People who are starting their podcasts or even those who are still thinking of it yet must know the importance of podcast brand authority. In fact, it is one of the motivators why people start their podcasting. It helps establish them to become an authority or an expert in their industries. However, this is not as simple as it sounds and that’s why we’re going to explore what does podcast brand authority really means. We’ll look deeper into how to expand just beyond the podcast universe and out into the larger market. Learn as we discuss about taking it out to the search engines and across your platform, and leveraging on that to your advantage in establishing social proof.
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What Does Podcast Brand Authority Really Mean?
We have Alexandra Hazzard. We’ve got a great subject to talk about that should be of interest to all podcasts out there, but you may not realize that it’s something you should know about.
We’re going to talk about what podcast brand authority means.
It’s something we talk about a lot with the people we work with. It’s an important subject for everybody reading this blog post who is thinking about starting a podcast or is already podcasting and that is your brand authority. That is one of the major reasons a lot of people start a podcast. I thought maybe it would be good for me to give an example of how that worked for me when I first got into podcasting years ago. I’ve recorded over 650 total episodes between a couple different podcasts. The first podcast was in a niche area. It was an experiment because we had an interest in the 3D printing market and 3D printing industry because our entire career has been in product design and development. 3D printing was something we used and if you’ve paid attention to the media in the last few years, it has become a big deal. It’s more widely adopted and used than it ever was before.
We knew about 3D printing. We had some experience with it but we were by no means experts or authorities in the field. It was Tracy’s concept to say, “I wonder if we started a podcast,” because she had surveyed the market of 3D print podcasts and there weren’t that many out there. There were two or three and they were very technical and geeky. That was not the perspective we wanted to take on it. We wanted to take more of a different perspective about using 3D printing in design and about markets for people buying 3D printed products, not about the tech of how to 3D print something. What we wanted to do is establish ourselves as experts in the field. We also wanted to learn more about 3D printing because while we used it and knew a bit about it, we didn’t know everything about it.
We were not experts at that time and we thought, “We could interview others on the podcast and maybe their expertise will rub on off first. We will learn more.” We thought that we might become experts and seen as authorities in the field. At the same time, we can build an audience and a community to market to in the future. All of those things did work. It’s a good example because we are now seen as premiere experts in the 3D printing industry. We’ve continued to use it, but it’s not our full-time endeavor.
How long do you think it took you to get to that point where it was doing all of those things for you, from launching the podcast to having that brand?
Launching the podcast within two months, we already had the perception out there in the market that we were experts in the field. Even though I will admit, we were not. In many aspects of 3D printing, we absolutely are experts now. We’ve become experts through the osmosis of interviewing all these people and researching all these topics that we talk about on that podcast.
Reviewing printers and other 3D printing products.The technology and market keep moving and there are always more to learn. Click To Tweet
We’ve done a lot of review for products and that podcast is more than 540 episodes deep at this point. You can imagine when you record that many episodes and have that much experience in that field, you do become an expert. That doesn’t mean I’m a universal expert and know everything there is to know about 3D printing. Not at all. The technology and the market keep moving and there’s always more to learn and that’s what keeps it fun for me. Within 30 to 60 days, we were seen among the podcast community as experts in the field. It took maybe another six months to a year for us to be seen as experts in the wider 3D print community. We’re sought after to speak at events and we could get an interview with anybody in the industry. It was a great way to gain access to people.
It benefited us tremendously. We ended up building such a large podcast audience and we were able to monetize that with sponsored advertising. It was also another nice benefit, which I think if we were not seen as experts or our show was not seen as an authority, we would not have been able to command sponsorship dollars. It did it quickly. Within the podcast universe, you can gain that credibility more quickly.
It’s a smaller marketplace than the internet because you’re not competing with every website in the world. You’re only competing with every podcast on iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play.
You’re only competing with the other podcasts that are available in those places people are searching for to listen to. Competing in a niche subject area was not that difficult, but when it comes to the wider internet at large, that was a tougher nut to crack. We experimented with that and it took a while to crack that nut and eventually we did. This is where we get into the discussion of brand authority on a wider scale. You can use podcasting as a tool to establish yourself as an expert and to show you can talk and speak on a subject with interest, intelligence and authority. If you stopped there and leave it with the podcast universe, you’re not going to build a wider industry authority and authority in the eyes of Google. It’s an important distinction to make now.
You may have heard us talk about the concept of social proof. What that means is that it doesn’t matter what you think about yourself or you say about yourself. You could say you’re an expert all day long. It doesn’t matter unless the world says you’re an expert or sees you as an expert. While podcasting is increasing tremendously in listenership, I love my podcast audience and I’m happy to be bringing value to them, the reality is the podcast universe is still very small compared to the internet at large. Where are people going to go first when they want to learn about something they’re interested in or something they have a pain point on?
It’s the internet.
Where on the internet?
There are other search engines, but I read a stat that only 1.3% of people are searching on Bing. YouTube is a big search engine, but it’s the number two search engine and it’s owned by Google. Google is where people go. Google is seen as the ultimate resource for anything you want to search. It’s become a verb, “Go Google it.”
Especially, among my peers and the Millennial generation. What used to crack me up when I initially started working here was if you had asked me a question to research about it, I would just type the question into Google. I’d get all the results I need, which is not the thought process you used to go about even five years or ten years ago. You would have to be like, “What’s the topic? I need to research the topic. I can’t just ask my question into a search engine.” Nowadays, you can ask the question right out.
I remember I used to search periodicals. I used to have to go to the library and the card catalog. It was like analog Google.
Finding a company in the yellow pages.
We were also doing a lot of telephoning inquiring with people and there were encyclopedias. The reality is Google right now is the ultimate entity that is determining who has authority on a subject and who doesn’t. The way you gain that authority is by having written blog posts on your website among some other more minor technical things that you can do. In reality, that’s what Google is looking for. The fastest way that anybody can compete on any subject on the internet and organically get onto the first page of Google search for the things that you talk about, your areas of interest, your areas of expertise. It has to be written blog post form and not just a little 300-word or 400-word summary post about your podcast or about anything.
If you read on the internet what the length of blog posts in terms of the number of words that Google is looking for, you’ll find various opinions. It used to be 1,250 words and then 1,500 words. It keeps creeping up and up. Quite honestly, I’m of the opinion that it’s 2,500 words now is really where you need to be on average with the length of your blog posts in order for Google to pay attention to you and rank your posts high up on the first page of Google Search. That’s just from our experience and my personal opinion, there’s a lot of basis in evidence and fact in that. I’m not going to make this a boring technical episode and lay all the evidence out. With all the podcasts and blog posts we deal with, the reality of it now, it’s 2,500 words. It takes a long time to write, to think and type a 2,500-word blog post.
We do every episode as a blog post because we want to use that Google power for ourselves. We do that for all of our clients. As a company, we’ve started reaching out and having fully written blog posts that are not from a podcast. These are from interviews we did that are a straight article or a feature article. Even to those, we say no shorter than 800 words at a minimum. Even when it’s written, you need it to be longer and you need it to be as long as you possibly can. On a feature article, when the purpose is not necessarily to get on the first page of Google, for us, on our featured articles, we tell our writers, “It should never be any shorter than 800. It should be closer to 2,000 words.”Within the podcast universe, you can gain that credibility more quickly. Click To Tweet
I’m surprised we set up that minimum standard of 800 words.
When we do as many episodes as we do, our average is still 2,500.
The average is no question.
The important part is your average.
As a podcaster, if you are focused on your statistics and your reach and engagement with people in the podcast realm, you are leaving opportunity on the table. There’s so much more that this podcast can do for you in terms of building your authority and establishing your credibility, expertise and subject matter. You may already be a subject matter expert in your field. I’m not questioning that and I’m not suggesting you’re not. I will admit that when it originally came to me in 3D printing, I was not a subject matter expert. I was an enthusiast. It was an area of interest for me and then expertise and authority grew out of that eventually.
You may be a doctor, a lawyer or whatever your profession is, you may be an expert in your field, but does the world know that? Relying on the MD after your name or esquire or whatever it is that you’ve achieved a certain educational status and have experience in terms of academia and professionalism, that gets you a certain amount of credibility off the bat. It doesn’t give you social proof and raging fans who are waiting to hear your next episode who trust and want you to give them your knowledge and those nuggets of wisdom that help educate them or excite them or entertain them. There are many different reasons why all of us out here in podcasting are podcasting. The social proof is what we all need and I think should be doing this for. Unless you’re purely doing this as a passion project and you don’t care how many people listen to you and what they think, you just want to put this out there. There are some people who are doing that in podcasting, but I would say it’s the vast minority of people who are doing that.
It’s building your authority on your platform. Your platform, we’ve talked about this in a past episode, includes your podcast, website, social media profiles and all of the ways in which you reach and communicate your message to the world. That’s the brand authority when we’re talking about how do you achieve podcast brand authority? I had a recent experience with a prospective customer who’s not even working with us yet, and they started a podcast. They have maybe fifteen episodes. They are already ranked on iTunes as the number two position out of the top 200 in the business news category. This blew me away because he was referred by someone that we know and said that they want to get more out of their podcasts and I’m looking at them within the podcast universe. I’m like, “You guys are crushing it.”
In a couple of months and a small number of episodes, they’ve hit on a subject matter and their podcast name just happens to be right. People looking in that business news category are intrigued by them and listening. They also have some amazing, very high-level guests, which is another important thing you would do when you create a new podcast. They’re number two now and they didn’t even know they were number two. I’m talking to them on the phone and he didn’t know where he ranked on iTunes. The last time he looked they were in the top 200, pretty far down. I looked on this phone call and I was like, “You’re ranked at number two right now.” I screenshot it right then, so I could send to them, which is amazing. It’s even more amazing because the audio quality of this podcast is lousy at best. They’re not taking a lot of care with the equipment and environment they’re recording in. The people editing this podcast I think are not professional audio editors in the podcasting world. They may have some audio editing experience in tangent ways, but it’s not their primary day job.
He admitted to me that he has some support staff in his company. He has a guy who’s an AV guy and he’s been editing the podcast. I was giving them good feedback on his quality to try and help improve it. The point is he has, as a company and an individual, a brand he’s trying to build. For his company and the things that he wants to do in the future, he needs a brand authority on a wider scale. He already has some podcast brand authority within iTunes. I don’t even think he’s on very many other distribution channels and he’ll need to fix that also. He’s got some authority there with an iTunes, but he has not expanded that and taken advantage of that to have a wider authority on the internet or a platform. That’s the next step in his opportunity going forward.
I want to note that we have now been almost completely through this brand authority topic, reiterating that it’s about a platform. We have not once mentioned how that involves graphics in any way, shape or form. When we talk about brand authority, we’re talking about how your blog posts are being seen on Google, how your ranking out there is being seen as an authority in the marketplace and being seen as an authority in your niche. It doesn’t necessarily mean your graphics have to be branded. A lot of times that we talk about brand authority, the people that we work with get confused with making everything branded, everything looking the same and everything being in their exact template format and style brand, which is not entirely what we are talking about here.We’re not talking about branding everything. We’re talking about building brand authority. Click To Tweet
We’re not talking about branding everything. We’re talking about building brand authority. I want to be clear on that because I feel like a lot of podcasters get those two things confused. They come to us and they say, “I want everything to be my brand.” It is your brand completely. Everything stays your brand, but that doesn’t mean everything has to be identical and that everything has to have your exact brand on it. Building a brand authority goes beyond your actual brand.
I’m glad you mentioned that because I do think that your brand is one important ingredient of your overall brand authority, but there are those who feel, “Everything and anything out there in the world that represents my brand, it has to look the exact same way. It has to be the exact same image.” Our experience has shown us that if you do that, it hinders your brand authority instead of helping it. There are ways to do it. I’m glad you brought it up because it is an important distinction to be made.
This brand of a new podcast is killing it on iTunes. I can’t wait to see what they do when they improve the audio quality and give a little more intentional and professional attention to that. Then expand that and make their own website as the destination for their podcast. I’ll give you another side note that hinders your brand authority. This company made one of the rookie errors that I see in a lot of new podcasters, which is that they host on a platform. In this case, these people were hosted on Spreaker. There are a lot of platforms. We don’t do this on Podetize platform because we believe your website needs to be the home for your listeners. It needs to be the hub and destination where everybody knows to go. It’s on your turf and this is because of the brand authority that you need to build and all the Google ranking. What often happens is these platforms say, “You’re starting a podcast. That’s great. Here’s how you publish your episodes and we have a webpage for you right here on our platform. This is the website that you want to submit to iTunes as the website for your podcast.” I think many of them don’t even suggest that. They just make it the default page.
I know that from specifically Libsyn, when you don’t put anything in the podcast webpage field to send to iTunes, they automatically fill-in their Libsyn page for your show on them.
They’re doing that to help them and not you. They’re in business to try to make their business grow and be better. The reality is that’s in their best interest. That’s not in your best interest in and we don’t do it for that reason. I think it does you a disservice. When I went to the iTunes listing for this podcast, I clicked on the website link on iTunes and it jumped over to Spreaker.com/ this podcast name and I’m like, “Opportunity missed.” It’s a rookie error and it’s understandable. To their credit, they’ve done a tremendous job getting a podcast in two months to the highest ranks in their category on iTunes. They’re definitely doing something right, but they’re like cruising in second gear with a sports car that has six gears.
When they could win the whole race because if they’re ranking in iTunes as second, the keywords within those episodes are valuable enough that iTunes is shooting it up to the top. If Google could see that too, they would be at the top on Google as well.Building a brand authority goes beyond your actual brand. Click To Tweet
You can’t do that with podcast MP3 files because Google does not pay any attention to the words that are said within your audio file or MP3 file or podcast. All they pay attention to, as a post or a file, is what’s in the title and what’s in the tags if they even pay attention to the tags. The tags are more for iTunes than they are for Google. It’s the metadata and description of the episode at most. All those valuable nuggets and rich phrases of things that you and your guests say within your episode will never see the light of day in Google Search unless you convert it to a written blog post.
What is your brand authority? It is how far you reach, as a brand, across all different platforms. We’ve had other episodes on social media about how there’s a right way and wrong way to use social media to promote your brand authority. The big clue is to be selfish. It’s your domain, turf and website. It’s not, “All these companies are providing me with these opportunities. I can put everything on Facebook.” Facebook wants you to put everything there because it helps Facebook. There are ways you can have a presence on Facebook and followers but you are encouraging, inviting and building anticipation for your followers to come experience more on your home turf.
I was talking about this with another podcaster, explaining to him that, “You always have to drive people back to your website,” even if you’re sharing the audio file on Facebook, which Facebook lets you do. You can upload an audio file or video file or create an audiogram but every single post, that text or copy that is in the text of the post, you always have to put that link back to your website. That’s where you want to drive people when they see the post and like it and want more. You want them to click through to your website, not a link to a random audio file on Libsyn or Spreaker or not a link to Libsyn or Spreaker’s page because then you’re giving away that brand authority to those other places.
You’re taking the wind out of your own sales and it will be harder for you to achieve your goals. It was a great general discussion about your podcast brand authority. There are a lot of deeper dives we can take into some of these subjects and we’ll continue to do that in upcoming episodes. In case you weren’t aware of it and I know some of you probably are, thank you for bearing with us on this episode. I think, unfortunately, all too many people are not completely understanding the opportunity they have to get more out of their podcast. Ultimately, that’s what it is. It’s brand authority, recognition, social proof and reach. If you have a comment or anything you’d like to share regarding the subject, please go reach out to us anywhere on social media, @FeedYourBrand and leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading. This has been Tom and Alexandra on Feed Your Brand.