Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player Review (2020): A User’s Honest Review

Smart Podcast Player

Smart Podcast Player (SPP) is a WordPress plugin that lets you showcase your podcast episodes on your blog/website. Developed by Pat Flynn, SPP is fully customizable and can be used in various modes (Full Player, Smart Track Player, and Sticky Player). It also has a built-in email capture tool and lets your listeners download/share an episode. It is an effective tool to draw your existing audience’s attention towards new podcast episodes.

Effectiveness

4/5

SPP delivers on its promise of being the one-stop destination for your podcasting needs. It provides you with various advanced features to create an enhanced listening experience. Additionally, it lets you build your audience and expand your reach. The only limitation is that it is only compatible with WordPress websites.

Price

4/5

Both the monthly ($12/month) and yearly ($8/month) subscription models offer the same set of rich features. The subscription fee is worth the rich set of features SPP offers. However, the option of a free trial would be a nice touch for beginners.

User-friendliness

4.5/5

SPP works like any other WordPress plugin. You can enable/disable individual features using simple shortcodes from the WordPress plugin editor. The front end also offers listener-friendly features like speed control and download button.

Service

4/5

The responsive customer support team and an extensive knowledge base to help you get a hang of the software. The only things missing are live chat support and a ticketing system.

Did you know that 51% of people in the U.S. aged 12 years and above have listened to podcasts? Moreover, a whopping 31% of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month. This emphasizes the need for digital content creators to recognize the importance of podcasting. It helps build your audience and establish brand authority.

If you have been dabbling with the idea of starting your podcast series, you have likely come across Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player plugin. It has been used and trusted by many seasoned podcasters, including John Lee Dumas. In this review, we will look closely at the features of Smart Podcast Player (SPP) and understand if it is worth the hype.

What is Smart Podcast Player?

Smart Podcast Player is a feature-rich plugin that takes care of all your podcasting needs. It lets you publish and display your podcast episodes and other audio files on your WordPress blog/website. It is the brainchild of Pat Flynn, author of the Smart Passive Income (SPI) blog. Flynn developed the software along with Matthew Gartland of Winning Edits and finally released it publicly in January 2019.

The initial version of the product, called AskPat Player, was custom built by Pat Flynn for his new podcast, AskPat. Flynn was frustrated with the limited features offered by most website podcast players. He decided to build his own player that would include all the functionalities he expected from such a plugin. Eventually, the plugin received a positive response from his audience and motivated Flynn to create Smart Podcast Player.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Unlike other podcast plugins, Smart Podcast Player doesn’t just showcase different episodes of your podcast. It offers a plethora of advanced features such as email capture, download, subscription, and social sharing buttons, timestamps, etc. The front end is fully customizable, meaning you can change the colors, themes, and images to match your blog. Additionally, it has listener-friendly features like speed control and forward and rewind buttons.

The best part is that Smart Podcast Player is easy-to-use and works like any other WordPress plugin. The player works in various modes, giving you the liberty to display all episodes or showcase a single episode. For instance, the Sticky Player feature lets you stick the player to the top or bottom of a webpage. It provides you with a great way to highlight a new episode.

The latest version, known as SPP Version 2.8, was released in April 2019. Unlike previous versions, it lets you create separate sticky players for every web page. Additionally, it includes various subscription options such as Acast, TuneIn, Overcast, etc. Smart Podcast Player is a premium plugin; you can opt for a monthly membership (at $12/month) or yearly membership (at $8 per month).

PROS

  • Advanced features like email capture, download buttons, Sticky Player, etc.
  • Customizable front end
  • Listener-friendly features like speed control and forward/rewind buttons
  • User-friendly and mobile-responsive
  • Responsive customer support team and comprehensive knowledge base

CONS

  • No free trial is available
  • Doesn’t work on non-WordPress websites
  • No live chat support or ticketing system is available

Things to Consider Before Buying Smart Podcast Player

Do you even need a podcasting plugin when you can directly host your podcasts on platforms like iTunes, Acast, etc.? This is the first question you should ask before spending your money on the SPP plugin. The best way to answer this is to take a look at your website/blog traffic. If your blog attracts numerous readers, your podcast series will likely benefit from SPP.

Here is the thing – your website visitors will likely never find your podcast unless you put it in front of them. Presenting the episodes on the same platform as your blog encourages your audience to check out the podcast. This, in turn, helps you build an army of loyal podcast listeners. This is the biggest advantage that Smart Podcast Player offers.

However, before buying this plugin, you should consider whether your blog receives enough traffic. If you only have a handful of blog readers, you won’t gain may podcast listeners by using SPP. Thus, it is essential to build your audience before you invest your money in the SPP plugin.

It is equally crucial to understand how serious you are about podcasting. Do you want to establish yourself as a renowned podcaster or just publish an episode every now and then? You should buy SPP only when you are certain about consistently publishing podcast episodes.

It is now time for us to dig deeper into the features of Smart Podcast Player and determine its effectiveness.

Features and Benefits: A Closer Look

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Smart Podcast Player offers a plethora of advanced features that aren’t readily available in other plugins. This is because Pat Flynn custom-built the software to overcome the limitations of other website podcast players. In the subsequent sections, I’ll take you through these features and help you decide whether SPP is the right plugin for you.

1. Email Capture Tool

This is one of the most advanced features that gives SPP an edge over its competitors. All the modes of the player include a built-in button that encourages your listeners to subscribe to your newsletter. You can directly embed your sign-up form without using a third-party plugin. SPP supports all popular email marketing services like MailChimp, Aweber, etc.

It helps you convert website visitors into leads and build your mailing list. This feature came in handy when I had just launched my blog and was looking for ways to expand my mailing database.

2. Customizable Front End

SPP allows you to customize the entire look and feel of the player. You can select a color scheme and choose between the light and dark mode. You can even add your own images and customize the description by adding your text and URLs.

Take a look at how Pat Flynn has customized SPP’s front end on his blog:

I find this particularly useful for branding purposes. Unlike other plugins, I have full control over the appearance of the SPP player. This, in turn, ensures that the look of the player aligns with the color scheme and layout of my website. Moreover, you can also change the order in which your episodes are listed on the player.

3. Full Player & Smart Track Player

The Smart Podcast Player plugin lets you use the audio player in various modes. Full Player, also known as Smart Podcast Player, lets you display all your podcast episodes in the same place. It displays the episode title, description, etc. on the left side and the full list of episodes on the right side. I prefer to use it on the dedicated “Podcasts” page of my website.

However, if you have numerous episodes, your listeners can feel lost when searching for a specific episode. It becomes especially critical when you release a new episode and want to focus your listeners’ attention on it. This is where the single-track player, known as Smart Track Player comes in handy. I use it all the time to highlight new episodes on key web pages.

Image via HUSTLR

4. Sticky Player

The Sticky Player is a single-track player that sticks to the top or bottom of a web page. Even when a user scrolls up/down, the player remains in its position. This is another effective way to draw your audience’s attention towards a specific episode. The latest version of SPP even lets you create individual sticky players for separate episodes and web pages.

Image via HUSTLR

5. Download, Social Sharing & Subscription Buttons

Both the Full Player and Smart Track Player have a download button that lets users download an episode on their device. This is a great way to enhance the listening experience. It gives your audience the freedom to listen to your podcast episodes whenever they want. It also facilitates sharing; if a listener likes the episode they’ve downloaded, they can share it in their networks.

The thing about Smart Podcast Player is that Pat Flynn designed it with the marketing needs of podcasters in mind. For instance, the social sharing buttons (included in the Full Player) lets listeners share an episode on their social media profiles. During my initial days as a podcaster, I found this to be of great help for increasing the reach of my content.

Likewise, the Full Player includes subscription buttons that let users subscribe to your podcasts on other platforms like iTunes, SoundCloud, etc. This helps build your audience, especially if you publish your episodes on other platforms as well. This, in turn, helps establish your authority as an industry expert.

These listener-friendly features are extremely useful in enhancing your audience’s experience and bringing them back to your podcast. Moreover, these features are available in all the modes of Smart Podcast Player, including Sticky Player.

6. Speed Control & Forward/Backward Buttons

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Smart Podcast Player is designed to create a better listening experience for your audience. The speed control feature lets users listen to a track at a slower or faster speed. Likewise, the forward and backward buttons help listeners jump to a particular section of the episode or listen to something once more.

These listener-friendly features are extremely useful in enhancing your audience’s experience and bringing them back to your podcast. Moreover, these features are available in all the modes of Smart Podcast Player, including Sticky Player.

7. Mobile-Responsive

Mobile phone usage is on the rise, and you will fall behind if you don’t cater to the audience using these devices. Smart Podcast Player has a built-in mobile player that automatically adjusts its dimensions to fit the screens of different devices. This, in turn, ensures that the player works perfectly fine irrespective of the device used by a listener. This feature is particularly essential for podcasters who audience comprises mobile-savvy millennials.

Moreover, the player loads equally fast on all devices. This is particularly critical considering the dwindling attention span of today’s listeners.

8. Customer Support

Even though Smart Podcast Player is simple and user-friendly, you might need some help just to get the hang of it. The customer support team is extremely responsive and can be reached via email (from Monday to Friday). Additionally, the SPP website has an extensive knowledge base that will answer most of your questions about the plugin. From a basic installation guide to step-by-step tutorials for activating various features – the knowledge base covers most of the important topics.

However, I would’ve appreciated it if the website had a live chat or ticketing system. While the documentation covers pretty much everything, I would’ve liked to have the option of getting my queries instantly resolved. That said, the customer support team is very responsive and doesn’t take too long to take action.

9. Pricing

Smart Podcast Player is a premium plugin; you have to pay money to use it. There are two types of subscription models – monthly (at $12/month) and yearly (at $97/year or $8.09/month). It is worth mentioning that you will be billed monthly irrespective of your subscription model. This eliminates the need to pay a hefty amount upfront, even if you want to go for a yearly subscription. Moreover, both subscription models offer the same set of features.

The only thing that bothers me is the absence of a free trial. While the sophisticated features of SPP justify its cost, a free trial would’ve made it more suitable for beginners. It would’ve encouraged novice podcasters to check out the player before spending money on it.

What Are Others Saying?

So far, we have analyzed various features of Smart Podcast Player and its effectiveness. However, this review would be incomplete without including the experience of real-life SPP users. I did some searching on the internet and found that SPP has mostly favorable reviews. Here are a few of them:

Image via Product Hunt

Is Smart Podcast Player Right For You?

Just because SPP offers a plethora of lucrative features, doesn’t mean you have to purchase it for your podcast. It is crucial to determine whether it is the right fit for your needs. To do this, let us take a closer look at the pros and cons of Smart Podcast Player.

Advantages of Smart Podcast Player

Advanced features like speed control, rewind/forward and download buttons, customizable front end, etc. create an enhanced listening experience for your audience. The interface is designed to encourage your listeners to come back. Moreover, you can use different modes of the player on various web pages to highlight specific episodes. The player loads fast and is mobile-responsive; this makes it ideal for new-age podcast listeners.

Another major advantage of SPP is that it works like any other WordPress plugin. You can download the plugin and install it on your website in a few easy steps. Most of the features can be activated/deactivated using simple shortcodes from the WordPress plugin editor. This eliminates the need to learn web programming and coding before using the plugin.

What sets SPP apart from other website podcast plugins is that it is designed to facilitate marketing and lead generation. While the built-in email capture tool helps expand your mailing list, the social sharing and subscription buttons increase your reach. It is more than just your average WordPress podcast plugin. The availability of responsive support and detailed documentation also makes SPP worth the cost.

Disadvantages of Smart Podcast Player

The most significant drawback of Smart Podcast Player is that it works only on WordPress websites. This implies that if you want to use SPP, you must build your blog on WordPress. If your website/blog is already built on another platform, you can’t use the plugin.

The lack of chat support and ticketing system can also cause problems for beginners. It can be a pain when you are just starting and need some hand-holding to get a hang of the software. Moreover, the absence of a free version makes it less suitable for newcomers.

The Final Verdict

The benefits of Smart Podcast Player outweigh its drawbacks. If you are looking for a way of showcasing podcast episodes to your existing blog readers, this plugin can be of great help. However, you have to be sure that your blog attracts enough traffic to make it worth the investment. If you are trying your hands at podcasting, you might be better off hosting your podcasts on other platforms.

Conclusion

Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player plugin is a visionary product that takes care of all the publishing and marketing needs of today’s podcasters. From a built-in email capture tool to a fully customizable front end – it is designed to grow your audience and build your brand. It also has a plethora of listener-friendly features that enhance the user experience and help you attract loyal listeners. If you want to take your podcasting efforts to the next level, Smart Podcast Player is highly recommended.

Are you excited to get started with Smart Podcast Player? Click here to download the plugin and get 33% off on your annual subscription.

DISCLOSURE: The HUSTLR goal is to help readers navigate around the digital economy by learning digital skills to achieve their life goals. This blog post may contain affiliate link(s) and any purchase(s) made through such links will result in a small commission to HUSTLR (at no cost to you). However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair in order to help you make the best choice.

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