Podcasting is a popular form of media, consumed by many as a source of information and entertainment. Podcasting has become a beacon of authenticity in the internet age in the field of digital audio journalism.
It is a largely independent media form that allows creators to work on the projects they want, without the potential control or censorship that comes with major corporate backing like in television and radio. This unfiltered manner has led to a boom in podcasting.
But with this movement has come the presence of podcasting networks, seeking to host podcasts on their sites, and facilitate this new media phenomenon.
But just how important is a podcasting network to a content creator, and what benefits can it actually provide?
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How Did Podcast Networks Begin?
Initially, podcasting emerged with the widespread advent of the internet, and the increased influence it had on our daily lives.
Streaming websites like YouTube allowed people to upload their own podcasts in either video or audio formats, and allowed others to watch, like, and comment on the content produced.
Prior to this, such a phenomenon was unheard of, at least not without industry backing or contracts, which gave podcasting a DIY, independent feel that many found attractive.
At the same time, media companies were relatively slow to respond to the growing trend, presumably viewing it as nothing more than a passing, cult phenomenon.
However, as the trend became a booming industry, and content creators began making serious money with a relatively simple business model, the industry began to pay attention once again.
This led to established music streaming companies like Spotify and Apple Music branching out with their own line of contracted podcasts, and a series of brand new podcast hosting websites springing up constantly.
This has led many to question whether these podcasting networks are actually of use to budding podcasters, or whether it is just a delayed industry response to an already established, independent movement that doesn’t actually need them.
How Do Podcast Networks Work?
Podcast networks are a great way for podcast hosts to take their shows to the next level. They provide resources, connections, and expertise that can help you expand your reach and grow your audience.
Generally, when you join a network, you’ll get access to additional tools that make it easier to promote and monetize your podcast.
In addition, working with a podcast network can give you access to bigger listeners. Many larger networks have relationships with major media outlets and advertisers, making it easier for them to promote your show.
Additionally, networks often provide training programs that help you gain the skills needed to succeed in the industry.
When considering a podcast network, be sure to ask about the promotional capabilities and the resources they provide. Network staff should be able to explain their processes and goals for promoting your show. Additionally, ask about how much control you have over the content of your podcast as well as any fees or royalties associated with joining the network.
Finally, it’s important to understand what type of commitment that podcast networks require. Most networks require that hosts sign a contract that outlines the terms of their partnership.
Be sure to read through any agreement carefully, as it will provide detailed information about the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
By joining a podcast network, you can gain access to resources that will help you reach a wider audience and monetize your podcast more effectively.
It’s important to do your research and understand what a network has to offer before you make any commitments. With the right podcast network, you can take your show to the next level.
Top Podcast Networks
As there are countless new podcasts, especially pop culture podcasts, appearing each week, there are also numerous podcast networks, each of them promising something new and different, and possessing various degrees of pull and success within the industry.
Some of the biggest podcast networks include Wondery, Earwolf, Radiotopia, and NPR – as well as the above-mentioned American podcast network Spotify and Apple Podcasts, which in a sense represent the highest tier of networks at this level.
iHeartradio, Audioboom, Amazon Music, Audible, Audacy, New York Times, and SiriusXM Media round up some of the top podcast networks.
Pros And Cons When You Join A Podcast Network
Of course, with any industry, there are always pros and cons that prospective podcasters need to consider before they join podcast networks.
Ultimately, most podcast networks are supposed to have been created to solve problems for podcasters who might be struggling.
In a sense, this is what they actually do, and there can be numerous benefits for podcasts that might otherwise be floundering in a saturated online market.
For starters, there are technical benefits, such as free hosting, a dedicated website to boost brand recognition, logo redesign, and an assigned producer to work on your show and make it the best it can be.
There are also numerous marketing benefits – as would be expected with a dedicated company with industry ties.
This includes promotion and cross-promotion like post roll ads, public relations efforts with the media, and widespread marketing campaigns such as social media ads.
For successful podcasts, the most prominent benefit is the financial one, and the amount of potential revenue that can be amassed through signing with a podcast network.
These networks can usually partner with larger ad companies, which can usually pay dividends – depending on the size and reach your podcast has.
Finally, podcast networks also hold networking potential, both within the industry, and with similar podcasters.
The main con when it comes to podcast networks is a distinct loss of creative control, and the requirement to work for the company and their ad partners instead of yourself.
This can be a deal breaker for some podcasters, and this is definitely something worth considering before diving in and making a deal.
With this working relationship comes the need to share revenue – revenue that could be all yours with a proper independent business model.
You will probably also have to cut ties with existing sponsorships and brands – many of which might have become close friends of your show, or who you might have good relationships with.
Similarly, you could also have to change the streaming format and platform to accommodate the rules and stipulations the network has.
So, Are They Necessary?
From a purely business perspective, podcast networks can hold many benefits for podcasters – especially those who are struggling to reach their full potential, or who have a disinterest in the grind associated with a self-made business model.
However, when it comes to the loss of creative control, the shared revenue, and the other downsides, we feel that, unless absolutely necessary, it is far better to go it alone.
This is based on the simple fact that a lot of podcasters were achieving widespread success with their podcast episodes long before these networks even came to fruition, which suggests that, in theory, you don’t actually need them.
Thanks to social media, free streaming platforms, and the affordability of web design, those with the work ethic and inclination can achieve great things without industry interference – not to mention lucrative ad partnerships on their own terms.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about podcasting networks, and what benefits they can provide to both the existing podcasting community, and budding podcasters looking to find their feet.
It’s true that podcasting has taken the audio content world by storm, providing a degree of authenticity and creative freedom that TV and radio just cannot compete with anymore.
So whether you are looking to join a podcasting network, or go out and chase the dream on your own, why not consider podcasting?
There has never been a better time to try something new!