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SPI 650: Network Effect.

Wednesday’s chat with Selena Soo for episode 649 was a great reminder of the importance of building business relationships. But there is actually a different kind of networking that can solve our audience growth and monetization woes.

The thing is, this strategy is not right for everyone. In fact, I’ve had multiple offers come my way over the years to take advantage of this, and I’ve always turned them down. So what am I talking about?

In this episode, I’ll look at the pros and cons of joining a podcast network. This applies to other forms of content as well: new networks have been popping up for YouTubers, bloggers, and other creators for a while now.

So would you benefit from joining a podcast network or creator network, or would you be better off staying away from them?

This is a question I know many people wrestle with. There is no one size fits all answer, but I hope the perspective I share today will help you make the best long-term decision for your brand.

For more about podcast networks, listen in on my fantastic conversation with Gillian Tietz on episode 1245 of AskPat!

SPI 650: Network Effect.

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he recently discovered that a way to get back hours of time was to lay off TikTok. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Based on the title of this podcast Network Effect, you might think that I’m gonna be talking about building relationships.

Well, when it comes to business, everything has to do with building relationships, whether it’s a relationship with your audience, a relationship with your team, or a relationship with other people in your industry. So that’s kind of obvious, but we’re gonna go for the non-obvious route here when it comes to the network effect, and that is the idea of joining and or creating your own network. And I was inspired by this because I just heard about a, a student of ours in SPI and she’s a wonderful member of our community. Her name is Gillian. Gillian with a with a G, and she has this incredible network for her podcast. And what I mean is she has a podcast called Sober Powered.

She’s somebody who had lived through addiction and was able to overcome it, and then is now sharing her stories and bringing other people on to share their stories about sobriety inside of her podcast. Again, it’s called Sober Powered. First of all, just amazing job for spreading that knowledge and providing inspiration and, and hope for people who, who are definitely in need in there.

It’s a very important topic. But she has since created a network of podcasts, not podcasts that she also hosts, but she’s been able to step forward and create a network called if you wanna check it out. And what she’s done is she’s collected a number of other podcasts that are hosted by other people to collectively bring them together to spread the word and to help amplify the messages and to cross promote, as well as take advantage of bigger numbers together to attract more advertisers and and to help these podcasters grow. And if you go to her website,, you’ll see her on stage talking. And then you’ll also see it says, empowering podcasters to market, grow and monetize.

And I think this is a really cool idea. If you scroll down, you can actually see a lot of the other podcasts that she is now essentially helping and she’s helping them grow. She’s helping them monetize from Emotional Badass, the Hello Someday podcast, the Addicted Mind Podcast, Real Talk Recovery and then her own, and then another one, Moving Past Murder, which is an interesting one cuz there was a question that came in regarding her network.

Now she has podcasts outside of the sobriety space. Wanting to get involved with this network because she’s treating them so well, and she’s seeing that they’re growing, et cetera. So this is a really cool model. I’m not gonna go deeper into her model specifically, but just the idea of a network. Now I have been asked to bring the Smart Passive Income podcast into various networks.

I’m not gonna mention any names, but I, I do wanna talk about the pros and cons of that. So, you know, besides Gillian just doing an amazing job of stepping forward to bring people and podcasts together, I mean, that’s one strategy for sure, and, and there are many benefits to it. However, it does now require you to, you know, take care of those other podcasts.

And, and it doesn’t have to be podcasts either. It could be a YouTube network, it could be a network of blogs, you know, just a formal organization, if you will, of those media types. And it doesn’t have to be all the same media type either, right? But the benefit of that is you are building this business.

You are now able to capitalize on utilizing their audiences, not just to grow your own podcast, but to help all the other podcasts that are in there and also monetize more, right? You’re attracting more advertisers and sponsors, you’re able to charge more and thus take like a percentage commission from the advertisers that you’re able to bring to these other podcasts.

And this is really cool for smaller podcasts as well, or media types because they’re able to get access to audience growth. They’re able to get access to sponsors that perhaps they wouldn’t have normally been able to get access to. But it’s the job as the network creator or the leader to be able to manage all that and organize it, and Gillian’s doing an amazing job there.

But then there’s the other side. You joining an existing network and what are the pros and cons of that? Well, there are many pros. The ability for you to have the sort of insignia or to to be under that brand can come with a lot of clout, right? There are a lot of people in the HubSpot network. There is the Entrepreneur Network from Entrepreneur Magazine.

There is a lot of other networks that are out there, right, that have really good podcasts that if you can associate with that network and therefore then be associated with those other podcasts that are in that wood network, it can give you a little bit more credibility. You’re more able to potentially get different or higher level guests on your show.

You are able to be guests on more shows as well, and you potentially can more easily start relationships and collaborate with a lot of the other, you know, media creators that are on that network too. You are able to potentially get access to more advertising dollars through the relationships that the network can bring in.

What typically happens is because there are multiple, let’s just go with podcasts since we’re talking about it. There are multiple podcasts in that network, maybe combined there are millions of downloads when not one podcast has millions of downloads, but combined they do. But as a network creator, you can say, Hey, advertiser, we have millions of downloads across our network.

If you wanted to, you know, advertise, we can do that at the millions of impressions mark. And that can command an, a much bigger advertiser and a lot more spend, which can then be divvied up between those different podcasts depending on how those contracts are done and the percentages and and whatnot.

And that is a pro to a podcaster coming in, but it’s also potentially a con because in theory you could potentially get those advertisers yourself if you are big enough. And you do have those relationships perhaps at hand, then you wouldn’t need to, and this is the con, you would be sharing some of those advertising dollars with the network itself, right?

So if you were to join, for example, HubSpot or a, and again, I don’t, I, I’m just using that as an example. I don’t know exactly what their terms are or, or how it works. But any advertising dollars that might come in get shared and so you might make ultimately less than you would if it was a one-to-one relationship that you had.

But again, the idea that you wouldn’t be able to get these one-on-one relationships with these advertisers is the idea here. And so you’re paying for access to these advertisers and sponsors. The networks may require you to say certain things or do certain things. Typically, there’s some sort of requirement of, you know, make sure you mention this at the end of your show.

Make sure you include this. Again, it’s gonna be on a case by case basis, and not every person in the same network may be offered the same deal, right? So, so it is something that you’ll have to work out on your own and you need to make sure that you’re not giving up too much control because sure, you might be able to get a little bit more growth or a lot more growth, and as well as income coming in.

But at what expense, right? What are you giving to them? And, and, and also, you know, you want to consider how much might that be worth, and you wanna make sure that you’re not being undercharged for that, if you will, in terms of the commission. Some of these networks, however, on the other hand, can also pay a monthly fee.

But on the other hand, I don’t know how many hands there are, there’s like more than two hands. Like there’s different networks, right? You can get paid by the network, a recurring monthly fee to be a part of the network and share the brand and and be there for exposure. But there are other cases where you might have to pay the network, right?

You might have to pay to play and you might get that or more back from the advertising dollars that come in and the growth that happens. You know, the down the road income that can come in from that growth, but in some cases you have to pay to be a part of that network. And so there is a lot to be thought about here, and it’s, I’ve seen it time and time again where a lot of creators who are on the up and up, they are approached by a network and it just sounds perfect, right?

More growth, more income, but then, You gotta remember that the network is looking out for itself as well. The network is often looking for the up and comers because they’re gonna be somebody who they could, you know, they could ride on your coattails as you grow and they could benefit more as well. And so there’s a lot of decisions.

I, I have a student of mine in particular who had gone back and forth between, a network that was pitching them incredibly high dollar amounts and incredible growth, but in exchange for quite a huge commission as well as, you know, a certain requirement of, of what advertisers they would have to have on the show.

And from my latest conversation with them, they decided to opt out of that, to continue doing it on their own. A network can also provide you a lot of that heavy lifting that would be required if you were to do it on your own. For example, if you’re looking for advertisers on your own, you have to go find them.

You have to have relationships with them. You have to deal with them and negotiate and sign contracts and all that stuff. And it, it’s like so much easier from an administrative point of view to just go, well, I’ll have the network do all that, and you like the network just tells me what to say and when and then I can, you know, generate an income from there.

So it is an interesting thing. I think, you know, the two parts of this conversation, being a part of a network and also stepping up to create a network, I think we’re gonna see a lot more, quote unquote networks come about in different spaces. Private networks, networks that can combine their numbers, combine relationships and audiences together to do some amazing things. And I think like in many cases there’s a good way to do it and a wrong way to do it. So just something to think about. Some fodder for you here as we finish up January, because it could be a a neat business model for you, especially if you seem to have a lot of connections in a space.

That’s exactly who this might be perfect for in, in terms of building a network or creating a network. You might have a lot of relationships. You might have a lot of leadership capability and say, you might seem to attract a lot of advertisers, in which case you might wanna share around and, and bring other, bring other people along the ride, which is what I know Gillian’s doing, and she’s doing an amazing job of that and amplifying the message even more for people who, who need to hear it, especially in the world of sobriety and getting out of addiction and whatnot. So congratulations to Jillian and to you if this is like a spark worth exploring, definitely do that. If this is just another one of those ideas that you’re like, okay, that sounds cool, maybe in the future, we’ll then definitely put it aside as well. But this is out there.

This is happening. More and more people are doing this and it’s something that’s not new, but I definitely think it is becoming more and more popular. Quote unquote, the regular person to be able to pull off something like this. And also for podcasters especially as, as more and more podcasters are coming out and more of them are being seen and, and getting a spotlight, you’re going to get asked by networks to join and, and I just wanted to give you the sort of upfront pros and cons of that situation as well.

Anyway, that’s the network effect. It’s a little bit different than probably what you thought going into this. But anyway, appreciate you so much for listening and I want to just continue to encourage you here at the end of January 2023 or where, whenever you’re listening to this right now. But it’s at this time of year, especially once we get into February, where a lot of those really exciting moments at the beginning of the year start to potentially fade away.

I want you to treat February as if it’s a brand new January 1st, right? Get re-excited about the goals, realign yourself, get motivated. Put yourself in the right spaces mentally and physically to make it happen, and make sure you’re getting involved with the right people.

And if you do wanna get involved with the right people, people who speak the same language as you in business, feel free to head over to our All Access Pass,, which gives you access to all of our workshops, all of our courses, but more importantly, the right pathways through them and the right people to go along those pathways with you.

So again, I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in the future. Hit subscribe if you haven’t already, and I’ll see you in the next one.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income [email protected]. I’m your host, pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Gregoris, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland, sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income podcast is a production of S P I Media.

We’ll catch you in the next session.

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