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Big Tech Doesn't Care About Your Podcast
Episode 527th April 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

Big tech provided podcasting's first shot in the arm in the early days.

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In fact, big tech often provided the catalyst for several

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inflection points in podcasting.

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But that was then.

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Things have changed.

Evo Terra:

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

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Big tech doesn't care about your podcasting goals or

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your podcasting objectives.

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No, seriously.

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They do not.

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Worse, big tech, for the most part, doesn't really care about podcasting.

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At least not the way that you and I care about podcasting.

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And yeah, I'm lumping all big tech into this blanket statement.

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Yes, even the ones who have a vested interest or a leadership

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position in podcasting.

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They do not care the way we care about podcasting.

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Remember just a few weeks ago, when we were eagerly analyzing the hidden

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Twitter code someone found in Twitter?

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And we thought these are going to be their big podcasting plans.

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We followed that up with some breathless speculation about

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what all of that might mean.

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A combination of Twitter spaces and podcasting maybe?

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Would we be able to actually upload an MP3 file finally?

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Could people subscribe to podcasts with Twitter?

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Well, that's a pretty safe bet that those plans are all out the window

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as Twitter tries to figure out what its priorities actually are now

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that there's a new sheriff in town.

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And I can't imagine that "integrate podcasting" is high on Elon's list

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of ways to earn back $44 billion.

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And remember a few months ago when Facebook gave us the ability to finally

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link our RSS feeds to our Facebook pages?

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And all the suggestions from pundents, like myself, we had about the need

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to follow up with that while we speculated on what might be the

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next steps on what podcasting will happen like inside of Facebook?

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You know, this platform that has reach we can only dream of in podcasting and

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how great it was going to be now that we could finally have just audio playing

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on Facebook for the entire world to see?

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Yeah, well that fizzled out, didn't it?

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As did Facebook's attention on podcasting, right?

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Cause it's now Metaverse or bust.

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And audio first?

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It's kind of going in the opposite direction of the immersive 3D world

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that Zuckerberg is betting his entire fortune and your dog photos on.

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And remember how disappointed we were by YouTube's nothing burger event

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at Podcast Evolutions last month?

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Only then to be reenergized a few days later by a leaked slide deck

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that was detailing Youtube's plans to really utter podcast domination?

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As if we all conveniently forgot about all the times that Google disappointed

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podcasters since, well, since every time they made a podcast announcement.

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But maybe we won't be disappointed this time, maybe.

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I'm not betting on it.

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Past performance remains the best predictor of future behavior.

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And it's the same for podcast specific big tech, too.

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Apple and Spotify both have monetization opportunities for

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podcasts through their subscriptions.

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And I'm sure some podcasts are making really good money from those programs.

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But are most?

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And let me get more specific than that, how's that working out for your show?

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Are you even using those options?

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And if you are, do you rely on them?

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Can you rely on them?

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Or, for podcast adjacent, audio-specific technology like smart speakers

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and social or drop-in audio?

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And I mean, yeah, sure, a few podcasts are still on those trying out things,

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but the attrition rate and declining user rates on those services is appauling.

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Spotify is pulling back their efforts and I expect Twitter to fully do the same.

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And I don't know that the standalone apps like Clubhouse, Wisdom, and Fireside can

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really exist for all that much longer.

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Fun while it lasted, I guess.

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All of this reinforces my comment that big tech does not care about podcasting.

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At least not the way that you and I care about podcasting.

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So what do we do about it?

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Well, I have two ideas.

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So here's what you can do.

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You can recognize that fact and start doing things to put you in

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the driver's seat, not big tech.

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That means understanding that podcasting apps and directories, including but not

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limited to, to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart, Amazon, Pandora, name them all.

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Understanding that having your podcasts listed there is not enough.

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Here's a litmus test for you.

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Google the name of your show and if one of those platforms, the link to one of

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those platforms, comes up before a link you actually control - I mean, your

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website - then big tech is beating you.

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And that's the first move you should start working on.

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Build a web presence that you own that outranks every other listing.

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Now, if your network owns your show's website, well, that's

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going to be a problem for you.

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But make it a problem for them.

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Change it if you can.

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Renegotiate so that you can build your own web presence, or at least

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make sure that whatever you're getting out of the deal is enough so that

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it sits well with you because you can't control your show's presence.

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Look, I highly doubt you're going to get there by just letting

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your RSS feed populate a website.

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But sure, you can try that.

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But again, I have my doubts.

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I've seen time and time again where an actual website for a podcast with

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built out episode pages and lots of other information outranks even

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powerhouses like Apple Podcast listings.

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Now, no, it's not going to happen overnight.

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It might take several months, and, yes, it is going to require you

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to post more than just a paragraph and some links per episode.

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Look, you don't have to know a damn thing about SEO to do this.

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Just write good content, make a good onpage experience and share those

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links every time you're sharing, rather than a link to your directory listing.

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Don't link to a Linktree or anything else.

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Stick with that domain you own.

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The second thing you can do, which I think you should do at the exact

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same time, is start owning the relationship with your audience.

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That means more than just asking them to subscribe to your show

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in their preferred listening app.

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Look, they already do that.

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And it also means more than just getting them to follow you on social

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media, join a Discord server or some other community that you built.

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I mean get their email addresses, which means you have to give them a reason

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to give you their email addresses.

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And no, sending out a monthly roundup of your episodes probably isn't enough.

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Nor is emailing them random recipes because you feel like you need to

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give them some content from you.

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Look, it requires you to figure out what you can create that's worthy of

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getting them to sign up and also getting them to look forward to receiving this

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stuff in their inbox in a regular basis.

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Whatever you're producing, make it mission critical to their

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success if at all possible.

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Make it something more than they can get just by listening to your episodes.

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You have to make it valuable for them.

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Because once you have that direct communication line with

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your audience, that email, it can't be taken away from you.

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Well, I guess they could change your email address or you could have

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the privilege revoked if, you know, by them reporting to spam, if you

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are, you know, doing wrong things.

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So be smart.

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I've seen other podcasters actually do this with text messages.

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And that works.

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Um, but then again, I'm not the kind of guy that oftentimes answers my text

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messages, so I'm not qualified to talk about the success of those or not.

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But that does actually count as a direct line of communication, so if

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you're inclined to do that, sure, sure.

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Yeah, go for it.

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That's just two things, two things you can start working on right away to keep

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you from being at the whims of changing priorities, tantrums, governmental

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overreach, or anything else these big tech companies are going to do.

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Two things you can do to keep you in control of your podcast success.

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Because big tech isn't going to do it for you.

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With that, I shall be back next week 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.