This month's consultant: Courtney Kocak
Jeff De La Rosa, host of The Culture asks:
Is starting a newsletter or blog to supplement your podcast a good idea?
In the very online Substack era, it’s definitely a relevant consideration. Let’s make a pros and cons list together, and see if it’s worth the extra effort:
Pro for newsletter:
Aside from when listeners meet up with your podcast on its RSS feed, they are strangers to you. What I mean by that is you have no direct mode of communication apart from that feed. But with a newsletter, you own your email list and you have an easy, direct way to contact your listeners. That’s why I think it’s crucial to set up a companion newsletter for your podcast, even if you don’t plan to use it very often.
Pro for blog:
The SEO of a blog should increase traffic to your website. We’re in the process of updating our website for my podcast, Private Parts Unknown, and we’re very much thinking about how to leverage SEO. Even just adding a press page with all of our sexpert commentary for sites like Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan should help more folks find us through their search results. A blog where you post relevant content to your podcast’s niche will grow your online footprint and draw in new listeners over time.
Con for both:
Ideally, your blog or newsletter will contain some original content to incentivise listeners to read and subscribe. However, it’s an extra production lift to make a blog or newsletter its own unique thing. If you have time to create original content to supplement your show via newsletter or blog posts, that’s awesome! You’ll probably see more engagement than you would with repurposed content. However, if you’re an independent podcaster you are probably running the show solo or with a skeleton crew, and the idea of taking on an additional task might be too much.
Cost-benefit compromise if you’re low on bandwidth:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by just making your podcast good at the moment, don’t sweat it. You can start with something manageable. For instance, you could set up a Substack newsletter for your podcast and commit to monthly or quarterly roundups of your favourite recent episodes. Likewise, for a low-lift blog, publish a variation on your show notes to your podcast’s website or a quarterly ‘Top 5’ to highlight your favourite eps. By starting slow, you can begin to build your email list or get some added SEO benefits in a way that doesn’t lead to burnout.
And if you need some newsletter inspo, check out the companion Substack for my podcast Private Parts Unknown and my weekly newsletter for indie podcasters called Podcast Bestie.
Break a leg, podcasters!