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14 - Podcasts
Podcasts are a godsend for two reasons.
Most people aren’t comfortable on camera. They think they look stupid. They worry about their hair, their glasses, or their makeup. They fuss over the lighting. None of it matters, but it’s enough to distract them from concentrating on providing the best experience they can for their viewers. Podcasts are far less intimidating.
Podcasts sell time, which is why everyone, including people who rock on camera, should try to create one. In this hyperspeed world, multitasking is everything, and it’s a lot easier to listen to a podcast while you check your e-mails and pay your bills than to watch a video. In addition, as of 2014, the 139 million total commuters in the United States spent 29.6 billion hours traveling to and from their workplaces.1 A lot of that commute time is spent in cars where drivers can’t watch videos (for now). They can, however, easily listen to podcasts. In the information age, podcasts allow us to efficiently and effectively maximize our knowledge.
I’ve had a podcast since October 2014, right around the time that the podcast Serial, produced by NPR’s This American Life, became a sensation and thrust podcasting into the mainstream. But the truth is, I wasn’t following my own advice. At the time, I felt stretched too thin to produce yet another piece of original native content for a platform (yes, even I reach my limits sometimes), so all I did was put up the audio track from the AskGaryVee show. It didn’t do badly—I was always in the Top 25 podcasts in the business category—but I knew with more attention it could do better. In December 2016, I finally figured out how to rebrand it as The GaryVee Audio Experience, which was liberating. Instead of exclusively posting AskGaryVee content, now I could post a rant I’d recorded into my phone while boarding a plane, a clip from one of my keynotes, or an excerpt that didn’t make it into the DailyVee. Inserting variety and creativity helped the podcast’s popularity surge. Today my podcast sits comfortably and consistently in the list of the Top 150 podcasts on Apple’s Charts. Some of those who listen are brand-new to my content, and others already follow me on other channels. Either way, it gives me one more way to share my content, build my influence, and help people get started building the life they want.
Whether you’re uploading onto Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or any other podcast distribution platform, there will be very little you can do to differentiate one from another. You can run ads on Spotify and SoundCloud, but they’re still extremely expensive. Other than that, as of this writing, there are really no original, creative ways to build a personal brand within the podcast platforms other than by producing the best content you can. You’ll have to promote your show through your other social-media channels and encourage symbiotic relationships with others who have bigger platforms than you.
The good news, however, is that iTunes will open podcasting analytics, so podcasters will be able to see exactly where people pause, skip, or sign off within their content. This will be invaluable in helping you learn faster how you can better tailor your content to serve your audience what it wants.
Let’s say you’re a seventy-five-year-old woman named Blanche. Your best friend is Judy. You’ve been inseparable since you were young girls growing up on the same block, and you’ve never lived more than a few miles apart. The two of you have raised a combined total of six children, been married three times, buried one husband, taken twelve joint vacations, adopted eleven pets, and over the past ten years, the only time you’ve missed your monthly standing date for a movie and lunch at Ruby Tuesday was that time when Judy was hospitalized with gallstones.
One night, in line to buy candy before seeing Wonder Woman at the movie theater, Judy says she thought Kathleen Turner’s best performance might have been when she did the speaking voice of Jessica Rabbit. Here we go again. One of the reasons you like going to the movies with Judy is that you two rarely agree on the merits of a film, and it makes for great debate over burgers and fries afterward. But this time she’s taken you by surprise. You raise your eyebrows so high they climb right over your hairline. Better than Turner’s role in Romancing the Stone? Better than Prizzi’s Honor? Better than Peggy Sue Got Married? Judy holds firm. As you bicker, you can hear people chuckling behind you. Someone says, “They’re the new Siskel and Ebert.” That gives you an idea. After the movie, you and Judy head over to your favorite quiet corner at the local RT, but before the two of you exchange your thoughts about Wonder Woman, you pull out your iPhone and hit the voice memo button. You record your conversation. You go home, and the next day you call your nephew, who has a podcast about muscle cars, and ask him how to upload your “tape” onto the Internet. He gently informs you that you’re going to need to upload the MP3 file onto a podcasting platform, and that if you can wait until the weekend he’d be happy to show you a few simple steps and teach you to use the basic equipment you’ll need to get set up. If you can’t wait, he says, you can find all the information you need on the Internet. “Just Google how to upload a podcast and distribute it.” You decide to wait, but in the meantime, you call Judy and tell her that you want to go to the movies again next week.
Thus begins the Blanche and Judy Show, a movie review podcast in which two elderly ladies share their thoughts on movies past and present. Your personalities, deep friendship, and chemistry make it a riot for listeners, but you also make it uniquely 2018 by recording your conversations in the theater before the movie starts, on such topics as your strong conviction that Raisinettes are a disgrace to the grape and Judy’s memories about the ushers that used to escort ladies to their seats. You also interview four people as they walk out of the film to get their take.
In three short years, yours is one of the Top 150 podcasts on Apple. The podcast is your pillar, but you use it to create microcontent, too. Judy’s sense of humor is often good for a quote, so you create memes and post them on Facebook and Instagram. You engage with people on Twitter and raise awareness of the podcast there. The two of you are interviewed by Entertainment Weekly and Variety. In time, it gets harder for you to get out of the house every week—your back often aches, and you’re most comfortable in your La-Z-Boy—but it doesn’t matter anymore because the studios are sending you and Judy their movies to preview. Thanks to the branding opportunities that have come your way, all of your living expenses are more than easily covered, and you are thrilled to know that you will be able to pass much more of the savings you and your husband accrued over a lifetime to your family.
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