Five Annual Overhaul Essentials To Elevate Your Podcast Brand

Embarking on a new year in the dynamic world of podcasting requires a strategic approach to keep your show relevant and engaging. In this episode of Feed Your Brand, hosts Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard share five essential steps to elevate your podcast brand for the year ahead. Drawing from their extensive experience in podcasting and branding, they provide actionable insights to ensure your podcast remains visible, compliant, and impactful in the ever-evolving digital content landscape. From updating copyright dates to adapting to new marketing strategies, this episode offers valuable tips to elevate your podcasting journey and achieve long-term success. Tune in now and stay ahead of the curve to take your podcast to new heights in 2024.

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Five Yearly Podcast Essential Updates

We’re going to take stock of things here as we begin a new year and talk about Five Annual Overhaul Essentials to Elevate Your Podcast Brand. Honestly, we could have made a list of probably 25, I think, but we’re going to try and keep it to five-ish here.

By general, there might be a bunch of steps in there, but our team has a 25-step list of things that they check. A lot of them are behind-the-scenes stuff, but we’re always checking every year. We’re going to check in and say, “Do all these things that we still did in YouTube qualify? Are they still the same? Do all these things that we still do on the podcast app, are they the same? We’re constantly doing that throughout the year. We don’t just do that once a year. Once a year, if you’re at least taking a look at it at that time, that’s at least a good model for you to catch up and not have lost too much momentum if things have changed in the ecosystem in which you’re publishing. That’s what we’re looking at here. We’re looking at the podcast ecosystem, how you might be publishing, how you might be promoting and sharing your show, and what are the five essential things that make sure that everything keeps running and you keep getting seen and found and heard.

Updating Copyright Date

It’s very important. All too often, people forget it’s New Year and things change. The first one on the list is pretty simple, and it’s an easy one. All of you can change right now if you listen to this live or whenever you’re listening to it, as long as you’re not driving, please don’t do it if you’re driving, but you can update this one right away. It’s a copyright date on your podcast. There is a copyright line, and you should keep it up to date. This is your claim to the world that your content is your own. The copyright date should always be up to date. It can be a range of dates. If your show started in 2019, it can be 2019 to 2023, but whatever it is, update it.

2024 because that’s when we’re recording this. That’s where you want to update it. You don’t want the years that were covered. You want the year you’re in included in that. This is a critical thing. You’re also not protecting your copyrighted content. You’re not protecting your intellectual property if you don’t state it. That is critically important. Make sure that you update this. It’s easy to update. You go into your hosting subscription to wherever you’re hosting your show.

All you have to do is go in there and make an adjustment. If we’re producing your show at Podetize, we take care of it. We globally do it across all of our shows every single year so you don’t have to worry about that, but not everybody does that. Make sure you’re checking for yourself. As long as you’re doing that, check your website too because a lot of you are publishing and should be publishing on your website.

 

Feed Your Brand | Valentine’s Day

 

Keeping Up With Your Ecosystem

Your website has a copyright date on the bottom line as well. We’ve always been a big fan of doing the date range because it gives people a sense of how long you’ve been doing it. As long as you’re currently publishing and you’re covering the date that you’re in, it’s it’s fine. Just make sure you do that. That’s one simple easy one and a housekeeping item you should do every year, an essential thing. The next one is about keeping up with what’s going on in the ecosystem that you’re publishing in, and sometimes things change.

This is the one we see the most. Somebody who started their show five years ago has an image size for their cover art that is no longer in compliance. Because they never go to the apps and listen to their own show or look at their own show, they don’t notice that there’s actually no cover art showing because the apps will just disregard it. They’ve caused a breakage in the visibility and stickability of their show. Who’s going to click on something they think is broken? That is an issue. Keeping up on that, it’s not always easy to know, “Am I out of compliance without just going into the app and taking a quick look?”

It’s interesting, I do see this happen. I see that every week. Usually when a new show is migrating to Podetize from another platform, that happened just recently with a customer. What happens when you import a show into our system, it knows if your cover art is not up to date, and it won’t display it, but this can happen even if you haven’t changed hosts. Especially, when you’ve updated your cover art to a new design because you wanted to update and rebrand a little bit, but you use the old size like 1,400 x 1,400 pixels is pretty common I see on old cover art. The new, modern, and current spec is 3,000 x 3,000 pixels. If you don’t have a 3,000 x 3,000 pixel cover art, you need to revise your cover art and update that. You’re not going to be able to do that while you’re reading to this show, maybe unless you’re a Photoshop wiz and it’s easy for you. Get that done or do it as soon as you can and update it.

Here’s what happens. When people update that appearance, that new design of cover art, some of the apps will display it even though it’s not up to the current standard, but Apple won’t. People think, “What’s wrong with my Apple listing? It’s not showing my new cover art.” Apple knows the new one is in compliance. While they’re still showing the old one because maybe when you started, it was up to the standard then, they’re not going to update it to the new one unless it meets the current standard. That’s probably why if you’re wondering if your Apple listing hasn’t updated to a cover art change, that might be one reason why.

 

 

Check The Podcast Apps

That’s number three on my list. Go look at it on the apps because that tells you a lot about what’s changed like have they allowed more description link? Do they allow other details? Has things changed? If you don’t check the app, and especially the most important ones, the ones that get the most listens, which will be Apple, Spotify, and it was Google Podcasts, but now you have to check YouTube Music, YouTube Podcasts. Those are the three you want to check to make sure because they get the most listens. You might have a different set. You can always go into your stats at your hosting level, and take a look at what apps and directories are yours being played on. Check any of the sub ones if you want, not necessary because typically if they look good on Apple and Spotify, they look good everywhere and you’re probably in compliance.

Check Out Your Competition

Just be thinking about that. That’s number three is to go check it out there. While you’re there, check out your competition. Don’t just go straight to your shows that you’ve got saved in your file. Type your show name in, see what shows up. Type your host name in, see what shows up. Type in your keyword what your show is majorly about. This is a how to do a podcast. We type that in and we see who else starts popping up. If you see people and they do it who are trolling on your name, who have basically copied your name and added a word to the end just so that they could be up next to you, don’t panic. We’ve got a whole episode on that in our directory of tips out here. Don’t panic about it. If your cover art looks exactly the same, then it’s time for a change and update it. That’s what happened to us.

We had Feed Your Brand out there way in the beginning. We had this black cover art, which had all these little icons on it, and then Libsyn and came out with The Feed. There’s what’s called The Feed, which trolled on our name, and theirs was black and green just like ours. We said, “That’s it.” Now, we have a white version if you’ve noticed it with a big outline on it and blue. That happens because we want to still visually stand out, so it might be time for a rebrand, an update. Tom was talking about that size change. If you’ve got to make the size change anyway, maybe it’s a good time for an update. Go check out your competition. See what’s happening there check, how you look on the apps, and check for a bunch of other things that might be updating and changing. Things like sizes, description links, extra tags, and new things that are going in.

YouTube just put out a new thing where in your podcast playlist, you can now sort and order. If you go out of order like if your regular videos, you do it by the most popular because you want your big numbers up at the top. That’s probably not the best way to navigate your podcast playlist, and it should be in listening order from the most recent at the top. You might want to need to adjust that now that that’s a new feature that you can do it. Each one of the app sometimes adds new features over the years and you’ve got to keep up and check that out.

Your copyright line is your claim to the world that your content is your own. Share on X

That was a great tip. I like learning about something new on YouTube. So much is changing there. This is just ask the question. Check it out.

That’s where we get to things like new rules. There are new rules. There are YouTube playlists that you should be doing with. We did our live stream on videos versus audiograms, video clips, video shorts. They’re doing much better. Now is the time to consider what you’re doing with your podcast and how you’re promoting it and what you’re doing. Is this still working in today’s marketing methods? Is it still working in today’s attention span that is getting smaller and smaller and shorter and shorter? What’s still working? Do my calls-to-action need to be updated in my description and my defaults there?

Now might be the time to make them more compelling, make them more visually exciting because you can add HTML links in some of the apps. Not in all of them but in some of them. You might want to take some check out those new rules and make sure you’re not only in compliance but you’re updating and utilizing them. One of the biggest ones here, one of the new things that we know is working is episode art. Changing out your square, your episode art, does so much better than leaving just your cover art. It’s a lot of work. You’ve got to change one every single week. You’ve got to make one new related to the episode, but think about all those listeners who are listening in the car. Their app is displaying the new episode with an album cover, if you want to think of it like that. It’s just the cover of your show. When it switches episodes, they don’t know that an episode change. They’re like, “Did I listen to this one already? What’s going on?” Because they’re driving, they’re a little more distracted. If that cover art changes slightly, they’re like, “I didn’t listen to that one yet.” It’s a visual trigger for them.

There’s a whole bunch of reasons to do that. We have promotion techniques that we’ve been using out on apps and having special episode where you might have a picture of a celebrity guest you have would be a compelling reason for somebody to click and listen to that episode. The search engines that are within the apps will give you episodes and shows, not just shows, so that also compels people to want to click and check things out. These are some new things that you might want to try in this next year.

Feed Your Brand | Valentine’s Day
Elevate Podcast Brand: Make sure you secure all your URLs, your social handles, and all the things that you might need to make sure that you can double down on your podcast in promotion in the next year.

 

Think About IP Protection

Now, footnote on the episode square artwork just so all you know, and those of you that may know it already, I want to emphasize this point. It is important. Apple, which is just absurd that they don’t do this, does not use that episode artwork, that featured image from the episode even when they display a list of episodes in a search. They know they should. I’ve talked to them. They know they’re behind the times on this. Apple, if you’re listening, get your acting gear, fix this, because it’s in everybody’s interest, Apple’s, as well as the podcasters and the listeners. They’ve been dragging their feet on that one. You’ll notice that in pretty much every other podcast-listening app, Spotify, iHeart, whatever ones that you use, but Apple, for some reason, hasn’t done that yet. Don’t worry. Nothing’s broken there. When you look at all your episodes in search, it’s just the way it is. I have one more thing to add to the new rules.

Before we go, we had a fifth one because you got a bonus one. The fifth one is now that you’ve been podcasting a while, and hopefully you didn’t just start. You’re upgrading your listing. You’re upgrading your podcast. You’re checking these five essential things. Hopefully, you’re about a year into it. Now’s the time to think about, did you get the URL for your podcast? Did you copyright your name, your cover art? If you’re going to keep it, should you trademark the name? That might be possible. These are things to think about.

If you’re looking at where you’re going with this, are you going to build a bigger business around this? Is this going to grow into something else? Now is the time to think about intellectual property protection, and thinking about copyrighting, trademarking, and things like that at this moment in time, and making sure you secure all your URLs, all your social handles, all the things that you might need to make sure that you can double down on your podcast in promotion in the next year. Those are some things. That goes hand-in-hand with the idea of having email and a newsletter, which is our bonus item here.

Although, I do want to mention trademarks because you just said that. If you are thinking out there in the world that trademarking your podcast name is an incredibly expensive thing to do, it’s actually not. There are some very inexpensive resources for doing that. Some of them are do-it-yourself, something like Trademark Engine which is an app. You can do it on your phone if you really want to, or if you’re not wanting to go that road and do it on your own, there are attorneys out there specifically with very inexpensive flat fees for doing it for a podcast. We’ve interviewed some on this show, and you can definitely check out PodcastersUnited.org, Feed Your Brand Show, and search on trademarking and you’ll find that.

Use podcasting as a business-to-business strategy. Share on X

New rule, this is important for any of you podcasters that are sending out any mass emails. I know maybe a lot of you are podcasters for a passion project and don’t send out mass emails. I know a lot of you out there listening have a business and you are sending out mass emails. There are some new rules here taking effect, I believe, February 1st. Originally, we have been told January 1st, but the latest data I have is February 1st. Google, in particular, is driving this, and they have changed it so that your mass emails have to be configured in certain ways.

There are some requirements like you have to have a one-click unsubscribe link right at the top of the email not buried in the footer or hidden somewhere or hard to see. There are some very specific things. Some of them, I’m going to tell you, are a little complex, especially if you’re sending mass emails out from your own domain name. There are some things in the DNS settings of your domain name that have to be configured properly. I’m not going to go into all those details here, but we will have a link in the blog post for this episode that has an information page from Google where you can get that information, but in particular, the unsubscribe is very important.

Here’s the thing, folks. If you don’t do it, your emails are not going to be delivered by Gmail. All the people you’re sending things to have a Gmail address or an email managed by Google Gmail, even if it’s your own name and you’re using their system, your emails are not going to get through to those people. I’ve just been doing some tests because I do mass emails every week for lead generation, webinars, and new prospects. I know I’m already in compliance because I knew this was coming. Already my emails, just one I sent yesterday, are getting over 70% open rate, which is great. Actually, almost all delivered like 99%-something delivered, but 70% open rate and now over 12% click rate.

I’m not having a problem with email delivery and even opens, but I got to get more people to click on what I’m putting. I’m working on other aspects of my emails. This is a good time of year going to take stock on it. Use this as an opportunity to make sure you’re in compliance, but what are you going to do differently to make what you’re doing more effective? I do think that crosses over to a lot of things podcasting, and this would apply to a lot of podcasters, so thank you for indulging me while I share that. I think it’s important stuff.

We’ll cut that section out and we’ll make it a special tip. For those of you who don’t remember or haven’t heard from us before, Podcasters United, it’s where we donated this podcast. We essentially use this podcast and my podcast, The Binge Factor, and we’ve donated it to the organization, the nonprofit Podcasters United. There’s an entire tip library over there that we maintain, but it has a whole bunch of other experts in there as well. Fran Asaro’s tip that I just gave you about YouTube will be posted up shortly over there because she just gave it to me. Fran Asaro is our YouTube expert.

We have experts on LinkedIn who have been giving us tips as well that we’re filling in over there that we’re doing episodes on so that you have a broader spread of information that is really going to help you promote your podcast, make a better podcast, and really use podcasting as a business-to-business strategy. That’s why we’re over there. Go check out PodcastersUnited.org. You can find the blog post for this episode. You can find all the links we talked about, especially if you’re driving as Tom was saying, “Don’t write anything down. Don’t put anything down. Don’t worry, we got you covered. It’s all written down over there.”

Thanks, everybody. We’ll be back next time with another great episode here on Feed Your Brand.

 

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Tracy Hazzard and Tom Hazzard

As podcasting and monetization marketing experts, husband and wife team, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard help major publications, sports stars, and entrepreneurial influencers broadcast their original messages. A highly successful inventor and product designer, Tom has been rethinking brand innovation to build in authority and high-converting revenue streams. Tracy brings an insider media/promotion perspective as a former Columnist for Inc. Magazine, contributor to BuzzFeed and international speaker. Together, they are the blog writers and podcast co-hosts for Feed Your Brand and The Binge Factor. They provide businesses of all sizes actionable tactics and strategies to spread marketing messages, grow valuable audiences, and retain valuable platform authority without a lot of time, cost or effort.
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