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Case Studies

What We’ve Learned From Our Client: The Productivity Show

By Case Studies, Ongoing Case Studies, Podcast Editor One Comment

The Productivity ShowOne of the wonderful things about editing podcast episodes all week is that you are always learning. I knew close to nothing about the Managed Futures industry before I started editing Top Traders Unplugged every week. Likewise, the productivity community was a mystery to me until I started working with our client Asian Efficiency on their podcast, aptly titled The Productivity Show.

The good folks at Asian Efficiency recently spent more than six thousand words in a blog post detailing how they launched their podcast, created a workflow to produce it each week, and then outsourced the whole thing to us. They said a number of very kind things about us in the article, so you should go read it. We are so lucky to work with amazing clients like them!

I thought I would return the favor by detailing just a few of the things I have learned from The Productivity Show since I started editing it on a weekly basis about a year ago. Listening to this show has helped me set and track goals in my personal life, develop healthy rituals and habits, and become more productive and efficient in my professional work. Here’s a list, in no particular order of importance, of things I’ve picked up from editing The Productivity Show:

Habits:

  • Journaling

I’m in a process of figuring out what works for me with many of the productivity concepts I’ve picked up from this podcast, especially when it comes to journaling.  Many guests on The Productivity Show recommend the writing practice detailed in The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. This practice involves writing three pages of hand-written, free-form content, ideally before you do anything else in the morning. I tried this practice for a while – it turned into a combination of a journal detailing what I did the previous day and a brain dump of all the ideas swimming in my head. I really enjoyed this practice but haven’t been able to keep it up consistently.

For a more technology-driven practice, a few guests of the podcast suggested the Day One app. The app makes it easy to journal on the go, especially if you take pictures with your phone and want to add some words to remember the moment. It also has a handy feature that reminds you to journal every day.

  • Meditation

Almost all of the guests on The Productivity Show have previously tried or currently have some sort of meditation/prayer practice. Frequently recommended apps to help with meditation include Headspace and Calm. The Asian Efficiency team blogs about the benefits of having a morning and evening ritual/routine, which might include meditation, writing, goal setting, etc. I’ve done a few 5-minute meditation sessions with the Calm app, and I also frequently do a 5-minute Qigong exercise called “Holding and Pooling” that was taught to me by a friend. The one that has really stuck is a simple gratitude practice: I do a Child’s Pose on my floor and think about people and things I’m grateful for. I do this before bed almost every night (Annie can attest).

An easy way to get started with this kind of practice is to spend time every night thinking about 3 Good Things that you experienced that day. Write them down in a journal, and review the journal every once in a while.

  • Goal Setting/Task Management

Everyone has their favorite To-Do list app or system, so I’m not going to list them all here. Needless to say the guests on The Productivity Show have dozens of different ways of tracking their goals, projects, and daily tasks. Before I started editing this show, I kept a To-Do list for my weekly and daily tasks, but I didn’t really have a way of thinking about or writing down my larger goals.

This changed once I edited Episode 65 (Create Your Manifesto) and Episode 58, an interview with David Allen. David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) method is legendary in the productivity community, and I now use a personalized form of it in the way I organize my tasks and set goals.

Apps:

There have been hundreds of apps recommended by guests of The Productivity Show over the 90+ episodes that have been released. Here’s a few I heard about while editing the show that have really helped my productivity:

TextExpander has literally changed my professional life. In the podcast editing business, I used to spend a lot of time copying and pasting, especially when it came to blog posts and meta data. Now, I’ve created special text snippets for all of my clients and can easily add blog post templates, meta data, amazon affiliate URL tags, and more with a few shortcuts. I’ve even created snippets for emails that I tend to send over and over again.

Freedom.to is a great website-blocking app. For someone like me who has a propensity for going to YouTube to watch one video and coming to my senses an hour later, this app is one of the many apps out there that helps you focus by blocking your access to websites that waste your time. The thing I really like about Freedom.to is that you can schedule sessions, and that it works across devices. This means if I set it to block me from accessing Twitter, it won’t let me browse Twitter on my laptop and the Twitter app on my phone won’t refresh. Currently I run a scheduled session every weekday that blocks me from websites like YouTube and Facebook from 8am to 12pm.

I used Sunrise for the longest time, but after finding out they would be shutting down this year I moved over to Fantastical since it was recommended by many Productivity Show guests. It’s a calendar app for Mac desktop and iOS. The two things I like best about it are its ability to show scheduled reminders from the Mac OS Reminders app, as well as interpret your text when you are creating a new event. For instance, you can type “Meet Dave for coffee at 8am on Friday” and it will create an event called Meet Dave for Coffee on the right day and time.

Assistant.to is a really simple app that I use to schedule phone and Skype calls with prospective podcast clients, and it works inside of Gmail. To use it, you pick a few time slots when you have availability, and send the email. The recipient then clicks on a time slot and the app puts a calendar event in your Google Calendar for you. It cuts out a lot of back-and-forth emails.

I found out about LastPass when I started working with the Asian Efficiency team. This app remembers username and password data for you, and suggests strong passwords when you are creating them. You access everything through one master password so you don’t have to remember or copy-and-paste passwords that you’ve saved in LastPass. This is super helpful for someone like me who works with many clients (in a typical week I login to Libsyn.com under seven different usernames). You can also share login data with other LastPass users, without showing them what the password actually is.

Conclusion:

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article, good job! I hope you’ve picked up something you can use in your professional or personal life that will make you more productive, or at least happier. The Productivity Show has helped me tremendously, and I think you should subscribe to it if you haven’t already.

Case Study – AudioMetric.io Review

By Case Studies 6 Comments

Luckily for us at Freedom Podcasting, we have a podcast that we use like a lab monkey. It’s called the Love Affair Travel and since our CEO is the host of the show, he pretty much lets us do whatever we want to test out new podcasting platforms.

 

What is AudioMetric.io?

Essentially, they are a hosting company that pays you to host your podcast. They sell sponsor messages to people that will be automatically entered into the beginning of your show.

We like to run a frugal operation and hosting is a monthly cost that we’re always trying to get down for clients. Even if it is as low as $15 a month, it’s an expense that could be minimized. If you could turn that expense into a profit center, everyone wins… right?

 

Plan:

The Monetizing Side of PodcastingWe will host the Love Affair Travel show starting now on AudioMetrics. We already have a good idea for the shows growth so we can test their honesty in reporting, the revenue potential and the quality of the fit for the advertisements they add to the show.

 

SWOT of AudioMetric.io

Strengths:

  • Simplify the monetization of podcasts
  • Simple uploading and media URL sourcing

Weaknesses:

  • Inauthentic advertisements
  • Poor hosting capacity

Opportunities:

  • Cut down on hosting costs
  • Easily monetize a show with a single entrance point
  • Potential to outsource the whole monetizing side of a podcast

Threats:

  • Loss of listeners due to inauthentic ads or poor hosting quality
  • Lack of control over what is advertised
  • Podcast platforms with existing ad deals don’t allow feeds that include AudioMetric.io media URLs
September 9th, 2014 – I was able to verify my media URLs in the Blubrry backend of my wordpress blogs. Technically this looks like its going to work.
September 9th, 2014 – I’m getting failure messages for episode 2…

AudioMetric IO Fail Message

(Update on Error, it resolved it’s self quickly.)

Another one for Episode 9 with Erik Snare

Monetizing Podcasts

(Update on Error: This was user error, we had a broken link so the transition process didn’t work. All fixed now.)

September 10th, 2014 – I was able to get 9 shows up and 30 downloads came through during the night. My account is now credited with $0.14. This is pretty good stuff so I’ll finish porting over all the audiometric media URLs today and see how the earnings keep coming in.

 

Afternoon update: The whole Love Affair Travel podcast is uploaded to their hosting servers and has already served 100 downloads today. Everything seems to be working well. Will publish a new show tomorrow so the surge in downloads will be a great test to see the robustness of their servers.

October 21st 2014 – So it’s been a month and a half since I paid any attention to the relationship with Audiometric. This is good news because that means their hosting works well. I’ve had no problems with hosting and we’ve put out other episodes and I haven’t heard anything.

 

Here is a screen shot of the ads delivered:

One month into hosting with AudioMetric.io

So it’s great. We’re delivering ads. The problem is, I don’t know what that means. I listened through a podcast and I found that I couldn’t pinpoint an advertisement. I’m guessing that they aren’t distributing them at the moment. It seems like a StartUp company to me and I would guess that they are still working out the kinks. Of course, the fact that this month hasn’t accrued a cent in the account is clear indication that not much is happening…

AudioMetric Revenue per 1000 ads delivered
October 25th, 2014 – I’d like to make  a note that Jason Cox is really helpful. While doing this case study, I’ve had the great fortune to watch them build out the product. It’s exciting and all the trouble I’m discussing in this blog should be noted that they are currently building out the platform.
Jason Cox Being Helpful
Jan 9th 2015 – It’s exciting that Audiometric has just rolled out statistics. They are nice but not world class.
Statistics on Audiometric podcast hosting startup
Jul 22nd 2015 – Not a lot going on really. It seems that my podcast is being served well enough, though it’s hard to know for sure.

There are no longer ads embedded into the podcasts. This could be that my show doesn’t have the download volume enough to warrant advertisers. I don’t really know.

Also, ID3 tagging is removed when hosting with Audiometric so your show will look unprofessionally tagged as they alter the file to serve ads.

I’ve reached out to the team to see how things are going, but right now I feel like they have either lost steam, or are working hard to find a solution.

The money is trivial, but my account was reset from the $3 to $1.24 so it seems that the numbers either didn’t reflect actual ad buy, or the results were simply too trivial to warrant distributions.

I did hear some life insurance ads on my show a few months back. The ads were added in at the beginning of the show. This means that they clearly had proof of concept at some point.

From the image to the right, you can see that their platform isn’t working as an ad distribution system for me right now.

I do not recommend using this service right now as a hosting solution for your podcast. This is still enjoyable to me because I am heavily in the business of podcasting and the testing is fun. But if you’re not on the cutting edge, go with someone else like SoundCloud or Libsyn.

AudioMetric.io Review

Case Study: iTunes Glitch and How to Solve the Issue

By Case Studies, Ongoing Case Studies No Comments

The Problem

A fantastic entrepreneur client of ours experienced a disappearing of her podcast on iTunes on Monday July 28, 2014.

The show has been live for the better part of the year (6 months perhaps.) As we published episode 31 we realized that iTunes was not only propogating slowly, the whole show was down. We were left with an empty iTunes Vessel (see photo.)

iTunes Glitch 2014-07-31 at 3.08.56 PM

My first order of business: Identifying the Problem

Now it should be expected that this is an RSS feed issue so I check the RSS feed, but it was fine.

The second order was to ensure we had submitted the proper RSS feed to iTunes so I looked back (this was unlikely to be the problem but an issue worth checking on before moving forward.) Again we submitted the proper feed.

So the question becomes, “is this problem universal or is it just with iTunes?”

Note: iTunes dominates the downloads of all podcasts that we create. iTunes carries about 82% of all downloads, the remaining 18% spread across a variety of other locations

So I checked TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

All three where reading the proper episodes so my conclusion is that the issue must be in the way we are connecting with iTunes.

But is this connectivity a mistake we can solve or is it an iTunes glitch.

Identifying the Solution and Reconnecting with iTunes

Now that I was confident that this was an issue with iTunes I dug into what iTunes was reading.

The website link on iTunes led to a 404 post that had never been build. This was very strange but it was a clue. I too that URL and redirected it to the proper RSS feed.

This was an error. The feed URL is not the one linked to from the website button.

 

How to find the RSS feed that iTunes is Reading

Generally I use a tool called FeedFlipper by Pickle Monkey (Thanks Pickle Monkey)

To use the Feed Flipper:

  1. Go to iTunes and find the show you seek the root RSS feed
  2. Right Click and Copy that link
  3. Enter it Into Feed Flipper and the root RSS will show up automatically

This tool doesn’t work with RSS feeds that are broken. Here are the readouts:

How to identify iTunes Root RSS feeds

So I had to find the RSS feed which iTunes was reading at the time, despite the fact that my tools didn’t work because iTunes was reading a feed that didn’t exist.

Why iTunes switched and started reading a feed that doesn’t exist is beyond me… but that seems to be the case (July 30th, 2014)

 

I was getting desperate so I reached out to the community and found a better way to access root feeds.

I offered Jonah $100 USD if he could identify the problem in a way that would move the issue along.

Jonah identified a new way to source the root feed of an iTunes podcast despite the fact that it’s an unvalidated feed.

How to Identify the Root Podcast RSS Feed when it Doesn’t Work:

  1. Subscribe to the broken podcast
  2. Download a show and go to your podcast library
  3. Right click on the podcast
  4. Click “Copy Podcast URL”
  5. Paste it somewhere.

Now you’ve got an address from where iTunes is pulling the RSS feed. It seems obvious when you know how… but that’s the magic isn’t it.

Anyways, we’re in the process of setting up a 301 redirect from this broken URL to the proper RSS podcasting feed.

Rant Regarding the Situation:

Despite calling iTunes, being very polite and persistent I was never able to get ANYWHERE.

Despite sending polite e-mails quickly and directly to [email protected], I still haven’t received a response.

Even when reaching out via the iTunes portal I received this reply:

When iTunes Doesn't Work

It’s hard for me to believe that this is anything other than a glitch in the iTunes system. After all, the show is displaying on all other platforms seamlessly.

So iTunes seems to have no regard for the podcast producers. I suppose this isn’t their main focus because it’s the audience which holds the value… but it seems an audience derives from having great shows and the show I’m discussing is a great show.

Anyways, I’d hope that someone at iTunes podcasting reads this. I’m sure the overall customer service would benefit from serving those who produce show for the platform.

On Going:

We are implementing the redirect from the new RSS feed that iTunes is reading.

Of course, iTunes propagation is the slowest of platforms so it’s unknown as to whether this will work or not, or if we’ve actually implemented changes that will effect the listing at all.

(July 31st 2014)

Case Study Status Complete

Well the final 301 redirect from the very odd RSS feed that iTunes magically started reading from was able to set the record straight and get the show back online.

So that’s how to solve problems when iTunes starts looking in unconventional places for your podcast. Just make that unconventional place point to the right place.

 

Podcasting Will Devour The Old Media

By Case Studies, Discussing Podcasting, Podcasting World No Comments

Podcasting isn’t blowing up as a powerful media source.

It’s growing like an oak tree.

It’s Authentic.

It’s Anti-Fragile.

The more volatility in the media market, the more powerful podcasting becomes.

A recent article in Time magazine discusses how Dan Carlin is garnering about 40,000 downloads each time he puts out an episode of Hardcore History. They note that major national TV shows garner about 400,000 viewers.

This means Dan Carlin is winning 10% of the attention on launch day as the national media. Here’s the thing: Dan Carlin does it in his $7,000 private recording studio and a single full time employee. The national guys are doing it with tremendous teams and budgets.

80/20 this and you will see a huge opportunity for opening up your marketing to the New Media.

But everyone in New Media knows this.

The article mentions that only 10% of podcasters have viable business from this. This is going to change if the attention keeps shifting towards podcasting. Check out this graph about the market share growth of podcasting:

Attention Market Share Growth of Podcasting

(photo: Time Magazine September 30, 2013)

It’s not like, you’ve got to get in now, or else you’ll miss the boat.

But the big guys are coming and if you decide to wait, you might have to compete directly with them, rather than just winning right now.

If you’re ready to start podcasting, we can help. Take the first step and fill out this free podcasting survey.

 

Love Affair Travel Podcast: A Case Study

By Case Studies One Comment

Effectively Launching a Podcast onto iTunes

A Case Study on the Love Affair Travel PodcastEveryone in the New Media space has a strategy for how to launch onto iTunes and get the most exposure. I’ve launched shows before and this time around I’ll be testing a new strategy.

For this launch, I’ll be submitting my initial RSS feed to iTunes with 1 episode in the feed. I will subsequently be delivering two new episodes per week on the respective Sunday and Thursday of each week.

My hypothesis is that this is the most user friendly way of going about doing this. As my show is brand new, I want subscribers to have a few days to listen to it. Personally, I’ll often download a podcast and won’t listen to it for a day or two so I’m pandering to this method. For those subscribers that listen to the show in the first day or two, they’ll have another show ready and it will sync automatically with their mp3 players. For those who listen to it right away, they will still be subscribed and will unfortunately, have to wait. The idea behind this is to allow the subscribers to get a steady drip feed of the podcast.

Look, bottom line; podcasts succeed if they attract listeners. No amount of trickery or launch strategy will get me to “successful podcaster” status without a good show and for that I have this to say:

I’m scared as hell right now. I could have just put a month of my life into creating this show and it could be on the precipice of a tremendous, ugly bellyflop onto the world stage. You know what? The worst thing that could happen is I’m ignored. The best thing is that I get a following of interesting people and perhaps effect some listener’s life to cause him or her to go out and chase that dream of seeing the world.

I’d like to finally qualify why this podcast is very exciting. At the moment, LoveAffairTravel.com gets about 516 unique visitors a month. The Facebook page has less than 100 followers and my social media haul is (while not zero,) very little. The real value in this case study is to see what happens when a nobody (me) publishes a podcast. The download stats will almost entirely be due to iTunes.

Starting

First, much of the reason to build a podcast is to develop your webpresence. I’ll describe exact number for my social media impact here:

  • Twitter Followers: 0
  • Facebook Likes: 58
  • E-Mail Subscribers: 0

That’s it. Next to zero interaction. All the Facebook likes are my friends and family so this is starting a brand from scratch with podcasting (not to say my friends and family are zero… they’re the best friends and family in the world.)

_

  • June 29th – 20:00: Ok so here’s what I’ve done over the past month:
  1. I’ve done the podcast art
  2. I’ve got 12 interviews recorded

Now, in the last few hours I’ve

  1. Got a Libsyn account purchased
  2. Got my first episode uploaded
  3. Built the blog post for the first episode
  4. Linked to the Libsyn media file
  5. Got the whole RSS feed built

Now, my mind pauses here. Over the last few hours I’ve been getting heaps of work done, should I submit now? Now we know that there is an 8 week iTunes New & Noteworthy, in which the effort should attempt to gain as many listener’s as humanly possible.

I do want to get as many listener’s from this podcast as possible. That’s the best chance I have of effecting big change.

Podcast Feed Submission: Decision Methodology

My goal with the podcast is to inspire people to travel the world, make a little money on advertising and build relationships with people I respect in the online world. Will submitting this iTunes feed right now be the best thing I can do to lead me towards these goals?

Now, getting interviews for a show that has yet to launch is a bit more challenging that getting interviews for a show that isn’t out yet. So in building relationships, it would be wise to submit the feed.

Therefore, I could try selling advertising pre-launch… I actually probably should do that. I haven’t even called anyone to try to get them onboard. Waiting might give me some time… but then I’d have to redo some of the work I’ve already done… and you know what? Having a podcast in the New&Noteworthy section of iTunes might be a great selling point for getting advertising. Ok yes, submitting the feed will help my chances of monetization.

Now, primarily: Inspiring people isn’t going to happen if I sit on my hands. Duh, this is a no-brainer. Here, I’ll walk with you through the process of submitting the RSS feed to iTunes.

The Process of Submitting Your Feed to iTunes:

1. So, it’s all ready to go. My podcast feed < http://loveaffairtravel.com/feed/podcast > is ready to submit to iTunes.

Submission to iTunes page

Use this link if you want to submit a feed to iTunes

 2. After you submit your feed, it’s not officials. You can then check the information in the feed. If you find something to be incorrect, you can press cancel  go back to your RSS feed and make adjustments and then return to check it again.

Checking that your iTunes information is correct

3. Clicking the Submit button is the moment of truth though. After that, you have to be committed. Remember, you can change everything down the line. Nothing is set in stone here so there really isn’t much to worry about.

When your submission is done, you’ll get a page that looks like this:

Successful iTunes feed submission

So the interesting time stamp is that I submitted the feed at 21:10 on Saturday June 29th 2013 Brisbane Australia Time. My hypothesis is that it will take two days to syndicate into the iTunes store. Now it should be only a matter of time before the Love Affair Travel Podcast will be testing the value of podcasting to a brand or message without a pre-existing following.

  • June 29th – 21:27: An note from iTunes

Podcast Submission Under Review

  • July 1st – 12:20: Approval! So the Love Affair Travel Podcast will be live on iTunes within the next hour or two. Yikes! It’ll be a fun road. I’ve grown much more comfortable with the fact that this show is out there. It’s not my perfect audio product, but I’ve come to believe that it is a great start and will get better with time. The stats from this first few days will be fascinating!

iTunes podcast approval notification

  • August 28th – 113:29 – So much has happened since then and I’ll just do bullets to catch you all up really quick, but first, A Stats update:

Twitter Followers: 6 (No Change, Not Focusing on Twitter at all)
Facebook Likes: 115 (Big Growth and some great engagement)
E-Mail Subscribers: 10 ( Great Start but no engagement)

Really great developments, my network of interesting people has grown significantly. Through the interviews, I’m making friends with some really interesting people that live really interesting lives. It’s been like being born into a new circle of people making interesting big time life decisions.

More importantly, the podcast has brought me a passionate young fan who is going through podcasting process documents and helping with production. This value is difficult to ascertain because with his help I’m getting 2x the podcasts done per week. The value of this is tremendous.

Stats have gone really well despite the fact that I have done almost no outside promotion outside of sharing it on my own facebook timeline (and I only have 750ish friends.) I’m not sure of my guest’s promotion efforts (aside from Niall Doherty) so this is all natural growth from being featured in the N&N for iTunes for Business:

New and Noteworthy iTune

and in Society and Culture:

Society and Culture New and Noteworthy

Stitcher downloads have been unimpressive, but I imagine that those 14 people who listened to the entire podcast is a valuable thing. Again, this is a new platform that I don’t promote in the slightest. It’s just extra. The other platforms like Zune and TuneIn are complete mysteries as to the traction we are getting there.

Here are the stitcher raw download stats:

Stitcher Download Stats

Here is what the Libsyn stats look like:

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 1.52.53 PM

Now a lot of great podcasts with existing audiences get the downloads in 1 day that I get in a month of podcasting… but look at the growth! It’s exciting stuff.

I’ve just published episode 11 and I’ve got 18 interviews in que to publish so I expect this growth to continue. If it keeps this linear growth, without trimming off, we might be able to say it was a success.

My strategy now is to make Love Affair Travel big on Facebook and start converting e-mail subscriptions. I’ll probably have to make a e-book or something so there is a reason to sign up on the blog. Outside of that, Facebook has been a great builder of traffic. Here are some Facebook stats:

Facebook stats in response to Podcasting for a month

In highensight, I wish I launched with 6 episodes in the bank like the conventional launch strategy.

That’s it for this update. Really good things are happening because of this project for every aspect of my life… except that I’ve been more busy than ever. Oh yeah, it makes me wish that I had a service like Freedom Podcasting. I love doing the interviews, it’s the scheduling of guests and the post production which is the most challenging aspect of this project. I spend sooooo much time doing the work that Freedom Podcasting offers to clients. Actually being a podcaster has been the best crash course in how to provide services to podcasters that I could imagine.

Look forward to updating you again! If you read this, please leave a comment and say hi.

  • July 1st – 12:20: MASTER FILE –  so I don’t have to reformat – This blog is ongoing at the moment so feel free to comment and join in the conversation via the comments below.