I am pretty much sure that you have heard of, and maybe even listened to a couple of podcasts by friends, colleagues, influencers, and others on various topics of interest.
A podcast can be defined as a sequence of spoken word digital audio files that can be downloaded to a digital device like a smart phone and listened to anywhere its available.
Anyone can stream these podcasts, just like music. Podcasts have a host or hosts, and they engage in relevant conversations on various topics that people can enjoy listening to.
Podcast management and hosting platforms are the specialized digital networks that facilitate hosting, storing and publishing of the audio recordings from your podcast.
In a similar way that websites for example Wix and WordPress host millions of eCommerce sites, podcasts management platforms host millions of podcasts simultaneously.
There are several podcast management platforms offering both free and paid hosting.
After an individual has recorded and stored their audio files, they have to find a way to get them broadcast to their target audience. Otherwise, what would be the point?
These management platforms provide you with an RSS feed that you can then post on your social media so your audience can quickly find your podcast and listen to your content.
Investing in a podcast management platform
Because of podcast management platforms, starting a podcast has never been easier.
You could have the urge to start a podcast on one random weekend, and it could be up and running in minutes. With the deployment of a podcast management platform, you get to focus on your craft while the service provider deals with all the technicalities for you.
Below are some of the fantastic benefits that come with podcast management platforms:
Podcast management platforms guarantee quality content for your podcast. Quality is essential when you are marketing your business. A podcast is not just supposed to relay a message.
A podcast is representative of your brand and your product. This is the reason why you should not use shortcuts and sacrifice quality in terms of sound, storage and speed.
Your audios plus soundtracks and music you add to your episodes should be clear as the craft of selling an experience through storytelling requires giving your audience quality content.
If you want to host your podcast on a website, you should be prepared to pay.
This is because your audio or video clips take up much space, especially if you want to maintain high quality. In addition, running a podcast is not a one-off task.
If you mean business and plan on posting content regularly, you will need a lot of space.
On the other hand, podcast management platforms facilitate the provision of fixed and affordable packages that enable you to record, store and publish unlimited podcasts and clips.
When your storage runs out, you can upgrade to a more accommodating package.
Further more, some podcast management platforms, for example Anchor, facilitate the procedure for an individual to set up a user account and run their podcasts for free!
I do not need to tell you how annoying buffering is. It completely ruins a user’s experience.
Globally acknowledged is the fact that human beings are very impatient. If they randomly discover your podcast and their curiosity is peaked, they will check out the podcast.
However, if your speeds are low and their listening in keeps getting interrupted by pauses, they will assume it’s not meant to be, or they are not even missing much.
With management platforms, you will not have to worry about this.
Their speeds are high, and depending on your internet provider, their downloads are pretty quick. Your listeners can even download a whole season of your podcast and binge-listen.
We live in an era where data is wealth.
These podcast management platforms give you insight into how well your podcast is doing in terms of listens in a particular period, downloads, shares or how long people listened.
Analytics facilitate acquisition of a clear picture of the topics or episodes that were most popular so you can continue to publish relevant content and build your audience.
What to look for in a podcast management platform
So, you have come up with your podcast idea and are ready to get started with a platform. This is not the time to be impulsive and choose the first podcast your friend suggests.
Do your due diligence and check out several management platforms and what they have to offer so you can find one that will be perfect for your podcast in the short and long term.
The bandwidth of your management platform has a significant impact on the user experience.
If you have low bandwidth speeds, users will have a hard time seamlessly listening to your podcast. They may encounter much buffering, which can be pretty irritating.
It will limit the number of people who can listen to your podcast at a go, as well as downloads.
Uploading your content can also become a nightmare because of the poor speeds. This is why you should pick a platform with excellent speeds that will not cost you time and an audience.
This is in essence, a very critical factor for consideration in choosing a podcast management platform because you have to consider your storage needs for the long-term.
You need a platform with capacity to store your podcasts even years down the road. Why?
Because you will eventually get acquainted with new listeners along the way. When you eventually gain constant audience, new listeners may want to listen to your old content too.
Your storage capabilities also affect how often you can publish your content and how big these files are. It would be best to sign up with a platform with unlimited storage capabilities.
When podcasting, there is no harm in getting an insight into how your content is doing.
It would help if you looked out for platforms that provide reports on your podcast episodes, such as the number of listens per day or week, downloads, shares and listening times.
This will help you better curate your content and find your niche.
This is in terms of compatibility with website integration. Some podcast management platforms have the option of integrating with your domain and RSS feed.
So essentially, you have the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the perks of having a website for your podcast while hosting your podcast on a management platform.
Perks of having a website for your podcast
- With a website, you can go into as much detail about yourself, your business or brand as possible and what inspired you to start a podcast.
- A website lets you connect with your listeners. They can leave you messages, reviews and you can even start a community that engages in forums and debates.
- A website is an excellent tool for SEO. This gives you a competitive edge against competitors, especially those without websites.
- A website is an avenue for making money. Once you have built a loyal following, you can advertise for companies and even sell merchandise to followers who love your podcast.
- A website gives you more freedom to be creative and personalize your online presence. However, as much as podcast management platforms allow you to customize your podcast, there are certain limitations, especially with the free and cheaper packages.
Of course, this might be a long-term option if you are starting and want a simple setup.
However, if you know your way around technology and can set up a website or can afford to have one set up for you, you can do this even in your initial stages of setting up your podcast.
WordPress has a plugin that is supported by several podcast management platforms.
Furthermore, some podcast management platforms are embedded with a feature that facilitates the process of an individual setting up a website and personalizing it.
Ease of use & support
Always look out for podcast management platforms that are easy and quick to set up.
No one advocates for software that they have to take hours to understand. Even if you are not technologically savvy, you should learn how to use it without too much effort.
An added perk should be a management platform that offers tech support and links to short how-to videos on getting started and navigating the different settings and features.
This is a great feature to look out for as people enjoy reading subtitles.
Transcription and subtitles help to make listening flexible. If someone is in a noisy room or on the go and does not carry headsets, they can turn off the sound and just read.
Subtitles cater to people with hearing impairments. This helps to show that you cater to more than non-disabled people, something society needs to be more intentional about.
Transcribed podcasts make for excellent evergreen content. An individual podcasting on a specific topic or idea can turn the episode into a blog and futher repurpose it later.
Transcribed podcasts are vital as they facilitate boosting of the SEO ranking.
Possibility of monetization
It does not necessarily mean you must always monetize your podcast. However, you do not know how your podcast will do or what goals you will have in the future.
It’s a good idea to look out for podcast platforms that let you monetize your podcasts.
This could be through paid ads, sponsorships, creating premium subscription offers for listeners who want to listen to episodes before they are published or exclusive episodes.
Price and packages
Prospective podcasters should thoroughly study the different payment packages offered by the other podcast management platforms and the features of each package.
Ensure that you value your money with the storage capacity, bandwidth, and extra features.
Anchor vs. Transistor
We will compare Anchor as a free podcast management platform and Transistor, one that requires signing up for at least one of their paid prescriptions and its pros and cons.
For a podcast to go public, you have to upload it to the appropriate directories for approval.
Once your podcast has been approved, it will be automatically populated on different broadcasting platforms, for example Google Podcasts, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Anchor lets you skip this initial step and submits it to you.
While this might seem like a great feature, it relinquishes control of your content and where it is published. For one, it is posted under Anchor’s content, say on Spotify, which owns Anchor.
If this is not something you are comfortable with, opt-out of using this feature.
Transistor lets you seamlessly submit podcasts to all the different directories available.
Pros of Anchor
It has a straightforward interface that lets you set up your podcast.
All you need is your email address, and you are good to go.
You can do all your recording without anything but your smartphone. It is an excellent platform if you are starting and testing the podcasting waters.
Expansive audio and image gallery.
Its handy in creating logos, theme music and background music to spruce your episode up.
Feature guests virtually.
All you have to do is send a URL to a listener, and they can send you an audio clip.
In addition, Anchor’s merging feature is seamless and lets you clip, cut and merge audio clips to create one great episode. The only catch is that the listener must have Anchor too.
Anchor offers decent insights so you can know how well your podcast is fairing per episode.
In addition, Anchor lets you monetize your podcast with paid ads.
Listeners can also donate to your podcast with the Listener Support feature.
Why consider the paid platform
As much as Anchor has several great features, considering it is free, it does not come close to the paid packages on Transistor, as we will see below.
In-built podcast website
Transistor facilitates you to set up a simple website for your podcast.
Although there are limitations to how much you can customize it, a website is still a good Search Engine Optimisation tool to help you grow your audience exponentially.
Transistor has exceptional podcast analytics in comparison to its competitors.
For one, it can provide an estimated subscriber count, an element still challenging many podcast management platforms because they use RSS feeds.
You can get detailed insights from each episode, as well as listens per device. This helps you curate your content because you can identify which content is popular and which isn’t.
Gerald Ainomugisha is a freelance Content Solutions Provider (CSP) offering both content and copy writing services for businesses of all kinds, especially in the niches of management, marketing and technology.