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Meet Alexandra Cohl from Our September SoundHER Podcast Feature: POD.DRALAND

SoundHER is an interview series where the ladies of Sounder have candid conversations with influential women in podcasting about their journey to success. Read on for industry tips, poignant POVs, and a ton of audio inspiration.

Tell Us About POD.DRALAND’s Podcast Journey

Although POD.DRALAND didn’t officially launch until July 16, 2019, I had been marinating on the idea for it at least six months prior to then and was deep in listening and studying mode with podcasts. I was in graduate school during the time (2017-2019), getting my master’s in English Literature, and I was starting to think about what I wanted to do next in my career. I had been teaching creative and essay writing since graduating from undergrad (in 2014), done some freelance writing here and there, and was working other jobs like the register at the boxing gym I attended at the time. It had gotten to the point where I knew I wanted to pursue my own creative endeavors, this nonlinear career path, but was admittedly nervous to do so and didn’t quite know where to start. 

But, I knew that if I didn’t I would regret it. And, I had been listening to so many podcasts hosted by women and these women were sharing about their creative career journeys (the challenges and the wins), whether it was freelance work, art, writing, or podcasting, and it really made me think, “You know what? I can do this.” And, my first course of action was to start a blog where I showcased these women-hosted podcasts and why I thought others needed to listen to them (The Tuesday Pod). Then, I expanded into podcast lists and short written interview features with independent women podcasters. 

Creating this platform and running my social media pages along with it really taught me how important it was to allow myself to experiment and to not be afraid or overly judgmental of my own vision. I also very much needed to learn how to not attach my worth to an algorithm and to set clear boundaries between social media and how I define success. After a year of running my blog, I started taking on podcast clients for PR and social media, and it has been just another way that I can serve my community and help folks (especially women) be heard by more people. And in this last year of being my own boss, I have had many challenges; at the same time, I’ve also learned to value my work and expertise more and to trust that when opportunity meets preparation and shared values, good things really start to happen.

During the start of the pandemic, I taught myself how to edit my own recordings in Adobe Audition in preparation for creating my own podcast. I took on the role of producer and host, and have been honing my craft since then. In February 2020, I launched my own podcast, The Pod Broads, where I interview women in the podcasting industry about their lives and their work and how the two intersect. Season two kicked off yesterday (new episodes drop on Wednesdays at 3 a.m. EST). My goal is to continue to finding innovative ways to showcase the important work and life experience of women in this field, especially since I know that podcasting has truly made me love and be confident in my own voice more. 

What was the inspiration behind your own podcast, The Pod Broads

When I started my blog, I always knew that I wanted to eventually develop a podcast that would complement the work that I was doing there. So, The Pod Broads was just a natural progression of the work I had already been doing: showcasing and amplifying the work of women in podcasting. As I was developing the idea for the podcast, I also knew that I wanted to interview women from all parts of the industry — not just the hosts, who so often get the forward facing exposure due to the nature of being a host. While I of course interview hosts, I also wanted to be sure to showcase producers, social media managers, CEOs, and other women who may more often remain behind the scenes. 

Creating a podcast takes so much and (unless you’re an indie doing it all yourself) so many people, and too often those with roles behind the scenes get overlooked. Now, it wasn’t just about the work. I also wanted to (and continue to want to) be sure to give space for these women to share about their personal journeys too and show how these different parts of their own lives intersect with the work that they do. Each of our lives are so multi-faceted and our personal life always impacts our professional worlds (and vice versa), whether we want it to or not. And I think it is really powerful to be able to share your full self and reflect on the way these different parts connect and feed into each other. Doing so for myself, I know, has been instrumental in my ability to grow and connect with people on a deeper level, and my hope with this podcast is that I can help my guests do that with my listeners, while also showing off their expertise and work. 

What advice can you give us for new and existing podcasters?

One of my major tips is to definitely be open to collaborations and to not be afraid of trying something new or different (or at least don’t let that fear stop you — since it is totally okay to be afraid or nervous during the process!). Too often women have been socialized to be really judgmental of their own voices, and so something I always like to say is to remind other women that their voice matters, their thoughts and emotions are valid, and the actual sound of their voice is unique and doesn’t need to change. 

I would also say that podcasting is extremely time consuming, especially as an indie creator doing all the moving parts of it! So, carve out time to rest, allow yourself time to ideate, and be really clear on your “why” because if you aren’t clear on it, your listeners won’t be either, and you’ll probably burn out way too quickly. It is also okay if you can’t do everything you want to do right away (whether it is a lack of time or resources), and it will happen if you give yourself permission to grow at a steady rate.

Why Is Podcasting The Superior Marketing Medium?

Part of the reason podcasting is such an impactful form of marketing or PR is because it really is such an intimate space that allows people to directly connect to those they are hearing. People really begin to trust the hosts of the shows they love and so they are invested in what the hosts have to share — whether that is another person, another podcast, a brand, or something else; that trust and connection will have a lot of impact and weight in a listener’s decision to pursue what it is the host is talking about. On the flip side, it is then really important for a host and podcast to continue to earn and follow through on that trust and honor the values they claim to have. 

Tell Us About Your Views On Gender In The Podcast Industry Today

As many of us in the industry know, podcasting is still known as a “white boys’ club,” and this is because for a long time (and still currently), the percentage of male hosts to female hosts on major networks is vastly disproportionate to each other. In other positions outside of hosting, there is still a major lack of representation across the board for women and non binary folks in comparison to white men. We have to look at those who are in positions of power to especially see how that hierarchy impacts the other filled positions in a company or who is chosen to be interviewed or who is given more opportunity in the space.

For me, gender representation in and of itself is a really complex topic, but for me in particular, I can definitely speak more to the women-centric part of it, since that is where I have focused a lot of my energy and research. My goal has consistently been to get more people to genuinely listen to women, their experiences and their voices, and to support them in this male-dominated field. Especially since historically, women have not been listened to in so many areas of their lives and experiences, and I know the power that audio can have on reaching audiences in a new way–whether for pleasure or education or something else. And, if there are voices and identities not present in the production room or the hosting or guest chair, there are going to be so many needed perspectives that are missed or overlooked in the content itself.

As a sexual assault survivor, when certian news came out about sexual harassment going on in the audio and podcasting space, my commitment to this mission became even stronger. We have to also factor in how the lack of representation (and the harassment) increases for women of color and nonbinary folks of color. It is always an intersectional issue, and if we aren’t looking at the way race and other pieces of someone’s identity play a role in any conversation around gender, then we are missing a huge part of it. 

I mention in my Women Who Podcast Magazine feature that there are some men really doing the work to be allies in this space, which is super helpful, but I also like to look to my community of women to see how we are showing up for each other: to my fellow white women, in particular, I ask, how are we checking ourselves and our potential biases or blindspots and how might that be negatively impacting women of color in the space? How does the representation for men of color impact this conversation we’re having? What do we need to change in our discourse? And to all of my women, how are we showing up for our nonbinary peers, and how are we educating ourselves there? These are just the start of many questions that need to be a part of this conversation, and part of my job is to keep listening to and learning from folks in the industry who have a much better and intimate understanding of these other experiences. 

What podcasts are you currently listening to? 

Ah! So many as always, but I have a few currently in rotation that I’ve been listening to for pleasure. Back Issue from Pineapple Street Studios is back with season two, which I am thrilled about. That’s been a favorite of mine since it first dropped last year. Mala Muñoz, one half of Locatora Radio, recently came out with Marijuanera: A Podcast for Potheads (as a part of Locatora Productions), which I’ve really been enjoying and so appreciated her commentary on the issue of the Olympics and Sha’Carri Richardson. And, I’ve been loving Drama Queens with iHeartRadio, hosted by Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, and Bethany Joy Lenz. I am a major One Tree Hill fan, so I’ve been loving these episodes that break down their rewatching of the show, along with interviews of other cast members. They are also talking about their behind-the-scenes experience and about what it was like as a young female actor during that time. This podcast, as they express, is a reclamation of that show in a way, as they all experienced sexual harassment and abuse on set during the actual filming of it. And, as I’m sure you know by now after reading through this interview, I am a huge fan of anything that helps survivors reclaim their experience. 

What’s Next For Your Journey & Mission?

I am currently expanding my work in PR and social media, so that I can serve even more folks in the industry. I would love to create some resources for people to download and apply themselves, especially for folks who may be unable to afford a consultation session or an ongoing contract with me at this time. With my podcast, I am ready to start experimenting with form more and am excited to bring some other amazing women to the mic during season two (check out the trailer here and the first episode here). As a part of that, I can’t wait to do more collaborations with other podcasters and brands and to just keep building this ecosystem of my women-hosted podcast work. 

For more on Alexandra’s journey follow her at @pod.draland on Instagram and @poddraland on Twitter to stay connected. 

Thank you for reading this month’s edition of #soundHER! If you have any questions for Alexandra or would like to be featured as Sounder’s next female voice, email us at support@sounder.fm or tag us on social using #soundHER. To keep the conversation going, join us on Wednesday, September 29th at 7:30 p.m. EST when Sounder goes live with Alexandra on Instagram. Make sure you’re following us on IG so you can jump right in.

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Discovering Great Podcasts with Arielle Nissenblatt of EarBuds Podcast Collective

SoundHER is a monthly interview series where the ladies of Sounder have candid conversations with influential women in podcasting about their journey to success. Read on for industry tips, poignant POVs, and a few laughs.

Arielle Nissenblatt has spent a lot of time in a car. Her first job could have her traveling up to eight hours a day. Next, life brought her to a city where commuting 13 miles took over an hour and a half. Some people may have found these circumstances frustrating, but our SoundHER has a knack for optimizing her time. She became obsessed with highway and interstate facts. She memorized directions and even began collecting license plates. She also started cueing up podcasts.

It’s been four years since Arielle welcomed podcasts into her life, and she’s been in the industry ever since. From marketing to editing, she’s done just about every audio-related job in the book. Today you can find her running the EarBuds Podcast Collective newsletter, working Community Management over at SquadCast, co-creating the Outlier Podcast Festival, and co-hosting Counter Programming with Shira and Arielle.

Today, Arielle is here to talk about her journey in this young industry, how to discover great content, how to market your podcast on a budget, and advice for anyone interested in an audio career. When she’s not writing or listening, you can find her playing soccer, rollerblading, or taking long walks. In fact, when she “grows up,” Arielle aspires to be a tour guide, and has even led a 15.8 mile tour the length of Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles! Let’s dig into her podcasting story.

What you’ll find in this SoundHER interview:

  1. A Snapshot of Arielle Nissenblatt’s Podcasting Journey
  2. The EarBuds Podcast Collective Origin Story
  3. Demanding Diversity In Podcast Spaces
  4. Top 3 Tips To Discover Great Podcasts (Forever!)
  5. Smart Ways To Organize Your Listening Habits
  6. Easy Ways To Market Your Podcast
  7. Advice About Getting Into The Podcast Industry

A Snapshot of Arielle Nissenblatt’s Podcasting Story

LARELL SCARDELLI: Great to chat, Arielle! Tell us, how long have you been in the podcasting industry? 

ARIELLE NISSENBLATT: I started in the podcast space four years ago when I started the newsletter, EarBuds Podcast Collective, on February 13, 2017. At the time, I didn’t consider myself part of the podcast space. I was just trying to write a newsletter. But that’s when I started to think about podcasts and podcasting in a critical way.

During these four years, I have had numerous jobs all over the industry—production, and curation, and marketing, and speaking. Some of those have continued throughout. I’ve dipped my toe into the marketing world, and then left. Now I’m in it in a more serious way with event planning.

LS: I’d love to learn more about your newsletter, EarBuds Podcast Collective. What inspired you to start it?

AN: My first job out of college was in Mississippi at a Jewish nonprofit called the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. We were partnered with different synagogues throughout the South as consultants for their Hebrew schools. If they were less than eight hours away, we’d drive to them. That’s how I got started listening to podcasts. 

LS: I’m sure so many people can relate to being stuck in a car with nothing to do. What did you listen to first?

AN: I listened to the entire back catalogues of This American Life, 99% Invisible, Radiolab, The Memory Palace— the typical podcasts that people recommend if you’re just getting started in podcasts.

I encountered more car time when I moved to Los Angeles. I was working in the city, but living in the valley, and my commute was an hour and a half each way because of traffic to go, I don’t know, 13 miles, or something ridiculous like that.

I was really upset about it at first. I felt like I was wasting my time. And then I was like, “wait a minute, I can completely optimize the time that I’m spending sitting in this car if I’m listening to podcasts that are about things that I want to learn about!”

LS: Podcasts have a way of fitting into passive moments in the day. What surprised you the most about listening?

I was amazed that I was learning so much through audio, because growing up, I was taught that I was a kinesthetic learner. You know, you move around, you learn. I thought I was stuck in that. Turns out I also am an auditory learner, and I was really taking in a lot of information by way of podcasts.

LS: How did you find your next listens?

So, I was listening to those typical five podcasts, but I thought, “how can I find podcasts that will continue to amaze me and astound me and bring me stories of new people that I’ve never heard of and new perspectives?” 

And I thought, “if I have my five favorite podcasts, my friends also have their five favorite podcasts, and their friends have more and more and more and more.” That was the impetus behind starting the newsletter— wanting new, exciting shows to listen to optimize my time in the car.

EarBuds Podcast Collective Origin Story

LS: I’m shocked so many of your friends listened to podcasts back in 2017! 

AN: I think what helped is that a lot of the friends that I called on at the time were in the same job as me, in Jackson, Mississippi. We all listened to podcasts so they had recommendations to share.

LS: How did recommendations from friends translate into the EarBuds Podcast Collective newsletter you have today?

When I started, I had no idea about email service providers. I started a survey monkey, actually, and sent it to a bunch of friends and was like, “Hi, if you want to be part of this podcast collective thing I’m doing, just fill out your information here and I’ll add you to the Gmail email.”

And so every Sunday for the first five weeks, I would send out a BCC to Gmail, just being like, “here are the five podcasts that you’re going to check out this week, let me know what you think.” Once I accidentally only cc’d everybody and it was a whole mess. 

My friend was like, “you should try Mail Chimp,” and I was like, “you are correct.” I learned Mail Chimp. If you go to the beginning of my archive for Mail Chimp, they were so ugly! I had no idea about formatting. But, you know, people were interested in this idea. So it grew over time.

LS: What does the newsletter feature?

AN: Each week we send a theme that contains five podcast episodes on that theme, and each week is curated by a different person. Anyone can curate a list. (You don’t have to be a podcaster, you don’t have to be a professional in any way, you can just be a person who really loves a certain subject.)

LS: How are these themes chosen?

AN: You know, there’s a few ways to look at it. You could be a professor who is really into marine biology and you’re specializing in beluga whales. So you’re going to go out and find five podcast episodes on beluga whales.

Or it could be like, your name is Joanne, and you live in Cedar Rapids and you’ve been really into meditation lately. You’re going to go find five podcasts on meditation as your curated list.

I also allow creators who are podcasters to include one of their own podcasts. So sometimes people will use it as an opportunity to get a little promotion for their podcasts while also shouting out four other podcasts that they enjoy.

LS: Who’s able to curate a list?

AN:  We have a form on the website where anybody can input their information, why they chose that theme, the five episodes that they’re choosing, and a short description of each one. At the bottom of each newsletter that I send out, I have that same form that anybody can click on and curate.

On the back end, we receive the form, figure out where on the calendar that list makes sense, and then reach out when your list has been chosen. We tag curators on social media and provide some sample posts.

LS: Does the newsletter feature anything else?

AN: In the past five months, we’ve started to include a section at the end of the newsletter called “Podcast Spotlight” and that’s an entire podcast recommendation that specifically differs from the theme of the week so that just in case you have no interest in the theme, you can always check out the “Podcast Spotlight.”

Another thing that’s emerged that’s been really great is our archive, which dates back to 2017. If you want to learn about, I don’t know, architecture, we’ve probably done a list or two on architecture.

LS: I see you also have an accompanying podcast?

AN: Yes! Feedback with EarBuds is the podcast that goes along with EarBuds Podcast Collective. It just returned for season two, and it’s got some changes so it’s definitely worth checking out for podcast recommendations every week! We now include an interview with a podcaster, an enthusiastic listener, or a podcast company representative. We ask them about what got them into podcasts and what they’ve been listening to lately.

Demanding Diversity In Podcast Spaces

LS: How has your newsletter process changed over the years?

AN: Today, we reserve the right to say no. A mistake that I made early on was not having a requirement for the number of women and people of color that I wanted represented in each list. Now the requirement is that three out of five of each episode chosen has to be either created by or hosted by a person of color and/or a woman or non-binary person.

Early on, I had somebody curate a list called Mancasts, “Podcasts by Men for Men,” and I don’t know why, but I let it go because it was 2017 and I was like 23. And it was terrible. I hated it. But we learn. We live and we learn.

I also had somebody curate a list and it was “best interview podcasts.” And only one of the podcasts was hosted by a woman, and somebody replied immediately. I knew that there would be pushback, because I think that week I just didn’t have time to go out and find another episode AND I also felt weird changing this guy’s pick. Whereas now I reserve all the rights to do that.

But immediately I got a reply being like, “surely all the best interview podcasts are not hosted by men?” And I was like, “I know, I agree with you. I fucked up.”

LS: When I’m reading your content today, it comes through that you’re very cognizant of the diversity you’re posting. 

AN: Thanks. Now I’m super intentional about what goes out. I send this out to a lot of people, and because of that, people are watching to see what goes out from EarBuds and I have a responsibility there and that’s something that I’ve learned and now I take very seriously.

LS: How do you think your message, your requirements, and your dedication to diversity has impacted your brand?

AN: Word of mouth gets around that you can curate a list for EarBuds, but they have this requirement: three out of five recommendations are people of color and/or women. Because of that, I think we weed out people who disagree with requirements like that.

I’ve had only a few people push back on me and say, “I’d really like to put this person in my list” and I say, “unfortunately, I can’t, I’m going to have to take editorial power there and add a woman and/or a person of color.” That’s happened a few times, and I’m very happy for those people to unsubscribe if it’s not the place for them.

LS: It really is less about monitoring and more about creating a dedicated community which, little by little, drips out into the community at large that we need to continue to represent women and people of color in this space.

AN: I think it’s super important for us to know where we stand, and to give opportunities as well.

But I’ve also seen the opposite where men who purport themselves to be really great champions of women and people of color in the space still don’t back off from panels when they easily could. So it’s interesting to see that a lot of the time, the intention is there, but the actual practice of it is not always.

I think even just putting it out there and saying, “hey, I’m going to step down and here are three people who I think would be great” is a way to advocate for diversity.

Top 3 Tips To Discover Great Content Forever

LS: Let’s talk about discovery. Because your newsletter is, in many ways, solving for a discovery issue many new listeners face.

AN: I kind of have a problem with the idea of there being a discoverability problem. I think the only reason that there’s a “discoverability problem” is because there’s so much content, and a lot of it is complete shit only some of it is good. 

It’s really about knowing how to weed through and find the ones that are good. EarBuds does that, Bello Collective does that, Find that Pod is another newsletter that does that, Podcast Review does that.

LS: So what’s your advice for new listeners looking for podcasts?

AN: My biggest advice when it comes to podcast discoverability is to sign up for curated newsletters. I think we as publication creators, people who make podcasts newsletters, need to educate that this is a way to have curated content sent to you.

Once you start listening to three podcasts that you love, you’ll never have to look for another podcast again because they will most likely recommend other podcasts you’re going to love in their ads. That’s how you’ll get on a path of finding great content forever.

LS: So sign up for curated newsletters, and you mentioned Google phrases and keywords. How does that plug you into the great-content-forever highway?

AN: Google podcasts on meditation for women. What’s going to come up is Katie Krimitsos’ Podcast Meditation Network for Women. From there, she’ll probably recommend other podcasts that are about meditation. And she won’t recommend podcasts that are shitty. She’s going to recommend good ones that have a lot of backlog for you to go through, because it would hurt her credibility to recommend something that’s not great.

A good way to figure out if a podcast has credibility is if other people are recommending it, whether it’s on shows or people have written blog posts about it, or are people talking about it on social media.

LS: Interesting. So what I’m hearing is that it’s okay to start listening to the big podcasters, because from there, you also will get to learn about smaller, but still quality, podcasts. I guess I always hear shade being thrown at the big-names, but people have to get plugged into podcasting somehow.

AN: I think so. I always want to root for the underdog. I think that the problem is underdog and indie is often synonymous with like bad, you know, but there are underdogs that are good. We just need to be able to find them.

Smart Ways To Organize Your Listening Habits

LS: I’d love to hear about how you organize your daily listening.

AN: I’ve always used Castbox to find and listen to podcasts. They have a huge podcast directory (just like Apple Podcasts) and make it easy to search for keywords. I worked for them for a while also, but I originally found Castbox at Podcast Movement in 2017. I was very new, it was just a few months after I started my newsletter.

I kind of showed up and bopped around the expo hall trying to make some friends and get some swag. I went up to every table and kind of judged each product based on the swag that they gave away. And Castbox gave away this really cool ring that goes on the back of your phone to help you hold it.

LS: So how much do you listen to on a weekly basis?

AN: I wake up every morning and I listen to The Daily, I then go to Up First, I then go to The Daily Zeitgeist, and then sometimes I top it all off with What a Day, the Crooked Media show. And then sometimes I’ll go to the Punch Bowl News, which is a short politics daily morning show.

If I have time in the middle of the day, maybe I’m going for a walk, maybe I’m doing some dishes, I’ll listen to something that came out on that day or catch up on something that came out the previous day that I wasn’t able to listen to. Or if I hear of something that I must binge, say it’s a six-episode-something on some sort of crime that happened, or a series on OJ Simpson, I’ll do that in the afternoon.

And then at night, I try to do the afternoon/nighttime daily podcasts like Vox’s Today Explained. I then go to Consider This from NPR, and that’s really what I’ve been doing lately. Yeah, lots of time spent listening to podcasts. 

LS: Okay, wow, how many hours is that?

AN: It’s a lot, but I do it on 1.5 to 1.8 speed depending on the podcast. So it’s doable. I think it’s like five hours a day normal-speed, but it’s actually like four.

Easy Ways To Market Your Podcast

LS: Podcasting is still relatively young, and you’ve been part of it for some time. What’s your favorite aspect of the industry?

AN: Everybody is so down to collaborate, and I talk about this a lot. It’s even in our recent rebrand. Our first logo said EarBuds and then the side was two little headphones that had like smiley faces on them, they looked like hands, like buds or friends. For the second iteration, I wanted to kind of continue playing off the idea that headphones can be friends, buds, whatever, that whole thing. The justification for that, in the end, was that podcasting is such a collaborative medium.

LS: I couldn’t agree more. How can podcasters use that spirit to their advantage?

AN: One of the biggest things you can do is collaborate with other people, whether that’s cross promotions, or feed drops, or having somebody on your show talk about their show, and vice versa. One of the biggest ways to succeed is through cross promotion.

I think because of that, it extends to other things in the podcast space, like cross marketing, and just in general people being willing to help each other and get a coffee together and talk about this project, that project, how can we work together? How can we partner? That leads into word of mouth, which is extremely strong and it’ll continue to be.

LS: I like how authentic cross-promotion is, especially between podcasters.

AN: It should be authentic. On Twitter, for instance, there’s so much self-promotion. Every time somebody tweets, “Just discovered podcasts, anybody have anything that you think I should listen to?” So many people drop their link and offer no context as to why someone should listen.

So there’s a lot of blind reaching out and not being collaborative. Avoid that. I have made an effort since 2017 to offer something in return if I’m asking to get a coffee with somebody, or for a shoutout on this app or on this blog. I mean, if it’s not going to be money, it’s going to be something, and I think that’s super important. 

LS: What else can a podcaster do to market themselves?

AN: Another way for folks to get their podcasts promoted is by working with podcast apps to promote their content.

For example, Spotify has a creators program where you can apply to be featured, they also have the ability for you to customize your page. Apple, same thing, and they have the ability to create personalized QR codes that you can use in all of your branding. Sounder has their weekly PodLight feature. Podcasts Business Journal has their “Why I Podcast” section. You can apply to be on the Hot 200 in Podcast Magazine.

Everybody’s got something, that if you know where to look, or if you’re taught where to look, you can apply to be featured and this is not a thing that many people are doing.

Pro Tips For Working In The Podcast Industry

LS: What are your two biggest tips for women who want to work in podcasting?

AN: One of the number one things that I did when I first got into the podcast space was get involved with Facebook groups, and one of those groups was She Podcasts. That’s really where I found a lot of information.

I would also make coffee dates with people, that has been huge for me. And like I mentioned, you don’t want to just “pick somebody’s brain,” because that is like asking them to do a free consulting session for you. So find a way to do that in a way that makes sense for both of you. Or join a mentorship program and know what you want from that mentorship program.

Subscribe to all the podcast newsletters out there, and that’s not just podcast recommendations newsletters, but also news, so Inside Podcasting, Podnews, PodMov, Podcasts Business Journal. Just know what’s going on in the industry that you want to have a big impact in.

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Why do I love the industry? It’s so fun to be in, I love going to podcast conferences, I try to be at every in-person one that there is. I’ve missed them a lot because it feels like going to summer camp— it’s just a good time.

LS: Any advice for people who like podcasts but aren’t sure where they fit yet?

AN: It’s okay not to niche down. Take me for example: I’m a general store of podcast knowledge. I wouldn’t say that I know one thing in particular, maybe marketing, over everything else, but for the most part, I can confidently say I’m familiar with each aspect of creating a podcast and marketing that podcast. 

I managed a podcast studio at a co-working space called Village Workspaces, from 2018 to 2019. Then I worked for Castbox from July 2019 to August 2020. During that time, I started working with Outlier Podcast Festival. I started the podcast that goes along with EarBuds Podcast Collective, Feedback with EarBuds, and I started the Counter Programming with Shira and Arielle. I also worked for Messy.fm, doing podcast consulting and helping people creating podcasts. And then in August 2020, I started working for SquadCast as the community manager, and that’s where I still am now.

I even completed a program called The Salt Institute, located at the Maine College of Art, where I learned everything I needed to know about Pro Tools, finding a story, whittling that story down into something that’s digestible for radio or for podcasts, interview techniques, how to use portable interview technique equipment, all that kind of stuff. So it was great. At the end I had a finished 10-minute feature piece on this guy named Sean who is a professional ring finder and metal detectorist. It’s okay to bounce around.

LS: What do you want your biggest contribution to the industry to be?

AN: I want more people to listen to podcasts. I want that question to the question, “oh, what’s a podcast? How do I find a podcast?” to be gone. I want everybody to just know. And I know that comes with education, but I want to be part of that education. I want to help people find podcasts, because, number one, it’s made me a smarter person. Number two, it just has opened my mind to so many more stories and more people and I want more people to be able to experience that. And I also want more women and people of color in podcasting.

LS: What’s your five year plan for EarBuds?

AN: I would like the FeedBack to feature an interview with the newsletter curator and some voices from the podcasts that are being curated that week. I would also like it to be a huge podcast that people must tune into because or else they would be missing out on critical podcast content!

The newsletter, I would like to be doing more live events and more podcast consulting and more podcast education. I also see integrations with companies like Podnews, where we would put the news in our podcasts and in our newsletter. 

LS: Any plugs for projects coming up? Where can people find you on social media?

AN: Counter Programming with Shira and Arielle returns on March 3, and we’re kicking off season two with a series on countertops. That is a podcast that I started with my friend at the beginning of the pandemic as a distraction-cast and each episode focuses on a different “count” or “counter.” So the idea is that it is counter programming to the grim COVID-19 situation. We’ve done counter productivity and countertenor (like the opera) and we had a countertenor on the show. This season, we’re covering recycled glass, laminate and quartz, and then we’re going into songs that have the word count or counter in the title, like Beyoncé’s Countdown and the Counting Crows in general. So that’s Counter Programming.

Signup for EarBuds Podcast Collective! We also have advertising packages. The newsletter is supported by sponsors and classified ads, so that information is on the website. Feedback with EarBuds just returned for season two.

SquadCast is this amazing company that I work for. We are a remote recording software and just released the ability to record and download video. I am now very much advocating for including video in your marketing for your podcast, whether that’s on social or on YouTube.

And you can find me personally on social media, I’m @ariellethisandthat (because my last name is Nissenblatt and it rhymes with this and that)!

___________________

Thank you for joining this month’s edition of #soundHER! If you have any questions for Arielle or would like to be featured as Sounder’s next female voice, email us at support@sounder.fm or tag us on social using #soundHER.

Featured

The Ultimate Podcast Interview Resource

It all started with a note on his phone…

In this video interview, we sat down with Travis Brown, the owner of Pod Decks, to learn about the inspiration behind Pod Decks, why he created this valuable resource for podcasters, and what the app offers! Hint: thousands of interview questions, collaborative community, tutorials, giveaways, and more.

Like what you see? Sounder is offering one FREE month of Pod Decks so you can try it out for yourself!

Learn how to become a better interviewer, how to avoid “Podfade” and a whole lot more, as Sounder’s Content Strategist, Larell Scardelli, puts Travis Brown in the hot seat.

Get your FREE month of the Pod Decks App with the PROMO CODE “SOUNDERFM” at https://app.poddecks.com​. Select a plan (monthly or yearly), and create an account. Enter the promo code Sounderfm and enter your billing info (you will not be billed unless you keep the app past 30 days). Once your account is created, simply download the Pod Decks app from the Apple Store or Google Play store and log in with the credentials you created on app.poddecks.com. Offer expires March 31, 2021!


Offer is eligible through and must be redeemed by March 31, 2021 at 11:59 PM ET. Promotional code may be used for one month free of a monthly or annual Pod Decks app subscription plan. Existing users currently subscribed to Pod Decks app are excluded and only one promotional code allowed per user. Pod Decks app subscriptions are auto-renewing and billed monthly. Offer is not eligible for cash exchange. Cancellations prior to the end of the promotional month are not eligible for a cash refund. Offer is non-transferable. Promotional code cannot be combined with other promotions and Pod Decks reserves the right to refuse or alter any coupon or promotion at its discretion.

Featured

The Easiest Way For Premium Podcast Teams To Collaborate And Manage Their Shows

Sounder Organizations is a premium user management functionality helping podcast teams of all sizes manage their shows in one secure workspace

In an effort to support multi-teamed and enterprise audio creators drive collaboration and streamline efficiency, we are launching our next generation of user management functionality, called Organizations. We started Sounder with our sights set on becoming an end-to-end platform for growing podcasters of all sizes. From new creators with one podcast to large publishers with hundreds, we aim to deliver technology solutions for all stages of audio development.

Manage Your Podcasting Team With Ease 

What Is Organizations?

Organizations is a premium, user management functionality that lives in the account settings of the Sounder Dashboard. Organizations allows a podcast team to collaborate on one or multiple podcasts, all in one secure workspace.

How Does It Work?

The Organization Owner has full admin rights and the ability to create an Organization for each podcast they own. Owners not only act as the gatekeeper on the individual podcast level, they can also holistically manage, track, and measure all of the shows in their account.

Each member of a podcast team can be assigned a specific role per podcast. Team members can only view at their access level, assigned by the Organization Owner, so an entire production team can move without friction. 

Organization Admin is able to migrate a podcast into the Organization and has viewing and editing rights to all podcasts within the Organization. An Organization Viewer can view but does not have editing rights. A Podcast Owner is the owner of one podcast in the Organization. They are able to migrate a podcast into the Organization and have viewing and editing rights to that podcast. A Podcast Admin can edit and view the podcast. A Podcast Viewer can only view.

Why Is It Important?

Because growing podcasters, publishers, podcast studios, agencies and enterprise creators shouldn’t share one login. This user management functionality creates a secure environment to manage who has access to what for your podcasts. Owner, admin and view-only roles at both the organizational and individual podcast levels create built-in efficiencies to help manage, scale and grow your business!

Organizations Is Perfect For…

We can’t take full credit for this new user management functionality. Our Sounder creators and the podcast community are the ones who asked for more autonomous collaboration on the platform! After hearing what was needed, we conducted extensive market research to craft a solution that would benefit creators of all sizes. Organizations is perfect for…

1. Small to Large Indie Creators

You know them and you love them. Smaller indie shows typically have teams helping them run their shows but are not part of a larger network. They may have producers, editors, production assistants, or marketers who need to access various aspects of each episode. Indie creators benefit from Organizations by being able to add their podcast production team to their Sounder account. Now the host can worry about recording and seamlessly delegate the rest to their team.

2. Podcast Agencies

Most podcast agencies, like Sweet Fish Media, and podcast production companies, like Audivita Studios, have a team of producers who need access to all the podcasts they oversee. Podcast owners, however, only need access to their individual show and not to others from across the agency. Podcast agencies can benefit from Organizations to ensure that the correct visibility permissions are active across their clients and employees. Plus, as team members join or leave the agency, they need a way to adjust what members are associated with a given podcast.

3. Publisher Networks

We found that large networks can have up to 500 podcasts in their ecosystem! They have hundreds of employees across structured departments and workstreams producing tons of podcasts. Each podcast has a team of at least five creators, producers, and marketers that bring the podcast to life. Imagine everyone having to fumble with one single login! We’ve heard from many network administrators in the industry that they want a way to give different levels of access to their team. For instance, some users will need to see all podcasts, others just one. Some users will need the ability to upload new content and adjust previously entered fields, others will need to just view the content that is already there or check on analytics. Our Organizations feature solves all of this.

Always Listening To Our Community 

Our founders started this company on a napkin, grounded with a set of core beliefs, values, and principles. As we grow, our true North continues to be making every creator successful by building tools that support an open and thriving creator ecosystem. And we do so alongside our community.

The best part of Organizations is that it came straight from our community. Through conversations with publishers and podcast studios, we learned that there was a major need for accessibility, permissions, and multi-user management within our platform. So we built it. Signup for a Sounder Plus Account to try it out with your podcast team!

As we keep building tools with our community in mind, we aim to create the ultimate end-to-end audio platform. We know that our best ideas are simply solutions. Have an idea? Feedback? We’re always looking to improve and innovate! Drop us a line at support@sounder.fm or get in touch via social media @sounder.fm.

Featured

How To Get The Most Growth Out Of The Sounder Discovery Suite

In this frequently updated article, we walk you through how to use the Sounder Discovery Suite to grow your podcast’s audience. For each tool, we explain what it is, how it works, and creative ways to use it. Read on for best practices!

Hey there, Sounder Creator! Think of this article as an instruction manual for the Sounder Discovery Suite, only way more fun and less confusing than an IKEA bed frame manual. Here you can dig into each specific feature: how it works and how to use it.

We’re also sharing creative ideas and best-practices to put your podcast marketing strategy into hyperdrive. It’s one thing to have tricked-out tools, and it’s another to learn how to use them to maximize your growth.

For starters, using Sounder is free until you hit 20k streams per month. We take on the early costs so you can put your budget towards a great mic and headphones. Let’s dig in!

1. Audio SEO

What is it? Audio SEO is a series of optimization practices that make your content easier for search engines to crawl and index. By displaying your podcast’s transcription on your episode webpages, it helps search engines crawl and index your podcast. So when someone searches “cucumbers” your show, about cooking, will rank. We know SEO can be a little intimidating, so we’ve done all the work for you. Sounder also optimizes your podcast descriptions, title, category, keywords, and show notes. Through SEO best practices, we make sure your podcast gets the eyes and ears it deserves.

2. Sounder Player

What is it? If you listen to a show outside of any popular listener platform, you’re likely interacting with an embedded audio player. It’s a tool that allows anyone to listen to a show outside of Spotify or Apple Podcasts, just like watching YouTube videos outside of YouTube.com.

While embedded video players have advanced in technology and functionality, we couldn’t help but notice most audio players were either dated or cost extra to add to a website (widgets and such). So we built the one we wanted to see in the market, and offer it for free.

How it works: Our Sounder Player can be embedded on a website, shared on social media, or used via your Sounder episode webpages. It works just as well on mobile and desktop.

First, let’s go through the icons and functionality. At the top, you see a search bar. This is for In-Stream Audio Search, which allows listeners to search for keywords or topics across all of your content. We’ll dig into this function more below.

To the right of the search bar, is a “CC” icon. This expands the player window to show closed captioning subtitles while your episode is playing, creating an inclusive experience for all audiences. Clicking CC again collapses the player to its compact format.

To the right of the CC icon is a share arrow, which allows you or your audience to share the full episode or a short clip called a Soundbite. We’ll dig into Soundbite Audio Share below.

To the right of the share arrow is a burger menu, which opens your complete podcast library. This is a great way to keep your listeners engaged with your content.

Finally, to the right of the burger menu, is a radio wave icon where your audience can find other platforms where they can stream your podcast.

We’ve recently added a new function to our player: web linking. Before, if a listener clicked on your player it would bring them back to your Sounder webpage. Now, you can have it redirect anywhere, like to your website or social media pages.

As you can see, there are LOTS of features stacked in this small but mighty player. Here are a few ideas on how to use it.

Creative ideas:

  1. For those of you who have a website dedicated to your podcast, you’ll want to embed this player on your homepage. Why? Instead of sending your audience to a large listener platform where they can get distracted with other content, allow your audience to listen to an episode while continuing to engage with your story, merch, and other content.
  2. Don’t have a website, yet? No problem. Sounder provides all creators with a beautiful podcast website, which includes the Sounder Player and all it’s glory.
  3. Embedded players also help you to produce more content. Consider embedding each episode into a blog post and including a short introduction, overview, or detailed show notes. Here’s an example! This helps your podcast rank higher in SEO and gives listeners a different way to interact with your content.

3. In-Stream Audio Search

What is it? One of the main perks of our Sounder Player is its ability to search for topics and keywords within episodes. We call this In-Stream Audio Search. It’s like Google for your audio content. You can type a keyword or topic into the search bar and receive a list of episodes (and timestamps within those episodes!) where that keyword appears.

How it works: Since each of your episodes are automatically transcribed (for free!), In-Stream Audio Search identifies the moments in your podcast library where those keywords are mentioned and queues them up for playback. This feature is beneficial for both audio creators and their audience.

New listeners can use the search bar in the Sounder Player to taste your show or gain insight into a topic you discuss. Stans can find their favorite podcast moments faster than ever.

Creative ideas:

  1. Repurpose content in no time. Take Pride month, for example. You can search your podcast library for the word “pride” and put together a newsletter of all the episodes that discuss pride for your listeners.
  2. Make a “best of” episode. Easily find clips and quotes from your library to put together a “best” or “funniest” moments episode to round out your season!
  3. Make your show notes more efficient by searching within your latest episode for important time stamps.
  4. Suggest tangential episodes. Many podcasters point to similar episodes in their show notes or at the end of each episode to keep listeners in their loop. But sifting through dozens (or hundreds) of episodes can take hours. Using In-Stream Audio Search, creators can easily find tangential episodes to suggest.

4. Episode Soundbites

What is it? The Sounder Player allows listeners and creators to share Soundbites, or audio snippets of an episode. Now, instead of sharing a whole episode on Twitter, you can post, say, the best 60 seconds. With Soundbites, listeners get the ability to share their favorite podcast moments with their network.

How it works: Click the share arrow at the top right of the Sounder Player and select Soundbite Audio Share. This will take you to a screen (like above) where you can listen to an episode and slide the “start” and “end” bars to create a specific Soundbite. Also helpful, closed captioning is running at the bottom of the player, so you can get the perfect sentence or quote.

Creative ideas:

  1. Tease your latest episode on social media. Create and share the best audio moments of a new episode to drum up excitement.
  2. Ride a trending wave. If there’s a trending topic in the news, search your library and share the best Soundbite. This helps you stay relevant and repurpose evergreen content.
  3. Add audio to your blogs. Make your blog content interactive by adding Soundbites of your most important/compelling points.
  4. Create promotional material. Everyone loves content. If you’re hosting a guest, send them Soundbites of their episode to use on their own pages, which will bring audiences back to your podcast.
  5. Guest promotion reels. You know how radio stations get stars to say “you’re listening to 101.7 Sounder.FM” or whatever? Do the same thing with your podcast guests! Create a reel of quick intros to drum up credibility and excitement on social media.
  6. Send an audio newsletter. Keep your “new episode” newsletters exciting but adding Soundbites to tease the episode.

5. Episode Transcription

What is it? With Sounder, you get a free text transcript of each episode. That’s right, no more transcribing by hand on .5x speed (or missing this very important SEO/content opportunity).

How it works: After you publish an episode, simply download your transcription and start promoting! With our free speech-to-text recognition, it’s never been easier to create marketing content.

Creative ideas:

  1. Blog Your Podcast. Turning podcasts into blogs (and sometimes vice versa) is a great way to cross-promote your content. Blogs raise your SEO presence, increases your visibility online, and are a great resource for fans.
  2. Create compelling show notes. Show notes summarize new episodes to entice curious new listeners to dive in. With information overload, clear show notes make it easy to get a sense of your voice and content. But you don’t have to spend extra time writing them from scratch. With the help of your transcript, pull the juicy quotes (with timestamps), and write a synopsis of each episode.
  3. Write catchy social media posts. Your transcript will ensure that your pull-quotes are perfect and save you hours of listening.
  4. Make video content. Do you live-stream your episode? Or create videos of them? Use your transcript to add subtitles to any podcasting videos to create an inclusive experience.
  5. Pitch media outlets. If you’re in the market for advertisers, use transcripts to create compelling, on-brand marketing material that makes you look like a pro.
  6. Archive. Finally, transcripts make wonderful archives. If you want a static don’t-have-to-replay-it archive of all your podcast episodes easily collated, sorted, and dynamically searchable, then an archive of transcripts is the way to go. This way, your hard work can be recycled into new content time and time again.

6. Data-Driven Insights

What is it? Sounder’s Analytics help you understand your audience so you can create better content. We’re excited to offer powerful data and metrics you can’t receive anywhere else (more on that in a moment). At Sounder, we are laser-focused on helping your podcast get discovered and be heard. There’s no better way to help you do it than learning intelligently — improving your content and marketing strategy in real-time to attract more listeners.

How it works: Stop guessing what your audience cares about. With Sounder, you have access to things you‘re used to, like streams, listens, location. But we also give you access to even more, including time-of-day distribution, keyword searches, referrals and devices so you can podcast smarter. These metrics help you improve your podcast episode after episode. Heres how to use them!

Creative ideas:

  1. Streams give you an understanding of how popular your podcast (or a specific episode) is becoming. By tracking streams, you can assess what marketing efforts are the most effective, which episodes have the most success, and understand the engagement your show is having over time.
  2. Your Time Of Day chart can inform your new episode launch strategy. If, for instance, you see that the majority of your streams are being started before 11 am, it may make sense for you to release new episodes in the morning rather than at night. This can boost engagement as your listeners will be able to listen to new episodes immediately after they are released.
  3. See who’s listening. You may think you only have local listeners (hi, mom!), but with analytics you can see who is really tuning in. Looks like you have an international audience? Consider researching a topic that is especially relevant to listeners in those countries.
  4. Tap into new markets. Understanding the location of your audience informs your content and marketing strategy. As you talk about different topics on your podcast, depending on where listeners are located, they may or may not have a strong understanding of what you are talking about. The more you know about your user, the more targeted you can make your podcast. Knowing who is listening and where they reside can inform your next guest interview! Find a popular guest in the areas where people are already engaging with your content.
  5. Tailor to devices. Are most of your listens coming from mobile devices? Desktop? Consider playing around with the length of your show, or connect with your audience by adding relatable bits about what they’re doing while listening.
  6. Understand what your listeners are searching for. These queries are snippets into your listeners’ minds while they listen to an episode. The results here can be a powerful tool to help improve your content strategy. If you see people are searching for a specific topic, then perhaps you can address those topics in a future episode. Keywords allow you to have a 2-way conversation with your listeners. Embedding and sharing your Sounder Player as often as possible can help drive more engagement for your show — allowing you to surface more relevant insights as to what your audience cares about. When you share other audio players, you miss out on insights from those listeners.

Hey Podcasters, Watch Your Keywords Autocorrect Themselves

We just made transcription editing way easier & more powerful.

As soon as we launched our handy Transcription Editor, the feedback rolled in. After scrutinizing the good, the bad, and the ugly, we realized that our community was experiencing some pretty common transcription errors–ones that fell into common categories like names (shouldn’t that be Sounder’s co-founder & COO “Dan Daugherty” not “Dan Daurty”), geographic locations (“Charleston” or “Charlestown”–lemme check), brands (oh, let’s change that to “Podnods”), and a smattering of other things that were easily organizable.

What did we learn? At Sounder, transcription editing shouldn’t just be about helping you correct the misspelling of key words. It’s also a huge opportunity to DO something with keywords! See what we did there?

Basically, if you ever wanted to hold hands with our AI and stroll down the metaphorical streets of your podcast episodes, here’s your chance. Instead of gazing at the sunset like you might with your partner at the beach, just look at your screen and scan the list of keywords to the right of your transcription box. Edit one of those keywords, and ta-da: it will automatically (our team actually prefers the term “auto-magically”) be corrected in the rest of your episode. Plus, if you think a particular keyword is in the wrong category, you can put it into another one. Now, for the spoiler alert: we’ll keep updating our current selection of categories.

Overall, the process of transcription editing should get easier, faster, and more rewarding in terms of your experience and your reward. Let’s take a moment to set the scene. Once you start editing, it might feel like you and our AI have some real chemistry–like you’re practically reading each other’s minds! That’s what we’re going for. What’s cool, though, is that the more you use our Transcription Editor, the more we can improve the robust Machine-Learning tech that we’re committed to offering all our creators. 

And how about the reward? Well, once you fix a keyword and our Transcription Editor updates it throughout your episode, that word can help accelerate your podcast via Sounder’s exceptional Audio SEO. In a recent blog post here, we tackle how keywords can leverage and improve SEO and, consequently, bring listeners straight to the episodes of your podcast that they’ll dig most. If you want to convert more listeners, keywords are your breadcrumbs, SEO is your trail, and Sounder is here to help you keep growing your audience. 

As new listeners find your podcast, they can enjoy the accurate captions and transcriptions that unfold in sync with your Sounder Player, which will make each episode more understandable, translatable, and professional. Plus, when you need to quickly use our Videobites feature to grab a promotional snippet of an episode, you can trust that the transcription is good to go. The idea here is that listeners from diverse cultures, languages, backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives should have an accessible way to connect with your work.

You’ve heard it before, but seriously, there’s no reason to rough it through the technical terrain of your podcast expedition. When you reflect on past eras of land discovery, you might recall Lewis and Clark. Now, as you’re living through this era of podcast discovery, we’re betting on listeners (present and future) thinking about you and Sounder. 

If you’re half as excited as we are about this new Transcription Editor, then your mind is probably spinning with ideas about how it will elevate your audio game. We feel ya, and sometimes when you think you might be getting ahead of yourself, you’re actually on the verge of getting ahead. Along those lines, if you haven’t upgraded to Sounder Plus yet, maybe today’s the day? Check it out here.

Meanwhile, as you try out the new Transcription Editor, please send us your feedback. It’s a “beta” feature that can only become a better one.

Monetize Future Podcast Episodes In Just A Few Clicks

Opt-in To Podcast Monetization With Sounder 

When it comes to podcast monetization, our creators are always eager to increase revenue generation. While collecting their feedback, we’ve been cooking up ways to make it even easier to enable monetization features–ones that you can actually “set-and-forget.”

While it’s nearly impossible to achieve 100% ad fill rate programmatically, our recent changes are getting creators closer than ever. For starters, we’ve added new ad fill providers to provide higher fill rates. This means we’re increasing the opportunity for our creators to earn more with each show. Some creators are already seeing (or hearing!) an average of 50-60% ad fill rates. Others have even doubled their monthly revenue! The bottom line is: higher fill rates equate with increased profitability.

Additionally, we’ve made it easier to enable monetization by including it as part of the onboarding workflow. We get it–this is the kind of thing that really makes your mouth water. Right now, you’re probably wondering how to start monetizing your past episodes. Well, with a few easy steps, you can enable monetization on your back catalog and set ad break preferences for forthcoming episodes. When published, your audio gems of the future will benefit from the monetization preferences you’ve already selected. Less time, fewer clicks, more money, and (we hope) a lot more satisfaction overall. 

It gets better though. Our favorite part of the new feature is that it’s available to EVERYONE in our Sounder community. By making access quick, easy, and open, we hope to learn more about how monetization empowers our creators to generate more revenue immediately and continuously. 

Keep in mind that our monetization product continues to evolve, especially with the incredible help and input from our creator community. We want to be right there with you as you reach new goals, gain more listeners, and discover what you need next. Expect to see more great features soon, and please stay tuned!

We’re proud to truly say that Sounder has been built for and with our content creators, so please continue to share your feedback with us at support@sounder.fm or directly on social. 

Ready to monetize? Login to get started.

Videobites Just Got Even Cooler

Get pumped podcasters! One of our favorite Sounder Plus tools just got even better. We’ve added even more customization features to help you make your sharable content just as unique as your podcast is.

Our enhanced Videobites feature helps make sharing the best parts of your podcast on social even more customizable and distinct for your show. 

Here’s What’s Changed: 

  • Customizable Background Images
    • Upload a custom image for your Videobites background to help special episodes or guest appearances standout from the rest of your regularly featured content
    • Or, use your Podcast show artwork to amplify your branding on everything you share  
  • Control Scaling 
    • Shrink or expand what you upload to make it fit just right
  • Control Blurring 
    • Crisp quality images that mirror the quality of your content are just a click away
  • Modifiable Text Color
    • You can now control your Transcription text color to help make it pop
    • Update your background colors to better suit your vibe (when artwork is scaled)
    • Change your Podcast and episode name text color to stay onbrand or in season 

If you’re new to our Videobites feature, check out our last blog post to learn more about how this tool can help support your podcast audience growth here

Already a Videobites fan? Be sure to tag us on social. We’d love to share your content too! Take it even further and send us an email at support@sounder.fm or DM us so we can showcase your Podcast and videobites in future posts and emails. Happy Podcasting! 

Let Your Podcast Standout With Our Customizable Audio Player

What Is Sounder Player Theming?

If you don’t know, now you know! We have an audio player that you can customize to match your mood, or brand. Our totally stacked embeddable audio player just got even cooler. Whether you choose from one of 10 themes or make your own, you can control the overall visual experience!

How Does It Work? 

You have the option to choose from 10 additional themes, from Galaxy to Sky, to match your cover art and overall podcast branding. If one of our themes doesn’t fit your brand’s style, you’re free to customize the foreground, background, and accent colors to further tailor the overall visual experience to your liking.  We’ll auto-adjust contrast to maintain usability for your listeners. Finally, you’ll be able to preview before making the change live everywhere your Sounder player appears! How sweet is that?

How Will It Grow My Audience?

It comes down to two things: branding and platform independence. First, you want existing listeners to identify your show out in the wild. Imagine your embeddable player is on a partner’s website. Having the player match your podcast is huge for brand recognition. New listeners definitely judge a new podcast from their cover art. And that’s okay! Now they can use your branded player as an entry point into your brand and show.

Our Sounder Player allows you to break free from big listener platforms and the player styles they impose. They often want people to think about THEM first, not your podcast. Most native players also make it obvious who’s player you’re using. With Sounder, we empower you to let your podcast’s personality shine by customizing the design of your Sounder Player. Take control of your brand. Show your colors the way you want to, not the way the big platforms want you to!

New to Sounder? Click here to see what’s possible for your Podcast. Already a Sounder Plus user? Login to see what’s new.

Videobites: Bite Size Content From Your Podcast To Share On Social Media Platforms

What Are Videobites?

Video what now? Promotion is a big part of podcasting and can often be very time-consuming. With that in mind, we made it easy to convert audio from your Podcast into videos for social media! Videobites allow creators to create on-brand video clips from their podcasts, highlighting key episode segments and engaging users on video-based social platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

How Do They Work? 

Videobites allow creators to make video files from their episodes hosted on Sounder. You can access this by visiting the Share tab of our website as a logged-in creator. File size, audio overlay, transcription, design— we do it all for you. 

How to make a Videobite

Start by choosing an episode to make a video clip of, specify its dimensions via square, portrait, landscape controls (related to what platform you’re posting to), specify its length, then do final editing on the transcript! After editing, you’ll receive the download link to the video file via your associated email address. It’s that easy.

How Will They Grow My Audience?

Do your podcast justice and share more than just the link on social media! 83% of consumers would consider sharing video content with their friends, says a Hubspot study. Even more, Tweets with video attracted 10x more engagements than Tweets without video! You can create 5-10 Videobites from each episode to help retain current listeners, attract new ones, and cut down on the number of tools you use to promote your podcast. 

Ready to get started? If you’re already a Sounder Plus user you can login to your account, go to an episode page and click the Share tab. If you’re new to Sounder or ready to upgrade your current Sounder plan to benefit from all of the new features, click here to learn more. 

Stay tuned for our next blog post which covers tips and tricks Plus users can access to customize their Podcast even more. Happy Podcasting! 

Record Quality Podcasts You’re Proud Of

The Easiest Way to Record Studio Quality Podcasts or Video From Anywhere

Most podcasters have great ideas for creating content but sometimes struggle to find the appropriate recording software. It can also be tedious, not to mention expensive, to find equipment that matches your recording needs and environment. Here’s where Riverside.fm comes in. 

Riverside.fm offers anyone the opportunity to record studio-quality podcasts and video interviews from literally anywhere, and all from the click of a browser. Sounds easy, right? It gets better.

A spinning wheel of death, low connectivity, page loading…loading…loading…Zzzzzz. We’ve all experienced the agony and frustrations of painfully slow internet connection. With Riverside.fm, your recordings always look and sound amazing regardless of your internet connection and deliver up to 4k video quality. 

Riverside.fm also delivers speed and security. Your content is uploaded in real-time while you’re recording. That means you can hit stop and download your recordings in seconds. What happens if your computer crashes midway or you accidentally reload? No problem. The recordings are saved automatically. Pure wizardry!

You’re always just one step away from the action. You can schedule and invite up to 8 guests with just one click. Riverside.fm also helps make it easy for your guests and producers to join you with the same one-step ease. One-click, all from a Chrome browser on a laptop or desktop, and you’re ready to record magic.

Ready to get started? Take advantage of the 30% off any yearly Riverside.fm plan with code “SOUNDERFM”. Check out Riverside.fm for more. 

Podnods joins Sounder!

When we started Sounder, our goal was to build amazing tools to add real value to the evolving podcasting ecosystem. Over the past 20 months, we’ve spent time with podcasters and the audio community to do just that. As Sounder, we’ve heavily invested in research and development to help creators of all sizes with true technology solutions that they can’t get anywhere else. A few weeks ago, we launched the result, Sounder Plus

Today, we’re excited to announce another exciting development. Podnods, a podcasting discovery and analytics company, is joining the team at Sounder.fm! Podnods and Sounder share a common belief in making audio more discoverable and better for everyone while supporting a thriving and innovative ecosystem. We’re excited to bring our companies together and build the next generation of audio technology focused on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Audio has been deprived of true technological innovation for quite some time, and we hope to do our part to elevate the medium with other like-minded partners. 

There are over 2 million podcasts made by passionate creators around the globe covering almost every topic under the sun. Most of these shows haven’t reached the full potential audience they deserve, simply because listeners haven’t found them yet. We want to change that. With Podnods and Sounder joining forces, we are leveraging our AI expertise to build a podcast monetization and discovery platform that helps creators reach more listeners with personalized audio content.

While Sounder has been focused on serving the creator community, and Podnods has been focused on serving the listeners, we’ve both seen the challenges within podcasting as a two-sided problem; creators and listeners. To bring these two communities closer together, we knew we needed to invest even further in discovery tools while also doubling down our focus on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science. We’re happy to share that by joining forces we’re accelerating our efforts to address these needs for both creators and consumers.

And how will we do it? We’ve already indexed and analyzed most of the world’s podcasts, generating our initial audio graph with over 3 billion data signals to drive discovery, engagement and personalization for creators and listeners alike. Combining our proprietary automated speech recognition technology with our natural language processing and machine learning capabilities, we believe we have a winning formula to help solve many problems in the audio industry.

Our companies are also both based in NYC, the epicenter for media, podcasting and advertising. We’re committed to building a research & development hub in NYC and look forward to adding to our growing and talented team of Soundernauts around the world. If you’re interested in joining our team, we’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned as we’ll have more to share in the coming weeks. 

-Kal and Mercan

Get More People To Listen To Your Podcast With Sounder Plus

Of all the 2 million podcasts out there today, the same challenge is on every creators’ mind: how do I get more people to listen to my show? Whether the motivating factor is making money via monetization, topping the charts, or building a community, a bustling podcast audience is a major indicator of success. Not to mention all those fuzzy feelings when you see people tuning in to share your passion.

To this end, the Sounder team did a LOT of research about what helps a podcast get more listeners. First, we filled the Sounder Discovery Suite with a beautiful embeddable player, in-audio search, and more. Today, we’re adding automatic YouTube distribution, SEO-driven episode descriptions, Videobites, and more! We upgraded the Sounder Plus subscription with four brand new, automated, and totally innovative features and reduced the price.

You may already know and love Sounder for our free growth tools and personalized hosting. We’re excited to continue delivering our promise of being an end-to-end podcast platform by offering Sounder Plus. This article will dig into all the growth and customization features included in Sounder Plus, how they work, and exactly how they will help you grow your audience.

Automatic Distribution to YouTube

What Is Automatic Distribution to YouTube?

As part of our larger automatic distribution capacity to all major listening platforms, Sounder Plus gives creators the option to publish new episodes to their existing YouTube channel automatically. 

How Does It Work? 

Once creators connect their Google account to Sounder (YouTube is part of Google), they can publish new episodes of their podcasts to their YouTube channel. YouTube distribution follows the same publishing rules set in your overall episode management. What gets posted to YouTube is an automatically created video asset leveraging our quality transcription tools.

How Will It Grow My Audience?

In the last year, 43% of podcast listeners said they listened to a podcast on YouTube, making it a goldmine for creators looking to tap into new audiences. Being on YouTube is essential for growing your audience, especially for audiences who are still not heavy podcast listeners yet (i.e., they don’t search for podcasts but search YouTube for things). 81% of Americans use YouTube, making it the most popular online platform by a wide margin, according to a new Pew survey. New podcast listeners are still browsing YouTube. Are you there for them to find?

Stay tuned for our next blog post which will cover the Who, What, Why and How of Videobites

Podcasting Wasn’t Supposed to Be This Hard

We’re helping thriving audio creators accelerate their growth with the upgraded Sounder Plus.

There’s never been a more exciting time in history to be an audio creator.

If you’re looking for proof, take a look at the announcements in the last few weeks from top audio and social companies. Apple is reinvesting in its podcast platform—providing creators with a chance to make money from their content with subscriptions. Spotify recently launched its new audio ad network and just yesterday announced it is also entering the subscription space. Facebook has joined in on the fun with its announcement of live audio rooms and new audio clip sharing features. The numbers don’t lie—2021 poised to be the biggest year ever for podcasting. In the last 12 months, the total number of created podcasts grew 2.4x, from about 850,000 to more than 2 million.

As the Internet has matured, we’ve seen the centralization of technology and audiences across industries leading to winners-take-most environments. However, what’s made podcasting so special since 2004 is its open, diverse, and inclusive nature. Both listeners and creators win when there are no limits to where audio content can be found. Innovation brews when every creator has the chance to have their voice heard. Ultimately, creator autonomy not only protects the podcasting ecosystem we all know and love, but also provides greater economic opportunity to creators and more (and better) content to listeners.

From a listener’s perspective, it’s exciting—there’s more amazing content to discover and hear. From a creator’s perspective, it can feel a bit intimidating. After speaking to many of the thousands of audio creators on the Sounder platform, one thing became abundantly clear:

With new platforms entering the space, more creators starting podcasts, and new tools being created every month, being a podcaster is a more challenging and fragmented task than ever before.

Joey Fernandez, Head of Product at Sounder

Just take a look at how our industry has blossomed:

Audio Industry LUMAscape

The audio industry is going through a transformation. Gone are the days of merely selecting a host and tacking on a handful of growth partners and tools. Audio management platforms, such as Sounder, help creators do it all: host, grow, track, and monetize creator content. We’re excited to help creators respond to this complicated environment by building the necessary technology and partnerships to help every creator accelerate audience growth.

For creators to win at audio, it means the right listener must find their content at the right time. It means search engines need to appropriately index content. It means social networking algorithms need to surface the right content whenever contextually appropriate. Our investments in machine learning, for example, allow us to recommend the right strategic recommendations and insights to help creators better market their content.

Being a successful podcaster in 2021 means being obsessed with creating the best content for your audience. Growth should be built into your audio management platform. That’s why we’re so excited about Sounder Plus. For $12.99/month, Sounder Plus helps creators stand out in a competitive podcasting landscape. Our reimagined Plus experience helps creators (1) automate their content distribution; (2) leverage new formats to share audio content; (3) improve their content and marketing with insights-driven and AI-powered analytics; (4) collaborate seamlessly with their production teams; and (5) develop an authentic brand identity.

Let me walk you through it.

How Sounder Plus Helps Podcasters Efficiently Grow Their Audience 

Getting Creator Content in Front of Every Listener

Sounder already made it easy to get your podcast syndicated with every major directory such as Apple, Google, and Spotify. Traditional distribution to podcast listening platforms is now table stakes. However, creators need to make sure their content is distributed to wherever podcasts are heard. Did you know most people are still finding podcasts via YouTube?! 

Automatic YouTube Distribution on Sounder

With Sounder, creators can set up automated episode distribution to YouTube—a major way, if not the number one way, new listeners discover podcasts. The heart of Sounder’s mission has always been to drive growth for our creators and that means ensuring content exists in every place where it can be heard.

Upon linking your Google account to your Sounder account, your future full-length episodes will distribute to YouTube automatically. As the industry grows, the lines will blur as to what is considered a place to listen to podcasts and what is not. Ultimately, podcasts should be where anyone is willing to consume content, and Sounder helps creators respond to these changing industry dynamics.

Making Audio Content Engaging on Video-First Platforms

Automatic distribution will always be the center of any podcast growth strategy. It allows creators to do more in less time. Additionally, we are determined to provide creators with best-in-class technology to help them build their audiences.

Podcasters in 2021 know that the best way to grow their audience is not just to be on social media platforms, but to be active, consistent, and authentic in sharing content. Videos generate 1,200% more shares on social platforms than text and static image posts combined. So, in turn, we developed a new way for our creators using Plus to engage audiences on video-first social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Today we are launching Videobites.

Videobites on Sounder

Videobites enable your content to be more engaging on the platforms where your audience and future listeners spend the most time. Creating visually engaging content from your episodes is a simple process. Videobites take full advantage of Sounder’s built-in transcription that’s provided for every episode. Audio becomes visual with Videobites. We’re eager for our creators to start sharing them through Sounder Plus.

Improving Creator Growth Strategy & Tactics

When it comes to smart growth, Sounder does the heavy lifting. Creators should never get bogged down in the numbers—analyzing ways to make data work for them. With Sounder Plus, noise is transformed into insights. Creators learn when new content excites listeners, how marketing tactics engage new audiences, and what keywords should be leveraged to improve SEO. Tactically, creators can leverage episode description analysis, RSS feed keyword suggestions, and social media tagging tips to refine their promotion and distribution approach.

Episode Description Analysis on Sounder

Sounder’s upgraded transcription technology drives these recommendations through better accuracy and quality. We’re able to better understand creator content and thus offer them more tailored suggestions as to how to improve their promotion strategies. Ultimately, Sounder Plus works to ensure audio browsers convert to long-term listeners, and search engines can index episode content effectively.

Ensuring Every Production Team is Poised to Thrive

We fundamentally believe that podcasting is a team sport. The best content is created when everyone on your team is working together in a collaborative and seamless manner. With Sounder Plus, creators have the ability to work with up to teams of five. No password sharing. No mess. We created a secure environment for creators and their collaborators to do their best work.

Enabling Podcast Authenticity to Shine

While we don’t like to admit it, sometimes we judge a book (or podcast) by its cover (art). Sounder Plus enables creators to make their content shine by changing the theme of their Sounder Player’s visual identity and setting vanity URLs for and customizing the colors of their podcast’s website. No two podcasts sound the same, so we made it possible for no two podcasts to visually look the same. Creators can build their podcast’s brands their way.

Going Forward

This is just the beginning of the technology we are building for thriving creators on Sounder Plus. We are helping creators accelerate their growth, build bigger audiences, and have more fun along the way. If you have any ideas or features you’d like us to consider as we make out the Sounder Plus experience, we’d love to hear from you.

We are excited to see audio receive so much attention and innovation. With more focus from leading companies, the ecosystem wins, innovation increases, and new technology is born.

And, if what you’ve read gets you even more excited about Sounder’s mission and vision for audio, we’re hiring!