3 Things I’ve Learned from Starting a Podcast

#18: Josiah shares his top 3 takeaways of things he’s learned since starting a podcast. He also shares the actual numbers from the first 3 months of Content Heroes, as well as a breakdown of what it costs to put the show together.

If you’re interested in working with Josiah and his team at Inigo Digital to help free yourself from website headaches so you can focus on the creative work you enjoy, just visit inigodigital.com and book a free 15 minute call. No pressure and no selling.

Episode Transcript

Ep. 18: 3 Things I’ve Learned from Starting a Podcast

Announcer: You're listening to the Content Heroes podcast where entrepreneurs, marketers, and creatives share how they build profitable businesses on their own terms by creating content online. And now your host Josiah Goff.

Josiah: Welcome to Content Heroes, everyone. I'm Josiah Goff and I'm here with another special Friday edition. And this week we're going to dig into the three big things that I've learned from starting a podcast. Now, as I briefly mentioned last week, I've had this experience of, you know, by creating a podcast for online content creators. I myself have become an online content creator. And so I'm excited to dig into this episode because I've been wanting to learn out loud and document my process as I'm learning how to put together the show, how to find and schedule guests who are, will bring a lot of value to you guys, the audience and everything that has to go along with that. So we're going to dig into that today and I'm also at the end going to share with you actual numbers of what the first few months have looked like. And so let's go ahead and jump in. So my first big takeaway from starting a podcast is this 100% committed is easy. 99% committed is hard. I learned that quote from one of my coaches, Jim Fortin. And it's so true because I, so I signed up for Pat Flynn's Power Up Podcasting course a year before I launched the podcast. I had so many stories in my head about, you know, why I just wasn't ready to do it. And one of those stories was actually that there was this thought of if I commit to it, then it's going to weigh me down. Like if I say I'm going to do it, then I have to do it. And then I have to put an episode out every week. And it just felt like such a chore and such a weight on me. And one of my big lessons that I've learned from during that time period of when I first signed up for Pat's course and then when I launched the podcast was that commitment isn't a burden. Commitment is the vessel that takes me to where I want to go. And so when I started talking about launching a podcast again, I decided I would be 100% committed. I drew a line in the sand, 100% committed, burn all the boats. There's no going back, 100% committed, and as soon as I did that, I realized I was, I was making it so hard before because it's actually really, really easy. I went from concept to launch in under a month and I, the day after I committed, I had the, the name, the concept, the idea. Within the first week I had the artwork done and my first guest scheduled, and then I launched, it was just around a little over three weeks after the initial, initially committing. I launched with three episodes and another two ready to go, but that's not even like the best part. The thing that really surprised me is that I loved putting the show together and I never ever would have have experienced that if I hadn't committed, if I hadn't said 100% all in. 

And so that's my big first takeaway is that if you do anything and you're not 100% committed, you're going to fail. It's not going to go anywhere. But if you can be the type of person who goes all in and commit to something, you're going to see results. And that's what I've experienced in launching the show. 

So the next thing I learned, number two is that booking guests is actually really easy. Aside from telling myself that I didn't have a good idea for what I would create a podcast around. I also thought, you know, who would want to be on my show? Right? I don't know anyone who would actually want to come on and talk to me, especially a show that's just starting out, you know, who am I to ask these people to be on my podcast? And what I realized is people want to be generous. And I don't mean every single person, but in general, at least the people that I'm connected with, they have a heart for serving other people. And everybody started somewhere. And so it only took like I was really surprised. I don't think I got a single no from the first five or six people that I asked. Everyone was like, yeah, I'll do it. And I think part of that is that I wasn't just coming with nothing to give them in return. That's the beauty of podcasting is that even if the audience is small, even if they're just starting out, you're still bringing them a platform for them to share their message. And so there is a reciprocity there. There is an exchange of value that, and I was 100% committed to making sure that people heard their story, as many people as I could with the resources that I had at the time, which meant, you know, I went all out on a launch, I put together a giveaway I, which we can talk about in a bit and I pay for some Facebook ads to grow that so that I could start with a base so I could reach the people who would really get value from the conversations that I'm having with the folks on the show. But if you go back and listen to the second episode with Nate Smoyer, who's a good friend of mine, he really inspired me to to just stop overthinking and to just make the ask. And then it's, it was so amazing to me how easy it was and how once you get those first couple of guests, it just snowballs because every person that I bring onto the show, I ask, Hey, who do you know who would be a great fit for content heroes as well? And that just leads to more and more people. And I'm growing my network, I'm building relationships and I'm able to bring a lot of value to the people listening to the show. And I just loved that. I loved having these conversations. I've loved getting to know people and hear their story and being able to share that with others. It's been amazing. So that's number two is booking guests is actually really easy. I also definitely highly recommend you put together a process. I have a, so Nate kind of let me in on behind the scenes of what he does and show me how he put together a form. So basically we kind of copied that. Thank you Nate. A shout out to Nate Smoyer of the TechNest podcast and took his form, kind of built on it and and automated a whole thing on the back end to where it's really, really easy. When someone fills out my form, they go through a process and everything just kind of gets booked and we have all the information that we need and I don't have to think about it. And it's just a little bit of work up front and then it's just really easy. So that's a big takeaway number two. 

And then takeaway number three, and this might be a little bit controversial, but from my perspective, investing in things that provide a good listening experience, good sound quality for the audience is absolutely money well spent. So some examples of that for what I did for this show is I hired someone to put together a professional intro for me. Every single episode, I hire a a podcast editor to come and pull out all of the long pauses, the ums, the ahs, all of that stuff and make us sound good. I pay for a service called SquadCast, which I'll do a future episode on that and why use SquadCast to record these virtual conversations to record them locally uncompressed and upload them to the cloud. I've paid for a microphone that's not my iPhone and I know you can spend hundreds of dollars on a microphone. I think this one's about $80. It's the microphone that Pat Flynn recommends in his course. I think it's the Audio Technica ATR 2100 which is a mic that a lot of people have, but it sounds really good, especially for the money and all of that is, it's not just, to me it's not just frivolous spending. There a couple of reasons why I feel like it's really valuable. One, it sets you apart because you know, podcasting, anyone can do it and not everyone has the commitment and the dedication and the desire to do it well. And so when you come in and you have something that sounds good, it instantly sets you apart. It puts you in that top 10% of of podcasts that people follow. And that really builds an audience, too. I want to make my guests sound good. I mean they're trusting me to make them look good, to help highlight their story in the best way possible and connect them with my audience. And bad audio is the fastest way to kill that experience, especially on this platform of podcasting. And that's why I switched over to SquadCast was because I got tired of, you know, a lot of the people that I talked to are like, other podcasters and YouTubers who have good quality mic setups. And then we'd get on a zoom call and it would make them sound like they're talking through like a headphone, like their iPhone headphone mic or something like that. Sounded really like tiny robotic sound and it just doesn't sound good. And then, you know, all of the connection issues and stuff that we would experience with zoom. And so that's why I switched over to SquadCast. But all of that is my way of going all in and saying this is something that I'm investing in. And the feedback that I've gotten has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone who listens to the show, one of the first things they comment on is how surprised they were at the quality of it for just starting out, for just being a new podcast. And you know, it's very obvious. I'm new to all of this. I'm just, I'm learning along with all of you in this process, but I chose to do things well from the beginning with the resources that were available to me and all from, a lens of wanting to deliver value and to serve the audience to serve you all listening. And so it's definitely been worth it. 

So let's talk about the numbers then a bit. What it actually looked like starting a podcast. And just to preface this, I started a podcast with zero existing audience, didn't have an email list, didn't have a brand with a following online at all. I started from scratch. The only people I had were just my personal network of people on like Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram and which is not very big and so I've been really happy with the results. So let's dig into this. We're about, let's see, we launched October 22nd so we're a few months in now and this episode is released on January 24th and so we've gotten just shy of 1200 downloads so far and we tend to average somewhere around 90 to a hundred listeners. However, Buzzsprout measures that. It's a little bit opaque, I'm not really sure, but that's what Buzzsprout tells us, which is our podcast host and we have an email list of over 800 people. And while that sounds great, which I'm really happy about, a big portion of that came from the giveaway that we did. We gave away one of Kim Doyle's Content Creators Planners when we launched the podcast and we did a viral giveaway and we, I ran some Facebook ads on that. I want to say we had somewhere around 1,400 or so. Contestants in that giveaway ended up with an email list of 800 and I was getting, let's see on the Facebook ads I was, I was getting 93 cents per lead for those Facebook ads, which was, which is pretty good. Now all that to say we definitely, it definitely helped boost our audience in the beginning, which was cool. And 800 people on an email list sounds really impressive, right? But really that's a bit of a vanity metric because I'm looking at the emails that we send out. I think we average between around like 11% to 13% open rate and a pretty low click rate. Now granted we haven't invested much in the email list in terms of trying to nurture it just because I've been focused on this first quarter, I was focused on just getting our process down and making sure that we're putting out quality content. So we haven't done a lot to really amplify that or nurture that list. So that'll be a focus in the next quarter. But just want to give you some like real numbers, real perspective. Now the interesting thing about this is that this absolutely is an investment for me for the business we spend about on average when you count all of the the technology that we subscribe to on a monthly basis for the podcast and the process that we have for putting it together, including the podcast editing. It costs me about $110 per episode for the larger episodes. And the bulk of that is the editing, which absolutely is worth it to me because I do not want to edit my own show because that would just drive me crazy. And so it's definitely an investment. And in terms of a return on that, so far I haven't really seen anything. And so you've got, so that might give you pause, like why would you invest that much money into something that has not returned anything at all? That seems unwise and on face value it might be, but this is a long game. So we just, I just had a conversation with Miles Beckler who his episode we'll release this coming Tuesday. And one of the things that he says is that growing an online business is a three year plan and most people give up in that three to six month window and that's about where we are right now. We're entering that three to six month window where we're like, Oh, we're feeling that pain of we're not seeing the growth that we really want at this point. Well, I wouldn't say that what we're seeing, we're seeing steady growth, but it's slow compared to what our expectations might be, especially for the amount that we're investing in it. And so most people in this window really give up. But if you push through and take on a mindset of I'm investing in an asset that's going to pay back dividends over time, then it's a whole different perspective. And so I'm happy to invest in this because I'm creating things of value. I am building an audience. I am attracting people who think like me, who have the same interest, and the same passions, and the same goals and I'm helping to build a community and I'm creating resources for them and I mean just to be fully transparent, the podcast originally was to, one of my main motivations was to generate leads for my agency, Inigo. We help online content creators free themselves from website headaches so they can focus on doing the work, the creative work that they love. And so when I first started the podcast, I hope that it would generate a lot of leads. It hasn't really yet, but I'm completely okay with that. One reason that it hasn't is because I really don't talk about my other business. Once I got into this, I'm like, I don't know. It feels kind of, maybe this is just like a personal mental block or something, but it feels kind of weird to promote my own business even though my business, it's the thing that's paying for the podcast. 

So Hey, you know what, I'll just go ahead and do it. If you are frustrated with your website at all, if you feel like it's weighing you down, if you experience speed issues or you aren't getting the traffic that you want or you're having trouble converting people, visit Inigodigital.com that's I-N-I-G-O digital.com and you can click on a button to schedule a free 15-minute call with me. I'm not going to try to sell you anything. I'll just ask you some questions and get to know your business better and the problems that you're trying to solve. And at the very least I can point you in the right direction. 

So, hey, that was a plug for my business and I didn't feel too bad. It was okay. I don't know if it'll generate any leads or not. That's not really the point. The thing that I have, I have learned from this is that I know that if I put myself out there, if I create value, it's going to come back in some form. And so I'm just not worried about it. Like I know that what we're doing here with Content Heroes is valuable. And at the end of the day, if for no one else, like I really love it. I really enjoy it. And so I do have a vision for how I could see this business growing as Content Heroes as its own thing and not just like a top of funnel lead generation for Inigo. But you know, I'm not attached to that. So I'm in this really great place that I love to be in of fun, experimentation, seeing what works, testing, guessing, improving, iterating and just sort of figuring it all out and having fun with it. That's where I am. So those are the numbers. Those are the things I've learned. I love to hear your feedback. Hop on over to the Content Heroes Facebook community and let me know what you think of this episode. If you have any more questions, anything else you'd like me to jump in into, in more depth, just let me know through the community. I respond to every single post in there. And so I would love to have that conversation with you. Thank you so much for listening. Hope you have a great weekend. 

Hey everyone, thank you for listening to the Content Heroes podcast. I just wanted to take a second and let you know that we have some amazing guests planned for the coming weeks, so if you haven't already, go ahead and hit subscribe so you can make sure to catch every episode. And if you enjoyed today's episode, go ahead and leave a five star review to help make it easier for other content creators to find and enjoy the show. Lastly, I'd like to invite you to join our Content Heroes Facebook community where you can connect with other online content creators to share, learn, grow, and have fun. To join the group, just visit contentheroes.com/facebook. Once again, that is contentheroes.com/facebook.

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