Today I’m going to answer a couple of questions to do with stats and growing your audience.
Q. What is the best way to track how many people have downloaded my podcasts?
A. Get free stats at Blubrry.com 🙂 or, if you are hosting at libsyn, upgrade to their stats package if your plan doesn’t inculde stats. Even if you are at libsyn, you can add free blubrry.com stats (or premium stats if you want). I believe podtrac also does free and paid stats. Not sure on that one..
Q. My google analytics (or other webstats) say that my mp3 was accessed 30,000 times, but my media stats only say I had 302 downloads? What Gives??
A. Web stats are not designed to measure media files. The way media files are served (called byte range requests) cause the file to be requested multiple times per play or download which register as a “download” or a “hit” to webstats. Media Stats such as blubrry and libsyn take that into account and know that even though a file gets 30 requests from the same IP address while downloading or streaming the file, it only counts that as one. It is a much more accurate measure of the number of downloads. If you are going to have advertisers, it’s much better to tell them the truth about how many downloads you have rather than inflating the numbers. If you tell and advertiser that you get 12,000 downloads when you only really get 1000, they will think that even with 12,000 downloads, we are only getting the results for like 1000. It make everyone in this space look bad.
Q. Feedburner says I have 200 subscribers, What does that mean?
A. You should, by now, know my feelings about using feedburner or any other 3rd party feed services. BUT, I will try to explain this one anyway. The “subscriber total” that feedburner reports is of little or no value.
What Feedburner reports to measure is “subscribers”. What I would think that to mean is how many people, using feedreaders or iTunes, are subscribed to your podcast RSS feed. What it really measures is how many different ip addresses “hit” your rss feed in a 24 hour period. It can vary wildly from day to day. It might give you a very rough idea, but it’s just that a rough idea. Also, if you are using feedburner, you have a base feed that is feeding feedburner. Some, if not a significant number, of people could be getting your podcast directly from your base feed. (likely the feed from your website) It’s even worse if you use a captive host such as Blog Talk Radio, podOmatic or TalkShoe because these sites also submit your “podcast” feed (from their site) to itunes and other directories. SO, your feedburner stats will be less accurate and not catch everyone.
To switch gears a bit. I get this question a lot….
Q. How do I grow my audience?
A. This is a BIGGIE… There are a 1000 ways to promote your podcast and even more ways to NOT grow an audience.
Let me start with The top 10 that will help you gain listeners.
- Be yourself. don’t try to be the big-shot radio guy (or gal) and make it seem as though you are Broadcasting to the little people out there. That is unless you are a broadcaster 🙂 The great thing about a lot of podcasts are their authenticity. If you seem fake, people will pick up on that and will not be long-term listeners. Be patient, it takes time.
- Communicate with your listeners. Try to learn the names and a little bit about as many listeners as you can. Always answer your email, twitter, facebook and other forms of communication.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just in last weeks show, I had an editing error that caused my voiceover lady to talk over me while I was talking. I didn’t catch it until after the episode was published. I decided I wasn’t going to fix it. For two reasons.. The first one was I didn’t want to have a bunch of you download the episode again for a little mistake. If the whole episode sounded like crap, i might have, but for that 20 seconds or so, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. Second reason was I figured it might generate a few emails (which it did) and a few twitter messages (Mark_Sheldon) .. I got to interact with a few more of my listeners over that. NO I DIDN’T DO IT ON PURPOSE 🙂
- Be consistent. I’m guilty of not doing this one, but I’m getting better 🙂 People carve out time to listen to your show and if they know when it’s coming and it does keep coming at that time, you will gain loyal listeners.
- Engage your target audience in other formats. Such as message boards, Facebook groups, Google Plus communities and even local clubs or groups (if your niche has such a thing). BUT DON’T be annoying.
- Be Patient. It takes time to build up a following. (I know I said that before) but it bears repeating.
- Make sure your audio quality is good. If your show is annoying to listen to because of poor quality, people won’t stick around.
- Also, keep the self-promotion and advertising to a “normal” level. Nobody wants to hear an add every 3 minutes or for the first 10 minutes of your show. I try to keep the promo stuff to the end of my shows. (most of the time)
- Keep your website easy to use. Keep it simple and to the point. When you do promote, promote your website. It should be the focal point of your brand (I know, over-used term these days). Point people there instead of iTunes, Stitcher, I heart radio and so on… Promote your brand and your website. Have links to all that at your website, but only promo your site.
- And finally, at least for now, Get your podcast listed in as many directories as you can. If people can find you easy wherever they are, the better it will be. Again, be patient! See: PodcastHelpDesk.com/10 (episode 10 of this podcast before the rebranding)
Along that same line, I get this variation of the same question a lot…
Q. I only have 50 Listeners… How do I get more?
A. I only have 50 listeners? Really? Imagine 50 people in a room all looking at you to entertain, inform, inspire or whatever else your goal is.. Doesn’t 50 seem small still?
This show brought to you by Blubrry.com Media Hosting….
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That will do it for this session. The Podcast Helpdesk is now closed until next week.
If you would like me to answer your question, please email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the speakpipe “Leave a voice comment” tab on the website. You can also tweet your question using the hashtag #podcasthelpdesk.
I’m Mike Dell. Catch me next time!