WhatsApp shuts down podcast syndication

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Podcast syndication is an interesting project with the number of channels out there. For example, my own podcast is available on eight channels. Personally I really only use two of them.

And over all the number of listens have been going up. Doing daily shows in the later part of November has certainly helped.

As you heard me say many times my strategy to maximize the current channel until the current channel changes or disappears as a relevant channel to me as a content creator.

Don’t be in love with specific channels or at least don’t be in love with them so much that you can’t leave them when they break up with you. That happens occasionally in digital marketing and digital content distribution. Remember Blab? Or Vine and other channels. How about MySpace? Things change. Channels come and go and you should maximize them for your business goals when you can. Until it stops.

And now I ran into another example of that exact same model.

WhatsApp and podcasts are history

WhatsApp is shutting down podcast distribution. I first heard this on the Rheinische Podcast daily news podcast (in German). 

I listen to the show about my hometown newspaper in Düsseldorf, Germany on most days. Today they announced that WhatsApp has announced that they can no longer distribute their podcast via the Facebook-owned app.

They announced on the show that WhatsApp has announced that only direct person to person voice messages would be allowed starting in middle of December 2019. And of course a podcast send to many is not one on one conversation – even though it can feel like it at times.

Related: Live Periscope audio commentary 

Until hearing the announcement I didn’t even realize that WhatsApp was allowing this syndication method. Probably because I use Anchor for my syndication and they handle it for me and WhatsApp is relatively unused in North America.

And the majority of my listeners are United States-based at the moment.

But WhatsApp certainly gets used in other parts of the world and I use it quite frequently when I’m traveling for conferences in Europe, Asia and South America. I just don’t use it at all in the North American market.

Book me to speak at your event. ? ?


And the German newsoutlet is really handling the whole move perfectly. First of all, they have no influence on whether or not WhatsApp allows podcast syndication. They only have influence over whether or not they will try to reach an audience that way when WhatsApp offers it.

They certainly did that and now they’re letting people know that that channel is shutting down for them. But of course there’s plenty of other channels where people can listen to the show.

This is exactly why I recommend for any content marketer to not be so in love with specific channels. Be in love with your content and trying to stay relevant with your audience. Then you do that with whatever channel is currently working.

For example, video is everyone’s love right now and I love video but as I mentioned in this live broadcast audio is much easier to distribute.

Channels come and go so use them when they do exist and work and then when the owners of those channels – like Mike Zuckerberg in the case of WhatsApp – make decisions you can easily move on to other channels.

And of course don’t forget to build your audience on your own land as well. That includes your website and your email list.