Unveiling The Power Of rasa.io: Transforming Podcast Communities

Imagine a world where your podcast newsletter gets opened with excitement, not deleted with a sigh. Get rid of those boring newsletters that no one reads as Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard discuss how they use rasa.io, an AI-driven newsletter, to keep their podcast community engaged. They talk about the challenges of traditional newsletters and how AI helps them curate content, personalize the experience for listeners, and even write catchy subject lines. They also share some fun unsubscribe message ideas and explain why this approach is a win-win-win for them, their community, and their business.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

 

Unveiling The Power Of rasa.io: Transforming Podcast Communities

I am going to talk about newsletters. I know it sounds so archaic to say that. I’m going to talk about AI-driven newsletters and how we’re using them to build our community. When we talked about trying to keep our team and our community updated, we wanted to educate them and update them. There are so many changes going on in the podcast industry. It has a lot of new things that come up at any given time. There are new tactics that didn’t work yesterday that work today or stuff that’s been working that stops working. You have a lot of that that you need to discuss and share. It’s hard to get your community to pay attention to a social media post about it.

How do we do that? How do we keep them informed? Let’s face it, our emails are inundated. We ignore 90% of what comes through an email. Are we going to pay attention to a newsletter? It was a big question I had. I thought about the amount of effort the amount of people paying attention to that newsletter didn’t seem worth it to me.

We’d put this off and not thought about this but there got to be such a model of so much content and information that we needed to convey to our community to help them transform their podcasts, help them grow, educate them on what’s going on in the industry, and keep them informed and updated, then add that into keeping them informed about the AI impacts into podcasting.

All of those things were confusing things to the point at which we needed to make sure that we were keeping them up-to-date in some way, shape, or form. We felt that the newsletter was the best model for us to be able to keep them informed, but let them decide how to communicate, how to access that, how to engage with that, or how to view it.

AI-Driven Newsletters

With the AI-driven model, it went one step further. If they did engage with it or engage with it, it customizes and gives them more of what they’re looking for. That’s how we decided to approach this. It wasn’t until these AI newsletters came in that I started to say, “This is going to do what I want it to do. It’s going to create this proper weekly roll-up. It’s going to feel like it’s giving me the information I need.”

If I’m in the exploration of deciding to publish a book for my podcast, then I can do that and I will get more information if I click on some of those articles. If I’m solely interested in growing my YouTube and I start clicking on more of those articles. I’m going to get them back for me. Tom, glad you jumped into the episode. As you know, we’re talking about newsletters and we’re talking about why we chose the AI-driven newsletter.

I have enjoyed experiencing it. I have to tell you, it is completely different. Newsletters used to take so long to put together, so is the content going to be of interest to everybody? There’s so much about this new program that makes it easy and more valuable for the recipients. It’s customized for everyone.

It’s that customization that added that extra edge to me because this is the thing, I’m not a beginner podcaster. Is everything that’s going to come out there going to be too beginner-focused or am I going to be talking over the head of somebody new? By being able to allow the AI itself to customize that, it’s given us the ability to make one newsletter and make it work for more people in our community.

I don’t know if you mentioned this already, but we use it to announce our topic for our upcoming weekly coaching call, which is also the topic for this episode.

Every week, we pin that and adjust it. It’s the main announcement. When we used to send the announcement about the coaching call, we used to get all these people right back. They’re so annoyed. They don’t need it and don’t want these emails like it’s just too much. There wasn’t enough relevant useful information.

By pinning that and adding it to the newsletter, we’re able to make that announcement but also provide additional value. It makes those kinds of email announcements more commonly read because they’ll take a look at them. That’s one of the other reasons. We needed to have a vehicle to announce what the coaching call topics are and that’s what you’re reading now.

Choosing rasa.io

We had multiple things that we wanted to accomplish and it wasn’t until we had this AI customization that was able to come in that we were able to do this at a reasonable cost. That’s also something to consider. For under $200 a month, and that’s if you do bells and whistles. You don’t have to pay that much. There are cheaper versions of it, but we do two different versions of our newsletter.

 

Feed Your Brand | Podcast Communities

 

We do three, but there are two different versions for two different audiences. We have a couple of versions. We’re running multiple newsletters, which you can run. There’s also the number of people you have in your circulation list that goes into the factor of how you max out, whether or not you have to buy. You could start with a small one then as you get a larger newsletter subscription base, you can grow up to it and expand. That’s one of the areas we were looking for, was keeping the cost low on this. A second thing for us, we felt that the company was going to last.

Do you mean the provider, you say?

The provider because a lot of these AI companies are all only in it to get bought out. That’s the thing, they want to create one killer app and then get bought by a bigger company then you’re going to lose all the things you’ve built in all of this. We spent a lot of time and it took me about months to review all of the different options.

One of the things that I came across is that I found that about half of the people I was meeting with were reselling the same thing. They were managing a newsletter service but they weren’t the provider of it. They weren’t the actual source. It eliminated a lot of these Newsletter.ai and a bunch of these companies that were popping up left and right to be able to do this stuff.

We instead went straight to the source that we found most of them were using and that’s Rasa.io. Now, the thing about Rasa is they also got a huge influx of capital. They’ve been doing everything right by what they’re doing. We’ve been with them for at least nine months now and set up all the way through. We’ve been doing this for a while but we’ve been now about five months in actual execution of sending it out regularly to some subscribers.

We grew our list and added everybody at the beginning of 2024. We’re talking about three and a half months into it at this stage. We chose them because of a few things that they have. First off, the sales process was great. The people there were fantastic hands-on. They have a great onboarding process that is simple and easy to set up, test, play with, use, and learn from. They have great emails.

They do a great job of sending emails with suggestions. They drip them at a point at which you’re ready to address these things. Somebody did a great job psychologically here of planning out. We get a new suggestion and it’s not so frequent that we can’t deploy it. It comes at the right moment when we’re like, “We could change that. That sounds great. Let’s try that and see if that works.” It’s right at the moment for us to be able to experiment. They’ve done a great job of dripping that out to us as well.

Content, Content, Content

It was pointed out by our marketing assistant, that customer service, when you ask a question, gets back to you and is great about helping you figure things out. That says a lot about that. As I said before, this is not a high cost to deliver this. It’s under $200. We pay under $150. That’s why we chose RASA. Mainly we chose it because it has two features to the curation process and here’s the key. If you want a great newsletter, you’ve got to curate a great list of content sources.

Content is the big red flag and point to this. If you want people to not opt out of your newsletter, you have to provide them with good content.

Tom, what do you think the key is to good content?

Consistency and volume. Is that what we’re talking about?

It’s the same thing we say to our podcasters. It’s consistent and constant. If you are consistently doing something weekly and you are constantly about it, the AI will reward you in the process. That’s the one thing we found. We found that if it’s current new information, it’s more likely to serve it up. It looks at that first then it looks at relevance because it wants new information.

 

 

If it’s something new, if we’re talking about the changes to Apple standards or something in the podcasting industry. This is relevant information, but it’s also current information that we need to disseminate as fast as possible. Everyone needs to get to it. The AI will reward that by putting that in more newsletters. This is something. It’s like having good sources for that, but also not having only your own voice. That diversity in your content.

That’s the big point I also want our readers to understand. You don’t have to create all this content yourself. In fact, you don’t want to because you want a variety of content. Hopefully, not a direct competitor but somebody complimentary to you or vendors that you work with or that you and your community might all want to use. There are lots of ways to bring in other meaningful and valuable content for your community.

Podcast Community

If you watched our coaching calls on live streams or you’re one of our clients. You know that we don’t let people into our community or speak to our community lightly. We take it very seriously. We work with them for a while. We make sure that they’re also podcasters so that they have a sense, understanding, and empathy with how hard it is to podcast, so they understand the system of what we do.

They’ve been clients or work with our clients. That could also be the case. We also then make sure that the content that they’re putting out is more than just what they talk about on the air with us when we have them do a coaching crash or come in and give some advice on air. We want them to have their own set of content that is educational, and informative, not a bunch of webinars, and not irrelevant.

They can have that content in video, so in a video library on YouTube. They can have it in a podcast and a blog. It does not have to be a podcast only. I want to be clear about that. You could have it in any one of those formats. I also want them to be consistent and constant because I can’t help and promote them. I can’t provide their useful information and services. It won’t show up if they’re not currently hosting. They’re not adding to that information regularly. That’s our requirement.

We’re careful about it. You won’t see in the Podetize Weekly Newsletter, anyone who isn’t a joint venture partner. If you’re joining us on Podcasters United, so in the nonprofit that we donated our show, Feed Your Brand. We do all of our live streams through PodcastersUnited.org. If you’re in the Podcasters United one, it might have some of what we call sponsor-founder members.

It might have some members that serve the podcasting community but aren’t necessarily podcasters. They do mostly have their own content in some way, shape, or form, or it doesn’t work. There’s some expansion into people who provide SEO services and webinar services and other things that might make a more robust podcasting business than things that we would present to our own client base. There’s a little bit going on there in what we’ve offered and do, but they have to be a sponsor member or their content isn’t getting served up over there.

Those are the two newsletters we have. If you’re not one of our Podetize clients, that’s okay. You can subscribe to the Podcasters United. Go to PodcastersUnited.org and if you fill out the form to join the membership there, you’ll automatically get enrolled in the Podcasters United newsletter. It’s free. There’s no charge.

Eye-catching Newsletters

That’s the only email we send. We don’t send a bunch of emails, otherwise. It’s the only thing you’ll get weekly. You can check it out and see how this RASA thing works. It’s amazing. We have a lot of fun with that. Tom, have you read some of the newsletters that have been coming to your inbox? Have some of them caught your eye?

Yes.

Why do they catch your eye because you’re not a reader?

It’s not the primary way I like to consume information, but it gets my attention. I’ll tell you that.

A lot of these AI companies are only in it to get bought out. Share on X

You get hundreds of emails. You’re always backed up on email. I know you are.

It’s a subject line in the preview text that gets my attention.

That’s the two things that we’ve learned and played with some. I’m going to read a couple of examples of some of my favorites just to give you a sense of it. It says, “If you don’t read this, your eyeballs may explode. Why risk it?” We’ve had a lot of fun with it.

We’re trying, anyway.

We’re trying to have a lot of fun with this. What is this week’s? This week’s was, “Do you know how long it takes to read a good subject line? … Me.” Which I thought was funny. We have on Podcasters United this week. It was, “Every day, thousands of newsletters go on red. Won’t you please help?” You see they’re very cheeky and fun.

What we discovered, and this is your key. You brought this to our attention. If you don’t insert a preview line and what we do with our new line is we put the topic for the coaching call in the preview line. The preview line doesn’t show up when you get to the email, it’s when you’re looking at it in its preview mode. Mostly on your phone, you’ll notice a preview line. If you do not put a preview line, what happens, Tom?

Here’s what I learned because of the changes, if you’ve done any mass email or received any, even if you don’t send a lot of mass email. I send a lot of mass emails out to people who are not a part of our community yet, podcasters. I have a live session usually every week about how to grow your audience and provide real value. You’re sending emails to people who don’t know you very well.

Now with the new standards, the very first thing at the top of every email needs to be an unsubscribe link. If you don’t do that, your email is going to get filtered out by Gmail, which is a huge number of emails on this earth now, among other spam filters. What I found is if I don’t put preview text in, the first thing somebody will see, they see the subject line in the preview text. The first thing they see is unsubscribed in the preview text.

Do you think anybody’s going to open that email if the first thing it says is unsubscribed? It’s like, “That’s a mass email. Forget that. Next.” On to the next one. What I found is not only do I want to create a meaningful preview text that’s going to build anticipation and get people to want to open the email now. If I don’t have a preview text line of a certain number of characters because what you’re trying to do is used up. There is a maximum character count for preview text and you want to use all of it.

The reason is so in every situation and it’s different in every device. It’s going to be different in your mail up on your phone than on your laptop or in one email program versus another. You want to use all that preview text because it pushes that unsubscribe, which is the very first thing in the body of the email pushes it off so it will never appear in the preview text. That is what I learned. This is a free tip or pro tip for any of you doing mass email that is a new change that occurred in 2024 with the new email standards. Did Google establish that with Gmail or is that just a consortium?

It’s a broader consortium. It’s the same thing in Yahoo and Gmail. It is brought across all of the mail programs, but most of us have Gmail. Most of us have something like that, but it does work the same way everywhere. That unsubscribe needs to be at the top. It has to do with the fact of so much spamming going on.

The powers that be about mass email have just decided, “If you’re sending a mass email, you need to make it easy for people to unsubscribe.” We do this. We have the unsubscribe at the top. The very first thing as it needs to be. We also have a one-click unsubscribe link in the footer of the email. Now, can I share one other thing and mildly gripe a little bit about people who receive mess emails?

Feed Your Brand | Podcast Communities
Podcast Communities: If you’re sending a mass email, you need to make it easy for people to unsubscribe now.

 

You would think, for anybody who does not want to receive the email and does not want to be subscribed to your emails. It’s pretty darn obvious. The very first thing at the top says unsubscribe and there’s a one-click unsubscribe in the footer of my emails anyway. I can’t even tell you how many people reply to the email and say, “Please unsubscribe. I don’t want to be a part of this list.” Let me click that unsubscribe link for you and unsubscribe you.

I’m surprised how many people take the time to reply and send me an email that says, “Please unsubscribe me.” Sometimes it’s not that polite. When all they have to do is click that our own button themselves because that’s all I do. They’ve replied to the email. I click the link for them and unsubscribe them.

There are those people who believe and it is a false belief, I’m just going to say that out there. If you’re one of those, stop doing it because it’s not good practice. There are those people who believe that if they click any link in an email, then they will get a virus on their phone or any link is predatory and damaging. Follow them around the internet or whatever it is. They believe that. It is worse to respond to an email back to an address than it is to click the link. You now have told your mail service that that’s a valid email address. You validated them by doing it instead of hitting unsubscribe. I’m just going to tell you that that’s a mistake.

The way the rules of mass email and all of the different companies that you send it out through, if they unsubscribe, that’s like a cardinal rule. They’re on a permanent do-not-email list. If you don’t want to receive it, you need to unsubscribe. Now, maybe there are some people hacking it and doing different things, but okay.

Let’s talk about unsubscribes. This is also something that I discovered.

I didn’t know if you wanted to share that, but you’re going to. This is fun, folks. Hang on.

I had to unsubscribe because we had a bunch of test emails that we’d been running for a while. I realized it was getting like three copies of the newsletter, which is nothing.

Our own newsletter.

I was getting three copies. I needed to unsubscribe one of them to do it. I tested the unsubscribe process and I don’t know why I hadn’t done it before now, but I did do it. We had the most boring unsubscribe message. It says, “We received a request to unsubscribe you from our newsletter. We’re sorry to see you go.” That’s it. I was like, “We don’t have to do that.” I went to the good old trustee AI and said, “Give me some options for unsubscribing that have the same tone and intention as our subject lines do but give them a little fear of missing out and making them regret unsubscribing.”

That’s what I asked it to do. That was simply my prompt and I gave them some examples of our subject lines. I got some that are so hilarious. I got, “Uh-oh, it seems you’ve initiated the unsubscription protocol. Please note this may cause a decrease in your daily dose of AI podcast insights. Are you sure you want to risk becoming less informed than your robot vacuum?” Hilarious. I love that one.

It named it and it calls this one guilt trip with a twist, “We understand, our AI-powered wit can be overwhelming. If you reconsider, our algorithms are always here learning and improving for other podcast hosts.” This is a little twist of the knife right in at the end here. It is like others that appeal to the ego like honest but funny. The last one is the passive-aggressive approach, “Your unsubscribe request has been processed. Please allow 3 to 5 business days for the feeling of full regret to set in.”

At that point, if they’ve clicked to unsubscribe, we’ll comply but you may as well have some fun with it. It might make them think twice about unsubscribing.

The more you use AI, the more you'll understand how to use them to get good results. Share on X

Here’s the other great thing about RASA and one of the reasons we chose it. They use AI within the system, so you can get suggestions for subject lines. The more you’ve done over time, the better it is. It starts to learn your tone and learn suggestions for copy. It does these things. You can utilize some of those features as well and they’re relatively new features. Not all of them are working perfectly, but the more you use them, the more you’ll understand how to use them to get good results.

Sales Vehicle

I like to use Gemini Bard. I also do output things into Gemini Bard and see what happens. That’s where those came from. Anyway, thinking about those things, you can have some fun with them everywhere. Not just in your titles and your preview, but also in your unsubscribe area as well. The other thing that we like, in order to make sure that we get appropriate attention for the timely things that we have going on like our coaching call that’s going to run, the topic that happened, or if we have an offer that is running out.

You want to pin something about a webinar that you’re running. Anything like that, you can, what they call pin it. When you pin it, it goes into every single newsletter. Every single person who is subscribed gets a different set of content from your curated library. If you pin something, it goes to everyone. This is your opportunity.

That’s what we do with our weekly event topic.

That’s how you do it. You can pin something at the top, in the middle, or at the end. You have an opportunity to do that. You can pin multiple things. You have an opportunity to turn the newsletter into a sales vehicle without being too salesy, mind you, but providing value in between. What’s important for you to think about is how that works for yourself.

Remember, if you’re going to deliver a newsletter to people, a newsletter is inherently current and important information and something educational and useful. If you do those things, then any offer that you make needs to be relevant to that. Keep that in mind as you’re writing them or putting them in there. We’ve done a good job here. Considering our client-based, email open rate is horrendous. It’s bad.

In general.

That’s because our clients are busy. That’s why they hired us. If I look at ours, I’m going to call it our do-it-yourselfers. The ones who are self-supporting themselves on the platform, self-publishing via Podetize. If I looked at them as a subset in the newsletter and I can segregate that to take a look at that. I’m seeing a much higher open rate.

That means that they’re getting value from things that they may not hear about because they can’t join every single coaching call or they missed a bunch that happened two years ago. Now that they click something about YouTube, five other past ones have shown up for them in the newsletter. They’re able to now navigate through the content to find that. You’re helping people help themselves by doing a good job of providing a vehicle for which this occurs and doing a good job of being consistent about it so that they can get current content and older content as they need it.

Sounds logical to me. Modern newsletter using modern technology to provide greater value. It seems like a win-win-win to me.

It’s solving all of our community engagement problems and the education and growth that we’re trying to do. It is transforming the community to being one that we can continue to serve them but in a way that isn’t too time-consuming for us and too repetitive. That’s also another problem a lot of us find as coaches.

We end up repeating things to our community again and again. That means that we don’t serve those who’ve been around the longest as well. That’s something that I don’t want to leave anyone behind, but I also want to serve those that have been loyal to us. By having something that helps to customize to where they are, you’re going to be able to create that richer experience. I hope you start reading our newsletter. Tom, you especially, but all of you out there.

Even getting it in your inbox or if you sign up for it. Try it because the more you play with it, the better it gets. It can’t learn you in one click. You’ve got to click it more often and you’ve got to check out an article. When you see something that attracts your attention, even if you don’t have time to watch the full video at another time, click through it because the algorithm is learning by the mere fact that you click through it. They can’t see if you watch the video on the other side.

Feed Your Brand | Podcast Communities
Podcast Communities: You have an opportunity to turn the newsletter into a sales vehicle without being too salesy but providing value in between.

 

It’s not that robust in terms of tracking. We might be putting UTM links in some of our blogs, but unless they’re in the content itself. It’s not going to be happening that we’re watching you watch it. The clicking of it, the fact that the title caught your eye, or the topic caught your eye. That was something worth doing. Spend two seconds just scrolling through the newsletter and clicking on the few things that are important to you. AI is going to learn to give you more of that.

I had been subscribed to Wired Magazine’s newsletter for about a year. Their newsletter was not smart and it shifted over in months. They had been doing it where I’d been getting it and not interacting with it. Now, I started interacting with it and all of a sudden, it is giving me articles I’d missed. Things I didn’t know and things I wished I had read. Now they’re coming up for me there. All kinds of big companies. Media companies are using these methods. Why not use it for your business? I guarantee you have a lot of content in there that no one’s gotten to see yet. Wouldn’t it be great if they could find it right when they needed it most?

That sounds fantastic. I’ve never been so excited about this. I hope our readers got a lot of value out of that. Remember, go try it out. Go to PodcastersUnited.org and become a member. You can test it out right there.

We have links to everything and links to RASA so that you can make sure you get into the right process. We managed to get a special link. It’s Podetize.com/rasa. If you use that link, it gets you to the same team we have. We managed to structure that so that our link gets you to the same salespeople that we already worked with and used. That’s fun and nice because we know they’re good.

Words to the wise. We hope to see a lot of you and get value through either Podcasters United newsletter or Feed Your Brand, which you will also find at PodcastersUnited.org. Remember, if you were a member of the Podetize community, you would be able to stick with us after we get our recording episode here to ask questions. Until next time, it’s been Tom and Tracy Hazzard 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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