What’s In A Name (And Logo?) How To Register And Protect Your Podcast Trademark

As a podcaster you have spent hours developing your show, finding topics, locating people to interview, writing show notes, putting together intros and outros, recording and editing. Your show is uniquely yours with topics that are dear to you and the show is produced with a style your listeners love. Your potential listeners are drawn to listen to your show through you show’s title, logos and artwork. Your current listeners identify with your show through your show’s title, logo and artwork.  This is your branding and your trademark.

What if another podcaster decides to create a show and brands his new show with a show name and logo that is similar to your show’s title and logo? The answer is that new listeners may choose the new show over yours, and your current listeners may become confused not knowing which show is yours and which show is the new show.

This is the exact scenario that our trademark laws are designed to prevent. Our federal and state trademark laws are designed to allow you to have your unique brand that cannot be copied if those copies will confuse, cause mistakes or deceive when used in commerce.

You obtain a trademark when you first use your branding in commerce. When you pick a show name and logo and you publish a podcast using that show name and logo you have created your trademark. Of course your show name and logo must be unique and not a copy or something similar to another podcaster’s show name and logo.

Contrary to what many believe, it is not necessary to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to have a trademark. However, registering your trademark with the USPTO makes it much easier to defend your trademark should someone else copy or use a similar mark to identify their podcast. Registering your trademark gives you the presumption that it is unique to your particular marketplace and that you were the first to use it in commerce.

I have successfully fended off trademark encroachers by simply sending the encroacher a cease and desist letter containing our trademark’s USPTO registration number. I’m sure defending the trademark would not have been as easy if the trademark was not registered and I was simply claiming a common law trademark. Unfortunately if your cease and desist letter does not work then you must decide if you have the resources to file a trademark infringement claim in the United States District Court.

You may want to consider registering your trademark if you are growing your audience with hard work and scarce resources. Why let someone confuse and dilute your audience by branding their show with something similar to your branding?


barry kantz-Attorney Barry Kantz is General Counsel and CFO of RawVoice and Blubrry. He can be found on Twitter @kantzb

This post is part of a series on copyright law as it pertains to podcasters. Check out Barry’s posts on using music for your podcast without breaking copyright law, determining what “fair use” means when it comes to podcasting, and DMCA takedown and shakedown notices.


What Are ID3 Tags, And Why Do You Need Them?

Why are ID3 tags important? When you create a new podcast episode the meta information – such as the title of your episode, artist/author, your website URL and any episode-specific artwork – are attached to each episode’s media file in what’s called an ID3 format.

All that information helps ensure that a listener knows what your episode is about and enables it to display correctly in a portable media player or software-based audio player. “If a media file is somehow separated from the app that downloaded it, these tags are the only information left to let the listener know what they are listening to,” explains Angelo Mandato, CIO of Blubrry.

While it’s possible to download a free tagging program such as EasyTag or to manually enter tags via iTunes, one of the benefits of Blubrry Powerpress combined with Blubrry hosting is that the tagging can be set up automatically. This means the tags will be written to your MP3 files based on the data you’ve already entered into PowerPress settings and in the blog post associated with your podcast episode. This streamlines the production process and makes it less likely that your show will get separated from important tagging data.

To configure PowerPress to automatically populate your episode meta tags, scroll down to the PowerPress menu to the left of your WordPress dashboard and select “MP3 Tags.” From this window, you’ll have the opportunity to use the default tags provided by your feed, or to create your own.

If you don’t have the PowerPress Plugin or Blubrry hosting, you’ll need to write meta tags yourself each time you upload an episode. Our Podcasting Manual has instructions for how to do this and what programs you can use.

Earn Money While Helping Other Podcasters: How And Why To Join The Blubrry Affiliate Network

If you’re a podcasting enthusiast, no doubt you’ve considered a variety of ways to monetize your passion. One way, of course, is via affiliate marketing – a way of earning money by promoting products and services you already use and trust while receiving a commission from resulting sales. But with so many different online products and services offering an affiliate program, how do you know which one to sign up with? Here at Blubrry, we’re proud of our affiliate program, which generously rewards authentic and helpful content creators who want to earn money while helping to connect other podcasters with top-notch resources. Here are success stories from two of Blubrry’s top-performing affiliates, as well as information about how you can join the program and what to expect once you’re a part of it.

Over $65K – From One Affiliate

“I jumped into the Blubrry affiliate program as soon as it started,” says Daniel Lewis of The Audacity To Podcast. “I was already recommending Blubrry’s premium podcast stats and hosting, so I loved the new opportunity to be rewarded for my recommendations.” In his award-winning podcast, Lewis regularly recommends podcasting resources he trusts and is confident will serve the needs of his audience. “I mention Blubrry’s services frequently in podcast episodes, blog posts, social posts, and email newsletters.” Lewis says he promotes both Blubrry premium stats and hosting, depending on the context of the discussion and the needs of his audience.

Besides knowing he’s doing his audience a real service in recommending a high-quality resource he himself trusts and uses, Lewis admits the financial rewards of Blubrry’s affiliate program is a huge benefit. “Blubrry is quite generous!” says Lewis. “I love that I’m rewarded not only for new customers, but also a bonus reward for customers who stay.” The numbers are impressive. “In 2016, I generated $65,573 of sales for Blubrry,” Lewis shares. “It amazes me that my relevant recommendations are basically generating someone else’s salary! Also in 2016, I earned over $7,000 from the referrals. About half of that is an annual, recurring bonus.”

If you’re inspired by Lewis’ success, look to his high-performing approach. “My audience is most eager to use Blubrry when I communicate the simple, WordPress-centered workflow,” explains Lewis, who adds that he makes these recommendations in a relative context, such as when he’s talking about managing a podcast with WordPress, responding to questions about podcasting and WordPress, or in referencing the companies he recommends to other podcasts.

It also helps to be a loyal user of Blubrry’s products and services. “I recommended Blubrry before I was getting paid for it,” says Lewis, who attributes the success of his affiliate relationship to genuine and relevant recommendations, and in offering a promo code incentive that his audience can use to get started with Blubrry for free.

A Significant Part of A Diverse Income Stream

For Colin Gray, Founder of The Podcast Host, the decision to join Blubrry’s affiliate program was simple. “I’ve been telling people about Blubrry’s services since I started using them a few years ago,” explains Gray. “We work with a lot of new and aspiring podcasters, and they tend to be starting out small. Blubrry’s entry-level packages are great for that.”

Gray explains that a large part of his job as an affiliate partner is to dispel myths for the new or would-be podcaster. “One of the most common question is, where does a podcast live?” he shares. “To me, that demonstrates how confusing podcasting can be right at the start. Once you know, you know – it’s not that complicated. But, at first, everyone thinks you have to upload to iTunes.” Gray and his team educate their audience by writing about the whole process of getting started podcasting: where a podcast lives, where to upload it, how to distribute it, and so on. “That’s exactly the point when people need to sign up for a host, so we mention Blubrry at that point. It’s a natural place to mention the service, since we use it ourselves, and it helps out our readers in the process.”

Gray also attributes his team’s affiliate success in large part to the ease of publishing via the PowerPress plugin. “It’s the 10 minutes or so saved, every time, by not having to go off to the media host’s site, upload an audio file, set up the episode, copy an embed code and then take that back to your own site. I’ve not found anything to beat Powerpress in making self-hosted podcasting easy,” he says.

And when it comes to the math, Gray is happy with what Blubrry has to offer its affiliate partners. “It’s always great to find a program that offers ongoing commissions,” he points out. And while Blubrry is currently a smaller part of his company’s total commissions, it adds up as a part of the overall whole and is continuing to grow.

How To Get Started:

Excited to turn your passion for podcasting and love for Blubrry’s products and services into an income stream? The first step is simple: apply to join our affiliate program. You don’t need to meet a certain traffic level or download threshold, “but you do need a solid website that makes it obvious what you do and that you put some time and effort into it,” says MacKenzie Bennett, Services and Affiliates Coordinator at Blubrry. Bennett also points out that you don’t need to promote Blubrry on a podcast; a website works just fine.

How It Works:

Once you’ve been accepted into the program, you’ll be issued a unique code that tracks all orders that come through you. Using that code, the first month is free. After months 2 and 3, affiliates begin earning a commission. The great news? You’ll continue to earn commissions on that customer’s lifetime sales, and will be eligible for bonuses once annual sales reach $1501.

“We built an affiliate program that pays the affiliate beyond the initial sale, which is unique in the podcasting space,” says Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry.  With that kind of generosity and potential for long-term revenue generation, it pays (literally) to spread the word far and wide. “Our best performers promote their promo code on their show, website, social media and any blogs or forums that they participate in,” says Bennett. “The more your spread your code and are knowledgable about the product, meaning people can trust your judgement on it, the better the results.”

So why wait? Apply to join Blubrry’s affiliate program now. You’re just a few clicks away from putting your passion for podcast to work earning you money – all while helping other podcasters discover the best podcasting services there are!

Creating a Balanced Life with Guest Rhonda Cimorelli

If you’ve ever felt like you needed to transform your life or needed a little more balance, specifically if you’re a mom, this week’s PowerPress Podcast guest Rhonda Cimorelli can help you. Before Rhonda and MacKenzie chat about her show, they go over some mistakes podcasters make and, most importantly, how to avoid them. Rhonda has loads of experience and, as a certified life transformation coach, she is helping “momprenuers” and others create a more balanced work and family life. At the end of the show they talk about the new podcast, S-Town being released by the This American Life and Serial team. The team claims to have a new podcasting format, so storytellers, tune in. Thanks for listening and please subscribe!

Fan of PowerPress? Leave us a review, here!

Show notes:

Common Podcasting Mistakes
A Balanced Life For You – Rhonda Cimorelli
Serial Creates S-Town
Blubrry Twitter
Blubrry is Hiring!!
Webinar: PowerPress Setup Wed, 2/15 7PM EST

5 Can’t-Miss Techniques For Building Your Podcast Audience

Consistency, patience, and putting out an excellent product are the foundation of a successful podcast. But it’s not always as simple as “build something great and the audience will follow.” The following five techniques can help you build your audience more quickly while leading to a great relationship with listeners.

  1. Educate your would-be listeners. If you have another platform, whether it’s a blog, social media following or YouTube channel, make sure your followers there know about your podcast and – more importantly – how, when, and where to listen. Remember that your audience may not be as tech-savvy as you. Write a blog post or email instructing them on what podcasts are and why they need to know about it. And be sure to detail exactly where to find your show and how to listen to it.
  2. Engage your audience. Your listeners love being recognized, and interacting with you will encourage them to keep the conversation going. When you have a two-way conversation going, your listeners are much more likely to take action when you ask for comments, reviews…and most importantly, shares.
  3. Be everywhere. Yes, iTunes is important, but it’s no longer the only game in town. Be sure your podcast is listed in as many apps and directories as possible.
  4. Collaborate with other podcasters. People who already listen to podcasts are more likely to listen to yours than someone who’s new to the idea. Take advantage of a built-in almost-audience by inviting other podcasters to appear on your show, and also offering to be interviewed on theirs. Promote fellow podcasters when possible and be generous with advice and tips.
  5. Look for listeners in new, but relevant, places. Consider your niche and where your would-be listeners already hang out and get their media. “One thing I’ve done is associate with a popular trade organization,” explains Barry Kantz, CFO at Blubrry and host of the Home Based Travel Agent podcast. “The trade organization helps promote my show to their members.” Spamming isn’t cool, but if there is a relevant newsletter, Facebook group, or website that relates to the audience you’re trying to reach, get in touch with an administrator and see if they’d be willing to plug you as a service of their members. Likely you can work out some kind of barter, where you cross-promote their organization, group, or site on your podcast, website, or social media.


5 Ways To Avoid Podcasting Burnout

Burnout: it happens to the best podcasters. But feeling exhausted, uninspired, or just plain “meh” about publishing doesn’t have to kill your podcast. Try these ideas to help you stay energized and enthused while putting out great content and

1) Take A Break (But Do It Right)

Most seasoned podcasters agree that consistent publishing is the key to success, traffic growth, and audience retention. But after a year or two of putting out new episodes on a dependable schedule, your audience should be well-established enough to allow you the occasional break. But how to do it without confusing or disappointing your loyal listeners?

  • Alert your listeners. While skipping an episode or two isn’t the end of the world and can offer you much-needed rest and time to recharge your creative juices, it’s important not to leave your listeners wondering what happened to you. “If you’re taking a break, I suggest announcing it in the last episode before your missed episode,” says Angelo Mandato, CIO of Blubrry. “Then, on your missed show date, release a short episode that just says you’ll be back on the date you’ll return. The key is communicating with your audience, and a two-minute episode that does that is better than leaving them hanging.”
  • Try something new. For example, over the Christmas holiday, Sarah Powers and Meagan Francis of The Mom Hour recorded short, daily episodes of each host reading holiday-themed essays they’d written for their blogs in the past. Since one or the other of them was reading each essay (not both at the same time) the shows were much easier to schedule and produce. “Each of us could just sit down and record quickly when we had a few minutes, rather than having to try to match up our hectic holiday schedules,” says Francis. “As a result we were actually able to publish more often over the holiday, while maximizing relaxation and time with our families. The mini-episodes also fit well with the needs of our audience of busy moms over their kids’ Christmas breaks. Plus, it was unique, and showed a different side of each of us. Our audience loved it and the episodes have done very well.”
  • Find other ways to stay in touch. Even if you aren’t publishing full-length episodes, you can stay in front of your audience via social media, blog posts, short live videos or email blasts. Choose a platform you enjoy and one you’ll be able to update without too much effort. Then, when you announce your break, tell your listeners that you’ll still be somewhat active on that platform, and remind them to check in regularly. The side benefit of this approach is that you may significantly grow your social media follows due to faithful listeners who will be eager to hear from you while you’re on a break from podcasting.

2. Go All In.

Doing too many things at once can lead to major burnout, especially if the results are only so-so. After all, what’s more energizing: putting out a so-so episode, or a great episode that’s genuinely useful and generates a ton of feedback? If you’re having a hard time keeping up with everything well enough to regularly put out quality content, it would be better to focus on one podcast at a time or publish weekly instead of several times a week. Remember that you can always increase the number of shows you produce or how often you publish later when you’re in a good rhythm and consistently feeling great about what you’re producing.

3. Invest Time In What You Love

Podcasting isn’t just about sitting down at a microphone and recording. From writing show notes to interacting with your audience to managing technical details, many aspects go into producing a successful podcast – and chances are, one or two of them stand out as particularly enjoyable for you. So if sound quality is important to you, feel free to nerd out over recording techniques and make your audio the best out there. If planning show content is your forte, put as much effort as you can into developing your ideas and format. If you love researching and writing, create the most killer show notes in the podcasting world. Or if you get a boost every time you hear from a listener, nurture those relationships by putting time into engaging via email or social media.

Unless you’re superhuman or have a whole team producing every episode, you probably can’t do a top-notch job at every podcast-related task, but doing just one or two things really well is a great way to make your show stand out while also giving you personal satisfaction.

4. Change Things Up

Boredom can also cause burnout, and in those cases you might find that trying something new is more helpful than taking a break. Changing up your show’s format and experimenting with new kinds of content can help get your show out of a rut. For example, if your show is usually you and a co-host, maybe you could try adding solo episodes or interview-based shows to the mix. You could also play with length, introduce new segments, or change up the order that you generally tackle. You don’t want to completely change your show overnight, but slowly adding in new elements or tackling topics you might not usually address will give your audience the sense that your podcast is vibrant and exciting – without confusing them or turning them off.

5. Get Help

If you’re consistently burned out, it might just be that you’re doing too much. At some point, it might be time to focus on what you do well and enjoy, and hire people to help you with the rest. No budget? Consider a barter! For example, if you’re a content genius while a podcasting buddy is a production whiz, find ways to team up so you can each do what you do best. You’ll each have a better-produced show and less reason for burnout: talk about a win-win.

Podcasters, what are your best tips for avoiding or dealing with podcasting burnout?

Podcast Equipment and Marketing with David Pollock

If you haven’t discovered David Pollock’s podcast, The 10 Minute Marketer, now is a great time to start listening. He’s this week’s guest on the PowerPress Podcast and had lots to say about Blubrry, PowerPress and some best practices for new podcasters. MacKenzie and David discuss what type of equipment a new podcaster should get – and what you shouldn’t do when buying any. After working in radio David transitioned into podcasting and realized what he was missing out on by taking control of his brand. They end the show talking about reviewing podcasts and sharing your favorite episodes with others. Thanks for listening and please subscribe!

PowerPress SEO Tip:
For example, you can make your blog post title optimized for web SEO by excluding your episode number, but on the new feed episode title allows you to expand on keywords that help with iTunes search. One thing to keep in mind is that iTunes only indexes (their search) your episode and program titles, not show notes.
In the PowerPress menu, select ‘Podcasting SEO’
Select the first option, under section ‘Episode Titles,’ select the first option, ‘Feed episode title replaces post title.’

Fan of PowerPress? Leave us a review!

Show notes:

How Much Should I Spend on Podcast Equipment?
Rolls Pro Switch – Couch Machine
Blues Brothers – Sold it for a microphone
The 10 Minute Marketer – David Pollock
The Pod People – Paste Magazine
10 Podcasts from the Pod People: Peace, Love, and Understanding in Our Post-Inaugural Times

Don’t Wait, Update! 3 Steps To Maintaining A Secure, Functional WordPress Site

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of letting a WordPress update go for a day or two…or a week…or a month.

Hey, we’re all busy, and it’s easy to get so caught up in your day-to-day activities that you put off those updates way too long. But not only can skipping or delaying an update prevent your site from performing optimally, it can also make your site vulnerable to attacks.

“Hackers look at updates, figure out what changed, and exploit holes in websites that aren’t updated,” explains Mike Dell, Lead Support Tech at Blubrry. “Sometimes the hackers put in links to porn or other links to make money. I saw one where the hackers added a link in the footer to a male enhancement drug.” Dell also mentions that hackers can redirect bots to another URL so that the original site can’t be indexed, which can be disastrous for SEO.

So what can you do to avoid your podcast site being compromised? Follow these three tips:

  1. Set Up A System To Remind You. When you’re in your WordPress dashboard all the time, it’s all too easy to pass right over that little reminder telling you it’s time to update. Create a weekly calendar reminder that will help you remember that it’s time to stop what you’re doing and check for new releases or other potential security issues. While it doesn’t replace regular check-ins, a free plugin like iThemes Security can provide extra peace of mind. IF your podcast site is your livelihood, you might consider a paid service like WP Always, which continuously monitors and maintains WordPress sites to protect against security issues.
  2. Don’t Wait: Update! Or rather, don’t wait too long.  “For major releases, I usually wait 2-4 days to see if there are any significant issues with the release. If not, I then update to the newest version,” explains Angelo Mandato, CIO of Blubrry. For minor releases – you can identify these because they are labeled with a third digit, i.e. v. 1.2.3 – Mandato recommends updating right away.
  3. Monitor Your Plugins. One of the best things about WordPress is how easily it can be modified and adapted via the use of plugins. But plugins can offer challenges, too. “Make sure you keep all plugins up-to-date as new releases come out,” advises Dell. If your plugin is outdated, it might not work with your newest version of WordPress, and can cause issues you might not even notice right away.

Also, be selective about which plugins you download. “I recommend only using plugins that are hosted on WordPress.org,” says Mandato. “Many paid plugins do not have hooks in place to update your dashboard when they have new or security releases,” which can cause compatibility issues.

And no matter what you do, remove plugins you’re no longer using, advises Dell. Otherwise, over time your WordPress dashboard can begin to resemble a graveyard of out-of-date and non-functional plugins. Not only can it cause problems with your site, but it’s confusing when you try to work with the plugins you really are using since many have such similar names.

Have you ever forgotten or skipped a WordPress update with disastrous – or just inconvenient – results? How do you remind yourself to keep up on this essential task? Let us know about it in the comments!


5 Things We’re Looking Forward To In 2017

2017 is off to a great start here at Blubrry. Here are some of the things our team is most looking forward to this year:

New Launches.

Last year we were thrilled to introduce PowerPress Sites, an all-in-one podcasting option that makes starting your podcast push-button easy. We launched with Basic, which allows users to create a FREE branded podcast website that includes an optimized theme, essential plugins, and all the tools you need to get started, including an iTunes-ready RSS feed. In 2017 we’ll be rolling out Deluxe, featuring all the options of Basic plus the ability to host on your own domain and enhanced SEO tools.

Free Training Videos for Podcasters.

We’re beefing up our educational offerings in 2017, offering training videos on a variety of topics podcasters ask for help with again and again. Blubrry University is already in session: check out our YouTube channel now!

Savvier Social.

Post to Social allows podcasters to publish two-minute podcast episodes or teasers directly to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to get listeners hooked and encourage them to listen to full-length episodes or subscribe to your show. In 2017, we’ll be adding more social sites and improving this popular service – stay tuned!  

Premium Player Performance.

The Blubrry podcast player has never looked or functioned better, and based on enthusiastic feedback from our loyal customer base, we’ll be improving it even more and adding some exciting new features.

Awesome Events.

We’ll have a presence at several premiere podcasting conferences and other events this year, including:

  • Podcast Movement. Coming to Anaheim, CA from August 23 – 25, Podcast Movement is one of our favorite events and a must-attend for veteran, newbie, and wannabe podcasters alike.
  • Podfest. Coming up soon, from February 23 – 25, 2017 in Orlando, FL, Podfest features a robust speaker schedule and an awards ceremony.
  • Proclaim17. Focused on members of the Christian media, Proclaim features educational content in radio, video, digital media, and of course, podcasting! Proclaim17 will be held in Orlando from February 27 – March 2.

Podcasters, what are you looking forward to in 2017?

Enthusiasm About Life and Podcasting With Katie Ward

Katie Ward, the host of The Enthusiasm Enthusiast joins MacKenzie on the PowerPress Podcast. Blubrry is based in Columbus, Ohio and they discuss a well-known show that also comes from the area. As they discuss Katie’s show, it becomes apparent how important particular topics are to some in the new year and you can learn more about those on her feminist, passion driven show. She was even nice enough to give her review of Blurry’s Post to Social feature. They end the show chatting about different uses of podcasts, inspired from an article that described a woman making a podcast as her thesis for her Master’s. Please subscribe to the show and thanks for listening! And as a big fan of all things spooky, MacKenzie wishes you a happy Friday the 13th.

Fan of PowerPress? Leave us a review!

Popular Columbus based podcast
The One You Feed
The Enthusiasm Enthusiast
She Source
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Email MacKenzie
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