Stockcarzone, a Podcast for NASCAR fans, was a great experiment. I had ideas of grandeur when Corey Costelloe and I first started the podcast–but reality was, it was a lot harder to make money than I thought. The podcast really turned out to be more of a hobby than a money maker, and this year Corey and I decided not to continue the show. Regardless of the outcome, I wanted to share some afterthoughts of the experiment.
Audio Listener Feedback – My original thought was that getting a toll-free number would open the floodgates for listeners to call in and leave feedback, but it turns out that is a lot easier said than done. Even though the call was free, it was tough to get listeners to call in and leave feedback. At the time (at least for this podcast), we found people were much more willing to leave feedback using email vs. calling in. I even personally found this to be true when one time I left audio feedback for the Daily Source Code podcast. FYI–I used Kall8 as our toll-free provider, and the service was excellent.
Consistency – Based on NASCAR news, we found that Tuesday evening was the best day for Stockcarzone to be released. However, on the one or two occasions that the show came out later than usual, we noticed a drop in downloads of that episode. Listeners expect to be able to download and listen to the show on a consistent basis, and this will maximize the number of listeners. However, see the next paragraph for the exact opposite type of listener.
Listener Catchup – We found that some podcast listeners are extremely loyal, in that there were those who would go back and catchup on episodes they missed. We mainly knew this by looking at downloads of shows which were one or more weeks old. We also know this phenomenon to be true because listeners would leave feedback about an older episode consistently tell us that they were catching up.
Hosting Content – We used Libsyn to host our podcast, and it was worth every penny we spent. The uptime was generally rock solid, and when a new episode was released, it would always handle the load. Even when the podcast was highlighted by websites like Yahoo and we got a huge spike in listeners, Libsyn never hiccuped. I would fully recommend the service.
iTunes Presence – I cannot stress how important it is to have a podcast presence on iTunes. Throughout the 2+ years of Stockcarzone, listeners always averaged at least 60% (and usually more like 70%) of our total subscribers. I don’t think We would have ever lasted as long as we did if we did not have the podcast on iTunes. I realize there are other options besides iTunes for podcasts, but it’s obviously a preferred method for many listeners.
Overall the Stockcarzone podcast was a great project, although not profitable. Corey and I both learned a lot about independently created content, and we met a bunch of great listeners and NASCAR fans. Hopefully the information in this article will help if you are interested in podcasting and creating your own content.