The Strategy Differences Between Private and Public Podcasts

In addition to launching our own private podcast about a year ago, we’ve launched several private podcasts for clients over the last year. And today, I want to talk about the strategic difference between a private podcast and a public podcast.

We launched The Podcast Newsroom just short of a year ago, August, but in addition to that, we’ve launched a lot of private podcasts in the last year for clients, some as marketing pieces, some as content delivery pieces, we talked about some of the ways you can use private podcasts and I sat down with the incredible Lindsay Padilla, who is a co-founder of Hello Audio, which is a tool we use for our private podcast and we use most frequently.

We’ve talked a lot about private podcasts on this show, but one thing we’ve never really dug into is the strategic differences between a private podcast and a public podcast. I want to talk about three today.

As you listen to this episode, there is no right or wrong, there is no private or public, we have both. I want you to take the information I give you today and run it through your own filters and your own knowledge of your business and the own clarity of your goals to help you decide which one is the right fit for you. 

The first strategic difference between private and public podcasts is your relationship with the listeners. 

A public podcast is public, you have a whole range of possibilities as far as where your relationship is with the listener. This episode, you and me right now, this could be the very first episode you’ve ever heard of the show and maybe you found it via social or someone shared it with you, or you were searching for something in apple podcast or on another podcast player, and this got delivered to you, or you Googled “Private podcasts” and this showed up. Yay! SEO works. 

On the flip side, you could be somebody who has been listening to this podcast since episode 1, 9 years ago, and you’ve heard very nearly every episode. For those listening for the 568th episode, you’re probably going to get some Staceyisms, some things I’ve repeated. And those are going to be just lightbulb moments for somebody who just heard them, I’m sure. But for those of us who have heard them a million times, they’re just reinforcement, that’s different. 

A private podcast is in fact private, the discoverability is different. We’re going to talk about that a little bit when we talk about production differences. But that means they probably already are bought in, your listener probably already knows you. I’m a lot more likely to be talking to people who have been listening to me for 9 years and know everything about me than I am to be talking to somebody who just discovered me and has no motherlovin’ idea who I am. And that is a really important thing to acknowledge and understand because it’s going to impact your content, your calls to action, but more than anything, it’s going to impact the way you talk about things.

More often than not, you will hear me on this show pointing you towards getting to know me better. Reach out on Instagram, drop me an email, sign up for The Podcast Newsroom, all three of those options are a way for you to raise your hand without having to open your wallet. Because maybe we just met and it would be weird if I was like, cool. I know you already know I’m a genius because we met 37 seconds ago. How about you let me solve your problem that you’re maybe not even sure is your problem yet.

In contrast, on The Podcast Newsroom and the private podcast, you more frequently hear me talking about, now is the time to learn more about Podcast Production Services. Because we’ve already done that part. You know me. If you now have a firm understanding that this is your problem and this is your solution and I happen to be the girl holding the keys to the solution. 

I want to be really abundantly clear that this is going to impact the way you speak to your listener, it’s going to impact the format, it’s going to impact the calls to action, it’s going to impact everything. 

The number 2 strategic difference between private and public podcasts, is how you’re going to market them. 

Like any other offer, we’ve got to make sure we are promoting it. We have this conversation a lot. I don’t think that business owners recognize that launching a podcast is like launching an offer, is like launching a program or a course or a book or a service or whatever else, it has to be marketed. Building it will not create a listenership.

How you Market it is going to be different depending on the kind of show it is: You’re going to have different assets, and you’re going to have different results. 

When you’re marketing a public podcast, you’re marketing individual episodes. I don’t need you to buy in on the Uncommonly More show, I need you to buy in on an episode about the strategic differences between private podcasts and public podcasts. That’s all I have to get you to buy in on. There’s a very clear, “This is what you’re going to get here”.

And I can share audiograms and quote graphics and tease it on TikTok and release it on YouTube and do the individual episode optimization for search, which is going to impact, as we’ve talked about in the SEO episode a couple of weeks ago, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, whatever podcast directory you’re using as a way to listen to the show. It’s also going to impact the search on Google or Bing or Yahoo or DuckDuckGo or whatever it might be, there is an optimization of each individual episode that has to happen. 

However, when I have a private podcast, I’m going to need some kind of traffic driver that allows me to get people to buy in on the whole concept, not the individual episodes. Now, I could promote an individual episode as a way to get them in the door, especially for a show like mine where the barrier to entry [inaudible] email address. It’s even harder when you’re talking about the barrier to entry being a financial investment. I see financial investment like it’s going to be thousands of dollars, it could be 2$, whatever the case may be, getting someone to enter their email address and getting someone to open their wallet are not necessarily the same lifts. And so, I’ve got to be selling you on the whole concept that this is what this entity is. 

A great way to think about this for a lot of us, especially if you’ve ever sold courses or you sold memberships, and this was very true back when we had a membership site, “Hit the Mic Backstage”. And before I had Hit the Mic Backstage, I sold courses, and it was a very similar thing. Was it me, getting you to buy in on one program? Or was it me, getting you to buy in on a collection of programs? And that was a difference between selling the course and selling the membership. 

And the same is true when you start thinking about your private and your public podcasts. With public podcasts, I can get you to buy in on just one part of the offer, I don’t need you to buy in on the whole offer. For the private podcast, when I marketing it, when I’m selling it, I’m selling a whole idea. I got to get you to buy in on the whole kit and caboodle because there’s a different lift to get there. 

And because a private podcast isn’t likely going up on your website as public blog posts or show notes, it’s not going out through your podcast directories in a way that’s going to show up on Google, it’s not discoverable in the podcast directories. I can’t be using things like SEO, and we’re going to talk a bit about that next when we talk about the production differences. So I’ve got to be leaning on other tools. And that’s why I’ve talked so much about the [inaudible]. I use this public podcast and a private podcast to help reinforce that relationship road, right? To help reinforce, to give you a next step that is not just our offer

Because there’s a big gap for us, as service providers, between this free podcast and our monthly production rates, and so it’s imperative that I make sure that there is some value along the way to help you decide if we’re the solution for you. So a private podcast is really helpful. By the way, it’s the next step after this show. And so this show is how I market that idea, that collection that we’ve been talking about.

If you want to host a private podcast instead of a public podcast, you need to have a clear understanding of how you intend to put people in that feed: Be it social media, referrals, YouTube video content, or written blog posts. I like a podcast because it’s the same medium. 

If I can get you to listen to the show and provide you the right value, the next step is a no-brainer. And that’s why we’ve seen so much growth in that show so quickly because I’m using this piece of content to lead to the next piece of value which will lead you too. If it’s the right fit, reach out, and let’s have a conversation about production. Be mindful of where it’s going to fit into your marketing and how you’re going to market it if a private podcast is what you’re looking for.

On the flip side, because I am marketing a whole idea with the private podcast, because there is that barrier to entry, again, ours is an email, sometimes it’s the fee, whatever it might be for you, the listenership of that podcast is a whole lot warmer lead. The audience of that show is a whole lot easier to convert, so I don’t need as many of them as I need listeners here to see the same result. And this is a really important nuance, especially for those of us selling a higher-end service offering: Be that like, coaching, or consulting services, or done-for-you services in the case of our show.

The third strategic difference between public and private podcasting comes down to your production.

This is going to come down to the decisions you have to make while producing your show.  For example, I want to come back to this idea of discoverability and marketing. I talked a little bit about the fact that SEO is not going to be the factor that it is in a public feed for a private fee. My titles don’t need to be created for search, they needed to be created for interest. I need to get you to click on it because you’re not going to stumble upon the title of the episode, it’s showing up in your feed because you’ve already raised your hand. 

And so now I have to get you, once you’re in the feed, to actually consume the content of the feed. I’m creating titles and descriptions for interest, not for a search. That means for us, and frankly, most cases, a little more brevity, a lot more clarity, and maybe more than anything else, formatting them differently, really being mindful of hooking the listener, getting them in, getting them interested, and getting them listening. Because subscribing to the private feed, does not help me help you. Listening to the episodes inside of the private feed, that helps me help you. But you’ve got to actually listen. 

So I’ve got to be mindful of the tools I’m using to get you to listen. And so, I’m optimizing those text pieces again for interest and for clicks, not for discoverability, not for search, not for bots, but for humans: That’s important nuance. The other side of that, you’ll notice our private podcast is a little bit lower production as far as some of the stereotypical podcast features. We don’t have a long intro on The Podcast Newsroom. You want to know why? because you probably already heard me say this one. You know who I am, you know what’s happening, I want to get into the content.

I want to get in and get you whatever it is you clicked on to get. So that means we’ve got, I think five to seven seconds of music, mostly to break up if you’re binging the show, at the beginning and at the end. That’s it. Everything else is me talking. And it is literally me talking into the mic, cleaning up anything that needs any big red flags, and dropping it. It’s not overly produced because I want it to feel like a conversation. You and I already know each other on that show, I don’t know how you and I know each other here. 

Think of it as eating dinner at a friend’s house or meeting a friend for dinner at a restaurant. You’re still going to have a great time, you’re still going to have a great conversation, but the kind of conversation you have might change, the way you present the conversation might change, the overall experience of the time together is probably going to be more casual. That’s what I want you to think about when you’re thinking about these differences in production,

Now, that’s not universally true. Where you might see the differences on a production perspective, is you have the ability to go a little longer because people are bought in, people are invested, and I don’t even mean monetarily, I mean, like emotionally and mentally in what you’re sharing. Instead of doing a 15-20 minute episode, you can absolutely get a 30-45 minute episode. Maybe it’s that you get to share more intimate conversations, you get to have more frank conversations, you get to get into the messy middle a little bit more with your case studies, whatever it is, is you’re in a safer space because you have an established relationship on that private feed. And so, it’s going to impact how you produce the show, it’s going to impact the structure, the format, all of those things. So be mindful of those differences 

I want you to know this, as we wrap up this show, one of the biggest differences here, and really all of the differences stem from, the fact that the relationship is different.

The people who are hearing from you on the podcast, when it’s public, maybe don’t know you as well as the people who are listening to the podcast when it’s private. Because when you can start with that understanding, you can make the rest of the decisions. 

If you want to hear an example of a private podcast, get the experience of what signing up for one looks like, and what consuming one looks like, make sure you head over to sign up for ours, The Podcast Newsroom. There are some trainings in there, specifically about how to set up a private podcast. So if you want to know more about the tools, that’s a great place. 

And again, if you want more ideas on how to use these tools, check out the other episodes I linked in the description for this show because those are your best starting point for getting more information about private podcast. And if you are like, “No, I’m ready. I need no more information. Stacey, please produce this for me.” We do produce both public and private podcasts and I would love to sit down with you. 

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