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Podcast Makeover: Why Isn’t My Podcast Popular?

Podcast Mechanic-Why Isn't My Podcast PopularI recently received an email. The writer said that they’ve created a sports podcast and have followed all the basic assumptions for getting it up and running. But for some reason no one seems to know of it.

My first questions are, what are the basic assumptions they’ve followed and what have they done to make it easier for people to find them?

The writer asked for anonymity – I’ll respect that.

I replied with a few questions to get some more information. Here’s what I learned:

  • It’s a monthly show.
  • This show is on iTunes “…with respectable popularity ratings.”
  • They have a celebrity phone interview on most every show.
  • The folks running the show are quite young and money is an issue.
  • They have tried introducing the show on various forums with little success.
  • No analytics or tracking.

Time for a little detective work.

I clicked the link they gave me for their podcast and was transported to their Blogger site. At first appearance, the site wasn’t too bad. But once I dug in deeper I found a number of problems that could be solved easily.

Who Are You?
The name of the blog and it’s sub-title didn’t give me any clue as to what the site or the podcast was about. It was only after watching their rotating slide show, at the top of the page, for a minute that I realized their site and podcast were about English Football (soccer to us yanks).

Takeaway:
Try to make the title of your show and subhead keyword rich. Use the words English, Football and Soccer at least in the subhead for the show. Search engines are stupid. You have to blatantly tell them what your are.

Where are the podcasts?
There are a number of blog posts on the site, but nothing seemed to be a podcast. It took about a minute before I realized there was a link at the top called LATEST SHOWS. After clicking that, i found the podcasts.

Takeaway:
Change the link to read PODCASTS. Don’t make your visitors hunt for them.

In the Cloud
I noticed that the player they used was from a group I wasn’t familiar with, Mixcloud. After checking them out they seem to be a cloud-based portal specifically set up and catering to DJs, Radio Hosts and Podcasters. And the big news is, they’re free!

I’ll be honest, you have a tendency to get what you pay for when it comes to podcasting. The Blogger site inherently has it’s own SEO problems but I wasn’t sure how adding Mixcloud to the mix (pun inented) was going to help these guys get found.

On further inspection of the player, the only meta date I saw was the title of the show (no keywords) the names of the hosts and a quick five line description of the show, again with no keywords.

Takeaway:
Use keyword rich text to describe your shows in your ID3 tags.

Be Social
Back on their main page I saw the grouping of social media icons on the top right hand said with a large @TWITTER in white underneath. No heading for the icons.

I realized quickly (after clicking on them) that they were mainly for sharing their content. The @TWITTER did absolutely nothing.

I’d like to see a simple call-to-action above them. On the downside, I wanted to know if they had a Facebook page or Twitter account to follow. No such info provided, though.

It wasn’t until a good bit later that I realized the links for their iTunes and RSS feeds were these two small icons at the very top of their page, above the title and easily missed if you scroll the page up a half an inch.

Takeaways:

  1. Add a header to the social icons. Even the addition of SHARE would help.
  2. Move (if possible) the iTunes and RSS feed icons to a more accessible spot. Possibly close to the SHARE icons.
  3. Do you have a Facebook page and Twitter account for the show? Add their icons under the heading of FOLLOW US. Or, add the Facebook LIKE box/button.

What’s Happening on iTunes?

Found their show in iTunes. We’ve got a couple of issues here as well.

  • Under Category they’ve listed: Amateur. Trust me, no one will ever search for amateurs in podcasting.
  • Earlier they mentioned that they had, “…respectable popularity ratings.” There were no customer ratings that I saw.
  • The image being used for the show is a dark black background with dark green type. Not very appealing.
  • One interesting thing I noticed once I subscribed to the show and did some downloads – the show descriptions that I saw in the player and on iTunes converted to html tags once they finished downloading. And the first show had no description tag at all.

Takeaways:

  1. Change the Amateur category to Sports with a sub-category of Soccer.
  2. Find a bunch of friends to go to your iTunes page and leave some reviews. It always helps to prime the pump.
  3. Take a look at the artwork used on the top-listed podcasts and note what they’re doing. If you don’t have the software to create it, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is free and runs on both Windows and Mac.
  4. The ID3 tags in your show are how search engines and iTunes search find your show. Like I said, I’m not familiar with MixCloud and I don’t know what you’re using to do your ID3 tags but iTunes is the easiest way I know of to get your information embedded into your show. Just Google ID3 tags and iTunes. Or better yet, do the same search in YouTube for a video on how to add your tags.

After looking at just these two places (the site and iTunes) I’m suspecting that people aren’t finding their site because people CAN’T find their site.

My recommendations would be to:

  1. Make the minor changes mentioned above first.
  2. Then, consider setting up a Facebook page and a Twitter account, both named after their show. Do searches for like-minded people on Facebook and use Twitter Search to find the same on Twitter. Use your accounts to introduce people to your show.
  3. Set up a Google Analytics account and tie it in to your Blogger account. At least that will give you a basic idea of who’s coming to your site, downloading your shows and subscribing. And, check out what kind of analytics Mixcloud provides. Even if it only gives you the number of shows downloaded, that’s information that you can use!
  4. And lastly, be patient. The show is only four months old and has only produced four shows. It takes time and a lot of work to build an audience.

It’s hard to cover all of the topics needed in just one blog post. Hopefully I’ve given the writer some areas to make adjustments to how his show is presented and found by others.

In a later post we’ll tackle the marketing aspect and see how we can draw more visitors that way.

Readers, I know I didn’t give you much to go on but based on what you’ve read so far, what else can you add to help these guys out?

About Jay Walsh

With a combined 25 years of design, marketing, podcasting, video and social media knowledge, Jay created ProPodder.com with the goal of helping you make a better podcast.

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