In our ongoing look into Blubrry’s affiliate program, we wanted to feature another of our amazing affiliate partners, Colin Gray. Colin runs thePodcastHost.com and we asked him a few questions about podcasting, affiliate marketing, and Blubrry. He’s been a podcaster since 2008, and his podcast, PodCraft, is all “about creating a successful podcast. We cover a new topic, each season, breaking it down and teaching you the ins and outs, in-depth.”
Blubrry Podcasting: What do you like best about podcasting?
Colin Gray: It’s the intimate connection that you can build with your audience. It’s the only medium that feels like you’re talking 1 to 1, rather than broadcasting to a wide audience. And that comes across in your voice, your language, so your listeners connect with you. I’ve had so many experiences at events and conferences where listeners come up and act like an old friend, right away. It’s amazing!
Blubrry: How’d you get into podcasting?
Colin: I was a technology enhanced learning lecturer at a University in Edinburgh, so it was my job to keep up with new teaching technologies. At one point, this fancy new thing called Podcasting came onto the higher education scene, and I was asked to look into it by the team. So, I did, and almost right away I fell in love with the medium! I started experimenting with creating my own episodes, and I ended up creating a course for the university – a 10 episode podcast called “Podwhating?!” which taught lecturers how to start a show, and use it for teaching. I taught that course for a few years, updating the series every year, and once I left the uni, that series became the basis for Podcraft, the show I run today.
Blubrry: How long have you been an affiliate?
Colin: To be honest, I’m not sure! Quite a while! I started thePodcastHost.com in 2011, and that was when I started writing about podcasting. Nearly every one of my articles has been updated since then, though, so it’s hard to put a date on the first post I wrote about Blubrry. But, I’ve certainly been writing about PowerPress, and promoting Blubrry since the very early days, so it’s probably close to 9 years.
Blubrry: How much time do you dedicate to the program?
Colin: Affiliate income is a big part of the income of my business, and podcast hosting is a big part of that in turn. So, I spent a couple of days each month, at least, working on hosting related content, and Blubrry are often a part of that.
Blubrry: Do you participate in any other affiliate programs? And, if so, how would you rate Blubrry’s?
Colin: Yes, a lot! Amazon was actually the very first affiliate income I made – writing about equipment, from recorders to mixers. But, I also work with many other software companies, such as email providers, booking platforms, SEO and sales tools. If it’s a tool or a gadget that’s useful to podcasters, I want to write about it. And since many of these types of tools have affiliate programmes, I’ll tend to build that in.
Blubrry’s affiliate program is great, and has a very unique feature in the form of the annual bonus. It’s a lovely thing when you promote a tool all year, and generate some income from it as you go, but then, at the end of the year, you get an extra bonus, right on top of that. It tops the year off nicely!
Blubrry: What’s been the most unexpected, positive thing about Blubrry’s affiliate program?
The most positive thing about the programme is the motivation it’s given me to write more and more about hosting and websites, with relation to podcasters. The Powerpress plugin is a total mainstay in the world of podcasting, powering so many podcasts out there in the world. When I found it, years ago, it was the perfect solution for me, and I started writing about how to set it up. That led to our ‘Podcast Websites’ course which has become one of the most popular guides on our site. If I hadn’t discovered Blubrry back in the day, and Powerpress in turn, I don’t think I’d have ever discovered the potential in writing about the more technical side of the web for podcasters. It would have been easy to just recommend using an in-built hosting website, but writing about WordPress, themes, plugins, and setting up a great home for your podcast, that gives so much value to podcasters, and potential income from other affiliate programmes for us.
Blubrry: If you could give folks one bit of advice about affiliate programs in general and Blubrry’s affiliate program specifically, what would it be?
Colin: Use the right tools to measure your progress and power up your affiliate marketing. For example, I use Thirsty Affiliates to create my links. It allows for a few things. 1. Geolocation. You can do amazon marketing and send people to the right store, depending on their country. 2. Smartlinks – you can create shorter, more memorable links that you can say on a podcast. 3. Link tracking – Create different links for different campaigns and mediums. For example, one link for email, one link for blogging, one link for the podcast, one link for YoUTube. Then, you can look at the stats to see which medium performs best for you, and double down on that. Similarly, you can use different links for different articles, and see which articles are performing best. That shows you what types of article resonate with your audience, and thus what to do more of.
You never know what content type, or what topics will work for you, so try it all. I read income reports and articles from other affiliate marketers all the time. I see approaches and tactics that they do really well with, but no matter what I try, they don’t do well for me. Conversely, I see areas where they only make a few dollars, but which are big income streams for us. So, expect to write 10 articles for every 1 that takes off. But it’s worth it, because when that 1 does take off, you can get feedback and guidance from that which will help you create more and more in future.
Blubrry: Anything else you’d like to add?
Colin: Don’t expect a quick fix here. Affiliate marketing is a long haul mission. Start writing, podcasting, broadcasting now, with the intention that those bits of content will slowly gain authority, and slowly grow you an audience over time. The benefit of slow is that slow is sticky. A slow build-up means steady traffic and steady growth which will last you a long long time.