Pop on any podcast community board, and you’ll see questions like, “how do I get more listeners” and “what’s the best way to promote my podcast?” Whether you’re a hobby podcaster or looking to expand your company’s brand, audience growth is likely high on your podcasting wish-list. But time and money are not. Enter: the embedded audio player.
Advanced audio players make it easy for listeners to subscribe, browse your library, and share audio clips. It’s basically a free ticket into the world of your podcast, helping convert new listeners to big fans. Embedded audio players also allows you to showcase your show on a website and create more content from each episode. It‘s a vital tool in your audience-building toolkit.
In this article, we’re going to dig into exactly why you need an intuitive audio player, what to look for when searching, and how to use one to grow your podcast audience. We’ll also look at the difference between native embedded players provided by your host and plug-ins. Soon you’ll have the perfect audio player for your podcast!
First up: Embedded Audio Players 101
What is an embedded audio player?
An embedded audio player is a tool that allows anyone to listen, share, and subscribe to your show outside of major listener apps (like Spotify or Apple). For instance, when you watch a YouTube video anywhere other than youtube.com, you’re watching through an embedded video player. So, if you listen to any podcast outside popular listener platforms, you’re interacting with an embedded audio player.
What does an embedded audio player do?
Embedded audio players, well, play audio. And the good ones convert curious listeners into fans. They give you the freedom to showcase your podcast on a website or social media instead of hyperlinking and redirecting listeners to a major listener platform where they might get distracted.
For listeners, embedded players make it easy to listen to shows without signing into Spotify or Apple. It also allows listeners to quickly subscribe to shows, share episodes on social media, and search new episodes within a creator’s library.
Next, let’s look at embedded audio player options
Native embedded podcast players
Native embedded players are provided by your host and are almost always free. This means they run the gamut when it comes to style and innovation. Here at Sounder, we put a lot of thought into building a free growth-friendly audio player for our creators. In searching, you’ll notice some older podcast hosting companies have yet to update their players to have the functionality needed for growth.
In an embedded player run-down, Colin Gray of The Podcast Host says, “Many people choose their hosting based primarily on the player. It’s definitely a factor in what you should choose. The player is probably the most visible, and often the most obviously unique aspect, of any hosting platform.” So if you’re on the hunt for a hosting platform, keep an eye out for those keeping up with their embedded players.
Native embedded players are also great because, unlike plug-ins, they can be added to any website, not just WordPress. So if you’re hosting a website with Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly, you can embed your podcast. The word “code” scares many non-tech people, but the process is as simple as copy-pasting. Good podcast hosts will walk you through step-by-step.
Plug-ins, or stand-alone audio players, are not associated with a podcast hosting company. They’re typically only compatible with WordPress and often cost money. BUT they usually have more features than most native players.
How To Use An Embedded Audio Player To Grow Your Audience
We thought a lot about this when we built our Sounder Player. We packed just about every audio growth tool into one beautifully compact player (and we keep adding more!). Here are a few ways to grow your audience using an intuitive audio player.
Convert website traffic
When a listener lands on your podcast’s website, does your latest episode start playing? Is it easily accessible? Do you even offer the option to listen via your website? If not, you could be missing out on new fans.
Let’s take a look at podcast king Tim Ferris. He uses what looks like a default audio player on his site that allows listeners two options: download or listen. That’s it! (Makes us wonder how many promotion opportunities he’s missing out on without an advanced audio player!) But, take note: he does showcase his latest episode front-and-center on his website, which is essential for passively converting site visits into listeners.
Make your show “sticky”
An audio player is like a container for your show. Take the Sounder Player: it showcases your entire episode library, so listeners can keep engaging with your content. Our player even lets you and your listeners search a keyword or topic within your library of content. It’s like Google for your audio content! Both functions allow listeners to easily find the content they’re looking for.
Psst, this is our COO’s new show, The Big Exit!
Audio players will also provide simple subscribe functions. So whether a listener finds you on Twitter or Spotify, they can quickly subscribe and follow along on their preferred listener app.
Share episodes and Soundbites
It should be easy to share episodes and clips of your audio across social media via your embedded audio player. A share function like this is a great promotional tool to tease your latest episode on social media or share the best audio moments of a new episode.
Not everyone is listening to your show. Finding a player that has closed captioning makes your show accessible to everyone.
Make 10x more content
Audio players also help you produce more content. Creators can embed each episode into a blog post and include a short introduction or overview. This helps your podcast rank higher in SEO and gives listeners a different way to interact with your content. That’t on top of all the growth functions we mentioned above.
Finally, How To Choose The Best Embedded Audio Player For Your Podcast
It should function for both listener and creator
Advanced audio players, whether native to your host or additional plug-ins, should be built with both the creator and listener in mind. The more intuitive the player, the better the user experience. The better the user experience, the higher chance they convert to fans.
It should look good
Most audio players look like a simple bar floating somewhere on a website. Sought out a player that has some flair to it! It’s what your listeners are likely to see first. You also want a player to function well on both mobile and desktop, since we see a dramatic spike in desktop listening since the pandemic started.
It should have more than the basic features
Of course, you want an embedded player that covers the basics, like play, pause, skip, speed up, and slow down. Other common functions include a download, stream, and subscribe button.
But it’s smart to go for a player that has advanced functionality. Advanced audio players may offer things like closed captioning, a back catalog of episodes, details about the episode, in-audio search functionality, and more. You want it to be simple so a listener can navigate and smart so you can promote and showcase your hard work.
Keep in mind: Advanced players really bring the audience growth. We made sure to include intuitive growth features to our Sounder Player, so you can maximize your efforts and really grow the audience you deserve. Learn more about the Sounder Player here.