Weighing it up: the pros and cons of podcast networks
Some of the most popular podcasts in the UK and beyond belong to a podcast network. In this article, we’re exploring what joining a podcast network would mean for you as we weigh up the pros and cons. If you’ve been pondering about joining a network, you’ll want to read this.
The basics of a podcast network
Simply put, podcast networks are a collection of podcasts that share a common goal – to grow. The podcasts that are part of the network can be produced, distributed, or promoted to advertisers and listeners through a single company. Typically speaking, the podcasts under one network are often connected by similar themes or audiences.
Networks vary significantly; from one of the longest-running networks, Quick and Dirty Tips which gets 2 million monthly downloads, to more niche offerings such as LadyGang, there is a wide variety on offer.
How podcast networks operate
Although some podcast networks are ad-free, most networks help podcasters become more visible to advertisers. Once you’ve joined a podcast network, your network will likely promote your show on their other shows, support your digital marketing efforts, and connect you with sponsors for your show.
Of course, such a platform comes at a cost and, often, strict entry requirements. While it varies from network to network, the typical requirements include:
- Ad revenue sharing – which is usually a 70/30 split
- Frequency – at least one episode each week
- Downloads – typically 1,000 per episode or 5,000 per month (note, larger networks often have higher requirements)
- Cross-promotion of other shows within the network
So, now that we’ve covered a top-line overview of podcast networks let’s delve into the pros and cons.
Podcast Network Pros
Sponsorship opportunities – your network will offer you access to high-paying advertisers, the kind of sponsorships that can be difficult to access on your own. Plus, as networks do the leg work, you can focus on creating content.
Boosted visibility – as mentioned earlier, many networks will work with podcasts with similar themes or audiences. By joining a network, your show will be in front of thousands of listeners who are your target audience.
Production support – while not all networks offer production support, many do, which will allow you to ensure your show is of the highest possible quality.
Credibility – to do well in podcasting, you need trust. Being part of a recognised network often adds credibility and gives your show greater authority.
Networking opportunities – from meeting like-minded podcasters to finding guests to interview, joining a network is an excellent way to find valuable connections that will help you grow your pod.
Marketing support – in addition to the opportunity for cross-promotion, some networks will also support you with your marketing strategy. So, be sure to check out what each network is offering.
Improved insights – networks boast the resources to pull together an in-depth analysis of listener data, which is key to growing your podcast.
Podcast Network Cons
Potential loss of creative control – As of now, you’re in complete control of your podcast. However, some networks will ask you to hand over veto power on your content, ultimately giving you less control and creative freedom.
Revenue share – as mentioned earlier, you’ll have to share your revenue with your network. Typically, you can expect to give 30% back to your network, although it does vary.
You may have to switch hosting services – it’s not uncommon for a network to want all of their shows hosted and produced using the same platform. Not only can this be an inconvenience, but you may also lose loyal listeners.
You’ll likely have to end existing sponsorships – if you already have sponsors for your podcast, you’ll likely have to bid them farewell as your network requests exclusive rights and control over your sponsors and advertisers.
Despite the many benefits of joining a podcast network, there is no guarantee of success. If you’re thinking about joining a network, take the time to carefully consider the pros and cons and what they mean to your podcast. While for many, the pros will outweigh the cons, ultimately, only you can make the decision. As a word of parting advice, do your research, speak to fellow podcasters and take the time you need to make an informed decision.
If joining a network isn’t suitable for you, perhaps becoming a member of our supportive and knowledgeable community is the next step for you.