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#25 – Joe Casabona on Why WordPress Is a Great Choice for Your Podcast

So on the podcast today we have Joe Casabona.

Joe is a podcaster and educator, which makes him perfect for the discussion today, ‘Why WordPress Is a Great Choice for Your Podcast’.

He started his career over 20 years ago as a freelance web developer before realising his true passion, which is sharing his years of knowledge to help creators and small business owners.

His goal is to help people make money with their content, which he does primarily through his podcast, and courses.

We start out the podcast talking about Joe’s story; how he found WordPress and podcasting. It was not all plain sailing and Joe went through several iterations of his podcast before he began to think of it less as a hobby, and more as a useful tool for his business.

The conversation then turns to the purpose of setting up a podcast. Right now podcasts appear to be all the rage. Many people create them for fun, as an outlet for their creativity, but there’s also a growing recognition that they can have purposes beyond entertainment. They could help you connect with customers or be used as a way of communicating with your team.

We also cover the subject of the things that you’ll need to create a podcast, and why this list is not as daunting or expensive as you might think. You can, if you like, buy the latest and greatest equipment, but Joe is of the opinion that, whilst this is nice, it’s not essential.

As this is a podcast about WordPress we make sure to discuss how WordPress and podcasting are a perfect match. Whilst many podcast hosting platforms will allow you to have a basic website, it’s likely that you’ll be able to make your podcast more effective if you are able to extend the website’s functionality. WordPress is perfect for this. There’s no restrictions on what you can do and you’re free to change anything whenever you like.

So if you’re curious about how to set up a podcast, or if you’ve already got one going and just want to hear some fresh perspectives, this episode is for you.

Useful links.

Joe’s website

Podcast Liftoff

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case why WordPress is a great choice for your podcast.

If you’d like to subscribe to our podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to WP Tavern dot com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy and paste that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, well I’m keen to hear from you and hopefully get you, or your idea, featured on the show. Head over to WP Tavern dot com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox. And use the contact form there.

So on the podcast today we have Joe Casabona. Joe is a podcast and educator, which makes him perfect for the discussion today. Why WordPress is a great choice for your podcast. He started his career over 20 years ago as a freelance web developer before realizing his true passion. Which is sharing his years of knowledge to help creators and small business owners.

His goal is to help people make money with their content. Which he does primarily through his podcast and his courses. We start out the podcast today talking about Joe story. How he found WordPress and podcasting. It wasn’t all plain sailing. And Joe went through several iterations of his podcast before he began to think of it less as a hobby and more as a useful tool for his business.

The conversation then turns to the purpose of setting up a podcast. Right now podcasts appear to be all the rage. Many people create them for fun. As an outlet for their creativity. But there’s also a growing recognition that they can have a purpose beyond entertainment. They could help you connect with customers or be used as a way of communicating with your team.

We also cover the subject of the things that you’ll need to create a podcast. And why this list is not as daunting or as expensive as you might think. You can, if you like, buy the latest and greatest equipment, but Joe is of the opinion that, whilst this is nice, it’s not essential.

As this as a podcast about WordPress, we make sure to discuss how WordPress and podcasting are a perfect match.

Whilst many podcast hosting platforms will allow you to have a basic website, it’s likely that you’ll be able to make your podcast more effective if you’re able to extend the website’s functionality. WordPress is perfect for this. There’s no restrictions on what you can do and you’re free to change anything whenever you like.

So, if you’re curious about how to set up a podcast, or if you’ve already got one going and just want to hear some fresh perspectives, this episode is for you.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading over to WP Tavern dot com forward slash podcast. Where you’ll also find all the other episodes. And so without further delay, I bring you Joe Casabona.

I am joined on the podcast today by Joe Casabona. Hello Joe.

[00:03:58] Joe Casabona: Hey, Nathan. Thanks for having me.

[00:04:00] Nathan Wrigley: You’re very welcome. Joe and I have actually spoken on a number of occasions, but we’ve never actually spoken about this particular subject. And it’s nice to have you on the WP Tavern podcast as well. First of all, Joe the generic question, which always ask, it may not be the most interesting, but at least it sets the tone for the episode. Give us a little bit of a backstory about yourself as long or as short as you like, tell us who you are and how come you’re talking about podcasts and WordPress today?

[00:04:24] Joe Casabona: Yeah. So I’ve been a WordPress developer since 2004. My origin story is a little bit, I was telling my friend how I think I’m going to build my own content management system, cause I was doing client work since high school. And he said, have you heard of this thing called WordPress? And I was like, no, I looked into it, and I basically used it ever since. I did it the bad way for awhile before pages were supported, I would put like my own PHP files into Core, but then pages got support in like 2006, I think, and since then, pretty much all of my client work has been done with WordPress. I also, since second grade was in drama club from second to 12th grade.

And so I love entertaining. I love performing, and podcasting seemed like a good outlet for that, as I became an adult and moved away from theater, as other things claimed my time. But in 2012, I launched a podcast, but it was terrible because it was like a panel podcast. It was basically just me and my buddies talking, which is just like the worst kind of podcast.

But in 2016 I launched a real proper, I had a proper go at podcasting with my podcast, how I built it. And since then, that’s a main driver of my income. I’m self-employed, full time since 2017. I have three children at home, so this business supports my family and podcasting is a major part of that. And so from 2016 on I’ve been able to combine my two careers of WordPress and podcasting into a content creation business we’ll say.

[00:05:58] Nathan Wrigley: So it’s fair to say that on the subject of podcasting and WordPress combined, you’ve pretty much got it sussed. So that’s perfect. Thank you very much indeed. You mentioned in there that you had a go at podcasting and the format was wrong, but you persevered. And I’m just curious about that. It seems to me that at the moment, the words I’m going to do a podcast, pretty much fall out of everybody’s lips at some point. It’s very much in vogue. Everybody’s talking about it. It’s the latest thing. Whether or not that continues, who knows, but right now it seems that everybody wants to get on that bandwagon. Do you think it is for everybody? Are there any gotchas that you would put in people’s way and say, actually before you commit, just answer these questions about yourself. Just think about these particular things. I know that’s a very generic question, but do you believe it is truly for everybody?

[00:06:49] Joe Casabona: I think it is for everybody, as long as the answer to why do you want to start a podcast is not to make a lot of money or to be famous. I think you need a better reason than either one of those, because while I make a lot of my money with podcasting, it’s not the reason I started. I thought that this was going to be more of like a marketing tool for my online courses which is another way to make money. Don’t get me wrong.

But if you go into podcasting thinking, I’m going to be rich and I’m going to be famous. I’m going to be the next Joe Rogan or Conan O’Brien or whoever Then you’ll be disappointed. But if you go in with a reason beyond that, I want to help people learn about this thing I’m passionate about. I want to help establish my expertise in a specific area, then yes, you should start a podcast.

[00:07:44] Nathan Wrigley: Do you think that the skill set is something that you can learn in its entirety? Because there’s a lot going on in a podcast. When you consume it, it feels as if it just fell out of the podcast player. You know, you might not realize the amount of work that goes in. That might be research. It might be setting up the interview, redoing the interview, editing the interview, putting music in and searching for that. The time spent, if you’re doing guest interviews and all of that.

Do you feel that there’s a certain proclivity, a certain type of person who fits best? In other words, If you’re, let’s say more on the reclusive side, is that something that would put you off? And also, from a technical point of view, can you just learn everything that needs to be learned, or is it difficult to acquire the skills and, you know, you need to basically dedicate time to learn all those before you actually commit to starting.

[00:08:36] Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s a really interesting question because, I think a lesson people learn time and time again is the thing that looks effortless on the front end, right? The way we see it is actually a huge effort on the backend, by the creator, right? The YouTube videos that look like they’re so smooth and easy, really just take hours of editing for example, right. And so I think it does take time to learn. I think the hardest thing to learn is probably how to have a good conversation. I think a lot of people don’t really know how to do that, especially with people they don’t know personally.

And so that takes some research. You know, you and I had a pre-interview discussion, even though we know each other. I do the same thing with my podcast interviewees. We get out about 20 minutes before we’re going to record and chat and get comfortable with each other. So I think that there are some things you do need to learn. Or you need to recognize your strengths and outsource the things that you don’t care to learn or don’t like to do, right.

Coming from the WordPress space, that always feels like a tough conversation to have, right? Why would I pay for somebody to do it when I can do it myself, but one of the first things and one of the best things I did when I started my podcast was hire an editor. I hated editing. And if I had to edit my own podcasts, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

[00:09:59] Nathan Wrigley: So it’s a question of finding the things that you’re good at. Finding the things that you like. Concentrating on those and knowing that there are commercial avenues for taking that off your plate and giving it to somebody else. That’s really good advice.

In terms of the sort of scope of the project, typically the podcasts that I listened to fall into two main categories, I listened to podcasts for entertainment. So, there’s comedy podcasts and there’s news podcasts and things like that. But then I also more recently have found podcasts where I’m consuming information. It’s almost like I’ve replaced the TV documentary with podcasts.

And I just wonder if you had any thoughts about that. In other words, should you think really carefully about the subject matter at hand? Is a pet project good enough. Or do you really need to be introspective and thinking long and hard about what the nature is? In other words, if you begin, are you stuck doing that?

Or can you pivot halfway through like you did, you kiboshed one podcast and started again. Just curious as to how much thought you think the subject matter of the podcast may need.

[00:11:06] Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s a really great question, right, and sometimes it’s a situation of you don’t know what you don’t know, right. It’s like when you do client work and you say well, what do you, what do you want? I’ll know I don’t like something when I see it. And so I think if you want to start a podcast, try your first or third or fifth idea, don’t spend too much time on laboring over that and just get started. Record a couple of test episodes, and see how well you fall into the habit of recording and the format and see if it works for you.

Yeah, cause I’m listening to a highly produced podcast right now called Wicked Game. It looks at all of the American elections from the very first to the 2020 election, American presidential elections, I should say. And it’s highly produced with music and sound effects and it’s deeply researched. And it’s so interesting, but my podcast is nowhere near that. I’m having a good conversation with somebody. And it’s a little bit researched.

I look into my guest if I want to have them on the show. I look at the questions I’m going to ask them, for example, I’m interviewing Chris Coyier later today. And I listened Nathan to your interview with him from a few weeks ago, to make sure that we didn’t cover the same exact things, because there’s probably some overlap, and I’m sure Chris doesn’t wanna, I’m sure he’s not going on like a podcast junket, to tell the same stories over and over again. So I think that was maybe a meandering answer. I would say when you have an idea, you think is good enough, start, you’re not stuck, but it will help you understand what works for you and what does not work for you.

[00:12:42] Nathan Wrigley: The use case, so I mentioned two categories there, broadly entertainment and information. I caught sight of a really interesting idea of podcasting the other day. And I confess having been a podcast and myself for a few years, it was caught short by this re-purposing of audio content. And that was that the CEO of a company, had decided that the daily huddle of his, I don’t know how many staff let’s say 20 or so, was it a bit of a waste of time. And he thought to himself, well, most of the people that work for me are commuting. They’re all using iPhones or Android phones and they’re all consuming podcasts.

Why don’t I create a podcast episode telling everybody what would have been in the morning meeting the following morning. And although that’s a very specific use case, it just suddenly made me think, oh, so it’s not just about information. It’s not just about entertainment. You really could finesse this down, and make it something very specific indeed. I don’t know if you’d come across any other curious examples of how audio podcasts had been used.

[00:13:48] Joe Casabona: Yeah, I think that’s a brilliant, and I had somebody approach me last year interested in basically doing the same thing. They run a company of truck drivers, and instead of making their truck drivers, who could be all over the country, tune into a go-to meeting every month, they wanted to put those go-to meetings, which were usually just presentations by the CEO, out as podcasts.

That way truck drivers who are in their car or their truck most of the day, could listen whenever they could more conveniently. I’ve seen use cases of teachers using podcasts to put out lectures, or to announce new homework assignments or add more context to a homework assignment. So there are, especially with the advent of private podcasting, I think there are a ton of fantastic use cases because audio is a simpler medium than video, and it is easier on bandwidth and you have a podcast app where new episodes automatically get downloaded, right? You don’t have to go to a website to check, to see if it’s updated. You can get a push notification when a new episode drops.

[00:15:01] Nathan Wrigley: One of the things that I find really amazing about audio is just the fact that I can actually be doing several things at the same time. You know, I can be sitting at my computer working and I can tune into a podcast. And if I don’t need it to give my full attention, it’s just there. And if something piques my interest, I’ll probably pause what I’m doing and get engaged with it for a little moment.

But also equally, I could be giving it my full attention whilst I’m carrying out some household chores, it could be vacuuming the floor or something. And that requires almost no cognitive ability from me at all. And I do that quite a lot and I’m, I’m really engaged in it. And so you don’t have to be, as you would be for a, a piece of video content, you don’t have to apply all thought towards it.

Things can be going on at the same time. In particular, as you said, things like commuting. It’s the perfect time to have audio content, because most people are probably throwing on the car stereo at some point anyway, so. Yeah. That’s really interesting.

Do you see this as an avenue, in terms of WordPress website builds, do you see this as a growing avenue for let’s say agencies or freelancers, as an area that they can bolster their offering to their clients. At the moment they can say things like, we can build you a website. We can offer you a care plan. We can do the maintenance, we can do SEO and so on. Do you think people are more frequently asking, can you do me a podcast? What benefit could I get from a podcast?

[00:16:26] Joe Casabona: Yeah, I’m not the best marketer. And I get these inquiries. I have a couple of clients for whom I produce podcasts. But even from the WordPress side, right, I think more podcasters are realizing they need a good website for their podcast. And I think, even if we’re not looking at independent podcasters, you know, who are more reluctant to spend money at first, because there isn’t a real, tangible cost associated with podcasting from the very beginning.

But you have agencies and institutions who are like, maybe we should have a podcast. Building a good website around that is going to be important to them, especially if they want to offer something to their members or their employees, or their students, where there is some sort of privacy aspect involved.

[00:17:16] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, you mentioned privacy or private podcasts. Perhaps people who don’t listen to podcasts or, like us, are habitual about podcasting. Just tell us what a private podcast is. Because it’s a whole different area of podcasting that many people don’t even know about.

[00:17:31] Joe Casabona: Private podcasting, I guess if I’m going to generalize the definition, it is a podcast for which you control access to. So for me, I have a private podcast called build something more. That is for my members. They get add free extended episodes of my podcast, but they also get, on Fridays, an episode called the weekly wrap, where I just tell them what I worked on this week. And some of my struggles, some of my wins, and it’s a 15 minute or so update for just my members. But as you mentioned, a private podcast could also be a company only podcast, right? Where maybe the CEO is talking about their roadmap for the next quarter.

And that’s not necessarily public information, but he still wants, or he or she wants to disseminate that information to the employees. A podcast could be a great way to do that. If you have a classroom based podcast, that’s the same thing, right? You’re putting out lessons that you don’t want the whole world to hear. Maybe you’re communicating with student feedback or something like that. That could be a private podcast as well.

[00:18:36] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Okay. Thank you. That’s cleared that up. In terms of growth of podcasts, it feels like there’s been more or less exponential growth in the last few years. If we rewind the clock, maybe ten or eight years, they existed, but they were fairly niche. You probably had to sit at a device and then along comes the iPod and changes all of that. And then after that along comes the iPhone and smartphones in general. And all of a sudden, this stuff is just in your pocket. It’s completely there all the time. It’s a device which you are more or less guaranteed to hold during the time that you’re awake.

So it felt like it was getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And everybody seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. Do you have any, any insight into whether or not that’s still the case. In other words, if today is the moment that you’re thinking about a podcast, you would want to be thinking, okay, it’s a growing medium. I want to hop on whilst it’s still growing, but maybe that’s not the case. Maybe it’s in decline.

[00:19:34] Joe Casabona: Yeah, really interesting question. And I think as with anything with data, you could probably twist the stats to tell your own story, but Edison research is a organization that does a lot of different kinds of stats. They’ll do like a thing called terrestrial radio as well. They’ll do general content consumption by household, but, they have a report called the infinite dial, where they look at listening habits and podcasts specifically. Right? So for example, smartphone ownership grew by about 250 million over the last couple of years. Internet connected watch owners and they have all the, all of these stats.

But one of the stats is podcasting. How many people are listening to podcasts? How many people are aware that podcasting is a thing. And for the first time, since they were doing this study it is I think monthly or weekly listenership decreased. I’m trying to find the stat. I wish I had it up, but it was all a buzz when they announced it in March, that for the first time podcast consumption went down.

[00:20:40] Nathan Wrigley: It feels like there’s always going to be a moment in any market where it has plateaued, but it feels as if the threshold which we’ve reached is still more or less everybody. It still feels like there’s plenty of audience to share around, and the sky is not necessarily falling in just because in the more recent past the numbers haven’t kept growing. I think in our pre-recording chat you mentioned that there might be some kind of COVID pandemic data that explains that a little bit better.

[00:21:10] Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Honestly, I’m looking through this data right now and I cannot find, oh, monthly podcasts listening went down from 41 percent to 38 percent from 21 to 22, it looks like. Yeah, a small decrease. And what happened in that time? The world opened up again, right.

Because again, from 19 to 20, we saw a 5 percent increase. From 20 to 21, we saw a 4 percent increase. So if we compare 20 to 22, we see a 1 percent increase. People are going back to their normal lives. What is the more interesting stat to me is around awareness. A lot more people are aware that podcasting is a thing. A lot more people are listening to more than one podcast now.

So yeah, maybe I’m listening to fewer podcasts on a monthly basis than I was a year ago, but that doesn’t mean that podcasting is decreasing in popularity. And on that same token, podcasting has not hit critical mass yet. There’s 2.2 million podcasts only about, I think it’s something like less than half of them are active. And so we have 38 million YouTube channels, you tell me is podcasting has podcasting hit max capacity yet?

[00:22:37] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it certainly feels to me as if there’s lots more growth. And it’s curious, the sort of up and down of the last couple of years, and there definitely seems to be some data points, which explain maybe the more recent dip, because life is going back to normal.

If somebody is listening to this, and they think to themselves, wow, I really must make time for this. I’ve finally been persuaded. I’m going to do my podcast. Regardless of the subject, let’s get into the tooling that’s needed. And first of all, let’s stay away from, let’s just stay right away from WordPress and just concentrate on the things that you would need in your life if you were to become a podcaster.

And now we don’t need to go to the extremity of all of the different bits and pieces, but at the very basics, what would you say would be the essential and then maybe we can go onto the more that would be desirable. So let’s start with the essential stuff. What is needed to do a podcast?

[00:23:28] Joe Casabona: I think that you need four things to do a podcast, excluding your voice, right. That would be number five. I guess that’d be number one. Really? You need a not built in microphone, right? So you will see blog posts they’re like what microphone should you get? Should you buy the Shure SM7B? Every podcaster that you see on a TV show has the Shure SM7B, and I assure you as someone who’s speaking into one right now, you don’t need that. You can spend 50 bucks or 40 bucks and get a decent built in microphone because you’re not singing, probably. You’re talking. So you just need something that has reasonable noise rejection, that has a dedicated function for capturing your voice.

You also need headphones. There are going to be people who say, I don’t need headphones. I’ve done podcasts without headphones and it’s, it’s fine. It’s not fine. What happened was the person whose podcast you went on was too polite to ask you to put on headphones, and then too polite to tell you that the recording sounded like crap.

You need headphones, because if you don’t, you’re going to get a lot of interference. So mic, headphones, that’s one and two. Three is a way to record. Luckily, whatever device you are consuming this podcast on has a way to record. It could be Quicktime on a Mac. It could be Windows Recorder on Windows, or your phones have recording apps as well. Heck the iPhone has like a version of Garage Band I think you can use.

And then you need an audio host. We’ll probably get into audio host recommendations later, but you can’t just throw an MP3 up in your WordPress media library and call it a day. You need a dedicated audio host for a bunch of reasons.

[00:25:14] Nathan Wrigley: Just develop that further. I mean, we all know what a WordPress website host is and the reasons why you wouldn’t put your WordPress website on your home computer, unless you were really skilled and knew what you were doing. What’s the purpose of a host, and why is that an essential component?

[00:25:27] Joe Casabona: Yeah. So I’ll put it to you this way, right? If you wanted to travel across your country, whatever country you happen to be in. You could put on like those 1970s roller skates, right? With the four wheels on each side of the shoe. Or you could get a bicycle, which one of those sounds better?

Or in the United States, like biking across the country sounds terrible to me, but some people do it. I’d probably want a car or a plane. So if you want to put your audio online, technically you can just upload it to any old server, but you want a server that specializes in serving audio, just like YouTube or Vimeo or not just any old video hosting providers, right.

They do a lot of things behind the scenes to make sure that people are getting those videos served up quickly and efficiently. And it’s the same thing for an audio host. They do a lot of things behind the scenes to make sure your audio is available and that stats are being captured on it. And that If maybe one server crashes, they have redundancy, right? There are things in place that audio hosts do that general hosts will not do.

[00:26:39] Nathan Wrigley: They also compile something called an RSS feed, and WordPress users were really familiar with this, but there is a particular type of RSS feed which needs to be consumed by a podcast player. And they also typically take that heavy lifting as well, so that when you subscribe to the podcast, it comes with all of the album art and all of the episode descriptions and all of that. So, yeah, highly recommended to look into that.

In terms of then things which you quite like. So it’s no longer the four essential things. What about some of the things which you found to be quite useful although not necessary.

[00:27:13] Joe Casabona: Okay. So strictly gear I, heavy caveat here, that I love tech and gear and I go overboard right? But I do have a fancy microphone, and I have something called the Rodecastor Pro. This is a 500 or $600 device that allows me to capture audio from multiple channels, and sound effects, et cetera.

What I like about the Rodecaster Pro is it’s a soundboard built for podcasts. I have a couple of mikes plugged into it and they’re all dialed in based on the microphone. So I sound good, no matter which one I use, and it allows me to do things like monitor my audio. You can even record audio directly onto the hardware. That’s a piece of hardware I really like.

If you’re thinking, look, I want to sound better than just a regular old USB microphone. Then you can get an XLR microphone and you can get the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, which is a interface that allows you to plug an XLR microphone basically into your computer. Those are two things that I think if you’re looking to upgrade, that’s a good place to start.

The rest of my podcast gear, I mean, the rest of my recording gear honestly is more around live streaming. I guess the other kind of piece of gear I really like, I have a Zoom recorder, the Zoom H5, which is like a portable kind of podcast recorder that you could again, plug an XLR microphone into. And when I’m quote unquote on location, usually on location means at my parents’ house. I’ll use that to record.

[00:28:46] Nathan Wrigley: What about the software? Do you obsess about that in the same way? Do you download the most expensive audio software that money can buy or do you just go for some of the freely available stuff like Audacity?

[00:28:57] Joe Casabona: Yeah, I’m actually, I’m recording this on my end into garage band, which just comes with the Mac. As far as other software goes uh, you know, something I forgot to mention in the hardware, is the Stream Deck. Again, that’s not something I think about with podcasting, but there’s a lot of stuff for podcasting on my Stream Deck.

Maybe that’s another piece of gear that’s really interesting, and we can talk about that if there’s time later, but, as far as the software goes, I use riverside.fm to record. Of all of the online recording platforms that get good audio from your guests. That’s the one I’ve liked the best. I like having video on, cause I like seeing my guest. Again, riverside.fm is a really good tool for that full disclosure, they have sponsored my podcast in the past.

[00:29:45] Nathan Wrigley: So these days it’s fair to say that there are basically tools which live inside the browser. You now no longer need to be using an app like Skype or something like that. You can connect with multiple guests, dozens potentially through browser based solutions, and Riverside.fm is one of them, and there’s a whole tranche of them and they all seem to have similar feature parity, but that’s the one that you’ve chosen.

Let’s flip to the website side of things. It’s a WordPress podcast. There is going to be things that we would like to implement on our website. What makes a good podcasting website? Now that could be the way it looks. It could be the plugins that you’re putting in there. It could be lead capture, anything like that, that you want to discuss.

[00:30:29] Joe Casabona: Yeah. So that’s a great question right. And I think, so I think what a lot of podcasters suffer from is a weak call to action, right? They’ll say subscribe in Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcast right. First of all, if people are using a podcast app and they already know that, right? They know how to get your podcasts.

What I like is having a call to action for my website. So my call to action will always be, you know, go visit URL slash episode number. And there you can get all the show notes, you can get a transcript and you can get this thing I’m offering. If you give me your email address, whatever that happens to be. Your website serves as the canonical place for all people to go, no matter what platform they’re using to get more information about your podcast.

So, this is again, kind of like mission-based right. Why are you starting a podcast? If you’re starting it to have sponsors, then great. You could have a good section for sponsors. And I have, I have a page where I don’t know if this is the case anymore cause I had to like quickly redesign it because there was something wrong with something I was using.

But for awhile, if you visited a sponsor page, it would list all of the episodes they sponsored. Right. I should probably turn that back on. So you can make it really nice for your sponsors. You can add transcripts in a way that works really nicely. And I, again, I just updated my website. I have a custom post type for transcripts, and instead of when somebody searches my site, if they come across a word in the transcript, they don’t go to the transcript or they go to the episode page, right. There’s like a little magic you can do with Search WP to make that happen. So it depends on what you want. But using WordPress as I’m sure everybody listening knows gives you a lot of flexibility, sponsors, merch.

If it’s your agency say, you can just, you can add a podcast feed using the right plugin. Directing people to your podcast website allows you to get a better return, let’s say, on your investment. Especially if you’re an agency or a freelancer who is doing this to open up more avenues of income.

[00:32:28] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. it’s the same piece that we’ve used for the longest time when building websites, just for clients. You are in control of the content. And if you choose to go for the default website, which would be built potentially by your podcast host, you really aren’t in control of that. Things could go wrong. There could be an outage, they could go out of business. You may just decide that you wish to leave them and so on. Whereas if you’ve got all of that on your own domain and you’re running it and owning it, I completely concur. I just think that’s the best way to do it. You can do what you like.

And, It is true to say that typically, if you go to a podcast host website, the usual ones that have nothing to do with WordPress, they will offer the functionality for a basic website. Do you just want to outline why there’s drawbacks there, you know, in terms of the options to customize it, and also the things that, all of the clever things that you just mentioned, presumably they’re all out of the window. You can’t modify, customize, update it as you would change the layout and so on.

[00:33:34] Joe Casabona: Yeah. Most of them are just terrible. They look terrible. They don’t work well. I’ve seen some where like, you don’t even get an episode specific link. Right. It’s just like, all the episodes are like listed in line on a single page. That’s not great. And then, yeah, you can’t really customize anything.

I think the best implementation I’ve seen is Castos. They rolled out their like website templates. And even those are pretty limited. If you have nothing Castos is a lot better, but you can’t bolt a e-commerce option on to any of those, right. Or you can’t when somebody becomes a member, right? Maybe you want them to get a member RSS feed and integrate your podcasts into that. That’s a lot easier to do on WordPress. Or you can’t have an account area in general for any private podcast if you’re using the audio hosts implementation.

You’re just locked in, in a lot of ways. You’re limited in your show notes. You’re limited in what you can do with sponsor stuff. And so it’s probably better than nothing, but I am fully confident that the reason that my show grew so much over the first couple of years was because I had a good website right off the bat.

[00:34:49] Nathan Wrigley: If you are literally just going for audio, then I think an audio host is fine, but if you want to have anything ancillary to just the audio, if you want to put any words on pages or any images that might attach themselves to that or any upsells, then I, think you’ve got to stray away because it’s almost like the podcast has got the memo about a website five years after it was needed. I’ve yet to find a podcast host where the website isn’t something that you could put together with WordPress in a matter of moments.

Let’s go to some recommendations for podcast hosts, which are WordPress specific. Now, I’ve come across one, as it happens. There may be many, but the one that I’ve used before is called Castos, and they’re quite unique, in that they allow you to do all the things inside of WordPress and you literally don’t need to go away and visit a podcast house. It’s all happening as metadata. Just explain how that works.

[00:35:49] Joe Casabona: Yeah as far as I know unless a new host has entered the scene recently, Castos is the only kind of WordPress based podcast host. And you can do it both ways, which is a little bit confusing if I’m being honest. But, if you tell Casto is I’m managing my podcast completely from WordPress, you can do everything from there, upload the audio, it’ll send it to Casto’s server. Update the title and description and on the Castos end, everything will get sinked.

And so you can manage your whole podcast from WordPress in a custom post type for podcasts. You can say, I want this in the main feed or not. So you can have a completely separate section for your podcast. And it just it makes everything a lot easier, right, because when I was not on Castos, I would have to. Well, I set up an automation to do this eventually, but it was like, what if this breaks, and my whole podcast goes down or whatever, but I’d have to upload the audio to Libsyn. That’s what I was using. Libsyn was the big dog for a while, but then they rested on their laurels and now they’re really not good at all. They were really good in like 2002. But it’s not 2002 anymore.

And so I’d have to go there, upload, copy the audio URL, right? The audio files URL. Paste it into a different podcast plugin I was using. And the whole process was just like womp or like it took so much time. And so if you’re using Castos, this sounds like a commercial for Castos, but Castos is the only one who does this. This is their competitive edge. Then you don’t have to do all that. You can do everything from the dashboard, from your WordPress admin. And you’re not going around into a bunch of different places.

[00:37:22] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So you are basically saving yourself a little bit of time and yes, caveats, everything that we have described on the Castos side can be achieved. There’s just more little intermediate steps. Like you said, you have to go over here, and upload the file and then paste maybe an iframe or something like that into your Gutenberg posts or whatever. It’s just stuff you’ve got to do.

[00:37:43] Joe Casabona: Yeah, like maybe Bluberry is another podcast host, like maybe they have this integration because I think the biggest competitor to Casto’s plugin, which is Seriously Simple Podcasting is PowerPress, which is Bluberry’s offering. But I still don’t think anybody does it as well as Castos.

[00:37:58] Nathan Wrigley: So we’ve made the case for having a podcast, the different use cases. We’ve described some of the tech that you might have, on the WordPress side and the tech that you might own in the physical world as well, the bits and pieces, the microphones and so on. Just curious to know if you’ve over the years that you’ve been podcasting, if you’ve had any aha moments where you’ve suddenly strayed into something and thought, boy, why have I not been doing this for a while? Anything that you’ve figured out. Top tips that may save our audience sometimes, should they decide to podcast..

[00:38:31] Joe Casabona: Yeah, this is not necessarily the process of podcasting, but build your email list. Because what you’ll learn quickly is podcasting feels a lot like a one-way street. You’re talking into a microphone, the vast majority of people who are listening, probably aren’t engaging, but if people sign up for your mailing list, now you have direct access to them.

You can put names with listeners and engage with them on a deeper level. So I would say build your email list right off the bat. That’s something I didn’t do for years and it hurt me. I think the other thing that a lot of podcasts was making a mistake about is. Again, I mentioned it earlier, but have a clear call to action, right? Because usually what podcasters, myself included, will do is say, rate us and review us on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to learn more about this, go here. And that’s too many things, especially for somebody who’s probably not fully paying attention.

Instead, say, hey, join my mailing list. You can sign up at the show notes page over at wp tavern.com slash whatever. There you’ll also find all of the show notes for everything that we talked about. Then mention it again in the middle of the episode. Hey, by the way, you can find all of the show notes and sign up for my newsletter over at blah blah.

And then at the end where your call to action will be. And the great part about that is that you can have a link to rate and review wherever. You can have the subscribe buttons. And in the email newsletters that you send out every week with the new episodes or every two weeks with the new episodes, you can have links to rate and review, to subscribe, to check out this new ebook I launched. You can have early access if you want. There’s a lot of things that I think when people first start podcasting, they’re really focused on, all right, I need to sound good, I need to make it good, I need to launch it. But these ancillary actions are the things that become the base for which your podcast business or your podcast income is based off of.

[00:40:30] Nathan Wrigley: Now you’re obviously very bullish about podcasting. You’ve really made it your life in more recent times. Just curious as to whether or not that is relentlessly the case. If we were to cast the net a little bit wider and go back five or six years, have you got any cautionary tales about the usual thing that begins when people begin to a project like this.

It’s all roses and everything is sparkly and new, and you’re fascinated by the process. And perhaps it’s not as easy, perhaps there is a bit of grinds to this as well. So just wondering if you had any thoughts about that.

[00:41:01] Joe Casabona: Yeah, it definitely is a grind. It’s work. And the thing that made it less like work for me in the beginning is I am an extrovert. I love having conversations with people. In an increasingly remote world, I’m seeing people less and less. A friend from high school who lives in my area now invited me to get a beer on Thursday and there were like several hurdles to that. And my wife was like do you want to see him? And I was like, I want to see almost anybody I’m not blood related to you right now. Like I just miss seeing people. That’s not a knock on my family, of course. I like the human connection.

And so what made it feel less like work for me was I got to have conversations. I’m passionate about those conversations and when you’re starting a podcast, again, it goes back to that first question you asked me, like, why shouldn’t somebody start a podcast? If you’re just doing it for the money and the glory. You’re in for a long, frustrating ride.

But if you’re doing it because you want to tell the world about this thing that you’re super passionate about, then yeah, it’s a grind, but it’s a grind where you get to talk about this thing that you love. And that is what’s going to make an audience connect with you, and that is what’s going to get your podcast to grow.

[00:42:12] Nathan Wrigley: I love it. That’s a really perfect place to end the interview, but I don’t want to end quite there because I want to give you an opportunity to tell us a little bit about where we can find you. So yeah, exactly that the opportunity now to give us your Twitter feed or your email address, or possibly a website.

[00:42:29] Joe Casabona: Yes. So if you are interested in my podcast specific services and content, you can go to podcast liftoff dot com, and you can find everything podcast related I’m doing there. If you’re generally interested in the stuff I’m doing whether it’s WordPress or anything else that we have, or haven’t talked about, you can go to casabona dot org. You’ll find everywhere I am and links to Twitter and all that fun stuff.

[00:42:51] Nathan Wrigley: Joe Casabona, thank you for joining me on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

[00:42:55] Joe Casabona: My pleasure, Nathan. Thanks for having me.