Developing an App to Boost Your Podcast’s Reach
Apps are everywhere – but when you think about how podcasts and apps combine, you tend to think about the kind of apps that allow you manage your subscriptions or neatly organise your library.
In reality, there’s much more that can be done with apps to market your podcast – in fact, the right app developer could help you launch your podcast marketing efforts into the stratosphere.
To understand what’s possible – and how you might take advantage yourself, it’s useful to start thinking of your podcast as a business…
Thinking with your business head
For most of us, a podcast has come from a passion. It’s what makes our chosen medium so enthralling to listen to – but it presents a phenomenon that’s true for many creative individuals – whether your medium is a photograph, writing, or spoken word, it’s often difficult to look at your passion through the lens of business, rather than pleasure.
The truth is, a podcast and a business are very similar. Okay, so you might not need to see cash going into the till – but there are plenty of ways of monetising what you do, even if that’s just something you’re thinking about for the future. Either way, you’re going to need listeners and subscribers – so that’s the conversion you’re looking for.
When you start thinking about listeners as the goal, you can start thinking about how a podcast might draw those listeners in.
What can an app offer?
It’s fair to say that some of the best apps have a kind of ‘bait and switch’ approach to generating income or awareness for the companies that have created them.
Think about it this way; you’d never sign up to Facebook or Twitter if the only incentive was that the company was going to harvest your data and show you adverts that might appeal to you – so, they create innovative platforms that offer a world of attractive benefits to dress up the fact that you’re going to be show a ton of targeted adverts.
So, the answer’s simple right – just build the next Facebook and you’ve got it made!
In seriousness though, there’s a lesson that even the humblest business or podcaster can learn from these multi-billion-dollar examples – and it’s all about dressing your intentions up.
Building unique features
We’re smart enough to realise no one’s going to download and app that immediately just redirects users to your podcast – so how can you hook new listeners?
The best strategy is to give listeners/potential listeners something they want – with your podcast simply providing a backdrop to the idea.
Need an example?
So, you’ve created a healthy eating podcast. Why not develop a recipe storage app that bookmarks and searches people’s favourite recipes from the ‘net, or from cookbooks?
You’re a gaming podcast – perhaps you could create an app that lets people watch and read your reviews – or capture livestreams that they can go back and watch later? The world doesn’t have to revolve around YouTube after all!
Perhaps you’re a travel podcast – and you create an app which allows people to upload their favourite photography spots in cities across the world – with galleries and tips for each location?
Those are just a few quick and dirty ideas – and while they’re not automatically going to bag you immediate subscriptions and reviews, they are going to create a platform that brings like-minded people somewhere you can wave your podcast under their nose.
I hear you – there’s a lot of advertising you could be doing with the money that you’re going to use to develop an app – so why bother with an app at all?
In truth, an app helps to market your idea in a huge number of ways – and very few of those ways are things you can simply go out and buy from a marketing platform. For instance:
An app will increase trust in your podcast
Want people to consider you a guru or authority in your field? You’re going to need exposure – but not necessarily the kind of exposure you think.
Studies show that a person doesn’t have to be listening to your podcast to consider it valuable. Think about it – there are plenty of podcasts we know about but haven’t had time to listen to – but we consider them to be solid sources of info or entertainment.
The key is in the exposure. The more people see your podcast marketed or talked about, the more they perceive it as valuable – and people will eventually listen to valuable content.
You can directly target your app users’ devices
If you’ve developed an app that builds a group of people who might be interested in what you’ve got to say on your podcast, you can target them directly as app users.
Push notifications allow you to send important information to your users – in much the same way as Instagram and Facebook send you notifications. If you build a potential audience of thousands or more, you could immediately let a group of like-minded people know about the interesting details of your last episode.
Paywalls are rarely a good idea of a fledgling podcast – but that doesn’t mean to have to offer all your content to anyone who comes along. In fact, an app will allow you a range of interesting ways the users could unlock premium or unique content without paying – but in exchange for interaction elsewhere.
For instance, you might release a pod that’s purely for people who have invited their friends to use your app. Then again, you might tie your app to Facebook profiles and unlock unique content for people who are liking and sharing your social media content. Payment doesn’t always have to come in cold hard cash after all!
Talk to a developer that’s going to create a partnership
Anyone could hop onto a Fiverr style market place and find someone who says they can put an app together for you to help promote your podcast – but in truth, there’s a lot more to the process than pointing a freelancer in the direction of the app you think you want.
A good app developer will tell you exactly what’s possible, what’s practical, and what’s likely to yield the results you’re looking for. There will be a cheap way to develop an app for a podcast – but cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good value. Keep searching until you find a company who understands what you’re trying to do – and helps to steer the ship – rather than just nodding, saying yes, and taking your money.