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Buzzcast Mailbag: Strategies for Podcast Guests, Cover Art, Subscriptions, and More!

September 15, 2023 Buzzsprout
Buzzcast Mailbag: Strategies for Podcast Guests, Cover Art, Subscriptions, and More!
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Buzzcast
Buzzcast Mailbag: Strategies for Podcast Guests, Cover Art, Subscriptions, and More!
Sep 15, 2023
Buzzsprout

Send us a Text Message.

While the hosts are out, the team at Buzzsprout is answering the listener-submitted questions about podcasting, from understanding episode types to creating eye-catching cover art and tackling the enigma that is podcast metrics.

Links mentioned in this episode:
Episode Types:
How to make a great podcast trailer
Cover Art:
OnlyPod Cover Art Preview
Google Fonts
MyFonts
What the Font
GIMP Image Editor
Adobe Express
Canva
Fiverr
Midjourney
Stats:
Buzzsprout Platform Stats
Listen Notes


PodMatch
PodMatch Automatically Matches Ideal Podcast Guests and Hosts For Interviews

Support the Show.

Contact Buzzcast

Thanks for listening & keep podcasting!

Buzzcast Supporter
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Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

While the hosts are out, the team at Buzzsprout is answering the listener-submitted questions about podcasting, from understanding episode types to creating eye-catching cover art and tackling the enigma that is podcast metrics.

Links mentioned in this episode:
Episode Types:
How to make a great podcast trailer
Cover Art:
OnlyPod Cover Art Preview
Google Fonts
MyFonts
What the Font
GIMP Image Editor
Adobe Express
Canva
Fiverr
Midjourney
Stats:
Buzzsprout Platform Stats
Listen Notes


PodMatch
PodMatch Automatically Matches Ideal Podcast Guests and Hosts For Interviews

Support the Show.

Contact Buzzcast

Thanks for listening & keep podcasting!

Jordan:

At the time that we'd usually record this episode of BuzzCast. Kevin Alvin and I will be in Orlando for a BuzzFroat company meetup, so the whole squad is going to be answering listener questions and we weren't able to get to all of the listener questions, but we got some really good ones in here and if you enjoy this episode, let us know and we can do it again. We can answer more questions, but let's get into it. Here we go.

Neil:

Hi BuzzCast crew. I'm Neil Benson, host of Amazing Apps. I heard a great episode about podcast trailers on Kevin Schmidlens' Grow the Show podcast featuring podcasting experts Ariane Nissenblatt and Tim Bellegas. My question is how does the episode type field affect my BuzzFroat episodes? The options are full trailer and bonus. What does each option do? How do the major players handle different episode types? And for the trailer option, should only one episode be marked as a trailer? Thanks so much and keep experimenting.

Priscilla:

Hey Neil, this is Priscilla. I'm the head of support with BuzzFroat. So, first of all, if you're not familiar with the episode type, when you add an episode to BuzzFroat and you fill out the episode details, there is a section that asks you for the episode number, the season, and then it allows you to set an episode type. Maybe it's optional for you to change it. We default to the full episode type, but there are two other options of episode type that you can set. When you're uploading an episode. The full episode type is going to be used for your typical episode and you'd set that as the full type and that's kind of your standard setting. But then there's a trailer type and a bonus type For the trailer, which Neil mentioned in his question. I kind of like to think of that episode as window shopping for your podcast. Just a short episode that gives people an idea about what your podcast's about. It doesn't need to be long. Two to five minutes is a great length for a trailer. So when you mark an episode as a trailer, apple is going to put it up at the top of your listing when someone's not subscribed to you. So if someone like I was saying window shopping, if someone's looking for a podcast to subscribe to and they come across your listing and they're not subscribed to you already or following you already the terminology changes but following at this point, then they're going to see that trailer up at the top, and I think there's actually a button that says listen to trailer right at the top of the listing and they can listen to your trailer and decide if your podcast is something they want to listen to. Once they follow your podcast, then that trailer will fall down in line with the rest of your episodes, based on its published date, and that's similar with Spotify. When you're looking for podcasts in Spotify, you'll see the trailer up at the top as well, kind of like a hey, before you jump into a full episode, listen to the trailer and see what you think.

Priscilla:

And then, beyond that, there's the bonus type, which is typically used for an episode that doesn't really fall in line with your regular episodes. So it could be a mailbag episode like this one. It could be a behind the scenes episode or like a live taping of an episode that maybe you wanna put as a bonus episode. It can be confusing with all of these different subscription options popping up in podcasting, and so it's hard to kind of differentiate what episodes are free and what episodes are paid for. The bonus type that you can set in Buzzsprout is not making that episode locked or premium. It's just distinguishing it from your regular list of episodes. So in Apple they will show that episode in line, totally accessible to all of your listeners, but it'll have like a little bonus badge on it. Now if you were using a subscription through Apple or through Buzzsprout subscriptions, then you could set premium content, but that's gonna be separate from a bonus episode. Setting the type as bonus just gives it a little badge saying this is a bonus episode, and I don't even think Spotify calls out bonus episodes in any visual way.

Priscilla:

So one other thing Neil asked was about quantity of trailer episodes. So typically we would recommend just one trailer episode per feed. The idea for that is that you really won't need multiple trailers and if you do find that you need a second trailer, then I would recommend I'm publishing the first one and then setting the second one as your trailer. There's nothing wrong with changing your trailer two seasons in if your show kind of morphs over time into something slightly different. But I wouldn't have two trailers up because that can be confusing for a listener who's trying to decide if they wanna listen to your podcast, and Apple is only gonna show one trailer, so you may not have much control over what they show there.

Priscilla:

If you have multiple set to trailer and if you wanna make a trailer for your podcast, if you're already a couple seasons or episodes in and you wanna have a trailer, check out our YouTube channel, because there's a great video there about what to include in a trailer and how long it should be and just the information that you wanna have there for a listener. I would highly recommend recording and uploading a trailer. Jordan will include a link in the show notes to that video.

Katie:

Ha ha Hi, my name is Katie and I haven't quite started my podcast yet. I am in the creative process still. I was looking for some tips about cover art, like what are some important things people sometimes miss or often do wrong when making their cover art? Thanks, hi, katie. I'm Cameron Mall, vp of Design at Buzzsprout.

Cameron:

And I'm excited to answer your question about podcast artwork. When you start thinking about the planning of the podcast, what are some of the things that you might need to do to make your podcast artwork? When you start thinking about the planning of your artwork, let's get the requirements out of the way so you know what you're dealing with. 3,000 by 3,000 pixels that needs to be the size that you designed for your artwork 72 DPI. Now, you might not know what some of these things mean. We'll get to that in just a moment. Jpeg or PNG file type and then the RGB color space. Those are like the bare bones requirements. If you don't know what any of that just meant, just keep that very simple way. We'll talk about those in just a moment, but those are some of the baseline expectations I got to tell you, katie, this morning I was looking at Apple podcast requirements and I'm going to read just a few of those for you. So you know what Apple's going to expect.

Cameron:

When you upload your artwork, it needs to be original. Now, that's a loose term, especially with the advent of AI and mid-journey and stuff like that. What original actually means? It can't be blurry or misaligned or mismatched, pixelated images. It's language, no placeholder images, so don't use those stock photos in there that you haven't actually purchased and they've got the watermark on them. You can't have Apple or iTunes logos and there's just a bunch of things like that that you just need to be familiar with those things to make sure you're operating in good, safe territory. To begin with, it's not specific to Apple only. These are going to hold true across many of the platforms, but just make sure you're familiar with what those requirements are going into this, so you know what your field of play is.

Cameron:

Now, something important to keep in mind is how this is going to appear across the internet. That's going to be in podcast players, but also on social media. You might want to use that artwork across social media. There's a great tool out there from OnlyPod for doing cover art previews. You can drop in your artwork in its kind of work in progress mode and it will spit out screenshots like faked screenshots of your artwork inside of Spotify, inside of Google podcasts, et cetera, at a thumbnail size, at a full screen size and so forth, and that will allow you to see how that's going to play out as it spans across all of those mediums and then take a look at how you want to feature this on social media, you know, twitter threads or in your email newsletter. How is that going to be utilized? So the more places that you can test in advance where it's going to show up, the more you'll have an understanding of the kind of impact you think you're going to have on that small size, big size compared to other covers and so forth.

Cameron:

All right, now let's talk about how to communicate the subject of your podcast. First of all, katie, no microphones. Please Don't put those in your cover artwork. Let's stay away from those. I'm going to be philosophical for just a moment.

Cameron:

My entire career has been designing for the web, so I think I know a thing or two about design at this point, and so much of what we do with design is problem solving, defining the problem and then exploring solutions to that problem. And if you define the problem first, the solution is going to flow more freely. So maybe, to borrow a phrase from Abraham Lincoln, if you have six hours to design something, spend the first four hours understanding the problem, and those last two hours will flow much better, because you're now designing against what you have for expectations rather than just exploring ideas that might look cool but are not going to resonate with your audience. Speaking of audience, one of the most important things you can do upfront in terms of defining the problem is to do exactly that define your audience. Who is your audience, your intended audience, for this show? How is that going to help you understand the problem you're trying to solve with your cover artwork and how it's going to resonate with them?

Cameron:

What is your subject? Should you convey this literally or figuratively? I worked at Meta for a number of years and one of the posters they had on the walls was this poster that said don't mistake motion for progress, and in the background of that text there was a rocking horse, and that rocking horse was like this perfect visual metaphor of not mistaking motion for progress, because a rocking horse moves a lot but it doesn't go anywhere. So think about how you want to convey your message, if it's going to be something figurative like that, or something literal, and think about the tone you want to convey. Do you want to convey something that's calming, something that's edgy, maybe something that's opinionated? And what is the most important element that you need to convey of all the things we're talking about? Photo title you name it. There's typically just one of those elements that needs to be emphasized the most. It might be the title of your show, it might be the actual photo itself. But decide what is that like the hero element and make sure that, in terms of hierarchy, that visually stands out as the hero element.

Cameron:

I gave a presentation recently at Jacksonville Podcasters Unite and I talked about this idea of hierarchy and I took the cover art for Cynthia Rivo's podcast Carrier has this beautiful cover photo the back of a trailer. It looks very mysterious, and then it has three text elements sitting over that photo Cynthia Rivo's name, the title of the podcast Carrier and then the logo for QCode Media, and I took the artwork as it stands today. I took that into Photoshop and I changed the sizes of each one of those and showed a different variant where the QCode logo was bigger, where Cynthia's name was bigger, where the Carrier name was bigger, and you could look at how changing those elements, the sizing of those elements, impacted the message that that show was trying to convey. And so play around with you know what are the things that you want to make that hero element and make sure that it stands out as that hero element.

Cameron:

One of the problems that we all face in designing cover artwork is how do we make it stand out in a sea of all the other podcasts that ours is going to be featured against? And so one of the things that I do in design for any medium, not just podcasts, is to do a competitive review. So I'll look at who are my expected competitors in a space you know what are they doing, design wise and then look at ways that I can either align to some degree with what they're doing or intentionally stand out apart from what they're doing. And so you can take time to do that. What are the podcasts that you think will be in your space? Go, take a look at those, drop all of those into a single file, you know, so you have them. Look you're looking at them all at the same time and start to pick up on. Are they using, you know, a lot of red colors? Are they using fonts that suggest, you know, playfulness, or whatever your, your focus is, and see how you can either stand out or align to some degree with what the trend is, so to speak, for that space, because sometimes it is OK to be a little bit like the other podcasts, because that's going to resonate with people that are looking for maybe similar podcasts to listen to. And lastly, look, you might not need any images. So in solving your problem I keep saying problem like it's a problem, but I mean the problem of your cover artwork you might not need images and so you can take a look at how are other popular podcasts? Are the ones that you're listening to? How are they using images or not using images? How are they using text, with just that being the emphasis?

Cameron:

Let's talk about words and text. First of all, be cautious about how much text you're putting into your artwork. Again, you have to create that balance of hierarchy. You have to recognize that this is going to appear at sizes like from thumbnails up to TVs or carplay, and text is going to get significantly small at those small sizes. So our general recommendation is aim for about seven words or less, that's. That's usually a good spot to aim for. Now, if your podcast title is seven words long, you're not left with much beyond that, but it's just a general rule of thumb. Now, when you think about text, you need a good font to render that text All right. If we had 60 minutes together, we would spend 59 minutes talking about fonts and typefaces.

Cameron:

This is one of my absolute favorite topics to talk about, so I'm going to be as brief as possible here. First of all, you've got a lot of options available. Google Fonts is your friend. You can find a ton of fantastic fonts from Google Fonts. Just go Google Google Fonts. It sounds inception like, but you'll find it easily if you're not familiar with it, and you can download any of those fonts for free of vendors like Canva. We've got a great integration with Canva in Buzzsprout and Canva is going to take care of like having nice fonts available for you to use because they're embedded into their artwork tools.

Cameron:

Now, if you want to purchase your fonts by yourself, you know, go to somewhere like myfontscom. That's a great resource. You can do searches, like on themes of handwritten or, you know, retro. You can just punch that into their search field and you'll find lots of great fonts along those lines. And then think about competitive review. Look at what other podcasts are doing and where you can perhaps align with some of those trends and where you can be different. There's a great tool out there by myfonts called what the Font. Just Google what the font will drop it in the show notes and you can take any artwork, any podcast artwork that you like. Drop it into their search and they're going to spit back fonts that they think were used in the creation of that artwork. So if you love Conan O'Brien's cover and you want that same font, go drop his cover into their search and they're going to spit back a bunch of fonts probably all cost around 20 bucks and you're going to find a font that you absolutely love. Or if you love your Wrong About one of the most popular shows hosted by Buzzsprout Very, you know, intriguing typeface, go drop that in. I did that today. Avatar is actually the name of the font they use. You can get it for around 25 bucks. I don't recommend, maybe, copying their font. But long story short, if there's a font you love out there, go find out what it is and you're welcome to use it.

Cameron:

Finally, let me give you some places that you can go to to be able to design your cover art. You got to give it a shot yourself first, katie. I mean designing is fun, so don't skip, you know, straight going to somewhere like just Canva where it does a lot of the design for you. This is a chance to get your feet wet with design and it's it's a fun process. You might pull your hair out in the process, but that's all part of the fun of learning how to design something beautiful.

Cameron:

There's free tools out there like Gimp, g, I, m, p, which is basically like a free Photoshop tool. Some of my sons use that and you can produce some pretty good stuff with it. It's free, might take a little bit to learn how to use it but again, in the spirit of like exploring the, the enjoyment of designing something, you might start with that. There's a Adobe Express. If you're on a budget, it's free to use. You can upgrade to get more features like more fonts and cloud storage, but the free tool is pretty solid and you can use that Photoshop like tool, adobe Express, to be able to create a pretty beautiful cover. Buzzfright has a great integration with Canva.

Cameron:

Again, they're gonna do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. If you're not really into Designing and pulling out your hair, you can go ahead and try out their tool and you can hire a designer. You can hire someone like myself or there's podcast experts out there. You can go to fiverr and you're gonna get some some I think, some good. Maybe not spectacular with fiverr in particular, maybe you will but you'll get some good options back. But keep in mind they're not going to wave a magic wand and suddenly you have a beautiful cover. You need to know the problem you're solving. So go to them with that exercise we talked about earlier of defining what you're trying to do, who's the audience, what's the tone and so forth. And the more that you can give to someone else to design your thing, the more success they will have in trying to hit your target.

Cameron:

And then, lastly, we are in an era of AI Design. It's just a crazy world right now to see how fast AI is Evolving and tools like mid-journey allow us to crank out some pretty cool designs very quickly. If you do a Google search for Mid-journey prompt guide or something like that, you're gonna find tons of guides around the language that you can use to tell mid-journey what you're trying to get back and I'll tell you what. It Could be a pretty fun experience to explore AI and how it can generate Cover artwork for you. You're not gonna generate text. Don't ask it to generate text right now. It's terrible at doing that, so don't ask for that, but it can be. It can be really fun and it's it's, I think, a playground that allows you to just explore what are your options out there. So, katie, listen, I hope this has been helpful to you. I'm excited to see what you produce and, for the rest of you, I hope you've learned a thing or two today, and thanks for listening.

John:

Hey everyone, I have a question about how to know if your podcast is doing well. I just started this year and I know it takes time, but I want to see how we're doing compared to other podcasts. I've looked online, but there's a lot of different answers and it usually has to do with ads.

Kevin:

Thanks, hey John, this is Kevin from Boat Sprout. He might recognize my voice. I'm on Buzzcast regularly. Thanks for the question.

Kevin:

So you are curious to see how your show is doing Compared to other shows, and so I'm gonna answer this question a couple different ways. First, as directly as possible, which is I want to give you some websites that you can go to to kind of see what's going on in the podcast world, what are like typical numbers for people. So the first place I'm gonna point you to is just go to buzzbrotcom. If you're already logged into your account, you're gonna have to log out, because this information is on our marketing site. And once you're on the homepage of buzzbrotcom, scroll all the way to the bottom of that page and you will see a link for what we call platform stats. It's under resources, it's in the center column of all the links there. So click on platform stats and then you can scroll all the way to the bottom of that page and We've got some information there for you. So there's a section of that page that says episode downloads in the first seven days, and this gives you the information Around the top 50% of podcasts, all the way up to the top 1% of podcasts. So you can look at, like the, the numbers right now for this month. Say, for the top 50% of podcasts they're doing 31 downloads, typically on an episode within its first seven days of life. So you can compare that to a recent episode that you've published and you can say how many downloads of that episode do in the first seven days. If it's 31 or more, you know that you're in the top 50% of all podcasts. If it's a hundred and seventeen Downloads or more, you're in the top 25% and that goes all the way up to the top 1% of podcasts which are doing five thousand one hundred and sixty three downloads in the first seven days from their date of publish. So that's one way that you can kind of check and see what you're doing.

Kevin:

Most people look at those numbers and say you know what? Those numbers are a little bit lower than I expected. You know, if I'm doing more than 31 downloads in the first seven days, I'm in the top 50%. That's that can be encouraging, but you might not be there also and that shouldn't be discouraging, but it's. It's, if you want, kind of a watermark of what is happening. That's a good one, because that's that includes all the podcasts that are on the buzz sprout platform, which there's over a hundred thousand of them, so it's a pretty good sample size. I as far as other public numbers, there are a few other podcast hosting companies that talk about their numbers, but as far as I know, they don't publish them anywhere. So I have heard numbers from other hosts. Some are a little bit higher than ours, some are a little bit lower, but they're all in that range.

Kevin:

The advantage that you have with being on Buzzsprout and looking at our numbers that we publish publicly is that we are the largest premium podcast hosts. So for anybody who's serious about their podcast and paying for a hosting service, you're in the largest pool, so it's a good number to go by. You can also check out another site which is called Listen Notes, and the same thing. When you go to listennotescom, you scroll all the way to the bottom and they have a link down there called Podcast Stats and that gives you some different type of information. It's not going to be download numbers, like you were specifically asking about, but it's things like how many new podcasts are published each month, how many new podcasts are published each year, like Dead Podcasts by year. Last Active Podcasts by year, podcasts by language and genre and region. So it's not going to give you download numbers, but it's going to tell you how many other podcasts are out there that are actually publishing on a regular basis.

Kevin:

One of the things that we hear from people all the time is like is it too late to start podcasting? There's so many podcasts out there in the world and there are. There are a lot of podcasts. Spotify for podcasts says that they've got 2 million podcasts or something, but the thing to remember is that they're not all active podcasts. They're not publishing on a regular basis, and so and the same thing happens and is true in the YouTube world Like there's, you know, 50 million YouTube channels or something, but there's probably only a couple million YouTube channels that are publishing on a regular basis, and it's even smaller for podcasts. So while there are millions of podcasts that exist in the world, there's probably only a couple hundred thousand podcasts that are publishing on a regular basis. So if you're publishing on a regular basis, then you're in an elite group already.

Kevin:

Another thing that's available in Listen Notes is something called Listen Score, and so you can get to that the same way that you got to podcast stats. It's listed down in their footer. It's a link, but the easier way to get to it is just to get off their homepage, just search for your podcast title and then they're going to come up with some results. When you see your artwork, click on your artwork and at the top of the next page that pops up, you're going to see something called Listen Score and a global rank, and that is Listen Notes has some proprietary algorithm that they're using to give you a score and a rank, and since it's not exactly public, they do describe a little bit how they come up with these numbers, but it's not completely transparent. You have to take a little bit with a grain of salt. But that would also give you some insight into where you rank amongst all the other podcasts that Listen Notes is ranking. So that could be helpful as well.

Kevin:

And so this is the second part of my answer now is that comparison can be encouraging, can be discouraging, and so I want you to look at it. And how can I think about this in an encouraging way? And what we've done at Buzzsprout, as we've adopted this? It's kind of like a tagline or a moniker that we say to each other all the time and we always close Buzzcast with it, which is we say, keep podcasting. There are different ways to look at podcasting. One is kind of like this finite look at it, is like if you set a goal that says, oh, if I achieve 5000 downloads per episode or if I hit a million downloads in a year or something, then I will have arrived, I will have won this podcasting game.

Kevin:

But that's not the way that we look at it and I encourage you to not look at it that way. I encourage you to look at it as more like an infinite game, a long game, where the goal of the game is to keep playing. And that's why we say keep podcasting. And we preach that a lot and we say it at the end of our podcast, and we believe that at Buzzsprout that the goal of podcasting should be self-improvement and to just get better each time for the purpose of keeping podcasting, like to keep doing it. So it's not something that you should try to win or you should try to be the best at or have some random number that you pull out of your hat that you're trying to achieve, but it's something that you enjoy all along the way, getting better every time you do it, consistency in publishing.

Kevin:

And whatever your goals are like educating people or sharing a message with the world, just getting to meet new interesting people that you're interviewing for your podcast, connecting with family members that you might be interviewing whatever the goals are that you set out to podcast for, like, keep those in mind, because very rarely do people start out and say I want to start a podcast because I want to get a million downloads. Well, no, that's not really a thing. Now, monetization might be a goal. I might say I want to start a podcast because one day I want to sell enough sponsorships and I want this to be my job, and then numbers become more important. But that's not everybody. In fact, I would say that's not the majority of people, and the majority of people have a different why, and so if your why isn't directly tied to a number, or you don't need to hit a certain number to achieve a certain financial goal, then don't worry about the number so much.

Kevin:

Worry about the quality of the content, because this episode that I did I'm more proud of it than I was my last one. Did I try something new? A new technique? A new? Did I get faster with my editing. Did I get better with my editing? Did I write a better show note? Do I like this show title better than the last one? Sometimes the numbers will be higher, sometimes they'll be lower, but that's just one metric on a large scale of improvement that you can always look towards. So I hope that helps. Thanks for the question and keep podcasting. Hi, my name is Lisa.

Lisa:

And my podcast is called Whatever Happened. The goal of my show is to help people find answers to that age-old question whatever happened to and then fill in the blank. But my question is how do I find guests to tell their stories on a brand new show without looking like a podcast ambulance chaser? Thank you so much for your help and keep up the great work.

Brad:

Hi Lisa. I'm Brad Shreve and I'm one of the moderators for the Buzzsprout Facebook group and I'm also host of the Queer we Are podcast, and it is a scary thing in the beginning to figure out okay, why would anybody want to be on my show? And here's what really worked for me. They say that you need to be able to sell it to your guest, but sometimes that's hard to do. Like, if you have an entertainment show, you may not have anything. They may not have a book or they may not have a TV show that they're going to promote. So what you want to do is find something that really believes in your show, and what I was able to do is find a non-profit organization, a national one. I told them about my show and they said, wow, we love it and they have provided so many guests for me. They are the ones that got the ball rolling and since then I've had guests refer other guests. Now that can be tricky because people can be uncomfortable with that. So I do a soft sell and I say I know this can be uncomfortable, but if there's someone you know that you can ask if they'd like to be a guest on my show. Can you do that and that actually gets across much better than I say do you have somebody you can tell me about my show Now? You don't have to necessarily work with a national organization, just somebody that has some connections. For example, I know somebody that started a brand new show. I referred him to somebody who is in Wisconsin in a small town radio station, who knows people, and so I referred a couple people to him and through connections he was able to get the ball rolling on their shows.

Brad:

So you need to reach out to those that can really get things going for you, and you don't need to worry about the ambulance chaser thing, because here's the big secret People love to talk about themselves and they also get that you're a podcaster and you want to have a show. That's no surprise to anyone. So it's a legitimate fear, but it's not one you really have to worry about. A couple other tips I have for you, lisa. If you do make that connection with somebody that can help you, you can ask them to do one or two things. The great one is if they will send that other person an email and address it to both you and them, and they can say hey, joe, here's Lisa, and I think you'd be a great guest on her show. If they can do that, it's priceless. But some will say, just send them an email and tell them that I referred you.

Brad:

Then sometimes those wells run dry and you may have to find people elsewhere, and that's where I found social media has really worked. Now I will say Twitter, now X, has been my best source ever. Not as many podcasters are on X as there used to be, but there are still people there and I am finding other social media's work as well, and the way I have done that is start following somebody that you're interested in or get people that are interested in your show and build a relationship with them. Comment on them.

Brad:

I had a high profile guy who normally charges $500 to be on podcasts and I was following him for a while. I commented on his posts and when I asked him to be on his show, he said you know, I normally would turn these down, but you're the first person that ever interacted with me on Instagram. Most people just want a favor out of me and that's why I charge. So he was on my show and so, if you can build those relationships, but don't just send them a message right away, but you also don't have to wait months, just enough for they see your name a few times so that when you send them that message it won't be out of the blue, and I think you'll find you have pretty good luck with that as well.

Brad:

And finally, lisa, I just want to reiterate what I said before Don't worry about feeling like an ambulance chaser or a podcast chaser. Remember, as I said, people do like to talk about themselves and think, if NBC or PBS had contacted somebody and said we want you to be on our show, people wouldn't think that they're out to get something, they're out to get a story, which is all you want to get. And, as I said, not everybody, but the vast majority of people are more than happy to talk about themselves. And even the ones that are a little reluctant once you get them on the microphone oh my god sometimes they're the ones that just won't stop talking. So it's a legitimate fear, but work past it because you will find in the end it's not that bad.

Priscilla:

Hi, this is Catherine from the Fearless Future podcast with Catherine McCord, and my question is when should you start applying a subscription to your podcast.

Jordan:

Hey, catherine, this is Jordan. I am the podcast producer at Buzzsprout and you heard my voice at the opening of this episode because I'm also the co-host of Buzzcast. So to answer your question, first off, there's different kinds of subscriptions. So subscriptions is kind of a nebulous term for a way to make money through listener support, and there's a couple of different ways you can do this. You can either do actual premium subscriptions, where you create exclusive content or premium content that will be unlocked when a listener subscribes. Or you could do a subscription where listeners just pledge a monthly amount to support the show for the work that you've already put forward with your podcast. So when you start offering subscriptions, it actually kind of depends on what subscriptions you're wanting to offer. My opinion and this isn't always the most popular opinion, but my opinion is that you should offer a subscription or a way for listeners to support your show just right out of the gate. It's really awesome to be able to put a call to action in those early episodes asking listeners to support the show if they get value from it or something like that, because the thing is is like, even a year from now, if a listener finds you and they go back and start at those earlier episodes, then they have that call to action already in their head. It's right there. Whereas if you wait a couple of years, you know there might be like a hundred episodes where there's no call to action for listener support. So that's definitely something to think about. The other thing to think about is it's a lot easier to offer subscriptions if you do it smart, like if you don't have a lot of extra work on your plate.

Jordan:

Podcasting it takes up a lot of time and it can be a really, really big commitment to tell listeners that they get a weekly bonus episode if they subscribe to your podcast and then be able to hold that up for like a year if it takes off, because then you're married to providing those subscribers a weekly bonus episode. So maybe start small, maybe just offer something simple like support or shout outs or early access to episodes that will be coming out because you've already done that work and it's just giving them early access to it. Live chats are like an ask me anything session, or even add free or behind the scenes stuff, so things like that. It's kind of taking the work that you've already done and then repackaging in a premium way for like exclusive content. If you do want to offer bonus episodes, I recommend starting small. You know, maybe just try one bonus episode a month or two bonus episodes a month, but if you do that, I would make sure that you don't start offering bonus episodes until you've already been podcasting for a little while, just because you need to get a feel for how much work actually goes into podcasting and make sure that you don't get burned out too quickly.

Jordan:

So, to summarize, I think that you should have a listener support platform locked and ready to go right when you start your podcast so that you have a call to action for listener support. This could be anything. It could be the Buzzsprout subscriptions, recurring support, or it could be your PayPal or buy me a coffee, or something very simple where listeners can just do like a monthly pledge amount to you and then, in exchange, you can just send them like a thank you email or give them a shout out on the show Something really easy. And then, if you're wanting to do actual premium subscriptions through, like Apple podcast subscriptions, buzzsprout subscriptions, like premium content or Patreon supercast, something like that those I would definitely give it a couple months just to like really get your sea legs, and then you can decide how much work you want to put into your subscription. Well, I think that wraps up our mailbag episode, and next time we will be back into our regular episode format, as always, thanks for listening and keep podcasting.

Intro
Creating Effective Podcast Cover Art
Understanding Podcast Metrics and Perspectives
Finding Guests for a New Podcast
(Cont.) Finding Guests for a New Podcast
When to Start a Subscription

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