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 your 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!