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State of the Podcast Sphere Part 1

Posted by geeknews at 2:09 PM on November 8, 2009

I look forward to writing this post each year, but I  have to admit some of the data results cannot be expressed properly on this blog. On one hand I want to applaud podcast host that get it, but for a great many others I wish I could simply scream and shake them by the shoulders and say wake the hell up.

The results make it apparent that the reason many of your shows are not growing, is because a percentage of have set yourselves up for failure. Many have failed to do the basics on their websites to make it easy for listeners to consume the content.

We examined Podcasters sites that received more than 10 nominations during the 2009 Podcast Awards Nomination Period. A total of 2381 sites were reviewed.

NOTE: The below information has nothing to do with how the podcast awards voting slate is derived. This is a seperate effort I undertake each year to get a sampling of what is happening in the podcasting space and on podcasters sites.

If you quote these numbers in your own blog post please provide a link back to the source data as I have went to considerable expense to provide these numbers free to the podcasting community. My personal company Podcast Connect paid for this.

Base Review consisted of 2381 Sites:

21% Had Invalid Podcast RSS Feeds.
59% Had Feeds with Errors but where Valid.
51% Had an RSS Icon on their default landing page that was a Blog Feed only.
21% Had an RSS Icon on their default landing page that was Podcast Ready.
23% Had a Podcast RSS Feeds Buried on a SubPage in their Website
44% Of Sites had a Podcast RSS feed we could subscribe to!
81% Had a Visible iTunes Subscription Icon on their default landing Page.
93% Had a Visible iTunes Subscription Icon someplace in their website.
6% Had a Visible Zune Marketplace Icon on their websites. (See Note Below)
43% Had a Visible e-mail contact address on their website.
14% Had a Newsletter sign-up page.
11% Had a call in number for listeners to comment on their shows.
88% of the sites had good unique website branding.
59% Had less than one paragraph of show notes for their past 5 podcast.
51% Had a physical download Link on their websites.
71% Were Creating Audio Only.
9% Were Creating Video Only.
20% Were Creating Audio and Video.
23% Number of Podcasters Blogging as well as Podcast content.
19% Where creating Audio, Video & Blog Posts
66% Of total Nominations were Shows creating Audio, Video and Blog Posts
3% of Sites where mobile phone ready (iPhone, Android, Palm Pre)
37% Did not have their show listed on Blubrry.com
51% Did not have their show listed on PodcastAlley.com
14% Did not have their show listed on Podcast.com
41% Had a Twitter Link on their website
53% Had a Facebook Link on their website

While I think the data points paint an obvious picture let me lay out a few of the obvious points.

Source RawVoice: Do podcasters realize the Zune has been responsible for 17% overall increase in unique podcast listeners over the past two years? I question why podcasters would ignore a huge segment of potential listeners by not carrying a Zune subscribe icon on their website.

There are 100′s of devices that cannot sync to iTunes, and by not having a Podcast RSS feed visible on the main page of their websites, that they are simply not reaching those listeners. This includes the millions of people who have smart phones.

Why do we continue to see such jacked up RSS feeds?

Five years into podcasting and podcasters still do not understand that RSS is the lifeblood of their podcasts. It blows me away that it is impossible to find Podcast RSS feeds on popular podcasters sites. I find it striking that I can find links to people’s Facebook pages, but have a hard time finding a link to subscribe to their shows.

Smartly some podcasters are learning that they cannot rely on Audio or Video alone that they have to a variety of media. Audio, Video, Blogging

Show Notes: Some Podcasters are finally waking up and finding out that Google can be their friend and that by writing comprehensive show notes results in more traffic to their websites.

I will let you do your own interpretation of Part 1 of my report, but I am convinced the success of my personal show is largely to do with content creators not doing the basics to be found, seen, heard and subscribed to.

Part 2 will be a comprehensive look at how podcast networks are playing a key role for podcasters.

I do want to extend a big thank you to the team in the Philippines that did this work.

Todd…