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Before You Join A Podcast Network, Check These 5 Boxes
Episode 3616th September 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

As interest in podcasting heats up, networks new and old are reaching out

Evo Terra:

to podcasters to make it a group effort.

Evo Terra:

Joining a network may be right for your podcast, but consider these

Evo Terra:

five must-haves before you sign.

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Evo Terra:

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

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I'm hot and cold on podcast networks.

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I know how powerful they can be and what benefits they can

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bring to their member podcasters.

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But I also know the other side of that, how they can be mismanaged,

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and how member podcasters can be screwed over when things go south.

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In my tenure, I've started and managed two moderately successful podcast

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networks over the seventeen years I've been in the podcasting game.

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Both were extremely early.

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One of those was extremely weird, but nonetheless, I learned a few things.

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And since that time I've done some consulting with others who have networks

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on a wide range of services, pitfalls to avoid, managing operations of the

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network, and even go-to-market strategies.

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Now, none of that really makes me an expert on podcast networks.

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That's how different podcast networks are.

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They all behave vastly differently, set with different goals and objectives.

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However, that experience has given me some core beliefs around podcast networks,

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and I'd like to pass those down to you as I've coalesced them into four - no,

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make that five things you should consider before joining a podcast network, whether

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that podcast network is big or small.

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One, you need the ability to walk away.

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Now, keeping a podcast network viable is a team effort, not just you, the

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podcaster, not just them, the network, but also all the other shows in the network.

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Joining a network is kind of like joining a company as an employee

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in that you have to trust the other people within the organization that

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they're doing what they need to do to keep the organization a going concern.

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It takes care and feeding to keep the network alive.

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You have to grow the network.

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You've got to stay on top of new developments.

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There's a lot that goes into making the network itself viable.

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It can't just live on the shoulders of the podcasts that are part of that.

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And if that overall organization is not working, you need to be able to walk away.

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You must fulfill your commitments and obligations, obviously, if

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you're doing something that you've signed to, contractually you

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said you will do these things.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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You need to do that.

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But there needs to be a way for you to walk away from the network.

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You should be able to part as friends with acceptable out clauses

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when things just aren't working or it's just not a good fit.

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Number two, ownership of content.

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When you walk away, you need to be able to own all of your content, the content

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you made before you joined the network that is now hosted on the network's web

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service, perhaps, but also the content you made while you were part of that network.

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Again, the network might have some ownership of content you made during

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your time on the network itself.

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That might've been part of the deal.

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Great.

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So definitely want to work that out.

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One thing to look at in your contract is to make sure there will be no surprises

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off of either parties when that happens to make sure you get what you need.

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Now, along with that idea of owning what you have is continuity for your audience.

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Remember, the idea of a network is to bring you more people.

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Yes, I get that.

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But you brought your own people to the network most likely.

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So when you decide to leave that network, you will want to move your

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files from that network's servers and onto your own or someone else's.

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That's the easy part, by the way.

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There's no complication in moving podcast hosts from one to another, and it's not

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that much more difficult - really, it's not any more difficult to move your

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podcast from one network to another because it's the same kind of process.

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But the network needs to make this easy for you.

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They need to be able to put in a 301 redirect on their side that's not only

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to your feed, by the way, but also any pages if you've been driving traffic

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to a different webpage somewhere.

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All that needs to be done.

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All the redirecting needs to happen, and they need to pledge to keep that

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in place for, oh, let's say forever.

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Because, honestly, once you set up those redirects, you shouldn't have

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to monitor and manage them any longer.

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It's not like it costs them anything.

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Don't let anybody tell you it costs money to maintain 301 redirects.

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That's not true at any level.

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The fourth thing that you need is a minimum monthly guarantee.

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Look, if one of the reasons you joined this network is a promise of income

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made from network level advertising, then the network who's selling the

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advertising needs to put their money where their mouth is and tell you the

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minimum level income you will get.

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Now, I don't care if it's a token amount, or they really are pushing

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for a really big number, you probably should care what that number is.

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Because it's not your fault if the network hires an ad person

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who is crappy at their job.

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I get that pandemics and global recessions happen, that sucks for

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everyone, but that's the risk of running a network that is built on the premise

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of bringing revenue to podcasters.

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It's up to them to make sure they keep bringing the money in.

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Last thing is a revenue share of the network.

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Remember that the network is going to take a piece of the action for every

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ad deal they sell for your podcast and every other podcast on that network.

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I've seen that percentage going to the network be 50%.

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I've seen it as small as 5%.

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Doesn't matter because as the network grows, the total amount of income flowing

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into the network itself will increase.

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And, yes, costs do increase for the network as they bring on new shows.

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That's life.

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That's business.

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But over time, the pool of money going into the network

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should, in fact, increase.

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And I think you want a piece of that action.

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I know I would want a piece of that action.

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I think every single show on that network should get a piece of the action overall.

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Not just what happens on their show, but the network overall.

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Now, structuring this can be complicated.

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I like to think of it just as a bonus pool like you would have at most employers

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where, okay, this is the residual money left over after we've paid for things.

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A portion of that goes out to each of the podcasts allocated by, I don't really

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care, downloads, impressions, you name it.

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It doesn't matter to me so long as when the network prospers overall, every

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show, including your show, on that network profits and prospers overall.

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So there's my ideas on networking.

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I don't have any Boostagrams for me to talk about on the show today.

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There were no reviews or new coffee supporters since yesterday.

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You can fix that, by the way, by hitting the boost button on your

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fancy newfangled podcast listening app that supports boosting.

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You can also say nice things about Podcast Pontifications on

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whatever app or directory that takes reviews that you like to use.

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Or just go to podcastpontifications.com/support.

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Yes, I did set that up - podcastpontifications.com/support

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- to get some options on how you can provide value to me for the

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value I give to you with these insightful episodes four days a week.

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There will be no episodes on Friday because I like to keep the Friday sacred.

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So with that, I shall be back on Monday with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

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Cheers!

Evo Terra:

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.