No. 064 Listener Life Cycles: A Podcaster’s Guide

Not all listeners are created equal. Without a proper understanding of your podcasts listener life cycles, you will find yourself fighting an uphill battle to keep every new listener who comes your way.

We publish remarkable podcasts on a consistent basis and new listeners discover our shows each and every day.

So why do new listeners not stick around? Is it something we did or didn’t do, or is it something deeper than this?

In this episode, Jerod and Jonny expand upon a private conversation they had. They found themselves dissecting the growth of their podcasts — and more importantly, the life cycles of their podcast listeners.

We discuss:

  • Why all listeners have unique jumping in and out points
  • Three types of podcast listeners: Passers-by, advocates, and fans
  • How to help listeners crossover to the next life cycle
  • The value of creating supporting content

Podcast recommendation:

Jerod’s recommendation: Hack the Entrepreneur 215: How to Expand Your Thinking | Catherine Plano

Jonny’s (book) recommendation: Better Than Advertised: The Story of the 2015-16 Indiana Hoosiers

Listen, learn, enjoy …

No. 064 Listener Life Cycles: A Podcaster’s Guide

Jerod Morris: 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

Welcome to The Showrunner, where we have one goal: teach you how to develop, launch, and run a remarkable show. Ready?

Jonny Nastor: Welcome back to The Showrunner … oh crap.

Jerod Morris: Hang on. We’ll just roll with it. Just go with it.

Jonny Nastor: Welcome back to The Showrunner. Today, we do not have an episode number for you, but we are going to talk about the risk of ignoring listener life cycles.

I am one of your hosts, Jon Nastor. I have many, many titles, but for you today, I am a Showrunner co-host. I’m joined by none other than my favorite co-host of all time, Mr. Jerod Morris, Jerod.

Jerod Morris: We will never have a greater intro to an episode. “Welcome to The Showrunner … oh crap.” I’m like crying over here. Geesh.

Jonny Nastor: I was all confused. Ignore me.

Jerod Morris: That’s great.

Jonny Nastor: Welcome, Jerod. Welcome.

Jerod Morris: It’s good to be here, Jonny. Thanks for having me.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. We decided to switch up the intro there because this is a different style of show. We’re recording this in advance for some travel plans and to make up with time changes. We don’t actually have an episode number for you because we don’t know exactly where it will fit into the schedule.

That being said, we have a really, really good topic that I think you’re going to get a lot out of. It’s an interesting one that Jerod and I were both exploring ourselves with Assembly Call, with Hack the Entrepreneur on Slack one day. The idea just came to us through that, and we added it to Trello. Now we’re bringing it to you today.

Jerod Morris: Yes, we are. I’m excited about this. This is going to be really good. This is the kind of thing I think people overlook or just forget about because you can understand it–and then you forget about it. It’s good to have a reminder.

For some folks, they won’t have even thought in these terms yet. It’s really important that you do, especially as your show grows and your content and your audience starts to mature. We sometimes forget about things like this, and you don’t want to do that. We’re going to explain to you why, what this is, when we talk about listening to life cycles, what we mean and why it’s so important in this episode. It’ll be really worthwhile for you to listen to.

But before we do that, we should do something a little bit different. You want to do things a little bit out of order today?

Jonny Nastor: Let’s shake things up.

Why It’s Sometimes Good to Shake Things Up with Your Calls to Action

Jerod Morris: Let’s shake things up. The reason why we’re doing this, we were doing a Showrunner Huddle, and someone asked us why they were not getting the responses to their call to action that they wanted. One of the people who was in the chat, one of the great Showrunner course members, posited that perhaps it is because the call to action is coming too late.

If you’re going to put a call to action at the end of an email or the end of an episode, there are going to be some people who aren’t around. Maybe they just pop in for 10 minutes. Maybe whatever answer they were looking for they get at the 15th minute, and they don’t listen all the way. Or their commute ends, they can’t listen all the way, so they never get to your call to action.

We realized, “Well, we’ve been putting our calls to action for The Showrunner course toward the end.” Obviously, there are Rainmaker.FM and Rainmaker Platform calls to action a little bit earlier than that. But the Showrunner.FM, the email list call to action, is at the end.

So we thought, “We need to follow our own advice, eat our own dog food, put it more at the beginning, and give those folks who maybe haven’t listened all the way through an episode an opportunity to join the email list because there are so many great reasons why you should be joining The Showrunner.

Jonny, do you want to elaborate on a few of those reasons for why people should be going to Showrunner.FM, entering their email address, and joining The Showrunner right now?

How to Take Your Showrunning to the Next Level (and Connect Directly with Jonny and Jerod)

Jonny Nastor: The best reason, selfishly for me, is that you get to hit reply to any of those emails and then that gives you direct access to Jerod and myself, which is exciting and fun. It actually wasn’t like this until quite recently, but now those emails are getting forwarded to me as well. It’s really cool. I’m looking forward to answering more questions, listening to more praise–all those wonderful things that you, as a Showrunner listener, like to send Jerod and I.

Really, it should be a two-way conversation. We only get to speak to you and project our thoughts and ideas at you, so I’d love for you to hit reply.

There was another episode actually, too, that Jerod and I did recently about writing down and documenting ideas. We like to document ideas, and we like to document ideas that we come up with in our day to day, but also when ideas get sent to us by listeners.

If you have something you just would love to hear us talk about on an episode, we’d love to hear it. We can’t do all of them, of course. But by all means, hit reply to any email when you’re on the newsletter, and just let us know. We’ll see if we can fit it in and work it through, and we’ll add it to our Trello board.

Jerod Morris: Absolutely.

Jonny Nastor: Without further ado, I think we should head in to the main topic. What do you think?

Jerod Morris: Let’s do it. I’m ready.

Why All Listeners Have Unique Jumping In and Out Points

Jonny Nastor: All right. Today, as I said, Jerod and I were talking about … we weren’t talking Showrunner, we were talking as showrunners of Hack the Entrepreneur and Assembly Call.

Jerod was looking to, particularly, his book, or he was putting together his book and cementing the idea of it. We were having a discussion, sort of what I had learned launching the Hack the Entrepreneur book. This was something that had come up to me after the fact.

It wasn’t like I had this grand plan, and this is how it made sense to me. Looking back now and seeing how my audience has responded and changed to it, it’s really made me step back and look at what we’re going to call ‘listener life cycles,’ which is the jumping in and jumping out points for our listeners.

I think this is why, Jerod, you said at the beginning that it’s something that most showrunners … I don’t think we think of this. It shows a sign of maturity in the show, but also as a showrunner it does, too. I think if we do think of this as what we might even think of as too soon in our show’s life, perhaps. It’s never going to be too soon, and it’s probably going to help your show grow and mature even faster, thinking of your listener in this way.

We’re going to break our listeners into three categories to give you an idea. As a side benefit, I also think that it helps because sometimes we try and struggle to hang on to every single listener that happens to stumble across us on iTunes or on Google Play. It’s fighting an uphill battle. It’s impossible to hold every listener, and that’s not supposed to be the job of us as showrunners. This helps ease that burden, but also allows us to provide for the people, for the listeners that are sticking around in the correct way.

Jerod Morris: It reminds me of that scene in Last of the Mohicans when Daniel Day-Lewis’ character is like, “Stay alive! No matter what occurs, I will find you.” We’re like that with every subscriber. It’s like, “No. Sometimes it’s okay for that subscription to die.” It’s all right. It’s going to happen.

The importance of this lesson, this idea of listener life cycles, is we have to remember, it’s the curse of knowledge in a sense that, as the showrunners, we were there when our show began. Obviously, all the way from the ideation phase to the first few episodes, we’ve gone on this journey with our show.

If we don’t step out of ourselves and truly look at it from our audience’s perspective and truly approach our showrunning with empathy for our audience, we can get caught up in our experience and assume that our audience is having the exact same experience.

That’s not going to be the case. People jump in. They jump out. Either they’re really committed for a while, they’re not, they come back. We need to understand that, and we also need to realize that we need to give people perhaps other avenues to connect in a deeper way. Some people are going to want to just connect with the podcast and be those weekly listeners, and that’s awesome.

Other people are going to want to go further. As our shows get a little bit more mature, we want to start to open up some of those avenues so that people, as they go through this natural listener life cycle, can go in the way that best suits them instead of just the way that best suits us.

When we can do that, now we really create an experience that is remarkable, that is memorable, and that will lead to the engaged audiences that we all want.

Jonny Nastor: Think about this. As we go through this, try and think about how you react and how you consume new shows. What you do when you find a new podcast that you either end up really into or you end up just passing.

I think that will really help solidify the idea to you. Obviously you’ll have way more experience with more shows as a listener than you will as a creator. You can see how you react and maybe even think about why you fell off in those ways or stayed. Then, obviously, use those to enhance your show to your listener.

Discovery leads to consumption. When we discover a show, no matter if that’s through iTunes, through Google Play, through a share on Facebook or Twitter, whatever it happens to be, we generally consume a fair bit. We consume three episodes, five episodes, 10 episodes maybe right then within a couple of days or even a week or so I would think. It’s new. It’s fresh. We want to just dive into it and see what’s there.

It means one of the key reasons why we say whenever you launch a new show always have at least three episodes. You need people to be able to dive in that in that natural way.

Three Types of Podcast Listeners: Passersby, Advocates, and Fans

Jonny Nastor: As that trails off, the first ones you download, I feel that people fall into three categories after that, of listeners. They either become passersby, they become advocates, or they just become fans of your show.

We can move them through these naturally with the audio, or they will move naturally through it. Some people will, and some people won’t. When we understand the life cycle, we can push people and hopefully help them come through the cycle themselves.

The Passersby

Jonny Nastor: A passerby is somebody who goes through that initial discovery and consumption, and then they just fall off naturally after a couple of weeks or a few weeks. There’s so many podcasts out there right now. We all know that as consumers. There’s so much media in general. There’s a lot of things for us to do. You’re never going to be the sole focus. It’s okay, and that’s normal.

I think of all the shows that I listen to three, four, or five episodes, and then that’s it. It’s not that I’m like, “Oh my god, I hate that person. I never want to listen to that show again.” There are just other things that I want to do. That’s perfectly normal and it’s perfectly okay. It’s that whole 80-20 rule we talk about–20 percent of your work is going to get you 80 percent.

You could fight that uphill battle to try and get some of those people to stay on, but it’s just not worth it. You just have to accept that some of those people need to just go.

Jerod Morris: The other thing to remember before we move on from passersby is just some of the reasons why this happens so that it makes logical sense for folks. Some people may have listened to a couple of episodes because they were looking for a specific answer to a specific question, and they got it. But your content as a whole didn’t necessarily speak to them.

Like, Jonny, we’ve done episodes of The Showrunner on building an email list. Those are, obviously, specific for showrunning, but they could be applicable to someone with a blog. Maybe people who like us from other shows that we’ve done, but aren’t into podcasting, they may come. They want to get our insight on an email list, but they don’t care about staying motivated behind the mic and building mini courses from a podcast and all that stuff.

They come for an episode, they get their answer, and they go. They’re a passerby, and that’s okay. Maybe they get distracted because they find some other shows that they just happen to like a little more. Maybe they were interested in a topic for a month, and then they’re not interested anymore. They were a passerby.

I do think it’s important to realize that will happen, and we do want to constantly be replenishing those top-of-the-funnel, passerby-type folks that are coming in and experiencing the show for the first or second time, for whatever reason it is, but not taking it personally and not fretting when they fall off–because it will happen. As long as we can replenish that group of people, then the goal is to get them to take that next step. That’s what’s more important.

You and I sometimes see people that seem to be stressing a little bit too much about the passersby, and you’ve just got to understand that they are a big part of the people that will drive your downloads. Everybody’s got to at least have the potential to be a passerby at first. Then you move them forward. It’s okay. It doesn’t say anything bad about your show when that happens. It probably just says more about the consumption habits and the life situation of that person. Don’t take it personally.

Jonny Nastor: Absolutely. Good clarification. The point is to just get an idea of these three types of listeners so that you can then try and figure out what your listener cycle is and then move people through.

Like you said, Jerod, every episode might even have its own little life cycle if you really want to get into it, because there are specific … when we do a three-part series on a mini-course, that could bring people in. I bet you that nobody, like you’re not out there listening, and you can tell me that you can go to whatever it is you use for your statistics for downloads and tell me that there isn’t one or two episodes that have got significantly more downloads than other ones.

Sometimes it’s even hard to understand. I look and, it’s like, “Wow. That’s so strange.” Those are people that got shared somewhere specifically, or something happened, or else it’s a specific topic. It’s not that that’s inherently bad at all. It’s not. It’s just if you understand the life cycles and the three different types of listeners, then I want you to be able to now take other things external from your audio and hopefully move them from passersby down to, which is the next one, advocates.

The Advocates

Jonny Nastor: An advocate, my example is going to be The James Altucher Show. I totally dig James Altucher. I’ve been subscribed to his show since it started, and I have not listened to an episode in, I’m going to say, eight or nine months.

I’m an advocate. If somebody asked me, like I just said, I’m a fan. I like their show. I totally dig James Altucher. There’s a lot of other shows to listen to. I don’t even listen to a lot of shows right now. That says nothing bad about James.

But James understands listener life cycles, and I own three James Altucher books. I subscribe to his newsletter, and it doesn’t matter that I don’t listen to his podcast at that point. His podcast provided the value to me that it needed to provide, and it’s still there if I want to listen to it. Yet he’s taken me further on to another experience and journey with him through other mediums now.

That’s really the essence of why this conversation is even happening. I realized it when I put out a book that there was people that were coming and going and dropping off naturally, and that’s totally fine. I did almost a year and a half of that before I offered them anything deeper, besides my newsletter, which people seem to really like.

I get people on my newsletter that have been reading my newsletter for six, seven, eight, nine months, and that I say something about an episode from two weeks ago, they’re like “Oh, I haven’t listened to your show in months.” That’s nothing to take offense at. We are showrunners, but the show is meant to bring people into us–into our business, into our ideas, into whatever it is we’re trying to enhance. It’s not necessarily the end game.

When you understand that of the listener’s cycle, then we can take advantage of that better, and it just should be used to get you to produce things externally of just your audio content.

Jerod Morris: Yeah. By the way, James Altucher had an episode recently with Derek Sivers that is awesome. If you are looking for a James Altucher episode to get back into and listen to, his interview with Derek Sivers is a great one to go back to. Just thought I’d throw that in there.

Jonny Nastor: I’ve been seeing that from James on Twitter a lot, and I am going to go back and listen to that one. I just haven’t. That’s because I’m totally an advocate. I would stand up and defend James. I would say he’s one of my favorite podcasters. I just don’t listen to him right now, but I know I’ll get back. Once I listen to one, I’ll probably listen to 15 in a row–because that’s how it works. I don’t think it’s just me. I don’t think I’m unique in that way. I think that’s why Netflix binge-watching has become a thing.

Jerod Morris: I think with shows, too, a show will find its place in your subscription, and this is how I am with James, where I’m an advocate and I won’t listen to a bunch in a row, but with a show like that, when I first find it, maybe. Then it’s almost like a relationship. You go through that first, “Oh my god, I’m in love. I want to spend all my time with this person.” Eventually, there are subscriptions in your feed, and you always give them the respect of checking the headlines, seeing if it’s interesting. Maybe it is, and you listen to it. Or maybe it’s not, and you pass.

That’s where I’m at with James. It’s like a long-term podcasting relationship now. I fell in love with it. I’ve binged it, and now I always check it. I always see who he interviewed, read the description. If it looks interesting, I download it. If not, it goes. There may be four or five episodes in a row that go, that I don’t listen to. Then, boom, I find one, and I’ll tell other people about it. You want to build those kind of advocates. That’s really important to have.

The Fans

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. We had passersby. We had advocates. Now we have fans. These people, again, every show is going to vary. Every type and style of show is going to vary of what even the listenership cycle or life cycle of a fan would be. It’s not forever. We’re not fans of things forever.

I was going to say, I was fan of the Backstreet Boys before, but I really wasn’t. I thought it was going to be a funny story, be like, “I was a huge fan of them, and now I totally despise them.” You know what I mean? People become fans of things, and it doesn’t mean it’s for life.

At that time, they will be the ones who will consume things. They’re going to be the ones who, when you say a call to action, they do it, and they get on to your email list. They respond to you. They tell you they like you. They leave you ratings and reviews, all those things. That’s the third of cycle of people.

Now I’m trying to figure out, on the fly here, if I could put a percentage to these. I would think that passersby are going to make up probably 50 percent of your listenership at any given time. Then probably 40 percent advocates and then 10 percent fans.

Advocates really will drive download numbers because, I mean, I’ve been downloading James Altucher shows for eight months. Oh, actually, no. They stop after three episodes of not listening. Still, he’s there. I’m ready to listen, and I will continue to listen and download more shows.

Why Every Show Style Has a Different Listener Life Cycle (and Why Understanding That Is Crucial)

Jonny Nastor: That’s the understanding of the three types of people. Now, as was alluded to after passersby with the different types of show, it is essential to understand that–that every style of show will even have a different listener life cycle.

Like an interview-based show, James Altucher, luckily, Hack the Entrepreneur, I think they have longer life cycles because there’s less of just me. Therefore, although it’s similar in format–so people know it, like it, and trust it–the variable is 95 percent, meaning that the guest is different every single time and makes up a huge portion of the show.

People can stick around and not get tired of you and not get bored with it easier. Then there’s a topic-based show like this where I think people will come and go based on titles and based on what the title of the episode is and what they need at that very time in their showrunning sequence.

Not that we can’t get somebody to come in for an episode about email and list building and then also perhaps get them with the right call to action, get them onto an email list, and then get them to join the course. There is that part of the cycle.

I think it is different and that there would probably be more passersby and maybe advocates in a show like that, and then there’s the free course, which I think we’ve alluded to.

How to Help Listeners Crossover to the Next Life Cycle

Jonny Nastor: A good friend of mine created one in the CMA, so it’s for accountants. He has a course where he helps people pass the exam, and I talked him into creating a podcast.

He created a free course podcast. I believe it’s eight, nine, or 10 episodes long, and that’s it. Literally, he’s not trying to build fans. He’s not even trying to build advocates at that time. Everybody’s a passerby, so every episode has to be full of content, really, really provide true value and really, really strong calls to action. He has a really strong funnel and idea of what he wants every single listener, if they listen to one episode once, what he wants them to do.

He’s created an ebook that’s a really, really super valuable, great e-book. It’s completely free if you give me your email. From that, he has an email sequence that leads into people that can join a webinar for him where he then goes to try and sell the course.

That’s just it. He could bash his head against the wall for as long as he wants, but you’re not going to find a fan for a free course podcast. That does not decrease the value of his free course podcast. It doesn’t decrease the value of it for his business or for what he’s trying to accomplish. But he knows what the life cycle is, and he knows what he’s trying to accomplish with each and every episode.

That’s all that I’m really trying to get across to you is to try and step back and think about your passersby, your advocates, and your fans.

Think of things you can create externally, like maybe a book, maybe an ebook, maybe a report. Maybe it’s as simple as a newsletter that you write out once a week. Try and use things external from how they’ve found you, and see if you can turn passersby now into advocates and then advocates into fans. Because I don’t think we can do it by just hammering people with more and more audio. It truly is, they now need something to go deeper with and to take them further on that journey with you.

Jerod Morris: Yeah, you’ll be able to do it with some people, but you’ll be able to do it with a lot more people if you have these other avenues for them to go on. It’s like with The Assembly Call, which is a very seasonal show, it’s very intense during the basketball season. We’ve tried to do more now in the off season just to stay top of mind, give people good quality content, so they don’t forget about us.

Now, putting out a book after the season, which is an anthology looking back at the season, here’s this new way now for folks who are really, really excited about the show during the season, now they have a way to engage with us in the off season.

And for people who maybe listen to an episode or two but podcasting isn’t really their thing, but they like the idea of passionate fan reaction combined with expert analysis–usually you get one or the other. That’s our thing–you get both. Now they have this other way to engage. This book that has all of our thoughts and it encompasses all of this, but they don’t have to be a podcast listener to engage with it.

That’s important because those people, again, can help spread the word to people who are into podcasts that may listen to the show, other people who are into the books, or other people who want to follow on Twitter. That’s all great. We want to build our bigger, wider audience like that, but we’ve got to have these other avenues for people to take that next step with.

That’s why it’s so important to understand these life cycles and to understand the general life cycle or a show like yours, like Jonny just talked about, and just to understand your own unique listener life cycle from your show.

You should have that level of intimate knowledge with your audience just by seeing trends, interacting with people, seeing how certain people’s interaction is really engaged and then falls off. You should start to see that and get a feel for it. It doesn’t mean that you have to know it perfectly, but there should be just an intuition, a gut feeling that you get with your audience as a showrunner.

I really feel like, if you don’t feel like you have that, that’s part of being a real showrunner. That’s a part of the authentic connection. It’s a part of what you get with the sustainability when you show up, show up reliably, and show up reliably over time. That’s really important. Being able to do these things for your audience will help you get that and extend the relationship that you’re able to have with them.

But before we go any further, Jonny, I know that you’re thinking that you could just say this and then filibuster, and we all forget about it–but Jonny punk-rock Nastor likes the Backstreet Boys.

Jonny Nastor: That was so weird. I don’t know where that came from.

Jerod Morris: Okay.

Jonny Nastor: I’m going to be putting in a request to the editor to remove all of that.

Jerod Morris: I will be putting in an emphatic request to pull it out and play it at the beginning of every episode.

Why Your Experience Differs from Your Listeners’ Experience–and Why That Matters

Jonny Nastor: Okay. That was one last point I wanted to make because playing something at the beginning of the episode … understanding life cycles has another benefit as a showrunner.

When you think that you have said your call to action to death and when you are getting tired of being so strict with your format–that it’s following the same sequence, and it’s getting so comfortable and maybe boring to you–we have to remember that there’s also those jumping in and out points. Like I have with James Altucher. Like people have maybe with this show. Like we all have with so many shows.

People come and go, especially advocates. They come and go, or they can be turned into fans. But when they come and go, when they come again in a month or in two months, it needs to make sense.

It’s so much more beneficial that you can move them along if the show still makes sense. If it sounds the same, but it’s different content. But it’s the music’s there. The format’s there. The same people are there.

They’re saying the same things at the beginning, and they’re saying this call to action that they might have said 12 times in the last three months, but I’m hearing it for the first time because I’m just jumping back in. You’re the showrunner who’s had to say that 12 times for the last 12 weeks. But remember that your advocate might be just coming back in.

If you fail to say that call to action that one time because you’re bored with it and you think that everybody’s listening to every single episode and they’re bored with it, too, they’re not. They’re not listening, and they’re not bored with it. You are. If you understand this jumping in and out, it will make you more confident to know that you have to get that call to action there every single time and really get a solid format that you stick to, so when people jump in and out, they’re comfortable. They know where they’re at with you and with the show.

Jerod Morris: Very well-said. It’s so important. I couldn’t say it better myself.

Jonny Nastor: I wish I had a Backstreet Boys song right now I can possibly even get to, but I don’t at all.

Jerod Morris: If you were to ask around to folks that I work with, there may or may not be an infamous Copyblogger company meetup where four individuals who shall remain nameless might have done just a stirring rendition of ‘I Want It That Way’ at karaoke night one time in Austin, Texas.

I will neither confirm nor deny that I was part of that group or that I might have sang lead on the song. We’re editing all these out, right? So we can be candid with all these stuff.

Jonny Nastor: Exactly, exactly. Tell me your deepest, darkest secrets, Jerod. I think you just did. If that’s not it, then I don’t want to hear it.

Jerod Morris: New headline for this episode: The One About the Backstreet Boys. Everybody’d be like, “What the hell happened there?” Ah yes.

Jonny Nastor: That’s funny.

Why Interview Shows Have a Lot of Advocates

Jerod Morris: Hey, speaking of this, we need to do a podcast recommendation. Speaking of podcast recommendations, let me ask you, because if you talk about an interview show … I do think interview shows especially, especially interview shows that we really like, they’re going to have a lot of advocates because we like the person. We like the format of the show.

But it’s really hard for an interview show to capture you to the point where you’re going to like every single guest. Especially if it’s an interview show that’s multiple times a week that you can actually get to, you may have intentions of listening to every episode, but you probably can’t get to every episode.

I’m sure there are some people who are able to do that, but the vast majority of true engaged interview audience members are probably going to be at the advocate level. Me, for instance, I am an advocate of Hack the Entrepreneur. Love that show. I, obviously, love the host of that show. I will recommend it to everybody, but I can’t listen to every single episode.

Podcast Recommendations of the Week

Jerod Morris: Why don’t you recommend to me, an advocate of your show, a recent episode that I might have missed that I absolutely need to jump in and listen to. There’s probably other Hack the Entrepreneur advocates listening to this episode as well who will appreciate having a good direction for jumping back in point for Hack the Entrepreneur.

Jonny Nastor: Hey, that’s an interesting thing to throw at me.

Jerod Morris: Not to put you on the spot.

Jonny Nastor: Let’s say …

Jerod Morris: I’m going to go download it right now.

Jonny Nastor: I don’t really, totally 100 percent remember this episode. It was only 10 ago, but episode 215, How to Expand Your Thinking by Catherine Plano. It’s weird because usually they stick out to me as I’m doing the call. The conversations that get me the most emails and Tweets, it’s like, “Yeah. Totally. I get that.” This one, for some reason, I must have just been doing a whole bunch or else during when I was sick.

Not just like Catherine at all, because she’s brilliant, obviously. I’ve got a ton of emails and Tweets and stuff about Catherine and that conversation. I guess I would have to recommend that one to you.

Jerod Morris: Catherine Plano. She is the founder of the I AM WOMAN Project and the founder and editor-in-chief of I AM WOMAN Magazine. She’s passionate about inspiring individuals, leaders, and businesses to transform, build, and create powerful, effecting, and lasting change both within themselves and their organizations, and I like that.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah.

Jerod Morris: All right. I’m downloading it. I’m jumping back in.

Jonny Nastor: I’m going to move you from an advocate to a fan.

Jerod Morris: Thank you.

Jonny Nastor: My next show.

Jerod Morris: Hey, if you’d like me to recommend an episode of The Assembly Call for you, if you want to find out about Indiana basketball off season, you just let me know.

Jonny Nastor: Sure, do it. I think I’m already turning into a fan because I bought the book, and I recommend fully that everybody … how can we tell people about your book? If nothing else, if you are not into Indiana basketball as much as I am and as much as Jerod is … that was a Backstreet Boys joke.

I don’t even know where Indiana is actually on a map, and I’m not really quite sure what basketball . But the book is really good. The book is really well done. I love that you took it from emails, and I love the format of the emails. I love the different voices between the writers, and I love the extension of it from the podcast.

I said this to you on Slack when I bought it, and I read it that night. Then I told you the next day that it’s an amazing lesson for showrunners. It’s like $3. You can buy it on Amazon.

Jerod’s going to tell you what it’s called and where to get it. For $3, if nothing else, to take it and read it with the thought of how can you do this exact same thing. I know Jerod’s emails are probably going to slightly change this year now so that they fit a book even better next year, which happens. It’s something you can do. His emails are now being turned into books like my emails were. I think we should recommend Jerod’s book, and Jerod’s going to tell you where to get it.

Jerod Morris: Well thank you. You can go to That will redirect you to the Amazon page where you can get it. Hopefully, by the time this episode comes out, the actual hardcover book, like the actual physical book, will be out. Probably for folks listening to this, you’re not huge Indiana fans.

The Value of Creating Supporting Content

Jerod Morris: But if you want to use it more as an example to see, “Okay. How do I repurpose content that I was using for one thing, for emails, and now turn it into this new thing?” Like Jonny did with the Hack the Entrepreneur book, that’s what I tried to do with this, is to take that, and now it’s a new way for people to engage with the content and for a lot of the reasons like we talked about today in this episode. If you go to, you will get there. It’s called Better Than Advertised: The Story of the 2015-16 Indiana Hoosiers.

We took that quote ‘better than advertised’ from a nickname that one of my co-hosts on the show actually gave to one of the players. He kept calling him ‘better than advertised’ throughout the season, so it became a punchline throughout the year. When the team did better than everybody thought, it ended up being the perfect title for the book.

It’s one of those, you do want to engage wider with your audience, but you want to try to really develop that true long-term authenticity. You have to strike this balance between being accessible enough for new people that they can get in, but also maintaining that deep connection with your older long-term fans.

Sometimes, having these little inside jokes, these little winks at the people who you know are going to get the joke, those remind them that, “Hey, there are a lot of other fans out there. There are a lot of people who listen. There are some passersby. There’s even some advocates, but I’m a fan.”

You can actually strategically do things to help get people leaning in and taking that next step in with you. I learned this from a radio station here in Dallas. I know I’ve talked about it before. That’s why Jonny and I will have our little inside jokes at the start of the show, and Jonny’s little nicknames about being a coffee aficionado and how much will go on and on about those.

Those are done in part, yes, to have fun, to do a little casual intro, but also, for the people who have been around for a while, it’s their little inside joke that they get. That’s the name of the book. That’s what that is. For the people who listen to our show, they’ll see that ‘better than advertised,’ and they’ll immediately associate it with our show from this season.

For other people who are just more passersby or new, it will make sense enough that it looks like a good title, but they might not get the underlying meaning. Always look for those opportunities with your audience. That’s another way to help get people with these life cycles, to maybe turn a passerby into an advocate and to turn an advocate into a fan, is to have those little inside moments that they can engage further with you. They really do work, and they mean a lot to your audience members because it makes them feel like part of something bigger. That’s what we’re all trying to create.

Jonny Nastor: I know that right now you are listening, and all you’re thinking is, “Jerod, you’re better than advertised.” I’m going to say it for you, the listener, because, Jerod, my trusted co-host is definitely better than advertised. Grab his book,

Jerod Morris: Thank you, Jonny.

Jonny Nastor: This has been fun.

Jerod Morris: This has been fun. It’s a lot of fun.

Jonny Nastor: Now you’re out there and thinking, “Okay. How about like the listener cycle within an episode?” and, “I’m getting tired of listening to you guys.”

Jerod Morris: Yes. There are a lot of passersby that are exiting the offer right now.

Jonny Nastor: Now, this is where we get into the discussion of how we’ve just turned fans into advocates, and advocates into passersby, and passersby into people wishing they never found us.

Jerod Morris: By the way, I also love the irony of how you talked about how important it is at the beginning of an episode. It needs to feel familiar. You need to be able to orient people. I’d like to harken back to the beginning of this episode when Jonny started it off with, “Welcome to The Showrunner … oh crap.”

Jonny Nastor: Wow.

Jerod Morris: Best episode ever.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. If all this stuff stays in, I don’t have the power to fire our editors. I wish I did, though, because nobody listens to me in that department.

Jerod Morris: Hey, we’ve already created the precedent that we turned the microphone on, and we let our listeners in. They can’t be here live, but we try not to edit things. Our listeners know that we could polish these episodes up and make them sound professional. We have Toby freaking Lyles as our editor, from TwentyFourSound.

He could take this, remove ‘ums,’ ‘you knows,’ ‘oh craps,’ stutters, false starts, and all that stuff.

Jonny Nastor: So my track basically. Basically just turn Jon off.

Jerod Morris: It could sound like the most polished podcast episode ever, but The Showrunner listener doesn’t want that. They want to be here with us while we record and see how the sausage is made. They want to peak behind the curtain. That’s what we give folks, and that’s why you get these episodes from ‘professional’ podcasters and showrunners. We leave the words in.

That’s for your benefit, and it’s for those inside-joke moments so that people really feel like they are part of something. They’re just not listening to this old polished podcast episode. It’s like they were sitting in a chair right here while we recorded it. There’s an intimacy that comes from that. That’s why we do that.

Jonny Nastor: Now, let’s all go to Twitter or go to Facebook, track me down, and let’s talk about the Backstreet Boys.

Jerod Morris: Let’s do it.

Jonny Nastor: All right. This has been fun.

Jerod Morris: It has been fun.

Jonny Nastor: I guess until next time.

Jerod Morris: Yeah. We’ll talk to you later.

Jonny Nastor: We’ll see you on the next episode.

Jerod Morris: I want it that way (singing).

Jonny Nastor: I’m so staying out of this.

Jerod Morris: Tell me why (singing). Okay. Stop the recording now before I do anything else to embarrass myself.

Jonny Nastor: Oh wow.