What Are Podcast Networks And When To Join One

Subscribe

Podcast networks bring great potential to grow and monetize your podcast show. If you wonder when and why you should join one, keep reading!

What Are Podcast Networks?

Podcast networks
Podcast networks

A podcast network is a collection of podcast shows available for advertisers through a single company or network to promote products or services.

If you know how to make money with a podcast, you may know how important these networks are. These can provide a variety of benefits to podcasters, such as increased exposure and promotion, access to sponsorships and advertising, and support with production and editing.

So, podcast networks are essentially groups of podcasts that are produced and distributed under a single umbrella company.

The podcast hosts can get more listeners, while advertisers can promote their services based on their niche across a range of different podcasts, reaching more people.

When you become part of a network, your content automatically gets advertised on shows across the world within the same network.

If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, joining a network could be a great way to get your show off the ground and reach a wider audience.

You’ll have the backing of a well-established brand, and the network will likely provide you with resources and guidance to help you produce high-quality content.

But there are disadvantages too so read on to find out what you need to know!

Why Did Podcast Networks Start?

Podcast networks started because creating and promoting a podcast can be a lot of work for just one person or a small team. By joining forces with other podcasters, networks can provide a shared platform to produce, distribute, and market podcasts to a wider audience.

In the early days of podcasting, networks were essential to help podcasts gain traction and build a following. They also provided a way for advertisers to reach a larger audience and make some money in the process.

Over time, as podcasts have become more popular and mainstream, there are now many different types of networks with various business models and goals.

Overall, the idea is to foster collaboration, creativity, and community within the podcasting industry.

It’s pretty cool to see how far they’ve come and the impact they’ve had on shaping the industry!

podcast networks
Podcast network

How Do Podcast Networks Work?​

As mentioned, podcast networks collect shows, and generate ad revenue on these shows and the network takes a cut from the ad revenue.

Podcast networks typically take a percentage of the revenue generated by the shows they represent. The percentage can vary widely depending on the network and the specific terms of the agreement. Some networks may take as much as 50% of the revenue, while others may take a smaller percentage.

podcast networks
You can gain marketing support and access to resources.

It’s important for podcasters to carefully consider the financial implications of joining a network and to negotiate terms that are fair and beneficial for both parties.

It’s also worth noting that some networks may offer other benefits beyond revenue sharing, such as marketing support and access to resources that can help improve the quality of the podcast.

This also saves you from having to find sponsors and earn ad revenue on your own.

Advertisers can choose among these types of ads, which means most networks insert ads either as a pre-roll ad, mid-roll ad, or post-roll ad.

  • Pre-roll ads (before the episode) usually last 20-30 seconds. 
  • Mid-roll ads (in the middle of the episode) typically last 60 seconds. 
  • Post-roll ads (at the end of the episode) usually last 10-20 seconds.

Based on Podchaser’s report, the cost of these pre-mid-and post-roll ads per CPM land between $1000-$3000 on a podcast that generates 100,000 listens.

*CPM = cost per thousand means 1000 impressions on an episode.

That’s a lot of cash! So podcast networks can definitely bring your show a lot of value and listenership! 

And you can now see why so many celebrity podcasts feature on the big networks like iHeartRadio or Wondery.

But… as you can see from Buzzsprout Stats (Feb 2023), 95% of podcasts do not even get 1,000 downloads per episode!

This is a reason why networks exist, as podcasts can pool listeners and be more attractive to advertisers. But don’t expect to start making Joe Rogan money from it!

Episode downloads

Can An Independent Podcast Join A Podcast Network?

Absolutely! Independent podcasts can join.

While podcast advertising networks often have established shows, they are always on the lookout for new and exciting content. Many networks actively seek out independent podcasts to add to their roster.

Joining a network can provide independent podcasters with valuable resources, including technical support, promotional opportunities, social media ads, and access to a wider audience.

Additionally, being part of a network can provide a sense of community and collaboration with other podcasters.

How To Become A Podcast Producer
A Podcast Producer

Of course, as with any business decision, it’s important to do your research and make sure the network is a good fit for your podcast. Consider factors such as the network’s reputation, the level of support it provides, and any fees or revenue-sharing agreements.

Overall, this can be a great way for independent podcasters to take their show to the next level and reach a larger audience.

My podcast Did That Really Happen? recently joined the Standup Comedy Podcast Network to build the audience of the show!

Podcast channel

Should An Independent Podcast Join A Podcast Network?

That really depends on the goals of the independent podcast and what they hope to achieve.

If the podcast is looking to grow its audience, monetize its content, and have access to resources and support, then this could definitely be a good idea.

However, if the podcast is happy with its current level of success and prefers to maintain complete control over its content and brand, then joining a network may not be the best choice for them.

Ultimately, it’s important for independent podcasters to carefully consider their options and do their research before making any decision on whether or not to join or not.

Should an independent podcast join a podcast network?

What Are The Requirements To Join A Podcast Network?

Podcast network requirements can vary depending on the specific network.

However, most podcast networks require having a certain number of episodes already produced, having a consistent publishing schedule, and having a certain number of listeners or downloads per episode.

Some may also require a specific niche or topic focus for your podcast.

solo podcast
Another reason to have a niche!

Additionally, it’s important to have high-quality audio and a professional image for your podcast, as this can make it more appealing.

Building a strong and engaged audience can also make your podcast more attractive, as they are often looking for podcasts with a dedicated following.

Before reaching out to a network, it’s a good idea to research their specific requirements and expectations to ensure that your podcast is a good fit.

You may also want to consider preparing a pitch or presentation that highlights your podcast’s strengths and potential for growth.

To know more details, you should know how to measure podcast success, it’s about numbers and metrics. Generally, your podcast show should have:

  • 1000 – 5000 downloads per week
  • Minimum of 1 episode uploaded per week
  • Be open to cross-promote other podcast shows on your show

These numbers could sound too high for your show, but mid-tier podcast networks also promote smaller podcast shows. 

It’s important to have high-quality audio in your podcast

How Can You Join A Podcast Network

There are a few steps you need to take.

First, look for networks that align with your podcast’s niche, style, and values. Check out their website, social media, and other podcasts they produce to get a sense of their brand and following.

Once you have a list of potential networks, reach out to them with a pitch.

Introduce yourself and your podcast, and explain why you think you would be a good fit for their network. Be sure to highlight what sets your podcast apart and any unique selling points.

What is your Unique Selling Point?

If a network is interested in working with you, they will likely present you with a contract outlining the terms of the partnership. Be sure to read the contract carefully and negotiate any terms that don’t align with your goals or expectations.

Once you’ve signed the contract, it’s time to launch your partnership!

Work with the network to promote your podcast and take advantage of any resources or support they offer. Stay in communication with the network and be open to feedback and suggestions.

Overall, joining a podcast network can be a great way to expand your reach, connect with other podcasters, and access resources and support that can help you grow your show.

What To Consider Before Joining?

The idea of getting advertisers and gaining more exposure may sound too good to be true!

So, I want you to make an objective decision before you join a network, so here are the pros and cons.

Benefits Of Podcast Networks

Marketing

Once you join a podcast network, you find yourself in a marketing team that helps you, and other podcast shows to grow.

These networks have their in-house designers, copywriters, and ad specialists, so you can sit back and let the marketing team take care of your increased marketing presence. 

A marketing team will help you.

Cross-promote with other shows & Network

As the name suggests in podcast NETWORKS, you get to grow your podcasting friends and “colleagues” too and learn from their shows. As part of the network, you will be promoted on their podcast episodes and vice versa. 

Thus, you will grow other creatives’ listenerships, and they will grow yours too, which then leads to the next benefit.

Cross-Promote with other shows & Network

Credibility

When you hear many people recommend the same product, you will likely try that one. The same principle applies here when other podcast shows recommend you on their show.

This is why most popular podcasts advertise other podcasts.

Listeners can try one show and quickly try the next without leaving their podcast app, whether it’s Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts. Thus, both you and the podcast that promoted you benefit from this by receiving the next benefit, which is…

Credibility

Money

The last obvious reason is money! You get an ad-revenue share at around 50-80%!

Moreover, the more listeners you get, the more chances you get for sponsorships for large companies and boost your other revenue streams.

You can get an ad-revenue share at around 50-80%!

Disadvantages Of Podcast Networks

Loss of Creative Control

Once you join a massive podcast network within one niche, such as crime network shows, the podcast network also has a say in how much your content can be different from your original topic.

This can cause frustration for different creators who may have a better idea for an episode and want to go beyond their “original” topic and address new issues.

Losing creative freedom can be a deal breaker for many different creators.

You may lose creative control on a podcast network

Change Hosting Service

Many podcast networks want their podcasts to use the same hosting platforms/services.

If you are lucky, the potential podcast network uses the same hosting service like yours. Otherwise, you will probably lose all your past analytics on your previous episodes.

Do consider this if you’re a seasoned podcaster and do your research on the podcast network service. 

Many podcast networks want their podcasts to use the same hosting service.

You Got To Stick To Your Contract

Yep, joining a podcast network means you will be part of a system. When you are part of a deal like this, the podcast networks may demand 1-2 episodes every week.

If publishing frequency has been your weakness, negotiate your agreement to be better for you. 

Stick To Your Contract

When To Join A Podcast Network?

Considering all the benefits and disadvantages, I would recommend joining a podcast network when;

  1. Your show has a steady flow of listeners every month, and weekly episodes
  2. You are comfortable working with contracts.
  3. You do not have big sponsorship deals currently on your podcast, and you’re looking for ways to monetize your show.
  4. You do not have strong marketing experience to market your show.

List Of Podcast Networks

Here is a brief overview of the top podcast networks.

  • NPR – National Public Radio is one of the most well-known podcast networks that produces high-quality, informative shows like “Planet Money,” “Fresh Air,” and “This American Life.”
  • Wondery – Wondery is an American podcast network based out of LA that produces a variety of audio content, including many from well-known people such as Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Long.
  • iHeartRadio – iHeartRadio produces a wide range of shows from pop culture podcasts, entertainment, news, and true crime to sports and music.
  • Earwolf – Earwolf is a comedy-focused network that produces shows like “Comedy Bang! Bang!” and “How Did This Get Made?”
  • Gimlet Media – Gimlet Media Gimlet was founded in 2014 by This American Life producer, Alex Blumberg. Now owned by Spotify Gimlet Media produces narrative-driven shows like “Reply All,” “Startup,” and one of my favorite podcasts, “Homecoming.”
  • Radiotopia – Radiotopia is a network that produces high-quality, narrative-driven podcasts like “99% Invisible,” “Criminal,” and “Ear Hustle.”
  • Vox Media – Vox Media produces a variety of shows across its network, including “Today, Explained,” “The Weeds,” and “Recode Decode.”
  • Crooked Media – Crooked Media is a progressive-leaning network that produces shows like “Pod Save America” and “Lovett or Leave It.”
  • Maximum Fun – Maximum Fun produces a variety of shows, including “My Brother, My Brother, and Me,” “Judge John Hodgman,” and “Sawbones.”
  • The Ringer – The Ringer is a sports and pop culture-focused network that produces shows like “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” “The Rewatchables,” and “Binge Mode.”
  • The Nerdist – The Nerdist network features a wide variety of podcasts, including several science fiction shows such as “Nerdist Sci-Fi,” “StarTalk Radio,” and “Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air).”
  • The PodcastOne Network- Co-founded in 2012 by Adam Carolla. He has several podcasts under the network, including “The Adam Carolla Show,” “The Adam and Dr. Drew Show,” and “Reasonable Doubt.”

Note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are many other podcast networks out there. Additionally, the popularity and quality of each network’s shows may vary based on individual preferences.

Wondery Stats: Source, Wondery Website

Conclusion

Joining a podcast network can be a great option for independent podcasters looking to grow their audience, access resources, and monetize their content.

However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and consider your individual goals and needs before making a decision.

Remember, you don’t need to join a network to be successful, but it can certainly provide valuable support and opportunities if it’s the right fit for you.

podcast course
How to get your voice out & share your story

So take some time to do your research, explore your options, and make the decision that feels best for you and your podcast. Happy podcasting!

Improve Your Podcast With Seven Million Bikes

To join a podcast network or win big sponsorships, you have to improve your podcast show to be unique, concise, and entertaining.

At Seven Million Bikes Podcasts, I am here to help you step up your podcasting game and make sure you are getting those downloads every week.

Book a free consultation with me!

Leave a Comment