(By Jessica Kupferman) One of the most common questions I’m asked as Head of Marketing for Rebel Base Media is “Should I send people to my Apple Podcasts link or my website?”
If the ONLY thing you want someone to be able to do is to listen to your show, then you should be linking to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else your show can be heard. Because if you’re sending people to those places, the only thing they’ll be able to do is listen to the show, and that’s your first goal accomplished.
But to a marketer like me, that’s thinking small, my friends. As a podcaster, regardless of whether you believe it or not, you’re a marketer, too. On your website, you have way more opportunity to create a loyal fanbase.
A listener can learn all about you and the show on the “About” page. They can participate in a conversation on the “Contact” page and the “Episode” pages. They can sign up to learn from you via your opt-in. They can purchase whatever you’re selling, whether it’s products, services, courses, membership, or even show archives. They can soak in both you and your show — in all your glory. On other platforms, they can only click “Play.”
It takes time to build the level of trust with a listener that will lead them to make the jump to your website. But at the point a listener moves across to your website for the very first time, you can be sure that they’re well on their way to becoming more than just a listener — they’re beginning to become a fan.
But, what if your website isn’t eyeball-ready? There are a few standard things you’ll need on your site in order to start sending people in that direction. These are merely suggestions — there’s no should or should not, as each show and show host is different.
In my former life as a web designer, I started each project with one question: “What does the web user want?” And maybe more, “What don’t they yet know that they want? “
The same applies for you. What would your listeners want from a show website? What sort of info will they seek? What will they want to do? After these questions are answered, we then think about what YOU want them to do. And both activities should be prominently featured on the home page.
Here are a basic five elements for your website:
An interesting About page that positions you as someone who can help or entertain them, depending on the conetxt of your podcast. First and foremost, people will most likely want to know more about you and how the show came to be. Don’t skimp on details here! I said interesting. The more people feel they know you, the more loyal the listener. Include any struggles or challenges you’ve overcome in order to be the amazing show host/expert you are, as well as any important awards or accolades, and your interesting back story.
Episode pages with allowed comments and share function. Although the majority of comments for me end up on Facebook, I always allow people to comment on the page where they can hear the episode as well as ask the guest/host whatever questions they like. I also encourage people to share that particular episode using a WordPress plugin called Flare. This way, it’s easy for listeners to share your show, thereby increasing your audience without you having to do anything! They also can easily participate in whatever conversation your episode addresses.
A high-value, high-quality opt-in. Even if you don’t have anything you want to send your audience yet, you should really start building a database. This email list will be the ONLY audience information that YOU can own and control. Everything else, the downloads, the social followings, all of that is on someone else’s platform, and as a result subject to disappearing at a moment’s notice. Eek!
Contact form. With podcasting comes 800,000 suggestions and requests, and they’ll need a way to reach you that is both easy to find for them and manageable for you. You might want an autoresponder too; one that explains that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible, or perhaps an idea of how you manage suggestions and feedback. But you will need a way for people to contact you — miss this and you miss HUGE opportunities to connect with your audience and possible sponsor opportunities! You need a PROPER contact form, that WORKS, and alerts you right away that you have a message.
Social links. Many entrepreneurs are discouraged from using social links on their website because the links take readers away from the website. But let me share this with you: The podcaster’s website is often NOT their greatest hub of action. Yet 93% of podcast listeners follow their favorite brands on social media. Yes, your website is your sales tool, but if they land there, encourage engagement everywhere.
Of course, there are so many other things you can include on your site, including ways to make it VERY simple to subscribe to your podcast, but the pieces above should get you started with taking your website to a level that begins to work for you and your show.
If you’ve already started, then you’re in luck, because I also wrote an article this week about the major and most common mistakes podcasters make on their websites and how to correct them. You can read them right here. (And then fix your site, for Pete’s sake!)
Regardless of what your goals are for your show, make sure your website reflects the professionalism and theme of your brand — don’t skimp on quality, even if it’s DIY — and then start watching your audience grow!
Jessica Kupferman is Head of Marketing for Rebel Base Media and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org