SPI 363: Dear Podcasters

Pat Flynn: Podcasts. Isn’t it weird how, when you really think about what’s happening right now, you’re listening to a recording of me in my dirty home office—dirty because there’s a lot of . . . I just didn’t have time. You’re listening to this at some point in the future, and it kind of feels like we’re speaking to each other right now. I might even be able to call out exactly where you are. Like on a drive right now, or maybe you’re on a walk, maybe you just woke up and this is the first thing you turned on in the morning, or maybe you’re out working out and get stuff done, washing the dishes—that’s when I listen to podcasts.

It doesn’t really matter where you’re at. First of all, I just want to say thank you for listening. But second of all, I just want you to think how powerful this is. I created this message days ago, weeks ago, perhaps months, years ago. Who knows, maybe 200 years from now, I can say centuries ago. Although I would be dead by then, but that’s okay. This is why I’m trying to leave my legacy, so I’ll keep going in some way, shape or form. But anyway, we’re getting a little deep too quickly here, and this music isn’t really helping with that. So let me cut it off.

All right. Okay, that’s better. No, actually, I kind of like the music. Let’s bring it back. Thank you.

I want to just talk about podcasting. First of all, I want to speak to those of you who don’t yet have a podcast, and if you do have a podcast, I’m going to talk to you depending on what level you’re at, or how long you’ve been doing it. If you’ve been only podcasting for a couple months, I have a message to share with you. If you’ve been podcasting for six to twelve months, I have a different message to share with you. If you’ve been podcasting for a couple years, I have another message. If you’ve been podcasting for longer than that, I have an even bigger message to share with you. So, wherever you’re at, make sure you stick around. Welcome to The Smart Passive Income Podcast.

You know what I love about podcasts? You could just do whatever you want. It’s your show, it’s the most incredible thing. If you have a podcast, number one, just be proud of what you’ve created. You’ve created something amazing.

By the way, how did I time that so perfectly? It’s called editing, people. That’s the cool thing about podcasts too, you can take a couple tries. It took me a couple tries to get that right. No, it was not done in one take. But that’s the beauty of editing. That’s the beauty of content that we can create and shape, and hopefully inspire and educate and entertain in some way, shape, or form.

So to start off this podcast about podcasts, I want to speak to those of you who are listening right now, who do not yet have a podcast. Why don’t you have a podcast yet? I’m just really curious. Because, and I’m not saying this because it’s what everybody is doing right now, but you got to kind of pay attention to what everybody is doing right now. There are reasons that this platform is so powerful. I’ve already shared some of those things. But more than blogging and easier than video, a podcast can allow you to share your message, to grow your tribe, to build your audience, to make a business actually turn into a reality.

Let’s talk really quick to the more logical side of the audience right now who has yet to start a podcast. You want to talk numbers? I’ve been doing a lot of research on YouTube over the last year, and if you have a watch time of over five minutes, you’re doing extremely well. A video that you publish that gets watched for more than five minutes, you’re doing great. That’s a little worrisome. Now, let’s talk about blogs. How long are people reading blog posts for? Do they even read every single word? No. The answer is no. Hardly anybody ever reads every single word, which is why, by the way, if you have a blog, really important to have really bold section breaks, or headlines, or sub-headlines throughout your article—bold, italic, really make important items stand out, because that’s when a person stops to actually read. But a few minutes, maybe. Now, let’s talk about social media. How long are people on social media? For a very long time. But how long are they with a single person on a social media platform? Not very much. On a podcast? I mean, these episodes here on Smart Passive Income, people are listening to 40 to 60 minutes worth of podcast episodes every single session. My students are reporting the exact same kinds of numbers, 75 percent to 100 percent of completion.

It’s because when a person listens to a podcast, they’re not next to an exit button. When a person is listening to a podcast, they may be standing next to an exit, but they’re not hovering over an exit button. There are no pop-ups in the middle of podcasts, although, that being said, there are mid-roll advertisements—

Old-Time Radio Announcer: You need a balanced breakfast every morning!

Pat: —but usually they’re kind of random, and seemingly out of place. Then, you want to talk about building a business? I mean, most of my students who are coaches have seen an increase in business as a result of their podcast. Many of my students who have launched online courses have launched as a result of the people who have gone from their podcast—it just makes sense.

Then to those of you who are on the more emotional side of things, when you hear a person’s voice, you connect. I think you all know that in order to build a business today, you have to connect with other people. As a podcaster, it’s really weird, because you’re kind of sitting alone in your dirty office, and you’re on the microphone, and that’s it. However, to the listener, it is almost a one-on-one conversation. So I, as a podcaster on this end, can share a one-on-one message with you, but then also tens, hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people at the exact same time. It just makes sense.

So for those of you who are looking to start a podcast, I have a free resource for you. If you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/podcastcheatsheet, again, SmartPassiveIncome.com/podcastcheatsheet, that’ll give you a checklist of all the things you need to do from start to finish to get your show off and running. It’s a free resource. It also comes with a free on-demand video to help you through some of the more difficult parts of that process. SmartPassiveIncome.com/podcastcheatsheet.

Now, if you’re listening to this and you have a podcast, listen up. I want to help you. You know, I’ve been podcasting for nearly a decade now, and I’ve helped tens of thousands of people start their podcast. I’ve more personally trained a few thousand in my course, Power-Up Podcasting. I want to help those of you who already have a podcast right now. Specifically, I want to start with those of you who have just started. You are at one to two months in, and you’re rolling. You’ve probably gotten through that excitement period, and you may be already experiencing a little bit of what’s called podfade.

Podfade is the moment in your podcasting journey where you start to begin to feel the sort of weight on your shoulder of the podcast that you’ve created. When you’re starting out, you don’t feel it, because you’re so excited, you’re up in the air. You can’t wait to get that next episode out. You cannot wait to get that next interview done. Even though you’re scared, you do it anyway. But podfade starts to kick in when you start to notice that maybe other parts of your life are being affected as a result of the podcast that you are feeling like you have to stay consistent with.

I want to give you some tips at this early stage of your podcast that’ll help you. First of all, you got to get your systems down. When you’re starting out, you are figuring out how to put pieces together, and hopefully you’ve gone through some training that can help you make sure you get it done in a very efficient way. However, if you haven’t, you need to make it efficient, because something that may have started out as a fun four-hour editing project could later become an unbearable four-hour editing session.

I’m not saying you have to hand off that work right away. There are likely many different ways that you can, knowing the repeated process that you’ve gone through several times now, make things more efficient. So that’s number one.

Number two, just keep going. This is a very usual thing for podcasters to go through, especially at this stage. You’ve come out with ten episodes, or twenty episodes, and you just are starting to feel like publishing means you have to go through that whole process one more time again. Then after you hit publish on that new episode, you have to figure out again; and then you have to hit publish on the next episode, and then you have to figure it out again. Stop trying to figure it out. Get the systems down so you know the repeated process, and then eventually you’ll be able to hand that off to somebody else if you haven’t already.

In addition, something that helped me really well—and I didn’t discover this until years down the road—was that if I planned my content ahead of time a little bit more, it completely relieved a lot of the weight off my shoulders, because what happened was I was hitting publish and then trying to figure out what my next episode was going to be about. Plan five, ten, even twenty episodes ahead if you can, or at least create a list of potential episodes, and have a list of guests that you can reach out to so that you never ever have to start from scratch again. Put that time to plan in your calendar once a quarter. It’s going to save you a ton of time and a ton of effort. Honestly, the best advice I can give you at that stage is just keep going. You’re starting to get into that messy middle, you haven’t quite hit the sort of period of six to twelve months, which we’ll get to in just a minute, but you’re getting there. This will help you avoid getting into those sort of dark periods of podcasting.

So keep going, stay consistent. Consistency is key. That’s your key to growth when you’re just starting out, because you’re establishing yourself for your existing audience, no matter how big or small. They need to trust that you’re going to continue to do this. That’s how you’re going to get them to subscribe to you when you continually publish and they see that you are showing up. When you show up, they show up. Not right away, but unless you show up, they won’t show up. Just stay consistent and keep going. Okay. That’s number one.

There’s a billion marketing strategies, and these are things that I teach, but you don’t need to know those things right now. You just need to stay consistent because guess what, those early episodes that you’re creating right now, they can be listened to later. Again, that’s the beauty of what you’re creating. You’re creating evergreen content. So somebody who finds you a year from now will want to go back into your archive and listen to the episodes you’re creating right now. That’s special.

So if you’ve just started out, just a big pat on the back for you. That phrase, pat on the back, I got to use that more, because I didn’t know if you knew this, but my name is Pat also. So I want to like give you a pat on the back. Maybe just like a t-shirt with my face in the back, I’m imagining. I don’t want that, actually. That’d be very strange. Because then I’d be walking behind somebody and I’d see myself, that’d be really strange. Getting a little off-topic here, but hey, this is my show, I could do whatever I want. You have your show, do whatever you want, but make sure that you deliver value to your audience and you stay consistent. Congrats for starting, don’t give up.

If you’ve been podcasting for six to twelve months, maybe just about a year, then you’ve probably experienced something called the plateau. This is where you’ve been working hard, you’re getting your systems in place, you got great content coming out, you feel like it’s good and it’s going to get you those spikes and you’re going to get growth. And guess what? It doesn’t happen. It’s very deflating, absolutely deflating. I know, because I’ve been there several different times in my ten years of podcasting. In this time, especially within the six to twelve month mark, as you are now an established podcaster, there are some things you can do that you weren’t able to do before that will help you get off of this plateau, which may be one of the first ones that you’ve experienced.

So this is good news. I think we need some music to support that. That’s better.

All right, so check this out, you’ve been podcasting for a while now, so you have a little bit of an asset on your hands. What do I mean by that? I mean that you built a podcast, you have listeners, you’re not completely brand-new, and it actually doesn’t really matter how many listeners you have—you are a podcaster. When you are a podcaster, guess who you can connect with much easier now than ever? Other podcasters.

You know, Seth Godin recently said that podcasting is the new blogging. If that’s true, which I believe it is, if podcasting is the new blogging, then guest podcasting is the new guest blogging. I’ve been sharing this a lot on YouTube; people have been really digging the strategy. Guess what? It’s not very innovative, it’s not very hard. You just, as a podcaster, you’re now more able to be a guest on another person’s show because now you have an asset. You have a way to get them on your show too. So you could have a little collaboration situation going on.

Not only that, you likely have found your voice by now, so you’re able to have some sort of unique angle, or style, or something that separates you from other people in your space. You know that competitor you’ve been thinking of, that other podcaster who you thought was just like, “Man, if I could only have that market share; if I could only get in front of that audience.” Guess what? This unique voice of yours, this podcast, this unique audience of yours allows you to share this asset and superpower with that competitor, who’s no longer a competitor.

If you have this superpower, guess what? They are now going to see you as an asset for not just themselves, but for their audience too. So let’s just take, for example, you are a podcaster who talks about training dogs. And you happen to specialize in training very violent dogs, and that’s your superpower. You know how to deal with that. Some other trainers, they may know a little bit about it, but you know the most. You’ve dealt with this, you’ve talked about this on your show, you’ve invited people on to tell their stories, and they share how amazing you are at helping them out. That’s just what you do.

You know a lot of dog training things, but you decided to focus a little bit on just that, or you’ve done a number of episodes where you’ve talked about that specific topic alone. Now you go, guess what, to Andrew. He’s a dog trainer, he has a podcast, and now he is in need of somebody who is an expert. He didn’t even know he needed this expertise, but you were able to, in reaching out to Andrew, say, “Hey, Andrew. I have a dog training podcast, but I specialize in very violent dogs. I noticed in your archive of shows you have yet to have an episode about that. You may or may not know how to deal with violent dogs, but I want to serve your audience. Is there any way I can come on your show and share with them? Because maybe one day they will have a dog who turns violent, or maybe they have a neighbor who has a violent dog, they’ll be able to help that family who owns that dog through that crisis. They’ll be able to help that dog have a better life.”

And what is Andrew going to say? “Absolutely.” Why would he say no? You have this expertise, he needs to share this on his site, and on his podcast. Because guess what? It rounds out his content even better. So where does this stem from? This stems from you knowing your superpower. So if you have yet to go through the exercise, at the six to twelve month mark, the year mark anniversary of your podcast—if you don’t know what your superpower is yet, you absolutely have to know what that is.

Now, it may be very difficult for you to figure out what that is on your own, but here’s the thing: By this time you likely have also a community of people out there; maybe you’ve wrangled them into a podcast community in a Facebook group, or on your blog, or website, or on a social media channel of some sort. It doesn’t really matter. Now you have people you can go to to ask, “Hey, I’m looking to do things to expand my podcast, and I need some really quick help from you.” This is the question you ask: “What do you enjoy most about my show? Why do you continue to listen to Vicky’s Violent Dog Podcast?”

That’s a terrible podcast name, I actually wouldn’t name a podcast that. Vicky’s Violent Dog Podcast, that’s a cat noise. Anyway. I wouldn’t name it that. But now I’m like, visualizing the artwork . . . that’s just really bad thoughts. Let’s move past that.

But going back to the thought experiment here, you’re going to go ask your community, “Why do you continue to listen to my show week after week? What are the kinds of things you come here for?” They are going to tell you what your superpower is. And you’re going to take that and you’re going to harness it and 10x it. You’re going to do more of that, whatever that is. So for those of you who are at that mark in your podcast, that’s your next call to action. Next.

This song is so good. You might be wondering where am I getting these songs, how am I adding this background music—I’m getting these songs from a site called Artlist.io. This is not a paid endorsement or anything, I just really love the tool. Artlist.io, you go there, you subscribe and just pay an annual fee, and you get unlimited downloads to all this music that you can use in any which way you want, on videos, on podcasts. Honestly, they’re quality songs. Some of the songs on the air that have voices, some of them are more instrumental like this one. You can literally . . . I would listen to them on the radio. They’re that good. You can even sub-categorize them, as you’re searching for them, by mood.

So if I want to—let me take this one down, and then if I wanted to bring something a little spooky . . . see that? That’s creepy. All right, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. I like this song better anyway.

Now, I love this song because it makes me think of a . . . like a cocktail party, and there’s people hanging around, having some drinks, having some hors d’oeuvres. There’s a band playing in the corner, and everybody is just chatting and having a good time. For those of you who have a podcast and have been podcasting for over a year, between twelve months and twenty-four months, I want you to imagine your audience connecting with each other at a party.

Instead of listening to music like this, they’re listening to your podcast. Yes, there’s not going to be parties of people in a room usually, listening to your podcast at the same time. But there can be conversations in and around and about the podcast episodes that you create. What I’m really talking about here is your community. We hinted at this a little bit in the six to twelve month group, but at this level you need to start building your community if you haven’t already. You need to start focusing on the experiences that your target audience is having with you.

Because likely, you’ve just been coasting now. You’ve been podcasting for nearly a couple years, and you’re kind of on this coaster of just the usual routine. You found the systems, you’ve been able to make it work, maybe even able to make a little bit of money, but you’re just coasting now. If you just continue to coast, you’re going to hit another plateau. But where businesses, and podcasts, and blogs, and video channels thrive is when the community starts to be a part of the process. When you get them involved in some of the upcoming episodes, that’s amazing. Because when people are involved, they’re going to be invested.

When you enable your audience to connect with each other in some way, you’re going to enable them to become bigger fans of you and what you do. As the facilitator of those conversations. So I want to ask you, where is your community at? Do you have them in a place where you can discuss the things that you talk about on your show? Have you ever thought of inviting your community on your show? One of the most successful things that I did in the past was invite a number of my students on my show to interview them about the process of going through the course, but mainly achieving their goals. Of course, just as a natural byproduct of this conversation is they’re going to talk up what helped them there.

Those have been some of the most rewarding episodes, not just because I get to hear people’s stories about how I’ve helped them, but because it actually ads to my bottom line as well. Because guess what? Those are legit testimonials. Real, organic, within a podcast episode without me having to sell my own products. My students are doing the selling for me. Very powerful. So at this stage—and by students I mean people who have taken my advice in some way, shape or form. So, if you don’t yet have a course or haven’t coached people, you can still invite your community members who are part of your tribe on your show too.

If you aren’t already thinking about this, you should be thinking about this at this point. The reason why we haven’t talked about this yet is because you don’t yet have fans or people who have yet to take—they have yet to take this advice and the things that you’re sharing on your show, and actually implementing it, and actually getting results. It takes time. But you’re at that stage now, after a year of podcasting, where it’s about time you focus on your community. You can experiment to see how to bring them together. You might even want to think about starting to create events. When you travel to a certain place, see if you can get some of those listeners to come and have lunch with you and get to know them even more.

It’s about time to start building your community at this stage. If you haven’t done that, it’s a shame. Because they are there and hungry for you and your content, yes, but they’re also hungry to find people just like them. On YouTube the advantage is, guess what, they’re all on the comment section. On a blog, guess what, they’re all connecting with each other on the comments section and on social media. But on a podcast, if you’re just podcasting alone—and yes, maybe you have a little bit of conversations and communication on social media. That’s not enough. You need to consciously and purposefully see what you can do to bring your community together.

It doesn’t mean you have to meet in a physical room. What if it’s a virtual room? Remember, the music. You can still have this feel of a party happening as a result of your brand, your podcast online. In a live setting like Facebook Live, or Instagram Live, or Periscope, or what have you, you can then communicate with them as well. You can start discussions, you can facilitate discussions, you can create polls, you can get them to interact. Guess what? When you get your audience to interact and engage, the byproduct of that is they’re going to invest. They’re going to invest time with you, they’re going to invest in sharing you with others, and potentially if you set it up correctly, and you have something amazing to offer, they’re going to invest in you and your products, and your programs. So if you’re twelve to twenty-four months in, community, because that’s what’s going to keep it alive over time.

Sometimes you don’t even need to talk in a podcast, you just give people time to think, which is pretty amazing. Now, I have one more group left to speak to, and that is the podcasters who are listening to this who have podcasted for over a couple of years. Because by that point, you’ve done this for a long time, you understand all that’s required, you probably have an idea of who it is in your audience that are your raving fans, your community. You know where they are. You would’ve given up by now if they didn’t exist. Either that or you love the craft so much, you’re just going to do it anyway no matter what happens.

But the truth is, I’ll tell you, some of you are going to be completely happy with where you’re at. If you know, 100 percent sure, in your mind, in your heart, that you’re satisfied with where you’re at, then take the Paul Jarvis Company of One route and don’t make growth a priority. I think a lot of times at the two-year mark, a lot of podcasters, including myself, are like, “Okay, that year went like that; this next year has to be 2x that. The year after that, it has to be 5x that.” Maybe you don’t need to grow.

But on the other hand, there’s going to be plenty of you, I know, who want to grow, who want to begin to monetize, who want to grow the little bit of income that you’ve already started as a result of your podcast. Maybe you finally now have seen and have realized the asset that you’ve actually built and you’re now making those relationships, they’re actually connecting, and you are seeing those results. You’re getting a lot of other guest show appearances, you’re having people potentially write blog posts about you and the episodes, and you might start to get featured as—top 20 podcasts you should be listening to if you’re a dog trainer. Shout out to Vicky’s Violent Dog Training Podcast.

But guess what, you’re at that new plateau. You’re a little bit higher, you’re getting thousands of downloads a month. But you know you need more. But you’ve been doing the same thing for two years now. Here’s the truth: What got you here won’t get you there. Right. So, my question to you is, what are you going to do different so that you can get different results? You’ve got to mix it up, you got to launch that product. You got to reach out to that big influencer that you’ve been wanting to reach out and you just didn’t have the guts to do it.

You got to do something. And that’s my big challenge to you. You’ve had a podcasting mic in front of your face for two years. Is that all you’ve been doing? What else can you do on top of that?

Now, it’s funny, because all of you who are listening to this, you might be like, “Pat, you didn’t tell me a ton of marketing things. Like, yes, guest podcasting is one. But what are some of the other strategies? Tell me about repurposing my show? How should I use YouTube, all those things?” Yes, all those things can help. But not even close to the amount that it can help when it comes to the mental shift that has to happen for you to go to the next step.

That way, those of you who are at the one-month mark can get to the twelve-month mark in month three, in terms of like the kinds of things you can begin to do, build your audience and community and take care of them and give them experiences and perhaps meet them in person and start to build raving fans. For those of you who are at the year mark, you can start to launch your products sooner. It’s a mental thing more than anything, guys. The tactics, those are things that I share in my courses, and those are things that exist online that you could find, but it’s a mental shift more than anything, guys.

Trust me, because you’ve probably, if you subscribe to this show, since 2010 when this thing launched, you’ve probably heard me go through a number of mental shifts, even if I didn’t say it straight up, that have accounted for a difference in the quality of this show, the quality of the interviews, the way I’ve been approaching this show, and the fun I’ve been having. My gosh, this episode was so fun to put together for you, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to speak to you. I hope that you enjoyed it. I hope that you’re going to understand that really the only thing holding you back from the growth, or the happiness, or the whatever that you want, is you.

Maybe you need a guide and a person to help you along the way, and I’d be happy to be that for you, but you know what to do. Now, I do want to say that this week, the week that this particular episode comes out, it’s sort of like podcasters week on Smart Passive Income, so if you didn’t know that yet, awesome. I have some videos that came out that go a little bit deeper into the mindset of a podcaster and I do share a little bit of strategies here and there to help you grow your show and make sure you’re set up for success if you are an existing podcaster already.

Again, if you’re just starting out, like you’re not ready for these videos yet. If you’re just starting out, SmartPassiveIncome.com/podcastcheatsheet would be the place to go. But, if you are a podcaster already, and you want to check out these free videos that are there to help you, SmartPassiveIncome.com/podcaster. SmartPassiveIncome.com/podcaster, that’s where you want to go.

All right. Team Flynn, you’re amazing. I’d love to hear what you think of this episode. One of the things I teach my students is mix it up every once in a while. This isn’t a usual episode, we didn’t play the usual intro, I put in background music, I tried to pattern interrupt along the way.

If you’re all the way listening through here, first of all, thank you. But second of all, let me know, hit me up @PatFlynn on Instagram. Send me a DM or a public tweet, whatever. Twitter: @PatFlynn as well. Just let me know what you think. Are you inspired by it? Are you going to start a podcast? Have you got one already and you now know what to do or at least where to start? I love to hear your thoughts; @PatFlynn on Twitter or Instagram. If you want to check out the show notes, and leave a comment there, SmartPassiveIncome.com/session363. I’d appreciate it if you shared with somebody. Thank you so much.

Team Flynn, you’re amazing. Can’t wait to see what you do. Cheers, take care. Team Flynn for the win.


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