Speaker 1 00:05 Hello and welcome back to the audience podcast. I'm your host Craig Hewitt from Hostos. This episode we have on Matthew Passey from the podcast consultant. In this episode, Matthew and I talk about all of the things that he sees serving his clients as a podcast and consultant. What a great job, right? Talk to people about their podcasts and critique their work and help them create better shows. I'm a little envious, but in this episode I had a really nice conversation with Matthew all about the things that he sees on a consistent basis that good podcasters do, right? And conversely, people that are struggling getting traction with their shows might be missing out on. So I think this is a really useful episode for all of us, regardless of where we are in a podcasting journey to say, if I do these things, I'm setting myself up for success and if I can avoid these certain other things, I'll probably miss some of the pitfalls that Matthew has seen and helping his consulting clients. I hope you enjoy this episode with Matthew passing
Speaker 0 01:01 <inaudible>
Speaker 1 01:04 some of the founder of <inaudible>. We're a podcast hosting platform and we've created this audience podcast to talk about growing an audience, a podcast audience, and kind of building a show from zero to, you know, hopefully thousands and tens of thousands of listeners. And that's a lot of things, right? That's like what is good Mike technique and why do you use something like squad cast and editing and like telling a good story but also like promotional things. And so I thought the angle we would take is kind of like what makes a good podcast, cause I know that's what you do with a lot of your consulting clients, is that right?
Speaker 2 01:38 Actually what we'd talk about a lot first and foremost is what's their goal for the podcast? What are they trying to accomplish at the end of the day, who is the ideal person to have listened to their podcast? And when that person has done listening, what do they do next? Is it, you know, sign up for services, sign up for their email list, follow them, you know, buy a product, something like that. And so it really depends on what your goal is. There are clients of mine who with just a hundred listeners, if they can pick up one client, that's a huge contract for them and more than pays for any podcast services they've spent money on or marketing services and makes the whole effort worth it. Whereas some people can get 5,000 downloads and you know, can't make $10 off that. So I think, you know, one, knowing exactly what your goals are and what you're trying to accomplish is super important.
Speaker 2 02:31 And then making sure you provide value. I mean that's really the most important thing we always talk about. You know, the great thing about podcasts is they're free. Anybody can produce them and more importantly, anybody can listen to them, but people still have to invest their time. And so are you making good use of people's time? Are you delivering value in those five 10 2040 60 minutes? I've got clients who go three hours, but they're not wasting a second in that time. And so that's why people keep coming back to them because they know if I'm going to invest my time to listen to it, I'm going to get something out of it. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about kind of who you are and what you're up to? Sure. So my name is Matthew Passey, which I'm sure you'll talk about it in your intro.
Speaker 2 03:18 I have a website, the podcast consultant.com and there I help clients who want to launch and produce podcasts. My background is that I used to work in radio and helped launch podcasts back in the early days of the iPhone, first coming out and then for a larger media organization. And at the end of 2014 I got laid off because the larger media organization decided to get out of the radio business, which made a lot of sense at the time. But they also cut podcasting, which frankly didn't make a lot of sense because it was right after cereal had come out and podcasting was getting its, you know, big Renaissance moment. But so 2015 is here and I'm looking for a new job. And all these people that I used to do podcast for with the media company who were like, Hey, you know, those were really great marketing vehicles for us.
Speaker 2 04:06 Could you help us? And I said, sure. I don't see why not. And frankly I wasn't thinking about this being a full time job. I wasn't trying to become an entrepreneur and I never really had the entrepreneurial spirit, but it was a good way to make some money while I was trying to figure out what my next move was. And lo and behold, more people got interested in podcasts and my clients were having success and their guests wanted to get in on that action. Their listeners wanted to give them their action. So before I knew it, I didn't have a choice but to stop all of my job search, stop working the part time gigs that I have and produce podcasts full time. It is a great way for people to either tell their story, get their message out there, connect with, in many cases, not even a new audience, but connect with their existing audience.
Speaker 2 04:59 I have some clients who the podcast is really just a way for them, you know, cause nobody was reading their email newsletters. The podcast just sort of became a way for them to convey what we're doing at the firm right now and you know, why we're doing what we're doing and, and keep people engaged. And frankly, one of the biggest things I found is that for some of my clients, the podcast was just a networking vehicle. They literally didn't care if anybody listened because for them there were folks in their industry who they wanted to talk to, who they had questions about who they wanted to connect with. And if you just send an email that says, Hey Craig, you have an hour to chat with me, they would turn to him and be like, no, who are you? Like why am I giving you an hour? But if you take that same outreach and you say, well I wanted to ask you about what you do on my podcast, all of a sudden it opened up new doors and it opened up new experiences and people were willing to chat. And just having real conversations with natural curiosity and being super engaged in it. It just opened up new doors and frankly for most of them it did open an off to massive audiences that were just a side benefit of these relationships they created.
Speaker 1 06:09 I'd love to try to tie together, two of the things that we've talked about is kind of like audience size being, I don't want to say irrelevant, but not the most important thing to talk about and then tying that your podcast back to a business objective and I think most people listening to this show might have a business or we say like an organization. It could be a church group or it could be a sports team or something like that that they're podcasting for. We'll say an organization, it might not be a business itself, but everybody's podcasting for a reason. Can you talk about how you walk your clients through this kind of mental exercise of like why are you podcasting and then like really peeling that onion back to help them understand why they're really podcasting
Speaker 2 06:46 for so many people. When you go on the Facebook groups or you look at various, you know, chat boards about podcasts, everyone's trying to say, how do I get the biggest audience possible? How do I get 50,000 downloads? How do I get it so Casper mattress can sponsor my show and I can make money. You know,
Speaker 1 07:04 if Casper,
Speaker 2 07:06 right, if, if Casper or FreshBooks or you know any one of those advertisers that we hear all over the place are reaching out to be on your show. But for folks who are looking to grow to 50,000 downloads, they're usually thinking about an audience size and targeting an audience size is not a clear objective. What you want is to target a specific audience, a specific person. Again, it goes back to what I said earlier. At the end of the day, who do you want listening to your show and what do you want that person to do? And if you can think about that question and have a good answer for it and then cater your content, cater your delivery, cater your consistency, everything to answering those questions, it's going to be a lot easier to build the audience that you're looking for. A lot of shows that I work with, and many of these are our companies, some of them aren't, are not necessarily, but they've had some success.
Speaker 2 08:10 Usually they start up by saying, I was looking for a podcast about X and nobody was doing a podcast about X. So I started it, and even though they didn't have a massive brand, they didn't have huge followings on social media. They didn't have an email list. What they found is their curiosity, their desire, the void that they were filling was the same void that other people like them were looking for as well. And so people naturally gravitated to their show because they gave the people something that will either they wanted or was missing. So I have a lot of clients, you know, in one space, right? You tend to, when you're working with companies or business leaders or whatnot, you tend to gravitate because you work with one show and then they make a referral and somebody else in the space here said, so you kind of find a niche even in the production side of things, not just in the podcasting side.
Speaker 2 09:07 So when I talk to a new client and they say, Oh, I really want to sound like X, well X is already out there, right? Somebody is already doing that show and you're going to have a hard enough time growing a podcast. You're gonna have a really hard time if you're going after an audience that already has a home. So the question always becomes, what is your unique perspective? What is the hole in the market that you can fill better than anybody else, right? What makes your story, your content unique? And also where's the place that you can talk with authority that nobody can challenge you? I always tell my host when we're crafting interest with their shows. A couple of things you need in your interest. Try and keep them short and sweet. But here's what I want to know. What is the show about?
Speaker 2 09:54 What is the value you are going to provide to the audience with that show and why are you the authority on that? For example, why should I take Craig seriously on how to grow a podcast? Well, Craig comes from a place of authority because he runs a podcast hosting platform and works with podcasts as who grows, shows like it makes sense for you to do that show. It doesn't make sense for the church leader to do how to grow your podcast because that's not what they're an expert in. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some church podcasters who have grown massive church podcast audiences and maybe they can help other church leaders grow church like podcasts, but until you have that expertise, until you have that authority, it doesn't really make sense for you to fill that void or to be the authority unless the only other way to do it is if you are learning how to do it. You are interviewing the experts who are interviewing the people out there and taking your audience on that journey with you. So it just becomes a question of what is it that you can either speak to with authority because you are an expert in that topic, niche subject, whenever that is or what is something that you are so passionate and curious about that other folks who are interested in that topic are going to come along with you on this journey and learn in the same way.
Speaker 1 11:11 One of the things that we hear a lot is someone wants to start a podcast. They're already blogging. They already have a social media following dirty, maybe have a YouTube channel or something like that and they want to start a podcast too, like you said, to augment or or kind of replace what they're doing already, but we think about podcasting as being just a different medium. You talk about different stuff on a podcast and you would in a blog post, how do you walk your clients through that kind of thought process? Say like, okay, you have these digital resources in ways that you reach your existing audience over here. The podcast is a different animal because X, Y, and Z. What does that look like?
Speaker 2 11:47 The one piece of advice that I always give hosts that I'm working with who maybe they have a radio, maybe they're doing video content, maybe their blogging is, even though you want to reach a massive audience with all of these platforms, right? Like nobody wants to only have one follower, subscriber, listener, whatever. But with a lot of those other platforms, you really specifically talk to a large audience, right? YouTubers are sort of famous for not shouting, but sort of like yelling into the camera talking as if they're in front of 600 people and trying to get everybody to do what they say. Radio is famous for that as well. Even blogging is sort of, you know, mass reach. What I find with podcasters is that one, it is easier and two, the tend to be more successful if they focus on just one person on the other end of that microphone.
Speaker 2 12:47 So if you think about your audience of one, if you think about the fact that a lot of people consume this media alone, whether they're wearing earbuds and commuting or running or doing the dishes or whatever, or driving in their car, most of the successful podcasters out there are very intimate with their audience. You know, you could say the exact same words in a blockbuster, you can say in a podcast, but you convey that information differently because it's your voice. Because you can change the tone of your voice. You can change the pacing of which you speak. You can add pauses for dramatic effect, right? And so I think that's one thing that is important to think about with the podcast is yes, you want as many individuals as possible and listen, but you want to talk as if you are speaking to only one individual on the other side. And frankly, you know, most of the best podcasts I listened to, the professionals, the amateurs, the real pros at the NPRs and whatnot of the world. When you're listening to a good podcast, it feels like they're in the backseat of your car. And you just happen to be in on the conversation
Speaker 1 13:53 when you're starting a an audit engagement with a customer. What are some of the things that, without giving away your secret sauce, what are some of the things that use start to look at that the folks listening here can consider for their own shows to try and get a reflect on and then implement? Hopefully,
Speaker 2 14:13 I'll be honest, I'm happy to give away the secret sauce because the truth is most of the stuff that I find in audits are simple, simple tweaks and they're usually obvious tweaks. A lot of folks launch a podcast and you know, they're either following a ton of different advice or they're trying to do too many things at once and it's tough to critique your own stuff. And so in many cases we miss the obvious and that's usually what I do. You know, believe it or not, with a lot of folks, when I'm doing the audit, I'm going through the results. I would say 70% of the time people are listening to going, Oh yeah, of course. That makes sense. We thought about that. We just forgot to do it or something to that effect. So the most obvious thing that comes out of most of these audits is make it easy for people to engage in your show.
Speaker 2 15:04 Make it easy for people to find, subscribe, listen. It's basically removing the friction. So some of the top things that come out of every podcast audit are, you know, do you have clear subscribe buttons both on your podcast landing page and within each of your episode pages, right? If somebody comes across your podcast from the web, then you've got to make it easy for them to click subscribe, you know, so that if they're on an Apple device, an Android device, they've got options. I see so many podcasts that you just throw out Apple links and basically when you do that, what you're telling the 50% of the world with an Android devices. Nah, that's okay. I'm not really interested in you as a listener. The other thing is, you know, we think about podcast consumers, right? If there's two challenges when you have a podcast, one, you need to still convince people to listen to podcasts.
Speaker 2 16:00 And two, you need to give it to people to listen to your podcast. So the people who listen to podcasts, they typically know how to find you. If they hear about your show, if a friend makes a recommendation, if somebody says, check this out, right? They're savvy enough to go into Apple, overcast, podcast, addicts, whatever platform they like listening to find a show, hit subscribe. But when you are bringing in new people into the podcast ecosphere, if somebody is Googling podcast hosting and they run across a Castillo's podcast and they're like, Oh, this is really good content. Oh, there's audio. That person who's probably not a regular podcast consumer, they need a little help. And so by putting a button that says, listen on Apple podcasts, you've made it easy for that person to become part of the listening audience.
Speaker 1 16:47 Yeah. I think that a lot of us in the techie kind of world, I think that a lot of this is so easy and straightforward and you know, of course we all understand what a podcast is and we have our favorite apps and understand what an RSS feed is and all these kinds of things. But yeah, I mean, the vast majority of people in the world, the U S included, have no idea what a podcast is, or certainly what an RSS feed or how to subscribe an overcast or anything like that,
Speaker 2 17:13 right? They don't even know what is over guests, right? And this is why I tell everyone, like the buttons on your site, Apple, Google, Spotify, most people have an Apple device. Most people have an Android device. And a lot of people recognize what Spotify is. It's good to give out all those options, right? For the people. Listen, overcast, podcast, addict, all those different places. But if you're advanced enough that you know to listen to podcast and overcast, you can figure out how to subscribe to a podcast. But if you're getting an audit, if you're listening to this podcast, if you're just starting out, you're always in growth mode. And so for you it's always about being able to bring new people on and make it easy for them to become one of your <inaudible>
Speaker 1 17:57 subscribers. I'd love to talk about content creation a little bit because you know, here in the first part of 2020 there are a bajillion podcasts being started every day and certainly every month. And you know, I think to an extent, you know, there's not too many podcasts, but there's too many bad podcasts. There's too many podcasts that sound exactly like the other ones. And we had a guest on recently to said, you know, if you have a good podcast, you're going to get killed. If you have a great podcast, you have a chance. And I, I agree and I think that we put a lot of time and work into this show to make it great. And I think we're on our way there. Why don't you know, it's a continuum. We're never going to be totally happy, but we don't just kind of settle with, okay, this an interview, we're going to top and tail it NICU and all that kind of stuff and ship it out the door. We tried to go kind of above and beyond to create a really, really, really good experience for our listeners, what tips can you give people who are at the beginning part of this spectrum to say like, these are the two or three things you can do to really kind of up your game when it comes to making a podcast that sounds better and is more interesting for people to listen to. Then the other people in your space?
Speaker 2 19:05 I think it comes down to one of two things. One, I get a lot of emails and calls from people or I see a lot of people on on Facebook groups who are like, I want to start a podcast, but I don't know what I want to talk about. Then why do you want a podcast, right? Like you don't have to have a podcast. You're not entitled to a podcast. You're not guaranteed a successful podcast. Even if you have one. So if your out there saying, I really want to engage in this type of content delivery, but I don't know what content to put in there, you're probably gonna flame out pretty pretty quickly. So it shouldn't be a question of what should I podcast about? It's gotta be a question of I am bursting with content, with expertise or with curiosity. And this happens to be the best platform to explore that curiosity or to share that content.
Speaker 2 20:01 If you come at it from the second approach where what I have to say is great and this is a good way to do it, you'll have a better shot of succeeding. And then again, it just comes back to what do you hope to accomplish? If you are a business leader in a very small niche and your goal is to get 50,000 listeners, you're probably going to get super frustrated because if you're that niche-y, there's not 50,000 listeners out there for you. And so you're not focused on the right aspect of, of what you're doing. If your whole goal is to get listeners, if the only thing you're concerned about is listeners, there are other parts of this that you're not spending your energy on that are going to be way more valuable. You in the process. A great example, there's a guy at a Florida, Glenn, the geek, he runs the horse radio network about dozen or so shows all about horses and life and horses and he has one five day a week almost talk show like radio show horses, you know, central focus of it.
Speaker 2 21:05 And I remember having a conversation with him at pod Fest a few years ago and you know, the show does amazing, hundreds of thousands of downloads, you know, great, great monetization, lots of sponsors. But the show for him that does that makes more money is the one with 600 listeners because it is for such a small niche, it serves such a, a small audience, but it's an audience that has no other content available to them. If you are in this particular niche and you want to consume media about what you do, he's the only game in town. And so one, that means his listeners are very engaged, very passionate, and cannot wait for him to talk about that particular content. But it also means that there are sponsors who are trying to reach that audience who they can't target this niche. It's just that tiny, except on his show.
Speaker 2 21:59 They know if somebody is spending the time right, you can't trip and listen to a podcast, you have to actively go out there and get it. And so if people are taking the time to download and play this podcast, especially in this niche, they have to be my target audience. So don't focus on how big your audience can be. Focus on the quality of your audience. Are you talking to the right target? Are you providing value to the right target? And are you respecting that target? Every listener matters. Every retweet, favorite share, like review, common. These are people who spent time listening to you, right? Some people complain, Oh, I only get a hundred downloads of my podcast. And Dave Jackson, you know, the school of podcast guy always says, imagine if he had a hundred people in the room, which you could do if he stood up and talk in front of them.
Speaker 2 22:53 Right. Don't reject a small audience size. Every listener matters. Every listener is not only coming to listen to you, but that person, if you take care of them, they're going to tell other people who probably have a similar interest to listen as well. And frankly, what we know is most people learn about podcasts from people that they know and trust, whether it's their friends, their family, the person who you know, they follow on Twitter religiously. The person who writes the blog post, my favorite five podcasts on podcasting, right? So if you can not only convince people to listen but take care of them, they become advocates for you. And that's going to be your best way of growing your show. Yeah, I'd love to hear about the podcast audit kind of service that you offer. Can you talk about kind of what that process looks like?
Speaker 2 23:38 It folks who are interested in kind of exploring that? Sure. So the podcast thought it originally started. So I help clients launch podcasts and then produce their episodes. I was starting to get more clients who had already had a podcast and they wanted us to take over production. And when I would look at their show, I would say, who did this tee right? Who hurts you in this way that that messed up your podcast so much? And what I realized is there's a lot of people out there who in many cases, originally the audit is more for companies and brands and organizations. You have a CEO who turns to their marketing person or an intern or even their assistant and they say, Hey, we should have a podcast. And the person goes, okay, I don't know what that means, but okay, in the CSS, well make it happen.
Speaker 2 24:18 So they launch a podcast and then six months later the CEO is like, why isn't our podcast doing? Well, I don't know. I'm not a podcaster, right? Like you told me to do this, I did it. So it came from a lot of folks who were told to launch podcast and didn't know how. And so either they read some bad advice, they watched them bad videos or outdated videos, or they just winged it and tried. And so the idea is to lend my 10 plus years of experience and frankly of making mistakes in this space that I can help you now avoid. So they reach out, we explore what the show looks like on iTunes, how easy is it for me to search? What does their artwork look like? What's the description? Who's in the author field? Cause they're not thinking about what are the searchable fields in Apple podcasts.
Speaker 2 25:09 They don't know how to post their Google podcast link versus Google play. And why Google play isn't as important anymore. They don't know that they should be on Spotify. They got some articles that said, make sure your artwork is this. Make sure you have an RSS feed and make sure whatever you're using an MP three. But they're missing the nuance and they're missing the value that comes from people having gone through this before and being able to say to them, yes, that's true, but here are some best practices. So there's two different audits. There's a very comprehensive audit where I actually spend about a week before your audit, looking at your show, listening, exploring your social media, analyzing your website, and then going back and saying, here's what you're doing right. Here are the things that you're doing wrong. Here is why. And here are some steps to fix all of that going forward.
Speaker 2 26:01 And not that everybody's going to fix those on the first day, but it gives a lot of people a plan of action to correct things and to move forward. And then what I discovered was, you know, this was a great service for companies and brands who have time and who have a budget, but there's a lot of independent podcasts out there who also, you know, they were told, yeah, just grab a blue Yeti and you can start podcasting. Well, yeah. And now they've actually built something that they like and they care about and they're wondering why it's not going anywhere. And the truth is it's because the simple little tweaks and changes can have a huge impact. So I also now do these like instant audits where just schedule an hour. We look at your stuff and right there on the spot I'll say, Oh, I just saw this, I just saw this.
Speaker 2 26:45 I just saw that. And the nice thing is I record the whole thing, whether it's the two hour long audits with the week prep or the one hour, you know, let's talk about your show instant audit. And he gets to keep that video. So you know you're not sitting there frantically taking notes and not paying attention. Like you just get a chance to listen and ask whatever questions you want. And hopefully based on the mistakes that I've already made and that I've already seen and the articles that I read and the news that I keep up with, you know, we can give you the insight to put you on the right path. And the truth is these audits are not going to guarantee anybody explosive growth. I don't tell anyone just because he worked with me, you're going to get to 10,000 listeners. I can't do that.
Speaker 2 27:25 But what I can tell you is that these are the places where you are hurting your chance to be found. If you have a piece of artwork that is just a random picture of you and no title of your show, nobody's clicking on that right. At the very least your name, the name of your show should be on your artwork and so it's a small little tweak but it's probably cost them tons of people who came across their show. Maybe some of the title like I don't know what this is really about. So again, it's not guaranteed growth but it is a way to stop you from missing out on the potential audience that may have already come across your show. You mentioned keeping up with industry news and trends and things like that. What are some of the best places you like to kind of stay on top of educating yourself?
Speaker 2 28:09 Number one is pod news. Without a doubt, James Cridlin as we're running that daily newsletter for a couple of years now. In fact his daily newsletter was part of the reason why I stopped doing pod to pod just cause we used to curate news on a weekly basis and he came along and was just doing an amazing job daily curating lengths and adding editorial insight as well and doing some even investigative journalism on the space that is top notch and if you're serious about podcasting, his newsletter is an absolute must podcast. Business journal is another one that does a good job. There's a few stories that I feel like they get that the other one doesn't. Otherwise the two of them are similar, usually covering a lot of similar stuff and then just following certain people on Twitter who you know are are doing things well or you know on Facebook.
Speaker 2 28:57 Right. I mentioned Dave Jackson's a good one. Rob Walsh is a good one. The guys over at Edison research who do you know the podcast report every year are going to follow a, I like Mark Asquith over at a captivate and podcast websites. He's always talking about trends and things like that. Typically, I would say if you're serious about podcasting, even if you have Buzzsprout as your hosting company or pod bean is your hosting company, follow all of the hosting companies on Twitter and follow their top team because those are the folks in the trenches doing this every day. Talking to Apple, talking to Google, seeing the changes, sharing that with folks. And so it makes sense even if you're not using a Lipson follow Lipson, even if you're not using blueberry follow blueberry and Todd Cochran and Mike Dell, you can't go wrong by following the people who all they care about as podcasting to know what's going on in podcasting.
Speaker 1 29:59 No, that's a great list. I, I follow a lot of those and I agree on the hosting provider area and I would say anybody kind of in the podcasting world, uh, you know, like the folks from squad cast where all day, every day, you know, consuming all of the news. I'm not the most active person on Twitter, but yeah, I think that's a great place to, to check out the blogs. They all have really good content. The, I think is a great way to keep everyone's game leveled up. Nice.
Speaker 2 30:24 And as I say that, I apologize, I just started following at the Craig Hewitt on Twitter. So did you stop there and go into awesome Matthew for folks who want to kind of check out more about you and what you're up to, where's the best place to connect? Super easy. Just the podcast, consultant.com or if he can find Matthew Passey on the social media. It's Mathew with one T and passes with no ESO, P. a. S. S. Y. This is great. Thanks so much Matthew. Appreciate it. It has been my pleasure.