It’s the new thing: 1. Start a podcast. 2. Attract an audience. 3. ??? 4. Profit!
Sounds a lot like blogging in 2006. Problem is, with the exception of a few huge sites, it didn’t really work out that way for most bloggers. Which is why thinking in terms of content marketing and developing your own products took off in that field.
Now, I’ll admit that the prospects for good revenue from audio ads — when done correctly — are much better than banner ads and AdSense were for bloggers. So there’s no reason why working with the right sponsors shouldn’t be a part of your revenue mix.
But what else is in that mix? Or put another way, what might be the backbone of your podcast monetization strategy, rather that advertising?
In this 36-minute episode Jerod Morris, Robert Bruce, and I discuss:
- The default (yet difficult) revenue model for podcasts
- The very profitable future of audio content
- How Jerod built an online course from scratch
- Why podcasts are such a great fit with online courses
- How to think bigger about your own podcast revenue model
Listen to The Digital Entrepreneur below ...
The Show Notes
- Silicon Valley Job Title Generator
- How Online Courses Accelerate Any Business Model
- The Showrunner
- The Rainmaker Platform
- Brian Clark on Twitter
- Robert Bruce on Twitter
- Jerod Morris on Twitter
A Much Better Revenue Model for Podcasting
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 Rainmaker.FM/Platform.
Robert Bruce: Jerod, are you there?
Jerod Morris: I am here.
Robert Bruce: The last time you and I met — this was on this show, which is New Rainmaker with Brian Clark — he was not here, and we kind of made a thing of it. So it’s New Rainmaker with Brian Clark, with Robert Bruce, and with Jerod Morris. Now, he’s here. Queue the Empire Strikes Back music, right?
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
Brian Clark: Do we have a license for that because that would be awesome? Every time you introduce me, Imperial March.
Robert Bruce: Yes.
Brian Clark: That would be awesome.
Robert Bruce: Jerod Morris, VP of Rainmaker.FM. Brian Clark, Founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media. I’m Robert Bruce, also VP of Rainmaker.FM. You see, here’s the other thing. I’ve been thinking about titles.
Brian Clark: Yeah, both of your titles are stupid.
Robert Bruce: Well I found something. I don’t know where this came from — Silicon Valley Job Title Generator.
Brian Clark: Oh boy. This is going to get worse, real fast.
Robert Bruce: It’s really something. It’s like ‘Innovation Pioneer.’ Let’s see, ‘Engagement Superintendent,’ ‘Mobile Intimacy Evangelist.’ This is one of my favorites – ‘Social Media Commander.’
Brian Clark: Nice.
Jerod Morris: Very nice.
Robert Bruce: ‘In-House Social Media Savant, on and on and on. ‘Reddit Directors.’
Brian Clark: We should make Jerod the ‘Rainmaker Education Savant.’
Jerod Morris: OK.
Robert Bruce: It sounds like he is going for it.
Brian Clark: Give or take the savant part.
Robert Bruce: Alright, gentlemen, we have been called here to discuss something. We’re calling this episode ‘A Way Better Revenue Model for Podcasting.’ Jerod, you have been up to some interesting things in terms of this podcast network. You’re pushing the envelope, sending out the first volley, if you will, for what may be coming for other shows and the network as a whole. Thanks for coming on. Brian and I are just going to grill you for a few minutes if that’s OK with you.
Jerod Morris: Perfect. Nothing I love better.
The Default (yet Difficult) Revenue Model for Podcasts
Robert Bruce: I wanted to frame this conversation around the idea of, when you think about podcast revenue, when you think of how podcasts have been monetized in the past, what’s the first thing that comes up?
Jerod Morris: Ads, sponsorships.
Robert Bruce: How’s that going for folks out there?
Jerod Morris: I think some people are having success with it if they have really big numbers, but for the most part, it’s pretty disappointing. Number one, the metrics haven’t been there to really give advertisers numbers that they can trust, so I think that they’ve been reluctant to pay well without having those metrics. That’s certainly something that, in the podcast industry, we’re looking to improve on. It just hasn’t been there, and I think people have left feeling like they’re not getting the revenue that they feel like they should be getting for what they’re investing — time and energy in producing their podcast.
Robert Bruce: Metrics are really interesting. We’ve had a lot of discussion and reworking of how we’re looking at our own metrics on Rainmaker.FM. Brian, we’ve had a couple of conversations with Chris Garrett about this, and we made the decision early on that we wanted to land on the conservative side of downloads and plays and things like that.
Brian Clark: Yeah, there’s all sorts of intentional and unintentional ways that your download stats can be artificially inflated. For our network itself, Rainmaker.FM, but also for the Rainmaker Platform and how it counts downloads, we wanted to make sure that it was legitimate because there are issues of caching and all sorts of things that can create duplicate downloads that aren’t real.
I had a brief conversation with Tom Webster of Edison Research. They are big, big, big in the podcasting and podcasting metrics. I got him and Chris Garrett together so that Tom could actually informally audit our download procedure. He gave us a thumbs up on how we approached it. So, good news there.
Robert Bruce: Advertising, definitely, like you said, Jerod, it’s the first thing that comes up when we think about money and revenue in relation to podcasting. Frankly, it goes back over a hundred years into radio. In one sense, it can seem like an easy way to get revenue going. Sometimes it can, but it’s really interesting because it’s a little deceptive that way.
There’s a lot of work that goes into developing relationships with advertisers. You’re talking about recurring billing, all kinds of things that add into the mix, which is totally doable. We’ve decided that we’re not going to look at that for the time being. Advertising has definitely been front and center when you think about these things with podcasting and money. Brian, we’ve been talking the last few episodes about something else, and that’s the ‘logged in’ experience.
The Very Profitable Future of Audio Content
Brian Clark: Logged in experience is an overall online marketing trend no matter what your business model is. In this context, especially with the way you led in with the episode with the dream of sponsorship and advertising, how it turns out to be harder and sometimes less lucrative than people were expecting. That takes me right back to 2007 when I was basically making the same argument to bloggers that, instead of relying on AdSense — otherwise known as ‘webmaster welfare’ — that they needed to create something to sell.
Robert Bruce: I don’t think I’ve heard that one yet.
Brian Clark: Oh, really? That’s an old one.
Robert Bruce: All these years, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that. Wow.
Brian Clark: Yeah, online courses were the thing that we were teaching people how to do back then. It’s as true today as it was then except more so, because, again, this $107 billion in online education that will get sold this year alone, that’s staggering. That’s all happened in the nine years or so since we said, “Hey, this is what’s coming.” Let’s just cut to the chase. One of the best ways to monetize any content, but especially audio, is an online course.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, we have a real-time case study, Jerod, which is why you are here with us today. That is that you and Jon Nastor, your co-host of The Showrunner podcast, which is at Showrunner.FM if anybody wants to take a look — just launched The Showrunner Podcasting Course. Tell us briefly what that is, and then we’ll get into some nuts and bolts about how you actually built this thing.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, the course — basically, Jon and I have, over the last four or five years, gotten a lot of experience hosting podcasts — developing them, launching them, running them. Obviously, through that experience, we’ve gained a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge.
So as we started talking about putting together The Showrunner podcast — and it seemed like a perfect fit for him to be the co-host of that — creating a course and sharing with people what we’ve learned just seemed like such a natural fit. There are so many people out there who want to start a podcast, and they are maybe hesitant about it for a number of reasons.
Maybe they’re not sure about the future of on-demand audio, or they fear getting behind the microphone, or they fear how they can use it for real business purpose, on and on. They fear that the technical part will be too simple. What we’ve learned just by doing is that none of those are reasons not to start. There are so many reasons to start that if we can, through what we learn, help people just gain more confidence, gain the simple knowledge that they need to just go out there and start, then there are going to be so many benefits that people find from it.
Really, a lot of the early feedback that we’re getting from people is just loving that little push to get into it and realizing that it’s not this really difficult, hard, complicated thing. Obviously, it requires work ethic and commitment and a lot of that stuff, but that’s stuff that anybody can bring to any project. Instead of podcasting being this thing over here that only radio people, or only a certain type of people can do, we really want to show people how anybody can do it and use it as part of an integrated content marketing experience for their audience.
Brian Clark: All right. Jerod, I’ve created a lot of online courses in my day, dating back to 2002, paid and free even before Copyblogger. And quite a few since then. Mr. Bruce has been involved, so naturally, we micromanaged you during the creation of the Showrunner course. Is that correct?
Jerod Morris: No, you didn’t, which was phenomenal. Part of what made this such an energizing and just educational experience for me, and for Jon, was just the freedom to go create it — to really, as podcasters and thinking about what would have helped us when we started, really thinking of it from that perspective and allowing that to inform how we developed it. But, no, in terms of micromanagement, there was absolutely none of that, at all.
Brian Clark: Probably, you might have appreciated some. I don’t know.
Robert Bruce: Maybe a little help, guys.
Brian Clark: The reason why I find this particular episode to be so interesting to me, because we haven’t really got to talk about this much — you were working hard on it. You got it out. It’s in the pilot phase right now. We’ll talk about that a little bit more — but I really want to hear about your experience because you just got thrown out there like anyone else. No more guidance other than what’s been written over the years by us I guess.
You talked to Nastor, I remember you guys had a conversation when you found out he was joining Rainmaker.FM with Hack the Entrepreneur. Start there and talk about how you two decided you wanted to do this course.
How Jerod Built an Online Course from Scratch
Jerod Morris: I think two things happened simultaneously. When we started Rainmaker.FM, I knew that I wanted to do a podcast about podcasting to share what I had learned. That’s how The Showrunner podcast was born. Jon had, had ideas about doing a course. He’d been thinking about it, so when we came together and talked about it, it seemed like the perfect fit. We already knew we were going to have the podcast. We had the seeds of an idea for what to do with a course. It was just the perfect fit.
We knew that we could use the podcast, obviously, to start to build awareness, to build a connection with people, to demonstrate our knowledge and our experience that would then, obviously, lead the way for people getting into the course. That was the idea, and we were extremely excited about it. Then, of course, as soon as we got to go ahead to do the course, there was that moment of, “OK, what do we do next?” Now we’ve got this idea. Now we’ve got to take it forward, but that’s really what happened.
There’s a lot of potential there for it to maybe not work out as well as you hope, working with a new person and that kind of thing. But I think we immediately found out that we had really good chemistry, both in terms of hosting a show together and doing work together — which are two different types of chemistry. Then, also, just that our ideas and philosophies on it were pretty similar. There were some differences that I think are instructive but pretty similar on how we wanted to approach doing it. That really helped us to build that momentum early on.
Brian Clark: What were you thinking about in terms of what you wanted to be in the course. I know you’ve been looking around at other courses, and Jon has as well. But what were some of your ideas in terms of the curriculum, at least to start, because we’ll talk later about how this will grow into other things.
Why Podcasts Are Such a Great Fit with Online Courses
Jerod Morris: There’s a few different ways that you can take a course on podcasting. There are some out there that have focused a lot on the technical side and getting real heavy into the audio and going for that audio file type. We knew right off the bat that we weren’t going to go to that route because neither Jon nor I is that person. Obviously, we understand the importance of having a sound that is good enough. We know the basics of that. I think people need to know those, and we do teach those in the course.
But we also wanted to be much more about the theory of podcasting, the actual execution of it, the planning of it, and how it integrates into a bigger plan, a bigger philosophy. What we’ve both found is that, with any podcast that we’ve created, there always comes that moment — you get maybe 10 episodes in or 15, 20 episodes in — you get to this point where to do the next one, it becomes a little bit more difficult. You hit that dip a little bit.
What we really wanted to do is really teach people how to get over that because you’ve got a bigger goal in mind, because you’ve really learned how to connect with an audience, and they keep you coming back — really try and teach people how to do it over the long term. Not just get set up to produce episode one really well, but get people motivated, excited, and understanding what it takes to do it over the long term.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, you and I talked a couple of weeks ago about your idea for integrating the public show with the course itself. I think that would be useful for people to hear.
Jerod Morris: It’s funny, yeah. I actually just had a conversation today about how we’re going to change up the podcast a little bit more to do that. The whole idea of the public showrunner was obviously, to the podcast The Showrunner, again, is to demonstrate what we know and to give people that free value, and make sure that the podcast itself – obviously, not everything is a big call to action for the course. It is valuable in and of itself. Anybody who just wants some really good in-depth information on podcasting, they will get it there.
It’s to use that then to build a connection with the audience members. Because when you’re going to develop a course you’re going to ask people to invest an amount of money in that course, they need a connection. They need to know that they can trust you. They need to be wanting to take that next step with you to go more in-depth. That was our idea with the show — to really to use it, obviously, for the motivation part, for the excitement, build the enthusiasm, also demonstrate what we know. Then get people connected to us to the point where they want to take that next step with us, and actually go into the course.
How to Make Collaboration Work
Brian Clark: Jerod, let me go back a little bit to the collaboration aspect because I know, if it weren’t for the fact that we have Robert and I generally doing this show, there’s a good chance the show might not happen. Not only with The Showrunner podcast — you’ve got collaboration there between you and Jon — but also, and I know this from experience having done it myself, it takes a special resolve whether to write a book or to create a course. It’s the same exercise.
You have to map it out. You have to execute it. You have to show up. You have to be disciplined. But I found when I’m collaborating it makes it so much more doable. Talk a little bit more about how you guys decided who was doing what, how you motivated each other — any insight you can give me on that. I think collaboration is a topic people are interested in, yet they get hung up on, “How do I find the right person, and how does it actually work?”
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I think the fear maybe with collaboration, especially with a new person, is that you can almost detract from each other if you don’t have a good working relationship. The great thing with Jon is that it was a 100 percent of me, a 100 percent of him, and somehow it became 300 percent. Our ability to work together really multiplied what we were able to do. It really evolved over time because we initially had this whole Trello board set up with the modules, and we split them up evenly with what each one of us was going to do in terms of creating the lessons.
When we first planned it, it was all about the content. We hadn’t yet really thought about the infrastructure of the course, the marketing of the course, getting all that together. As we got into it, I realized how much work that was going to be, so we had to shift a little bit. I ended up spending more time getting the course set up, using the Learning Management System (LMS) inside of Rainmaker, working on getting everything ready in terms of marketing, the launch, and all of that stuff — also doing a lot of editing for the podcast as well.
It ended up working out that Jon was able to spend a lot more time in this initial phase focusing on getting a lot of the videos and the actual course materials done while I worked on putting them together, getting the infrastructure of the course itself done. Now that we’ve got it ready, I’ll be able to start doing more lessons and more videos — which is the part that is really motivating and really exciting. We just had to evolve with it.
Obviously, the closer it got to the pilot launch, all these things come up that you don’t quite realize. There’s some last minute working, and the fact that he knew that I would stay up until whenever on the last week to get it up and I knew that he would, that was really motivating — knowing that there’s someone else out there really busting their butt to get this content out and I’ve got to do it, too.
That teamwork was huge. I really think that, as people get into the course and even get into the show, the kind of working relationship he and I have — that chemistry — is a big thing that people are attracted to that helps connect them to what we’re doing. A lot of that was just born out of a lot of work. We’d get on the phone late at night and pump each other up and even recorded it for one bonus episode. We tried to make it fun and actually invite people in.
Brian Clark: It’s all content.
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
Brian Clark: I don’t want to do any work. “OK, let’s record ourselves complaining about this.”
Jerod Morris: Yeah. But we really do want people to see — because it is — it’s a podcast about podcasting and a course about podcasting. We want to show people a little bit behind the scenes how it actually works and relate that sometimes it is tough. Even when you’re really enthusiastic about a project, there can be moments where it’s tough and it’s hard to take the next step.
Brian Clark: Tell me about it.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. But when you’re committed to a bigger idea and you’re part of a team, it makes it so much easier to take that next step.
Brian Clark: So, Robert, Jerod actually beat you to the punch as far as creating a course out of our new LMS features of Rainmaker. I think you probably want to grill him for some information on that process.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, first, Jerod, let me ask you, would you call yourself a technically inclined person?
Jerod Morris: No. I would call myself the opposite of that.
Robert Bruce: OK. I’m going to give you a couple of softballs here, obviously. When you logged in to Rainmaker.FM — we just somewhat recently released the LMS features — had you been in there training with Chris Garrett for hours?
Jerod Morris: No. I was aware of it on a peripheral level, but no, in terms of actually building it into pieces, I was totally not familiar with it.
Robert Bruce: So you went in there relatively cold. Obviously, you’re familiar with Rainmaker. Tell us about that experience of actually the technical side of building the course, putting modules together.
How Jerod Built An Online Course From Scratch
Jerod Morris: The first moment was a little overwhelming. It was one of those, “Oh man, what did I just sign up to do?” When you get in there, if you just get into the dashboard and you see the pieces, for me anyway, the picture didn’t quite become clear. I wasn’t really sure where to start. My immediate first reaction was almost to go ask Chris, “Hey, can you help me out in doing this?” but I realized how silly that would be, and I trusted that our developers and our documentation writers probably did a pretty good job of walking you through this. I needed to just take a step back, take a couple breaths, and just take the long road to doing it instead of looking for the short cut.
Really, the first thing I did was just get into the Knowledge Base. What really helped, actually, is there’s a whole section there for the LMS about what you need to set up first, because I didn’t quite understand what the product was called and how that fit into an LMS — that you need to set that up first — and then getting the payment stuff set up.
Walking through it step by step, the picture started to become clear. Then I started to see the pieces, and then once you get a course created, then get the module created that goes with that course, and you start to see it come together, then the picture became clear. The nice thing was it was done all with the information that was just there in the backend. I just had to, again, slow down a little bit and make sure that I read instead of just trying to go out and do it myself, which is a problem I sometimes have.
Robert Bruce: Feedback from you, and I know I consulted with Chris Brogan like day one that the Learning Management System features were out — as always, we spot where people get hung up and what we can do better. I did the same thing. I went to the Knowledge Base. I was like, “Oh first steps. Thank you.” Then I went through it, and it was really easy. What we’re adding soon is this WalkMe technology where as soon as you access that feature set, you start getting prompts that tell you, “Do this first and now this.”
It’s the same information, but you would never have that moment of hesitation because you would be greeted by a very friendly interface. I think it’s pretty clear as long as you follow the steps, but I can’t wait until it’s even more intuitive.
Jerod Morris: It is. I did find it very clear — once I understood it. Now it’s nice because I can look at it and really have this sense of pride that I wasn’t out asking for all kinds of questions and all kinds of help. There may have been a few, but to be able to put that together, now the process is so simple. I’m already itching to go do this on some of my personal projects, too.
Brian Clark: Yeah, I got in there, on Further, because I have an idea for what I want to do with a course. Yeah, I was all excited because I can do it myself. Now, we do have to reveal that our very talented friend, Rafal, does do design work for you, but as far as I’ve heard, Rafal was the only person that gave you assistance building this and that we’re actually giving away the Showrunner CSS to anyone who wants it?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, that styling in there will be available to people who want to use it.
Brian Clark: It’s pretty nice. It’s simple. It’s clean. Just modules and lessons. That’s how the LMS works, so that’s nice. I’m going to have to snag that for Further. Yeah, it’s pretty good.
Jerod Morris: One thing Jon and I were talking about earlier today actually was how the way that Rafal styled it and laid it out with the sidebar, is one thing that really makes The Showrunner course different from other courses, especially in the podcasting space in terms of organization and being able to stay organized with a lot of different lessons and modules.
We have 10 different modules, each one has three or four lessons, and we’re going to be adding to it, but the way that it’s all organized and laid out, you can favorite certain ones, and you can mark them as complete, and do some things like that — what Rafal did there from a user interface and simplicity perspective really helped out.
Brian Clark: Yeah, also the approach to how the LMS works in Rainmaker is cool because a lot of online course builders, when you want to add a new content, it makes you go through the entire process from the beginning. With Rainmaker’s LMS, once you have your course created and the modules that go underneath it, you can add a new module any time you want immediately. You can add lessons to each module right there without going through this convoluted set-up process. Really, once you do it once, it really is empowering.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I will say this too about adding new modules. The fact that it uses the same standard paid to edit page as a post or as a podcast and it’s able to fit in to that construct, that’s very orienting. It was a feeling of safety for me. It’s like, “OK, now that I’m in here editing a lesson in a module, this stuff all makes sense.” So once the bigger picture all came together of how it fit together — which was simply a matter of going through the Knowledge Base — then actually being able to go in and create the content itself is simple because that’s an interface that everybody’s familiar with.
Brian Clark: Yeah, and you’re able to add any type of media that you want — video, audio, obviously. The other thing that we’re working on right now are these LMS templates. Just like our landing page templates, you have all these different styles. If for some reason someone doesn’t like Rafal’s, which I find hard to believe because I love it.
Jerod Morris: Who is that? Who?
Brian Clark: No, I mean having different options. As a beginning point, we’ve gotten lots of feedback about that whole side bar interface that pulls up the relevant content to the right, or I guess you could do it from the other side now. We actually used that meta for the free New Rainmaker course that we’ve had now for a while. It’s very intuitive, and it’s beautiful.
Robert Bruce: So I’ve got two more questions. One for you, Jerod, and then one final one for you, Brian.
How to Think Bigger about Your Own Podcast Revenue Model
Robert Bruce: Jerod, you and I talked a few days ago about the bigger idea of this ‘logged in’ model as it relates to The Showrunner podcast and the Showrunner course. You said something interesting that this is just the very kernel of what you hope the Showrunner course to be. You started talking about this larger vision for what a ‘showrunner,’ is and how that might affect the course in the future.
Brian Clark: Also, have you thought about how you would use, within the free podcast to paid course, the marketing automation features?
Jerod Morris: I have. Let me take that question first, Brian, because the marketing automation features in there are phenomenal. I actually already set one up to use as a test. Because what you can do is, basically, when people are logged in, now based on actions that they take, you can take actions. Jon and I want to have a few different little surprises or Easter eggs in there when people get to a certain page and complete that content, be able to send them an email. Maybe as a follow-up to provide some extra information or an extra push, whatever it is.
You can actually go, and based on actions people take, put them onto a different email list, segment them, so that you can communicate with them in a different way. Yeah, the marketing automation, we’ve just dipped our toes in the water in terms of how we can use it. My head is already swimming with ideas. I’m excited to get in there and do some more with that.
Brian Clark: That’s what I’m looking forward to playing with — you’ve got to build the course first. I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m going to build a free course. The marketing automation features are crucial there because you are able to see the different paths, who’s a power user, and who hasn’t completed the lesson and tailor that experience for them individually — which is amazing.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, it really is. It allows you, again, to adapt to that person and give them something more relevant. You’re creating a course for a big wide group of people, and you try and make it as relevant to everybody as possible. The more you can learn how people use it and then take them on a path that’s relevant to them, obviously, the better an experience they’re going to have.
The whole idea of an audience experience, Robert, kind of hits on what I was talking about with Showrunner. When we first named the podcast that, I thought it was cool just because, as a Breaking Bad fan hearing about Vince Gilligan the showrunner, that was my first real introduction to the term, and I liked it. It was a cool term. I thought it was applicable.
As we’ve gone down the road now with The Showrunner, a couple of things have happened. Number one, really understanding the importance of connection and the creation of this audience experience. Someone on Twitter a couple of days ago who was running an event, just casually referred to herself as a ‘showrunner.’
She was managing this live event, and it really hit me that the idea of a showrunner — because when you look at it from a TV perspective, a guy like Vince Gilligan, he has the responsibility for this audience experience for the people who watch Breaking Bad. Someone who is hosting a live event, they’re in charge of this audience experience.
The Showrunner podcast, we’re in charge of this audience experience. ‘Showrunner,’ to me, it’s not about someone who’s in charge of a TV show or a podcast or anything. I really think on a larger scale, it can be applied to mean anyone who’s responsible for an audience experience. There are so many different experiences that that can apply to.
Brian Clark: That’s really interesting that you got there. Because when I first thought of using the term ‘showrunner,’ outside of television, obviously, it was the substitute for ‘impresario,’ which is the larger concept of putting together talent and resources and creating something new for an audience, right?
Jerod Morris: Yeah. The way that I’ve started to look at it, too, Brian, we did a presentation at Content Marketing World about the ‘producer, director, talent model.’ We’ve had this idea of the rainmaker, obviously, and I see that person like the producer. To me, I see the showrunner in that director mold, where they’re in between. They are both out there doing it and executing or putting the people in the position to do it, but also, there with the producer, like the person in your position.
You didn’t have specific input in this course, but obviously, there’s a vision that you’ve charted that we understand the course needs to go into that. You’re clearly supplying resources to help that course become a reality, so it made that presentation make even more sense to me, doing it this way. That’s why I really see podcasting being the first of these, but the term itself and what it can mean to people is so much bigger than that.
Brian Clark: That’s true. That just means your show has more legs. It doesn’t necessarily have to stick just to podcasting about podcasting. I’m just waiting to when I get to be executive producer, which means I do nothing.
Robert Bruce: OK, Brian, full circle here. This ‘logged in’ educational course — either free or paid — do you see this as a more profitable, better revenue model for podcasting?
Brian Clark: For anything really, but I think podcasting in particular because of the portable, on-demand nature of the audio. If your audience is used to that from you, with say your interview show or some other format and you’re able to take the topic you’re talking about and drill down in a much deeper sense, then you’ve got the perfect medium for a course.
Of course, get transcripts, and provide supplemental materials like worksheets and things like that, sure. But if you’ve got an audience that appreciates the audio foundation, then you know how to create premium content. That’s a wonderful thing. I guarantee you’ll make more money than most people make from sponsorships.
Robert Bruce: Jerod, any last thoughts on that?
Jerod Morris: Yeah. I completely agree. Obviously, with The Showrunner podcast, we’re creating audio content, and there’s a certain way that you can teach with the audio content. What the course allows us to do is hit people with different learning styles in different ways — to create the action guides and the checklist, to do things with videos. It really allows us to expand the way that we’re able to teach. The concepts are in many ways similar on the podcast, but in the course, we can go into more depth. We can do it in different ways.
Again, people who want to take that next step can. I agree completely. You know I’ve talked about this, Robert. The shows on Rainmaker.FM, there’s so many episodes I listen to and series of episodes, I’m thinking, “That’s a course right there.” That would be simple to translate into a course. I think it’s a natural fit.
Brian Clark: I tend to also use the podcast itself as a sounding board. You don’t go as deep on any one issue as you could, but you are getting feedback. You see where people are getting hung up. You know what to elaborate on. Of course, we’ve been doing that with text content forever. It’s really the same thing, different format. It’s just so much more.
When you can actually learn something valuable in a business or marketing sense while you’re out on a walk or doing something else that doesn’t require you to stare at the screen, it’s pretty valuable stuff. I think the market, the audio book market, is huge. That is the way a lot of people are learning, and as we move into this future of constant lifelong learning, on-demand education, just to keep up with what’s happening — it’s a big deal. It really is.
OK, Jerod, so this show is airing on Thursday, which is the day before you bump up the price on the course. Let’s tell people what to do if they’re listening to this and want to get in on this.
Jerod Morris: Yup. We’re currently in the pilot phase of the launch. That phase is going to last two weeks before we shut it down, really work with the people who are in the course, get some feedback, make some changes to it, and then reopen it.
The way that we’ve set up the pilot launch is this first week, the course costs $295. On Friday, that price will go up. Actually, after Friday, that price will go up to $395 for the last week before we shut it down, and then reopen it at the final full price of $495.
For people who are interested, we’re not circulating the link to the sales page, but if you go and sign up for The Showrunner email list, you will immediately get an email that gives you the instructions for the pilot launch. That email will come, you can go check out the page and see everything that’s in the course, find out all the details, and the purchase information.
Robert Bruce: You can sign up for that email list at Showrunner.FM, is that correct?
Jerod Morris: Yes. Showrunner.FM. It’s right there, right at the top of the screen.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, and also on a related note, Jerod and I did a webinar on Monday that basically demos the LMS live for people, and also the marketing automation features. Assuming nothing went wrong with that recording, it should be in the show notes. Here’s something else that is time sensitive. You have until tomorrow, Friday, May 1st.
Jerod Morris: Correct.
Brian Clark: For both of these dates, if you start your trial of Rainmaker Standard by May 1st, Friday, then you will get the option to upgrade to Rainmaker Pro for a flat fee instead of the much more expensive recurring price — and people have been all over this. I’ve almost been shocked. But it’s a good deal. A lot of people are seeing the value in the advanced features, especially if they don’t have to pay forever — like they will normally when the Pro plan just becomes part of the day.
Now, there’s a twist here, Jerod, because I noticed that you’re giving an extended trial period of Rainmaker to people who sign up for the course.
Jerod Morris: We are.
Brian Clark: So if they sign up for the course tomorrow, they get a 60-day free trial period, which also qualifies them for the one-time fee upgrade. That’s the total package, but it’s still tomorrow, May 1st, so choose which way you want to go.
Robert Bruce: Jerod Morris, thank you for joining us today. You are the Harbinger of Disruptive Innovation at Rainmaker.FM.
Brian Clark: Was that another generated title?
Robert Bruce: Yes, yes. Brian Clark, the Digital Sultan of Rainmaker.FM.
Brian Clark: Sultan, like it.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, I am Robert Bruce — let’s see if I can get a good one here — Online Space Sherpa. How’s that?
Jerod Morris: Can we just randomize these in our email signature, so there’s a new one each time?
Brian Clark: Yeah, that would be awesome.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, ‘Digital Lord’ was another good one. I might go with that actually. I’ll put this in the show notes. Hey, guys, thanks for doing this today. We will see you next week. Jerod, I’m sure we’re going to see you soon.
Jerod Morris: Absolutely. I hope so.
Brian Clark: Maybe in place of me, again, executive producer here I come.
Robert Bruce: That’s a good idea. That’s a good idea. We’ll keep the name, though, New Rainmaker with Brian Clark.
Brian Clark: Yeah, of course, and everyone’s like, “Who the hell is Brian Clark?”
Robert Bruce: Right. It will be an inside thing. He’s the Human Experience Evangelist.
Brian Clark: That’s right. That’s exactly right.