Imagine this: you have a niche podcast that is doing well. The show brings in the right amount of leads for your paid products, you are becoming recognized in your industry, and you've even acquired a paid sponsor. For many podcasters, this would be a dream. But, what happens when the podcast is removed unexpectedly from Apple Podcast?
This very scenario happened to me in December 2018, because the show artwork was too large according to Apple Podcast standards. I had been podcasting since 2015 and thought I understood the rules and regulations. My artwork was 3000×3000 which is the proper size, but it was too large.
What was a simple mistake became a more significant issue when after adjusting the size and replacing the artwork, Apple Podcast couldn't get the information it needed to put my RSS feed on its platform.
After four weeks, and countless emails between myself, my podcast host, and Apple's tech team we finally figured out the issue. But, that doesn't help a podcast removed from the airwaves for four straight weeks.
Now what I should have done, and didn't, was to continue publishing episodes on my website, and promote the feed on Google Podcast and other apps. Instead, I got hung up on the Apple platform, and that is a dangerous place to be as a business owner because it's rented land.
Don’t risk losing your audience
Too many online entrepreneurs are building their houses on rented land. While some like Facebook seem solid, others we have seen disappear like Blab or Vine. Many successful entrepreneurs spent a lot of time and effort building audiences on these platforms only to have them close down.
Now, this doesn't mean you shouldn't build a following on a third-party platform. What I'm asking you to consider is to invest more time in building a community on land you entirely control.
Taking the time to create a community and then finding it's suddenly gone is frustrating. Relying on these platforms to build your business infrastructure is a dangerous game.
Too many entrepreneurs don't spend enough time building a platform we control by purchasing hosting and technology. For my podcast, I pay for hosting and a website to show off my episodes. I needed to treat Apple as a bonus but not rely on it as my main podcast source.
It is easy to fall into this trap because more than 50% of my podcast listens came from an Apple method according to my internal podcast statistics. Instead, I should have continued to publish episodes and lead people, when they asked about Apple Podcast, to my website.
Now, I still want you to use all the business tools you can to grow your company. But you need to understand how to use the rented land available to your company correctly.
5 steps to building solid digital foundations
1. Claim all of the digital real estate you can
While you may not use them, you do want to claim all the profiles on all the platforms to prevent anyone else from doing so. You don't want to get a Twitter account three years into the business only to discover that someone else is using your handle. Even if you'll never use the platform make sure you grab your stake of it.
2. Make sure to remember that rented land is rented
Rented land in the digital space means you have no financial claim to it. What I mean is that you are not paying a subscription price to house your content or profile. That, in turn, means the platform owes you nothing concerning loyalty. If it's in their terms and conditions they can remove you when the platform feels like it.
3. Build your empire on solid owned land
Every business should have a website that they pay hosting to have. This digital storefront doesn't need to be fancy, but it should be a place where your potential customers can visit and find information or make sales.
Build an email list, and use it. Make sure that your only lead source isn't just the people who have joined your Facebook Group or follow your Instagram Stories.
4. Your social media accounts are not sales platforms
Can you have a business making sales on social media, of course, and thousands do daily. But, if you put all your eggs into one platform without having a backup, you could be in trouble if you don't have other ways of communicating with your leads and customers.
Because I had spent the time building an active email list of listeners, I was able to keep them informed about what was happening with the podcast. And I was able to email them the minute the podcast was back up.
5. Remember that the most popular platform isn't everything
My biggest regret in my podcast getting shut down was allowing the lack of Apple to halt the entire production. I got so hung up on being in Apple that I ignored my website and other third-party apps that could have sent the podcast to my listeners. Just because you can play on the most popular platform doesn't mean you can't get traction on another.Just because you can play on the most popular platform doesn't mean you can't get traction on another. Focus on the strength of the platforms and infrastructure you can control above all others. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Happily, my podcast is back on the air, but we'll never know what would have happened if I hadn't used the lack of one popular platform as an excuse to shut the whole thing down. Focus on the strength of the platforms and infrastructure you can control above all others.