Starting a podcast can seem like a daunting task. You have to get the proper equipment if you want to do it right, work on your broadcasting skills constantly and always be marketing your show to increase the size of your listener base.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention the technical part that involves making the files available for fans to download or running and maintaining the podcast’s website. Luckily, the WordPress plugin Seriously Simple Podcasting is available to help.
You can download Seriously Simple Podcasting for free to quickly get your podcast site running with these features:
- Multiple Shows on One Site
- Listener Stats (via a Free Add-on)
- Shortcode and Widgets to Display Episode Playlists
- Utilize the WordPress Media Player to Embed Shows
I wanted to profile Seriously Simple Podcasting for two reasons. It serves what I would consider to be a pretty niche audience in the WordPress user community and its owner has another company that offers complimentary services to that audience which is uncommon in the plugin business.
Craig Hewitt, the owner of Seriously Simple Podcasting, took some time out of his schedule to answer some questions and discuss how Seriously Simple Podcasting started, is being developed and his long term marketing and sales plans.
How did Seriously Simple Podcasting come about and when did you get involved?
I got an email from a good friend in the WordPress space in early December last year that the founder and previous owner of SSP was looking to sell it. Hugh Lashbrooke had spent years building the product and getting a terrific user base but just didn’t have the time or desire to monetize it as a paid product. As such he thought it best to sell it to someone who could “take it to the next level”. I run another business in the podcasting space, so it was a pretty natural fit I thought.
Since acquiring the plugin around the end of the year we have been hard at work building out a couple of premium features to it, including an integrated hosting platform, and now a redesigned player and enhanced stats.
As a non-technical founder I have been very fortunate to have two seasoned WordPress developers on our team who have helped build both the hosting platform (utilizing the Laravel framework), and much of the enhanced functionality we’ve put into Seriously Simple Podcasting in the last 6 months.
I’m really intrigued by the podcasting space in terms of services and support software. How did you get started in building podcasting apps and services yourself?
I started PodcastMotor, a full service podcast editing and production business, in early 2015. Now 2.5 years later that business is pretty mature and has given me not only a lot of insights into the podcasting world, but also a lot of experience with what podcasters need, and where some of the gaps are in the market.
Being a podcaster myself too helps, but working with the wide variety of types of shows that we do at PodcastMotor has been a really unique insight into how many different ways there are that people run their podcasts, and reasons that they have them in general.
Was the intention from the day you took over the plugin to offer hosting to Seriously Simple Podcasting users or was it just going to be used as a kind of value add to PodcastMotor?
Seriously Simple Podcasting being an entirely free plugin, without any existing revenue potential, the goal in acquiring the plugin was two-fold: ensure that the user experience for the core, free plugin and modules is industry leading, and to craft premium products to go along with the core plugin and add-on modules that would round out the podcasting experience for our users.
To me this meant two things: podcast hosting and premium stats.
Hosting we’ve solved at this point and our Seriously Simple Hosting platform is really great. All of the power of a dedicated media hosting platform without having to fuss with yet another 3rd party app to schedule and manage.
Premium stats is something we’re just starting to work on now (July 2017) and are excited to be able to bring our customers the option to receive really detailed stats on their podcasts, again right inside WordPress.
Our goal is to build the industry leading podcasting platform, but give our users the ability to stay inside the content management system that they use to keep track of all of their content, not just their podcast.
How have you balanced between free and paid features for the plugin?
Up until the launch of Seriously Simple Hosting in May the plugin had been entirely free. It still is in fact as any users can host their podcast media files in the location of their choice. This could include on their web server or a different media hosting platform. I feel very strongly that the plugin should allow users to achieve their goal of creating and managing a podcast in WordPress… and for that we will never charge users.
However, there are things within the podcasting workflow that are beyond the scope of the free Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin and its 5 add-on modules. Things like media hosting, enhanced stats, and potentially some front end theming that we’re looking at will be optional, paid add-ons to the core product.
Since the plugin utilizes the add-on model thus far it’s easy for us to build some free add-on modules, and some premium add-ons without sacrificing the utility or simplicity of the core plugin.
I have been toying with a podcast-related SaaS product this year and my research into the podcasting market was interesting. How have you marketed the plugin since launch?
Since Seriously Simple Podcasting is in the WordPress.org repository we get most of our new users from there. We do notify new users of the plugin about Seriously Simple Hosting the first time they use the plugin via a Welcome screen within our Custom Post Type menu item. This includes a demo video and coupon code that they can use when signing up.
Now that we’re a couple of months post launch and the product is performing well we are going to start a more earnest marketing effort. This will likely include posts such as this in leading WordPress publications, sponsoring some events, and potentially advertising on podcasts. Podcast advertising is a very young medium, but we believe that for our target market it could be a good fit.
With a team working on Seriously Simple Podcasting now how do you decide what new features to work on next?
We receive a steady stream of suggestions via the WordPress.org support forum, GitHub issues, and our email inbox. Once we receive a suggestion for new feature, or a bug request we use CodeTree to manage our various GitHub repositories amongst our team.
We want to continue to add additional value to the users of the core Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin, but also to offer additional premium products so that podcasters can solve all of their podcasting problems within Seriously Simple Podcasting, and not have to rely on yet another 3rd party tool.
Our release goal is to include additional features in the free plugin and add-on modules on a monthly basis, and I believe we’ll create 1 or 2 new premium products through the rest of this year.