Podcasting’s famous promise is that it has a low barrier to entry. But once you step over that tiny mountain, you discover a valley filled with podcast platforms.
Every single podcast platform appears to offer a different but essential function to get your audio into more ears.
So, which podcast platform is best? It’s one of podcasting’s biggest questions – and one that could have a big impact on your podcasting success.
The good news is that podcast platforms can be classified into three different groups. In addition, those three groups relate to your level of podcasting expertise – beginner, intermediate or advanced.
In this guide to determining which podcast platform is best, we’ll outline the main groups of podcast platforms and explain how they can help you at each stage of your podcasting journey.
When you know which podcast platforms you need, you can start your podcast as you mean to go on – like a pro.
What is a podcast platform?
The OECD defines the term ‘online platform’ as a digital service that connects two distinct but independent groups of people. For example, a search engine provides consumers with answers to questions via web browsers, while providing businesses with advertising opportunities.
A podcast platform provides consumers with podcast listening services, while also providing businesses and podcast makers with podcast publishing services.
In our digital world the word platform has become interchangeable with the word service. So, we can say that a podcast platform is a service that offers benefits to podcast listeners and podcast makers.
Today, we’re looking at podcast services from the podcast maker’s perspective.
There are three key podcast services that can help get your podcast idea out of your head and into someone else’s ears. They each serve a different purpose that’s relevant to your level of experience. So, we’ll start with the service that requires the most experience and work down from there.
Podcast hosting services
As listeners, most of us are familiar with getting our podcasts from Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. So, it comes as a surprise to many that none of these podcast platforms are podcast hosting services.
Most podcasts sit on podcast hosting services like Omny Studio, Buzzsprout or Blubrry. In addition to delivering podcasts to Spotify and friends, most popular podcast platforms provide safe storage for all your podcast episodes. They also ensure that many listeners can stream or download episodes at the same time.
For Australian podcasters we recommend homegrown podcast hosting services such as Omny Studio and Whooshkaa. Not only do they provide rock solid service and listening statistics, but it’s super easy to get in touch with their support team during working hours.
To get started with a podcast hosting service, all you need is a podcast. For that reason, we recommend these podcast platforms for advanced level podcasters.
If your level of podcasting expertise is closer to the intermediate or beginner level of expertise, the next two podcast services might be for you.
Podcast training services
The majority of podcasts are made by everyday people who simply learned how to make a podcast. As a result, there are now over four million podcasts available worldwide.
A lot of those podcasters have used podcast training services to increase their level of podcast expertise – to upgrade from beginner to advanced.
Whether they are online or in-person, podcast training services generally teach you how to record, edit and upload a podcast. More advanced courses also cover podcast planning, marketing, and how to use a podcast hosting service effectively.
With more than 4,000,000 podcasts out in the world, you might be wondering: who’s listening?
Podcast hosting platform Buzzsprout publishes statistics on downloads over the first seven days of a podcast episode’s life. In that crucial first week, we know that the top 50% (or more than 2,000,000) podcasts are downloaded just 30 times.
According to another podcast hosting platform Lybsyn, the average number of listeners to most podcast episodes is only 160 people. Furthermore, it’s only around 8 per cent of podcasts that have more than 5,000 listeners.
To be in the top 1% of podcasts in the world (or in the top 40,000), Lybsyn says you’ll need more than 38,000 downloads.
So, how do you beat 99% of all podcasts in the battle for listeners? That’s where podcast production services come in.
Podcast production services
Podcast production services are to podcasts what video production services are to video. They’ll manage every step of the podcasting process, from ideation to publication.
This means they have the right microphones, interview techniques, and editing skills to make your podcast sound like a chart-topper. In addition, they have editorial judgment that can’t be learned online or in training courses.
Written & Recorded is a podcast production service founded and operated by former radio journalists. That’s because, as well as transforming information into engaging audio, we know how to tell a great story.
Like this story…
Education Services Australia (ESA) had some key research to share with teachers from a researcher whose passion and excitement about his work was infectious. We recorded a conversation with Professor George Patton in his office so he could be as comfortable and enthusiastic as possible.
With his vivacious personality safely captured on our digital recorder we built a narrative arc around the highlights of the interview to create an informative and rewarding listening experience. The podcast is called, Understanding the Middle Years and it’s been shared with teachers around Australia in emails, on Facebook and on websites like ESA’s Student Wellbeing Hub.
Podcast production services are perfect for businesses and organisations whose levels of expertise range from beginners, to intermediate and advanced. This is how to make a successful podcast in the most stress-free way.
How do podcast production services work
Despite the low barrier to entry, there is a lot that goes into making a successful podcast. It’s a mix of strategy, creativity, and editorial know-how – and understanding how to create a brand voice with the business and organisational mission and vision in mind. Above all else, podcast production services can help you avoid tripping on that low barrier by reducing your workload, while ensuring that no detail is missed.
Here’s how podcast production services will help you in the planning, recording, and distribution of your podcast.
Like most worthwhile endeavours in life, planning is the first crucial step towards success in podcasting. This includes both creative and technical plans.
On the creative side, it’s important to establish the purpose or the ‘why’ of the podcast. From there, the form, length and style of the podcast can be determined. Only then can you consider whose voices will be heard in the podcast.
On the technical side, there are several accounts to be established with podcast hosting services. And in harmony with the creative side, you’ll need some artwork for marketing and some audio elements like music, sound effects and actuality to make it sound great.
Recording a podcast is where the magic really happens! For example, you can record your podcast while chatting in your office, driving your car, or even from the other side of the world. With the right equipment, podcasts can be recorded anywhere, which adds to the appeal for the listener.
At Written & Recorded, we love recording conversations in people’s homes. Not only do the people speaking feel more comfortable, but each home is unique and adds an attractive acoustic quality to the recording.
We have a mobile studio that can be set up anywhere – whether that’s sitting around a dining table, inside a hospital, or at a school playground – it’s wherever the interviewee feels most comfortable. We also have remote recording kits that we’ve couriered to all parts of Australia – and when they connect to our studio in Melbourne, it sounds like we’re in the same room.
Then comes the editing. Arguably, not as much fun as the recording, but very rewarding. In addition to removing ums, ahs, and other verbal stumbles, the editing process boils down the conversations to the most valuable parts. This part of the process is a bit like being a prospector mining for gold. Editing can also be used to improve the way people tell stories.
Also need to talk about our ability to remote record & bring the studio to them, without giving away our trick
Distribution is the Achilles heel of many podcasts. That’s because simply uploading the finished product to a podcast hosting service won’t attract many listeners.
A podcast production service thinks about distribution at the planning stage. First, they’ll look at the podcaster’s own networks, such as customer databases that can be invited to subscribe.
Then, during the planning and recording processes we listen out for stories and details that can be repurposed to help with distribution. These may include newsworthy events that can generate good PR. Also, there could be tales that become guest blog posts, or tasty little tidbits to use in social media campaigns.
At Written & Recorded we always go the extra distance for our clients, which is why they have been featured on Apple Podcasts New & Noteworthy, The New Daily, B&T and the ABC.
Why use podcast production services
The benefits of using podcast production services go far beyond just avoiding all the hard work. To demonstrate, consider this cautionary marketing tale about a simple Instagram post.
Draper James is a fashion label in the US that wanted to show their gratitude to teachers during the Coronavirus quarantine. To do this, they posted on their Instagram with a message that said, “To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress.” There was an application form, a tight deadline, and dresses “while supplies last”.
Unfortunately for this campaign, Draper James is owned by Hollywood actor Reese Witherspoon. As a result, it caught the attention of the Today show and Good Morning America who announced that the label was giving free dresses to teachers. Shortly after there were over a million applications – for just 250 dresses. The interwebs were not amused, with many seeing it as a cynical marketing ploy.
A digital marketing expert could have warned Draper James of the possible negative outcomes of their generous offer. In the same way, podcast production services can advise on equally sensitive issues, including copyright, defamation, and plagiarism.
Podcasting empowers you to share your thoughts with the world. And with great power comes great responsibility.
All you have to do now is choose the right service for you
The three key podcasting services could be considered suitable for beginners (podcast production services), intermediate (podcast training services) or advanced (podcast hosting services). However, regardless of your podcasting experience it’s worth considering the additional advantages that come with podcast production services.
If your brand is built on quality, then it’s not good enough to record your podcast on a Zoom call and publish without editing. If your organisation promises accessibility, then it’s not acceptable to publish your podcast on Spotify and nowhere else. If you’re a thought leader who wants to convey your trustworthiness, it’s essential to deliver consistent content that’s all killer, no filler.
A podcast service like Written & Recorded can make planning, recording, and publishing a professional podcast easy and stress free. That means you can relax and focus on delivering the best content to your audience.
We’re a premium podcasting service that makes podcasts that get your point across in a way that audiences want to hear. Drop us a line in the contact form below or call 03 9523 6196 for a chat about creating some podcast ROI of your own.
Your listeners will thank you.