What Is a Podcast Network?
Podcast networks are aggregates of podcasts that are grouped together to allow the sponsors to advertise within a sole network. Usually, the networks will group related podcasts together, but some networks are made up of very diverse podcast topics but are still grouped together with the same advertisers.
Why Are Podcast Networks Beneficial?
When deciding whether you should join a podcast network, you must examine the benefits you will receive from joining other podcasters in the network. Below are some of the most common reasons that podcasters decide to join podcast networks:
- Networking opportunities
- Free or less-expensive hosting
- Revenue from ads
- Audience expansion
- Marketing assistance
- Ability to promote other podcasters and be promoted by others
- Branding your podcast as one of a larger group of related shows
- Joining a team of like-minded podcast professionals to widen your podcast range
So, is it worth it? Does the strength-in-numbers theory actually pan out for most podcasters? As with most everything in life, what you get out of your podcast network depends to a large extent on the efforts that you put into it. Joining a podcast network doesn’t magically add zeros to your bank account, but many podcasters have found success when they invest their time and efforts into their networks.
Are There Any Downsides to Joining a Podcast Network?
Some podcasters who have joined podcast networks in the hope of increasing their profits find that the small print on the advertising revenue section of their network agreements states that a disproportionately large percentage of their advertising revenue goes to the networks instead of into their own pockets. Just keep in mind that if you feel that the network’s terms are unfair, you are always free to choose another podcast network competitor or negotiate for better percentage rates for advertising dollars. Some podcasters find that their marketing teams are better poised to negotiate for more favorable rates for all the network podcasters, much like a union’s collective bargaining efforts can yield a greater good for all.
At Parents on Demand, we understand that this is has historically been an issue for podcasters on other podcast networks, and we make sure to do things differently. We want you to have full control over your podcast and brand, and just want to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. If you have any questions about how this works with Parents on Demand, feel free to contact us and ask!
What Do the Networks Require to Join?
Different podcasting networks have different requirements to join. Most make you agree to allow them to track your podcast traffic in order to improve their marketing efforts and better discern the results of their podcast network advertising campaigns. It is also very common for podcast networks to require you to consistently spread the corporate message. Finally, most usually require that you share a minimum of two ads with your audience during each podcast.
Most podcasters open their shows with one ad and have the second one air toward the end of the podcast. That breaks up the content nicely without bombarding your audience with commercial solicitations, as that can make some audience members tune out from both your message, as well as the advertisers’.
One potential problem that might emerge with podcast advertising is if a podcaster has philosophical objections to the products or services that are being advertised by the podcast network. In those situations, unless you are able to reconcile your personal beliefs with the advertising you will be promoting, it might be better to continue your quest for a network that more closely shares your viewpoint on controversial issues, e.g., political advertising for candidates running for office.
Can Podcast Networks Dump Their Podcast Partners?
Certainly. These sponsored partnerships must be two-way streets in terms of return on investment (ROI). If a sponsor feels that their ROI is not panning out financially, they are free to sever ties with the podcaster who does not bring in sufficient advertising dollars and partner with other more lucrative podcasters.
Do Podcast Networks Open Media Doors?
The reality of podcasting is that most podcasters will never be able to quit their day jobs and rely solely on their podcasting revenues. For every big name in podcasting, there are a hundred other regular joes who produce podcasts simply because they have something to say and found the platform to say it. While these individuals may bring in some income from the ads they share on their podcasts, their efforts will likely always be only a secondary income source that allows them to share their ideas with like-minded others online.
That does not mean that you should discount these podcasters’ efforts or stop striving for excellence in your own podcasting. Simply being able to share your visions and opinions succinctly in an online forum viewed by others is often enough of a reward that anything that goes above and beyond that is merely the gravy on top of the meat.
What Can You Bring to the Podcasting Network Table?
Never discount the worth of what you add to the network as an individual podcaster. Perhaps your podcast fills a certain niche within the network that had heretofore been empty. Or perhaps your willingness to network and share podcasting tips with other network podcasters is highly sought after. Both of these qualities and traits could raise your podcasting profile significantly within the network. Regarding what you seek and can contribute to the network as a whole, the sky is truly the limit.
Podcasters often seek others to collaborate on larger podcasting projects. Belonging to a network allows you to showcase your special skill-sets where others can see where and how your podcast stands head and shoulders above others. You could soon find yourself in high demand as a podcaster working on others’ projects as well as your own.
Will Joining a Podcast Network Cause You to Lose Control of Your Brand?
Curating and creating your brand took a great deal of effort, time and investment. You may fear that you could lose control of your brand’s message by joining a network. This could be mitigated by taking the time to thoroughly research the type of advertising messages your podcast will share within the network and only signing on to networks that promote the products and services that are in line with your brand’s public image.
Parents on Demand is determined to HELP you maintain control of your brand, your messaging, and grow your revenue. The rights to your podcast and content remains yours, and we just want to help you be heard and grow your following. If you have any questions about this, contact us at the link below.
To Join or Not to Join?
At the end of the day, only you can weigh the pros and cons and determine whether it would be in your brand’s best interest to join a podcast network. As with any business decision that affects your bottom line, it’s wise to thoroughly research your options before signing any agreements with a podcast network.