Once you’ve decided that you want to be a showrunner, it’s time to decide what topic to podcast about. This episode details a few of the most important questions you should ask yourself to choose the best topic to get started with.
Jerod and Jon provide insight on how aspiring showrunners should choose their topics by discussing all of the following and more:
- An overview of how the first few episodes of The Showrunner will be structured
- The mindset necessary to run a successful show (and that we are committed to with The Showrunner)
- How that mindset should influence your choice of what to podcast about
- The two questions all potential showrunners should ask themselves before deciding what to podcast about
- The importance of producing content consistently and on a reliable schedule
- How to properly channel your own excitement to create a podcast that builds a consistent audience
- The two different types of podcasting and how they are similar and different
- What you need to do to make sure that your podcast connects with an audience (and why it’s not as easy as it seems like it should be)
- Why it’s so essential to differentiate your podcast and not be a copycat
- How a focus on building know, like, and trust will help you choose the right topic from the start
- A celebration of Jon’s incredible enthusiasm about podcasting 🙂
- A quick preview of the modules coming in The Showrunner Podcasting Course
And, finally, Jerod and Jon wrap up by identifying a huge potential issue with new episodes of The Showrunner …
Listen, learn, enjoy:
Listen to The Showrunner below ...
The Show Notes
- Important Twitter accounts: @ShowrunnerFM | @JonNastor | @JerodMorris
- Why Right Now is the Perfect Time to Start Your Podcast — first episode of The Showrunner
- How to Avoid the Entrepreneurial Gap w/ Brian Kurtz — Hack the Entrepreneur
How to Decide What Topic to Podcast AboutJerod Morris: You’re listening to The Showrunner, a podcast about podcasting that will teach you how to take your show from good to great. Ready?
Welcome, everybody, to The Showrunner. This is the second episode of The Showrunner; hopefully you had a chance to listen to the first episode, about why right now is the perfect time to start a podcast. If you haven’t listened to that episode, we highly recommend that you do just to get the overall framework for what we’re going to be talking about and why this is so important. And I am one of the hosts here on The Showrunner. My name is Jerod Morris. I am the VP of Marketing for Rainmaker.FM, and I am extremely pleased to welcome my co-host here on The Showrunner with me, Jon Nastor of Hack the Entrepreneur. How are you doing, Jon?
Jon Nastor: I am doing excellent, Jerod.
Jerod: Good, good. You and I have been planning this podcast and the associated course that is going to go along with it for about the last month, maybe six weeks or so. And I have to say it’s exciting to now be finally here, recording these episodes together. And I’m excited to kind of get into the rhythm of producing these episodes, and hopefully giving people the tools and the advice they need to either start a really great podcast that fills their goals, or take the podcast they have to the next level. So excited to get started, and excited to do this with you.
Jon: Yeah, me too. It’s going to be a lot of fun. And I guess for a little bit of insight into it, and we will do an episode or two, or more maybe, on format of shows. Which is a big thing, and those things can change and be fluid. But this is the first format we’re trying, which is literally just live, off-the-cuff. Trying to go through it and see if we can work together and obviously as a co-host, which I haven’t worked with in years, it’s going to be–I think it’ll be good and it’ll be interesting, but it’s kind of just an idea of how formats of a podcast are chosen. And we decided not to go with the pre-scripted intros, outros, and then a main part.
Jerod: Yeah. We’ve got kind of just a basic outline, so we know that, for instance, for this episode we’re going to talk about what to podcast about. So we’ve got a little outline there. But yeah. Otherwise it should be pretty free-flowing, and share our experience. Share our knowledge. And really, especially these first few episodes, they’ll give you a peek into what will be in The Showrunner course. That’s really what we want to do, is give you a peek, give you some insight into what you’ll get if you join The Showrunner course. And when this episode comes out, the course isn’t ready yet; but it will be, probably end of April. Sometime around there is when we’ll be launching it. So to kind of keep track, make sure you subscribe to this podcast. Follow us on Twitter: @showrunnerfm, and just bookmark showrunner.fm. Obviously we’ll have updates there, and we’ll be updating you as new episodes come out too.
To start out this episode, Jon, I was actually just this morning listening to an episode that you did of Hack the Entrepreneur with Brian Kurtz, and that was a really fascinating interview. There were so many things, so much great insight that he provided there. And I thought really what he said at the beginning was a great way to preface this episode, and he talked about–well, I’ll let you explain it, actually. What was the number one mindset or the number one tip that has contributed to his success, and he said it was this hundred-to-zero mindset that he had. Do you want to explain that really quickly, just what he meant by that? Because I think it’s a great way to lead into what our topic is for today.
Jon: Yeah. It was a great conversation. And the hundred-to-zero–correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the way it was explained is it’s the giving everything, giving 100% fully in the content you create, or anything that you want to do, a relationship you want to create with somebody, without expecting anything in return. And not just giving a little bit until somebody gives back to you, and then maybe give a bit more. It’s literally just giving it all at one point. And then he expanded on how he doesn’t like the idea of networking. He likes just the idea of really, truly building relationships through–he was talking about it because he’s a direct marketer, like a serial direct marketer in the offline world. And he was talking about it as in letters he would write, and pitches that he would make, and how you have to really, really, really give that. And I think it really correlates well to podcasting. You can’t create a podcast with the mindset that “Well, I can just drip out little bits of ideas and little bits of content,” and that’s absolutely the mindset behind Showrunner itself. But although we’re leading you into a course, possibly, these episodes themselves are of absolute value. We’re not going to be like, “Stop…and if you want to find out more….” No. They have to be of value when you create a podcast. You have to always be willing to give 100% of whatever it is you’re trying to cover. Otherwise, one thing, there’s just too much out there for people to choose from, and they will go somewhere else. And it’s just not a good way to set up a relationship, by always being like, “Well, you can have more here.” You have to always, always give in what you are doing. And of course you can do that in different ways, but I think that that is a really smart, smart way to look at podcasting.
Jerod: Yeah. Yeah. The way he described it, it’s going into any relationship with zero expectations of getting anything, but with the expectation that you will give 100%. And of course there’s a reality there that you can’t just give forever and never get anything in return. But it’s the idea that you’re not going into it with, “Well, I’m only going to give if I get back,” you know. The idea of meeting in the middle. And the reason why I think that’s an important way to preface this episode, which is about what to podcast about, is I think that when…. So let’s say that you’ve decided that you want to start a podcast, and you know that you want to do this, and now you’re thinking, “Okay. Now what am I going to podcast about?” I think looking at it from the frame of, “Okay, what do I know about, what am I excited about, to go out and just give 100% of?” Because obviously you have goals for the podcast. Maybe it fits a business goal or personal goal. We’re going to get to that. But I don’t think that the reason why you start a podcast, necessarily, should come from there. I think to really be successful it almost needs to come from someplace deeper, and as an example, you talk about The Showrunner. Well, when we were getting ready to launch Rainmaker FM, Robert and Brian and I were talking about different ideas for shows. And immediately I said, “I want to do a show about podcasting.” Because I’ve got experience doing it. I know I have some value to add. And plus, I’m excited about just going out there and giving information, and giving value to people, and helping them start their podcast, find their voice, and figure out what they want to do. And as opposed to thinking about it, “Okay, what can we launch a course with, what can I make money with,” and then fit it in there, it went the other way. And then it was like, “You know, we can really basically afford to give you the time and the resources to do this, also, if there’s a course attached to it,” but it came first from this place of, “What do I just want to go out there and give information about?” So I think, to me, that’s why it’s a really interesting way to preface this, and I was thinking about that just this morning as I was thinking about prepping for this episode and listened to that interview with Brian Kurtz. And I highly recommend that episode to everybody. Hack the Entrepreneur. It was just a great way, I think, to look at it.
Jon: Yeah, I think so. And I do see that question a lot, just content marketing in general, right? And you would know this better than I would. But people always struggle with how much do I give away? I can’t give them all of my information or else, which I don’t think, like you say, is the right way to go into anything. And especially podcasting. People don’t want 10% of information on a podcast. There are too many podcasts. There are too many other things people could be listening to that you really do need to give 100%, always. It’s just that simple. And I don’t think you can give too much. I honestly, honestly don’t think that that’s possible. I mean, obviously you can’t give visually. You can’t give video. You can’t do all those kinds of things on a podcast. So I mean, you can then turn a course into something else, so that’s fine. But in the podcast itself I really, fully agree with that, 100%, all the time.
Jerod: Okay. So let’s drill into this question: What to podcast about? And there are a couple of questions to answer first. So what are those two questions that you think everybody needs to ask themselves as they approach this question of what they should podcast about?
Jon: I think that you need to first be able to answer the question of, “Are you willing to do it well?” And if you aren’t willing to do it well, then I think you should probably just stop right now and re-think podcasting, and maybe come back to it in a month or something and decide then if it’s for you. Because it’s not easy. It’s a lot of work. And again, there’s so much competition for it, and so much of it is not done super well. If you can do it well, and do it right, and take the proper steps in the proper order, it can work really, really well. But you have to be willing to do it well. Absolutely. And I don’t think there’s any way around that, unfortunately.
Jerod: And let’s unpack that a little bit. So what does it mean to do it well? Because to me, that means that you’re willing to put in the time to prepare that. Because I think for any podcast topic that any of us would consider, we have some already present amount of knowledge, right? And that will last us for five episodes, or ten episodes, or twenty episodes. Whatever it is. But at some point you’re going to have to dig deeper, and you’re going to have to understand more. And that’s part of doing it well. Continuing to sharpen your saw in that area, and increase your knowledge. But also the technical aspect of it. Making sure that you’re willing to produce good quality audio, and making sure that–the great part with podcasts is their ability to connect–so making sure that you’re making yourself available to connect. I think all of these go into “are you willing to do it well?” and “are you willing to do it over the long term? Right?
Jerod: So there’s a difference between “Okay, I’m going to do it well. I think we just produced a pretty good first episode of The Showrunner, but that’s not really going to mean anything if the quality of episode 10 stinks and we’re not excited about it, and we’re not interested in it. And I guess this kind of leads into the next one, right? Which is, “Are you willing to produce new content consistently and over the long term?” So how do those two kind of go together? This idea of doing it well, but then also doing it over time?
Jon: Well, the consistency is–I think people fail to realize how important that–and I literally, in that sense, mean consistency as in, my show used to come out Monday, Wednesday, Friday. When I moved over to Rainmaker it now comes out Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. It states so very clearly on my website, and when people subscribe like I ask them to in a call to action at the end of each episode, I ask them to subscribe. When they do, and I tell them it’s coming out every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, when I miss Monday morning, this Monday coming up, for some reason–because I just wasn’t consistent in that way–what do you think they do? They instantly go to another podcast because they’re on their way somewhere, or they were doing something, and they were excited to listen to, at that time, my podcast. That’s amazing. That’s so valuable, and so important. And that’s the whole goal of the podcast. If I decide to miss that day, they instantly go to another podcast. And it’s so incredibly hard to get them to now come back on Tuesday, because they already have this podcast they might listen to instead. They really, really like it. And they go to that one on Tuesday instead. And I know talking to Pat Flynn, he was telling me–he helped me. When I was launching Hack the Entrepreneur he gave me access to him, and I got to ask him, and bounce ideas off him, and he said the one thing he wishes he had done differently in the first year of his was to be consistent. He said sometimes I would launch an episode for two weeks. Sometimes it would be a week. And obviously he’s very, very, very successful. But he also started years, and years, and years ago, when it was easier. And he says once he got to the exact consistency of the dates, he said things just really skyrocketed for him. And that really hit home with me, and I see people all the time who say they’re going to do something, and then not do it. What a way to break trust in a relationship immediately! And that, to me, ties into the “are you willing to do it well?” Not being consistent is not doing it well. It’s not being professional, and it’s not treating your end of the bargain and your end of the relationship as seriously as you want the other person to. And it even ties back to the whole 100%. You have to be willing to do it. I don’t care if you produce the best podcast in the world, but if you tell me Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and you skip two weeks and don’t even tell anybody, it’s hard for me to keep that relationship. I mean, just think in your own life of any friend that would do that to you. “Oh, I’ll meet you on Tuesday at the park,” and you go there, and the person’s not there. You think the next time they ask you to meet them there you’re going to show up? But it’s hard. It’s really, really hard to produce a podcast. I do three a week, and it’s a lot of content. It’s a lot of show notes. It’s a lot of editing. It’s a lot of recording. And you need to know this going into it so that you can set up how many you’re going to do. Some people are doing daily podcasts. It’s a lot of content. Some people are doing weekly, or biweekly. These are all the things you kind of need to think about before you even get into “What am I going to podcast about?”
Jerod: Yeah, and when I look back on my career of podcasting and I think back to some of the early podcasts that I did, I didn’t really understand the importance of this, and I really podcasted more out of a selfish mindset than a selfless mindset. And what I mean by that is, I would podcast when I was excited about a topic as opposed to podcasting with the goal of being there for someone else, helping someone else, giving value to someone else. Because when you think like the former, when you’re doing it for yourself, it’s easy to skip a day if you’re not excited to produce content. But when you think in the latter terms, which gets back to what Brian Kurtz said about giving 100%. Then you’re going to make sure that you’re there, and I think once you cross that threshold, that’s when you really start to build an audience. Because you can’t mask that. You can’t hide that, and audiences will pick up on it, and the reason why we wanted to start this conversation with this is, because as you’re thinking about what you want to start a podcast about, you can’t just–and correct me if I’m wrong, Jon. You may disagree. But you can’t just think, “Okay. What am I excited to create content about? What do I enjoy? What will I enjoy researching?” I think you really need to go to the next level, and it’s “What do I want to help someone else do? What goal do I want to help someone else achieve?” Figure out where that matches your interest, and go in that direction. Because if it’s only about what interests you, that may be fickle and you may not hold yourself as accountable as you need to over the long term to produce the results that you want, or to build the type of audience that you could. And so I really think going to that next level of really being audience-focused with where your knowledge, your interests, and your expertise match where you can help an audience. That’s really the crux to me of the question of “What podcast should I create? What content should I talk about?”
Jon: Yeah, I would agree with you, and although I find it to kind of be a gray area, when I was starting out with Hack the Entrepreneur before I launched, and even to this day with a new episode–the Brian Kurtz one–I have so many episodes that I’ve recorded and I won’t release because I know that I really, really am aligned with my market and I’m very much a part of it, and I wanted something that I didn’t see in the marketplace. So I made Hack the Entrepreneur. And when I made it, I had to be really excited about the conversation, and then about the finished episode. And if I wasn’t, when it came time to go back and go through it, if I wasn’t really excited about listening to it again, I didn’t release it. Just because I felt that if the quality wasn’t good enough for me, and I wasn’t excited and engaged in the conversation again, the person out there listening wouldn’t be. And so it’s a slight difference on what you were saying, maybe, but that’s why I think it’s kind of great. I do like that excitement fact. I do like the fact that people should be. But it also made me think of an interesting way that you can do it. Like if I have a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday podcast, yet I get really excited about something and I want to just record a short episode or another episode, I’ve seen people do it really, really successfully. You just put out a bonus episode to your feed. And call it that. Bonus! And so people can look at it and be like, “Oh, a bonus. I’m not interested in that.” That’s totally cool. They’ll just skip it in the feed. But it’s a bonus. It’s extra. Or a weekend one. Sometimes if you do an interview show, sometimes people will do just a solo show on a weekend once in awhile. But it’s a bonus thing. It’s additional to. It’s like your favorite TV show, and then a special edition show comes out. It’s great. It’s not “Well actually, no, we’ve decided not to put out episodes this week without telling you.” There’s a difference, you know. And I think you can, if you do want to, in that sense really get excited about something and just put out a quick show. You have that feed. You have that platform now to do that too. Don’t abuse it, obviously, and don’t put out garbage. But give people the option to skip it. It will give people an option to try and listen to and not be there.
Jerod: I think this leads into talking about the different types of podcasting. Because obviously, the choice that you make and what kind of leeway you have to put out this bonus episode about something that you’re excited about–those decisions are all going to be made based on the goals, based on how you want to help people, based on what the larger goal is. Maybe it’s a larger business goal, or whatever it is. So you kind of break it down really simply, and I like the way that you break it down into two different types of podcasting. And I have to say when I first looked at the notes, I thought you kind of oversimplified this, and so I was getting ready to make this a point of contention. But we talked about it pre-show, and I think the way that you broke it down is really effective. So to you, what are the two different types of podcasting that people are thinking about if they’re at this stage?
Jon: To me the two types are one, personal branding and sort of building authority as an individual. This is what I did with Hack the Entrepreneur. Because I didn’t have a business behind me. And then, the second type is podcasting for business, which to me is Copyblogger’s The Lede that you do. It was–not that either of them are for business or not for business, and there was a business behind that one already and you were providing extra content to your existing platform and audience already, and also you were going to bring in new audience via that podcast. And there is a big, obviously, crossover between the two: Hack the Entrepreneur was strictly to build up my personal brand, and there was no–Hack the Entrepreneur didn’t even exist at the time as a business. And yet now it’s sort of snowballing and turning into a business. But it wasn’t created originally for a business. So to me, if you’re at this stage right now, you either want to start with the podcast to build that authority and build that platform, and eventually a business around it, or else you already have a business and you’re looking to expose it to a new audience, and you are also looking to bring in new audience via audio content.
Jerod: Yeah. So these are really starting points. Where are you right now?
Jerod: Which will help to inform choices, then, that you make moving forward. So let’s drill into each one of these. So if we’re someone starting it for a personal brand. And I liked your example with The Lede. That’s really what kind of helped illustrate it to me. Demian and I run The Lede for Copyblogger. That’s podcasting for an existing business. But if I were to leave Copyblogger and wanted to build my own content marketing company, then I would start a new podcast, and there I’d be starting it from a personal branding perspective, to then grow a business out of it. So that’s really the distinction there. So if someone is in that spot where they’re starting it from a personal brand, then, what are some of the immediate things that they should keep in mind to kind of set themselves up for success or to make the right choice about what they want to podcast about?
Jon: Obviously you need your topic. You need to know what it is you’re trying to set up this brand around. I was actually part of an interesting conversation on Facebook yesterday that got kind of heated. And it was about making sure you have your USP, or your unique selling proposition. You really have to make sure you can show your voice and show who you are, and what really separates you from the other podcasts. Not that you reinvent the wheel by any means. My show does not reinvent the wheel. A business-based interview show is not anything new. But I did slight things to make it unique, and I knew I had to do that. And it’s very, very, very important, or else you’re going to get lost in a sea of podcasts, of which there are many. And that was the discussion. That lots of people are coming in trying to just be like the most popular shows, and never showing their voice through. And we will get further into discussion, obviously, about finding your voice. And that’s a hard, hard thing to do. But there are steps you can take to do that.
So then you would have to look at what market you’re trying to hit, and then how to obviously hit that best. Whether just through a topic base, where you will just talk yourself and do sort of a monologue on a topic, or you can do the interview where you can bring in experts from your field, and interview them. Which, obviously, also helps sort of create you as an authority through association of the people you’re interviewing. You could also do a news show if you were in technology. There are lots of technology podcasts out there that really just go over all the latest things being released, all the products, everything around it. Or if you were a comedian and wanted to literally set up a personal brand, with which some people have done amazing things via podcasts and Twitter, even. Like Mark Marian and such come to mind. And it really is a way to set up your own platform to really just speak from and show your comedy. If your comedy is that good and it just needs to get heard by people, then this is obviously a great way to do it, and it’s not directly a business.
Jerod: And what you’re going for here is creating that deep connection, which we talked about. It’s one of the great elements of podcasting, one of the great strengths of podcasting, is that ability to really create a deep connection with someone. And so you’re kind of choosing your topic and choosing your direction based on how can you best create that connection. What kind of tips do you have for that kind of podcast to really make sure that you’re leveraging the ability of podcasts to create that connection?
Jon: Again, it would be really finding your voice. And going back to that Facebook discussion, the one person who gets interviewed on a ton of shows and he just got sent some questions for–he was going to be interviewed on a business podcast, again–and he just said, “I’ve been asked all these questions a million times.” And to me, I was kind of feeling–I was trying to help the person who was doing the podcast. Because we have to start somewhere, and the ultimate goal is to be able to find your voice. It really is that. And to be able to be true to yourself, and have this congruent sort of message going through. And that’s where the deep connection comes. That’s where I get e-mails daily from people about the bands they played in in high school, and the music that they like, and “Oh my God, I’m also from Canada too,” because they’ve made this connection with me through my shows. Even though they’re all interviews about other people, they make this connection because I’ve found my voice, I’m talking about myself, and I’m not trying to be someone else. I’m really opening up everything about myself, and that opens it up to my audience, which then in turn, they come back to me and tell me the bits of me that relate to them, and they connect with. And that is absolutely essential. And if you are just trying to copy what the top person is doing in your market, you never make that connection because you’re trying to be somebody else. And people can’t connect to you when you are not even connected with yourself. And I think it’s essential, and it’s hard to do. Very, very hard to do. And I didn’t have an answer for them yesterday, how to do that. And they were telling me that it’s easy to be yourself. I was like, “Actually, no it’s not, otherwise everybody would do it. Everybody would really be themselves. And it’s not as easy as it seems like it should be. But I think it’s essential to get that deep, sort of intimate connection.
Jerod: And so as we contrast that, or maybe compare it with podcasting for business, in our notes here we have “deep connection” again as kind of the first topic, and it’s funny that that’s the first for both business and personal type podcasts. How is the connection different if you’re podcasting for business as opposed to podcasting for growing a personal brand? Or is it different?
Jon: It can be. And I think with The Lede it’s not different. The connection is with you and with Demian, which then has the brand behind it. So it does offer that connection, but you can do it differently. If it was more of a monologue by one person, then you could make the connection to the brand, or to what it is your service provides. You can make that connection if you want it, but I think if podcasting is done the way it’s supposed to be done, that’s the absolute biggest benefit of it is that deep connection. You literally–no matter what you’re talking about. Your business or you personally. They’re right in your ears. I mean, in ear buds or in your car with you. And I don’t think you can get away from that. And I think you should think about your business podcast in that way. That you don’t want to just be like, “I’m this brand, and I do this;” it’s like, no, you’re still the person discussing that brand. And you and Demian do it really, really, really well where there’s that personal connection, but it’s all based on this business behind you. And that kind of props it up.
Jerod: Yeah. And there are many different types of podcast for business. One type would be repurposing content. And we’ve actually done some of that with The Lede, where basically taking old, popular posts and turning them into a new series, and basically presenting really the same information with a little bit of a different twist, but to a potentially different audience that didn’t see them a different way. You can have VIP content. You can dive deeper into a topic, maybe by bringing in experts. We talked about before with personal: Doing interviews. You can still do that on a business podcast, but I think and I want you to talk more about those, Jon, if you have more to say about them. But I want to bring them up because you have all these different things that you can do with a business podcast, but you don’t want to overlook the connection part of it. Because I think that’s always going to be the biggest value you can get out of it. Like with Copyblogger. Demian and I were kind of names in a byline, but I think when you start The Lede, now people get to know you, get to know your personality a little bit, and they connect with you. Not just on the podcast, but also I think more with what you’re writing, and more with what you’re doing. And so I think it’s really important. We think about it a lot with the personal podcast with, “Hey, I can go out there and create a connection, start to grow this audience that will go on a journey with me as I help them learn things and achieve their goals. But it’s the same thing with a business. And just because you have a business or a brand that can seem big and almost faceless sometimes, that’s what podcasting allows you to do. Put a face on it, put a name with it, put a personality to it. And I sometimes see people overlook that and use it too much as just a megaphone for information, when it really can be a vehicle for connection too. So I wanted to make sure that people, if they’re going to be starting a podcast for their business, that they keep that in mind.
Jon: Yeah, exactly. And to really hit it home, I think, would be the two types of podcasting as we said, are really just the starting points. To take Hack the Entrepreneur as an example, but it started out as a personal brand, but with the idea that it will turn into a business, which is now podcasting for business. So it sort of takes that step. And so now that I have a business behind it, and the podcast makes money and the business around it makes money, I can’t now all of a sudden turn off the personality and turn off the deep connection. That would be like, “Well, now I’m podcasting for business, now I have to just not let people in, not let….” Does that make sense? So it’s really the only differentiation, that the personal and the business for podcasting are the starting points. The end goal is still the same thing, but it is for business. And it is to have some sort of commerce that will go on around it afterwards. And so think about, I guess for the podcasting for business–it’s almost like it’s already three or four steps ahead of the personal brand. Because you have the platform that you’re starting from. That’s really the only difference. You have the audience that you’re already sort of starting with. No matter how big or how small that audience is, it’s still based off that business.
Jerod: Yeah. And it’s–Michael Hyatt talked about this in that first episode of The Showrunner that we did where he talked about anything that you sell, you’re going to have a better chance to sell it when people know, like, and trust you. And you’re no always selling products. Now maybe you are, and maybe a lot of people who are listening to this may be trying to figure out how podcasting fits into a business, and how it helps them sell more stuff, and I think that’s fine. But I think it’s important to keep in mind that know, like, and trust. Ad what the know, like, and trust really is a connection. And so I think as you’re thinking about what to start a podcast about, what should my topic be? Don’t start it from, “Okay, what’s going to help me sell stuff.” Think about it more, “What topic–what can I podcast about that will help me create a connection. Which brings us all the way back to what we started the episode out with, with Brian Kurtz and his hundred-to-zero idea of going with the idea of giving 100%, don’t expect anything in return, and of course you understand that you will get things in return if you’re giving 100%. But it’s going in to give 100%, create that connection, and everything else will flow from that. But I think if you start there, and start with that mindset and let that guide what choice you make about what to podcast about, any of these other ancillary goals that you have are going to eventually come to fruition.
That’s it. You have to give and not be thinking about what it is you’re going sell or how you’re going to make money from it. And I wish I could remember the quote from Brian Clark, actually. And it was about building the audience first and the business will sort itself out after. And he said it better than I did. But it didn’t always make sense to me until Hack the Entrepreneur. Hack the Entrepreneur was interesting that I focused so much on creating an amazing product that just gave unbelievable value all out and just tied me into it. And there was a time, it was about five weeks into it, over the weekend my downloads were going up, so I was, “Maybe I should get a sponsor…,” I thought. “Maybe I should look into…. I have no idea how to get a sponsorship, but maybe I should look into it, and then I could get an editor, and I could get an assistant to help me. And literally I decided to do it, and that Monday morning when I opened up my computer in my office, there were four e-mails from companies wanting to sponsor my podcast.
Jon: And I made, sort of, I talked to all of them and I chose the one that I wanted, the one that worked with me the best, that would work with my listeners the best, and they’re still sponsoring me. That was October, and they’ve signed on now until June. That’s amazing, and I had no idea how that would work. And it’s true. I focused 100% on giving everything I could and creating the best show I could to therefore build an audience, and then as Brian says, the business just sorted itself out. It kind of did. Because once you have that audience, trust me, there’s just an endless sort of ways that you can monetize it and turn it into a business. But focus solely on the audience first.
Jerod: Yep. Great, Jon. You know one reason why I love talking to you about podcasting? And we’ve had many chats about this now. It’s because the word “amazing” always comes up. I noticed this when I was editing that first episode. You get so excited about it, and these great, blowing, powerful adjectives always come out. Which is really, I think, just a testament to how important podcasting has been to you, and how excited you are about it. So I love the enthusiasm. It always gets me pumped up.
Jon: It’s blowing me away, what is happening from just starting a show last summer because I had some spare time and I wanted to talk to really smart people about business. Every day it blows me away. It really does. And that’s how it is. I’d like to be cooler about it and just be like, “Yeah, you know, it’s just sort of….” But it is. It actually amazes me every day.
Jerod: Hopefully this first episode went well for everybody, but I’ve already identified a huge issue that we’re going to have doing these episodes. Do you want to know what it is?
Jon: We go too long.
Jerod: Yeah. (Laughs out loud) Even on a topic like this where we came on here, and we were like, “Okay, we’re going to keep this to 25-30 minutes,” and I’m looking at 36 minutes right now. I think we get excited about it, we have so much to say. So that’ll be one of our goals moving forward, to see if we can really keep these to 30 minutes. But hey. If we’re excited about it and we go over, hopefully everyone will forgive us, because hopefully there’s good information and good conversation coming out of it.
Okay. So that wraps up the second episode of The Showrunner, and Jon, really quickly before we sign off, I would like you just say a few words about–because you’ve been, the way we split up the creation of The Showrunner podcast so far is, I really went to work on that first episode, and you’ve been really hard at work on the first set of modules and kind of putting those together for everybody, and this episode was kind of based on one of those. So do you want to just give kind of a quick preview of those modules? What they’ll be? To kind of give people a bit of an idea of what’s coming once we do launch The Showrunner podcast course.
Jon: Yeah, I could do that. Because I have been sort of heads-down in it for awhile now. And it’s going to be either ten or eleven modules, depending on how they work out; taking you literally from what to podcast about in a more in-depth, concrete sort of version of what we did today. And then once you know what you’re going to podcast about, then the whole of defining your audience, finding out how to hit that audience properly so that your show can do really well, and then through the more technical stuff of finding your brand, how to get your brand design, where to go, what to do, what directions to give. And then creating the content, obviously, to keep people engaged. I know it can be overwhelming at the beginning, thinking “Well Jon, you told me to be consistent. Three days a week, ” and I didn’t say three days a week, but for my show it is. Whatever you want to be for consistency. You do need to come up with that content. But between Jerod and I, we have lots of ways for you to do that in a very simply laid-out sort of way. And then we’re going to get technical with a very, very important aspect of once you have the brand and the idea, what you’re going to do. Then you need to make it sound good. If it doesn’t sound good, unfortunately, people just won’t put you in their ears too many times because it hurts. Literally hurts. And people don’t want to listen to it. So we’re going to go through the very technical stuff and walk you through how we make the shows sound good. And then there’s the whole hosting, the website, and then we get into launching your podcast, which we have an amazing video coming from Jeff Walker himself, actually; and Sonia Simone, on taking the launch method of Jeff Walker and launching a podcast, which he has never done before. And this is really, really, really cool. I’m excited about this. And then after launch there’s keeping yourself through, new, and noteworthy; and then obviously the one lots of us are looking for, which is the paths to monetization, which we have. And then we added some bonuses at the end. And I think it’s going to be really, really, really–I’m so excited about it. It’s awesome.
Jerod: What a surprise!
Jon: (Laughs) It’s a lot of work, but…
Jerod: You’re excited about podcasting again.
Jon: (Laughs) Still, actually.
Jerod: And again, the way to just keep in touch with us and stay up to date with the latest on the course is to subscribe to this podcast. You can follow us on Twitter, @showrunner.fm, and go to showrunner.fm, our show page, where we will post updates. And of course, you can get all of the episodes and check out some of the other great shows on Rainmaker FM, because there are so many good ones out there.
All right, Jon. Well, fun second episode. I look forward to doing this again and sharing more of our podcast enthusiasm with everybody.
Jon: Me too. See you guys next episode.
Jerod: Yep. See you all.
# # #
I really loved the first episode and the storytelling style you used (kind of like StartUp). Not so keen on the straight to tape, co-host chatting style of episode 2. What do you plan to be the main format going forward?
Jerod Morris says
Thank you James. I LOVED putting together the first episode. Unfortunately, the time investment for one person to put together an episode like that is a bit more than we have available to do on an ongoing basis — though I do want to sprinkle a few in here or there, even if much shorter in length. For the first “season” of Showrunner episodes, it will be mostly me and Jon going back and forth about important podcasting topics and answering listener questions. But the show will evolve as we go, so I can’t really say what form it will take 6-12 months from now.