My brain has a useful balance of creativity and organizational ability that does well with developing creative concepts and bringing them to reality. This is but a glimpse into how I work and what makes me tick. I host a podcast in Louisville called STARTUP: Conversations With Louisville Entrepreneurs

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Affliate Programs Are Killing Podcasting

October 2, 2013 - Author: Dan Vonderheide - Comments are closed

Affiliate programs – yuck. Don’t abuse the notion and your audience won’t abandon you.

For Pete’s sake with the clutter that’s already invading the resurgence of podcasting! I came to discover the joy of reasonably-ad-supported audio content when I discovered WTF with Marc Maron, Mohr Stories with Jay Mohr, and the Nerdist with Chris Hardwick. They all provided (and continue to do so) unbelievably compelling and entertaining content. Great guests, great humor, fantastic interviewing styles…everything that talk radio SHOULD BE.

We like these hosts and what they provide and we go out of our way to make sure we’re bringing them into our lives.

Like most, I was willing to sit through a minute or so of a plea to watch a new Comedy Central show or click an Amazon banner to help support the show. Hell, I’ll even consider donating money to the show to ensure that it’s waiting for me when and where I want it, which is the essence of the on-demand phenomenon.

But lately, this seems to have gotten out of hand and it’s absolutely KILLING the value proposition that we’re trying to create to attract an audience. I’m hearing 3 minutes of commercials asking me to enter a promotional code when purchasing [insert product here]. If you’re unfamiliar about the way it works, the host gets a kickback for every transaction completed.

I’ve long eschewed the notion of affiliate ad programs because they undermine the value of the content that is being presented and delivers unmonetized branding power to the advertiser while delivering pennies to the content provider or ad channel.

Think about it: Cracker Barrel pays the billboard company whether or not you pull off of I-65 for hash brown casserole. If you’re working hard to develop an audience and provide them with something compelling, don’t you think you owe it to yourself (and the aforementioned audience) to not fall into the trap of terrestrial radio by killing the experience of listening by cluttering everything up?

In some cases, I can see a good relationship being formed that uses some sort of revenue share idea, but jumping into bed with 3 or more programs on the same show? Never.

1) Provide programming that means something to your audience

2) Maintain the interest of the audience by not diluting that meaning

3) Integrate a supporter/sponsor/advertiser into the programming to make sure the audience is compelled even by the commercial aspect of what you’re doing – they’ll be more likely to remember the call to action or even the brand as a passionate fan. They’ll support the brand because the support YOU.

With the disparity of attention in media, it’s very hard to attract any audience of meaning. They’re being very kind to exchange some of their time for some of your content.

For this reason, anything we do with Louisville.AM will make sense for the show, will be kept to a strategic minimum, will deliver value to both the advertiser AND the audience, and will honor that time-for-content value exchange.

Categories: Media Criticism, Podcasting, Social Media