What's the Deal with the Xtra Member's Feed?

Well I'll tell you history friends, you see the Xtra feed is a wonderful creation essentially designed so that the most dedicated history friends among us can get more content every month.

It's really quite simple, you pledge $5 or more a month and you get sent an RSS feed, which you then use to subscribe to a secret 'member's only podcast feed', nicknamed the Xtra Feed by yours truly, which provides glorious goodies in audio form. This post here will enlighten you on all you need to know about the Xtra feed, what to expect from it now and in the future, if it will ever become cheaper, how you can play a part in its growth and why all of this is so important for WDF's future as a podcast AND as a brand. If you have any additional techy related questions, I do my best to answer them at the end of the post, so scroll to the bottom or drop me a line at wdfpodcast@hotmail.com if that's why you're here. Of course, none of this makes much sense unless you visit our Patreon page, so have a look there and see if anything takes your fancy. If you're looking for info on merchandise and WDF products, such info is in the pipeline, don't you worry! Otherwise, enjoy reading!

For starters, I should simply state that every time we reach a new goal in Patreon, the amount of audio goodies will increase. Whether this is through Xtra episodic content ($300) the provision of a new miniseries looking at a specific Poland's history in a particular century ($500), a Diplomat's-only biography of Otto von Bismarck's career from 1858-90 entitled Age of Bismarck ($1,000) or a full blown new podcast in the History of Prussia ($2,500), the idea is that through your pledge you are ensuring a reasonable rate of return for everyone. If you don't have the patience to traverse our Patreon Page then let me break it down for you.

The additional content I've been banging on about is encapsulated in what I have called "Xtras" or Xtra episodes. These are self-contained shows that give me the chance to cover something in about 20-45 minutes which I feel is in need of an analysis. It could be something simple; like a strange question I have (but not too in depth a question, that's what WDF ASKS is for!), or a figure I feel needs to be examined more closely, and may tie in with the current series we have going at the time, or more content on that series so that more details are fleshed out, to incredible anecdotes - literally the possibilities are endless, and the plan is that the Xtra feed will dynamically change as we reach different goals. What do I mean by that? Well allow me to demonstrate!

Reaching certain milestones of income or "goals" as Patreon calls them, in the monthly income level, can be seen as a kind of threshold we must pass before each new stage of audio goodness is released. This means there'll be incentives for people to pledge more $ and should ensure a stable level of growth, while those that have pledged $ already will see a reasonable rate of return on their investment in this pod. The current monthly income level I'm at is in the left hand side of the WDF's Patreon home page, and I will always keep it public because I want to be transparent about how much I earn and how far we have left to go before we can unleash more content. At the time of this blog post [7MARCH2017, edited 10MAR2017] we are at $270 a month, and that's absolutely incredible, so let's see how much further we can go! Here's how it works:

After $300, we'll provide at least one hour of Xtra episodes.
After $500 we'll be unleashing the Polish History Miniseries, and maintain 1 hour of Xtra episodic content thereafter.
After $1,000 we'll release the Age of Bismarck podcast, and maintain 1 hour of Xtra episodic content thereafter. 
After $2,500 we'll release the Ironcast: A History of Prussia Podcast and maintain our Xtra episodic content simultaneously!


Essentially this means, yes, we'll be in a position to massively increase our workload if we get to a high enough level of Patronage. Can I sustain it? I reckon so. If not, I will merely return to you all with my tail between my legs and beg for your forgiveness. The Xtra feed does come with a few caveats though, because I am of course only human. They are as follows:
1) If a miniseries is ongoing at the time, for example the Polish miniseries promised when $500 is reached, or the Diplomat-exclusive Bismarck bio when $1,000 is reached, then these series will replace the Xtra content until they conclude.
NOTE: This is the general plan, but it's not a rule as I can't say for certain at this stage what the Polish miniseries in particular will involve. Since I envision myself releasing the whole series to Diplomats in one chunk, I will likely have room to make Xtra episodes to coincide with it, but in case I expire from audio exhaustion in the mean time I don't want to make any promises or commit to an impossible schedule. In particular, when the Age of Bismarck is ongoing, that podcast will be an Xtra Xclusive, released twice a month, so it will fulfill your Diplomatic privileges either way.
2) Perhaps more obvious, but if we're producing more, and on an ad-free platform no less, it means I need your guys' help more than ever to get the word out. BEFIT like a mad history friend, and let your peers know that for $5 a month you can get even more bang for your buck - that pledge will only seem like better and better value as we move forward with more episodes!
3) If you want a say in how WDF Xtra goes, become a higher tiered Patron! That way you can contribute your own scenario or vision for what you'd like me to tackle, and within reason, I will take it on. Currently, one has to be a Lord Derby ($30p/m) to acquire this honour, but if I get enough interest in you guys having a say then it will likely be reduced over time.
4) Speaking of 'reduced over time', the provisional plan is, once I reach the $1,000 p/m stage, I will reduce the requirements for accessing the Xtra feed from $5 to $3.
HOWEVER! Before you Diplomats go out and raze your local village, the Attachés ($3 p/m) will only have access to the released-earlier, ad-free episodes. They WILL NOT have access to any of the Xtra content, which by the $1,000 p/m goal will boast the tempting Age of Bismarck miniseries.

Why do I do this at all? Because I believe that everyone deserves to get something for their pledges; I know money is tight and I'm just a guy with a hobby that you occasionally bring yourself to enjoy, but I believe good history shouldn't cost a bomb (unless it's The History Bomb!). Obviously, it could backfire - a load of Diplomats could demote themselves to Attachés, but I think they'll choose to stay for the Bismarck bio, just like I believe more people will want to become Patrons in the first place if they see that from as little as $3 a month, they could enjoy a different experience than they would be having by not giving anything. So in a sense it is a risk, but as Charles II well knew, sometimes gambling men can do well (even though Charles' gambling epically failed in the end and I'm not gambling, and that was a very forced history reference I'm sorry).

Since this is the closest I can get to making my baby a viable job, this Xtra feed will hopefully keep me ticking over into the future, and should enable the podcast to expand in ways I never imagined possible! All being well, 2 new miniseries and a whole new podcast should be unleashed, and for that I have you guys to thank for making it all possible. Once we get better organised ourselves and your merchandise starts arriving (big props to Quartermaster Dad for helping me out on that!) I hope you'll tell everyone you come across how great and exciting this wonderful world of WDF is!

WAIT A MINUTE, HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?!

So technology isn't your biggest fan? This guide should help all history friends work their Xtra feed out to suit them. If you simply can't seem to get it working, please let me know through the usual channels, I'd hate for you to not get your money's worth. Follow the steps below and all should be fine!
1) Become a DiplomatThe Xtra feed, while the RSS feed is visible to ALL Patrons, it will only have content available for the $5 or more Diplomats, so once you do become a Patron for this podcast, selecting the Diplomat rank ensures that all the contents of the Xtra feed will be yours! Remember that in future this will include a whole Xtra hour of content, being able to feast on the likes of the Polish History Miniseries in one large chunk and exclusive access to the Age of Bismarck miniseries (once we reach the appropriate goals!)
2) Copy that RSS feed. Click on the 'copy' option, either here or within the email you should have received letting you know the feed is live, and then visit your favourite podcast app.
3) Add the RSS feed. Once in your fave app, add the RSS feed, normally done through clicking the "+" button in the top corner of the app, and then copying in that RSS feed already on your clipboard.
4) Please let me know if it works! I am still rather new to this, and it's all a bit of trial and error, so do let me know if everything goes wrong or, better yet, if you have no problems with it at all. Some podcatchers such as iTunes require a bit more of a process before you can add the RSS feed, but I'll be very happy to walk you guys through any problems you might have, to the best of my ability of course!
5) Enjoy your Xtra content! I am constantly looking to expand When Diplomacy Fails' horizons with this Xtra feed, and by supporting the podcast on Patreon YOU are making that happen, so a huge thanksss is owed to you! Keep an eye out for Xtra bonus episodes, and make sure to keep that feed's address to yourself - it's top secret!

These links might help:
https://blog.libsyn.com/2012/11/29/how-to-manually...
https://patreon.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/212055866-How-Do-I-Get-and-Use-My-Audio-RSS-Link-

This is an example of how some other folks did it:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/how-to-get-only-6999... 

The Vassal State - When Diplomacy Fails' New Blog!

A new era in WDF blogging is here!

It was time to face facts, wdfpodcast.blogspot.ie just wasn't working for me anymore. Sure, it was great for a beginner's blog, but for someone like me that likes to have literally everything in one place, I felt it only made sense to centralise everything around the website which I've spent the last 2+ years paying for and setting up. It also adds more into the idea that history will thrive here, because with a blog you're more likely to be able to read my innermost thoughts (on history podcasting that is) and be better clued in with who I am and what WDF is all about as we move forward. There's little point in saying that the website is 'where history thrives' when it's serving only as a depository for the archived episodes - such a function is useful of course, but it's not very exciting. Through this, as much as learning experience as everything else technological I do, I can better keep pace with events in WDF's life, and make sure that the blog constantly stays relevant, which should mean you'll have a genuine reason to keep coming back here!

The Vassal State as a name comes from the idea that this blog forms just a portion of what this site is all about, but that it couldn't survive on its own, so the blog as my vassal hands it affairs over to me. I also like the name, because as far as I know it's not yet taken, and Simpsons hasn't done it! 

As the first post, with the idea that I post each week along with the new episode, but don't necessarily always upload it here...we should see a gradually building community emerging. Coupled with the conversation and shopping community that'll hopefully come off the back of this, I believe it's a great way to bring WDF forward, and actually contribute towards this crazy world of history podcasting. Let's do it then - let's make history thrive!