Helpful Tips to Know to Avoid Podcast Radio Show Pitfalls
Are you a podcaster who feels like you aren’t getting the most out of your radio show? Believe it or not, this is a common problem among podcast hosts who are under contract with a radio network. In this episode, Tom Hazzard shares some examples of radio shows getting shortchanged in their radio network commitments. The first thing that he emphasizes is checking your contract and making sure that you own all of your content. He also insists that a radio network’s assumed reach does not give realistic listenership numbers of a particular show nor does it affect the show’s SEO. He goes on to explain that Google ranking for your own website URL should not matter. He ends the episode with a Q&A portion that includes a rundown of how things are done on Brandcasters, Inc. If you are a podcaster and are looking to reach your maximum potential, Podetize may just be the solution you’re looking for.
This is a tech episode and there are some things that have been happening that I’m very concerned about for a lot of podcasters out there. We’ve talked about some of these subjects in the past. There’s a new twist. It’s about radio shows, radio networks, internet radio in particular and how we are finding some of them doing their clients a disservice when it comes to what they do to repurpose the radio show as a podcast. In particular, I’ve had a couple of prospective customers coming to me and having some calls.
Own Your Voice
They’re under a contract, they prepaid for the year. They then tend to have a lot of resistance when they encounter us. We help share with them all of the best practices for how to get the most out of their podcast and how most often the radio network is acting more in their own best interests than it is the interest of you, the host of the show. That’s not always the case. I will say I’ve seen some exceptions. It’s not absolutely universal, but I see it happening more often than not. One of the things that a particular radio network did with this potential customer was to let them know that the radio network owned their Spotify account and their iHeart radio account and they would lose all of those listeners if they left the radio network.
I’ve never encountered any radio network or even any other podcast producer threatening such a thing with a potential customer. It’s not even threatening, but just talking about, “My needs are not being met and served by you, the radio network. Here are my needs. I need to get more out of my show.” Most of the time, they’ll cooperate and sometimes I’ve experienced clients staying with and working with the radio network. They’re re-purposing it as a podcast and working with us to do their blog posts and even post them in all the different podcast distribution channels so they can do ad insertion and things like that. They split their show up into multiple feeds if they have different categories of episodes.
There are a lot of different opportunities and things that you can do. This particular radio network was resisting this client of theirs leaving. They were resisting them and acting all in their own best interest as a radio network, not acting in the best interest of the radio show host. I caution everybody if you’re getting involved in a radio network, internet radio or terrestrial radio, whatever it is and considering working with them, you’ve got to look carefully at your contract. Make sure you own all of the content. Anything that’s recorded, that’s your voice. You own it. You’re allowed to repurpose it whichever way you want.
There are some radio contracts that if you work with them, they own the content and you don’t even have the right to rebroadcast it on your own website or convert it to a blog post or anything. That’s terribly unfortunate when you get into one of those situations. The other big challenge is this issue about the radio network owning your listing on Spotify, iHeart or iTunes. You definitely do not want that situation. At Brandcasters and Podetize, we are very clear with all of our customers and our potential customers. Right upfront, you own all the content, you own the listings and if you need to make a move, we are going to assist you in that transition. We’re not going to resist it. It doesn’t help anybody to try to force someone to stay somewhere they’re not happy. In reality, we don’t see it happening very often that people leave us, but I’m sure it will happen. The reality is you have to make sure that in your contract, you own your listing on Spotify, iHeart, TuneIn and you have control of it.
There is a convenience factor when you launch a show with us or if you transitioned to Podetize. If you are not on all of the different podcast distribution platforms, we are going to put you there so you get maximum exposure. We’re going to make sure you’re in all the places you need to be. At the end of the day, that listing is yours. We facilitate registering it, making it happen. We do technically have control over it in some way. That control is always given back to you, the host, the owner of the show, whenever that’s needed.
A lot of times, people like to have us have control of it because when there’s a problem, we have more direct lines of communication in at some of these distribution networks and can help troubleshoot and solve problems. For instance, we’ve had people that had their show delisted from iTunes for a technical reason. Something that was out of compliance with their feed. It is much easier for us to fix that problem if we have control over the feed and are able to communicate on your behalf with the network. That’s an example of why it makes some sense. At the end of the day, it’s yours and you’re free to do with what you want.
Another thing that this potential customer is experiencing with the internet radio network is they’re claiming that they’re getting much more exposure through them as a radio network than they will ever get with just a podcast. I have to admit, I approached that statement with a bit of doubt and skepticism. In my experience, when radio networks talk about how much exposure your show will get on their network, they’re using the number of all of the listeners they may have on their network over an entire month. It’s a much bigger number than how many people are following your show. That tends to be a bit of a bait and switch. You want to be careful with that one too. Let’s say the radio network says they have over three million monthly listens. If they have the same people listening to their radio network every day of the month, then that’s roughly 30 days. You could divide that three million number by 30, and all of a sudden, you’re at maybe 100,000 actual audiences in terms of unique listeners. How many of them are actually listening to your show at the time you’re broadcasting it?Anything that's recorded that's your voice, you own it and you're allowed to repurpose it whichever way you want. Click To Tweet
The whole idea of putting out a radio show at the same time every week or even if it’s 2 or 3 days a week, but at a certain time of day. Whenever you do that, you’re going to limit the number of people that would ever be possibly listening to your content. This is why podcasts are so popular. That’s why it continues to trend higher and higher and terrestrial radio and internet radio listeners continue to decline. People want to listen to their schedule. They don’t want to listen when you have a show at a certain time. Take this client coaching call on tech issues. We do this every week, but very few people attend it live. That’s why we put it out on the Facebook group so that there it’s preserved and it can be watched anytime.
SEO And Google Ranking In Podcasting
Very few people are listening to live. The advantage of live is if you have any questions, you can type them into the chat and I’ll be happy to address them, but not everybody can do that. Podcast listenership is the same way. People want to listen to their schedule, not on yours. I have a tough time with radio shows. There was another myth that this radio show company was telling this customer of theirs that was contemplating leaving and moving to Podetize. They were claiming that because the radio network has a larger profile on the internet with Google than their individual website does, the client’s website. That from an SEO perspective, the client is much better off staying with them and the radio show because more people will find them through Google search.
When I read that, I have to admit I chuckled, which I know it’s not a laughing matter if this is your show and you’re trying to figure out what it was. I’d never heard that kind of an argument before by a radio show company that because the client shows are available on their network, that it’s more easily searchable or findable by people searching in Google than if they weren’t on the radio network. This I absolutely know from long, hard experience is not true. The reality is it doesn’t matter if it’s a podcast episode that started as a radio show or started as a podcast and then it’s put out as a radio show over an internet radio network. That show is only searchable by the words that are contained in the title or in the description of that episode. That is universal across about every search bar that exists, whether you’re on a podcast platform, a radio show platform or even Google for the episode of your show. The only way that you get the most value out of your show and get the greatest SEO value is if that MP3 file is converted to a written form, put in a blog post on your website and then you get the most value for that because Google will recognize it’s a blog post. They will analyze all the words that were from what was said in the episode and they will then associate that, your posts, with anybody who searches on any phrases that even come close to aligning with what was said in your episode.
Your post comes up in the search, people click and they end up on your website. If they didn’t know you had a podcast, they learn, you do, they can listen right there on your website. If they’re a regular podcast listener or want to become one, they can subscribe to their favorite channel. Radio networks don’t do this. They don’t spend that time converting what you say in the radio show or in the podcast into written form to make that searchable. They’re not doing you as much of a service. Even if their website ranked higher than your website, in general. Let’s say maybe if you typed a search term that was in the title of your episode, maybe that episode would come up high in Google search and maybe on the radio network it would come up above the listing on iTunes or the listing on Google Podcasts or wherever you have your podcast distributed.
That may be, but I would argue what you want to be coming up for in search. The real SEO value is in coming up in the search for all the hundreds or even thousands of different things that are said, the different phrases of words that are said in each episode that you publish. The only way you’re going to do that is by converting it into written form. There’s no other way it happens. We call that verbal SEO at Podetize and Brandcasters. Verbal SEO is a phrase, a term that we coined to describe what we do in converting your audio show into a written form. It is in your best interest. Another word about ranking. Here’s the thing, I don’t ever care and nor should you ever care whether your website comes up in Google search for your own website’s URL or even your company name or maybe even your name. Quite honestly, most often it should come up for those things at Google search. It should come up for your name if you’ve got your name properly put onto your website enough times on the about page and a lot of the other pages.
If you know the URL of a website and you Google that, sure, your URL should come up. I always think when somebody says that to me, “My site always comes up number one in Google search when you type in the name of my company or you type in my name, which is the same as my website URL.” I’m thinking, “It does? Fine.” The reality is that if somebody is already searching on your name or your company name, you’ve already won the battle because they know who you are. They don’t need to search for you. If they do, of course, your website is going to come up. What you want is for your website to come up, for you to come up, for your show to come up in Google search for all the hundreds and thousands of different things that people are searching on in Google search bar every day that align with what you or your guests talk about in your episodes.
Google does not discriminate when it comes to this in terms of organic keyword ranking of phrases that are in your blog posts compared to another site’s blog posts. They don’t care how big the other website is. They don’t care how small or new your website is. As long as it’s not brand new, it takes 3 or 4 months for Google to start to trust your website, and for it to come out of what’s known as the Google sandbox. Basically, it’s new. Google doesn’t trust it yet. They don’t know how much content you’re going to put out. They don’t know the quality of the content until you start doing it on a regular basis. They don’t know. Once you do, they do. They know and they trust it and then your new blog posts get indexed and ranked the same day that they’re put up on your website.
It happens very quickly. We’ve tracked it and I have case studies of this. If you’re interested, let me know and we can talk about that. Those internet radio networks are never going to create such a comprehensive blog post and put it on your website for you. If they did spend that much time, they would put it on their website because they want to benefit from it. This is the whole point. Radio networks are struggling to remain relevant and they are generally losing listenership where podcasting is gaining listenership. They’re struggling for relevance, so they want as many people to stay on their platform as possible. Because if you’re on their platform, you’re helping attract listeners to them. It benefits them more than it does you. Everything we’re all about here at Podetize and Brandcasters is making you the center of influence, you the authority. You get all the benefits. We don’t want it. We want all of this work that we do on your episodes to serve you and help you market and grow your brand, your business.
That verbal SEO process to the blog post does that. Google doesn’t discriminate. Google will rank anybody’s content if it’s good content. Maybe at first, it might be on the second or third page of Google. As Google starts to see you’re putting out that same quality content every week on a regular basis, you’ll start to move up in those rankings and that will change over time. You’ll eventually move up to the second page and move up to the first page. Sometimes if Google understands your website and knows and trusts you enough, your posts the day that it is posted will be indexed and ranked and put on the first page of Google search.
We’ve seen this happen with our client’s posts and our own posts every week. It depends on the search term, how much competition there is for it, how much demand there is for the search term. There are a lot of factors that go into it. We can’t guarantee where you’re going to end up, but the more content you create, the better off you will be. The higher you will rank and the more consistently you put out content, the higher you are ranked. I want to share that with you, especially having this experience with a potential client who is being sold a bill of goods by a radio show network. That was so disappointing to know. They tried to poke all sorts of holes in the value that we provide or we would potentially provide to this potential client who was considering coming to work with us.At the end of the day, when people’s needs aren't being met where they are, they're going to move on. Click To Tweet
I understand that defensiveness from a radio network and when people lose a customer. That’s a tough thing to deal with. The reality is people need to meet their own needs. Their own needs to be seen, heard and found and to grow their market and grow their businesses. At the end of the day, if their needs aren’t being met where they are, they’re going to move on. Resisting that isn’t going to help anything. Trying to penalize them by holding their listings on Spotify and iHeart hostage like I mentioned is not going to end up in a good place. It’s not going to be good for anybody. I’m sorry some people out there are experiencing that and there are things we can do because we do have a high level of contacts at iHeart and Spotify to help essentially move those listings from the control of the radio show to your control. We would always try to assist you with that. That’s about all that I had to share with you for this episode.
On The Best Way To Invite Guests
If you’re on the calendar, as a client, you should automatically have these appointments coming up in your calendar to let you know when we’re doing these live private client-only coach calls, even though it’s on Facebook. That’s a private closed group. David has a question, “What’s the best way to invite guests when there are no established shows?” If your potential guests have any experience with podcasting at all or being guests on a podcast, they should know. Even if your show doesn’t have an established audience, being one of the first 5, 6, even 10 guests on a show are very valuable to them as a guest. You’ll find several years when people find your show new, they listened to your most recent episode or two. They like it and say, “It’s a great show.” They’re going to go back and start listening from the beginning as long as your content, the episodes, and those interviews are still relevant. I would say that they probably would be. It’s more likely than not that they would still be relevant.
Those first few episodes of any show are always going to get more plays than later shows. It’s the way it tends to happen. It’s a recurring trend we see in new podcasts and growing podcasts. You can use that as an incentive for someone to be your premier guest, your first episode or one of your foundational guests. You can get away with that for 6 or even 10 or 12 episodes. I’m saying that because it’s true. Only time will prove that out and you’ll see it in the numbers yourself. Go ahead and sell that to them that, “The early episodes get listened to the most across most podcasts. You have the opportunity to be one of my first guests.” You probably won’t have them say no in reality. Don’t be afraid to ask and to pitch that.
When you get some of those first good guests in those early episodes, you use them as the living testimonial being published on your show, on your podcast and your blog to say, “These other guests found value in being on my show. You will, too. Don’t you want to be like them?” It’s the benefit of those guests being associated with your show brand. The other guests saying, “Don’t you want to be associated with my show like these other people were?” You don’t say it quite that way when you’re talking to them, but that’s the idea. Don’t be afraid to invite guests. You’re going to give them the unique opportunity to be one of the premiere guests of your show. You’ll get a good response to that. If you still have trouble with it, reach out to us and we’ll help you.
We have a question from Facebook. “Are there any advantages to an internet radio show versus a podcast?” The only advantage is if that radio network truly has a large audience that is not listening to podcasts anywhere. If it’s truly a different audience. Whether it is or not, I’m sure it’s a debatable point and it depends on the radio network. It depends on the trends in listenership, how many people tune in life versus don’t. If a radio network is wanting you to be exclusive to them, I would run the other direction. If they are cooperative and willing to be complementary to your podcast and it’s not too expensive. If you’re paying any cost, whatever that cost is worth it to you to experiment and see if you get more exposure from it, then, by all means, try it.
I personally have a problem with having podcast episodes also broadcasted at the same time, even you record it as a radio show. My big issue is if the radio show tries to take complete control over your content if they claim to own it. If they are going to restrict you in any way like some of the things I said. If they’re going to claim ownership over your listings on iTunes, Spotify, and iHeart, those are deal-breakers as far as I’m concerned. I would not get involved in those relationships. If it’s exclusive and they want you to be on the radio show and do not want you at all to be out on podcast distribution networks or if they want to be the only ones who are in control of putting you there, that’s usually to serve their best interest. Your podcast episode when it’s published, we’ll probably have commercials in it for their radio network. Your listing on iTunes will probably say that it is produced by them, that it’s put out by them. We see this all the time with radio networks and those kinds of things are not in your best interest for your brand. Advantages are just reached if they truly have more reach and are giving you more exposure that you’re not going to get otherwise.
On Having A Number Of Episodes In Advance
David is saying, “You mentioned to start with ten initial podcasts on launch day then to the normal schedule. On a normal schedule, how many episodes should you always have done in advance?” I have a recommendation for this. There’s no absolute rule so you could bear that in mind. Everybody does it differently. The old cliché of different strokes for different folks is true. My recommendation would be depending on how many episodes you’re going to publish per week if that’s 1, 2 or 3, whatever it is. We have people at Podetize doing everything from publishing every other week, which I don’t recommend because I don’t think that frequency is enough. Some people, that’s what they want to do and it’s their show. They’re welcome to do it. We have people doing it anywhere from once every other week. Once a week is probably the most common in terms of people. We have people publishing 2, 3, 5 and even 7 days a week. We have more than one client publishing actually seven days a week.
You’re playing on one day a week, which is great. That’s the minimum we would recommend. If you’re going to publish once a week, you want to know how far ahead you should be. I would recommend you try to get a month ahead and try to stay there. You can’t always stay there, but depending on your travel schedule and how busy you are on business, I would recommend recording in batches. Beyond the first ten or so, you’re going to publish on day one. On a regular basis, recording after that. I would schedule if you’re going to have guests, take one day a month. Maybe it’s one afternoon a month if you can’t do the whole day. Offer up all those times to your guests, however many you can book on that day. I could probably book 6 to 8 in a day if I wanted to. Six is probably on the high side. Four is more common. I might record a couple of solo casts in between some of those interviews. It’s me giving my nuggets of wisdom and information to my audience just direct from me without a guest. You can do a mix.
If you need two days a month, then do it in two days. Schedule all these guests, record them in a batch, get it done and submit those episodes as soon as possible for production. We will go on and produce them ahead. We have a seven-day turnaround time for an episode submitted that needs to publish. If you’re submitting one that’s more than a week out, that’s two weeks out or three weeks out, we might take up to ten days to get that done. If you have questions about that, you can talk with me or Alexandra because we have an established SOP for production. We always need to give priority to those episodes that submitted this week that have to publish the next week. Those have to be the first priority.
After that, whatever capacity we have within that week, we will go and get ahead. With every show, we like to be four weeks ahead in production. It gives you time to review everything in detail and request any minor edits or changes that you need well in advance of any show publishing. We’re not in a last-minute firefight or trying to catch up if you find there’s a problem late in the game. It also gives you breathing room to record. If you get to the point where you always are hopefully 4, maybe 5, even 6 episodes ahead, then you have time. You don’t have to do it for a few weeks. If you’re going to travel, you don’t feel the pressure of, “I’ve got to record. I’ve got to get that next episode submitted.”
Don’t get me wrong. We have people that by the nature of their show, either what they’re recording, what the subject matter is or who they are and how their time is and how they schedule their time. A lot of people are recording in time and submitting the week before and doing one at a time and they never get 2, 3, 4 weeks ahead. If that works for them, that’s fine. It does work for some people. I’m the type of person that likes to get way ahead and when I’m out ahead, I get anxious about it. It’s like, “I have this pressure. I’ve got to record.” Maybe I don’t record my best if I’m under pressure. Your goal should be trying to get a month ahead at least, maybe more and then you can record on your schedule, not on the calendars schedule.
On Breaking The Show In Seasons
We have another question, “Should you break things up into seasons?” That’s a personal style of choice. I personally never did that with any of my shows. I tended to do a perpetual show that kept going week after week with new episodes. My first one had 550 some odd episodes. I never did seasons over the course of five years. My other ones are up to 100 or 150. It depends on the show. There’s nothing wrong with seasons. You’re welcome to do it. It depends on the content you have if it makes sense to you to group them into seasons. If all of those episodes of a season have a journey you’re taking the listener through that has a beginning, middle, and end and makes sense that way. It may be perfectly appropriate to put them into seasons.
Here’s what works best, honestly, with breaking up a show into different groupings of shows. In the podcast world, because podcasts are evergreen. They’re always there. People can find them several months or years and it’s new to them. Calling it season one, season two, season three may make people feel like, “They missed out. They’re far behind.” Even though they really are. You want people to have a sense of anticipation, “This is great content. I want to experience it. I get to experience it.” You don’t want to ground it as old or outdated unless it is old and outdated. I would suggest you can split shows into different classifications. If your subject matter has a lot of good content you’re going to record that are foundational subjects. Industry terms you’re defining, beginner best practices, 101 series. If you have some of your episodes that are going to be that, then it may very well make sense after a period of time. I would always publish everything in your main one podcast show identity and feed to start.
As you start to get 25, 50 episodes, you start to get up there, you could take a series of 10 or 12 and copy that off into another show identity, “When you’re new to this podcast, start here first to get the foundational education, experience, whatever that is and then continue with the rest of it.” That’s one good way to break something up into another feed. If you have interview episodes different from soloists. You could highlight the interview episodes and put them into their own feed. Keep in mind, you can still keep everything in the main feed where most of your people are subscribed from the beginning. You have these additional show identities, subsets of your shows. Another great one is if you want to do an event series. If you put on events in your business, if you go to events and you want to take the opportunity to interview as many people at that event as possible, you could actually give that event some exposure. Maybe even get them to be a sponsor of the show for that series. They can get a little more exposure out of it and maybe kick in a little money to help with some of the production of your show. They’re going to continue to get the exposure if you present it that way.
If they don’t want to pay, you certainly don’t have to. You can give the event series a name that’s different and it has nothing to do with the event if the organizers aren’t going to cooperate and participate with you. You have the option. There are many different kinds of series of episodes you could do. We have a client who’s doing a show about relationships. He’s breaking it into a few different kinds of relationships, pre-marriage, dating, engaged but not married yet, married and then maintaining a marriage. That’s an expansive array of topics. Chances are your listeners are going to be interested in one of those four topic areas and not necessarily wanting to listen to all of them because they’ve been there if they’re later in their marriage and they don’t need dating tips, advice or subjects to be discussed.If a radio network is wanting you to be exclusive to them, run the other direction. Click To Tweet
That’s a good one where breaking it up into different classifications of episodes can be helpful to serve more people. It gives them the content that they need and wants faster, but I would still have it all in the main feed. It’s my pleasure to help all of you that are here. Thank you for participating. It makes what I do here much more valuable to you and more real for everybody else. I will be back. If you’re not on the calendar for these private client coaching calls on the Brandcasters! Facebook group, which is a private group, reach out to Help@Podetize.com and or Hello@Podetize.com, either one of those. Let them know what you’re requesting. Alexandra or someone else on the team will reply and get you the calendar link to add over. Thanks very much.
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