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Host AMAsAMA with Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry (RawVoice)
AMAs >  Todd Cochrane

Todd Cochrane

organization Blubrry
When November 5 2019 @ 11:30AM (EST)

Todd Cochrane, CEO of RawVoice/Blubrry, wrote the book on podcasting. Well, at least the first one: “Podcasting: The Do-It-Yourself Guide.” The founder of the People’s Choice Podcast Awards and the Tech Podcast Network, he’s also credited with introducing the first advertisers into podcasting, GoDaddy.

Cochrane was inducted into the inaugural class of the Podcast Hall of Fame in 2015. But perhaps his biggest influence on podcasting is Blubrry Podcasting and its parent company RawVoice, which offers a directory of more than 750,000 shows, the No. 1 plugin for WordPress and much more. A United States Navy Veteran who served 25 years and retired with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer, Cochrane resides in Quincy, Michigan, having spent the majority of the past 20+ years in Honolulu, Hawaii, with his family.

Personal Website | Company Website | Podcast Website

Questions now closed.

14 Questions
14
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Tash Kiely Staff asked this question 9 months ago

Hi Todd

What are the podcasts you can’t live without?

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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Because of being the CEO/Founder of Blubrry Podcasting I listen to over 100 new podcasts every two weeks.

The shows I cannot live without is, of course, two of my own New Media Show (newmediashow.com) and Podcast Insider (podcastinsider.com) 🙂 I also listen to the No Agenda Show with Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak. They do the best listener supported the show in the world. I also listen to a variety of tech shows on the tech podcast network.

Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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Because of being the CEO/Founder of Blubrry Podcasting I listen to over 100 new podcasts every two weeks.

The shows I cannot live without is, of course, two of my own New Media Show (newmediashow.com) and Podcast Insider (podcastinsider.com) 🙂 I also listen to the No Agenda Show with Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak. They do the best listener supported the show in the world. I also listen to a variety of tech shows on the tech podcast network.

Tash Kiely Staff asked this question 9 months ago

What do you think the podcasting world will look like in 5 years?

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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The Podcasting space has had a steady growth pace over the past 15 years with a few inflection points. I would expect some consolidation of service companies and more content networks. There are over 5 million blogs and only 200k or so of active shows. Lots of room for growth. But we have to protect the space and keep RSS open and without influence from commercial entities.

So I think we will see a lot more content, more companies having a podcast, all TV shows having companion shows. But the best part is independent podcast creators will still rule with the most amount of diverse content.

asked this question 9 months ago

What are the three biggest challenges podcasters face?  Thanks!

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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1. Growth
2. Not putting the time and effort into growing their show by marketing it. – Podcasters need to put the time in and invest in their show if they want it to really grow.
3. Only Podcasting to solve #1 you have to be multi-faceted. Blog, Speak, Books, Events, Press, TV, etc. I have spoken at length about doing more than just podcasting over the years and it is largely the reason most podcasts do not grow is that they focus only on podcasting you have to do a lot more to fix #1

asked this question 9 months ago

What advice would you give a someone new to podcasting or interested in getting into podcasting?  Thanks!

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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New Podcasters need to think about what their goal of there show is.

If the goal is to hang out do a show with friends and not worry too much about the audience then get started today.



If you’re a business you need to make sure you put some pre-show planning in, make sure you’re not doing an infomercial, you need to make sure you show is built on your brand and you control the IP. You need to think about the content and who will be the face / voice of your show and how you will produce content that will help your potential or existing customers. This includes establishing authority over the topics you cover. The goal of any business show should be to inform and teach and sprinkle in things like promotions, your team strengths, and your core competencies



If your a podcaster that wants to build a big show do not build it on a site you have no control over. You need your own .com your own brand. You can host with anyone (hopefully blubrry 🙂 Podcast are syndicated everywhere but you need to make sure that your audience knows where your site and brand originate. You do build your point of presence for your show on Facebook or any other social platfoms. It’s ok to interact there and have groups but your audience should always know where your show originates. Try to build your community were your show lives. But your show does not need the risk being de-platformed or be the subject of someones changing business model. Build your show and control your IP at all cost.

Tom Slack Staff asked this question 9 months ago

Hi Todd, thanks for doing this AMA for us. You’ve obviously been heavily involved in podcasting for near-on two decades so are probably in a better position than anyone to answer this one: What have been the most crucial developments in podcasting (which have fuelled its growth) over your time and what have been the most critical impediments that have held back the medium from expanding quicker?

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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There were some specific events that really were instrumental

 even before podcasting kicked off and of course a lot of things that happened from the early days in 2004 when podcasting exploded. I did all these off the top of my head and some dates may be wrong.

2001 Apple iPod paved the way for what would happen in 2004

2004 Open RSS and the RSS 2.0 Spec with Enclosures

2004 Adam Curry’s Vision on no stinking gatekeepers and an open media distribution system

2004 and earlier Dave Winer and his work with RSS and specifically RSS 2.0 without it we would not be here
2005 Apple introducing podcast to the then Apple iTunes

2007 iPhone

20?? Introduction of the Apple Podcast App

20?? Year Apple Podcast app loaded by default with devices

2005-2019 Podcast Conferences

2005-2019 Podcamps

2004-2019 and beyond lots of hard work by a lot of luminaries in the space.
2014 Serial
2018 Spotify
2019 Pandora, Netflix
2020 HBO Max



The list is too extensive to even go through but incrementally many things have allowed podcasting to be a steady climb. It will continue. Radio has realized that 5-25+ are not listening to the radio they are using media apps YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, etc. So things will change faster over the next 15 years. But we must keep RSS open source to deny gatekeepers from coming in and controlling the media.

Tom Slack Staff asked this question 9 months ago

Also, my favorite question: What do you think the key to a successful podcast is?

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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The key to a successful podcast is simple, consistent superior content where you do not waste the listener’s time and keep them engaged. 



Great podcast make you feel as if the host is talking to you not at you.

Podcasters must be willing to put in the time to go the extra mile in providing valuable content
.

There a lot of factors that I should not gloss over but some key things does the title match the content, does the description match the content and the title does the host deliver what the title and description of the show imply, does it follow a format.

My personal show was developed with 10 minutes of introductory banter which breaks every rule in the book. But guess what there are no rules but guess what build it your way. But make sure you audience understands why you’re laying your content out the way it is. I always tell my audience want to get to the meat skip ahead 10 minutes.

Geoff Roly Staff asked this question 9 months ago

Hey Todd, there’s a lot of folk on either side of this one, so wanted to get your take on whether you think hosts should focus on listener numbers from the get-go or give their show a certain number of episodes before getting caught up in the numbers. If the latter, how many episodes do you think? 

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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This can go both ways if your Oprah you would expect big numbers from the start.

I was a nobody when I started podcasting, my show grew fast only because I was early. But I have had to stay focused on the content to keep that audience.



New content creators like I was in 2004 need to learn their show battle rhythm and find their voice. This takes time some planning episode 50 will not sound like episode one and quit recording 10 episodes before you launch.



So my answer again is, it depends, keep an eye on the numbers but do not focus on them especially if you are new and come into this cold and are building from scratch. You need to focus on the content and spend as much or more marketing the show.

We have podcasters that live in their stats, this is not healthy. They could be spending that time deciding what group to get involved with, what conference to go to, what radio or tv station to pitch, what organization to speak at. I started promoting my show at local Rotary, Lions and really any group that would let me speak on my show and my content.

Pat Iveo Staff asked this question 9 months ago

When is the best time to try monetize a podcast? Do you need a certain number of listeners or other traction? 

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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Monetization can happen in many ways:
You build a big audience 5-10k listeners per episode to get CPM deals.
Or you find someone to underwrite the content aka NPR model
Or you build value for value show and get listener donations.
Or your content is in a niche and can demand high flat rate sponsorships
Or you can have a fan that loves the show and sponsors it with little regard to performance looking for a tax write off.
Or you start a Pateron account. But be careful with the reward model you may end up doing extra episodes for 10 people.
Or you use your show as a lead generator for your service or business.

My first sponsor found me. That will likely happen for most shows, or they will be offered a deal by a company like mine. But here is the most important thing when you do get a sponsor you need to take care of that sponsor. Treat them as a partner. Go the extra mile, keep them happy over-deliver.

Most small shows today will never monetize the traditional way. Also, understand a small show may get an ad deal but be happy with Dinner Money, Be excited about car payment money and do backflips for house payment money.

I am sure I missed 10 ways to monetize but there is more than one way to do this.

Liam Shawl Staff asked this question 9 months ago

Hullo Todd, huge admirer of company founders like yourself. What were/are still some of the big challenges in startging and running Blubrry? 

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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When we started the entire team had full-time jobs, we worked the regular job during the day to eat and worked the business at night with no sleep to build for the future. I literally ran on 4 hours of sleep for many years. We did not have investment except our time, we built steady and slow and this has been a formula that worked.

Today really it’s still about resources I have about 5 positions I would love to add to staff but it is not in the budget. So you do what you can with what you have. But really time is the resource any founder wish they had more time. I have talked many times on the origin story of RawVoice/Blubrry Podcasting the team came from the audience of my Podcast. We did not even meet each other for the first 6 months.

Lots of trust across the whole team. But the challenge is always about being innovative, keeping the product fresh, aka keeping up with the jones or better yet beating someone to market with something new.

Overall hard work, sacrifice, and grind.

JB Baker Staff asked this question 9 months ago

Hey Todd, thanks for coming on. Given how many podcasters youve probably seen launch and succeed or fizzle, what do you think sets those who make it apart? Any tips from your experience? 

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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We know internally that podcasters that build there show in what I call the blubrry way are the longest-lived shows in the podcasting space. So what is the Blubrry Way.

1. Your own .com aka a website to call home, moon base alpha, ground control etc.
2. Controlling your own RSS feed, after all, it’s your digital radio tower
3. Your Brand and your own website design
4. Content that is feeding your audience on non-podcast days.
5. Shows with weekly content grow faster than any others.
6. Two years of episodes without a break
7. If you are doing series then Series 1 ends on Friday and Series 2 begins on Monday

While there are many ways to build a show and anyone can point out successful shows on locked down stand-alone platforms. I feel podcasters that have put in the time to build there show on their .com have a vested interest in seeing that succeed versus shows that drop there podcast on somehost dot com they don’t have buy-in where those who build on their own land do.

I have been criticized for years on some of the points above and here is the thing. There are no rules in podcasting build it the way you want. But take what works for you and make a go of it. But what we see time and time again is shows graduate. They graduate off locked down platforms to there own .com.. Where you host your media is irrelevant. Of course, I want you on our platform. But the more important thing is build your show on your .com

Kat Tanzia Staff asked this question 9 months ago

What equipment do you use/suggest for a new podcaster

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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My strategy is very different than many others. My goal was to get a quality recording so I would spend less time cleaning it up.

Today we have some incredible options out there. Most USB mics are fantastic (minus the snowball) The ATR series of mics from Audio Technica are great mics at a reasonable price. Do not go out and spend a boat load of money on gear until you decide podcasting is your calling.

I love the RodeCaster but that is a step up in investment. This is the ultimate piece of gear that probably takes care of 90% of all podcaster’s needs globally.

Room conditioning is important if you record in a room with wood floors its gonna have an echo. The folks at Audimute talk to Kevan have great solutions for in-home audio conditioning that will not destroy your decor. Or find a quiet place in your house, car to record in.

I think also it depends on the type of show. Solo shows can get away with a ATR 2200 for a long time. Shows with a remote or local Host may need the Rodecaster sooner. But there are also some great digital online solutions now for 2,3,4 people on the show.

Wendy Serrino Staff asked this question 9 months ago

Hiya Todd, any advice on growing listeners from 0? 🙂 

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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Starting at Zero – Assuming you have no existing mailing list and no authority on content. This is where many of us started. I think you are facing a 2-3 year investment of time creating the show and you will need to actually need to dedicate 2-3 times as much time building audience than you actual recording takes.

1. Weekly
2. Join every FB group that is in your content category
3. Track what you talk about on your show
4. Interject in those groups when your content can answer questions (do not be a spammer)
5. Be on all social platforms
6. Blog content on non-podcast days in your topic vein. (this builds good google search traffic)
7. You need to write good show notes again you write for google your record for your audience
8. Time hack your content segments in your show notes
9. Attend podcast events get your brain fed
10. Attend industry events that is in your content genre (speak, participate, interview attendees etc)
11. Build authority you need to become a referenced authority in the content that you cover.
12. Engage and ask for feedback on a regular basis throughout your show
13. Be motivated when you pull up the mic. (I recharge with Redbull to bring the energy level up)
14. Be consistent
15. Don’t waste your listeners time
16. Talk to your listener not at them.
17. Do not be afraid to make changes but do so slowly.
18. Stay on topic with your content. If you go off-topic warn the audience (don’t waste their time)
19. Grind grind grind
20. Reach out to Radio/TV/Newspaper on milestones (25,50,75,100) years, etc They are all looking for human interest stories
21. Turn your content into an ebook
22. Rinse repeat.

Note i did this on the fly probably 100 more tips and I likely missed crucial ones.

Robert Smith asked this question 9 months ago

Todd, are there any maker podcasts you like and what do you like about them?

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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I personally have not listened to any maker podcast in a long time. Please feel free to send me a list of them you like. I am always looking for new genres of content to sample. If you are doing a maker podcast you need to be subscribed and listen to every single one you can find. Doing so will give you ideas for your show. I love acquiring ideas to use on my show from shows in my content Genre.

Bob Sopko asked this question 9 months ago

 
Todd,
Are you going to be at CES 2020?  Would like to catch up.
We are in Eureka park with ourCase Western Reserve University area next to Michigan State.
Enjoy the change of seasons with your recent move.
Thanks.
Bob

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Todd Cochrane replied 9 months ago

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Yes I will be at CES 2020, although a veteran team member is running the Tech Podcast Network coverage at CES. Feel free to email [email protected] or [email protected]

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