stand out means is also helpful to them saying, “Do not copy this cover art. I’m not telling you what I like. I’m telling you when I look at a row, this one stick out, for this reason, this reason and this reason.” Give them three things. It might be the color, the boldness of the font, the clarity of the image, whatever that is and say, “That’s what stands out, that’s the qualities I want and what mine to stand out as well.”
Be clear about what resonates with your audience. If I want to have a piece of cover art that attracts women, I’m not going to make it pink but I’m also not going to maybe stick male-oriented sports imagery all over it either or hard edge gym metric graphics in the background. I’m going to give something that has a little more curve and softness to it. I’m going to be clear about what that imagery is.
What I like to do is give people options, to give them a wave of what imagery I feel is acceptable to my audience. I usually make sure to clear that with that audience, double-check and make sure it is relevant to them. “Do they like this? Does it appeal to them? Is this something you would click on?” You probably already know from your social media posts.
If you went back to some of your most successful social media posts, pulled out the images from those, sent them to the graphic designer and said, “These ones work with my audience,” because you already happen to have that right fit audience, “I want more that appeals to that,” they have something to go from. Those are some of the simple ways you can be clear in your direction of what you’re looking for. The last piece is where most people go wrong. They say, “It needs to match my website.” That word match is a dangerous word.90% of podcast cover art isn't about branding. It's a lead generator attractor. Click To Tweet
It’s going to result in too much of the same. Having that brand, you may have for your personal brand, your business, your website bleed over too much into your podcast.
We want to use the word synergy, coordinate or we might want it to stand out but we want it to not clash. When I choose something, sometimes I found out that the purple was the wrong purple and it clashed with the website or the red was the wrong red. I can guide them and send them into, “My red is a bit orange-red.” Keep the imagery on that side when you use a red accent so that it has synergy with what’s already going on in my brand, but we’re not matching the website and making it look exactly like everything else on there. What happens then, the show doesn’t stand out on your own website, it blends in and now the show looks like all promotion, corporate.
A lot of times it looks more about what’s in it for you, the host, than what’s in it for the listener.
That’s what we’re always trying to focus on here. Those are some suggestions for how to get more, how to get it revised, how to get it to a place at which it’s doing what you want it to do and attracting the listener. Remember, check it. Check what people think, check for the real listener, not what your internal group thinks about it. When we look at things internally, we don’t always have a good review.
The last technical thing I want you to do is to make sure that you’re not reviewing your cover art wrong like the way that you’re looking at it when you’re making a final decision about it. You must look at it at 0.5 inch about that size on a mobile device. Take it, shrink it or put it on your mobile device, look at it, look at two side by side, look at four of them, whatever it is, we need it small to make sure that it’s readable and it’s clear. That impact that we can see when we blow it up, we’re looking at it on screen and going, “It looks so good.” That it looks good in the way most people will see it first.
I think Tracy, that 0.5-inch is a little small. I know you always say that and you believe it.
I’m a podcast listener.
I know you are. I think 0.75 inch is okay. 0.5-inch that’s pretty darn small if there’s some text on there. As you’re getting older, we may not be able to read those well. The point is don’t look at it blown up on an 8 and a half by 11 page that fills it, “It looks great,” in your full screen. When you shrink that down to an actual practical application size, a size that is what people are going to see on their phone, that’s where your point is, Tracy.
When it gets super small, you can think of it like it’s an app icon on your phone. It’s not that small. App icons are even smaller. You notice a lot of times don’t have names on them. They don’t say exactly what they are. The Facebook app icon has a big F on it. We all know that logo and that’s Facebook and boom, you click it. The podcast cover art is a little different but to your point, it does need to be understandable. Communicate the message you want to, evoke that feeling, attract people to click when it’s quite small.
One more thing that I want you to think about as you’re reviewing this is that you will want to look it on a white and a black background. The reason for that is most apps are now switching between day and night time viewing. It’s auto-switching for you. You will always have an icon that might look differently on a white background than it looks on a black background. If your cover is white or black in the background, it’s blending into the background and it’s diminishing its value when you look at a bunch of icons in a row on that. You’ll want to put a strike or an outline around it. The technical term is a strike. Put an outline around it of bright color to give it that ease.
Even if you need to have black, that dark color or you need to have white because of what you’re trying to convey, trying that strike around it can make a difference for you in terms of making sure that it doesn’t look smaller than it is because of the blending into the new background colors that are going on. That’s a technical thing that’s going on now.
The last thing that I want to convey to everyone is the Old Hat New Hat mentality to your podcast cover art. I know you love to call it that. Do you know that kid’s book Old Hat New Hat, it’s one of my favorites that all our kids love that all our kids loved? I know you’ve read it tons and tons of times. We used to tease Tom because he would go to the eyeglass place and come back with what looked like exactly the same guy with glasses and we would say, “Dad did Old Hat New Hat.” Everybody is guilty of this.
A lot of times, people don’t like change. We get comfortable.We don't like to embrace change most of the time because we want to stick with the familiar. Click To Tweet
We fall in love with our cover art, we think it’s great. We fall in love with our brand. When it isn’t exactly matched to our brand, we have difficulties with things. Keep in mind that this product is not for us. This product is for the listener. Making it relevant for them, we need to let go of that tie to it. If you need your podcast cover art to have more impact and you know who you are because you know it’s not doing it, you’re not sharing it enough because you’re not as proud of it, this happens all the time if that’s the case, get an outside viewpoint. That’s why we’re here for you within our client groups.
If you’re in the client group, you can drop your cover art up, even if we didn’t develop it for you or if it’s time for a change. If you’re ready to finally take a look at making that up level on your show, go ahead. Share it with the group. Ask for the right people’s opinion though, “I’m looking for men over 50 who are golfers to look at my cover art.” Ask specifically for the right people in your group, get their opinion and view, and then decide if it’s time for an upgrade.
That upgrade is a good word, Tracy, to use for a lot of existing podcasters. There was a time and place where that cover art work did make sense, we felt good about it but it may be time for an upgrade. All these things we’re talking about in this episode are things you should consider as you make some decisions about what that upgrade might be.
If you’re ready for your cover art to make some changes, read this episode. If you want to review anything, don’t forget that there’s a blog post for this episode at Podetize.com under the Feed Your Brand section and you’ll be able to find all the details, all the points that we made, be able to review it. Stop it, share it with your team and make some progress on upgrading your cover art to attract the right listeners.
Thanks for reading, everybody. We’ll talk to you next time.
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