Charley: James, I want to jump into another topic here that I think you’re probably the master of when it comes to podcasting. I do not know many other people that have been in the game as long as you. I would say you’re one of the people that I recognize as the master of the long game and long-game thinking. So I want to ask you some questions about like, how long do you think people need to actually do podcasting to see a result from? How long does this game need to be?
James: I think it’s potentially a crowded market and you wouldn’t want to go into it without a good strategy. I think you’ve got to give it time. Like, everyone’s all worried about the stuff at the beginning. But I would say a couple things.
Firstly, your first show should be quite good. It’s like watching a new Netflix series, you give it a chance and if it’s not grabbing you, you move on. And it takes a lot of discipline to watch the first three episodes of a new Netflix series, if you’ve sort of already invested in the characters of the last one. It’s all-new, it’s hard work. So I actually say your first show should be quite good. But you have to put some thought into what you’re going to call the show, you have to have a look at the premise of it and have some kind of a structure that you stick to and people do like to hear the show ongoing.
When I was having spasmodic distribution for a while there, people would email me and say, Have you taken me off the list? Is everything okay? I haven’t seen a show for a while. Like, they do get into that routine, and they want to consume. And it’s great to have a back catalogue, which is good.
So here’s a little tip that not many people would be aware of. If you’ve already been publishing a blog, or any kind of content for a while, maybe you’ve been putting it to Medium or maybe it’s on your website, and you don’t have a show or audio, you could actually just go back and find your best blog posts and read them as audio. And then retro-publish a podcast. And when you upload it to iTunes, it will actually backfill your blog for even years, in some cases. That’s kind of how mine started. I was doing audio podcasts, but they weren’t really podcasts. They were audio episodes published with a player on my site. This is over 10 years ago.
And then a couple of years into it, I met this guy called Tim. And Tim had a popular show in Australia, a business podcast. And he showed me how to set it up on iTunes. And we started a new podcast called FreedomOcean. And once I realized how that works, I went and retro-submitted my other site and it backdated the episodes and it was as if it was always there. So, that’s how I’ve created this reach.
Now when you build up a body of work, over time, it just keeps ticking along. And you’ll find some people listen to an episode and they like it and then they go back to the start. For that reason, the most popular podcast I’ve ever done of my own shows is the first episode of a podcast called ThinkActGet with Ezra Firestone. Because as Ezra got more famous and more people got exposed to the podcast, they go back to the first one and have a listen to it. And we nailed the premise on that show. It was a fabulous series.
But it’s had like tens of thousands of downloads, because that first episode is the foundation path to help someone decide if they want to listen to more. So even now, a new person might discover me by watching this video or seeing a recommended book on Amazon. Maybe they’re looking for a book and they see my book, and they buy Work Less, Make More. And then they go and search more and they find I got a podcast and then they listen to one, maybe it’s one with you and I Charley. And then they’ll say, Okay, what else? And they’ll see there’s this whole back catalogue and then it gets to work. Kind of like a new kid now discovering the Beatles, or the Rolling Stones.
That back catalogue can do a lot of heavy lifting in the future. But almost no one will listen to you when you start out. Like you might get 10 downloads or 30 downloads. I say go for that first thousand downloads, that’s really what you need to aim for. Just think about that first thousand and it might take you a while to get there. But if you think about it in terms of a classroom, remember when you’re at school, you might only have 20 or 30 kids in a classroom. Like if you can have 30 listens, that’s like a whole classroom listening to you. If you could get a thousand that is the entire school listening to you. If you could get 50 or 60,000 downloads a month, that is like having a massive football stadium listening to you. When you think of it in those terms, it’s incredible.
In fact, I’ve think I’ve had about four and a half million downloads of my podcast, that it’s like you starting to talk about the population of some countries, certainly, cities. Like, that might be how many people are in Melbourne, for example, where you live. The entire population of the city have listened to the podcast. So over time, it really compounds.
Charley: I think we can get stuck behind the numbers occasionally and not put it into context like, Hang on, that’s like a country. It’s actually crazy when you think about it, like what type of impact a podcast might have.
Now there are two reasons that I really lean into here is like, for me, it seems that podcasting is one of the few things that pays compound interest. In business, or especially in marketing, there are not many these days. It’s like you create a Facebook video and you upload it in there. It’s like it could be disappearing into the ethos in minutes, half-hour? I’ll give it an hour, we’ll be generous. But as you mentioned there, it’s like if you’re continually working on your podcast, like people do, come back and listen to that episode one.
And I was actually on your show a little while ago, about six months ago, now. I still get the occasional message. I still get someone saying, Hey, I listened to that episode. I heard that thing, or whatever we’re talking.
James: People who appear on my show like they’re getting a really long residual impact. And often overlooked, especially your friends who are on one particular platform is you put on your own website and you start transcribing it and you put the guest’s name here and there, I’m willing to bet that my site picks up some search traffic for people looking for you. And then they can hear more about you and then it can prompt them to the call to action.
So the SEO benefit of having a podcast has been good for me. I had a very strong SEO interest and even had an SEO business, a seven-figure-a-year SEO agency, which we kept for more than half a decade and eventually sold. But our website attracts a lot of search traffic. I think more than a third of our traffic is coming from Google, people typing in phrases. And because we transcribe our episodes, they’re going to find you if someone’s looking to learn how to structure deals and the topic we were talking about there, or they’re searching for your name, then they’re probably going to find the episode. And I think that’s a great benefit.
What you’re doing there at ValherMedia.com is helping people get these shows from the microphone out into the marketplace and in a usable format across the multi-distribution points that actually gets it working for them. Because it’s not doing that much while it’s in someone’s head. And it’s doing a little bit while it’s sitting on their hard drive. But it can do a lot when it gets published and pushed across the internet in the right format, in the right places with a good strategy behind it.
Charley: James, you just nailed one of our, I want to say our little secret or sneaky strategies. I feel like this is so underlooked or overlooked I should say is that if you’re recording these content, and you’re not taking advantage of publishing it on your website, and trying to rank for your guest’s name, putting that in the keyword density like it’s just another little leverage point that can make a huge difference. Definitely one of the things we try and take advantage of. It absolutely works.
James: Such an easy win. And if you go a little bit extra and you create some tweetables and you put some fresh images, you can start attracting some social shares. You can get the image search rankings. Of course, Google really favors your site if it’s valuable and people stick around. It’s nice to play the episode on the page. Some people stay on my site for half an hour. It has to be a good signal for SEO.
Charley: Definitely, absolutely agree with that. And I think it was released. I think a friend of ours Stephan Spencer even said that, you know, duration on site really does count for a lot these days. So just another reason how podcasting can kind of help with another layer of the business.
James: Most definitely.