Disassembling Your Podcast Media Stack
Your podcast is bigger than the audio episodes you create. And your media stack is more than the channels you use to promote and distribute your show. Are you approaching content creation strategically or taking a shotgun approach?
Podcasters make a lot of dumb decisions when it comes to content creation for things other than their podcast episodes. I personally make a lot of dumb decisions when it comes to creating content other than the audio episodes of my own podcasts.
One of the biggest dumb decisions that we make collectively is rooted in a failure to understand the fundamental difference between using media for distribution or promotional purposes versus using media for content creation purposes.
As a working podcaster, you know the value of creating content, distributing that content, and promoting the content you created. This is how podcasting works, after all.
We engage with media properties on a regular basis and do more there than just distribute and promote episodes of our podcasts, right? We recognize the value of websites, social media platforms, video properties, email marketing, written word, all these other forms of media other than just places to crow about and spread the audio files and RSS feed of our podcast, right?
It often doesn’t seem that way. When podcasters think about other media channels, they tend to think about them in very narrow terms of promotion and distribution. Great emphasis is placed on utilizing other media channels to promote or distribute episodes of our shows. But far too little attention is given to creating content -- specifically NOT our podcasts’ episodes -- across that media stack.
News flash: You’re probably making content for these other channels all the time already, and that content is often only tangentially related to your podcast. If you're active on any social media property, you're creating content.
How strategic are you with non-podcast-related content you produce on a regular basis?
I’m far from perfect when it comes to my approach to my media stack. But it might help you better understand yours if I give you a rundown of what I’m doing, warts and all.
Let’s start with this article that you are reading. It didn’t start with me typing words on a keyboard. Nor did it start as a transcription of an audio file. It started life as a live video on LinkedIn.
No, I do not think you should put LinkedIn Live at the start of your media production stack! It’s a strategic decision I made for a variety of reasons that may not have anything to do with the strategy of your show. So don’t follow me blindly.
What started as a live video goes through some transformation as I take out just the good bits from my extemporaneous talk and then write this article. No, it’s not an accurate transcript, though I do include one of those on the page of my website where this article will live. This article you are reading is 100% re-written so that you don’t have to watch the video or listen to the audio to get value.
Let me state that again: It’s OK with me that people who find this article never listen to my podcast.
That’s part of owning and embracing a media stack.
Economically, this seems like a bad decision. If you examine the total number of people who listen to my words vs the number of people who read my words either on PodcastPontifcations.com, my Medium account, or as an article on LinkedIn, you’ll find only-readers make up a tiny fraction. And a vanishingly small number on some posts!
But not always. Some of the articles posted on Medium have seen a lot of activity, exposing my words to waves of people who’ve never heard of me. Plus there’s the value in having a hundred or so canonical links back to pages on my website, as that’s a strong SEO signal, which gets my content in front of people searching for various things each and every day.
How well do those do? Terrible! I’m lucky to get single-digit views on any of them, and we all know that video views are worthless because people stop watching videos after about 10 seconds. So I get effectively zero benefits from these videos.
And it’s all my fault.
I get effectively zero views on these videos because they aren’t designed to be good video to watch. Each video is nothing more than my head mostly blocked behind a big fat microphone with a boom arm in the way. So of course it’s not good video! It doesn’t matter that I have a great lighting kit and a quality video camera. I'm not creating good video content. I’m merely using (abusing?) these media properties for distribution. Nothing more. Don’t be like me!
I’m better at social media. And sure, I do use my social media properties to distribute and promote episodes of my show. More distribution than promotion, if I’m honest, as I’m skeptical of the value of social media promotion for podcasts.
But if you follow me on social media channels, you'll see I'm actively creating lots of content about podcasting in general in my own format and style. Not every forward-thinking, big question about podcasting is worthy of an episode of Podcast Pontifications. But they are great to share on social, mostly on my Twitter account.
I could be better at sharing content on LinkedIn and through my company Facebook Page. But I’m not. And I’ve become OK with that. A quick reshare via Buffer is easy enough to send to multiple social properties. But anything more than that requires more focus than I’m willing to give to those other social channels, so they don’t get the same attention. I’m OK with keeping my media stack on the small-ish size on purpose. I’ve had complex media stacks spiral away from me and clients before. That’s not fun.
Other than my occasional guest appearance on someone else's podcast or getting up on a stage in front of a crowd (not that I can do that for a while, obviously), my media stack is small. Yours may not be.
Regardless, I hope this helps you understand the difference between using your media stack for content creation versus using your media stack for promotion and distribution of your podcast episodes. There’s a difference.
What media stacks are you using? Where are you creating not your podcast content? And do you think it's effective? I want to know, and I also want you to ask your podcasting friends what they're doing with their own media stacks.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.