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Should Indie Podcasters Window Their Content?
Episode 9024th February 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:10:28

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Evo Terra:

Many podcasters follow the same playbook: build a big audience, then give

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early, special, and private access to a select group who pay for the privilege.

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But what would happen if you flipped the script?

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Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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You've likely heard of the term "windowing" of podcast episodes.

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Now, for the uninitiated, that's a tactic that is usually employed by

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apps and big podcast networks to give their users, paying users, exclusive

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access to a podcast for a limited time.

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So, if you want to listen to SmartLess when it first comes out, you have to

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listen on Amazon Music or Wondery+.

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Now, if you have a different listening app, you're going to have to wait a week.

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Yeah.

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Some windowing times are even longer than that.

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I've seen some last for an entire month.

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Yeah.

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Imagine waiting that long for your content.

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Now, indie podcasters do something similar, but we don't call it windowing.

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We call it "early release."

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We'll use a listener support service, like maybe Patreon or even a premium podcast

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subscription service like Supercast, Glow, or even what Apple and Spotify

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have now with their premium subscription offerings, we'll then release a podcast

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episode to a select and paying group of listeners a day or two early, or

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in the case of my show, I release it a few hours early on those platforms.

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Just, again, to those special and paying listeners.

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And then after that's gone, it goes out to everyone at its regular scheduled a time.

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Now, for both indie and big podcasters, these early versions

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of the episodes usually don't contain any ads or sponsor messages.

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That's just one more perk we give to those people who pony up the cash to be special.

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These two approaches probably seem similar, both promise and deliver

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special, early access to a select group of people, and then the content is pushed

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out to the main audience, if you will.

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And once that push to the main audience is complete, that's when the promotional

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efforts start to help boost the numbers and get the ad impressions up.

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But I wonder if in today's crowded podcasting world, if we're

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looking at this backwards and missing out on an opportunity.

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The missed opportunity, which we may have, is a way to engender more

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loyalty with a select group of people.

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But what if we reversed our thinking about them?

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What if, instead of viewing that select group as people who get

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something early before the main audience, what if that select group

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of people was the main audience?

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What if that select group of people, a paying a group of people,

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were actually who the content was created for first and foremost?

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What if the release of content to that select group of people were the event that

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then triggered your promotional efforts?

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What if you took the approach of windowing your content for a week or more to

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that select group of people, and then after that window period had expired

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and all of your most loyal listeners had consumed your content, then you

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released it to the great unwashed masses?

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What if you cared more about that select group of people, than you

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do the great unwashed masses?

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Or maybe you really only care about that select group of people.

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Now look, if you're making a good living running podcast ads on your show, then

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this strategy may not be your best play.

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However, you do have the chance to run ads after it releases

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everywhere, but I get it.

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You've got a financial interest in getting as many people downloading

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your content as you possibly can so that you can increase your ad revenue.

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So don't jump to do everything I'm saying here.

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But for shows that aren't pulling down the big bucks from Better Help,

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Simplisafe, ExpressVPN, those three are among some of the top-paying advertisers

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right now in podcasting, not to my show.

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If you're never likely to pull down big bucks because, you know, each

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listener is worth about two pennies of ad revenue, then, this might actually

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be an interesting approach for you.

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No, not just an interesting approach, a totally different approach.

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An approach that pushes you closer to serving your best audience.

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An approach that drastically embraces being niche.

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An approach that may get you out of the "look at me, look at me" cycle.

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An approach that may make for a better, stronger, more meaningful connection

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between you and your most loyal listeners.

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But do you see this as a big risk or maybe it's an opportunity to

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do something radically different?

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And as the podcast ranks continue to swell, will this become a

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strategy that actually shows up and becomes more in vogue with

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everyday podcasters like you and I?

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Time will tell, I suppose.

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Or maybe it is I'm just a crazy person.

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Either way, I shall be back on Monday with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

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Cheers!

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Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.