People only remember 10% of what they hear, so listening to a long URL in the middle of a podcast is a big no-no. You want your URL to roll off your tongue, short and sweet so that people can easily find you. Proper URL usage is very important, especially when dealing with advertisements and sponsorships. Join your hosts Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard as they talk about the most effective way to mention URLs in your podcast ads and shows. Start shortening your URL today!
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The Beauty Of Short And Sweet: How To Mention URLs In Podcast Ads And Shows
We have more of a tactical subject to talk about, but it’s very important. All of you need to be aware of this and, hopefully, do what we’re about to suggest or recommend to you.
We want to go granular sometimes and we need to think about these details. They have a compounding effect because we do them again and again over different episodes. This is one of those topics where it sounds tiny when we’re talking about it here, but the effect on your show and its outcome, and most importantly, the effect on the conversion rate of your show, whether that conversion rate is an engagement or actual calls to action for sales. They’re different things, but it doesn’t matter. It still has a compounding effect. We do want to dive and go granular occasionally, and this is one of those days.
What we’re talking about is podcast URLs.
This is not the URL of your show. Let’s keep that in mind. We’re talking about podcast URL mentions. When you say URL, a URL is a website like a www, although we don’t say www anymore. That’s old school.
I remember even back in the late ‘90s or early 2000s, I was still typing www into browser windows, and the browsers then were already set to put that in for you, so you certainly don’t have to do that, but we’re talking about the web address. Your dot-com, dot-org, dot-net, or dot-edu. There are many now, but your web address or any web address that you are going to mention in a podcast.
It’s any web address mentioned. That’s what we’re saying when we talk about podcast URLs. We’re mentioning it on our episodes. That’s what we want. It’s also sometimes in our outro. This applies to all uses within your show. We’re also going to talk a little bit about the uses on your website, like what’s different about the way that you might use it on your website as well. The first thing I want to talk about is the URLs themselves.
This works again and again from all the clients that we’ve worked with over the years and from our own shows, so we know that this is the best method. The most effective way to mention a URL is to use the same one every single time. When we mentioned Feed Your Brand, we say FeedYourBrand.co. Sometimes, we’ll do a forward slash. That’s where we get granular. We have a call to action, we’re advertising something, or whatever that might be, but the FeedYourBrand.co is the thing that we want to impress in people’s minds when they’re out there jogging, at the gym, watching their kids or driving. When that’s happening, they don’t have time to write this down. The repetitiveness of having it be the same every single time is critically important.
The other thing is our brains can’t take too many pieces of information, so having it be one URL and I’ve already got it in my head, then when I go ahead and put that forward slash and whatever comes after it, I now only have to remember that portion. That’s important too because that’s the key factor of what I have to remember if I want to do something or take action. From a show, I’ve given them much smaller pieces of information because I spent the time laying the groundwork in my show to repeat again and again the main URL or the main website that I want them to remember.
This is so important because I was speaking with a longtime client for years of ours using a social media agency to help them with their promotion. They told me they’re making one post a week about their episodes, and those are not enough. You should be doing one a day if you’re doing a weekly show, but not only that, they were not driving people to a URL from social media to their own website.
I told him in that call, “I think that’s a mistake. All roads should lead back to your website.” They were saying, “The social media company is trying to have us grow our social media audience,” which is great. I’m all for that. You want to grow your social media followers without question, but there are ways and tactics to do that that still involve highlighting and promoting your website or your URL, and that’s what we need to do. Use social media to get the word out, but bring them back to your website.
This is the first foundational thing to remember. We’ve got to get a great name, and we’re going to talk about that in a minute. We got to make sure our URL is easy, and once we have it, we want to use it everywhere. Whether it is the vanity URL that we use on social, you can do a vanity forward or all kinds of smaller links.
Those bit.ly’s out there and other things, you can do a vanity version of that. You can have various things like that, but what you want to do is make sure that it’s always going back to the main blog post for your episode at your main website, no matter what. We’re not sending people to Apple. Apple doesn’t need more subscribers. We’re not sending people to Spotify if they’re not Spotify members. We don’t want to expose them to going there instead of going to our stuff.All roads should lead back to your website. Click To Tweet
At the end of the day, it is our repetitiveness everywhere we use it, whether we’re saying it verbally on our show, doing it in our videos, putting it in our YouTube descriptions, putting it in any of our social media, and sometimes it might be in the main posts or in the comments so that there are other ulterior ways to get it in there and make sure it’s there and available for those that want to partake and those that want to connect with you. We want to make sure that that’s where they choose to go again and again because that’s what we’re reinforcing everywhere.
Let’s talk about the URL choices. Sometimes, we have really long or difficult podcast names. Our show names have gotten lengthy in some cases, so we have to come up with shorter URLs because it’s a lot to mention. The first thing that I like to do is look at the length. If the length is more than two words or two words with the word pod added to it, not a podcast, then I rethink it and I say, “Is this the best URL?”
The name of the website does not have to match the name of your podcast or the name of your business. It can be something simpler. It can be forwarding to your website for people. A great example of this is a podcaster and great author who I interviewed. His name is Mike Michalowicz and I absolutely adore him. He has great books like Clockwork and Profit First. He’s an interesting guy and has a fabulous following, but try to spell Michalowicz.
Tom’s sister is married to someone who has one of those Polish last names that are incredibly difficult, and my aunt does too. It’s a little bit easier for us because I’ve been spelling these difficult names for my entire life, but it’s not easy for most. He has a URL that almost has nothing to do with any of his podcast names because he has multiple shows and multiple books, and it’s called MikeMotorbike.com.
Anyone who gets to know him on a show knows how he loves to drive fast and loves motorbikes and gets it, so it’s easy for them to remember and Mike Motorbike is not hard to spell. That’s what he says. He never spells out his name on the show because he doesn’t have to. We had the problem of Hazzard. Every so often, we have to say Hazzard with two Zs because otherwise, people won’t find us on social media, and that’s a huge problem for those of us with unusual names or unusual spellings of names.
We’ve been doing it our whole lives, so we know how difficult that is, so don’t make the mistake of making that always be the case in the way that you mention your show. Make it simple. Make it easy for people. Come up with something that feels personal or right for the audience you’re attracting because that’s what we want. Our website for WTFFF?! could have gone and we have WTFFF?! show, but we figured people would not put the right numbers of Fs or they’d get confused, so we have 3DStartPoint.com as our website. It’s super easy to remember, not difficult at all, and it’s what we want to be known for. We want to be the place you start to think about 3D.
Thinking about names that you could use that are super easy and easy to say on the show, and that’s the other problem. We write them out and we look at them and go, “That’s a cool name,” or we put them in a logo and we’re like, “That’s a cool logo.” We don’t realize we have double letters and weird little things that happen that make people question when you type it in and squeeze it into one single word as a URL. We want to do that and we also want to say it because sometimes, we trip up and it’s hard to say.
Not only do we want to choose simple words that are easy to remember, but we want to be careful not to choose words that are inherently hard for people to spell. We actually have some podcasters with conscious in the name of their show. We don’t recommend it, but they do. That show did exist before they worked with us. That’s a very hard word to spell, which will make it hard for you to be found. If they know the podcast name and search in the podcast app for you, perhaps when they spell it wrong, they aren’t going to find you. The same thing here applies with URLs, so don’t pick conscience or science.
Science isn’t as bad, but it can be. Anything with I before E’s gets confusing to people. I have to say that’s a common one. When you also have something that’s really long, you can shorten it. We have a lot of clients who have the word transformation in their podcast name and their website name. There’s no reason not to shorten that to transform, which is super easy to spell and a lot shorter.
There are ways to work around that. These are some things to consider and think about. I want you to write it out, figure out how long it is, make sure it’s not more than two and half a word or a three-letter word. Say it out loud to make sure it sounds good when you say it or it’s easy to say and it rolls off your tongue, or it sounds great when you say dot-com, dot-edu, or whatever it is that you have at the end.
Go ask your eleven-year-old, “Can you spell this?” If a fifth-grader can spell it, you’re good. That’s how we do it here. Those are the main things to do when you’re picking that URL. Remember, I just want to reiterate this, it does not have to match your show, your business name, or even your name personally, as the example of Mike Michalowicz. Let’s talk about how you do mentions on a show. We restrict our clients. We tell them not to say anybody else’s URL on their show.
We strongly recommend that they don’t. Not everybody always follows that practice, but it’s the best way to go. Of course, when you have guests on your show, they probably want to recite their URL and make sure they get that mention. We always let our guests know, “We’re going to introduce you. We’re going to give our audience your content for information and how to find you so you don’t have to worry about saying that on the episode.” They may think we’re going to do it in an intro or in an outro that we record after we’re done with the interview, but we won’t. We’re telling everybody to go to the blog post at our site and you will find all the contact information for the guest and any of the links that you need.Make sure your URL rolls off your tongue when you say it out loud. Click To Tweet
You can also go within the show notes that are right in your app and be able to get that. For most people, that’s where they will go first. They’ll just open up the longer description and they’ll go, “That’s how to get to that person.” It’s right there and it’s easy to do. We still try to disguise that. We still put our website with a forwarding URL to that person. We do that sometimes.
If you still want to keep it clean and keep it only being your mentions, that’s a great way to do it so it will forward through, but some social media and some other things have issues with forwarding URLs, so you do want to be careful in that. If you’re really trying to do a service to your guests, you want to put a straight mention in there.
I don’t even like doing that in the show description because you’re inviting the audience to go right from that app directly to someone else’s website without going through your website. You want them to view your website as the resource or as the hub of information. All roads to anything about your show should go through your website.
I use Apple Podcasts. That’s where the majority of podcast listens are coming through. They have a link in there to the episode webpage right within the app. If you’re working with us to create your blog posts for every episode, we already set up some webpage link to go to the blog post for that episode on your website. That’s where you want to train people to go. Anything is going to send people directly from their listening in the app away to someone else’s site. Go to your site first. Your site is where they get the value.
You want to be known for the provider of all of these great resources and the connection to all of these great people if that’s what your process is with having guests on your show. That’s where we want to look at all the show things that happen. On the blog post for those episodes, you will have a link through to whoever it is.
We put out a special bio section and has a link out to the guest. We usually put at least two links. One will be to one of their social medias, if not multiples of them, but typically one of their social medias, whichever one they prefer the most, and their main website mentioned. Sometimes, they’re promoting a book, so it might be their book site, but whatever that is, we will put one in. We don’t embed hundreds of links in there. We try to keep it limited to a maximum of two throughout the whole post that goes through it.
If you want to start taking sponsors or being a resource, a tactic might be to create a forwarding URL or a tracking URL for every mention of any other website that you do in your posts. This is an advanced tactic. We are trying to do more of these advanced granular tactics here. This is one of those. You really need to know what you’re doing. You need to have a concerted web effort to be able to follow up on this and track it, but you can create jump links, tracking URLs, or ways that you know so that if somebody clicks and goes to your guest’s LinkedIn, you know that that click happened from you, it happened from your blog post, and you’re sending traffic.
We tried this tactic with our 3D Start Point site that we were referring to where we would track mentions of 3D printers. We would go to those printer companies and we’d say, “Look at how many times your mentions in just our organic mentions in our show. We didn’t even do a show about you yet or a review of your printer but look how many times people went from our links to your site.”
It’s because we would have concerted tracking of that and that meant that we could go back to them and ask them to pay to join our directory, we could ask them to sponsor the show, or if we could do a review of it. Very often, that led to a sponsorship conversation following. Those types of things are great if you’re building this more influenced style business and an ability to take ads in the future.
We want all of you to get comfortable doing one thing that is make it effortless or make it second nature. I agree with what you said about having some unique links if you want to track things. That does take a little more advanced planning because you got to know what that is before you’re in the episode and you’re going to tell them that link as you’re recording, but it’s a good way to know which episodes are tracking and which mentions are people taking action on. That’s great, but to start, because I know that we have a lot of new podcasters here that are starting their show, just get used to mentioning your URL and the latest blog post on your website. I do this all the time.
I want to give you an example here. I have a show I’m a co-host on with somebody else, not even Tracy. A lot of times, we reference articles that are on the internet, on other sites or videos that are on YouTube and other places. We’ll be talking about a quote from the article or something that happens in the video.
In the context of it, as I’m speaking in the episode, I’ll say, “Everybody reading this or you’re watching the video, you’re really going to want to see this video we’re referencing. We’ve got a link to it in the blog post at our website.” Casually mention it like you’re talking to the audience and saying, “I know we’re describing this for you but you are going to want to go see this for yourself. Here’s where you can do it. It’s simple.” When I do that episode after episode, it’s the same URL. They always remember it.Make your URL mentions effortless and second nature. Click To Tweet
The repetition of what Tom is doing is what’s important here because you’re getting it into their head again and again and you’re reminding them at a critical moment in which they are trying to put a plant in their brain like, “I’d like to check that out. Here’s where you’ll go.” Your brain is making a tag for that. This is a really good cognitive strategy for how you get through from listening to getting them through to take action. You’re giving them exactly the action path now and not at the end of the episode when they forgot why they wanted it. You’re connecting the two things together.
You got to reinforce it throughout and it’s not in an overly selling way. I want to be clear about that. This is you providing value to your audience. If every 5 or 10 minutes in your episode you’re saying, “Remember everybody that I sell this coaching program. You can get it there,” that would be different. That’s more salesy.
We’re talking about you providing value and being a conduit to information or you being a resource for your audience, and it’s casually mentioned. As one of my favorite people, Bill Stierle, who’s a language and communication expert, would say, “You’re tapping the brain a little bit by mentioning it again and again.”
When you say casual mentioning, I’m thinking convenient mentioning, and that’s where you want to be thinking in your head. You’re doing a convenient mention of it right at the moment that they do need it most, and that’s where you’re reminding them of exactly where to go. We’re still doing the same thing every single time.
Now, let’s talk about ad’s view of this. We’re right in that process of working with an advertiser that we’re working with. We’ve had multiple discussions about this and it’s been hard to get through their head. They’d like to use these tracking jump links and all of these things, but the reality is that they might change them later. They don’t realize it right now, but they might change them later and I don’t want to have to redo the ads and rerecord them, and I don’t want some lengthy weird URL to mention on that.
What we do is we have a system for advertising for putting that slash after it. If we were doing 3D Start Point and we’re doing an ad for HP, we would do 3DStartPoint/HP, and then we might have a little tag. It might be HPClass, HPVideo, or something that’s relevant to whatever the call-to-action offer is so that we use it very consistently and it’s super easy to remember. If you’re like, “I wanted to catch that HPClass,” then you can get there.
What we’re doing is we’re creating a system by which we will do that in every ad all over time so they will always know they’ll get the first two letters or the first word of whoever the sponsor is, and then there will be something as to what it is as the next thing. We’re creating a verbal pattern for people who are tuning in to understand it so that they can recreate it. We also always mention that they can go to the website and they’ll be able to find that anywhere. We make that really convenient and easy.
That’s the fallback, and that’s why, again, the repetition of the latest blog post on your website is critical, that being the main URL because even though these tracking URLs or these different specific ones have a lot of value, people may not remember. They may have too much going on in their mind and they’re not going to retain that. The fallback is, “I just go to their website and they’re going to have that link there on the blog post,” and you’re right. We will and you all should too.
It may not just be in the blog post because these ads may run across your entire show, so you might have a front top-level thing that’s like, “Check out the offers from my sponsor,” and you have a little pop-up or a bubble on that. We used to have a corner tag.
In the very upper corner of every page on the website, if you have something you really are promoting and want everybody to see it no matter where they are on your website, it’s like it’s peeling back the top right or left corner of your website, they click on it and they get to this page that has all those offers.
In the case of HP, we have a /HP page that has all the episodes in the series because we did a much more concerted sponsorship here. All 25 of the episodes are live now, so you can go check them out. You can see that if you go to 3DStartPoint.com/HP, you can see the page we laid out. As soon as we put in the ads, the calls to action for those ads will be there as well. What we like to do is when we come out with a sponsorship series, we like to put the series out, and then we like to add the ads later once we’re through that whole series.
We’re going to add the ads in all 600 episodes of our show, so it’s going to go through all. We’re going to have multiple different types of ads and lots of different mentions. We’re going to have somewhere Tom is recording somewhere, I’m recording somewhere, or our voiceover artist who’s the voice of our show is recording. We have lots of different things.Don't oversell. Provide value and be a resource for your listener. Click To Tweet
The mentions get important so we can track the effectiveness of a single ad. Are the ones with my voice doing better? Are the ones that are more of the voice of the show doing better? Does it sound more professional and that’s why people are attracted to it? What’s going on with that? We want to be able to see that because then we’ll study it, we’ll remove some of the ads and repeat the other ones that are working or duplicate them in a different way.
We want to be tracking them at all times. That’s another way that we can make sure that the mentions on the show are still going to the same place so that they’re also helping us track the ad at the same time. We’re testing a lot of things and we have to test them with the audio. We have to do them in a really easy way because we don’t want to have to rerecord the whole ad again if we’re going to roll it out across more episodes, so we want to be careful with that.
The other thing is that for some of you, you’ll have a falling out or you’ll only be selling your ad on a monthly basis, and now those of you, this weirdness of it. You don’t want to be giving them that continual sell or continual benefits, so if they are done with their program with you, they bailed, or they stopped paying, whatever it might be, you get to take that new forwarding URL that you created. In our case, we created 3DStartPoint.com/HPVideo.
We could put it to one of our videos of one of our shows. We have the ability to circumvent that forwarding URL in the future, which helps out in terms of making sure that you never have a dead link. You never have a dead mention until you’re able to remove the ads or do whatever it is that you want, but if somebody has bookmarked it, you want it to eventually go somewhere. You don’t want it to go nowhere.
It has happened with our 3D printer companies. A lot of them went out of business. If we had left the pages and didn’t use a forwarding URL, we wouldn’t be able to resend them to useful somebody else. What we’d usually do if something like that happened was we would create a new thing that said, “This printer business went out of business. Here’s a great replacement for it,” and we do a little short thing. We forward that URL to that page, allowing them to have access to a new resource. We were always being helpful and useful.
These are the reasons why we want to be really careful with how we do our URLs and podcast URLs in general. Remember that we’re in an audio model. It’s a little bit different than how we do it from a digital marketing standpoint and it’s very different than how we do it if we have the ability to flash the URL across our video screen, put it at the end of it, put cards on it, or put mentions in comments. Audio is its own animal and we have to make sure that we’re giving it its own power in that process because the power of that audio and the repetition is something you should be tapping into using to your advantage. In doing that, we’re branding you and branding your website URL.
I think we should drop the mic there. Well done. I hope you enjoyed this and we’ll be back with more tactics like this that are important that maybe you haven’t been considering coming up in future episodes of our show. Thanks for reading, everybody.