Growing Epicenter: Introducing Curricula

November 19, 2014

With a podcast, not unlike with a blog, content tends to get buried and forgotten over time. In fact, it’s probably worse with podcasts, since with a blog you might at least get some SEO traffic. But podcasts aren’t even searchable, so unless you make an effort old contents disappears into a void.

When we started out we took a fairly news-driven approach, so that might have been okay. But over time the way we produce content has evolved and today most of our episodes stay relevant. So as our episode count is now at 71, helping our listeners find previously released content that they care about becomes important. So this weeks post on growing Epicenter Bitcoin focuses on making more out of the content we already have.

Back Catalog Plays

One of the metrics, we have been tracking for a while are back catalog plays. I defined back catalog plays as all the downloads of episodes released during previous months in a given month. For example, in September we had ~9,400 total downloads. Of those, about 7,500 were downloads of episodes released that month and the remaining 1,900 were of episodes released in August or earlier. So for that month, back catalog plays were at just over 20% of the total.

An increase in back catalog play is a great sign in my view. For the most part, those downloads come from people who have discovered our podcast, like it a lot and then go back and download previous episodes. If that happens more, it seems to indicate that we succeed at producing content that is good enough so people want more of it and retains value so listeners are happy to go back to listen to old episodes.

We’ve had between 800 and 2600 such back catalog plays each month, which constituted between 12% and 35% of our monthly downloads. When we switched to Soundcloud two months after starting our podcast, we put our previous episodes there too. (Although, they were not again pushed out to our RSS subscribers.) So for our first episodes all the plays we see on Soundcloud are back catalog plays. It’s interesting to see that the our very first pilot episode, which was of very poor quality, received by now over 300 plays. So the going back and listening to old episodes is happening, but in a haphazard way.

The Problem

If people love our podcast and want to hear more, it’s a burden for them to go through all the episodes to see which ones they like. Some have even lost their value and are outdated now. Others were of mediocre quality in the first place. And the ordering on our blog and in podcasting applications is by publication date. This really doesn’t make a lot of sense in this case.

Let’s change that by providing people with a powerful way to find our most relevant and best content. And let’s offer a guided way to go through that content by topic area. And let’s even build this in a way to have a resource people can rely on if they want to go deep on one of the areas we’ve focused on.

Introducing Epicenter Curricula

Here is how we want to go about this. You will in the near future find pages on our website that give an overview of specific topic areas, describe the content we’ve already produced on that topic and how it fits in the larger picture. Let’s call them Epicenter Curricula. They’ll offer a way to go through our best content on a specific topic in a sequence that is thought-through.

Here are some of the curricula we have planned right now:

  • Decentralized Applications
  • Regulation
  • Economics
  • Startups

I think the coverage we have on Decentralized Applications and Regulation (most of it thanks to Siân Jones) are particularly strong and comprehensive. We’ll build those pages first. But thinking in terms of focus areas, also makes me realize what episodes we might still have to produce to provide a comprehensive coverage on an areas. For example, we have done a lot of episodes with specific Bitcoin startups, but it would be fantastic to have a big picture episode on the cryptocurrency startup space in general to introduce that topic. The same is true for Bitcoin economics. For those pages we may produce a few more targeted episode first or we might release them now and complement later.

In the end, I think we can develop these into solid resources. So that people who want to learn as much as they can about decentralized applications or regulation, know where to turn to.

Measuring Results

The effectiveness of this campaign should be reasonably easy to measure. First, with Google Analytics we’ll be able to see changes in the behavior on our website. Increased page views and visit duration should be expected. Second, we should see an increase in our back catalog plays. The overall number of back catalog plays and share of back catalog of total plays will give an indication. However, by looking at how the plays of the episodes included in one of the curricula develop relative to the plays to episodes not included, we should have a very precise idea of the effect.

The curricula pages may also have positive effect in SEO terms. It may rank well on Google for the keyword, it might garner a good amount of inbound links and it creates more link within our site itself.

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