When it comes to the distribution aspect of your podcast there are fewer “sure things” than having other similar shows in your niche promoting your content.
And podcast networks are the most natural way to establish that cross pollination of your podcast with other relevant audiences.
In this coversation with Jeff Umbro from podcast network Podglomerate we discuss how setting up a podcast network can be a good fit for you and other shows in your niche, the 5 different approaches they take to distribution or promotion of shows they work with, and where Jeff feels many podcasters are missing out when it comes to the marketing of their podcasts.
Establishing Your Own DIY Podcast Network
While huge podcast networks like 5×5, Relay, Gimlet Media, NPR, and others have significant barriers to entry it doesn’t have to be difficult for you and your podcast to benefit from the same type of organic sharing that happens in these larger networks.
In fact, many of the most impactful podcast networks like Multitude Productions have created significant benefit for their member shows. One way that Multitude accomplishes this is by focusing much of their network into associated vertical niches.
For Multitude focusing their shows into the niches of gaming, Harry Potter and other mythology arenas has helped them grow significant audiences, mostly by cross promoting other member podcast in their episodes.
At Podglomerate, Jeff and his team handle 3 main aspects of podcasting:
Original Content Creation
While they have several member shows they also create some original shows.
Having a built in “laboratory” where they can experiment on new show ideas, refine approaches to content creation, and in general have an avenue to express their creative side has shown some of the biggest advances in their growth over the years.
One lesson Jeff learned for other podcast networks is having shows of your own is a great sort of virtual CV to show prospective shows that you’re approaching to join the network. Showing other podcasts the kind of work you do and what other member shows are like is a great selling point.
Podglomerate works with member shows in a variety of ways to help monetize their podcasts.
Working with platforms like Megaphone is a good option for podcasts with a large following to easily monetize their shows.
If your podcast has 10,000 listens or more per episode then programmatic advertising platforms like Megaphone may be a viable option for your show. In these platforms you choose the type of ads that you’d like to run on your show and the platform takes care of the sourcing of the ad content and dynamically inserts those ads into your podcast as listeners download or stream the episode.
For podcasts with lower listenership, say less than 1,000 listeners per episode, Jeff says that the best way to monetize a show is to go directly to brands in your space to sell ad spots on your show.
These “Direct Ad Placement” techniques require a bit more work up front, but can be the most beneficial for both sponsors and podcast brands.
Direct Ad Placement
If programmatic ads aren’t a good fit for your show, either because your audience is too small or your niche too narrowly defined to appeal to the broader audience of advertisers such as Squarespace, Casper mattresses, etc. then directly approaching companies in your niche is a great move.
This type of advertising relationship often garners a higher CPM (cost per thousand downloads) than does a platform that offers programmatic ads, and can have a better alignment of Audience – Listener – Theme fit.
The downside here is that you as the show host would have to do much of the outreach and sales process with a prospective sponsor. But Jeff admits that these sponsors are usually the best way to monetize a show with a smaller following.
Podcast Ad Agencies
A middle ground between programmatic ads and selling your own ad space directly to brands is working with a podcast ad agency. These companies do all of the hard work of selling ad time on your show, working with companies to come to ad sales terms, outreach, and all of the fulfillment of helping you sponsor your show.
Aside from advertising on your show on a CPM basis you can also work with brands on a pay-per-performance basis where you are paid a reward for conversion on a brand’s site. This is similar to the conventional affiliate model followed by many in the online business and influencer space.
Once the content has been created and a monetization plan is in place the next step is to organize the best way to grow the show’s audience.
Podglomerate runs through a 5 tier process to evaluate and test the best ways to promote its member shows’ podcasts:
- Publicity – getting your show listed on “Best of” lists and in other online sources relevant to your show and your ideal listeners.
- Marketing – Utilizing your existing social media and web properties. Conversions to new subscribers and listeners.
- Cross-promotion of member shows on other podcasts in their space.
- Hosts of your show guest appearing on other podcasts.
- A “feed drop” arrangement where they coordinate with other podcasts to have an episode of theirs appear in another show’s feed.
- Cross Promos – arrangements with other shows to mention your podcast as an “ad” in their podcast.
- Merchandizing – Getting your show featured in curated lists by platforms like Apple Podcasts. Having your show featured within these podcasting directories reduces friction to getting new listeners.
- Paid advertising in podcasting apps like Overcast.
When searching for shows similar to yours to which you can pitch cross promotion or copromotion ideas looking in apps like Apple Podcasts for shows which they suggest “You May Also Like…”. These podcasts are ones that apps like Apple Podcasts and Overcast have shown to be good fits for adding new listeners.
Whether it’s starting your own podcast network or joining an existing one the first step is to decide what your end goal is. Beginning with the end in mind is key to how you approach teaming up with other podcasts in your space.
Podcast networks can be a great way to further your overall niche’s awareness, increase listenership to all of the shows in the network, and serve listeners better by offering better content all around.
To learn more about how to grow your show, start or join a podcast network, check out Jeff’s Podcast Perspective newsletter.