Podcasting isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the data suggests that podcasting is only growing. But should you join the bandwagon and start one?
Here’s the thing: Podcasting is the only truly mobile medium. With a podcast you can communicate with your audience while they are driving, exercising, or cleaning the house.
It’s hands free. Unlike text or video.
Besides, a podcast allows a level of intimacy unlike any other medium. You are in people’s heads.
If you look around, it looks like everyone and their brother is launching a podcast. Should you? Or is podcasting just a bubble that will eventually burst?
Great questions. So, if you’ve ever even remotely entertained starting a podcast — and still have questions — this podcast is for you.
In this half hour interview, Demian Farnworth grills Jerod Morris, a man who’s spent four years in the trenches of podcasting, with his most basic questions and concerns about starting a podcast …
Particularly digging for that elusive factor behind all popular podcasts. And Jerod delivers.
In this tight, loaded episode you’ll also discover:
- The 3 questions that will help you decide if podcasting is right for you
- Lessons learned from promising, popular shows that ultimately failed
- Common misunderstandings about engaging with your podcast audience (that can stall growth)
- The surprisingly small amount of money you need to start a podcast
- What sort of shows iTunes accepts (and why you shouldn’t sweat the approval process)
- How to promote your show to build momentum in the critical early days
- And so much more!
Listen to Copyblogger FM below ...
The Show Notes
This episode is brought to you by StudioPress Sites.
The One Quality All Popular Podcasts Share
Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at RainmakerPlatform.com
Demian Farnworth: Ready whenever you are.
Jerod Morris: Oh, I’m ready.
Demian Farnworth: All right. That’s what I thought. Am I asking you first? Is that what we agreed upon? Is that what we said?
Jerod Morris: I thought so, but now that I’m thinking about it, I realize that I worded that obtusely. I’m glad we’re recording though.
Demian Farnworth: I know, right? It’s like a battle of wits. “I’m not going to say something until he says something.”
Clearly, Jerod and I need to get our act together. Unfortunately for you, we do, and we do it quickly. In this half-hour interview with Jerod, a man who spent four years in the trenches of podcasting, I grill him with the questions that are on all of our minds: Who should podcast? What’s the strategy behind a podcast? How do you know people are listening, and how do you engage with that audience? What’s the cost, and what kind of equipment do you need? What’s the best software? How hard is it to get your show in iTunes? Can podcasting really build a business?
Podcasting is not going anywhere. It’s hugely popular, and it seems like every day there’s a new one showing up in iTunes. But does that mean you need to start a podcast? If you are at least remotely entertaining the idea of podcasting, then join Jerod and I as we tease apart this popular content marketing medium.
Okay Jerod, here we are. We’ve got this episode on podcasting. I was just thinking you should probably start a podcast about New Age stuff.
Jerod Morris: Like ‘choose yourself?’
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, exactly.
Jerod Morris: Really useful, widely accepted ideas that are inspiring great achievements across the world that you seem unwilling to embrace.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, exactly — New Age stuff.
Jerod Morris: I’ll think about that.
Demian Farnworth: Okay. Jerod, you’ve got quite a history when it comes to podcasting. You’ve got a number of shows in your back pocket. I knew that you ran your Indiana Hoosiers podcast, The Assembly Call. I didn’t realize you were doing it for so long.
Jerod Morris: Mm-hmm.
Demian Farnworth: Now you’re running a show called The Showrunner, which is about podcasting, which I think is fabulous and one that I’ve been devouring just for the simple fact that I have not really done my homework on podcasting. It’s just like, “Give me the mic, and I will start doing this.” But listening to that, I’m like, “Wow, okay, I’m missing all this stuff.”
Naturally, you’re fit for doing that. I’m wondering, how did you get into podcasting? What came into mind for you about that? What brought that idea to your mind, to say, “I want to do a podcast?”
Jerod Morris: It was back when I was running Midwest Sports Fans, which was my first foray into blogging and building an audience — really, driving traffic more than building an audience. I wish I had built an audience. But it was just as someone who was always interested in sports and would play basketball games by myself out in my driveway and announce the games out loud as I was playing them.
I always fancied myself as a sportscaster. I didn’t study that. I obviously didn’t go into that for my profession. But when I saw podcasting — and the guy that I was working with at the time was an audiophile and had bought a whole bunch of equipment — I figured, “Why not just try?” It was really just a curiosity and something that seemed fun that got me into it at first. There was no big idea, no real big goal behind it. It just seemed like fun to try.
Demian Farnworth: Mm-hmm. I see a theme here. Because I know that you also love karaoke.
Jerod Morris: Uh-oh. What’s the theme?
Demian Farnworth: The fact that it’s DIY entertainment, right?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, but there’s a goal with karaoke. I want to be a singer, Demian, you know that.
Demian Farnworth: But you wanted to be a sports announcer, too.
Jerod Morris: That’s true. Neither one of them is happening.
Demian Farnworth: No, they are. They are, my friend.
Okay, let’s get to the basics. Who should podcast? Because we know that it’s this eruption. Many people would even suggest we’re in the podcast bubble, or at least reaching that point. But who should podcast?
Jerod Morris: That’s a good question, because I think it would be very easy to just say “everybody,” but I think that oversimplifies it. I think certainly everybody online who’s trying to build a business should think about it and should consider it. But there are really probably three questions someone should ask themselves, and if they can answer them all affirmatively, then they should give podcasting a try.
The 3 Questions That Will Help You Decide If Podcasting Is Right for You
Jerod Morris: Those three questions are, “Do you have a desire to connect with an audience about a topic that is important to you?” To create compelling content, you obviously have to know about it, and to really know about it, you have to be passionate about it. There’s got to be that topic there that you’re excited about as opposed to just having this end goal you want to achieve. I think it’s got to come from a more genuine place than that.
The second question would be then, “Will the content that you share educate, entertain or inspire people in your audience?” I think it really needs to at least one of those things. If it can do all three, that’s all the better. But I think you have to have a plan for getting that audio content out there that will educate, entertain, or inspire.
Then the third one is, “Can you commit to creating content consistently and reliably so that your audience has a chance to grow?” I think the biggest reason why podcasts don’t work is simply that their host stops showing up.
Lessons Learned from Promising, Popular Shows That Ultimately Failed
Jerod Morris: I think there’s a lot of really big podcast audiences that were just left there waiting and never developed simply because the host stopped showing up. There’s going to be a dip where maybe a really early surge starts to lag a little bit, or maybe your early enthusiasm starts to lag a little bit. I think if you can simply commit that, “Hey, I understand this is probably going to happen. When it happens, I’m going to push through it, keep going, because there’s a bigger purpose for me here to be podcasting.”
I think if you can answer those three questions in the affirmative — and they’re pretty simple questions — then there’s no reason not to give it a try. You may find that it doesn’t work. It might not fit your business goals. It might not fit your schedule. It might not fit your season of life. But I certainly think it’s worth trying to see because there are so many benefits that can come from it.
Demian Farnworth: All right, there’s a few things I want to tease out right there. My first question, though, is you mentioned the audience, building an audience. What I’ve found pretty interesting in my first foray into podcasting is, how do you engage with your audience? Because publishing a blog, you can get pretty good feedback through the comments, but on audio, with a podcast, I seem a little separated from the audience because it might be through a Tweet, or it might be comments on the blog. But I think people leave less comments on the blog for the podcast versus if it was a post I published and they were already there on the website and dropped a comment. How do you engage with a podcast audience?
Common Misunderstandings about Engaging with Your Podcast Audience (That Can Stall Growth)
Jerod Morris: That’s a great question. I think there is maybe a misunderstanding of the best ways to do that. I think the ways that I’ve learned have been through experience. Because you’re right. Just putting out the blog posts and asking for comments, you don’t seem to get as many of those comments as you would if it were just a blog post. I think it really comes down to understanding that your audience listens to your podcast, and then where do they go? Instead of assuming that they’re going to come to you and leave a post on your blog, you go to them and find ways to engage.
For instance, with The Assembly Call, the IU basketball podcast, the audience for that show was almost entirely built on the #IUBB hashtag on Twitter. That’s where people Tweet about IU basketball. I went there and participated in the conversation, and people started to find the podcast, and then you participate more.
Eventually, and I think this is the key, I started an email list. That email list has absolutely been the key to the growth of that site because it’s not just about, “Hey, I published a show. Let me send it out to the email list.” It’s about basically having this group of people that’s really passionate about this topic that I like, and now I can sit down and email them something when maybe that content isn’t the best fit for a podcast. I can reach them in another way.
I think we’re going to start doing this more, actually, with the shows on Rainmaker.FM.
Demian Farnworth: Okay.
Jerod Morris: Right now, each show doesn’t have its own email list but what we found with New Rainmaker, because obviously it’s got the big list, and then what we’re finding with Showrunner, is that it’s so valuable to be able to connect with people in that way. Now you have these multiple touchpoints. The podcast is one, but then it’s really about you making the effort and taking the next step to not only give your audience other places to connect with you but then really being proactive in those places about connecting with them.
Demian Farnworth: Okay. The other thing you said about whether one should podcast or not is about the business objectives. Outside of building an audience, what other reasons are there to start a podcast?
Jerod Morris: I think from the perspective of the content creator, your podcast has to be profitable. I mean that in something of a general sense. We think of the word ‘profitability,’ and obviously we think of money. For a lot of people, their podcast does need to bring in more revenue than it costs. It’s specifically talking about money, because otherwise, they can’t justify the time. I think if that’s the case, then you need to make sure that what you’re doing is building toward some type of sustainable revenue model. Whether you’re selling sponsorships, whether you’re building tour de course, whether you have products or services that you’re selling, following a model that will allow you to do that is important.
But I think there are other layers to profitability. I think one of them is simply intrinsic. People underestimate the importance of how good it makes you feel inside to talk about this topic, connect with an audience, and see people improve because of what you say. Whether it’s because you improve their commute simply because you’re entertaining them or you’re helping them make $100,000 because of a tip you gave, there is something in there that’s nourishing for the soul.
We talk about profitability as one of the four pillars of a successful podcast in the course, not just of how it’s profitable in the money sense, but also how it’s profitable in that internal, feeling sense is important, too, and will keep you coming back to the mic on those times when it gets a little tough.
The Surprisingly Small Amount of Money You Need to Start a Podcast
Demian Farnworth: How much should someone sink, money-wise, into starting a podcast?
Jerod Morris: I don’t think you need to sink very much, money-wise, in it in the first place anyway. Just to get started, you can get yourself a good mic for less than $100. You can get yourself a headset that will at least give you a shot at having decent audio for $20. I think if you’re going to be serious, you want to do a little bit more than that. But I don’t think you have to invest a lot of money. I think at first, you have to invest time, and obviously time is money, and it all goes together.
You’ve got to understand that you do have to have a goal in mind, so whether it’s a business goal or whether it’s a personal goal, you’ve got to understand what that is. Then, it’s how much is that worth to you? Make that mental calculation, and that will instruct how much time you can invest in doing it and more than time, how many resources you can invest in doing it.
Demian Farnworth: Outside of a mic, what else — equipment — do you need?
Jerod Morris: You need a mic, I think obviously you need a computer. You need that basic. There are free editing programs so you don’t even need to pay for those. Audacity for a Windows computer, Garage Band for a Mac, which is free.
Demian Farnworth: Okay.
Jerod Morris: Then it really just depends on your platform. I think if you’re just starting out and you really don’t know if this is the right thing, just getting a basic website on some inexpensive hosting will work. I think if you’re going to be serious about it and you’re going to build a business around your podcast, then something like the Rainmaker Platform is a very worthwhile investment because it will allow you to not only podcast but also build the platform around the podcast that you need.
To get started, to answer your specific question, you need a mic, you need a computer, and you need some headphones.
Demian Farnworth: And the software.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, and the software. But beyond that, there’s nothing that you need, and you can dip your toes in, see if it’s for you, and then progress forward from there.
What Sort of Shows iTunes Accepts (and Why You Shouldn’t Sweat the Approval Process)
Demian Farnworth: Okay. How hard is it to get your show in iTunes?
Jerod Morris: It’s not hard to get your show in iTunes.
Demian Farnworth: They accept everybody?
Jerod Morris: That’s a really good question. I don’t think they accept everybody. I’ve never had a show denied in iTunes.
Demian Farnworth: But there is an approval process.
Jerod Morris: There is an approval process. You do have go through a specific approval process, and sometimes it can take a little while.
Demian Farnworth: Three days?
Jerod Morris: Three days, five days, sometimes even longer than that.
Demian Farnworth: Okay.
Jerod Morris: I have to assume they probably reject some shows if for nothing else then just because their RSS feed is wrong. They haven’t run it through a feed validator to make sure it’s correct. But I don’t think that they check for content or anything. But I should say, for people who are listening to this who are going to have obviously reasonable shows about reasonable topics, you don’t have to fear not being included into iTunes. You just have to wait three to five days.
Demian Farnworth: They’re not looking at say, “No, we already have four shows on hacking entrepreneurs, so we’re not going to let Jon Nastor in.”
Jerod Morris: No, not that I’ve ever heard of.
Demian Farnworth: Okay. When and how often should someone publish a show? Or an episode, I’m sorry.
Jerod Morris: That’s a magic question. I’m actually really excited about when we turn the tables and I get to interview you about podcasting, because I want to hear about your experience putting out a daily show, or a show four times a week.
This is a question that does not have a perfect answer. What’s more important than how often you podcast is, do you show up when your audience expects you to? For the Indiana Basketball podcast, for example, it’s a post-game show, so we need to have a new show up the day after every single game. That’s when people look for us. That’s when they’re going to be there. That may be a Monday and a Sunday one week, and it may be a Tuesday and a Thursday another week, just based on the college basketball schedule.
Demian Farnworth: Right.
Jerod Morris: But it’s got to be there. For you, you’re doing Rough Draft four days a week. The Showrunner comes out once a week. Again, it’s going to start from your audience. The information that you are trying to convey, what format best fits the conveyance of that information to your audience? Whether that’s a longer interview show that’s a half-hour long or little five-minute bits. Obviously, the shorter the show, the more likely it’s going to be able to work in multiple doses per week.
I don’t think Rough Draft would work as well if your episodes were 45 minutes long because people don’t have that much time.
How often you broadcast is going to be a function of the length of your show, the format, and then simply when your audience expects you. You’ve got to be there when your audience expects you, but you can set the expectation from the beginning.
Demian Farnworth: And of course if you have the resources and the time to do it.
Jerod Morris: Right, exactly.
Demian Farnworth: Because you can sink yourself very fast if you commit to doing it daily and then realize, “Okay, this is not going to work.”
Jerod Morris: Are you speaking from personal experience?
Demian Farnworth: No, I’m not.
You introduced me to a show called Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. It took me a while to finally get around to going to the show and subscribing and downloading it. As I went through that whole process, I went to go listen to my first show. I think I was going for a run. “This will be fun to listen to on my 45-minute run.” The show was four hours long.
Jerod Morris: I was going to say, are you going to run a marathon?
Demian Farnworth: You’re right. I was like, “Holy smokes.” It was fabulously interesting. This is my question that I was thinking throughout that whole time: do you think that he gets it right the first time through?
Jerod Morris: No. I think you can actually hear subtle edits in there. It is a big, long stream-of-consciousness, but I think he’ll go back in and edit things. I think sometimes he’ll stop and maybe back up and do it. I don’t think it’s one long, four-hour take that isn’t edited. But I think he’s in that room probably for those six hours doing it, maybe backing up and doing some edits, and that kind of thing.
Demian Farnworth: Really, this goes to another point, which is that you’re not going to ever get it right on the first time so expect some editing. Expect some reworking.
Jerod Morris: Especially your very first time doing it. Getting behind the microphone for the first time was a terrifying experience for me, and I probably had to do 15 takes to get it right, and I ended up having to script it because I was so uncomfortable, and I am even now, if it’s a new topic or a new format that I’m not comfortable with.
For instance, when I was doing the Showrunner Podcasting Course, I was doing these intro videos for the modules, but recording them sitting in the same place that I normally do like it was a podcast. The first one took me forever to do. I was awkward. I was doing it by myself in my own apartment. I was nervous doing it. But once I got it, then the rest of them started to flow. I think it’s one of those things. You get back there. You get more comfortable. You get more comfortable, and it just starts to become easier. But yeah, understand that you can always edit. Unless you’re doing a live show, which I’ve also had experience doing that, you can edit it and make it sound better. It relieves some of that pressure that is natural to build up.
Demian Farnworth: Okay. You launched podcasts. You’re in your first week. Is it normal to go into the iTunes app and refresh top charts every 30 minutes to see where you’re at?
Jerod Morris: That’s absolutely what you should be doing. There’s a couple things there. Number one, the launch part, that time period at the beginning, maybe the first eight to 10 weeks, is so important for building momentum and for using iTunes, getting into New and Noteworthy, and some of those features that are there for newer shows. It’s really important to focus during that early period.
I think going in there, seeing where you are, that also just shows enthusiasm and excitement over the project. It can give you little wins, like if you see that you were 97th in a sub-category and then later on in the day you’re up to 80th, and now you have a couple reviews. That kind of stuff is nourishing for your podcasting soul. It keeps you excited and ready to go the next time.
How to Promote Your Show to Build Momentum in the Critical Early Days
Demian Farnworth: Do you think it’s self-centered, almost egotistical, to share that kind of stuff with your audience on Twitter? That’s the thing that I struggled with. I was like, “Wow, this is doing exceptionally well. Should I screen capture that and say, ‘Look at Rough Draft. Look at where it’s at?’”
Jerod Morris: I think if you beat your chest and say, “I’m great. Look at this,” then it will probably come off the wrong way. But I think if you look at that and you think, “How fortunate am I to have an audience that is pushing me up here?” Because ultimately, it takes two. You put the content out there, but your audience has to show up and listen and download and rate and review. It should be a moment of humility where you realize how much your audience is contributing to this.
I think if you present it that way, then your audience loves sharing in that with you, because now they feel like they’re a part of something bigger, and that’s what we all want online and offline. We want to be part of groups and tribes and something bigger than ourselves. It’s up to the person running the podcast to cultivate that feeling with the audience, especially early on when you’re trying to develop that connection. Let them know that they’re part of something bigger and growing, and encourage them to share.
If it comes from a place of teamwork and humility and genuine appreciation for the role the audience has, then I think it’s going to come across great, and it’s going to help you multiple your efforts.
Demian Farnworth: So less, “Look at what I’ve done,” and more “look what you’ve done?”
Jerod Morris: Yeah, “Look what we’ve done.”
Demian Farnworth: We’ve done.
Jerod Morris: “Look what we’ve done together.”
Demian Farnworth: Give some tips. How do you encourage your audience to download? When you’re getting a show off the ground, where is your audience, and how do you build that?
Jerod Morris: I think where your audience of course is going to depend on who your audience is. You’ve got to understand who you’re speaking to, understand where they are. Once you start to find people who really grasp onto your show and who you know that it impacts in a positive way, don’t be shy about requesting ratings and reviews on iTunes or requesting shares. Because if the content is really helping them and they’re really connecting with it, then surely they know other people who can benefit from it.
Again, I think it just comes from how you view it. If it’s a selfish thing, where it’s like, “Hey, share this out there so I move up in iTunes,” and “so I make more money,” and “so I” do all of this, no one’s going to want to help you out. Frankly, you’re going to have a hard time building an audience if that’s how you genuinely think.
But if you really are audience-focused, and the reason I say that is that you can always lie and just say, “Hey, if you think that this will benefit someone in your network, consider sharing it with them.” Of course you can lie and say that, even if you just want to get it all for selfish reasons. But you’ll eventually be uncovered.
You really want to have those genuine feelings, but then, make it so that the action that you’re requesting, that you’re suggesting, has a benefit for the audience member. They’re not sharing this just for you. They’re sharing it because they’ll be helping out a friend or because whatever the reason is relative to your content. Make it about the group, and make it about helping, and make it an act of humility, not this selfish thing where we’re just trying to grab a bigger piece of the pie.
Demian Farnworth: Right. Okay. An episode that anyone out there who’s interested in podcasting should listen to is the Showrunner, the episode “Five Mistakes That Podcasters Typically Make.” Is that it?
Jerod Morris: Yes.
Demian Farnworth: Okay.
Jerod Morris: That’s a recent episode.
Demian Farnworth: Listen to that. You are basically quizzing Jon Nastor, and he’s got all these great tips. One of the things that he talked about was ‘the dip,’ meaning that once your show launches, you will do exceptionally well, probably — if you play it right — you’ll do well in the charts. But then there comes a time where you might end up in the top 200 if you’re lucky. Why is that?
Jerod Morris: I think iTunes will give some preferential treatment to new shows that are showing progress. That’s part of what New and Noteworthy is all about, is giving some of those new shows a chance. You can really see a bump from that. Some shows are buoyed by that early, and then once you’re out of New and Noteworthy, sometimes that bump goes away. If you haven’t done a really good job of building an audience, again — if you’re just building traffic and building listeners, but there’s no way to capture those people — you can see a really big dip.
I think one way, number one, to avoid that dip is to really make sure that you’re building an audience, building people who aren’t just curious but who become audience members and show up every week or however often you’re putting a show out there.
Demian Farnworth: Are these people who are subscribing to your show?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, exactly — people who are subscribing to your show, or maybe they’re on your email list, or maybe they’re connecting with you in some other channel. But in some way, they’ve connected, so they don’t need the iTunes discovery machine to show you to them. They are self-selecting themselves as part of your audience.
Demian Farnworth: They’re automatically getting your shows.
Jerod Morris: That helps a lot, yeah.
Demian Farnworth: Do people ever come out of the dip?
Jerod Morris: Sure. The other thing with the dip, too, is that I think the dip can be an internal thing. It’s really fun and it’s really exciting at the beginning, but maybe you lose the enthusiasm for the content. Maybe you’re not quite getting out of it what you want, so you lose sight of giving the audience what they need. Those two things start to build on each other, and it’s this negative snowball.
Getting past that dip, again, is all about refocusing on why you’re doing it in the first place. Why are you here? What’s the purpose? What’s the bigger goal? If you can keep your eye on that prize — and especially if it’s a much more outward prize, not just an internal thing that you’re trying to achieve — that will help you get past that and keep that momentum going. Then you dip down, but you keep building those subscribers up, and then you slowly and steadily move up the charts, not in New and Noteworthy, but in the Hot section and in the other charts that are more long-term based.
Demian Farnworth: Another question I wanted to ask you is, do you think that headlines have anything to do with success of your individual shows?
How Enticing Headlines Draw Listeners and Set Their Expectations
Jerod Morris: Absolutely. Headlines have so much to do with everything, with every piece of content being consumed. Look, right now I’m subscribed to 40-some podcasts. I can’t listen to all of those podcasts. I would love to. Even your show — I love Rough Draft.
Demian Farnworth: Right.
Jerod Morris: I haven’t been able to keep up with all the episodes of your show.
Demian Farnworth: Wait a minute. What did you say?
Jerod Morris: Trust me, I’m trying. I’m working on it.
Demian Farnworth: This interview is over, dude. Go on.
Jerod Morris: The point I’m trying to make with headlines is that even all these shows that you subscribe to and you basically said, “I want to listen to,” the job’s not over. You’ve still got to entice the person to actually listen.
Just because a show is downloaded onto someone’s phone doesn’t mean they actually listen to it. Downloads is a nice vanity metric. The point of podcasting should be about connection, not vanity metrics. To connect, people have to listen.
I think a headline that really accentuates the benefit I’m going to get as the listener for investing my time in this podcast — clearly articulate that to me and let me decide if I want to invest my time. Headlines are very important. Just because it’s not a blog post doesn’t mean the headline isn’t as important. It’s just as important as a podcast as it is in a blog post, as it is in a book, as it is in everything else.
Demian Farnworth: Okay. Inside that iTunes metric engine, you mentioned downloads. They’re counting downloads as the popularity. Do they count plays too?
Jerod Morris: I don’t know if iTunes has any way of knowing if you play. Certainly if they do they’re not telling you. Podcast stats are a big, emerging field, and I know Tom Webster is one of the thought leaders in this field and is doing a lot of work to make podcast stats better because frankly they’re just not very good right now. You can certainly track any amount of plays on your own site, but most people don’t engage with your actual audio content on the player on your site. They’re using some kind of podcast player. You can certainly get downloads, so you know how often the file is tracked, but if they’re not doing it on your site, it’s very difficult to know how many people are actually pressing ‘play,’ how long they’re listening into it.
I think you get a gauge from it based on your interaction with your community. If they’re asking you questions and if people are really engaging with you about the content, you know if they’ve listened. That, to me, is more important than just the numbers. How does it feel? What are the communications like? What does your connection with your audience feel like? I think sometimes you can get a better feel for how well your show is doing from that than simply from looking at the numbers.
Demian Farnworth: Right. Is iTunes the only player? Do they have such a big market share that we podcasters don’t have to worry about other devices, other avenues of sharing the show?
Jerod Morris: ITunes is so big that it’s like Google is some now and certainly was even before, where you just optimized your site for Google and everything else falls in line.
Demian Farnworth: Right.
Jerod Morris: I think iTunes is certainly the biggest, so that’s the player to focus on. Frankly, a lot of other podcast players take their feeds from iTunes. I think iTunes is the one to focus on. Just to keep things simple, as long as you’re doing well in iTunes and if your show is showing up for the keywords that you want it to and that kind of thing, then I think you’ll pretty much be doing well across the board.
You want to make sure that your main podcast feed, where everybody would be getting your shows from, put that into a feed validator. Just make sure that it’s right and that it can be read, and as long as you’ve submitted to iTunes and you’re in there, then I think that’s really what to focus on.
Demian Farnworth: Ignore Stitcher?
Jerod Morris: No, I certainly wouldn’t ignore Stitcher. I think Stitcher is emerging, especially for people who don’t have iPhones. I’m glad you brought that up. Stitcher is a really good place to go submit your show to. Frankly, Stitcher gives you even better engagement stats. They tell you how long people are listening to your show. They give you a lot of different stats that iTunes doesn’t.
Demian Farnworth: Stitcher is the non-Apple, right? Is it for Android devices?
Jerod Morris: You can use it on either device. I think a lot of Android people use it simply because there isn’t iTunes.
It’s a different style. Stitcher is personalized radio, so you get playlists, and unless you buy their premium service, ads play in between your content. It’s a little weird in that sense, in terms of the expectation of the listener. But there’s a lot of people there. It’s a good product, and they provide you with some good stats. That would be the other place that I would recommend that people submit their shows to.
Demian Farnworth: All right, let me close with this question, the big one. I know the answer to this question because I listened to your podcast episode with Jon Nastor on the five mistakes that podcasters make.
Jerod Morris: Oh boy.
Demian Farnworth: I know that our listeners, some listeners probably don’t know, but if anybody is remotely interested in podcasting, go listen to that episode. Here’s the question: what’s the number-one reason people as podcasters fail?
The Biggest Reason Podcasters Fail (and How You Can Avoid It)
Jerod Morris: I think the number-one reason podcasters fail is that they just stop showing up, frankly. I think there’s a lot of reasons why shows fail, but to me, that’s the number-one reason. If you stop showing up and an audience that was there waiting and wanting to engage with your content no longer can, now they’ve got to go somewhere else. If you stop showing up, that means that you didn’t give yourself a chance to get past that dip to figure out a little bit of a better business model, to engage even more with your content, to find better ways to explain it, to connect more.
I think so often — it’s not just podcasting, it’s online — it’s more a war of attrition and attitude than it is aptitude, right? There are a lot of smart people out there, but it’s not always the smartest person that wins. A lot of times, it’s the person that just shows up more, and your audience trusts you not just because of what you say, but the fact that you’re always there to say it. This guy over here may be smarter, but they don’t know when he’s going to be there. He’s not reliable. People want something that’s reliable, that they can count on, and that they can connect with.
Demian Farnworth: Even if they don’t listen to it every day?
Jerod Morris: Right, exactly.
Demian Farnworth: I’ve forgiven you, by the way.
Jerod Morris: Okay. But it doesn’t mean that it’s sometimes not right to stop a podcast. That’s not what I’m saying. But in terms of why shows fail, I think it’s just because a host who otherwise could have really done something with it stopped showing up, whether they weren’t ready to make the commitment or just didn’t figure out that better way to connect with the audience for whatever reason.
Demian Farnworth: Okay. I said that was the final question but you brought up a point. What if you’re three months in and you realize, “This is not the direction I want to go?” Is it okay that a show evolves? At what point do you say, “This is the wrong format. This is the wrong way to do a show?” Is it okay just to do an abrupt 180? Do you evolve, or how do you handle a situation like that if you find out this is not working?
Jerod Morris: Listen to the audience, and listen to your gut feeling. We’ve actually already done that with The Showrunner. Whenever this airs, I think we’ll be on the sixth or seventh episode of The Showrunner, and we’ve evolved the format already just since the first episode. We’ve evolved how we’re using music in there based on audience feedback. Especially with an early show, you go out there with a gut feeling and a hunch but then allow yourself to be wrong and then don’t take it personally if your audience doesn’t like something, or don’t feel like a failure if you’re wrong. Just adjust, shift, and just keep moving forward. That’s the key — just keep moving forward.
Demian Farnworth: All right, Jerod, anything else?
Jerod Morris: I will just say, because I know that this episode is airing the Tuesday before the pilot launch for The Showrunner Podcasting Course ends — The Showrunner Podcasting Course pilot launch ends on May 8th. If you’re interested in podcasting and taking your podcasting to the next level and learning the tools and tips and the step-by-step instructions that you need, go to Showrunner.FM. There’s a signup form right there. That email form will put you on the Showrunner list.
As soon as you do that, then an auto-responder will send you the invite to the pilot launch, because you do have to be invited, and that’s the way that you get invited is by getting on the Showrunner email list. Then you can decide if you want to get in because the benefit of a pilot launch is that it’s $395. The price once we relaunch the course in the summer will be $495, so you’ll never be able to get it at this price again. Once you get that email, you’ll be able to go in and see if it’s for you, see everything that’s in the course, give it a try, and see if it’s for you.
We’d definitely love to see anybody who is excited about podcasting. We’d love to have you in there and work with you because we’re already seeing some great interaction there and some really great responses to the lessons. We’d love to have you join us in the course.
Demian Farnworth: All right, Jerod, thank you for consistently showing up to the show with me weekly to talk about content marketing and copywriting and podcasting. You have a good day, and we’ll talk soon. I know they are going to turn the tables on us, me, soon here. I look forward to a good grilling.
Jerod Morris: It’s my pleasure. By ‘talk soon,’ do you mean in five seconds when we transition and turn this around?
Demian Farnworth: Something like that.
Jerod Morris: Talk to you in five seconds.
Demian Farnworth: Thanks, Jerod. Take care, buddy.
Jerod Morris: Bye.