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How to Rebrand Your Podcast with Jessica Rhodes

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How to Rebrand Your Podcast with Jessica Rhodes

Last week was another reminder of how much I adore podcasting. I had the opportunity to visit the Interview Connections office and podcast studio in Warwick, RI. Jessica and her team were warm, gracious and welcoming. Taking advantage of the visit, I was invited to appear on the freshly, rebranded show Interview Connections (formerly Rhodes to Success), where Jessica and Margy help their listeners "rock both sides of the mic". 

Check it out!


Given their recent rebrand, they snagged me on mic for a quick, 30-minute show to discuss:

  • What’s the difference between a rebrand and a tune-up?

  • What does it mean to rebrand?

  • How do I rebrand my podcast?


You can find Jessica and her awesome team over at InverviewConnections.com

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Podcast Hosting with Podbean - an Alternative to Libsyn?

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Podcast Hosting with Podbean - an Alternative to Libsyn?

We're back with another post, as we continue to review the various podcast hosting platforms available on the Internet. In case you missed it, check out the pieces I wrote on how to best move your podcast off SoundCloud with Libsyn and Buzzsprout.

In this insightful post, we dive into Podbean's free podcast hosting services and address some of the concerns the podcast community has expressed with them. I know when I was personally looking through Podbean reviews, it didn't look pretty.

They also didn't look very recent either, with the most recent negative review written in 2012. Old, but still relevant? Maybe. I decided not to leave it up to chance and reached out to Shannon, the Director of Communications for Podbean, to get directly to the source of the issues their past clients have had with them.

 

The Top Two Most Common Complaints about Podbean

It's not a good sign when the first few spots on Google, for 'Podbean Review', are negative. It's also not a good sign that they're all outdated, as I couldn't find anything that was relevant in the 2015-2016 time period. The two biggest concerns and negative remarks that I extracted out of Podbean were:

  1. Their inability to give you control over your own RSS feed. This means that once you give your RSS feed to Podbean, it's theirs forever and you won't be able to get it back; essentially forcing you to start all over. New podcast, new following, and a brand new iTunes page. Ack!
  2. Their terrible customer service offered by non-native English speakers on, with the lack of ‘know-how to fix’ what should be simple solutions. There's nothing worse than dealing with Comcast-esq customer service, questions unanswered, and a support team that doesn't respond to cancellations.

But as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, these reviews are old...way old. They shouldn't even be mentioned in this article, but I know our audience is bound to come across what I found on Google, so it needs to be addressed.

 

According to Podbean, These Problems Have Been Fixed

Shannon was quick to address the concerns I mentioned above, and frankly, after seeing her in-depth response and the various actions taken by her and her team, I feel Podbean is on a fast track to success.

Podbean has already fixed problem number one, and now users are able to move off their platform should they wish. For those who are interested in switching to Podbean services, Shannon offered this helpful article - How to Set a New Feed.

In regards to problem two, Shannon did mention that the company no longer offers phone support. Instead, customers can contact them via email or live chat. Their live chat isn't 24/7, but it does cover around 20+ hours or so. If you can't reach support via live chat, then email is the second best form of communication, of which they quickly reply to. Shannon acknowledges that their customer service was horrible in the past and said Podbean has made major improvements in that regard. Here is what she had to say to me via email:

We have made major improvements to support and have a much more experienced/long-term team now. Of course, no company’s perfect and sometimes they run into complexities, etc. Fortunately—and this is what I think is great about us—me and David (CEO) review twice/week with the team (and more as needed) and help them address any issues, reply to customers having difficulty, help them improve responses, etc.

I (and our community manager, Jennifer) try to be pretty active on social media too, in order to help podcasters. We explain that our Support Twitter isn’t monitored constantly for support requests, so direct contact to Support is best, but we interact consistently with our customers (and other podcasters)—not only for problems, but to proactively help them with resources, marketing ideas, promotion etc.
— Shannon Martin - Podbean Director of Communications

 

What's Great About Podbean?

One of the main reasons why podcasters prefer Podbean over other podcast hosting service platforms is affordability. Their unlimited audio plan goes for as low as $9 a month, with their annual sign up package. They are currently preparing to offer HLS to podcasters who provide video of their interviews as well.

Podbean is an easy and powerful way   to start podcasting. Everything you need. No   technology to learn.

Podbean is an easy and powerful way to start podcasting. Everything you need. No technology to learn.

Podbean seems to be a perfect option for those that have very little technical knowledge. The platform provides easy-to-use tools that can help set up an attractive podcast page. Shannon told me that Podbean is the first host to provide a blog-like platform/page for podcasters. Shannon also believes their back-end editor is simpler to use than WordPress's editor, which can be a huge bonus to some. If you're an independent hobby podcaster without a website, then this option could be ideal for you.

If you already have a website for your podcast, then no problem. The site makes it easy to redirect the feed to your own website, so those who are seeking a little more customization will be glad to know that they're not stuck to Podbean's platform.

Here's the interesting thing about Podbean. They offer affordable integrated monetization. This is what Shannon had to say about it:

We were one of the first hosts (and still, the most affordable—taking only a 15% revenue share with no upfront fees) to offer premium content options (subscriptions or fees for single, “bonus” episodes) and we are the only one to offer integrated crowdfunding (patron support).

CF is also available to podcasters who host anywhere, and I think this is a hidden gem! The great thing about our program is the page pulls in your RSS so it looks great with recent episodes shown there—and for Podbean podcasters, the “become a patron” button is automatically on their page (others can get our pre-formatted buttons, super simple to put on their pages).

Also, if their listeners listen in our apps, the buttons will be there right on the screen so no extra steps, telling them a separate site to go to later etc. CF was so going at first, but we’re really seeing it be more widely adopted and many people are doing quite well with it. Look for something special in the advertising space to be coming soon as well!
— Shannon Martin

 

Finally, I'd like to mention that Podbean does something unique that other podcast hosting service providers don't do as proactively, which is to promote their clients’ content regularly. Podbean promotes 5 podcasts each week on their homepage and in their app, giving their clients some great exposure. They also do regular shout-outs on social media. I like that they do this a lot, because it means they really do care about what their customers have to say and what they are putting out into the world.

I recommend that you check out Podbean, as it seems some of the major problems they had in the beginning have been fixed and that they're actively working towards building a stronger community and service.

 


About Podfly

We are a boutique podcast production service that creates beautiful sounding audio and highly descriptive and well-crafted show notes. We have a small team of audio engineers and writers to help perfect your podcast and make it sound great. If you're starting from scratch, we can teach you how to set up your audio equipment and craft an excellent podcast with intros and outros included. You can contact me at Ayn@Podfly.net for more information or reach us through Podfly's contact form.

 

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See You At Podcast Movement!

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See You At Podcast Movement!

Podfly is happy to see everyone, new and old, at Podcast Movement this year. We've got some exciting things coming your way, but be sure to stop by our booth to say hi! Our two co-founders Corey and David will be at the booth along with team members Aty and Eric. 

By the way, Corey will be speaking at Podcast Movement this Friday the 8th at 9:15am in the Columbus GH hall. He will be discussing podcast editing from start to finish and will be giving you a walk through on how to take raw content and polish it into a professional sounding podcast - all under an hour. Sounds impossible? It isn't, but you won't learn the trade secrets unless you stop by his workshop this Friday! You can learn more about Corey on his Podcast Movement speaker page

See you guys there! 


About Podfly:

Podfly is a boutique podcast production company that turns amateur podcasters into professionals. We have a staff of highly skilled audio engineers and show note writers to craft the perfect podcast. If you're new to podcasting and don't know where to start, then Podfly has some great packages for newbies who want to get their podcast off the ground. Contact me personally at Ayn@Podfly.net or reach Podfly through the contact form for more information. 

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Should You Have a Website for Your Podcast?

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Should You Have a Website for Your Podcast?

To kick off the start of April, we're going to dive into whether having a website for your podcast is worth it. This is actually a question we receive quite often from people who are just starting out their podcast journeys. For the most part, many of our clients already have established websites. And so, they just want to tag their podcast on as another marketing funnel or extra media their dedicated audience can consume. If that sounds like you, then this article wouldn't apply to your already established brand.

However, if you're swimming in a big ocean full of fish, dangerous and gnarly-looking fish, and are not sure where to start, then  this article can help and  guide  you.

 

So, do you need a website for your podcast?

The quick and dirty answer is that it depends. I know, anticlimactic. Boo.

But seriously, let me first ask you, how much do you care about your podcast? Because if you don't care and it's just some hobbyist podcast you're creating in your step-uncle's weird and this-was-once-a-meth-lab basement, then you don't need a website because, well, you don't care.

I mean, I already know you don't care because you're trying to record in a dirty and echoey basement. Get it together - you can do better!

 

Okay. Let's calm down.

Before I go further, I want to disclose that I am a web developer by trade. I learned how to code at a young age, so there may be a slight bias in this article. But I promise I won't let my personal agenda mess with your vibes.

 

First of All, You Don't Need to Do or Have Anything

If you don't want a podcast website, then don't create one. I'm not going to convince you to create a podcast website if you're just going to abandon it. Many podcasters get by without having a website at all. I mean, just check out different podcasts on iTunes and you'll find them. So don't feel this strange obligation to make a podcast website, just because all the cool cats have one. Maybe you're the type of person who finds innovative ways to promote your podcast without a website. Either way, this is your podcast. You can do whatever you want with it!

 

Vet Your Podcast First before Investing Big

If you want to test the waters, then you don't need to get a full blown website from the get go. There are many free alternatives. You're lucky it's 2016, because long gone are the days where you have to sell your liver for good hosting. If you're not sure how serious this is going to be, then get a free podcast website like Wordpress or equivalent. Then work from there.

Let me pick at your brain a little bit here. Do you like where your podcast is going? Would you like to increase traffic?, Do you want to see user engagement? Then I suggest you reconsider your options. It's easy to transfer your website over, from one platform to. another That’s unless you go for some horribly cheap and awful website-making service. Otherwise you are not going to be stuck to one platform for eternity.

 

When to Get Serious?

I personally recommend you go serious, aka pay for the website, pay for better graphics, etc. when your podcast has a loyal audience that cares about you; and if you eventually want to sponsor your podcast. Sure, you can get sponsors just for your podcast. But if you have a great standalone website in and of itself, then you can arrange for different sponsor packages that include the website and/or newsletter. A website creates an extra layer to your marketability, which sponsors love + allows you to monetize your podcast.

 

In Summary

You don't need a podcast website if you don't want one. If you want one, then go small until you have the social proof. Once you have the social proof, go big and make it great. Then you can also become marketable on multiple levels. A small podcast can indeed grow into a big business. So just climb the broken escalator until you've reached a level that is right for you.

In the next article, we'll do a brief overview on some of the viable website options for podcasters - which themes and platforms  make sense to use and which don't.

 


About Podfly:

We are a podcast production house that offers audio editing and podcast show notes services. We also have beginner packages to help you get started on recording your first podcast. Feel free to contact us or if you have any questions email me at Ayn@Podfly.net and we'll be more than happy to help you out.

Until next time, Ayn.

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The Podcast Producers - Season 2

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The Podcast Producers - Season 2

“Hey Jessica! You wanna make a podcast with me?”

Ok, the starting point for Season One of The Podcast Producers was pitched a tad more professionally than that. But that was the gist when I asked Jessica Rhodes if she would consider co-hosting a podcast series with me on the art and craft of podcasting.

She was open to the idea but had her conditions and - so did I. It can’t be an ongoing show, week after week. It had to be good for our respective businesses. And it had to be the best representation of our talents at the time.

From what Jessica tells me, I had her at “it can’t be and ongoing show…”.

 

 

So we got super excited, we made a plan, and we executed.

Though Jessica and I entered into the meta-podcasting field unsure of how this series would be received, we knew within days of recording interviews that we had struck gold. It seemed we were messaging each other daily after wrapping up another interview with texts like “OMG, killer content” or “This show is going to be amazing!”

Sure, I had no idea how I was going to take all 25 raw interviews and make them somehow work together. No, we didn’t know if anyone would even pay attention. Yet with any podcasting venture, sometimes it’s best just to hit record and figure things out as you go.

In the end, the editing worked out and little was left on the cutting room floor. Our peers and newfound audience were loving it. The first season was a smashing success by all standards. Heck, we even had a cool logo that I’ve been told resembles a men’s room door.  This left us faced with the question; “OK, now what?”

 

 

Raw & Uncut - Waste not, want not.

We had enough interest in each individual guest interview that we decided to open up the raw recordings to the public. You can find the unedited interviews following the 10-part series in the same RSS feed. We figured rather than start a new feed and try to build an audience again, why not just deliver to the current subscribers? It’s practically a built-in audience.

This Raw & Uncut series has held our current listener base, and helped the show find new listeners by releasing regular content. Turns out, our second ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along’ strategy worked just as well as the first one. All that remained was an answer to the listeners’ question; “When is Season 2 coming out?”

 


 

Let’s do it all over again - well, sort of.

Jessica and my paths crossed again earlier this year, at a podcast conference in Tampa. We knew we would be seeing  each other and we both know what that meant. It was time to have a serious talk about Season 2. For a variety of reasons, I was kind of dreading it. My business is, well, busy. So is hers. I have other initiatives I embarked on this year, and so did she. Booking guests, interviewing over Skype, endless editing, web development, promotions, social media….it all just sounded like a big, fat chore this time around.

We fenced off a time to sneak off to the adjacent bar, sit down in a booth with our laptops and a couple glasses of wine, and talk about...our feelings. After some typical Jessica/Corey venting and joking about industry stuff, we lowered our heads, and our spirits, into a bleak Google spreadsheet. It was horrible. We both felt it and neither of us wanted to say it.

 

 

I don’t know who went first, but I’m sure glad someone did.

When we did season one it was fresh. It was fun, novel, and very different from our other projects. We learned, we laughed, and we shared it with the world. Then the novelty wore off. Jessica was raising another baby, I had once again moved to another city. We became different people, really. And we needed a show that reflects that.

“We need something that pops!”, I said. “Yes!!!”, Jessica agreed. It was time to move away from the dark, haunting NPR-esque production of season one into a more snappy and entertaining show format. “Let’s just interview awesome podcasters who love our show, and we love theirs”, Jessica said. I couldn’t have agreed more. It felt right. It felt really right.

With that, the entire mood shifted at our little booth in that airport hotel restaurant. It was like we weren't talking to each other for months and suddenly made up. There was a renewal and a drive to actually do this again, because it would be FUN.

 

 

You like us? Well, we like you too!

This season, Jessica and I are proud to be bringing you eight episodes of The Podcast Producers premiering April 5, 2016. We hand-picked guests that we think are talented, have been podcasting for over a year, bring value to the listeners, and are simply awesome people to talk to. They are:

 

 

Wait, who’s paying for this whole thing?

Yep, there was the small matter of cost. Producing, hosting, and promoting a podcast series isn’t free. In fact, to do it well can take some serious time and money. That said, Jessica and I reached out for a little help in the form of sponsorship. We sent out some feelers to those we thought would be a perfect fit for our show and our audience. Well, it didn’t take long for the good folks at Podcast Movement to buy ALL our ad slots!

We’re now proud to have Podcast Movement as the exclusive sponsor of Season 2 of The Podcast Producers. Jessica and I will be there July 6-8 in Chicago, and we hope to see you there! To see the full lineup, and to register, visit PodcastMovement.com, and use the code PRODUCERS to save $50 off the cost of registration.

 

A podcast network to boot?

 

To make matters more interesting, we are incredibly honored to have been invited on the Podcastica Podcast Network. With “A cornucopia of podcasty goodness”, this is an exclusive club of some of our favorite shows all bunched together for some...well, podcasty goodness. Sharing the platform with such popular shows as The Walking Dead ‘Cast, Game of Microphones, and Podcast Junkies, just to name a few, is simply awesome.

 

Where and when is this all happening?

You can find the original 10-part series at ThePodcastProducers.com. All the Raw & Uncut interviews are available by subscribing on iTunes, on Android, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. By subscribing you’ll automatically receive Season 2, immediately upon release!

 

If you can’t get enough of us in the meantime, feel free to creep us online. ;)

 


 

 

 

 

 

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