Joining a Podcast Network – Should You Join

Do you have a podcast, and want to connect with other podcasters? Do you want to advertise your show, and boost your audience? If you said yes to any of these questions, joining a podcast network might be right for you.

In this post, I am going to examine the pros and cons when it comes to joining a podcast network. This way you can make the decision that is right for you.

As I write this, I am not associated with a podcasting network.

To conclude this discussion, I connected with other podcasters who are associated with networks to understand their experience. I felt it was essential to receive as much information as possible before concluding.

What is a Podcast Network?

A  podcast network is a large group of podcasters that advertise for the sponsors of the network. As a podcaster, you are selling advertising for the network through the sponsorships they have created.

For example; I live in Edmonton, Alberta which is a major city in Western Canada. Where I live, there is a podcasting network called “Alberta Podcast Network.” This podcast network is sponsored by Alberta Treasury Branch (ATB) and is only available for joining if you produce a show in Alberta. If you enter the network, in every episode you must complete two things. First, you must acknowledge you are a member of the community and second, deliver two advertisements. Typically producers will put an ad the beginning and end of each episode. The ad could be you talking about the sponsor’s services and some of your amazing experiences you have had. Some podcasters get creative with their networks sponsors.

How do Podcast Networks Work?

First, understand that each podcast network is different. Depending on the networks agreements, they might require producers to complete specific requirements. Sponsors of the podcast network want to be able to track the effectiveness of their campaigns. They want to be able to see a result of having a network of producers spreading a corporate message to their audience. They can take that budget and track the performance to determine the impact on their business.

The sponsor is going to monitor the return with being associated with the network and determine if the partnership is worth having. If the sponsor doesn’t see a suitable return, they will invest their money into another source that can provide a better return on investment.

Why Join A Podcast Network?

A reason to consider when joining a podcast network is the connections you can build. As a podcaster, if you are looking to do a collaborative project with other producers, you now have a network of people to choose. Instead of searching through iTunes, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to find candidates, you have a database of podcasters. Making it much easier to qualify potential personnel when doing collaborative projects.

Another reason producers join podcast networks is because they believe, it can open doors into main-stream media. I talked with a couple of producers that shared stories of having these types of experiences.

Main-Stream Media Opportunities

One podcaster I spoke with, told me their podcast network was fighting to get them a spot on Sirius Satelite Radio!

Apparently, the talks are still underway.

Another podcaster I spoke with, told me their show has advertisements running on an online radio station. Now, by all means, he was not getting slotted on National Television, but at least he was being exposed to other media outlets.

A third reason to join a podcast network is to see a boost in your audience. If your podcast network is getting you more exposure through media outlets such as online radio shows, and other media opportunities; over time it’s going to help you bring in regular listeners to the show.

For example, the one interviewee, that had advertisements running for him on online radio shows, had an increase in his downloads.

Finally, joining a podcast network may provide you with an opportunity to earn money. For advertising on your podcast, a network may pay you for running such ads. It is all dependent on which network you join and the terms and conditions you agreed to. Some podcast networks will pay you a flat fee per show produced with advertisements placed, or they might pay you for the effectiveness of the ad. It’s all dependent on the terms you and the network agreed to.

In short, four reasons to join a podcast network include:

  • Connect with other podcasters
  • See a boost in audience
  • Opens doors to mainstream media.
  • Opportunity to earn money

Even though there are some benefits of joining a podcast network, there are also some negatives.

Reasons to Not Join a Podcast Network

A podcaster might not join a network because they don’t believe the services will be delivered. A lot of times, this is a lack of trust the podcaster might have towards the network. Also, the podcaster might feel the network’s services are “too good to be true.” Therefore, if it’s too good to be true, then why hasn’t everyone else joined this network as a result.

Another reason why someone would not join a podcast network is because they don’t see the value in it. A podcaster might not see the value in building connections to other podcasters because they don’t plan on doing any collaborate projects. The producer might have discovered different techniques to grow the audience of the show that proves to more effective for them. Since the producer has found methods for improving the show, they have seen an increase in media opportunities along with different options to earn money. As a result, the podcaster does not see the value in joining a podcast network.

Recommend Positive Experiences

People recommend products or services they have had a good experience with. It’s much easier to promote a product that you have had experience with versus something you have not. If a podcast network is requiring you to push a companies message that you have never had an experience with, you might have a problem sharing that news. You might not believe in what you are saying because you have never had an experience with them. Therefore, when you deliver the message, it might come off as non-authentic and as though you don’t know what you are talking about.

This is a topic Mike Andes, and I discussed in our episode together.

The last reason someone might not join a podcast network is because they are not okay with giving up control of their show. The producer of the podcast wants to be in control of who they are going to be advertising for and the overall message delivered. When you find specifically targetted advertisers that are in alignment with who your audience, the effectiveness of that advertisement increases. When you provide efficient advertisements because your audience is in alignment with the message, sponsors will see the value in what you deliver and will pay a premium. As a result, a lot of podcasters are afraid to join podcast networks as it can close doors of opportunity.

To recap, four reasons to not join a podcast network:

  • Losing control of your brand
  • The network might not deliver the services promised
  • Don’t see the value in joining the network.
  • The advertisement is not in alignment with their audience, goals, and vision.

Should I Join A Podcast Network?

Joining a podcast network has both positives and negatives. Joining a network is not for everyone and is dependent on the podcasters goals and objectives. Make sure you are thinking long-term when it comes to this decision. If you are going to join a network, don’t just join the first network you find. Rather be particular to the network you join. Ensure your network is willing to talk about the services provided and you are getting proper representation.

The best advice I could give to you is to do your due-diligence.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to the network, and discuss before joining. Connect with other podcasters associated with the network and see if they are happy with the services.

It’s better to discover these things before you join a network, instead of after

Are You Associated?

I would love to know more about your opinions about podcast networks. Leave a comment below if you are currently involved in a network, and what your experience has been. Let me know what you think.