So, you, like so many others out there, have decided to start a podcast on a topic that fascinates you.
You’ve done your research, compiled a list of possible episodes that you can record, and maybe you’ve even launched your first episode, but you’re not drawing in the attention that you had hoped for.
If you take the time to browse through the wide world of podcasts you will notice that majority of the big podcast names out there all work as a part of a network. While this isn’t necessary for independent podcasters to do, it can really help if you find that your content just isn’t bringing the listeners in. But are these networks worth your time?
What Do We Mean By Podcast Network?
If you visit PodcastOne, which just so happens to be a podcast network, they have an amazing definition: “A podcast network is a collection of podcasts that are produced, distributed or made available to advertisers through a single company, or network.”
Essentially a podcast networks acts as an all-encompassing business that each separate show amalgamates under in order to reap the advantages, one of the biggest being advertising.
If you are thinking about finding a network to work under then we suggest doing your research on them. Many of the networks focus on a specific theme such as true crime (quite popular) or the ever-growing interview theme.
However, some networks do have an open flow allowing their podcasters to focus on whatever niche they enjoy while still receiving the benefits of the network.
The main reason that podcasting networks were created was to market and monetize podcasts when they were new to the scene. With music platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify offering their own section for podcasters the networks needed to evolve to be more appealing to independent podcasters.
Why Join a Podcast Network?
We know that you still might be on the fence about joining a network, and we agree that there are merits to remaining an independent podcaster, but the benefits that you can gain from working under a network are pretty good!
Podcast Networks offer Production Aid
First, you will be offered help on the production of your podcasts. If you manage to find a network that allows you to pursue your own topics, they will offer you tips on how to better your production methods. Remember, you are making them money, so they want to do everything to maximize on the profits you bring in.
They will help you with your advertising and get you out into the market. They have a wide variety of tools and services under their network umbrella that they can use to really promote you and your podcast and can even set up cross-promotions with other members that they have in the network as well!
More Listeners Through Podcast Networks
Of course, with all this additional attention being given to your podcasts you can expect that your listenership will increase. The best part about this is that even working under this network you will gain a following from your listeners. If you do decide to eventually break away from the network and go your own way with your podcast, you listeners will generally follow.
One of the biggest ways in which podcasters make money is by having a sponsorship giving them ad revenue. While this is possible to get on your own you need to have a decent size following before you can reach out to businesses or have them approach you. By working under a network, you can actually start earning this revenue a lot earlier as they tend to lock in sponsorships much easier. Not only will you have the ad revenue sooner, but with the increase in listenership that the network will bring that ad revenue will start to increase fast!
While working under a network you are aligning yourself with high quality shows. With your podcast being under the same network as these shows you will gain credibility and authority that you might not get otherwise. Because you are in the same network as these other podcast’s listeners assume that your show will have the same value.
Podcast Networks Come At A Cost
A network can provide beginner podcasters a lot of assistance and ways of increasing their earnings over time, but it will all come at a cost. You will be signing a contract with the network that is designed to protect you and the network, but that contract will generally lock you in for a set period of time.
If you are planning on joining a network just to increase your listenership before venturing out on your own, then make sure you understand the length of the contract.
By working under a network, you might lose a little creative control over your podcasts. You might be given certain restrictions on what you can post about, and they may prevent you from criticizing other shows that are on their network, which is a reasonable request. However, they may also provide you with a list of topics that you aren’t allowed to mention in your episodes.
Finally, a podcast network is a business trying to make money, just like you are, and as such they will be taking a cut of what you make while working under them. Again, you are being given all the available benefits that the network has to offer, so giving a portion of the profits back is a reasonable request.
However, you may end up paying higher fees then podcasters that are currently a part of the network due to you being a first timer in the network. These fees generally decrease as you get more seniority in their network so don’t panic!
With all of these reasons, and many more, we believe that independent podcasters should consider joining a network. Obviously if you feel that you can bring in the listenership by yourself then go for it. However, the merits of joining a network vastly outweigh the cons, and really help independent podcasters a way to increase every aspect of their show.