The opportunity of podcasting
Dan: Yeah, the chocolate waffle. It’s hilarious. I think this is a big thing that people miss is that guys like me, I’m wholly focused on growing my business and improving my life. I don’t give a crap about the news. I don’t give a crap about reality TV. Like all these traditional entertainment outlets, I’m done with. In many ways, like although tension is getting scarcer, there’s still not enough good entertainment, engaging content for me. I think that’s a huge opportunity for individual publishers. That’s the opportunity represented by podcasting. So yes, I do know about the entertaining content that you’re putting out because I’m waiting for more of it.
James: Another one was the lack of a tripod or any sort of professional equipment. For the most part, the videos were being shot by a 10 year old kid, holding my iPhone, or 12 year old, or the 15 year old, or my wife. Like I had a varying crew. Sometimes, they literally couldn’t hold the thing for that 5-minute shot. Then they’re lowering it, and lowering it, and in fits of laugher. I still included the outtakes in because I just thought it was hilarious.
In fact, there was this one bit where I said, “Whatever you keep focusing on, that’s what you get,” as my daughter was saying, “I can’t hold this any longer,” and it’s literally falling to the ground. But when I introduced that, I didn’t say anything about it, but people started commenting saying, “I love the outtakes.” And I’m like, “OK. Well, that’s interesting.” So in the case of me where I can be quite business minded, it’s OK to bring that personality back in.
The most popular episode by far was the Ferrari museum visit. That resonated a lot with people, and I think, to me, again it was like we’ve tapped into some other brands’ emotion. They do such good at emotional selling, the Ferrari brand. When you combine that with your own show, it just took on Facebook with that particular piece.
Top 2 critical elements
Dan: Yes. There’s two critical elements here. Number one is with the Ferrari piece, the moment you said that, I immediately thought, that’s the traffic piggyback technique. I love this idea of basically poaching traffic from other sources. This is in particular useful for timely topics. The two biggest blog posts I’ve ever written were from poached traffic. I basically did rip off versions of viral articles. And leveraged the fact that people were already asking for that kind of content. People already want Ferrari content. They’re asking for that. So if you can find a way to dovetail your content into that, that’s a traffic piggyback.
I think another way to look at this outtakes issues, and I was thinking while we’re talking like there needs to be a Schramko behind the mic show is that these outtakes are actually narrative elements. There’s sort of a hidden value to podcasting that people don’t talk about a lot, which is giving people vision, giving people ideas of what to do.
Your recent thread in SilverCircle, “Fly on the Wall”, I don’t know if I can reveal the inside or goodies, but being able to watch the way you think and how you make decisions, and how you go through life is really useful actually. More so than you just coming with a silver tray and giving me all this information, I actually like to watch how you operate. I think by offering some narrative elements in your content, you can give people an idea and a story to follow.
James: That one doesn’t feel so self-indulgent and that is because I was literally sitting next to Brent at a conference on the weekend, and he said, “Steve O and I, we often talk about what you do just when you don’t think anyone was watching.” He watched me build a slide deck that I was presenting on the next day, and I put it together, I don’t know, maybe 30 or 40 minutes from scratch with a framework again. I’ve got a simple framework. I drew out on one piece of paper a grid , and I’ve covered it with the format why, what, how, what if. I have an introduction, my three or four main points, and then my summary, and I tied the summary at the result into the introduction, and I created, and then I presented it. And then post event, I’ve leveraged it, turned it into a bonus and it’s own product.
So he then suggested, start this fly on the wall. So when I’m posting about crap that I do, like I was out there on the weekend filming with a 60-frames-per-second camera, me shooting a stuffed teddy bear with my archery kit, when I’m sharing that personal behind the scenes what I’m up to thing, then I don’t feel bad because he actually asked for it. So it’s a customer driven request.
I actually feel amazingly cathartic about just sharing that stuff, and if it is of use to someone, well great. But it’s actually quite nice journaling. I imagine you’re probably the journaling type.
Dan: Well, yeah. I mean, I think this is fascinating though. I think it would be interesting. This podcast sometimes, I mean I wonder why you’re interviewing people and they’re not interviewing you. I think you have this black box of interest and intrigue around you. People want to figure out what makes you tick, and I think that that’s what’s so interesting about that forum post, which I think is absolutely fantastic.
I mean I would have thought to ask for it. It might have been a ridiculous request but now that I see it, I love it. One of the things that I’ve noticed, a success trait that I’ve pulled out from watching you, and I see in a lot of people that are successful is that you seem to have a very low friction point for getting into tasks. It’s almost a habit for you to make it as simple as possible to get started. Like the way that you do email or forum responses for example. You treat it almost like an instant messenger. So it’s like it’s not this big deal. It becomes something that you can get into very easily and then create more results for yourself and for your customers. So that’s just one secret sauce I can share with the audience. Behind the mic.
James: Yeah. That’s an interesting distinction because I do. I just had a look yesterday. I’ve posted nearly 5,000 posts in my FastWebFormula forum. I started in January, but I think I opened it up in March. So that’s in a 9-month period. And in my old forum, I did about 10,000 posts over four years. SilverCircle’s got a lot but I do have this flash instantaneous method. I even registered a domain once, which I called Snap Worker.
But from my general management days, I literally had a front and a back door to my office. The back door of the office went to the keyboard for all the cars in the dealership, and the front door was to the sales floor. I had 21 sales people, 4 managers and a couple of valuers in my team. And they would walk through my office all day to the point where in a brand new office, the carpet wore out within a matter of months.
So I had that many interruptions into my office that I became really good at microtask or micro-focused burst of instant decisions. It’s the same methodology I used to keep my inbox down to nothing. I can deal with emails instantly with a short, quick, direct response. I think it is a habit. Another little mental trick that I have, if someone does ask me something, I know if I have to do it a few times or if I have to come back to it, it does actually build in size and it does start to get annoying on your conscience. I keep having this echo of something my father would say. It’s something around, “Just do it right the first time.”
Like if you take a few clothes and they have to go to the laundry, I can walk past the pile of clothes to go downstairs and come back up. It can keep being there annoyingly, or I’d just pick it up the very first time, take it straight to where it needs to go, and it’s done. And there’s no more energy expanded on it. So sometimes, just doing it right now is the shortest possible path that’s going to use the least energy, but that does amazing things for your capacity. It can really increase your ability to get to stuff.
I was literally sitting in my computer an hour or so ago and I’d cleared my inbox and posted to all my forums, and I had nothing else to do except go and create content, that’s why I contacted you and said, “Hey, I’m ready a little bit early if you want.” I have nothing else. Today, the only appointment I had was to talk to you, and that is it.
Dan: Fantastic. Yeah, I agree man. At the end of the day, one way to look at business is just getting an incredible amount of things done to any means possible, whether that’s personal productivity, hiring, any point of leverage you can find and in particular, when it comes to your expertise, having as much capacity as possible is really critical. So I really look for stuff like that and try to change my mindset.
Last week, about four weeks ago, I kind of hit a point where I needed to re-evaluate my inbox tactics. It’s funny how it works. It’s just a mindset shift. It’s a whole new set of kinds of emails in my inbox that get a different set of consideration now based on the kind of volume that I’m seeing. So it’s really all about mindset. Mindset can have an incredible impact on capacity. Let’s put it that way.
James: Yeah. It’s a mindset that drives that system. And then the system can take care of it. So let’s loop back onto that other topic. You were concerned that having structure would reduce your creativity. I think that that actually increases creativity and productivity. So I like this mantra that routine sets you free.
The main thing I wanted to do when I quit my job was to have no staff and no structure because I was so pegged into that nine to five cubicle slavery that I wanted to have nothing. As I’ve built back routine and created habits around it, I’ve actually discovered this greater capacity to have relaxing time when things are taken care of automatically and they become habit. So that’s that one quick daily meeting with my team makes me relax for the rest of the day knowing that they’re all focused on the thing that is best for the business that day.
Having little checklists for, say when someone comes into SilverCircle, I’ve got a checklist to go through that takes care of business. It means I won’t miss a single thing and that I’m able to easily find areas that we can focus on and not have to just wing it. And as a salesperson, I had a system as well. Even though it was a very simple system, on the back of my calculator, I had a telephone script. So that when someone would call me for an inbound sales inquiry, all I had to do was turn my calculator over, and I had my prompts there, which were the main six or seven things that I had to know to be able to sell a car. So relying on systems has actually been one of the major foundations for being able to build up everything that I’ve got.
Dan: Absolutely. I mean I couldn’t agree more. I mean for me, it’s something that I knew and I even wrote about it back when I was starting my first business. I think when I started my second business, which is based around my writing, I had a mindset shift which was just back into the old routine. I just don’t want to deal with the crap anymore. So I’m going to jettison all that stuff, but now I’ve come back to the hard-won one lesson again.
Maybe something similar with what your father said, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing. And don’t mess about with it. So put your best energy into it. And for me that means don’t reinvent the wheel every time. Don’t figure out everytime. Don’t waste your willpower on simple stuff that you can make a list for. Do the same thing. Just like I said, when Ian calls me on Wednesday morning to do the podcast, I pull up the podcast checklist and there’s 25 items and we go through them every week and then I can use all my leftover willpower and decision making energy to add to that, to work the system, or to embellish it or to add a creative flair within that system.
The way I actually have a mental framework for thinking about it, which is especially for content creators, have a voracious input. So take in whatever you want. It’s kind of like the Atkins diet. Eat as much as you want. Let yourself a longest leash possible, but when you create, hold your feet to the fire. Stick to a system, stick to a legible way of producing content and gradually shift that as your audience gives you feedback rather than just doing whatever you want when you wake up in the morning. That’ll turn your productivity into your creativity.
James: You’re writing a book right now. I imagine this would be a handy thing for you to have on hand.
Dan: Yes. I have noticed that the book project has squandered a lot of good energy because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve tried to look for systems and guides, and I think it’s just to cut your teeth kind of thing, and I also need to decide the kind of book that I want to write because this is a career change for me definitely. I’m thinking, based on my experience thus far, that I will try to produce or I will produce two books a year at 30,000 words.
To give you an idea, a book like The 4-Hour Workweek is probably like 65,000 words or 70,000 words. So about half that size of a standard business book, and put them out twice a year. So have a more of a serialized kind of approach to high end content. I was talking to a blogger friend who has, I’m not sure how many subscribers she has, but not too many, but she’s got a small, loyal audience, recently put out a legitimate ebook, 25,000 words. Probably the kind of thing that you can create in a month. And 20,000 downloads in the first weekend. So I do think that there’s an opportunity for putting out premier content. The opportunity for that to get picked up by distribution channels that might not pick up stuff like podcasting and blog posts.