For those of you out there who are content creators, whether you call yourself an influencer or not, you know I am a loud champion of owned channels. I harp on the fact that you can’t rely on the social networks … borrowed channels … for your content or audience forever. You need to have your own website. Your own email newsletter and list. Perhaps your own podcast.

I do talk about podcasting a lot, but it’s not because I love podcasts and podcasting. It’s because podcasters are influencers. And understanding them and their world, which is a little different than a regular social media content creator, is good for those of you who are brand or agency side professionals. It’s also hopefully inspiring and helpful for the creators among us who are trying to build something out of their online presence.

The challenge for many people with podcasting is that there’s so much technical know how perceived to be needed to start, it’s intimidating. You have to have software to record and edit. A place to host. Maybe software to make it sound better than you can muster in Garage Band. Do you have a website for it? How do you get it to post on all the podcast apps …

It can be a challenge. The less technically inclined someone is, the bigger the challenge.

Zencastr recently made some holistic changes to its software platform to make all that technical challenge go away. By way of disclosure, I am a paying customer of Zencastr and use it for my interviews here on the show. Zencastr is also a recent sponsor of Winfluence and its Creator Network has placed advertisements on the Marketing Podcast Network. Neither of those things have anything to do with my guest being invited on today.

Josh Nielsen is the co-founder and CEO of Zencastr. When you have the opportunity to interview a big shot, you take it. Sponsorship or not. 

Josh and team unleashed a new beast on the podcast industry in late August. Zencastr now is far more than a place to record your web-based interviews for podcasting. It now has full production and editing capabilities for shows, hosting, transcripts, the Creator Network which matches shows with advertisers for monetization. It’s a whole new animal. 

Josh visited with me to talk about the new features there to help make your owned content easier to manage. But we also talked about the industry as a whole, why podcast apps are terrible at search and discovery and more.

The video embed below and on YouTube is a video produced via Zencastr’s new production platform so you can see an example. Please note – It is the raw video of the interview and not the fully produced show. Theoretically, that can be done on the fly in Zencastr now, but I didn’t take that much time to prep the interview.

This episode of Winfluence is presented by Tagger, a complete influence marketing software solution. Check them out for a demo today at jason.online/tagger.

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The Winfluence theme music is “One More Look” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.


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Josh Nielsen on Winfluence Transcript

[00:00:00] Josh: Why do you think the podcast apps can’t get search and discovery right? The reason why the intelligence isn’t there is because somebody has gotta foot the bill to transcribe all the content and then run further processing to understand it, right? And so for whatever reason, Google hasn’t seen that to be part of what’s important for their product, but it’s definitely highly important for podcast search and discovery.

[00:00:23] Jason: Hello again friends, thanks for listening to Winfluence, the Influence Marketing Podcast. For those of you out there who are content creators, whether you call yourself an influencer or not, you know I am a loud champion of owned channels. I harp on the fact that you can’t rely on the social networks borrowed channels for your content or audience forever.

You need to have your own website, your own email newsletter enlist, perhaps your own podcast. I do talk about podcasting a lot, but it’s not because I love podcasts and podcasting, I do enjoy bringing this show to you every week, but it’s because podcasters are influencers and understanding them in their world, which is a little different than regular social media content creators.

It’s really good, for those of you who are brand or agency side professionals, good knowledge. It’s also hopefully inspiring and helpful for the creators among us who are trying to build something out of their online presence, and owned channel. The challenge for many people with podcasting is that there’s so much technical knowhow perceived to be needed to start, so it can be intimidating.

You have to have software to record and edit a place to host it, maybe software to make it sound better than you can master in Garage Band. Do you have a website for it or not? How do you get it to post on all the podcast apps? It can be a challenge. The less technically inclined someone is, the bigger the challenge.

Zencastr recently made some holistic changes to its software platform and approach to make all that technical challenge kind of go away. Now, by way of disclosure, I am a paying customer of Zencastr, I use it for my interviews here on the show. Zencastr is also a recent sponsor of Winfluence and its creator network has placed advertisements on the marketing podcast network, which I run.

Neither of those things have anything to do with my guest being invited on today. Josh Nielsen is the co-founder and CEO of Zencastr, when you have the opportunity to interview a big shot, you take it, sponsorship or not. Josh and Team unleashed a new beast on the podcast industry in late August. Zencastr now is far more than a place to record your web-based interviews for podcasts. It now has that full production and editing capabilities for shows, hosting, transcripts, the Creator Network, which matches shows with advertisers for monetization, Zencastr is a whole new animal now.

Josh visited with me to talk about the new features there to help make your own content easier to manage, but we also talked about the industry as a whole, why podcast apps are terrible at search and discovery and a lot more. Josh Nielsen, the CEO of Zencastr coming up on the show.

This is the point in the show where I tell you a little something about Tagger. Our presenting sponsor, Tagger is a complete influencer marketing software package I use every single day to find, engage, hire, collaborate, review, and measure, all my influencer marketing efforts for my clients.

Thanks to tag’s new signals feature, I can actually start my influencer discovery process very differently than others. In signals. You do enter a topic or keyword like you would anywhere else, but instead of getting influencer recommendations based on maybe how many times that word appears in an influencer’s bio or content, you actually start with a list of creators talking about that topic, right now.

It’s a social listening piece that zeros in on the influencers already engaged around the topic, so your outreach is more relevant. Seriously, if an influencer said trash bags in a post four years ago, they might come up in a regular influencer marketing discovery search that let’s say hefty might do, but in tags signals, you get the people who mention trash bags in their posts or content in the last 30 days or whatever timeframe you choose.

This gives you more relevant creators already teed up to discuss the topics around your brand. Now I could go on, but you do know I use Tagger every day. You should check it out too, it might be right for your brand or agency. Go to Jasonfalls.co/tagger to get a free demo and see if Tagger is right for you. The URL again is Jasonfalls.co/tagger. That’s a new URL structure for the little things I share here jasonfalls.co/tagger.

Zencastr has just opened up a world of more efficient podcast production and beyond. We find out more about it and the industry from CEO Josh Nielsen. He’s next on Winfluence.

 Josh, first of all just wanna say thanks. I’ve used Zencastr for several years now because back when I went looking there, there weren’t very many audio recording apps that separated the audio tracks and the competitors out there that did were, you know, probably more expensive or complicated than I wanted to spend or focus on at the time, so Zencastr was a perfect fit for me then and has remained such so, thank you.

[00:06:06] Josh: Thank you so much. I’m really glad you’ve been finding the product useful and really happy to be here.

[00:06:11] Jason: Well, and the reason that you’re here primarily is just until a few short weeks ago, Zencastr was primarily a place where people could record their podcasts, both audio and video. Now you guys are, I would say, a whole new company, tell us about all the new features you’ve recently announced?

[00:06:28] Josh: Yeah, thank you. No we’re very excited, we’ve expanded a lot and really it’s all about zooming out to help podcasters more with all the other problems that they have in making a successful podcast. as you know, our entry to market was just helping podcasters do great remote recordings which was a really big pain point, still is but that does not equal a successful podcast.

We had so many people coming and recording and then they said, okay, now what? And we were like, well, there’s like, 5 to 10 other tools and services you may need to use to get this ready to then go put it somewhere to publish it, and then you’re gonna have to figure out how to find your own audience, and that doesn’t even mean monetization.

Which in the end, that’s really what most podcasters are interested in, is they want to grow their audience and they wanna monetize it by and large. And so we decided, hey, you know, we’ve always been about podcast creators, why don’t. Actually, hold the hand the whole rest of the way so that we’re not leaving them kind of giving them audio files and kicking ’em out the doorstep and having them have to figure out the whole rest of the process.

So now you can record, produce, and publish all from Zencastr, as well as we are bringing together a monetization network and helping connect brands with creators and helping them monetize, and we’re putting some of the first money that these podcasters have ever made from their podcast into their pocket.

Feels really amazing, the brands love it as well, they’re all looking for a better way to connect with their audiences in a more kind of natural way. And I think podcasting really provides that amazing way for brands to connect with audiences in a way that they’re not just slapping an Ad across content, but they’re maybe participating, maybe they’re guest on a show, maybe they have their own podcast all kinds of options, and so brands are eager to get in, creators are eager to find that success and monetize, and we’re really happy to be faciliting.

[00:08:17] Jason: Well, the changes and the new features certainly speak to your ability to keep up with the market. I can tell you from my own experience with this podcast, but probably more broadly heading up the marketing podcast network where I’ve got a bunch of other, voices and hosts and personalities and experiences to factor in.

But having a one stop shop for kind of all the things was really badly needed was that the primary sort of insight that led to the work was you’ve gotta consolidate all these tools to make it easier for people?

[00:08:47] Josh: Yeah, I mean, podcasting has been bursting at the seams, trying to grow, but it’s been sort of artificially prevented from doing that just because the tools in the infrastructure haven’t been in place to support it.

And so, you know, what we find when we are talking to our creators is we say, how long does it take you to make a single episode on average, a 6 hour process, and we’d say, okay, on average, how many different tools are you using? It was like 10 to 14 different tools and services. And so if you can imagine like take Instagram for an example, what if you had to use 5 different apps and it took you 3 hours to make an Instagram post? How many people would actually engage in that medium or Twitter or any of these places. It’s it just keeps so many people out of being able to engage, or lot of people try and then they realize, hey, I thought this was gonna be easy, and now it’s taking way more time and they give up before they have the chance to even really get started.

[00:09:38] Jason: Yeah,

[00:09:38] Josh: and so we see that as like a really big problem, big bottleneck that can be solved, and then that opens up the market so that everybody can engage and you get, just a much better community.

[00:09:50] Jason: Very nice. So let me see if I can translate this to folks listening properly. Check and make sure I’ve got all this right so I can certainly schedule my podcast interview in Zencastr, the way I always have, I can preload my intro music or video pre-roll bits, all the pre-recorded stuff I can actually, put together the show as if it’s live, while I’m recording it, I have editing capabilities for the recorded files in the platform now. Zencastr also now can host the podcast, so I don’t need to output an MP3 file or video and then upload it somewhere else, you can also host it and then you also have an ad network so I can manage dynamic ad insertions and monetize the show. Am I missing something? Is that all of it?

[00:10:32] Josh: Yeah, you’re correct, the only thing at the end of the dynamic part, we’re adding in like two weeks, so that part is coming, its not quite there yet, but yeah, exactly. You can easily record audio and or video, we give you the automated transcripts, we have added new production options like automatically remove ums and os, automatically remove long pauses.

This is a lot of what most editors are spending a lot of their time doing is those kind of basic tasks. And, we run a series of audio enhancements to just make it sound really great as well, and then, yeah, quickly and easily create a show, can you just get it out publish, distribute it, people can consume it from all the major RSS consumption apps or platforms that can be consumed on zencastr.com. And then yeah, we also have attribution and campaign tracking tools for podcasting ad campaigns.

We can either help you find advertisers to be on your show or if you already have your own advertisers, and you just want to be able to track the campaigns and show them, hey I can prove that I’m driving you know, visits to your site or demos or even we can track conversions if they’re using Stripe or Shopify. So really give you the assets you need to prove to brands that you’re driving value for them and to keep them in the campaign.

[00:11:45] Jason: Awesome, that’s just, I mean, I think you solved a bunch of problems there with all these new features. So I want you to tell me more about the video capabilities, because this show is primarily an, audio podcast. Now we’re recording the video for this episode just to show the quality and such, so the YouTube that I do upload for this episode, for those of you listening out, there will be the actual video of Josh and I chatting, so, and maybe I’ll reconfigure my habit there to just make the show video as well, but that remains to be seen.

But I’m an audio file, help me get into the mindset of using video for the show too. It’s easy to record, but my biggest issue with video is that it takes extra time editing in my experience, that and I don’t think watching two or three people, talk on a radio program is inherently compelling, but I’ve done video live streams as shows and podcasts before, but the video product becomes primary, which then takes away from the audio quality in my opinion. So talk me off the ledge, am I wrong? How would you recommend someone use the video features of Zencastr?

[00:12:49] Josh: Yeah, great question. Like audio podcasting isn’t going anywhere, we’re gonna continue to support that use case indefinitely. And we don’t wanna be too pushy about it, we just find that, podcasters really want to grow and video really helps them grow, like, the stats we see as something like four to five times faster.

And I do think you’re right. You gotta be careful, if you make it a video show and you start doing lots of visual stuff that maybe doesn’t translate to the audio, then you may sort of lose some of your audience that likes to listen to your show while they’re working out or running or doing laundry coz they can’t watch, right? So you gotta be mindful of that.

But if you have video and the audio and transcriptions and then you can clip that into like the best parts and then send that out to TikTok and, twitter and, instagram, now you’ve got a much better way to engage, and reach a lot more people across all the different social channels that you have, and then bring them back into your podcast.

And I notice when I’m listening to a video podcast oftentimes I’m not watching it. I’ll put it up in the corner of my screen every once in a while when they say something especially interesting or funny, I do like going and referencing, seeing how they’re laughing, how they’re reacting, what the guest looks like but, that is like, I think the secondary way that I want to consume it. I do want to just be able to be something I can walk around with in my pocket, you know.

And so it’s about, it’s really about the reach that you can get through having a piece of content that’s native on an Instagram or a TikTok where, if you just post hour long podcast on Twitter with audio only, obviously that’s not really how that medium works, and you’re not gonna convert very well. So that’s really why we’re trying to help people get into video.

[00:14:35] Jason: That’s true, well, I, certainly could use you know, a little bit more time and focus on developing the video aspects of this show. So I appreciate the impetus to do that with this episode, so I’m gonna try, to look at how we, you know, edit this post, recording and figure out can I make this streamlined and easy for me to turn my previous, video efforts or all audiograms on YouTube.

But I’d love to be able to actually record these things and just have that there for the people that want it. So I appreciate the, inspiration there. We’re talking to the founder and CEO of Zencastr today, Josh Nielsen. When we come back, I want to get his take on some bigger industry issues that we’re all facing, so stick around.

 Back with Josh Nielsen, the founder and CEO of Zencastr, not only the longtime interview back into this show, but also a recent sponsor of the show, Zencastr’s ad network, and Creator Network is a client and customer of the marketing podcast network, if you will. Neither of those things have anything to do with Josh being here, when you get the chance to interview the CEO of a big deal, you take it. So that’s why Josh is here.

So Josh, let’s talk about the industry a bit. Podcasts continue to explode, that’s obviously a good thing for Zencastr, which now provides that soup to nuts array of services for podcasters. But I wanted to ask philosophically, is the exponential growth of podcasting really a good thing? Are we gonna reach a critical mass where there’s just too much to choose from and very little stands out? Is that problematic for you in any way?

[00:16:19] Josh: Maybe someday, but I think the problems that we’re seeing right now is that there’s not too much out there, and if there is, you can’t find it. Or if you’re out there, it’s hard to be discovered already, even though it’s not maybe as crowded as the market ever could be, it’s not so much about being crowded as the problem is it’s hard to, there’s not mechanisms in place in the podcasting market like you may see on YouTube to help feature creators that are, standing out and growing and like giving them some juice when they need it at the beginning to get noticed. And that’s one of the things that you know, we wanna focus on as well at Zencastr, but even more broadly, like I think podcasting is, a net benefit for society.

I think that it really helps us, have dialogue and discourse that is maybe really hard to do on some of these other platforms in a productive way where people come to points of maybe empathizing and agreeing with one another over getting into shouting matches. And so, you know, we get, and we’ve got some of these broader problems with maybe censorship on some of the social platforms and I’m a big firm believer that, the answer to bad speech is not censorship, it’s more good speech. And so the more people that we can get into using a medium that lends itself to better conversations I think we’re all gonna benefit for it. So I don’t particularly worry that the space is gonna go downhill as it gets bigger, I think it’s just gonna become more and more interesting.

[00:17:47] Jason: Well, that’s fair and a good perspective, and I don’t know that I disagree with you at all, just because, you know, we said the same thing about when, you know, when social networks emerged and blogs emerged, the danger was, well, if you give everyone the ability to publish easily, the problem is everyone will.

And then you’re gonna have just a lot of crap out there that whether it’s the search engines or the social network algorithms or the good thing about having a lot to choose from is consumers have the choice. They can listen to something or not listen to something.

They can follow a channel or not follow a channel, and so it kind of solves itself in the long run. The noise goes away and the signal stands out as it is apt to do so, I definitely don’t disagree with you. Why do you think, that podcast apps the Apple Podcasts, and the Spotifys, and the Google Podcasts and the Stitchers, why do you think the podcast apps can’t get search and discovery? Right? I mean, do any of them not understand search? I mean, Google’s been around for, 20 plus years, can they not emulate some more sophisticated platforms in helping us find relevant shows or episodes?

[00:18:50] Josh: Yeah, it’s interesting coz if you, go on Google and you search like, fluffy white dog, all these images are gonna pop up, right? They’ve got a lot of intelligence around images, but if you’ve type podcasts about I, you know, it’s not gonna work nearly as well for, It’s not just podcasting, its audio in general.

Just the intelligence around audio is, pretty far behind what we have right now for image recognition, but that’s changing very quickly. And to answer your question in short, the reason why, the intelligence isn’t there, is because somebody’s gotta foot the bill to transcribe all the content and then run the further processing to understand it, right?

And so, for whatever reason, Google hasn’t seen that to be part of, what’s important for their product. But it’s definitely highly important for, podcast, search and discovery, and so, that’s, part of what we’re helping with Zencastr. We, you know, are not, we Launch is just the very first tip of our consumption platform with this last launch.

So you can, if you publish on Zencastr, you can come and watch the audio and video there, but pretty soon we’re gonna be able to, you know, we got the transcripts in there, we’ll be able to help you search and discover ons and caster and otherwise through just knowing what the people are talking about, it’s just hasn’t been built yet, and so we’re making that happen.

[00:20:06] Jason: That’s great. Well, I’m glad you are for sure. So help us with a little discovery here Josh, what are your top two, three podcasts you listen to? What’s a good find for us?

[00:20:15] Josh: well, here’s a couple great ones that I’ve enjoyed recently, and some of these are less relevant and some of these are more relevant for your audience, but one is a bit of a guilty pleasure, it’s called That UFO Podcast, if you’re interested. There’s a lot happening in these days in the space with, the US government making disclosures about these sorts of things, so it’s an interesting topic to me. There’s another one, True Crime is always fun. there’s one called The Gruesome Podcast, that’s really great, we love. And then, you know, there’s another one that I’ve been checking out that’s actually on your network, which, obviously makes sense for me, it’s called The Business of Podcasting.

[00:20:47] Jason: Yeah

[00:20:48] Josh: and so, you know, a little nod there as well.

[00:20:50] Jason: Oh, awesome. I appreciate that Christopher Hines will be thrilled to know that you’re listening to the Business of Podcasting along the marketing podcast network. He’s been a guest on the show too, so we love his wisdom and does a great job there, good stuff. I like the true crime stuff too, but for whatever reason, like I’ve subscribed to like, you know, Dateline NBC and a couple of the ones that are, you know, the episodes are kind of self-contained, but I like the ones that are like 10 episodes, you know, seasons where you’re going really deep into the case for whatever reason. So I just finished up The Teacher’s Pet, which is a couple years old now, and of course they just had the teacher’s trial coz the guy wound up, spoiler alert, the guy wound up getting arrested for it, but yeah, True Crime is my guilty pleasure too. I don’t get into the UFO stuff, but I’ll take your recommendation and go listen to that one and see what I think, so…

[00:21:38] Josh: Its fun, it’s fun.

[00:21:41] Jason: Josh Nielsen, thank you for being here today and making podcasting more accessible, affordable, and approachable for everybody. I love what Zencastr does and we’ll continue to use at least parts, if not eventually, all of the new product features. So I genuinely appreciate what you’ve built here, man, thank you so much.

[00:21:58] Josh: Oh, thank you Jason, really happy to be on the show. Thank you for the, invitation.

[00:22:01] Jason: Well, but before we go, I guess we should remind people where they can find you and the awesomeness of Zencastr on the internet.

[00:22:07] Josh: Yeah. So, you can find us @zencastr on Twitter, obviously zencastr.com, on the web. That’s Z E N C A S T R, no E getting domains was hired back then. And shoot, what else we got our blog you can find from the website, and then we’ve got our own podcast as well that you can find from the zencastr.com homepage. Come check out the story of how Zencastr was created from ideation all the way to I think the next season will be up to modern day.

[00:22:35] Jason: Awesome, well, we’re looking forward to seeing that, and thank you again for being here, Josh. Appreciate it.

 I’m really excited about what Zencastr has done here folks, if you haven’t seen their platform in a while or are looking for a starting point for your podcast, go check them out. All the tools you need are right there, and I’ll give you the zen.ai/winfluence address that at least tells them the traffic came from you.

My show’s audience, I don’t make any money off that, I’m not an affiliate. Zen zen.ai/winfluence zen.ai/winfluence will get you to their site and we’ll let them know that I sent you, that’s all, I don’t make any money off of it. They just want to know, hey, this guy’s bringing us customers, it might lead to them advertising on the show more in the future, so it could benefit me yes, god, I love the FTC sometimes, anyway, You know what you’re doing, zen.ai/winfluence.

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Thanks for listening, folks. Let’s talk again soon on Winfluence.

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