Podcasting Tips

Read This Before Choosing Your Podcast Host: 6 Features That Will Help You Reach Your Goals

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If you google some variation of “what is the best podcast host”, you’ll find an overwhelming number of options and a lot of contradicting opinions out there. 

Whether you are a first-time podcaster researching which host you should use to launch your new show, or you’re looking to find a better podcast host for your established show, deciding which option is actually the best host is a difficult task in this crowded marketplace.  

What’s a podcast host?

A podcast host is a place in the cloud for your podcast to live. It uploads and stores your audio files and then generates an RSS feed that enables you to distribute your podcast across all the major apps like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts where people can access and listen to your show.

When your listeners download your show, your hosting service sends the audio file and all the metadata (e.g. your show title, description, etc) about your content directly to the app they’re listening from. Voila, your podcast is out there for people to listen to and enjoy. 

In order to distribute your podcast to all the apps and directories where people listen, you must first host your podcast somewhere. That said, hosting and distribution are the bare minimum any podcast technology platform should provide. 

A great podcast platform will….

What features actually matter in a podcast platform? A great podcast platform will offer you much more than a hosting service. It will support you as you grow your podcast and help your reach your goals, whether that’s growing your audience, directly monetizing your content, or finding advertiser partners. It’s easy to get distracted by features that are nice to have like a mobile app or audio editing tools, but make no real impact when it comes to achieving your bigger goals. Think of the big picture by asking yourself if a platform will do the following: 

1. Make your life easier

As a creator, any technology you rely on should make your work less complex and time consuming. After all, you want to maximize the time you spend on creative endeavors, like creating and producing new content. A few things to look out for… 

  • Switching or signing up for a new host should be dead simple and you shouldn’t have to jump through any unnecessary hoops to redirect your feed. 
  • The platform should be intuitive enough for a new user to navigate right away, yet sophisticated enough to provide value to a seasoned pro. 
  • Running all aspects of your podcast business from one place should be an option. That includes: content management & hosting, distribution, analytics, monetization, advertising, and growth.

2. Provide free & unlimited hosting

It doesn’t matter if you have 100,000+ listeners or you’re just launching your first episode and your mom is the only listener…. there’s no good reason to pay to host your podcast. 

You’ll find people on Reddit and other podcasting blogs telling you to beware of free podcast hosts because there’s always a catch. Some people will tell you the catch is that you, the creator, are the product and you’ll be forced to insert ads into your show. Others think that if hosting is free then the company won’t be around for long because they don’t have a means of making money. Or, they’ll warn that you’ll “get what you pay for” because any free host must be providing an inferior product. 

These are generalizations by no means apply to all free podcast hosts. At RedCircle, we strongly believe that all hosting should be free. We recently wrote an entire blog that digs into the reason we’re able to make RedCircle free and our business model.

4. Help grow your audience

Continuing to build listenership can prove challenging for podcasts at every stage. A podcast platform that offers tools to help you grow has obvious advantages.

Cross promotion is an incredibly effective tactic for acquiring new podcast listeners. Many popular podcasts use this strategy, partnering with like-minded hosts to promote each other’s podcasts, whether it’s in the form of a recommendation to their listeners or swapping entire episodes. 

These campaigns can be complicated and time-consuming for podcasters that aren’t part of a network to pull off, which is why RedCircle’s cross promotion marketplace is unique. It makes it easy and free to pair up with a similar podcast on RedCircle and create cross promotional ads that are automatically inserted between shows.

 Depending on the size of the audiences and the duration of the campaign, RedCircle podcasters have used cross promotion to generate thousands of new listeners. There’s more about how RedCircle’s cross promotions work here

5. Help you make money

With all the time and energy that goes into creating content and building an audience, most creators want to generate revenue from their podcast. Your monetization strategy will likely evolve as your podcast and audience grows, so it’s important for a podcast platform to provide flexibility and multiple options to monetize your podcast. 

With RedCircle, you can accept donations directly from listeners that want to support your show or paywall exclusive content that listeners can access by paying to subscribe. When shows grow big enough that advertising makes sense, RedCircle will get them in front of potential advertisers. 

6. Provide total ownership of your show and content

Before you switch to a new podcast platform, make sure you’ll have 100% ownership of your content and your points of distribution. Platforms that automatically distribute to Apple Podcasts or Spotify for you end up owning those points of distribution and can make changing to a different host a total nightmare. 

To ensure that you’re the owner of all your distribution points, RedCircle guides you through setting up distribution on your own. You’re in full control of how you manage monetization for your show. RedCircle will never insert unapproved ads into you show and won’t make you sign any exclusive deals. 

The right podcast platform for you…

We realize we are biased, but we truly believe these are all the core aspects of a great podcast platform and we built RedCircle to check all these boxes.

Returning to the initial question, what is the best podcast host? There’s no one “best platform, ultimately the right platform for you depends on what you are trying to achieve. It’s about finding a service that aligns with you and your goals. As you evaluate your options, focus on the core features of a podcast platform that provide value and will make a direct impact on your business.

If you’re serious about growing your audience and earning money from your creative work, we believe RedCircle is the best choice out there. Partner with a fast-growing innovative platform – sign up for RedCircle!

Annoucements

Distributing Your Podcast to YouTube? Why You Should Be & How RedCircle’s Integration Makes It Easy

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Being where listeners live is fundamental to growing your podcast. It’s likely you are already distributing your podcast to all the usual suspects… Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, etc… Then there’s YouTube — which may not be as obvious, but is extremely relevant.  

When you think YouTube, video is usually the first thing to come to mind. Yet, as it has become people’s go-to source for all entertainment, more and more of its users are listening to content, not watching. Which has led to YouTube to becoming a dominant destination for podcast listening.

If you aren’t already distributing your podcast to YouTube, there are quite a few good reasons you should be. 

The benefits of distributing your podcast to YouTube

YouTube has always been an incredibly successful platform for creators to build and scale their audience. Now, podcasters have started to realize the potential of YouTube’s massive audience and recommendation algorithm to build new audiences. 

By distributing to YouTube, podcasters have the opportunity to gain listeners they would miss out on with traditional podcasting apps. In fact, many first-time podcast listeners are discovering podcasts on YouTube and Facebook Live.

Tapping into an audience size that’s far larger in comparison to any podcasting apps isn’t the only benefit for podcasters. YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is also a powerful tool for discovery. Because YouTube automatically recommends content based on subjects you’re  interested in, podcasters can reach listeners that may have never been exposed to their content on other channels. 

There’s also the benefit of being able to create additional ad revenue with YouTube. Depending on the size of your library and the number of subscribers on your YouTube channel, podcasters could bring in significant monthly revenue just from YouTube. This is especially lucrative for influencers starting a podcast that already have built a sizable following on YouTube. 

Today’s audiences want to have a personal connection to the creators and the content they consume. Unlike podcasting apps, YouTube is also a great platform for building community and being a part of a conversation that deepens your relationship with listeners and provides you with valuable feedback on your content.  

RedCircle’s YouTube integration 

The best news is distributing your podcast to YouTube doesn’t require any additional work. RedCircle will automatically convert your audio file to video and distribute it to your YouTube channel. 

Publish your podcast to YouTube with RedCircle.

Once you sign into your YouTube account on RedCircle, whenever you publish an episode you can check the box to convert your podcast file into a video file and publish it on your YouTube Channel with your show’s cover art and a dynamic soundwave. This feature, like the rest of the platform is completely free to use. 

It’s up to you how you choose to publish your show on YouTube. You can publish full episodes so that people can listen directly on the platform. Or, consider creating short shareable clips to draw listeners in and drive them to listen on other platforms. 

Join other creators finding new listeners on YouTube and #BeHeard

Annoucements

Free Podcast Hosting: Too Good to be True?

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Why is it that we are skeptical of things that are labeled free? 

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. You get what you pay for. Nothing in life is free. 

It seems we’ve made the collective assumption it’s not possible to get something for nothing. If it’s free there can’t be any value, or there’s got to be a catch. Right? 

Podcasters approach free hosting with the same skepticism. We get it, we’re not a traditional podcasting company. We aren’t trying to pull one over on you. Quite the opposite, we are all about transparency.

Our platform *really* is completely free to use and has everything you need to get your podcast out to the world. This includes: free and unlimited hosting, distribution, analytics and our cross-promotion marketplace to grow your audience. 

It can sound too good to be true and inevitably the next question is: 

“So… what’s in it for you guys?” 

Fair question. The short answer is we don’t want to make money from you, we want to make money together

Our mission isn’t to provide free hosting. Our focus is to partner with creators who are ready to monetize their show and support them as they take their business and podcast to the next level.

Here are the reasons we believe in keeping RedCircle free and how we’re able to do so: 

1 | Podcast hosting is table stakes, it should always be free. 

RedCircle is a podcast growth and monetization platform, hosting is a basic feature that’s included. We didn’t set out to build a SaaS business for podcast hosting—our vision goes far beyond that.

You shouldn’t be paying anyone to host your podcast. Storage and hosting costs have fallen drastically over the past decade and the underlying technology to provide hosting is not complex. 

The bottom line is that it doesn’t cost us much money to host your podcast. We believe in having a business model that reflects that. The companies that are charging a monthly fee to host your podcast are simply charging you rent. They’re not providing any significant innovation. 

We’re here to provide much more value than giving your podcast a place to live. 

2 | Our business model is aligned with you, the creator. 

We want you to focus on what you do best, producing amazing content. We give you innovative tools that help you to develop your brand, grow your audience, and monetize your hard work. 

If you are just starting out, we’ll help you build your audience and get support from your listeners using our tipping feature.  As you continue to grow with us, we’ll also help you find advertising partners.

If you already have an established podcast, we have a team dedicated to getting you in front of brands and helping you find advertising for your show as you continue to expand your audience. 

When we help you make money, we’ll share in the revenue when those connections are made and sustained. We measure our success by making others successful. We only do well when our creators do well

“Wait, I have some questions….”

Am I required to participate in your advertising or cross-promotion programs? 

No, we’ll never force you to use ads and you are free to keep and/or source ad revenue of your own. If we don’t source the advertisement for you, we don’t share that revenue and we would never insert ads into your content without your consent! 

Tell me more about your fees and rev share…

While we do take a small cut when we help you generate revenue, we make sure we give the most money possible to the person who deserves it most: you, the creator. We take a small 4.5% share on tipping revenue and we share 30% of the ad revenue we source for you.  

Do you limit upload speed or bandwidth? 

No, we don’t limit storage space or your streaming bandwidth and you’ll always maintain high-quality audio.

Do I have to host my podcast with RedCircle to use your features? Yes, in order to take advantage of our cross-promotion or monetization features you’ll have to switch from your old host to RedCircle. That said, we’ve made switching easy and painless. The platform walks you through the entire process in a few steps and only takes a few minutes.

Have another question? Send them our way at support@getredcircle.com

You have nothing to lose and lots to gain! Sign up for RedCircle today!

Annoucements

Tipping is Here

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Podcast Tipping Feature

When we released our new cross-promotions marketplace, we noted that the first question we hear from every podcaster we meet is “how can I grow my podcast?”  Question #2, which quickly follows, is consistently…

How can I make money from my podcast?

At RedCircle, our dedicated sales team helps podcasters make money by connecting them with a wide variety of advertisers.  However, some podcasters aren’t comfortable with ads or haven’t grown large enough to attract advertisers yet. For these emerging independent podcasts, RedCircle has a brand new tool to help creators get rewarded for their work: Tipping.


Introducing Tipping

Beginning today, RedCircle now helps podcasters collect tips from their listeners.  In just a few clicks, creators can connect their bank account and set up their show for easy tipping from fans who appreciate their work.

Payment information modal

Podcasters can track their tips over time on RedCircle’s new ‘Money’ page.  You can view your tip history, watch your revenue grow, and transfer your balance to your bank account at any time.  With RedCircle, the creator is always in control.

Money dashboard

Your Content, Your Revenue

RedCircle partners with Stripe to provide seamless payments directly into podcasters’ bank accounts.  Stripe is the industry leader in payments processing and offers top-notch security.  

At RedCircle, we’re all about the creator.  While we do take a fee for providing the new Tipping feature, we want to make sure we give the most money possible to the people who deserve it most: podcasters.  That’s why we take an industry-leading 4.5% of the revenue.  That’s lower than Patreon, lower than Podbean, lower than most.

In order to process the credit card transaction and pay out to your bank account, Stripe also takes a few fees.  As an example, if 3 of your fans tip you $5 this month, and you cash out, you’ll take home $12.71, RedCircle’s share is $0.69, and Stripe collects $1.50. For more details on the fee structure, check out this help article.

A First Step

By offering free hosting, powerful analytics, a cross-promotions marketplace, a dedicated ad sales team, and now tips, RedCircle’s suite of tools is now the best way to take your podcast to the next level.  And we’re just getting started. We believe that podcasters want a diverse set of revenue streams including one-time tips, ongoing monthly support, as well as ad revenue. Going forward, you can expect more tools to help podcasters connect with their fans and earn.

We’re building RedCircle to be the most powerful system for creating, growing, and monetizing your work.  Stay tuned; there’s a lot more to come in just a few weeks.

Annoucements

Announcing RedCircle’s Cross-Promotions Marketplace

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Image of the RedCircle deal UI

When we launched RedCircle, we envisioned a platform that would help creators of all sizes to be heard.  Since then we’ve spoken to hundreds of podcasters from around the world, and many of them are all interested in an answer to the same question:

How Do I Grow My Podcast?

It’s very common for big podcast networks run ads on their shows that tell listeners to check out other podcasts within their network.  Cross-promotions like these are an exceptional tool for growing audiences. However, to pull off one of these cross promotions, you need dynamic ad insertion technology, multiple shows within your network, and the time and energy to manually execute the campaign.  This is why only the large podcast networks can run cross-promotions. Until now.

Introducing RedCircle’s Cross-Promotion Marketplace

With RedCircle’s new cross-promotions feature, it’s never been easier to pair up with another podcast and promote each other’s shows.  In just a few minutes, you can kick off a campaign that can grow both shows’ audiences.

To get started, you can easily browse shows in our catalog to find a podcast to partner with:

view of the cross-promotion browse interface

You can send a proposal to another podcast:

view of the cross promotion proposal form.

The podcasters upload audio clips, set a start date:

the cross-promotion deal exchange interface.

And that’s it!

Once both parties agree to the deal, RedCircle does the heavy lifting.  We’ll dynamically insert the cross-promotional advertisements into your episodes for the length of the campaign.  You can sit back and watch your listener metrics climb.

Growing Podcast Audiences, Together

While we were developing / testing the marketplace, we’ve seen cross-promotional campaigns generate massive increases in our podcasts’ subscriber-bases.  One cross-promotion we observed on our platform generated thousands of new subscribers for the promoted podcast!

graph showing large increases in downloads after cross-promotion campaign

Leveling the Playing Field

RedCircle’s cross-promotion feature has leveled the playing field for independent podcasters.  You can grow your audience just like the big networks do.

We recognize the strength and power of the community. We want to help creators connect and share with one another to broaden their voice. Cross-promotion is one of the fastest ways to grow an audience, and we created a product to make that process as seamless as possible. Let’s build together.

Take RedCircle for a spin.

Annoucements

Introducing RedCircle

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A few weeks back, while listening to a particularly moving episode of a favorite podcast, tears slid down my cheek while I was pushing a stroller to the coffee shop.  I recall driving home from work several years ago, and having a lifelong core belief shattered by a powerful podcast interview. I’ve even had hysterical laughing fits while doing the dishes with headphones on and I’m not usually very thrilled about doing the dishes.

When people think about the types of media that have such emotional power, many think of cinematography, visual art, poetry, etc.  For me, podcasts have a special place alongside these other forms of creative expression. They are more than a hobby or a distraction; podcasts have the power to move us.

As more and more podcast listeners are drawn to this moving medium, our team has found a growing community of podcast creators expressing themselves through audio.  We’ve spoken to journalists who are telling compelling narratives, we’ve met niche experts whose independent podcasts delight a committed audience, and we know many creators who are just getting started in brewing an idea for their first show.  

We believe that every podcast creator has incredible stories to tell, and we’re here to help them be heard.

Today, we’re announcing RedCircle, a free community-driven podcasting platform that helps creators manage their content, analyze their reach, and grow their audiences together.  With RedCircle, every podcaster gets free podcast hosting and powerful tools for analytics. It’s everything you need to take your podcast to the next level, and it’s completely free.

A Platform For Creators

At its core, RedCircle is all about improving the experience of the podcast creator.  RedCircle’s modern UI is designed to make the task of uploading and managing podcast content delightful.  Need to import your podcast from another platform? It takes just a few clicks. Need help getting your podcast onto Apple or Google Podcasts?  We’ll guide you through it. Want to know how well your latest episode is performing in California vs. New York? We’ve got you.

You’d expect such powerful tooling to come at a high cost.  Other podcast hosts frequently charge $20-$75 a month for hosting if you have just a few episodes of content.  At RedCircle, podcasters get all of our hosting tools for free.  For us, the cost of bandwidth is very small. We believe that for creators, it should be zero.

Through our beta program starting just a few weeks ago, we’ve had hundreds of podcasters join the platform.  Since then, we’ve had thousands of episodes uploaded and millions of episode downloads. We’ve been absolutely amazed by the diversity in the content, and we are so excited to see what our passionate and growing community of creators will share with the world.

What’s the catch?

Many have asked, “If you’re not charging for podcast hosting, how do you make money?”  RedCircle’s business model differs from traditional podcast hosting companies. We don’t want to make money from creators; we’re making money with creators.  For podcasts that grow big enough, RedCircle’s dedicated sales team helps connect the podcasters with advertising partners.  We’ll share in the revenue when those connections are made and sustained. We only do well as a company when our creators do well. That’s how we believe business should work.

In the last few weeks since our public beta began, RedCircle has already generated thousands of dollars in revenue for our podcasters.  We’re just getting started.

Who’s Behind RedCircle

RedCircle was founded by myself, Mike Kadin, and Jeremy Lermitte.  Prior to RedCircle, we helmed Uber’s marketing technology team, used by thousands of Uber marketers around the globe.  Together, we built the systems and products that facilitated billions of interactions over email, SMS, push notifications, voice calls, and more.

After founding RedCircle, we’ve been joined by several ex-Uber engineers and colleagues.  At Uber, we all learned how to build products that take the complex and make them simple.  Over the years there, we also had the opportunity to see how scaling a business can affect its culture.  We were taught what worked and what didn’t at Uber, and are ready to craft an organization based on those learnings.

RedCircle is backed by amazing investors who know their way around the space.  Our $1.5M initial investment was led by Roy Bahat at Bloomberg Beta. We’re also backed by MathCapital, S28 Capital, and a truly amazing collection of angel investors that includes 9 of the best operators from Uber.

What’s Next?

We’re just getting started.  We see so much friction for podcasters, and we intend to make each and every element of their work as seamless as possible.  We see opportunities to help by improving audio editing, improving discovery and distribution, as well as monetization. Stay tuned, we’re excited to bring the podcast community several more exciting tools to help them be heard.