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Simpler Podcasting As A Survival Technique

Dec 30, 2019

This episode is guest-hosted by Mike Dell, Customer Support Manager for Blubrry.

A complete transcript of Mike’s thoughts (and a few comments from me) is below. Podcast Pontifications will return in January 2020, published by Evo Terra four times a week, still aimed at the working podcaster. The purpose of the show in 2020 will still be to make podcasting better, not just easier.

TRANSCRIPT

EVO: To say that I have strong opinions about podcasting is a bit of an understatement. But I'm not the only one with opinions, and I think it's important for you to hear of the opinions of others. So today on the show. I've invited my friend Mike Dell, who helms the customer support desk over at Blubrry, one of the big podcast hosting companies.

Mike's got a few thoughts about keeping things simple. Although I don't necessarily agree with all of them. Yeah. It'll make sense in a minute.

MIKE: Is your podcast too complicated to produce, publish, or market? Keeping it simple will make your podcast better... and easier. 

Hello and welcome to another podcast pontification with me Mike Dell, filling in for Evo Terra while he's goofing off somewhere.

Keeping it simple. A lot of podcasters that I run into make things more complicated than it needs to be. And there's a lot of little things that can just make it easier. I find that people that podcast simply  -- or try to do it, you know less complicated -- tend to stick with it longer. And as a working podcaster, you want to cut out as many steps as possible. And, as I said, it makes it better and easier to do your podcast.

Trying to control how third-party apps display your show will drive you nuts! Just put what you want into the show notes or the content area of your post, however you're posting it: You have a title you have a content area. Just put whatever you want to show everywhere in that content area. What the apps do with it after that is pretty much up to them. So don't overthink it and don't worry too much about it. It will absolutely drive you nuts! 

EVO: Evo breaking in with a word of caution. Please do this with intent. And also; one block of text that goes everywhere... probably isn't a great idea. Okay back to you, Mike! 

MIKE: Another thing: don't overthink the format of your media files. You know pick a format -- MP3 at 128 kilobits stereo or mono will do. If you want to use a little less space, you can do 64 mono. But you know, most people listen on the crappy earbuds that come with their phone or on Bluetooth in the car, or on a smart speaker. None of those things are high fidelity necessarily. And the bitrate of your file just to get a few percentages isn't really going to be heard by most your audience. So worrying about you know, "Well, should I do M4A? Should I do this? Should I do that?" doesn't really matter. Make an MP3 at a reasonable bitrate. 128, again, is a pretty good standard, but that may vary a little bit. Anywhere between 64 and 96 is good. And be done with it!

EVO: Or, we could... follow standards. Yeah. It's not any harder to encode your MP3 file at 128, 44.1, Joint Stereo. So, you know... Just do that! Sorry, Mike. You were saying?  

Be everywhere you can be... reasonably. Don't jump through too many hoops to get on a platform that'll only be .001%  of your listeners, you know? There's always this new shiny object syndrome that podcasters tend to get into. And you know... Say, you know, XYZ app has now adding podcasting, and you can host with this one company and get on there. Otherwise, you can't get on there.

Don't switch to that hosting company just to get that possible .001%  of new listeners. You know... be reasonable about it! If, later on... In most of those things that come up, do this later on you can submit it directly with whatever host you're using.

That's the way you should do it, you know? Don't jump to one hosting company to the other, to the other, to the other. It's a lot of work. It's not worth it. 

Having a website is great! Having an over-complicated website that you have to do a bunch of stuff to post an episode is not so great. 

I find a lot of people will have a website and then they want to put a different player, or they want to have a page where everybody lands that has the episodes on it. And they have to manually do this. And they have to manually do this other thing. 

And, you know, the more trouble it is to post on your website, the less likely you're going to keep doing it. 

You know, keep it as simple as possible. If your host gives you an embeddable link, then you just pop that into the page that you're using on your website and be done with it. If you're using PowerPress, a product of Blubrry, and, you know... just use the Post! That's what the Post is for, you know? Display the post however you want, but don't overthink it. Keep it as simple as possible.

Episode images. They're very unneeded and unused in a lot of cases. Like Apple Podcasts. The only time the episode-level image comes up in Apple podcasts currently is during a search. And only under the heading of "Episodes". But while the user is playing it, they don't show up. While they're searching for your podcast in that app or very many other apps, they won't see that episodic image.

Put the image on the post on your site, you know? You want to drive people back to your site anyway, so why not just do that? And don't worry about the episodic level images. 

EVO: Me again. Hard disagree. What Mike says is true: episodic artwork doesn't show up in most places in Apple Podcasts. However, that's just Apple podcasts. He already mentioned a great reason to use episode-level artwork. You should use episode level artwork. If only to be good for the future. Ok? Ok.

MIKE: Recording. Get a mic that works. Get them like that's makes you sound decent. It doesn't have to be absolutely perfect. But, you know, good is good enough. 

Once you get the sound that you want; check that off your list. Buying a new microphone  -- unless, of course, you have a bad one now -- isn't really going to result in more listeners. It's just going to result in you changing your sound around and spending a bunch of money.

And that will also discourage you from keeping podcasting. 

So get a mic. Make sure you sound good. Learn how to use it. And then check it off your list. No need to jump through too many hoops. And yeah, I'm kind of a gear head, so I have a whole drawer full of mics. Trust me, the mics aren't going to increase your listenership.

And the last thing on my list: social media. Having a social media presence is good. But posting full episodes on social isn't always the best way. Evo records usually doing a Facebook Live video, and it stays on Facebook after the recording session. So his episodes are on Facebook and that's great.

His episodes are short, so more people are apt to listen to them. But I don't know very many people that are going to listen to an entire audio on Facebook. And Facebook actively tries to keep you from doing that. You can't just post an MP3 on Facebook. You got to change it to a video and all that. And they're even trying to cut down on that.

So posting it to Facebook is great, but post the link to the post on your site. Because people aren't going to sit in the Timeline and listen to your 20- or 30- or 60-minute show. They're just gonna listen to the first little bit of it and take off. 

But, if they really want to listen to it; give them a link back to your website. They can hit the player that you put on your site, and that's really the best way.  

So anyway, I'm Mike Dell, customer support manager at Blubrry podcasting and co-host of the Podcast Insider. And you can find out what we do over at Blubrry.com. And check out Podcast Insider at podcastinsider.com

Evo will be back in January with even more Podcast Pontifications.

Cheers!