Be careful who you hitch your show to and ask these questions so you know what you're getting into.
You get an email asking you to join a network. You're flattered. You need to think about this. You don't want to jump in and think, "Oh no!"
Things to Consider:
1. Contact Someone on the Network
See what their numbers were before and after joined and did joining the network boost their downloads.
2. Do You Need to Change Feeds?
When you change your feed, even if you follow all of the directions you will lose a small portion of "not very active" listeners. Keep in min YOU HAVE THE AUDIENCE. YOU HAVE CONTROL. Don't let someone bully you into using a new host if you don't want to switch. If you leave the network, get it in writing that they will redirect your feed to your new host.
3. Do the math.
In some cases, the network may be taking 30% of the revenue. This means you need to grow your show an additional 30% to get back to where you were before the network knocked on your door. Have you looked into getting advertisers directly? Sure you need to do some hunting, and send some emails. Is that worth giving up 30%?
4. Make Sure You Maintain Ownership of Your Content
Make sure if you leave the network you can take all of the content with you. Ask who owns the content you create while you are on the network.
5. How Do You Select New Network Shows?
If you do a religious show, and then the network brings on a show you find offensive, do you have any say in who they bring on?
6. How Do Get Fired?
Do you get to take vacations? What are all the rules.
7. How Is the Money Divided
If the money is put into one "pot" and then divided amongst the shows. How does that work?
Check out My Episode on All Things Networks
Check out the "How to Start a Podcast Network: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly" at the School of Podcasting
I found a team that can affordably edit your audio and make you sound great. When you get a cavity in your tooth, you don't start reading books and watching YouTube videos on how to fix it. You call in someone qualified to do it right the first time.
Wow, this is exciting. You open up your email, and you've been asked to join a podcast network. You've been approached by a podcast network, and hey, they really want your show. That is flattering. It's great. But is it a good idea? Is this a Good Idea?Find out if it works.
So there are a couple of things that you want to do before you decide. Number one, I would go to the network, I would look at their website, see what it looks like, what kind of first impression? Then I would contact people who are already on the network, and ask them, "Hey, what were your download numbers like before you joined and what were your download numbers after you joined? Many times you think, oh, if I could get on a big network, my numbers would go through the roof. In many cases, that's not the truth. It'll be more promotion, you'll get more exposure but the numbers may not be like a light switch coming on.
Do I Need to Change My Feed?
The other thing you want to ask is: Do I need to change my feed? Without getting too geeky, the feed is kind of like if you are a radio station, and you have a signal, let's say your 97.5 do I suddenly now have to change my station from 97.5 to 100.7. Because if you do, that's a big deal. And there's a chance that you might lose some of your audience if it's not done correctly. And so that might be a deal-breaker for some of you.
They might say, "We want you to come on our network, we're going to have you change your media host and basically everything technology-wise behind the scenes." Sometimes that sounds like a great idea. You're like, I would love to get rid of some of this technical stuff, and let somebody else handle that for you.
What if You Want To Leave?But then you also have to ask things like what happens if I decide after a year to leave? I don't want to be on this network. It's not what I thought it was, you're not delivering what I thought you were going to deliver. When I leave, who owns the content? You need to be specific. This is not just the content that you created while you're on the network.
Who owns all of the content, because it might be that when you joined, the 50 episodes that you did before you joined the network - they now own them. And who owns the content that you created while you're on the network? Then another thing to ask, you want to make sure that if you did change your feed, will they redirect. Now a redirect in technical terms is kind of like a change of address. This means that your audience goes to wherever app they listen on and behind the scenes. this bit of code says, "Hey, this person is now over on this feed." It's kind of a change of address thing. It's really important. And I see people get stranded all the time where they move to someplace, then they want to move someplace else they can't because this company won't do what's called a 301 redirect. It's kind of like a change of address. Setting ExpectationsYou might want to ask, Hey, what do I have to do to get fired?
How do you fire somebody? And this is basically just asking, what are the expectations for myself as I join your network? How Do They Select Members?And speaking of joining the network, you might want to ask how do you select network members because maybe you join and everything's great. And then they hire this completely outlandish person that you either love them or hate them. Some of your audience is like, "I can't believe you're on a network with so and so." Well, you might want to ask, how do you guys go about figuring out who is on the network? Those are some things to think about.
Reasons to Start a NetworkNow, there are definitely different reasons for starting a network. And I actually have an episode about starting a network on the School of podcasting. And it's kind of funny, I interviewed many people who have their own network, and they all said the same thing. Don't do it. It's a lot of work. And there are really a couple of different reasons. Number one, you want to pull shows that are like-minded, they're on the same topic. A great example of this is my buddy Glenn over at horseradionetwork.com. He's got 16 different shows about horses, and it actually makes it easier to get sponsorship. Because all those shows have maybe smaller audiences. When you put them together, it's one giant audience. That's a reason maybe to join a network.
Let's Talk Money
If that's the case, if that's why you're joining, then you better ask them, How do you divvy up the money? Because that gets really awkward when all of a sudden, one show brings in a ton of downloads, and this other show doesn't and yet everybody gets paid the same. You better ask that upfront. Another reason that people join networks is the network will actually do cross-promotion. And keep in mind a lot of times, it's, "We'll put a banner on our website to promote you." I don't know about you, but I don't really look at banners. In fact, I was actually on a website the other day, and somebody said, Oh, just click on the subscribe button and it was on the side of the screen. I completely missed it, because I'm used to just ignoring that part of websites.
Extra "Promotion"Keep that in mind on what the promotion is. If it's something where I have seen networks promote a certain show each week. Kind of a, "Hey, we have seven shows. This week, we're all gonna promote show number one." So that way, you get all this focus on that one show. Then the next week, we're gonna all mention show number two, and eventually, it gets around to your turn.
There are fun reasons to start a network. But just realize that if you think wow, if I can join this network, I will just get gazillion downloads. That is typically not the case. I'm not saying they don't work. I'm not saying they don't help. I'm just saying you have to go in with both your eyes open. Need Help?If you need help with this and you're thinking, "I don't know if this is a good idea or not. I need somebody like you who has 15 years of experience in the podcast world." Come on over go to podcastconsultant.com/schedule and schedule a session with me, and I will gladly go over that. I'm also going to tell you that you probably need to get a lawyer to look at that contract as well.
But I would love to help you. Just go on to podcast consultant.com Everything you need is there if you want to subscribe to the show, join the newsletter, or book a coaching session go to www.podcastconsultant.com