Yesterday I did a short FaceBook Live video and asked the question, “ Do you listen to podcasts ?” Amongst the answers and comments I realised there was still confusion or lack of knowledge over how to listen to a podcast. There were also people who don’t know what is a podcast. Those that listen, do so in different ways.
So I thought I would write this quick blog post to answer a couple of those points.
What Is A Podcast?
Firstly, if you want to know, “ What is a podcast ” you are not alone. I get asked that question a lot. In fact it just goes to show how much attention my family pay to what I do to earn a living. One of my brothers spotted one of my business cards at my Mum’s house and was asking Mum what it was all about, and indeed, what is a podcast. Of course she is 84 and has no clue, but at least she gave him one of my cards and told him to go and look it up!
I actually wrote my own answer to that question, last year, in an early blog post.
You can read my answer here .
How To Listen To A Podcast
Listening to a podcast should be really easy, shouldn’t it? Why do we even have to ask the question?
We don’t have to ask how to watch a video do we?
Well this is where podcasts and podcasting seem to be shrouded in mystery and geekiness. There are directories, there is iTunes, there are podcast playing apps. Some podcasts are in GooglePlay (but thats for US podcasts only at the moment), some are in Spotify, or Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on a website provided by the podcast host, or,or,or…
Most , if not all, podcasts are submitted to iTunes, so that is a good place to find them.
If you are into apps then there is a choice of podcast listening apps. They change often, so do a bit of ‘googling’ to find the latest review of podcast apps to help you decide which one you might like to use.
The Easiest Way To Find And Listen To A Podcast
The easiest way to find and listen to a podcast is to ‘google’ for the topic and the word podcast. If you know a podcast name already, just search for that directly. You will then get plenty of links, where the podcast pops up on all it’s various places around the internet. Most podcasts will have their own website, or be available from a website, so that does tend to be an easy way to play them too. You will also typically be given a Download option, so you can download the audio mp3 file onto your device, and listen later.
Why Subscribe To A Podcast
When you subscribe to a podcast, then you will automatically receive each new podcast episode as it is released. You can subscribe to a podcast in iTunes for example. This can be a really handy way of keeping up with your favourite shows. You don’t have to make a specific effort to find episodes and download them. Plenty of podcasts may also have some sort of email based signup facility so that you can get a reminder email when a new episode is released. It really depends upon the audience of the podcast, as well as the thoughtfulness of the podcast host, as to which options will be provided.
Simple Case Study: Stitchery Stories
I knew from the start that my target audience of textile artists, embroidery and textile art enthusiasts would be less ‘tech savvy’ and may not have even heard of podcasts or know what one was. They probably wouldn’t have an iTunes account but would have a smart phone. I have optimised my podcast for words like textile art podcast or embroidery podcast, and the artists names. It is easy to find. I also created the podcast website so that each episode was also easy to play. You just have to visit the website, and press the ‘Play’ triangle on the audio player that is the first thing you see for each episode. Each episode is playable directly on the home page.
There are also links to go over to iTunes if preferred, to leave an iTunes review, to share the episode, or to download.
Growing an email list
I also wanted to be able to easily inform my listeners that a new episode was available. My objective was to make it familiar and easy. I set up an email subscription feature, called the ‘Fan Club’ where you enter a name and email address. This email list is managed within Mailchimp. Once a week, I create a simple newsletter which highlights the new episode, and shares a couple of paragraphs of information about my chat with the guest. It contains text links and also clickable images of the episode artwork, which also link to the blog post featuring the episode.
It is all very simple, repeatable and scaleable. And it works. There is a steady stream of signups, a growing band of regular listeners. The open rates and click rates for this email is very high. It is debateable whether I need to do anything more sophisticated. The point here is that this has been designed with my typical listener base in mind.
So There We Have It
What is a podcast.
How to listen to a podcast.
Getting informed about each episode.