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Joe Taylor Jr.

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How often should I post my podcast?

How often should I post my podcast? 5760 3786 Joe Taylor Jr.

Most of our prospective podcast production clients usually ask, “how often should I post my podcast?” Some shows post new episodes daily, some post a few times a week, some even post a cluster of new episodes all at once for binging. While it’s tempting to focus your podcast posting schedule around your recording availability, we urge our clients to think about the science behind schedules that help grow audiences.

In Edison Research’s new study, The Podcast Consumer 2019, they found that 32% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly (representing 90 million people). That’s an increase from 26% last year! What got our team excited, however, is that more than one in five Americans now listen to podcasts weekly. That’s 62 million people, and each of them typically subscribes to about seven podcasts.

There’s great news in these numbers if you’re a podcaster, and bad news if you work in traditional broadcasting—since that’s where many of these listeners seem to be coming from. That’s why you’ll see traditional broadcast organizations like iHeart, Entercom, and NPR getting even more aggressive about podcasting in the coming months.

Whether you’re spinning up a bootstrapped, independent podcast or you’ve got the backing of a big network behind you, we think you should be asking one of these questions:

  • How can I earn my show a place among those seven shows on a typical listener’s weekly playlist?
  • What can I do to encourage a listener to make room for an eighth show?

Your new show posting frequency really depends on your bandwidth to produce high-quality podcasts, consistently, based on the listening habits of your audience.

Deliver high-quality, thoughtful audio

Podcasting audiences have changed a lot in the past few years. Production values count a lot—even for hobbyists. You may have a really small niche, and you may not even care about making money from your show. However, your audience notices details like the quality of your microphone and whether your edits are noticeable. They’ll know if you’re just bantering aimlessly or if you’ve polished your presentation.

Unlike what we saw with the boom-and-bust of blogs, nobody’s rewarding podcast producers for flooding the zone with content. In fact, plenty of well-funded shows have crashed by attempting to push daily or even hourly episodes into subscribers’ feeds. For most new podcast producers, weekly’s the most frequent cadence we’d recommend to ensure a show that sounds good, holds interest, and keeps audiences engaged (especially on social media) between episodes.

Meet your audience’s demand for consistency

Audiences often tell researchers they want unpredictability during a show, but they demand consistency from release schedules. Whether you decide to post new episodes daily, weekly, or monthly, you must socialize your schedule and commit to it.

Many podcast listeners enjoy audio content while doing other things that already fit into predictable patterns, like commuting, exercising, or running errands. Even listeners who deliberately set aside time to spend with audiobooks and podcasts tend to mark off consistent blocks of time. If you’re not ready when they are, they’ll move on to another show that meets similar needs.

Our clients tend to be authors, professional service providers (like accountants and lawyers), and other folks who don’t come from traditional broadcasting backgrounds. And the most surprising thing we reveal during our onboarding is just how much lead time your favorite radio shows and professional podcasts give themselves to ensure they hit a predictable posting schedule.

It’s not surprising (to us) that the most successful shows do their recording and editing days or even weeks in advance. They’ve often got one or two episodes “in the can” at any given time as insurance against a sudden bout of host illness or a guest that fails to show up on time for a recording.

Leverage the timeliness of your content

If you’re covering breaking news or politics, you’re probably aiming for a very quick turnaround from recording to releasing your new episodes. Even the most successful topical shows run on a predictable schedule—record in the morning, edit in the midday, release in the afternoon. If you’re experienced at keeping things moving in a live setting, you might even broadcast in real time, then quickly slice up your recording for the podcast feed.

However, research indicates that listeners get different kinds of needs met from podcasts, and that many of them are looking more for context instead of just raw information. Don’t be afraid to give yourself the time you need to produce thoughtful takes on your topics, to research the most insightful questions to ask your guests, or to make some (often brutal) edits to your show for clarity and brevity.

You might have already guessed that we’re fans of weekly production cycles. From our team’s collective background in broadcasting and marketing, we can usually tell that most of our new clients are going to have the easiest time getting into the groove of weekly production. In addition, we think that asking your audience to squeeze one more half-hour show into their weekly routine is the safest bet. That doesn’t mean that weekly production is the best plan for every aspiring podcast producer. It just means that’s the format with which we’re seeing the most consistent success.

Because every show’s a little different, we invite prospective clients to hop on a complimentary discovery session call with our team. We’ll be happy to walk you through how we help design an effective posting schedule for our clients.

How many podcasts are there, and how do you make your podcast stand out?

How many podcasts are there, and how do you make your podcast stand out? 7360 4912 Joe Taylor Jr.

Podcast popularity has exploded over the past few years, even though the format’s already in it’s second decade. More podcasters produce more shows than ever, while new devices and ubiquitous bandwidth enable more consumers to listen. If you’re thinking about jumping into the podcast game, you might be asking yourself, “just how many podcasts are out there right now, and how can I stand out?”

According to Variety, Google’s already tracking more than two million distinct podcast feeds. Podcast Insights examined more than 750,000 active podcasts and counted more than 30 million episodes as of June 2019. That’s a growth rate of nearly 50% per year when tracked against the figure of 550,000 podcasts that Apple reported at their Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2018. Longtime radio consultants at Edison Research have also shared data that suggests that podcast production isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

The podcast landscape is indeed getting more crowded every day, but we don’t consider that a problem. It validates this growing market, especially when you consider the size of audiences that crave quality productions in their favorite niche interests. For every superstar podcast that gets coverage in the New York Times, a hundred solid shows have built solid audiences that support themselves through patronage or as part of sponsored content marketing campaigns.

Instead of worrying about whether we’ve hit peak podcast, we think you should be concerned about building the kind of quality show that helps you set yourself apart among your peers. Your competitors are vying for listeners’ ears just as fiercely as you are. What are you doing to stand out from the competition?

It’s easy to fall down search result rabbit-holes, trying to game the Apple Podcasts directory. Those strategies may have worked in the early days, but competition for the “new and noteworthy” slots just won’t work unless you’re ready to sink a major marketing budget into a new series launch.

Smart and successful podcasters know they need to earn listeners’ time, attention, and loyalty by mastering the art of consistent marketing and promotion. It’s never been more critical to produce creatively original and high-quality shows and know how to get attention.

Podcast marketing and promotion best practices:

Provide value for your audience.

There’s no point in promoting your podcast unless you’re committed to providing real value to your audience. No amount of marketing will grow a lousy show. Avoid gimmicks or shortcuts. Marketing hacks may work in the short-term to goose your launch metrics, but they won’t sustain your audience growth. When researching, scripting, and recording your show, think critically about the message you’re sending and why it’s so important for your audience. They’re not just subscribing to hear your voice, so it’s your job to deliver the value they want to receive from spending time with your show.

Get comfortable in your niche.

Marketing your podcast gets a lot easier when you embrace the idea that not everyone’s going to be interested in your show. Instead of aiming for a million downloads, visualize your first thousand listeners. What do they already listen to? How would you complement the other shows in their feed? An audience persona exercise can help you discover where your show fits in to their world, especially if you’re thinking about places you can advertise or other shows where you might pitch yourself as a guest.

Experiment and course-correct based on real data.

Don’t fly your plane without any instruments. Even if you’re only investing a little bit of time or money to promote your new podcast, embrace experiments that result in real data. You don’t even have to engage in creepy ad tracking techniques—just ensure that you’re watching which of your experiments result in new listeners over time. Keep in mind that your audience may not share your same technology habits—just because you spend a bunch of time on Reddit, or Hacker News, or Pinterest doesn’t mean your audience hangs out in those communities.

Delegate time-consuming production tasks to experts.

Building a solid podcast marketing campaign often takes as much time and energy as developing a show itself. That’s one reason why many of today’s most successful podcasters hire experienced podcast producers. When someone else is handling research, guest booking, and post-production, you’ve got more time on your hands for building your network and growing your audience. Contact our onboarding team today to learn more about how we’re helping podcast professionals stay focused on what matters most.

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How can podcast creators see who listens to shows?

How can podcast creators see who listens to shows? 3456 2304 Joe Taylor Jr.

Podcast analytics is one of the most contentious topics among content professionals right now. Unlike other types of online content, which often can support exhaustive (if not downright creepy) levels of audience reporting, podcast audience measurement is still pretty much at the “read the tea leaves” stage of development.

On websites, we can easily know how many people reach a specific page, how far down that page they read, and what they’re doing when they get there. Right now, we have to take a leap of faith that the number of downloads reported by a podcast’s hosting platform roughly translates to a reliable audience number.

In some ways, that’s good. A lack of definitive analytics across podcast listening platforms means we haven’t seen the over-optimization that crushed creativity among bloggers and website publishers. Advertisers treat podcasters more like traditional radio broadcasters, who’ve always operated with a bit of wiggle room when it comes to disclosing audience numbers.

There’s a hunger, most often expressed by large advertisers and by major audio production networks, to cultivate the same programmatic approach to podcasts as we’ve seen with video and with text on the web. The team at Basecamp railed at this notion on a recent episode of their Rework podcast, even jumping ship to a new hosting platform when they discovered their previous hosts made open statements about new, aggressive sales and data collection tactics.

For most podcast producers, I’ve found that worrying about the exact size of your audience doesn’t solve for much. When you put that energy into developing great content, marketing your show to new listeners, and asking your existing audience for the right kind of feedback, the numbers end up falling into place.

Every good podcast hosting provider will tell you how many downloads each episode generates. Better hosting providers can estimate how many of those downloads came from unique listeners. There’s still a catch—some listening platforms will download and cache your audio to their servers, so a single “listen” reported to your audio server could represent dozens or even hundreds of networked listeners.

For now, regardless of where you fall on the privacy-vs.-creativity debate, the best thing you can do is watch your podcast’s overall trend lines. If your podcast downloads are steadily growing from month to month, it’s safe to say you’re gaining audience. If you’re successfully raising funds from merchandise sales or on Patreon, those numbers count even more toward validating your success.

Hop on a complimentary discovery session call with our team, and we’ll be happy to walk you through how we help measure success for our own podcasts and for those of our clients.

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How can podcasts make money?

How can podcasts make money? 4200 2800 Joe Taylor Jr.

Although podcasting tools have become affordable for hobbyists to make quality audio at home, many aspiring podcasters still want to know how podcasts can make money. Here are five ways that our producers and our clients have all earned cash from online audio.

1. “Organic,” non-targeted ads.

You’re probably most familiar with “host reads,” a form of advertising that’s worked for traditional radio broadcasting and translates very well to podcasting.

Advertisers love these when they can align their brands to the personality of a popular podcaster, especially when they cross over into testimonial territory. Direct response advertisers especially like podcast ads, since they can measure each placement’s impact on sales. (That’s why you hear so many ads with “coupon codes” that vary between episodes.)

However, these are the most difficult sponsorships to book, and they require podcasters to have scaled an audience in the tens of thousands just to cover the cost of handling the paperwork and traffic management. If your show includes more formal spot breaks, you might slot in some network commercials—with the caveat that too many of these runs the risk of alienating your audience.

Most podcast hosts will support your show if you’re running organic ads within your episodes. Just watch the fine print on hosting agreements with podcast publishers that prohibit “outside monetization” on low-cost plans.

2. Programmatic, targeted ads.

Some podcast hosts now feature technology that “stripes in” externally-supplied ad audio, customized to the individual listener. To your audience, this might sound similar to spot breaks on terrestrial radio. However, two of your listeners might hear wildly different ad messages based on their purchasing and browsing histories.

On one hand, producers and networks tend to like the concept of programatic ads. Targeted ads tend to perform better, yet cost less, since they’re only reaching a pre-selected audience. Anchor’s original business model, before their acquisition by Spotify, traded free podcast hosting for the license to drop programmatic ads into shows. (Spotify seems to be continuing that model, while opening up the potential for member-exclusive feeds down the line.)

On the other hand, many podcast producers have expressed concern about the impact that programmatic ads could have on the podcasting ecosystem. With hard analytics coming into clearer focus, some sponsors may move from organic ads to programmatic and leave high-quality series with lower listener numbers in the lurch.

If you’re trying to move past the hobbyist stage and you’re willing to trade some airtime and some listener data for a small amount of cash support, you might want to check out Anchor.

3. Patronage, using the public radio or Patreon models.

As someone who graduated through the ranks of public broadcasting, I’ve probably helped sell more tote bags and commemorative mugs than I can remember. The public media model is interesting, since you’re selling artifacts rewarding a fan’s support for your show instead of putting your content behind a paywall.

If you’re not yet hitting a thousand downloads per episode, consider using a third-party platform like Patreon to accept monthly micro-donations. You can use a platform like Spreadshirt or CafePress to sell merchandise directly to fans, but you’ll only clear a decent return if you deliver high-quality, limited edition designs at a significant markup. You’re going to have to be okay with charging $40 or more for a shirt that costs you $18 to fulfill. After you’ve built a sizeable audience, you can switch from on-demand fulfillment to a volume-based supplier, but you’ll still need to budget time or money to send orders promptly.

It’s very weird that funding your content stream requires becoming an expert at product design. Yet, this is one of the most consistently successful ways for podcasts to make money, especially for shows whose topics or audience don’t lend themselves well to mass market advertisers.

4. Paywall, using a subscription or audiobook model.

If you’re producing a very high quality podcast, or if you cover business-specific topics on your show, you may be able to convince listeners to follow you into a paid subscription model. This tends to work well for niche business experts, for entertainers with established fan bases, or for complex audio dramas.

I’m not surprised to see a handful of investor-backed companies move into this space, since producers need a heavily polished product to attract subscribers. What I’m somewhat delighted to see is a hybrid model emerging, where podcasters release “free” versions alongside gated “extended” versions of their shows. This is the structire that folks like Marc Maron have used for years, and it’s the business model behind networks like Luminary.

5. Advertising your own products and services.

Content marketing on blogs and across news websites ran into a buzzsaw over the last few years. Small businesses, startups, and solo entrepreneurs could build blogs around their subject matter expertise, attract audiences, and even convert readers into clients. However, aggressive search engine optimization, an exploding advertising market, and a reliance on outrageous clickbait content turned that technique sour.

Podcasts, because of the storytelling nature of the medium and the deeper relationships the medium forces, haven’t experienced the same kind of race to the bottom. While it’s still an uphill climb to build an audience via a podcast, audience retention is much, much higher for podcasts than for blogs.

If you’re an author, speaker, consultant, or professional services provider, podcasts offer an excellent path to showcasing your unique talents while building trust over time. It’s a long game, but if you play it right and act as your own best advertiser, you can build a small but mighty audience that supports the work you’re doing through direct engagement.

You can choose more than one way for your podcast to earn money, but you’ve got to give your chosen plan the best shot for success.

If you’re planning on monetizing your podcast, structure your production to prevent “podfading.” Nothing annoys an advertiser more than an unpredictable publication schedule. And you can’t expect an audience member to buy a t-shirt for a project that might not be around for long.

Our Podcast Taxi audio production service is optimized for producers who want to focus on delivering high-quality, weekly episodes. We can work with you to build a production buffer against unexpected illness, or we can structure a schedule that focuses your valuable time. Talk to us during a free discovery session, and we’ll share our insight into how you can set up your show to pay for itself—and start supporting you financially, as well.

macro photography of silver and black studio microphone condenser

Why do we think we can help you build the best podcast?

Why do we think we can help you build the best podcast? 4240 2827 Joe Taylor Jr.

What may look to some observers like a “peak” in the audio content industry feels like a tremendous opportunity to our Podcast Taxi team.

For most of the past decade, our leadership team ran a content strategy agency that helped clients tell their best stories to their perfect audiences. When we launched in 2012, podcasts were still a niche within a niche, usually catering to highly technical audiences.

However, over the past few years, we started including more audio content in the strategy documents we delivered to our clients. We started producing podcasts and audiobooks for subject matter experts in the finance and technology verticals. And we even launched our own podcast to highlight some compelling stories from our entrepreneurial communities.

That’s why, in 2019, when we started thinking about how we could best serve our clients, we realized that sharpening our focus on audio gave us the opportunity to spend even more time on projects we truly enjoy creating for eager audiences.

We’re committed to helping our clients produce engaging audio that also happens to advance their strategic business goals. For authors and entertainers, that means taking listeners beyond the page and diving deep into compelling conversations.

For business professionals, that means unlocking expertise in a way that builds rapport and attracts new clients. And for all of our clients, that means leveraging our strongest storytelling and engineering skills to shape the kinds of narratives that lead to “driveway moments.”

Most of all, we’re excited by the opportunity to center voices that wouldn’t necessarily find footing in today’s crowded content landscape. It’s hard to build the skills you need to run a weekly radio show and still focus on the things you need to do every day to run your business, to perform well in your job, or to be a true leader in your profession.

We’re here to let you stay focused on what you’re truly great at, so you can pretty much just show up for your recording, share your gifts in front of a microphone, and focus on the relationship you’re building with your audience.

Young mixed race woman recording a podcast in a studio

Why did we launch Podcast Taxi?

Why did we launch Podcast Taxi? 5351 3567 Joe Taylor Jr.

In July 2019, freelance journalist Jennifer Miller dropped a bomb of a headline on the podcasting community:

Have We Hit Peak Podcast?

Her article lasered in on a few data points that might concern anyone thinking of launching a podcast in the near future:

  • She reported that there are over 700,000 podcasts, with as many as 3,000 new shows launching every month.
  • She also noted that metrics don’t yet mean much in the podcasting universe. You can measure the number of reviews you get in Apple’s Podcasts directory, or the number of downloads each episode enjoys, but those numbers are pretty easy to fudge.
  • And she supplied this direct quote: “Industry analysts and production companies say that so-called ‘bantercasts,’ in which the host and guests chitchat for an hour or more, likely comprise the bulk of new productions.” (Plenty of bantercasters took personal offense to this one, but the accusation isn’t off the mark.)

Critics of the piece noted Miller’s own framing of the rise and fall of blogs as a reason to be wary of her judgement. Most of us who moved from traditional media to online media in the late 1990s and early 2000s reveled in the scene’s opportunities.

Then we watched as the ecosystem got swamped with low-quality content mills, clickbait headlines, and AI bots that overwhelmed authentic voices. Finally, the arrival of social media platforms meant the end of most microblogging and personal blogging (with the possible exception of mommyblogging — a subculture unto itself). So many of the best websites of that early era have faded away as folks started tweeting instead of posting, or as trolls stole the joy from commenting.

So it’s no wonder some folks are skeptical about podcasting.

But here’s why, in my experience, podcasting’s set up for success in a way that blogs aren’t.

  • Podcasting draws on the best traditions of radio and audio production. It’s a format designed for intimate conversations, powerful storytelling, and deep relationship-building.
  • Even when podcasts contain ads, they’re nowhere near as unfocused and distracting as most other forms of online media. You’re not getting a pop-up in the middle of your article, or “one weird trick” ads floating up in the sidebar.
  • The lack of standardized metrics for success are exactly what makes podcasting a great space to operate in. You don’t have to “win the time slot” or “dominate the charts.” An audience of a few hundred listeners can support your work via patronage, or by buying your books, becoming customers of your company, or through dozens of other measurable paths.
  • Even though it’s debatable whether humans can multitask, audio is the one form of content that we can consistently enjoy while we’re driving, walking, exercising, or even working.

The NYT piece dwelled on podcasters who launched their podcasts to attract advertisers or to become influencers. But that doesn’t reflect the reality of why I think you might find yourself compelled to sit in front of a microphone, telling stories to strangers.

Let’s factor out the traditional media companies pushing a ton of new podcasts into the world and focus on independents. A quick glance at iTunes most popular podcasts shows who’s really gaining traction using this format:

  • Authors who have discovered that they can grow communities of readers, eager to dive deeper into ideas together.
  • Entertainers, especially comedians, actors, and musicians, who bring their natural talents to interviews and conversations.
  • Business professionals who share how they’re overcoming huge challenges for themselves and for their customers.

Yet, even when you’ve got a strong business case for launching a podcast, that fear of “podfading” remains real.

Just as you’ve likely discovered with your own career, the more you stay focused in your zone of genius, the more you’re able to deliver lasting value to your community.

Podcast hosts burn out because of production tasks, not because of a lack of passion. Terry Gross and Howard Stern both make interviewing look effortless. That’s from decades of experience. Yet, Terry Gross probably rolls three minutes of footage for every minute of Fresh Air that makes it to the network. Howard Stern, like most “live” radio hosts, relies on a team of producers and researchers that ensure he’s got the right details and data to make his show keep moving along.

“Very few people are talented enough to be interesting without extensive production. You are probably not one of them. But it’s OK. Production is the great equalizer. Put the work in and your show can be great.” Roman Mars, 99% Invisible

It’s the level of preparation, polish, and care that separates successful podcasters from hobbyists. While there’s nothing wrong at all about wanting to just hop on the microphone and rant, that path won’t ever lead you to the kind of audience that can help you make the kind of impact you really want.

In fact, your competition for audience isn’t other podcasters. It’s Netflix. Or Fortnite. Audiences demand production value, compelling stories, and personal engagement. Podcasting’s capable of delivering all of that, provided that you’ve got the production on lock.

That’s where we come in.

For the launch of Podcast Taxi, we’ve recruited a team of experienced radio producers, audio engineers, and content professionals. They’re all committed to helping you craft your perfect sound, while eliminating the resistance that causes “podfading.”

Research and Planning. If you’re producing a “solo” show, we’ll help you organize and research your topics, so you’re operating with an audience-focused content strategy. If you’re interviewing guests, we’ll help you confirm logistics and we’ll supply background research and starter questions to ensure your show goes way beyond surface-level chatter.

Broadcast Quality Editing and Engineering. Once your raw audio’s “in the can,” we’ll edit it for clarity and master it for radio-ready playback.

Distribution and Amplification. Your podcast isn’t just about the audio. We’ll produce detailed, time-stamped show notes that help listeners enjoy your show even more. We’ll generate and proofread a full transcript of your recording, so your show’s fully accessible to all audiences. We’ll stage and schedule publication of your show to your preferred podcasting platform (and we’ll help you set yours up if you don’t yet have one). We’ll even generate and schedule the social media posts you’ll need to get more listeners.

We developed all of our processes and systems while making podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio products for ourselves and for our clients over the past five years. Whether you’re struggling to keep your podcast fresh or you’re aspiring to get your show off the ground, we’re eager to help.

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