A multitude of factors are converging to make now the perfect time to launch a podcast. But should you? In the first episode of The Showrunner, Jerod Morris explains the factors contributing to the current podcasting boon and walks you through how to decide if you have what it takes to run a successful podcast.
In this epic initial episode of The Showrunner, Jerod and a host of family, friends, and experts paint a vivid picture of the current podcasting landscape.
As narrator, Jerod takes you to …
- His kitchen, where an insightful piece of advice from an unlikely source changed how this episode began (and taught him an important lesson).
- His closet (in the interests of superior audio quality), to find out how and why his non-tech-savvy fiancee became such a huge podcast listener.
- Podcasting Utopia, or so it seems, where Jon Nastor (who will be co-hosting future episodes of The Showrunner) experienced a rocketship ride of success after launching Hack the Entrepreneur.
- Boulder, Colorado, where Brian Clark has developed New Rainmaker with education in mind but without the massive budget you might expect.
- Night Vale, to show you how surprisingly simple and cost-effective producing a great podcast can be — and what is possible when you do it right.
He takes you to many other places as well, finding the likes of Robert Bruce, Jay Baer, and Michael Hyatt along the way to provide extra insight on what the current podcasting landscape is like and who should be preparing to take advantage of it.
If you’ve considered starting a podcast but haven’t yet, this episode is for you.
If you have already started a podcast but want validation that you’re on the right track, this episode is for you too.
And if you’re neither of those people, but you enjoy rich and entertaining audio experiences, then hopefully you will still find this episode to your liking. 😉
Listen, learn, enjoy:
Listen to The Showrunner below ...
The Show Notes
- Important Twitter accounts: @ShowrunnerFM | @JonNastor | @JerodMorris
- Picture of Jerod and Heather … so you can put faces with names. 🙂
- The Lede — the first podcast Jerod hosted for Copyblogger
- Assembly Call — Jerod’s side project that is turning into a side business
- Hack the Entrepreneur — Jon Nastor’s podcast that had earned him an invite to Rainmaker.FM within six months
- JonnyNastor.com — get to know Jon
Jerod 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?
Hello there, and welcome to The Showrunner. Thank you so much for lending me your ear. In this inaugural episode we are going to dive deep into the topic of why right now is such a good time to start a podcast. So if you have been thinking of starting a podcast, or if you already have a podcast and you simply want solid validation from a number of experts that you’re on the right track, you’ll want to listen to this episode all the way through.
But first, if you don’t mind, just as a way to introduce myself, I would like to tell you a quick story.
So after I’d done a first cut of this episode, the one you’re listening to right now, I let a few people whose opinions I value listen to it. I just wanted some feedback and wanted some validation that I was on the right track. And so I sent the file around to a few people, all of whom are fellow podcasters, but actually wanted someone who is not a podcaster to listen to it as well. And the person who is not a podcaster, whose opinion I solicited, is my fiancée Heather. And you’re actually going to get to meet her later in this episode.
Now, Heather does many, many things well. One thing that she does not do is create podcasts. She’s just not really techy in any way, which I think even she would admit. But she has become an avid podcast listener, so I very much value her opinion as someone representative of a normal audience member, as opposed to someone like myself, I guess, and the other people I sent this to, because sometimes those of us who create podcasts can be a little overly technical, I think, in our critiques and sometimes lose the big picture.
Well, the other night we’re at home, Heather and I, and we’re cooking dinner, and I played the first cut of this episode. And it started just like this episode started, with a song and an intro, and then went right into an ad read for The Rainmaker platform, which sponsors the show. And so about a minute goes by, and Heather looks up at me, and she says, “Who are you?” And I’m kind of taken aback. I didn’t quite know what she meant.
She said, “No, who ARE you? You haven’t introduced yourself yet! If this is the first episode, I want to know who you are!” And I was stunned. But in a good way, because I realized that I’d spent so much time trying to get the cuts right and the music cues right, and everything else, that I’d forgotten something as simple as just introducing myself to the audience, to you. And it made me laugh, because none of the other people that I sent this to offered that very simple, yet quite critical, piece of advice. But Heather did.
And so Heather, my love, you’re a genius. Thank you, and this next part is for you, and I guess for everybody else.
My name is Jerod Morris, and I am a VP at Copyblogger Media, and the reason why I am hosting this show is because, basically, I’m a guy who loves to podcast and who has gathered a whole lot of experience doing so over the last five years. I’ve done monologue podcasts, I’ve done live broadcasts that turned into podcasts, I’ve done interview shows. Speaking of interviews, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to interview people ranging from NFL legend Jerry Rice to acclaimed authors like Sally Hogshead and Dan Pink, just recently. So when it comes to podcasting, I’ve done a lot. In fact, right before I started recording this, I counted it up and I’ve launched at least ten different shows over the past five years, and by launched, I mean created at least one episode. And yes, a few of them died right after that one episode, but others lasted much longer, and some are still alive, kicking, and thriving today, I am very happy to say.
Currently I host The Lede with Demian Farnworth. It’s a podcast all about content marketing, and has consistently been a top 20 podcast in the business section of iTunes for years now. I also host The Assembly Call and Podcast on the Brink, two shows that allow me to indulge in my passion for Indiana University basketball. And those are actually the two most widely listened to shows in that specific niche, but it is an incredibly passionate niche.
And now of course, I host this show: The Showrunner, which has a very simple goal of helping you take your show from good to great. And it won’t just be me. I will have a co-host. You’re actually going to meet him here in a bit as well, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about everything I’m going to get to learn from him just by hosting the show with him.
So there you go. Now you know who I am, Jerod Morris. And now we can begin in earnest.
So since this is the very first episode of The Showrunner, I feel like it’s only fitting that we start from the beginning. And if you’re listening to this, clearly you are interested in podcasting. Maybe you have a show and you’re looking to take it to the next level. Maybe you’re still in the consideration phase, like I mentioned earlier, wondering if starting a podcast is the right decision for you. Well, if you’re in the first group I promise you this podcast is going to be for you. Subscribe, tune in consistently. We’re going to give you all of the advice and insight you need to run your show even better. And if you’re in the second group, if you’re still wondering whether you should start a show in the first place, well; this first episode is dedicated to you. Why should you start a podcast? We’re going to dive in, we’re going to answer that all-important question in this episode. Because as you’re going to hear, the time really is right now to start a podcast. And the potential benefits of doing so are myriad. There are so many of them. And there’s also the reality that maybe you shouldn’t start a podcast. Podcasting isn’t for everybody, and we’re going to get to that too. But the big picture is, many, many people are listening to podcasts these days, you included. And so I know just by listening that you’re a show listener. The question now is, are you a show runner? Keep listening and find out.
The Showrunner is brought to you by The Rainmaker platform, the complete website solution for content marketers and online entrepreneurs. And when I say “brought to you by,” I don’t just mean sponsored by. I mean that The Showrunner is literally built on The Rainmaker platform, which was built with podcasters like you and me in mind. I love everything about creating audio content. What I don’t love is having to jump through a bunch of complicated, technical hoops just to get the audio content out to you, and then even more complicated technical hoops to build an audience and maybe even a business around the shows I run. But with Rainmaker, I don’t have to. Rainmaker actually makes the technology part simple so I can focus on my content, and focus on you. Find out more and take a free 14-day test drive at rainmaker.fm/platform.
Let’s think big right off the bat, shall we? The most important reason to start a podcast is that it can literally change your life. And I know that kind of sounds like hyperbole, but it’s true, and I know this because it has for me. I have my current position at Copyblogger Media in large part because of podcasting. One of my favorite hobbies is a podcast I do on the side, and that community is growing so fast, and the audience is so into the show, that it’s pretty close to going from side project to side business. I wanted to launch The Showrunner because podcasting has changed my life, and I want to share what I’ve learned with you so that it might have the same positive impact on you. And the crazy thing is, I’m just one show runner with one story. There are so many others out there. In fact, I want to introduce you to one right now. His name is John Naster. And John is going to be my co-host here on The Showrunner, as well as my partner in developing The Showrunner Podcast Course, which I’ll tell you about later.
John was already a successful online entrepreneur when he launched Hack the Entrepreneur in September of 2014. And by February of 2015, a mere six months later, John was given an invite to join the launch of Rainmaker FM, which is crazy. It’s an astounding achievement. And it’s a testament to John’s dedication as a show runner and his impressive skills as an interviewer.
Now here’s the thing about John. He’s not just a successful entrepreneur. He’s built a really cool life for himself. He runs a high-six-figure business, he travels the world with his wife and daughter, and he still has time to play drums in his punk rock band. I was curious, so I asked John how podcasting has helped him create what sounds like a really fulfilling life. And here’s what he said.
Jon Nastor: Podcasting has given me the platform to reach people that I couldn’t reach in any other way and in any other thing that I was doing Meaning that I now get e-mails from people whose books I’ve read, and I’ve looked up to them, and they e-mail me and want to sponsor my show, or they want to be on my show. And within a span of four and five months, and it absolutely blows me away. So my business I ran before it, and still run, was passive in the sense that it was a business and it wasn’t me at the forefront of it.
Jerod: So John decided that he wanted to make the transition to being out there, to being more involved in the community, to being more well known for what he does. Because apparently the dream of sitting on the beach with your laptop isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Jon: It sounds great until you’ve done it for a couple of years, and then I really wanted to make a conscious decision to now build a platform and get known for what it is that I do. So I started podcasting. I really thought that it should take years to do. Within months, the stuff that was happening to me every day strictly because of the podcast I started, and now I’m actually known for podcasting, and known for the podcast more so than I’m known for anything else that I’ve done up until now, which is years of making money online. And that to me is astonishing, awesome, and super exciting because of what the future holds for it, and the fact that now five months after creating a podcast following what you guys teach at Copyblogger, and now I’m working directly with you guys with kind of no doing of my own except for doing the show and then being approached by Brian Clark himself and offered this. That, to me, is insane and amazing and kind of blows my mind, even just saying it now, again, and the fact that we’re doing this. And I don’t know any other way I could possibly do that. I feel like missing–say, building a blog 10 years ago–and you hear about people who had these instant crazy successes, but I feel like maybe I missed that. But you could do it so quickly. And now with podcasting it literally is there. That’s it. It’s right there, and I did it with no platform behind me, no anything except for what I think is the right way to do it, and some thought on the branding, and hitting the launch right. But other than that, it was just me, and it just completely went out of my control in an amazing way. And that, to me, is shocking, and beautiful, and awesome.
Jerod: Yes, it is. It is shocking, beautiful, awesome, and life changing. All of the positive adjectives we want to throw at it. But to be frank here, it’s also probably not the most representative example of what happens when you start a podcast. I mean, we all wish we could have the skyrocketing success that John has experienced, or launch the next serial that just goes bananas. But the reality is that unless you have a huge audience built already, building a podcast audience can take time. It requires hard work and patience, and stick-to-it-iveness. That hobby podcast I mentioned earlier? This is my fourth year of doing it, and I’ve thought about quitting many, many times. But my co-host and I have stuck with it, and it’s catching on. We’re seeing real numbers now. But there’s been no magic, and we’ve cut no corners. We’ve just kept on showing up, every episode, and we’ve grown our audience one listener at a time. And I love it. I’m so glad that we started it, and I’m proud of us for not quitting, and I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve this responsive, reliable audience. So the question to you, before I go in depth about all the benefits of podcasting and its bright future, which we’re about to get to, the question to you is: Are you willing to work hard? Are you willing to invest your time and your energy, and a few bucks even, into creating a podcast the right way, over the long term? If so, you should start a podcast. But if not, you may want to rethink it. Here’s how Robert Bruce, the program director at Rainmaker FM, sees it. And in this clip you’re about to hear, he’s responding to a question from Demian Farnworth, my co-host on The Lede, as well as the host of Rough Draft, another show on Rainmaker FM.
Demian Farnworth: And it’s sort of popular now, sort of convention. People say why you should start a podcast, why writers should start a podcast, why aerobics teachers should start a podcast. Would you second that opinion, and tell somebody to do that?
Robert Bruce: Not across the board, because it’s really hard to do it well. And I think there are moments that we’ve had that we’ve done it very well, and there are moments when, both with The Lede and with Rainmaker FM that things have just totally sucked. But to produce audio on a high level and in a way that really is compelling to people, it’s hard. It’s hard to do. And so I think there are a lot of different markets, and topical markets, and on the brick-and-mortar side of things as well that it could be incredibly useful. But in terms of production and in terms of effort, it’s a bit of a step-up from writing and publishing text to the web for sure.
Jerod: It’s a bit of a step up, yes, but clearly far from impossible. So if you are going to take that step up, what’s the next question you should ask yourself?
Robert: Are your customers, or your potential customers; is your audience interested in audio? Look at things like that as well. Because you could produce the best podcast in the world on whatever–knitting. And maybe knitters, I don’t know, maybe they are. But maybe knitters don’t care about audio at all.
Jerod: But maybe they do. I mean, Robert’s right. You definitely have to ask the question. But I think he would agree with me as well, that you have to be careful how you answer it. Because increasingly these days, more and more people are starting to care about, and consume, on-demand audio content. The difference in just a few years is massive, and people you might never have expected to become podcast listeners are becoming devoted audience members. And I’ve got the perfect example of just such a person.
If you would, to begin here, would you please state your name? First name only is fine.
Jerod: And would you be willing to state your relationship to the person who is interviewing you currently?
Heather: Currently engaged. Currently engaged.
(Heather and Jerod giggle)
Heather: Don’t make me say that! Oh dear.
Jerod: (Chuckles) And where are we conducting this interview?
Heather: On the floor in your closet.
Jerod: And why are we doing that?
Heather: For amazing audio.
Jerod: (Chuckles) Exactly. Exactly. And amazing audio for our podcast listeners, and would you consider yourself a podcast listener?
Heather: Yes. I would consider myself a listener.
Jerod: How often do you listen to podcasts?
Heather: Practically every day.
Jerod: Really. Every single day?
Jerod: Okay. And just to get, I suppose, a background of how you use the internet, and how you use social media. How often do you use Facebook?
Heather: About once every other month.
Jerod: How often are you logging into Twitter?
Heather? About once a month.
Jerod: Yeah. Heather isn’t getting on Twitter much, either. As I mentioned before, she’s just really not that interested in tech or online stuff, which is why she doesn’t really fit the normal profile of someone who listens to podcasts. And yet she does. Every day. Why? How?
Heather: Well, I got into podcasts because of you. If I remember correctly, This American Life. I would say that was the first one that you told me to listen to, basically for the story element. My commutes were really long at the time, and I would come home grumpy. So it was something to listen to, to get my mind off it.
Jerod: That has evolved now to, how many different podcasts do you subscribe to?
Heather: Well, I just learned how to subscribe about two weeks ago, thank you. And I think I’m subscribed to about ten, maybe. Maybe ten or twelve that I listen to regularly.
Jerod: And you mentioned your commute. Obviously that’s why you started listening. Is your listening pretty much constrained to commutes, or do you listen at other times now as well?
Heather: I find myself listening anytime I am trying to do something productive, but can also manage listening to something. So if I’m cleaning or getting ready in the morning, or taking a shower.
Jerod: And you used to, during these activities, watch TV, correct? Or have the TV on. Is there a reason why maybe you switched now to podcasts instead of TV?
Heather: Primarily I would say that I used to listen to music exclusively, mainly because there are types of activities you can’t really do right in front of the TV. I just find that it’s a better use of my time. I can actually learn stuff, as opposed to just listening to some songs. And obviously, instead of watching TV I would rather listen to podcasts because to watch TV you have to focus on the visual. But with a podcast, it’s purely listening.
Jerod: I believe a word that you’ve used to describe your podcast listening is “nerdy.” (Laughs) Why would you use that term specifically?
Heather: I listen to nerdy podcasts. That’s okay. It’s educational, and news, and stuff like that. So yeah. A good learning outlet.
Jerod: Changing your feeling on podcasts at all now kind of seeing how the sausage is made, and that sometimes these great-sounding podcasts are done in someone’s closet when he’s removed his pants…
Jerod: …because they were causing feedback in the microphone?
Heather: No. I refuse to believe that this is normal.
(Jerod laughs out loud)
Heather: This is not how podcasts are developed at all.
Jerod: You would be surprised. Well, thank you very much for your time. I do appreciate it.
Heather: Yeah, you’re welcome. (Laughs) Get out of here.
Jerod: So again, yes. Before you rush out to launch a podcast, you definitely want to consider whether your target audience is listening to podcasts. But don’t underestimate how rapidly the numbers for podcast listeners are growing. Heather is only one example of someone you’d never think was listen, but she does. And she said something else interesting there. Did you catch it? It was the part about listening to podcasts while doing other things. That’s a big reason why adoption is growing so rapidly. Podcasts are just so convenient. And in fact, someone else–someone who you would expect to know a thing or two about podcasts–said something very similar recently. Here’s Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media and Rainmaker FM.
Brian Clark: Well, it doesn’t require ocular attention. To say, you don’t have to look at it. Video, as popular as it is, you still have to look at it. The whole internet. You know, the valuations of Buzzfeed and a lot of these text-heavy–and they’re shifting now. I mean, every time I go over to The Huffington Post, it’s like they’re doing a video thing now. So they’re shifting, and yet it’s the audio content that’s portable anywhere. And from an educational standpoint, from a productivity standpoint, the fact that you can learn something or ingest some information or just be entertained while you’re driving the car, walking the dog, working out at the gym. Doing something else, you can have it on in the background. Hey, it’s radio, but it’s better than radio.
Jerod: And why are podcasts better than radio? Well, the biggest reason is because they’re on demand. Here are those two old guys again.
Brian: What’s a radio?
Robert: Yeah, right. You and I are…
Brian: (Laughs) The kids are like, “Dad! Play that song again!” Like, “I can’t, it’s the radio.” “WHAT? What’s wrong with you, old man?”
Robert: Right. Right. When it becomes that easy for this stuff for on-demand content, that’s what I’m talking about. And it will. I’m convinced that it will.
Brian: And I think even beyond the ease or relative easier-ness of accessing podcasts, it’s the on-demand thing. Like when podcasting first kind of emerged, again, back 2005 or 2006, we didn’t have–was Netflix around then? I don’t remember. But the whole concept of on-demand and binge-watching or listening–you’ve seen a huge shift in consumption preference among people, to where they’re like my kids, who don’t understand broadcast technology that’s not on demand. Now I think just people like you and I expect to be able to have it on demand, everything from–I mean, I have cable, so I can watch the on-demand versions of movies and shows because I don’t have time to be at a certain place at a certain time because you decide to put something on, with the exception of sports. Right?
Robert: No, this is huge. Because….
Jerod: But how huge, Robert? We all know that smartphone ownership just goes up, and up, and up every year. And podcasts are the perfect content medium for a smartphone-dominated, on-demand-desiring culture. That’s why people like Heather are listening. But is she an anomaly? Listening simply because she lives with a podcaster, or do the stats show that she is simply part of a much bigger, more general trend? Here’s Robert again.
Robert: Nearly one in three as of November 2014. Nearly one in three Americans have listened to a podcast. That is astounding. Fifteen percent of Americans listen to a podcast in the past month, and this is again in November of 2014. Apple just surpassed one billion subscriptions–that’s billion with a B–to podcast via the iTunes app. So via other apps, that could be a much larger number.
Jerod: So more and more people are listening to podcasts every single day, including people who you might not expect. And the trend shows no signs of slowing down. And all you have to do is flip those numbers that Robert just cited on their head, and you can start to imagine just how vast the audience of podcast listeners will grow to become. I mean, 67% of Americans have still not ever listened to a podcast. Eighty-five percent of Americans have not listened to a podcast in the last month. Well, imagine when they are listening, and many of them will be. That’s inevitable. But even if they don’t, even if podcast growth just stopped right now–which it won’t, of course–but if it did, the size and power of the audience already in place is bigger than you might imagine. Listen to how Jay Baer, the New York Times bestselling author and veteran podcaster, put it into perspective.
Jay Baer: And then you see research from people like Tom Webster at Edison that shows that podcast consumption has increased 25% in this country year over year, to the point that 15% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last 30 days. And you may think, “Well geez, 15% isn’t that much,” well yeah, except that 18% of America is on Twitter and nobody is saying that that doesn’t have a future…. Fifteen percent of anything, when you’re talking about a country this large, is a lot of people, right? A lot of people. And what the data shows is that people who are into podcasts are really into podcasts. They listen to three, four, five, six, seven eight shows a month.
Jerod: Yep. Podcast listeners really are into their podcasts, and not just for entertainment. As Heather alluded to earlier, one of the great strengths of podcasts is their ability to provide education on demand and on the go, which positions podcasts perfectly to capitalize on the next trend in mobile technology.
Jay Baer: Think about a universe five years down the road where blogging fades away because nobody wants to read, and everybody accesses the internet through wearables, a screen which is not big enough to really read on, and consequently the way you educate yourself–the way you become a better marketer and a better business person is, instead of using feed lead to create your customized information newspaper, it’s using something like Stitcher to create your customized audio newspaper, and you just listen to your education. I think that’s where we’re headed, which is why….
Jerod: Education. It is an indispensable part of any content marketing strategy. It is so important for building any type of meaningful audience that you can one day build a business around. And it is one of the great strengths of podcasting.
Here’s Brian Clark again, who built one of the most successful business podcasts out there, New Rainmaker, by doing exactly that.
Brian Clark: But one thing came through loud and clear, that people want to learn something. Whether it’s short, or it’s an hour-long interview. There has to be a focus on education, and I always try to do that but I think that it gave me some good insight into going forward. So anyway….
Jerod: But for people to learn, they have to listen. And for people to listen consistently, the audio quality has to be high. If people can’t listen comfortably, they are unlikely to listen at all. I mean, think about it. When someone is listening to your podcast, you are basically right there with them wherever they are, talking to them, like a friend. You’re sitting in the passenger’s seat while they drive to work, or you’re there in the kitchen when they’re washing dishes. Or in the case of someone wearing headphones, it’s like you’re right there talking inside of their head. It’s a big opportunity and responsibility, which is why you’d best speak clearly. So you may think that producing high-quality audio costs an arm and a leg, right? Wrong. Let’s go back to Brian. He’s the CEO of a multi-million dollar a year company. He could build himself a professional sound studio if he wanted to, and yet he hasn’t broken the bank buying equipment to get the high-quality sound that you hear from him. Far from it.
Brian Clark: To answer your question, there’s no budget. I bought a new mike because my old one died. It was about $150. You don’t have to get the whole–what’s it called when you’ve got the amp, and the…
Robert Bruce: I don’t know it all, which….
Brian Clark: I tried that once. It almost killed me.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, right. Which will go to prove a point later about how inexperienced I am with the editing. But yeah. You don’t need–if you’re into that, and if you’re an audiophile and you’re good at production-type stuff, do it. It’s fine. Have fun. Have at it. But you don’t need it. You can get pretty incredible quality through the use of a good USB mike. You can spend whatever you want, but these are at $150, $175.
Brian Clark: These are the pro versions.
Jerod: As long as you have a decent mike, which you can get for about $100, you can record great audio. You just have to be smart about where you record. So why did I record that interview earlier with Heather in my closet? Because the carpet and the clothes absorb the sound and cut down on the echo. Right now I am recording in our office, in the little side room that we call our “studio” because we have sound-deadening foam on one of the walls. Which is actually pretty expensive stuff, but can you really tell the difference between my audio right now and when I was talking to Heather?
So yeah. You may have to get creative, but you don’t have to break the bank to capture good-quality sound. And what about editing?
Brian Clark: Well, what are you using for editing, though? I know the answer, because that’s what I record my parts into, Garage Band, which comes with any a Mac.
Robert Bruce: It comes with a Mac, with the latest release of the Mavericks operating system. They’ve made Garage Band free. It is a robust–it gets a lot of crap from real audio people, and I get it. If you’re a pro in this stuff you’ve got a lot to say. But it is incredibly powerful. There’s a great fictional podcast right now that’s constantly in the top 10 of all podcasts in iTunes. It’s called Welcome to Nightvale. Great production, great stuff going on over there. Anyway, the short version is some interview–this was just a couple of months ago. The guy came in. He said, “Yeah, I’m just dropping this stuff into Garage Band and making it work.”
Brian Clark: And the Nightvale people are getting, like, HBO deals, right?
Robert Bruce: They just did a deal with Harper. They’re going to write a…
Brian Clark: I think we’re going to have to use them as a media example. I mean, they’re not doing content marketing per se, but they are landing deals with mainstream media. So if that’s your goal, this is all completely applicable to that as well.
Robert Bruce: And do-able with largely free tools.
Jerod: Book deals from a podcast, huh? Recorded using the exact same free program that I use, and that you can use. That is the democratic power of podcasting. The best content, not just the most money-backed content, truly has a chance to win. The terms of victory will simply depend on your market and your goals. And you know what the best part is? You don’t have to wait for anyone to give you permission to start. Here are Brian Clark and Michael Hyatt. Michael is the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing who now runs Platform University, discussing this very topic: How you don’t have to rely on anyone to give you the go-ahead to get your voice out there.
Michael Hyatt: …you actually have a greater chance, because now you don’t have to rely on somebody to choose you or give you permission. Now you can kind of take the bull by the horns. I think I mixed about three metaphors there. But take the bull by the horns and actually create this platform, and connect with the people that want to hear from you. And I think that’s just an awesome, unprecedented thing that I still, when I think about it, just makes me go “wow.”
Jerod: Now you may be thinking, and reasonably so, “I don’t care about a book deal. I’m not particularly interested in building a personal brand. I just want to educate an audience, and maybe sell some of my stuff, my products, my services. Can podcasting help me do that? And the answer is yes. Yes it can.
Michael Hyatt: …Because you’re connecting with people in a very intimate way. And I know that the reason why sales happen is because people trust you, and the way that people trust you is they have exposure to you and you create a relationship, and I saw that podcasting was an opportunity to do that. Now I will say this: That after I started, it was a more daunting task than I realized. It became a huge effort for me. I mean, writing–I’ve been in periods of my life where I’ve blogged every day for long stretches of time, and I could do that. But podcasting once a week was difficult. And so I had to learn that. I had to learn how to do the prep, I had to learn to outsource the production….
Jerod: What Michael just said there: It underscores a very important, larger point; which is that podcasting is powerful, and it’s emerging, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. But it’s not easy. It can be difficult to show up week after week, or whatever your schedule is, to create a compelling new piece of audio. And it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, no matter what kind of rocket-like trajectory the industry itself is on. And it’s not a get rich at all scheme if you aren’t willing to roll up your sleeves and invest your time and yourself into creating a rich audio experience for a targeted audience. But if you are willing to do that, well, I mean, you’ve listened this far. So you know what can happen. Your podcast could change your business and change your life, as it has done for so many people already. People like John Naster, who you met earlier, my co-host on The Showrunner. Remember, in just six months John built Hack the Entrepreneur from nothing to successful and sought-after platform, and now he’s part of Rainmaker FM. So I asked Jon: What advice would he give to someone who was thinking about starting a podcast?
Jon Nastor: I think because this is what I would consider, I guess, like The Wild West of podcasting where a show like Serial or a show like Startup comes out and it’s revolutionary, people think. Although it’s very much a radio show that used to exist. Now it’s in this new podcast form where there are kind of no rules. There’s a framework you should follow to really be able to hit the ground right, but there are no rules to what you want to do. So if you want to make it as much as an art form as you want to, you have that. And I don’t know of anything right now that is so powerful in that platform, and the fact that it can build a platform for you so quickly to talk about what it is you want to talk about, and reach out to the people you want to reach out to. And that’s, to me, something that should really be taken by the reins now, because you could look back five years from now and the landscape’s going to be completely changed in podcasting. But to have gotten started now, which I still consider the beginning. Because although it’s been around for years, it’s really just starting to get the traction now, and to get in now is to see the exponential sort of growth and reach that you can achieve in such a short period of time. And I only know that because it absolutely happened to me, and I’m literally astounded by the e-mails and the reach I receive every single day from just having a podcast.
Jerod: Imagine what you could gain by having a podcast. No, it might not explode like John’s did. But the same opportunity that he seized is right there, right now, for the taking, for you–if you want it. And if you’re doubting yourself–because I’ve been there, and I’ve been terrified of putting a new show out there–just remember this fact. Because it’s always helped me. And that is you have unique experiences, and unique thoughts, and unique ideas. And they will be incredibly useful to the right audience if you are genuine, and if you respect your listeners enough to give them high-quality audio, and if you show up consistently to put your ideas out there. It’s not easy, and don’t let anyone tell you that it is, but it is pretty simple. Are you willing to do all that? If you are, then you should definitely start a podcast. Because in our increasingly mobile world the most mobile-friendly, on-demand content medium in audio is just going to continue to get bigger and bigger. And why would you want to let your piece of the pie pass you by? So what’s your show? There’s no better day than today to start running it.
If you’re ready to become a showrunner, here’s what you need to do next. First, subscribe to The Showrunner podcast. John and I will be providing you with the practical tips and insight that you need to produce quality audio content. Plus the occasional doses of inspiration that we all can use every now and again to keep our focus and enthusiasm high over the long term. Second, keep your ears up and your eyes peeled for information about The Showrunner podcasting course, which is slated for launch in late April 2015. And we will have a discounted price available at launch. Now, who’s this course for? Well, if you’re ready to start a podcast and become a show runner, and you want a proven formula to follow from the beginning, this course is for you. And if you’ve already started but you want to fill in the gaps that will help you take the show to the next level, The Showrunner Podcasting Course and The Showrunner podcast itself will definitely help you get there. And there are a few ways to keep in touch, so pick one that is convenient for you. Obviously, subscribing to The Showrunner podcast is one. You can also bookmark showrunner.fm and check in regularly for both show and course updates, and you can follow Showrunner on Twitter at @showrunnerfm. And third, if you have not already, make sure you take your free test drive of The Rainmaker platform. It was developed with podcasters in mind. I know, because I helped outline the podcasting features. Plus, we used The Rainmaker platform to launch an entire podcast network, Rainmaker FM. But The Rainmaker platform does so much more. So if you want to build a content library, or a membership site, or sell products associated with your podcast, or do all of that more, then you’ll want a platform that has it all there in one place. And The Rainmaker platform does. So go to rainmaker-platform.com and try it out free for 14 days. See if it’s the right fit for you.
And with that, this inaugural episode of The Showrunner comes to a close. Once again, my name is Jerod Morris and I thank you for being here, for listening to The Showrunner, and I’m already excited for us to convene here again. So to all the show runners out there, we’ll talk to you soon.
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Rickard Göthlin says
Haha, love the part/interview with you and Heather, Jerod. And what else, I really enjoyed this episode. It’s a nice compilation of good quotes from people knowing their stuff. Looking forward for the upcoming episodes.
No pressure though. I know you’ll deliver guys 😉
Jerod Morris says
Thank you Richard! I will let Heather know. She’ll be happy. 🙂 I keep telling her she’s the star of the episode, but she refuses to believe me.
Upcoming episodes won’t be quite this production-heavy. I would LOVE someday to do a weekly show like this. But I will try to sprinkle one in here or there, even if it’s shorter. But Jon and I are going to go into depth on every aspect of podcasting, and we may have a few surprises up our sleeves for how people will be able to interact with the show …
Dan Morrow says
Listening to the episode right now. So far, so good! While scanning the show notes, it looks like the Assembly Call link is pointing to Hack right now. Just a heads up!
On a personal note, I just launching (the landing page at least) my first project on Rainmaker on April 10. It’s going to start as a curated email, but I’ve got plans for a podcast, courses, speaking, etc. Exciting and scary times. Looking forward to hearing future episodes!
Jerod Morris says
Thanks Dan! We updated that link. And I look forward to seeing where you take this new project. Intrigued … 🙂
My biggest question:
Given that people like podcasts because you can listen anywhere, is there on average, some minimum viable length of podcast? Obviously, a 10 second podcast isn’t practical, but is there some minimum that people expect? Is it 2 minutes, 10 minutes, etc.?
My next biggest question:
For subject matter, do people like podcasts where you talk about some subject of interest, but where it’s only you speaking, giving your opinion? As opposed to teaching specifics about some thing?
Or are give and take conversations between two people much better?
Jerod Morris says
You ask some great questions — that I do not think have any perfect, consistent, or universal answers. 🙂 Frankly, it just depends on the topic you’re attacking and the audience you’re targeting.
For example, Robert Bruce’s Unusually Short Stories podcast is phenomenal. But they are really, really short and provide zero in terms of education. Yet … it works.
And Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast episodes can be 3-4 hours long of JUST HIM TALKING! Which sounded insane to me, until I became a listener of his show and really got in it.
So there just is no way to answer that question across the board. For whatever your topic and audience you’re targeting, I would dig in and find out what is out there. What is expected? What is standard? And then, if you want to be save, operate within those parameters but try to carve out a unique, differentiated position for yourself.
And thanks for the examples about Robert Bruce and Dan Carlin, fascinating hat both extremes work.
Do you have any other examples that are good references (case studies) you can share?
I’ve seen podcasters who post along with the podcast itself a summary of what’s been discussed (with time stamps), sometimes including a 1,500-word narrative based on a 30-40-minute podcast, AND a transcript.
I was wondering: are all three pieces of content really necessary? Which way is the best way to go? Especially when you just launched say a bi-weekly podcast and you’re a one man/one woman show.
Loved the second episode of Showrunner with you and Jon! Looking forward to the next one!
Jerod Morris says
Thank you so much for the kind words Anca, and for listening! We appreciate it.
Is all of that necessary? No, absolutely not. Is the extra content helpful? It certainly can be. Here is how I would prioritize it:
1) Write a short but descriptive lede for the episode — so people know what the big idea is, whether they are looking in iTunes or on the site.
2) Use bullet points to highlight the major topics/themes discussed (time stamp it if you want to, but I don’t think it’s worth it unless it’s a specific how-to episode or such a wide-ranging discussion that the topics are not related.)
4) Long, flowing blog post about the topic
Auretha Callison says
I have a question. I’m just starting and have super ideas to take to my brand.
I’m really wanting to do interviews and there are great interfaces like http://www.FreeTeleconference.com where I can do a live call so people can call in with questions and participate.
However, when I did my first interview, I used my cellphone phone network channel is so LIMITED that the sound quality is very muffled. I hired a sound engineer to tweak it, and that was his feedback. There wasn’t much he could do.
Have any suggestions of other ways I could have myself and my interview-ee call into another interface for better recording quality than our phones?
Jerod Morris says
Auretha, I think your options are limited if you are going to record with your phone. If you are serious about launching a podcast, I would invest $50-100 in a decent mic; or at worst, I’d pay $20-25 for a headset. That way you can plug into your computer and use something like Skype for recording. At least then YOUR audio will sound decent-to-good even if your guest is on a phone. Ideally, both people would have microphones — it’s just the expectation that audiences have now.
Why are you not on Stitcher and other podcast players? You’re teaching how to podcast but not showing how to maximize exposure and listeners. It’s difficult to listen through a smartphone browser. Not all of us drink the Apple juice.
Jerod Morris says
Odell, if you search for The Showrunner on Stitcher you will find it. 🙂
Darren DeMatas says
So true about podcast listeners. I just launched my podcast – with a lot of help from some awesome people 🙂
I was completely SHOCKED at who listened to it, and even signed up. People I would have never expected. This is only one day after launching.
Jerod Morris says
That’s great Darren! I’m excited about your show. I think it will be a big positive for you.