Each time you mention a product or a service on your podcast, you’re taking an action that has value. That value may be small, or it may be big. But it has value nonetheless. That’s why ads and sponsorships cost money—recognition of that value.
But at the same time, that action has a cost. Not a cost you actually pay with money. But one that you pay with your reputation.
This Is Not About Podcast Advertising
This concept goes well beyond advertising, though ads and sponsorship messages are certainly covered. Most rational podcast listeners know the difference between episode content and the reading of an ad or sponsorship message. They understand that in exchange for the ad read or sponsorship inclusion, the podcaster got paid.
But that doesn’t mean those same rational podcast listeners will forgive a podcast host that advertises crappy products and services on their podcast. There’s always a risk that a listener will take exception to an ad, sponsorship message, or the organization that paid for it. To offset that risk, podcasters charge money.
But again, this is not only about advertising.
This Is About Your Reputation As A Podcaster
You may not realize it, but you’re spending your own reputation credits on the products and services you mention during your episodes. Every time you mention a product or service—it comes with a cost.
Perhaps you use Patreon much in the same way I use, Buy Me A Coffee. There are many services like these that do mostly the same thing: Make it easy for listeners to support select creators of their choosing.
Each time you and I mention our preferred funding service, we’re incurring costs. While it’s possible to sign up for multiple individual-support sites, that’s impractical, because you understand repetition is important, and you probably don’t get any value out of saying “support me anywhere you support podcasts”. Listeners need a clear call to action if this is to work.
So you pick one, which puts your reputation on the line. You made the choice, so it’s incumbent upon you that the service you chose works really, really well. The experience must be well-branded to your show, and it has to be a smooth customer experience. Because it cost you reputation points to mention it, and you don’t want to waste them.
The same goes for how you spread ways for people to listen to your show. There’s a reputation cost when you provide a link to your show or to a given episode, on social media, in an email, or wherever you share it. What link are you using? How sure are you that everyone who clicks that link has an excellent experience post-click? Because it costs you reputation points every single time somebody decides to click the link that you shared.
Arguably to a lesser degree, the decisions you made on hosting—whether that was the podcast hosting company you choose to host your episodes and generate your RSS feed or the company that hosts your podcast’s website—also cost you in reputation points. As well as real money, likely!
You can blame your inability to publish well-formatted, in-depth episode details on those service providers. But that won’t matter to your listeners who’ll happily lay 100% of the blame of bungled episode details squarely at your feet. Rightly so. You chose the service provider.
When you promote your guest appearances on another podcast, you’re incurring costs. Yes, the zero-sum cost of what else you could have mentioned, but also the reputation cost should someone decide to listen to that other show. Was it your best interview? Do you sound great? Did the final episode accurately represent who you really are?
When you promote your upcoming speaking engagements on your podcast, your spending reputation points to promote that conference. Are you sure that the reputation of that conference and its organizers are worthy and in line with the goals you espouse every day?
Supporting Shows Showcase
Looking Back on 9/11. A podcast series hosted by Tom Fox with guests, Gabe Hidalgo, Juan Zarate, Alex Dill, Eric Feldman, Scott Moritz and John Lee Dumas where they all reflect on 20 years after 9/11.
American Vigilante is about saving abducted children, it’s stepping beyond the law. It’s rescue missions, assassination attempts, and last-gasp protection. It’s all the stuff you hope never comes to you, until it does.
Sounds Profitable helps you understand how you can take advantage of podcast adtech to stay ahead of the curve and, well… make more money as more money from advertising pours into podcasting.
(Want to see your podcast listed here? Get in touch!)
Don’t Stop Mentioning Things. Start Taking A Broader Look.
I’m in no way suggesting that you should stop mentioning products, services, conferences, people, or anything else on your episodes. Nope. You need to do that to stay human, most likely. And it’s very OK to mention things you personally are excited about on your podcast. That’s part of the joy of podcasting.
My only goal is to get you to understand that everything comes with a cost. Sometimes it’s an actual, out-of-pocket cost. But more often than not, it’s a potential cost likely paid in reputation points. And it’s your job is to make sure that you're getting more value from the mention than the cost you're spending.
To do that properly, you need to understand the full journey you're asking someone to go through when you mention a product, service, or anything else on your show. Because like it or not, you’re making a tacit endorsement with each mention. So make sure it's worth it.
To that end, you noticed something new a few paragraphs up in the article and the newsletter today's episode, I reckon. That’s the Supporting Shows Showcase, which was conceived of during a conversation I had with a long-time listener of the show, Tom Fox of the Compliance Podcast Network. It pretty much speaks for itself. If you want your show showcased in that section, there are details on the sponsorship page.
Yes, these are a paid sponsorship placements. But as with every sponsorship I allow on Podcast Pontifications, I’ve vetted the shows that appear in this section and am happy to pay the reputation costs.
Just one boostagram today that’s going to disappoint… someone. I say “someone” because I honestly don’t know who used Breez to send me 1000 sats and this message:
“I’m just here for the boostagram corner :)”
Well… thanks, whoever you are. Maybe we need to report to Breez that boosts are coming through without identifying the sender? Or maybe that’s a configuration with your app settings? Anyhow, let me know how I can help you figure it out.
If you’re not quite ready to try out one of the new sat-streaming podcast listening apps, I understand. So I’ll take the reputation (and financial) hit by sending you to BuyMeACoffe.com/evoterra to let some value flow back my way.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra. He’s on a mission to make podcasting better. Allie Press proofed the copy, corrected the transcript, and edited the video. Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.