Charley: So James, we’re at an interesting time in podcasting, where it’s been around for a while now. And one of the things that I’ve been asked many times is, is it too late to start a podcast? Or if you really like the idea of doing a podcast, and it’s something you would love to have with your business, have you missed the boat? Or is there things that can be done to start a show today?
James: I don’t think you missed the boat. I actually think it’s going to continue swelling, and becoming more important. I was just speaking to one of my clients who publishes a podcasting course and he’s just redone the whole course. And with really powerful people like him in the marketplace, publishing really good content, there will be a whole new wave of people coming in. And like any environment, there’ll be people who thrive and there’ll be people who just crash and burn. They’ll come in, they’ll fail and then leave, and it will leave the survivors.
Whilst I got into podcasting early enough, like over 10 years ago, I’ve been able to ride the wave. But I still had to keep working and innovate to stay fresh with all the onslaught of new stuff. So I think a very important thing would be to understand why you want to do a podcast. If it’s just because you love the sound of your own voice, that would be a terrible reason to have a podcast. If you feel that you can bring something unique to the market, if you can express or articulate things in a way that’s not already there, that might give you some cut-through. And of course, there will be a minimum standard of production values that will help you shine above many people who produce something that’s subpar.
And you also have to have the discipline to stick around at it. A lot of people I think, do a few episodes and then give up because you’re not going to get immediate listenership when you publish. Like almost no one will be listening to you. And also you probably won’t generate and drive a lot of sales straight off your podcast when you’re starting out. It works for me because I’ve built momentum, and I’ve had people listen for literally years. Like in one case, someone listened to me for eight years before they made a purchase. So I do put calls to action in my podcast. It will be unreasonable for you to expect a quick result but what I do think they help with is conversions.
I think if you have a podcast and you could send people to listen to some of your content and get to know you, that will enhance their ability to risk placing an order with you. So you know, there might be people starting a podcast for very different reasons. But I’d say if you want to increase your conversions, if you are interested enough to stick around with it, and you can come up with something unique or interesting to the marketplace, and if you have a minimum level of production values then you will probably go okay.
But I’ll definitely try and find someone like Charley and ask them, Charley, tell me about how to be a great podcaster and what are the tips? Because you’ve really dialed in on this, and you’re what I would consider an aficionado, and you’ve taken the time to research and understand the difference in the equipment, and to study what makes shows go well or not. So try and find an expert and draw some experience from them if you can. Because when I started out, I kind of had to figure it out for myself. I had Tim Reid, he gave me a PDF document on how to set up a podcast and we sort of stumbled over it. And everything that I learned, I then documented. I did a presentation at Traffic and Conversions, gosh, it must have been about five or six years ago, on podcasting. Like back then people who started would have been in the market for some time now, half a decade, if they’ve done it then. I did a really popular post with Noah Kagan on how to get your first million downloads and it still gets a lot of SEO traffic apparently. So there are people who have a foothold and you’re not going to topple them easily. But I do see from time to time a fresh show come out and grab attention and stick.
So yes, it’s competitive but that’s also good. More moms and dads are getting access to a podcast, plugging the phone device into their new car that comes with all that ability to play a podcast. And when normal people talk about podcasts, which they certainly didn’t 10 years ago, you got to think it’s a trend to get into and not to escape from.
Charley: Oh, I love that point. And I really agree that’s one of the big kind of macro plays that’s going on at the moment is all the new cars are default with podcast integration. Like it comes out of the box now, there’s no more using these things. So ease of getting into podcasting is going to get even bigger. And I’ve noticed something really interesting locally, is even if you do listen to the radio that many radio stations actually promote their podcasts and spin-off shows. So they’re sitting there, and I’m just paraphrasing and obviously this is an opinion, but even they are accepting defeat. Basically they go, radios are on the way out, podcasting is coming in because people want more individualized listening experiences and want to listen to the topics they’re interested in. So I think this is huge.
And to come back to your point there is like, I would agree sustain is what builds champions in this space. If you’re someone that’s easily defeated after maybe 10 episodes, and go, it’s not working, this definitely isn’t the space for you. And I also think that, thank you, because you’ve made room for me and my shows, because in your falling out it’s like you’re letting the people who do have the sustain and consistency come through.
But I want to go deeper here because this is something I’ve really seen. You mentioned about kind of minimum production quality. So what I noticed in like how we’ve had a lot of success in more recent times, is that if you’re just going to do an audio version of your podcast, make one image and maybe do like a little audiogram. Like that’s what everyone is doing and breaking through on that level of production, really hard. Like you really are just absolutely fishing in a swarming ocean, there’s so many fishermen around where you want to really create your own ocean. And you can probably tell which book I’ve recently been reading off that comment.
But what we noticed is like what we’re doing now, if you’re willing to do video, if you’re willing to make snippets and short clips, if you’re willing to make your production look a little bit more polished and set up a set, you can stand out even if your content is, let’s say, a little bit unique but similar, but you’re willing to go the extra mile with production quality and accessibility through Facebook and YouTube and video elements, as well. So I would lean into that massively if I was starting again today.
James: Yeah, and look, you are leaning into production quality and value and I’m seeing stuff on LinkedIn and Facebook and little teaser videos and we’re definitely doing it with our team, as well. We’re making sure that we have teasers coming out, that we are supporting our podcast through our social media and putting the effort to promote it because the whole point is to educate and motivate people. And a good chunk of listenership over time will become a customer so we have to get our message out to them.
Charley: I still can’t believe someone waited, was it eight years to purchase? What a lead cycle!
James: What about the person who waited nine years to claim a website that they’ve purchased from me and not used at a live event that I spoke at in the UK? Wow. Some people are operating on a different tempo than us, Charley.
Charley: Well, nonetheless, I think this supports the idea of why podcasting is so powerful. It’s like I challenge someone to find another medium that will keep a lead warm for that long.
James: Yeah, look, I don’t even like the sound of my own voice, Charley but I’ve got lots of people listen, and every time I travel over to a conference in the US, so many people come up to me and they know me. It’s really quite bizarre. I’m just a surfer who is in a little back room of my house, pumping out an episode every now and then.
So, it gives you so much leverage and it’s such a strong medium. And if I had to pay for the amount of traffic I’ve had, I mean I’ve literally had millions of downloads, it would have been pretty expensive.
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