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Digital Presence Spectrum, Medium and Substack for Podcasters
Episode 2111th September 2023 • Podcasting Resources Guide • Juergen Berkessel
00:00:00 00:18:12

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In today's episode, we'll introduce the Digital Presence Spectrum roadmap. We have been busy developing this concept and decided to share our thoughts on it with you. The genesis of this idea began when we, the team at Polymash, encountered a somewhat peculiar pattern. We realized a great deal of our clients and followers often find themselves grappling with digital strategy.

The objective here is to bring into focus where one should invest time to create a meaningful digital presence. In this introductory episode, we'll dig into the three key stages of the digital presence spectrum.

  • 00:00:28 - Introducing the "Digital Presence Spectrum" ()
  • 00:01:44 - A Roadmap for Digital Strategy in Podcasting ()
  • 00:04:08 - Common Stories and Issues We Encounter ()
  • 00:07:32 - Stage 1: Building and Audience With Great Content ()
  • 00:11:38 - Using Medium For Early Audience Growth ()
  • 00:15:09 - Using Substack For Monetization ()
  • 00:18:04 - Resources and Links ()

Links and Resources


Welcome to the Podcasting Resources Guide, the companion podcast to our popular app. In today's episode, we'll introduce the Digital Presence Spectrum roadmap, which includes building an audience, building a platform, and then scaling it. We also explore the benefits of using Medium and Substack for writers and podcasters.

So, we have been busy developing a concept we call “The Digital Presence Spectrum”, and we decided to share our thoughts on it with you.

The genesis of this idea began when we, the team at Polymash, encountered a somewhat peculiar pattern. We realized a great deal of our clients and followers often find themselves grappling with digital strategy.

So, without any further ado, we present to you this new series on "The Digital Presence Spectrum". The objective here is to bring into focus where one should invest time to create a meaningful digital presence.

In this introductory episode, we'll dig into the three key stages of the digital presence spectrum. Right at the top is Stage 1, which is all about “Building an Audience”. Followed by Stage 2, which is “Building Your Platform”. And finally, we'll delve into Stage 3, which encompasses “Scaling Your Platform”.

For this first episode, we'll be pulling back the curtain on Stage 1 of the spectrum, which we call “Building an Audience” ... and dissect it in detail.

So, stay tuned as we begin traversing the stages of the Digital Presence Spectrum ... starting with the first one, “Building an Audience”.

So you might be wondering, what exactly is the Digital Presence Spectrum? Well, we think of it as a high level roadmap for embarking on your digital journey with a bit more confidence and wisdom.

Let's break it down into three stages that are distinct - yet interconnected. The first stage is all about 'Building an Audience'. This is where you focus on creating high-quality content that tells your story and helps you establish relationships with your listeners or readers. How do you measure success at this stage? By looking at the growth of your audience and listenership.

Once you've built an audience, you move on to the second stage, which is 'Building your Platform'. At this point, you may be asking yourself, where do I want my audience members to go? It's crucial to have your own platform, not just a website or landing page, but a platform that you truly own and that can serve both your content and your audience well into the future.

And finally, we reach the third stage, 'Scaling your Platform'. This is where the power move happens. You start expanding your efforts, reaching wider and deeper, and discovering new ways to serve your existing audience while attracting new ones.

As you navigate through the Digital Presence Spectrum, you'll notice that your goals, focus, and the ideal platforms and tools all evolve along the way. This growth is just as much a part of your podcasting journey as the content itself.

It's also helpful to think of the spectrum as a continuum — a transition from 'Early State' goals to 'End State' goals. You'll move from easy tasks to tackling the hard yards, from basic features to advanced capabilities, and from needing low-level skills to acquiring high-level competencies. You'll also shift from quick tasks to making long-term commitments and from low-cost solutions to making significant investments.

It's important to keep in mind that every digital presence journey is unique. Each one has its own starting point, detours, and redirections. So no matter where you currently stand on this spectrum, know that your position is temporary. With every piece of content you create, every interaction you have, and every platform you adopt, you are propelling yourself forward on this ever-evolving journey.

So embrace the spectrum as a way to prioritize your attention and decide where you want to most invest yourself!

So here's the thing: when it comes to navigating our way across the digital presence spectrum, we need to really look at the common issues that people encounter in the early stages. Many podcasters and entrepreneurs, that we've had the privilege of working with, tend to dive right into their projects with a lot of excitement and zeal. They have this incredible motivation to make their podcast or business idea a reality, which is commendable. However, they often find themselves struggling with some fundamental issues.

One of the biggest issues we see is simplistic thinking. Now, don't get me wrong, it's fantastic to see people so passionate about embarking on their podcasting journey. We usually start with the basic idea of wanting to create a digital presence because we have a podcast, a cool project, or an amazing business idea. Some of us are driven by our love for writing or blogging about a topic we're truly passionate about.

But here's the thing to watch out for: everyone has a different starting point and prior experience, and this kind of thinking often leads to a significant pitfall. What tends to happen is that we overlook the real goal and end up uncertain about our audience. There's this mindset of "build it and they will come," which can really hinder expectations, momentum, effective planning and budgeting.

And guess what? This simplistic thinking usually leads to the next stage of the issue: the "let's just do this quick" mindset. People tend to jump right in, picking the easiest option available and ignoring any features that they don't immediately require.

No surprises here! This approach often leads to the third stage of the issue – where frustration sets in and they realize the complexities involved. Suddenly, their initial thought of "building it myself" turns into "this is much harder than I thought." This realization usually hits after they've already invested a considerable amount of time. At this point, the challenges of building an audience, creating an email list, offering a paid service, or optimizing SEO become overwhelming tasks.

Here's where it gets tricky: the simplicity of modern website platforms can be deceiving, because there's so much more to it than just having a basic website. You need great copywriting, appealing graphics, and seamless user experience design to draw and retain an audience. And most platforms don't just magically provide this. It takes work. It takes experience to communicate your unique value proposition or approach effectively. This cannot be solved in a few hours using AI tools or "templates".

But fear not, my friend! We can overcome this mountain of frustration by taking things step by step. Often our clients feel they need to go back to the drawing board a few times before

everything becomes crystal clear. That is a good thing. Eighty percent planning, twenty percent execution. We should question what our original real goals are. Who our audience is, really? Where our audience is. What platform is the right fit for our project — at this point in time? Do we even need a website at first, or should we perhaps first build an audience on platforms that already have a "built-in" audience?

It sure is a winding path we embark on, but being aware of these common issues early on can help us navigate our digital journey more effectively, and avoid the pitfalls that many content creators encounter.

So, we've been talking about the first stage of the Digital Presence Spectrum, which is all about building an audience. And in this stage, it's important to focus on creating quality content. Think of your content as the sunlight and water that helps your project ... or podcast ... grow and flourish.

Now, when it comes to building an audience, you might think that you need to have a fancy website right from the start. But that's not necessarily the case. In fact, you can totally use a free website provided by your podcast host. Sure, these free websites might not be the best in terms of SEO optimization, but that's okay. Especially in the early days of establishing your audience, it's more important to focus on creating engaging content.

If you haven't heard about this before, we have an episode titled 'Podcast Website Builders and Landing Pages' where we discuss the pros and cons of using free website platforms. You can listen to it at ...I've put the link in the show notes.

Now, here's the thing you might be wondering about: Should you invest a lot of time and money into creating a custom website at this stage? Or even a membership site with features you think you might eventually need? Well, maybe there's an alternative path that can add more value to your audience-building journey.

Instead of solely focusing on creating your own website, why not explore platforms that already have an audience and are specifically designed for discoverability and audience growth? Platforms like Medium and Substack are great options to consider.

But wait, does that mean you should abandon the idea of having a website? Not at all. Think of using these platforms as an "in addition to" rather than an "instead of." You can take your podcast content, transform it into long-form written content, and then cross-post it on platforms like Medium and Substack. This way, you're not just reaching your podcast audience, but also a wider audience who prefers consuming written content.

Now, you might think that this is just about creating better show notes. And to some extent, it is. But it goes beyond that. With these platforms, you have the opportunity to expand, elaborate, and dive deeper into your podcast topics. It's a way to provide additional value to your audience and attract new readers.

And here's the exciting part – many of these readers could be podcast listeners or potential ones. Once they discover your content on platforms like Medium or Substack, they might become interested in checking out your podcast as well. It's like having a funnel that guides readers towards your audio content. In fact, many successful podcasters have already adopted this approach as a key strategy in building their audience.

So, let's take a closer look at Medium and Substack. These platforms offer you the chance to showcase your podcast content in a different format – ... written articles or essays. It's a way to repurpose your audio content and attract a new audience that prefers reading. And if those readers like what they see, they might become loyal listeners to your podcast.

Medium, for instance, is a platform that allows writers to share their stories and expertise with a wide audience. You can create your own publication on Medium and publish your podcast-related articles there. It's a great way to establish your authority in your niche and reach more people who are interested in your topics.

Substack, on the other hand, is a platform that focuses on newsletters. You can use it to deliver exclusive content to your subscribers. This is a fantastic opportunity to engage directly with your audience and build a community around your podcast. You can share insights, behind-the-scenes stories, and even exclusive bonus content through your Substack newsletter.

So, don't think of Medium and Substack as alternatives to having a website. Instead, think of them as complementary channels that allow you to expand your reach and connect with a wider audience. By leveraging these platforms, you can attract new readers who could become dedicated podcast listeners.

rm that has been around since:

Now, let's talk numbers and see just how big Medium is. Brace yourself because this platform has over 100 million active monthly readers. Yes, you heard that right! It's one of the top 150 most engaged websites worldwide. Talk about a buzzing platform, right? And here's what's even more impressive - Medium has a high domain authority of 95, which means your content has the SEO potential to reach a massive audience.

One of the reasons why Medium is such a success is because it caters to a wide range of reader interests. It has over 10,000 niche publications. What does that mean for us podcasters? Well, no matter how specific your subject matter is, there's a good chance that there's a dedicated audience for it on Medium. It's like a goldmine for niche content!

Now, let's talk about the age demographic on Medium. The majority of its visitors fall between the ages of 25 and 34. And you know what? This age group is not only tech-savvy, but they also love listening to podcasts. So, when they're not busy devouring books, they might just be tuning into their favorite podcasts. And hey, guess what? They might stumble across your long-form podcast content while they're scrolling through Medium and hit that play button on your latest episode. How awesome is that?

But here's the best part - using Medium allows you to focus on creating amazing content without worrying about the technical aspects of website building. It provides you with an instantly available digital presence that is visually appealing and user-friendly. You can develop your content strategy and messaging right on the Medium platform. No technical headaches, just pure creativity and content creation!

Let's take a deeper look at the pros and cons of using Medium. First, the pros: Medium has a built-in reader base, so you already have an audience waiting for your content. The platform itself is beautiful and showcases your content in an elegant way. Plus, there are minimum technical hurdles to overcome. And guess what? You can even embed podcast player widgets on Medium, and it looks great, especially with Spotify!

Now, let's move on to the cons. One thing to keep in mind is that if you don't have your own website to publish to first, the SEO benefits will go to Medium's domain, not your personal platform. So, it's important to consider that. However, if you do have a website, you can use a technical term called a "canonical tag" to send the SEO benefits to your own site when publishing on Medium.

Another factor to consider is that while you can export the email addresses of your followers, it's not applicable to everyone. You can only export the email addresses of those who choose to opt in with email notifications for your content. So, keep that in mind if you're planning on using Medium to build your email list.

All in all, Medium is a powerful platform for podcasters like us. It has a massive reader base, a wide range of niche publications, and it's user-friendly. So, why not give it a shot? Publish your podcast content on Medium, watch it reach a whole new audience, and who knows, maybe you'll be the next big thing in the podcasting world!

Now let's shift our attention to Substack. So you've built up an audience on Medium and you're ready to start making some money. That's when you should start considering Substack. Here's the deal - Substack is a platform specifically designed for sending newsletters. And get this, they have over 1 million users with paid subscriptions. This makes it a pretty attractive option if you already have a solid email list or if you've been working hard to build one.

A lot of writers and podcasters reach a point where they've successfully grown their initial audience and now they want to start monetizing their content. And while there are many ways to do this on podcasting platforms, when it comes to online publications, many people make the move from Medium to Substack. You know why? It's because of Substack's awesome monetization features. You see, on Medium, it's a bit tougher to earn money because they only pay you if your content gets featured in their partner program.

But with Substack, writers can charge their readers for access to their content, and here's the best part - they get to keep all the money they make. Talk about a win-win situation, right? Substack not only allows you to monetize your writing, but it also provides you with tools to build relationships with your readers and gather feedback. It's a top choice for writers who want to turn their passion into a full-fledged career.

So if you're a writer or podcaster who's already built up an audience and you're ready to start earning money from your content, Substack is definitely a platform worth considering. It offers a range of features that can help you make some serious cash from your amazing writing, and it also provides a space for you to connect with your audience. You can design beautiful emails, set up newsletter operations, and have a tried-and-true approach to monetization. And the best part? You get to keep all the proceeds you earn.

Okay, before you jump into Substack, let me just share a small caveat. Unlike Medium, Substack may not have the same built-in audience and the web experience might not be as visually appealing. Also, Medium is better at SEO and attracting Google Search traffic. But hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

Remember, at this stage, you have a variety of platforms to choose from to grow your audience effectively. But here's a pro-tip: focus on where your ideal audience already hangs out. That's the first step - building your audience. Once you've done that, you'll be well on your way to reaching new heights with Substack or any other platform you choose.

Thanks for listening to today's episode where we explored the Digital Presence Spectrum, a roadmap for your digital journey. We discussed the three stages of building an audience, building a platform, and scaling efforts, and also touched on the importance of reevaluating goals and utilizing platforms like Medium and Substack to attract and engage with a wider audience. I'll see you guys at the next episode, and don't forget to subscribe!



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