There is so much more to podcasting than having something to talk about. You know this is true if you’ve spent any time researching how to start a podcast. Of course, it’s important to pick a theme for your show. But you also have to deal with things like podcast hosting, audio mastering, storage limits, ID3 tags, and so on. There’s enough mumbo jumbo in there that it can make podcasting seem like an overwhelming undertaking.
But don’t be dissuaded from starting your podcast just yet. What if we told you that there are tools out there that do all of the grunt work, leaving you to focus on the creative side of things? Meet Buzzsprout, the tool that you need if you think running a podcast is too much work.
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Buzzsprout is a software that makes it easy to start a podcast, promote it, and track its progress. The tool has already been used by more than 100,000 people to get their podcasts off the ground. That list includes notable names like Pat Flynn, the man behind the very popular podcast called Ask Pat.
Now you’re probably wondering why you need to use a tool like Buzzsprout in the first place. The most important reason is that the software centralizes a lot of the work that goes into publishing and promoting a podcast. That includes:
1. Podcast Hosting
You know that if you need a website to go up on the Internet, you need to have it stored on a hosting platform. In the same way, you need to host your audio content with a hosting service so that your listeners can access it whenever they want. Buzzsprout provides podcast hosting services that you need to get your podcast up.
2. Podcast Marketing
Once your podcast is up online, you want a way to get it out to as large of an audience as possible. Buzzsprout gives you several tools that can help in that process, including listing episodes on multiple platforms, podcast transcription, video soundbites, etc.
3. Podcast Analytics
The best way to know if your podcast is performing the way you want it to is with hard numbers. Buzzsprout gives you all the statistics you need to know whether your podcast is doing the numbers you want it to and reaching large enough of an audience.
Now we know why you need a tool like Buzzsprout if you run a podcast. Let’s delve a little deeper into its features to find out whether it fulfills its promise of being the easiest way for anyone to start a podcast.
Buzzsprout’s feature-set covers an array of functions. It covers everything that you need to do after you’ve created a podcast episode, from getting it listed on different directories to getting performance statistics. The following are Buzzsprout’s features listed under different categories based on how they relate to different podcast organization activities.
1. Podcast Management
Directory Listings: The first thing you’ll never to do after you’ve created a full podcast episode is getting listed on podcast directories. These are platforms that catalog podcast content so people can access them easily. You can have your podcast episodes automatically listed on directories such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podchaser, and so on. That means you can easily have your podcasts go in front of millions of users instantly.
Team Collaborations: If you’ve just started off, you probably run your podcast yourself. But that may not always be the case. As your podcast grows, you may want to bring in more people to handle different functions like podcast marketing or optimization.
Buzzsprout conveniently allows you to add as many people as you want to your Buzzsprout account. These people are assigned different roles like admin and editor. Each of these roles allows people a certain amount of control over the podcast.
You can also create an unlimited number of podcasts with a single Buzzsprout account. Each of these podcasts can be under a different plan based on the kind of hosting and time limits you want on it.
2. Podcast Statistics
A major component of managing a podcast is overseeing its performance. Buzzsprout has its own reporting tool so that you can access all key data pertaining to the progress of your podcast. You can instantly view stats like what devices people use to listen to your podcasts, which directories most of your listens come from, the geographic spread of your audience, number of downloads over time, and so on. You can use all this information to make better decisions on how to grow your podcast.
3. Podcast Monetization
Making money off your podcast is the ultimate way to ensure that it can keep running. Buzzsprout uses affiliate marketing to help its creators generate revenues. The company has created relationships with brands and created the Buzzsprout Affiliate Marketplace based on that.
Creators who use Buzzsprout can easily connect with companies using the affiliate marketplace. All they need to do is fill out a form and the brands will respond to them within three days if they’re approved. Buzzsprout does not take a cut of affiliate commissions.
Editing a podcast episode can be a lot of work. If you’re not trained with audio mixing and mastering, it can be hard to sit through entire podcast episodes and make the right edits.
Buzzsproute uses a technology its calls Magic Mastering to automatically enhance the audio of podcasts uploaded to the platform. The software makes edits to the audio files based on industry best practices. These edits differ based on whether your podcast is just spoken word or uses music more heavily.
If you run your podcast on your own, there’s a lot to do when it comes to optimizing episodes. That includes things like choosing bitrates, filetypes, ID3 tags, and so on. You don’t have to worry about all those minutiae if you use Buzzsprout. All you need to do is upload the audio file and the software automatically does the rest. You can then publish your episode right away or schedule it for a specific day in the future.
One of the gripes that people usually have with podcasts is that they can be hard to scan through. All you get is one large audio file and you don’t know where specific parts of a conversation are.
Buzzsprout makes your podcasts more listener-friendly by letting you add chapter markers to episodes. These are markers that represent different segments of a show. This makes it a lot easier for your listeners to navigate your podcast and see what’s coming up.
A website can help you direct your listeners to a central location on the Internet where they can access all your episodes. Buzzsprout helps you create a custom website for your podcast. This website can be designed in a way that matches your business’ existing branding if you have it. You can put your website on your own URL if you have existing website hosting.
Website Podcast Player
Say you have an existing website. You have your audience coming through it. This traffic can convert into podcast listens with Buzzsprout’s podcast player.
The software gives you a snippet of code you can add to your website to integrate the podcast player with it. Now your website visitors can listen to your podcast on your website. They can use the player to skip forward or back and play the audio at 2x the normal speed. The player itself can be customized so that it matches your branding.
Your audience may not always be able to listen to your podcast. But they may be able to glance through a transcript. This is a great way to make your podcast content accessible to a wider audience.
Buzzsprout has a service that lets you create transcripts for your podcasts. These can be included along with the audio version of the episodes. Transcripts have SEO benefits since they’re included in plain text and can be parsed by search engines.
Having a video podcast doesn’t mean that you have to deliver only in video form. Buzzsprout has an in-built tool that lets you create video snippets from your audio podcast. These video snippets can match your branding and contain things like your logo and the name of the podcast episode.
Creating & Uploading a Podcast on Buzzsprout
Now that we know the different features available on Buzzsprout, let’s find out how you can upload a podcast and promote it using the software. You must, of course, already have at least one podcast episode up and ready to go before that. So you’ll have to do things like naming your podcast, creating podcast artwork, purchase equipment, and edit the episode beforehand.
Once you have the finished episode ready, it’s time to get it up on Buzzsprout. You can start by creating your free account on the website. When you log in, you’ll see a screen that says “Upload a new episode.” You can either drag and drop the file there or upload it manually. Buzzsprout will ask for additional details like the name of the episode and description after the upload is complete.
Buzzsprout has a CMS-like section where you can add in podcast metadata like its title, release year, episode number, and description. The description is especially important because it’s what gets your listeners interested in an episode before they’ve listened to it. It’s like a little trailer for each episode so make sure to take some time to craft a compelling description.
Once a podcast has been uploaded, it’s time to get it listed on different directories. Buzzsprout has a separate directories tab where you can see all the different places online where you can syndicate your podcast.
Let’s say you want to get your podcast up on Apple Podcasts. You can go to the Directories tab in Buzzsprout and click on the Get Listed option for Apple Podcasts. When you do that you’ll be taken to Apple Podcasts Connect, which is what Apple uses to add new podcasts to the platform.
All your information will be pre-populated on Apple Podcast Connect. You can check this information and then click on the Validate option when you’re done. Clicking Submit will complete the process on your end. Now all you need to do is wait for Apple to get back to your confirming your submission. You can follow a similar process to get your podcast listed on directories like Spotify and Google Podcasts.
Buzzsprout WordPress Plugin
WordPress is the most commonly used CMS to build websites on the Internet. So it makes sense that Buzzsprout has a product specifically for those who run their websites on WordPress. There is a dedicated WordPress Buzzsprout plugin that you can use to have your podcast go up on your website. You can use this to create posts that promote specific podcast episodes and let visitors listen to them on your website.
Installing the Buzzsprout WordPress Plugin
Here’s the process you can follow to get Buzzsprout’s WordPress plugin up and running on your website:
- Download the Buzzsprout plugin onto your system. This can be done by visiting the WordPress.org website.
- Extract the downloaded content into a folder on your computer
- Upload this folder into the plugins directory of your WordPress website
- Activate the plugin so that it is ready to use
- Under your Settings tab, you will see a new option that says Buzzsprout Podcasting. Here you can enter your podcast’s URL so the plugin knows where to pull in episodes from.
Now you can start including podcast episodes in your WordPress toolbar. When you click on Upload/Insert, you will see a new icon to insert a podcast. You can click on this and select the episode you want to include. That will insert a shortcode into the post or page. You can move this shortcode around to set the position of the podcast within a post.
Buzzsprout has two programs that extend the use of its software. The first is aimed at creators and the other at affiliate marketers. Let’s take a look at how these work.
Buzzsprout Creator Program
The Buzzsprout Creator Program is an initiative that aims to support independent creators. Podcasters who qualify for this program receive a monthly stipend. The quantum of money that they receive depends on the amount of reach that the creator has. They also get free Buzzsprout podcast hosting and other features, one ticket to a podcast conference each year, and $25 in commissions for referrals.
Apart from independent creators, the program also caters to two other categories of people. The first is coaches. These are people who create podcast content about how to create and market podcasts. The final category is Buzzsprout Advisors. These are established podcasters who can provide guidance to Buzzsprout and its community of independent creators.
Buzzsprout Affiliate Program
The Buzzsprout affiliate program is for anybody who wants to make money by promoting the software themselves. They can either get a flat $25 fee for every referral or choose to get a 20% commission for the lifetime of a paid referral. Choosing the latter could help you build up a passive income source.
Buzzsprout uses attribution cookies to keep track of its affiliate program. These are cookies that don’t expire immediately when someone leaves a page. So you could receive a referral fee even if the conversion happens a while after the referral.
The people you refer to Buzzsprout get a $20 Amazon gift card for joining the platform. So that’s added incentive for referees. You can create a referral by linking people to any page of the Buzzsprout website.
Buzzsprout is free to use for the first 90 days. The service does have a plan that’s free forever. You can use it to upload two hours of content every month. The episodes remain on the platform for 90 days only.
All paid plans include the following:
- Podcast statistics
- Syndication to podcast directories
- 250GB of bandwidth every month
- A website
- Embeddable podcast player
- Indefinite hosting of episodes
For $12 per month, you can upload three hours of content and upload additional audio for $4 per hour. The Magic Mastering feature for this package costs $6 per month.
Buzzsprout’s top of the line package costs $24 per month. It lets creators upload 12 hours of audio every month. The Magic Mastering feature is priced $12 per month for this package.
Buzzsprout offers transcription services as an add-on. It costs $0.25 per minute.
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Buzzsprout Review Final Thoughts
Buzzsprout is a great tool for those who are serious about podcasting but don’t want to do all of the dirty work that comes with it. A lot of the features that Buzzsprout offers are things you can do yourself, like getting podcast episodes listed on directories or creating video snippets of podcasts. But it’s the ease of doing those things centrally that makes Buzzsprout such a great product.
Although Buzzsprout has many different features, it is easy to use. Users can quickly figure out where different tools are tucked away. That’s true also of the Buzzsprout WordPress plugin.
There are, of course, alternatives to Buzzsprout out there. Libsyn is a popular choice but it has a steep learning curve. It does, however, give you more control over the technical aspects of your podcast. SoundCloud is a possible alternative but it doesn’t cater specifically to podcast makers. For those looking for an easy way to start podcasting, Buzzsprout is the way to go.