James Schramko and Luke Moulton lift the lid on the subject of Podcasting…. Luke Moulton used to co-host a podcast with Tim Reid. I also co-host a podcast with Timbo so this episode was a bit of fun to make.
Highlights from this podcast
- How professional do you need to go for your first podcast?
- Does a recording studio help?
- Do you need an official ‘bumper’?
- Broadcasting with no pants…
- Setting the stage quality wise for recording from the start
- How to invite interviewees to record with you
- Building a podcasts into a powerful and strong community
- How to start a podcast
- The key to getting good stories from interviewees
- Leverage your audience to the fullest extent possible
- The reason why you need to have a range of products that are appropriate products
- Podcasts are a more do to with traffic rather than being a product?
- Having a traffic source builds up traffic to the front door
- How to build authority build trust
- Are people in a position to take action when listening to your show?
- Selling versus developing authority
- How to reassure the audience that you are worth working with
- How to measure sales from podcasts using a trackable link
- Detailed podcasting strategy
- The biggest potential pitfalls and what you would might do differently
- Are podcasts growing or in a declining trend?
- The way people consume media is changing
- How does the apple iTunes algorithm work?
- Do you polarise an audience or go with the grain?
- Don’t try and be everyones cup of tea
- Production quality for podcasts are less onerous than video
- Why pro podcasting production values can create a difference
- The importance of keeping your sound levels consistent
- Press record and do it yourself
- The famed double headed recording technique
- Stats you can use pod track to discover data about your audience
- How you can tell what browsers people use.
- Why you should know your audience so that you can optimise the content
- Is podcasting for everyone?
- How to install your podcasting plugin to a blog then retro add it to iTunes
- The three most popular podcasting formats…
- What equipment is good?
- Why Amazon S3 might save you some headaches
- In iTunes should you target tight or broad?
- James special Facebook campaign around your experts name to bring new listeners trick
- The Authority Leverage process for leveraging a podcast after publishing it
James: James Schramko here, and today we’ve got a special guest who is no stranger to the expertise of podcasting. I think podcasting is a hot topic right now. So I went out and I tracked down my podcast partner’s other partner Luke Moulton. Welcome to the show.
Luke: How are you James?
James: Or should I say Lukey, Lukey, Lukey. Would that feel more familiar?
Luke: Yeah it does actually. It feels pretty good and a former podcasting partner too James. Timbo and I have kind of gone separate ways in the podcasting arena. But that’s all good.
James: So I thought it’ll be pretty funny to have a podcast with you because we’re both used to podcasting with Tim and I’m just wondering what will happen here. In our show, Tim is the one who sort of keeps the time and asks me the questions and pushes me around a bit.
James: I don’t know how it works in yours I guess. Is that him in your show or are you more of the time keeper?
Luke: I’m probably more the time keeper but he’s definitely the pushy one. (Laughs)
Luke: Timbo knows I love him and love him dearly as I’m sure you do James.
James: I do. He makes me laugh. I mean I think he carries our show. The one I do with him. It’s his humour and his entertaining nature that I think makes it work. Could be interesting to see what comes out today.
Luke: Yeah. He’s going to love hearing that. He’s got a great interview technique as well I think. So he will continue to do well in podcasting I’d say.
A bit of background
James: So let’s talk about the topic of podcasting. You’ve been doing it for around about 3 years.
Luke: Sure have. I cannot believe it’s been that long. And it’s been fantastic. I mean getting to speak to people like yourself James. I think we interviewed you in September, 2012 might have been. I guess getting to talk to experts, learning from it and certainly I guess building authority as well. It’s been a fabulous vehicle for that.
James: Well I remember when you asked me to do an interview. That was pretty much my first involvement in a more professional podcast and by that I mean you guys had the official bump in and the disclaimer bump out and then the established show and you booked a time with me and phoned me up and we talked. I wasn’t sure if it was live or not because you were calling from a studio. You actually went to a professional recording studio.
Luke: We were very lucky. Tim knew the producer of Hamish & Andy. He was actually able to get us studio time at Fox FM here at Melbourne. It was a very nice way to start a podcast. We had a professional studio, we’re actually sitting in the same studio that Hamish & Andy would do their broadcasting from. We were very lucky in the older days.
James: And for our overseas listeners, Hamish & Andy are very popular duo in Australia they’re right up there. I guess they’re quite funny and you must have felt weird sitting in the same studio.
Luke: Yeah, I can certainly remember going in there I think on a Friday and I do this segment on a Friday called Pants Off Friday. With radio you never actually know whether they’re taking a piss or whether they’re actually doing it. They were just sitting in their boxes. And it was wonderful and I guess it sort of set the stage quality wise for the recording.
You know we actually had Sam who was the producer doing our sound as well. We were really lucky to have I guess, get that quality from the start. Also, actually inviting these interviewees, into the studio was like, it was a good way to get a leg up, we weren’t just recording from our garage and we were able to invite people to a professional space to do interviews.
James: Well that’s a good discussion point. Certainly when I came in as a guest, it was first time I’d heard terms like show-notes. It was really interesting from that perspective. But also straight after the episode aired there was a wave of sales so I realized the power of having that audience and the community. How do you think you built up such a strong community there? What would you do differently if you were starting a podcast today as many of our listeners will no doubt be entertaining straight after they find out why it’s so important?
What Luke would do differently
Luke: Well first of all I think how do we build an audience? One was consistency. We actually go into the studio probably once a month and record. Sort of 4 or 5 shows and then rip them out obviously over the coming weeks. So it was just being really consistent.
Getting good interviewees who have a really good story to tell. I think we also certainly tried to leverage their audience as well. Inviting people along that had an audience. Probably like yourself James. We were able to put it out there. I think they’re probably the main things.
What would I do differently? I supposed for me for and one of the reasons why perhaps for those of your listeners who listen to Small Business Big Marketing probably know that I have recently left that podcast. Probably one of the reasons why is I don’t really have the means to leverage that podcast. So I guess I put the cart before the horse.
I suppose I’d probably do different, I’d probably build up a range of products that are appropriate for my audience. Timbo and I certainly did produce a few products here and there but the focus was really always the podcasting not the product.
James: That is such a point. I’m going to jump in there because I’ve had a lot of to and fro discussion with Tim over the last year where I finally figured out the answer. That podcast is a traffic rather than a product and for me, having a traffic source has been really beneficial for the rest of my business by building up that front door, letting people get to know you and being able to transport yourself to their smart phone. They can listen to you while they’re jogging and walking. For them to go and investigate what else you have has been highly profitable for me so I totally understand why if you only had the podcast then that must be very frustrating.
Luke: Yeah definitely. I think it probably would’ve been a different story if it was sort of 6 or 7 years ago. I had a web development business here in Melbourne for about 7 years and I sold that 4 years ago and it was actually just after that, well not long after that that I started podcasting with Tim. If I had had that business, podcasting would’ve been a fantastic platform to get my name out there.
Target of the audience at that time was small businesses and providing websites to small businesses. Not unlike obviously some of the services that you provide James. So that would have definitely been a fantastic platform to be able to build authority, build trust and attract my target audience.
I suppose, probably speaking fairly honestly I got a bit burned out with this service based business and certainly if I knew some of the things I knew now I would’ve done things a lot differently and that might not be the case. So I guess I never really went into the podcast with an intention of selling something off the back of it. It was really just initially a bit of fun and yeah it did end up doing well but then I got to the position where it’s like, hang on, what am I leveraging here? I’m really not leveraging anything.
Having a strategy
James: So the real key point here is that it’s good to have a strategy when you’re setting up your podcast, have enough understanding of where it leads to and what comes next. Would you say that’s fair?
Luke: Oh absolutely. Yeah. I think one of the big problems with podcasting as a medium is that quite often people aren’t in a position to take action. So you know, we used too big on sales mediums whether it be a video or a sales page where you’re actually trying to sell to the customer.
Podcasting is really I don’t think about selling. Sure we can recommend products and services that we think are of good value and maybe the listener will take that up but I think it’s certainly more about developing and building authority and reassuring the audience that you are worth working with or your information’s going to be good that you’re selling off the back of it.
James: You’re right. Well you know from my own experience I’ve been able to measure my podcast as causing sales because you’re probably aware, every single one of our transcriptions and every one of our emails to customers has a trackable link and I can actually trace them back to goal conversions in my cart.
I believe that marketing should be tracked and measured but I really think branding is actually the new black. I think having really strong brand names, having a way to keep reaching your customers so that when they are ready to buy, they have a fairly quick recall of who you are is good. And my tracking actually indicates that, yes, they do come and buy stuff which is great.
This is good. This is like the podcasting strategy part that really no one talks about. Everyone talks about formats and how you actually set one up and that’s a great thing for us to discuss next perhaps. But I like the fact that we’ve covered some of the strategy elements and the pitfalls and what you do differently.
It seems that a few years ago podcasting was a little less well known but all of a sudden, I don’t know whether it’s because we brought it to the heart of my own community with the FastWebFormula appearance, whether it’s because so many of my own customers have engaged with podcast now, but I’m seeing a lot of podcasts spring up. I’ve helped a few customers setup podcasts and they’ve taken to iTunes very well. Do you think that this is a growing trend or is it in decline?
A growing trend
Luke: I think it’s a growing trend. I mean obviously the way that people consume media now is changing. People want stuff on demand instead of being pushed at them, obviously in the case of commercial TV and commercial radio. So I think certainly iTunes isn’t going anywhere.
Podcasting is a very popular medium to consume content. I certainly think the likes of our peers James have certainly taken to it in Australia. You know like Ed Dale, Pete Williams. And there’s been heaps and heaps of local podcasters that have been started up around business and marketing.
I definitely think it’s the increasing trend and obviously where Apple’s going with their technology as well. You know the Apple TV and probably the Apple stand-alone TV that may well be coming out. I think it’s something that will keep increasing in popularity.
James: Yeah, I’ve had an Apple TV for a while and I can’t imagine why every household in Australia doesn’t have one. It’s just incredible.
Luke: I’ve been wanting to ask you about your Apple TV James.
James: Go for it. This is the great place. I want to talk Apple and I also, I want to talk about the iTunes secret ranking algorithm as well. So let’s talk Apple for a minute and iTunes.
Luke: First of all, I understand that your internet connection is as bad as mine. How do you go when you download stuff on your Apple TV?
James: What we need to do is we need to think about what we want to watch at around about lunch time or mid-afternoon, and we select something. I have 2 separate internet connections here which is something that I actually saw Jen Sheahan Facebook about once. I thought that’s so clever and I looked around and sure enough there’s about 10 phone lines into this place because like most large properties it had sort of an office function in one part.
I actually setup one whole connection just for downloads and uploads. That way I can download things for the Apple TV and also I can upload all the videos that I’m taking which is every single day and I can run webinars on it which is something I do every single day and the family can still suck the other one dry.
You know they’ve got about 25 iPads and iPhones and iTouches and iMacs and Macbooks and then we even have a wireless printer and PlayStation. It’s just hammering that poor little thing. I don’t know how many hundreds of Gigabytes we use here but I think we have up to a thousand Gigabytes on our combined 2 lines and I damn well use it.
Luke: Nice. I think I have to do that myself.
James: Get the second line. That’s a no brainer. If you have such a poor connection. In fact sometimes you can even throttle the two together. Join the modem somehow, we’re not even fast enough to do that unfortunately.
Luke: Nice. Well I’m actually on wireless broadband so it can get a bit sticky at times and expensive too.
Ranking well in iTunes
James: Yes, well that’s it. What do you think about the iTunes ranking algorithm? They don’t publish it like Google. How do you get an iTunes show ranking well in the store and does it make a big difference to the numbers?
Luke: I think there are a number of things, I think Tim actually tried to or did get in touch with someone at Apple once and I just quoted touch points. I think there are a number of things that affects where you’re ranked in iTunes. First of all is how many people are looking at your podcast iTunes profile.
But probably more importantly how many people are hitting the feeds. The RSS feeds that goes along with iTunes. I’m pretty sure it’s how many people are essentially hitting that feed and downloading your podcast.
I think if you’ve got a list and you’re able to push to that list, it’s very helpful. But then, I think the more people that subscribe the better. With Small Business Big Marketing we’d always see fluctuation.
Obviously we’d go down in ranking when we hadn’t put a podcast out for a while. So I think there’s also a bit of frequency in there as well. If you’re frequently putting podcast episodes, I think iTunes would tend to float you to the top.
James: Yeah, I’ve seen where you’ve resurgences and it sort of came back and all the episodes start to float out again and sort of give it a new life.
Luke: That may be linking from more recent episodes back to older ones. It may just be new audience finding new episodes, it may also be mentions, if yourself and Tim have mentioned of it as well, I think people tend to go looking and download all our older episodes.
James: Well I think that customers have a collection mentality. Quite often they say to me, “Okay, I’ve just found your show and I’m working my way through from the start and I’m up to number x.” I think they actually do go back and replay this sequence.
Luke: Yeah, definitely. I’m sure you have the emails that say I’m going through your back catalogue and I’ve listened to every episode twice. Yeah I think people do go back, for sure.
Should you polarize your audience?
James: Now, what are your thoughts on how you tune towards the audience? Do you like to polarize or do you like to sort of go with the grain and sort of work within the constraints? Both Tim and I have lost audience members. He lost an audience member for talking about his sphincter being tightened slightly, and I lost one for religious reference.