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Here's your Friday recap of the week's Podcast Pontifications. Listen in and enjoy (and share with a few dozen of your closest friends!)

- Evo

Feeling Conflicted About Podcasting Conferences [Episode 308]

Thu, May 07 2020 | 🔊 Listen | 🔗 Link

Many podcasters woke to an email this morning from a large podcasting conference stating that this year’s event had been pushed back by a couple of months. A few days ago, another large podcasting conference sent out an odd “pandemic or no pandemic, we’re having a physical conference, dammit!” notice. 

I’m supposed to attend both of those events. But... I’m conflicted. And concerned.

Based on what I know right now, I don't think I'm going to go to any physical conferences or events for the rest of 2020.

Barring extraordinary developments, like me having a positive antibody test, the availability and reliability of therapeutics,  or a vaccine;  I don't think attending a podcasting gathering of any size is worth the risk.

But I’m not optimistic about replicating the physical experience virtually. pecifically, I’m not confident that trying to copy/paste the physical format into a virtual format is a good idea. Not that it can’t work. Clearly it can. But to make it keep working, we have to move beyond “replacing” and into “making a better experience”.

We’re already seeing it. Some of the aspects of forced virtuality of experiences that used be physical are, indeed, better. How do you happy hour when friends are a thousand miles apart? No one shushes me when I type snarky comments to my friends in chat room while the musician is the middle of their performance on the other side of the country.

Attempts to make something new with a virtual experience do excite me. Can a virtual experience lead to better educational outcomes? Can virtual events come with better biz dev opportunities? Can virtual experiences redefine what makes a successful conference?

For now, count me out of all in-person events for 2020. Call me overzealous if you like, but it's where my brain is at right now. 

I'm curious what your plans are. Are you still going to attend? What are your restrictions or requirements for that to make sense to you? 

Also, this is a great time for you to educate me on what cool, new virtual experiences you’re having that are better than in-person gatherings. I’m far from well versed in this area, so let me know what I’m missing. 

Apologies for the ill-prepared episode. While this episode likely isn’t one you should send to a new listener, I’d still appreciate it if you would mention the show to just one person today. Thanks in advance.

Not that I have you much reason to so do on this episode, but you can go to BuyMeACoffee.com/EvoTerra and lend me a little support.

Add your thoughts on my thoughts here as a comment. Or you can email me at evo@podcastlaunch.pro.

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Share this with a friend: https://podcastpontifications.com/episode/feeling-conflicted-about-podcasting-conferences

Podcast Pontifications is published by Evo Terra four times a week and is aimed at the working podcaster. The purpose of this show is to make podcasting better, not just easier.

Follow Evo on Twitter for more podcasting insights as they come.

And if you need a professional in your podcasting corner, please visit SimplerMedia.pro to see how Simpler Media Productions can help your firm. Podcasting is our only business!



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy

Putting The Simple Back In Podcast RSS Feeds [Episode 307]

Wed, May 06 2020 | 🔊 Listen | 🔗 Link

It’s not an overstatement to say podcasting would not exist without RSS feeds. But their magic and power is mostly seen by listeners for current and future episodes. As I discussed on Monday’s episode, trying to listen to extensive back catalog episodes inside of a podcast listening app is a horrid experience. 

But we can make it better if we think about RSS feeds from a slightly different perspective.

Imagine if your local library organized books on shelves not by subject matter or author, but by the date they were acquired by the library branch. Now consider that the menu of your local restaurant isn’t a complete listing of everything in the chef’s repertoire. And think of how insane it would be to shop for clothes if you had to go through the full warehouse instead of the limited selections you see in a showroom.

Generally speaking, presenting people with overwhelming choices is a bad idea. To help, creators (sellers, providers, etc) segregate content into two buckets:

  1. What We Want People To See Right Now
  2. Other Options We’ve Moved Out Of The Way As To Not Overload People With Too Many Choices

So why don’t we do the same?

  1. The List Of Episodes We Want To Display To New And Current Listeners
  2. Well-organized Archived Or Back-catalog Content For Listeners Who Want To Dig

We can do this with current RSS feeds. And we can do it in a way that’s not confusing to listeners. 

This requires some strategic thinking on the part of podcasters. How “full” should your main RSS feed be? How do you decide where to break content? Do you need more than one archive feed?  

Here’s one way I could do it for this show:

  • Podcast Pontifications: Season 3
  • Podcast Pontifications: Season 2 (July 2019 - May 2020)
  • Podcast Pontifications: Season 1 (July 2017 - June 2019)

If you don’t do seasons, then what about years? Here’s mine again as an example, breaking out feeds by years would look like this in directories or apps:

  • Podcast Pontifications
  • Podcast Pontifications Archive: 2019
  • Podcast Pontifications Archive: 2018
  • Podcast Pontifications Archive: 2017

That looks nice! But it also might lead you to make a bad decision. Never make a new RSS feed for your next season or the next year. If you make a new feed for new content, people will have to subscribe to that new feed. You do not want to ask people to subscribe to a new feed. Because most -- the vast majority -- will not. That’s the opposite of “frictionless”.

Instead, you’re just renaming your main feed and removing content from it to fill up the “new” archived feeds which you’ll submit to the appropriate directories. You may also try adding a season-ending trailer to your archived feeds if you think that would help. Or you can try a totally different and more descriptive naming convention for each of your feeds. Just keep it simple and frictionless for your listeners. 

Best of all? We can do all this with the current architectural infrastructure podcasting relies on. We don't need to change the way RSS feeds work or how podcast clients ingest those feeds to make this happen.

This seems like a good idea to me. So much, that I'm going to implement it by the end of the week. Let me know if you’ll join me! 

Also: please tell someone you know about Podcast Pontifications. Your word-of-mouth and personal recommendation goes a long way to bringing more listeners into the fold. So thank you in advance

If you’ve done that and want to help further, go to BuyMeACoffee.com/EvoTerra and slide a couple of bucks my way each month to support the show.

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Share this with a friend: https://podcastpontifications.com/episode/putting-the-simple-back-in-podcast-rss-feeds

Podcast Pontifications is published by Evo Terra four times a week and is aimed at the working podcaster. The purpose of this show is to make podcasting better, not just easier.

Follow Evo on Twitter for more podcasting insights as they come.

And if you need a professional in your podcasting corner, please visit SimplerMedia.pro to see how Simpler Media Productions can help your firm. Podcasting is our only business!



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy

Busting The Myth Of Podcast Exceptionalism [Episode 306]

Tue, May 05 2020 | 🔊 Listen | 🔗 Link

It’s getting easier every day to make a podcast. Yet the act is shrouded in a sea of exceptionalism. Not from the general public or a pool of would-be-listeners. No, the shroud of exceptionalism I’m speaking of comes from within the podcasting community.

Podcasting has always had a strong sense of community among creators. For every podcaster who views other podcasters as competition, I can find a dozen who view other podcasters as comrades in arms. Or pick a less-militaristic metaphor if you like. The point is, we tend to be a supportive bunch.

So we’re clear: I'm not suggesting that it be made harder to create a podcast. I’m not suggesting that we institute gatekeepers who determine who can and who cannot have a podcast. 

I'm just saying (and I hate sentences that start with that phrase) that the act of having a podcast is not exceptional. 

Podcasting isn’t the only creative art where that harsh statement applies. I'm a published author with five books to my credit. I know that it’s often hard, scary, and frustrating to write a book. But writing the book -- the first draft, especially -- wasn't anything exceptional.

The same goes for photographers, artists, and every other creative person out there. None of those creative pursuits require exceptionalism. 

Having a community to turn to sure is helpful when you’re just getting started and doubting yourself. A lot. Luckily for those who need it, there are podcast-specific support communities and community-minded people all over the internet.

But there’s a dark underbelly in all that collective high-fiving. It’s easy to assume that since all these nice people in this community are gushing with praise that every new person who listens to your podcast will also be amazed at your exceptional output.

They won’t. Because, chances are, your podcast is not exceptional. 

This big kumbaya hug we’ve developed in the podcasting community -- of which I've been a part of and encouraged -- is vexing. I’m concerned that we’re confusing worthy-of-effort with worthy-of-praise. And I think that even the most community-forward podcaster feels the same way and reacts with dismay when, after getting lavish praise for an early effort, the newbie podcaster wants to move immediately to promotion and monetization. 

Sturgeon's law applies in all things, and no one likes to discover that their baby is ugly.

But who’s to say what constitutes a beautiful baby? Again, you decide. If you find podcasting hard, rewarding, and fun for you; keep podcasting. There’s plenty of room.

Just remember that making a podcast is nothing special. Hundreds of thousands of people have done it.

I know this article was a little harsh. But sometimes harsh things need to be said. No, I don’t think you should send this episode to a brand new podcaster just because you didn’t like their first episode. That’s just mean. But I do hope that you’ll share Podcast Pontifications with that new person so they can keep the future of podcasting in mind. 

And if you like the harsh dose of reality I bring from time to time to the program, throw me a little support over at BuyMeACoffee.com/EvoTerra

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Share this with a friend: https://podcastpontifications.com/episode/busting-the-myth-of-podcast-exceptionalism

Podcast Pontifications is published by Evo Terra four times a week and is aimed at the working podcaster. The purpose of this show is to make podcasting better, not just easier.

Follow Evo on Twitter for more podcasting insights as they come.

And if you need a professional in your podcasting corner, please visit SimplerMedia.pro to see how Simpler Media Productions can help your firm. Podcasting is our only business!



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy

Podcast Episode Management For Tomorrow

Mon, May 04 2020 | 🔊 Listen | 🔗 Link

Today, podcast subscribers only have two options when it comes to consuming available episodes: start from the most recent episode and work backward, or start from the very first episode and work forward.

Neither of those is very attractive for a show with 3,700 episodes. At that scale, the limitations of podcasting’s inherited sort-by-date and distributed architecture become glaring. 

Even if podcast owners use a mix of web analytics, media hosting company downloads, and consumption data to make a rudimentary recommendation engine, those efforts are moot once someone becomes a subscriber. There the experience is controlled by the app developer, and we’re back to date-sorting.

It’s messy, even if you don’t have a thousand episodes. There are over 300 episodes of this show. Sorry, new subscriber. Your only in-app option is to work your way from the start or from the most recent and go backward. Neither of those seems attractive. 

Date-sorting works for some podcasts, sure. And the good news is that we’ll probably never see that go away. “By date” is useful enough on every show. But it’s not the most useful way to present listening choices.

If I went over to your house and I looked at the books on your bookshelf, I would not find your books organized by publication date, right?

I imagine a future where smart earbuds change the game. Thanks to the growing adoption of smart speakers, we’re becoming more accustomed to using voice assistants during our day. These voice assistants listen to us. Perhaps they can listen to the episodes we’re enjoying, stepping in when one has ended and making a recommendation of what we should listen to next?

While I can barely remember what my episodes were about last week, AI-powered tech should be able to store contextual information on a much larger scale. That’s the direction we think Google is taking with its integration with Google Search. And Google’s voice search continues to improve. So it doesn’t take a crystal ball or corporate espionage to see where that’s headed. 

Curmudgeons may disagree and privacy wonks will sound the klaxons, but a future where deciding on what episode to listen to next is truly a hands-off experience guided by a smart device is rather interesting. And a bit obvious.

Speaking of interesting futures, I’m visualizing you, right now, going to BuyMeACoffee.com/EvoTerra and, you know, buying me a coffee.

I’m also envisioning you making a phone call or sending an email to one podcaster you know and telling them about Podcast Pontifications. Word-of-mouth efforts are really what spreads an ultra-niche show like this, so thank you in advance.

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Share this with a friend: https://podcastpontifications.com/episode/podcast-episode-management-for-tomorrow

Podcast Pontifications is published by Evo Terra four times a week and is aimed at the working podcaster. The purpose of this show is to make podcasting better, not just easier.

Follow Evo on Twitter for more podcasting insights as they come.

And if you need a professional in your podcasting corner, please visit SimplerMedia.pro to see how Simpler Media Productions can help your firm. Podcasting is our only business!



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
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