HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

Tips on how to grow your podcast audience with Ben Shapiro

  • To grow your podcast audience you want to start an organic and a paid channel from day one because you need to buy in that first little bit of audience to start, like to plant the seed of virality.
  • A lot of it is about creating great content and meeting great people, and the monetization strategy or the focus is really about how much content you produce and how much time you can dedicate it to it.
  • Consistency is really important in content publishing. One piece of content is not likely to help you build an audience, you need to be consistent.
  • One of the things that we do at The MarTech Podcast is we are a daily show. We talk about marketing and technology and we have an episode that's new every day. 
  • One of the little secrets that we have is we're not just taking an interview and publishing the whole thing in one sitting. I will actually have a guest on the show and I'll talk to them for 15 minutes about one topic and then we'll talk to them for 15 minutes, about a similar topic.
  • There's virality, that's about getting your guests to share your content and having lots of guests and creating assets and giving them copy to share. You can build processes around like engaging your guests and giving them pictures and giving them videos and just creating snippets of content that they can share and follow up with them, that's important.
  • One of the best ways to grow your podcast audience whether you have a budget or not is to be involved in the podcast community is to get your podcast or your name onto other podcasts.
  • At the end of a show, you just record an ad that says, “Are you ready for your next great show? If you're interested in,” in my case, “Learning how businesses grow and you're interested in marketing technology, check out The MarTech Podcast. Here's a 15-second sample, go to martechpod-dot-com to get the show.”
  • You also want to be working on developing those organic channels so in six months or a year from now you're not saying, “Oh, I got to spend more and more and more to grow.”
  • Go take 20% of your budget and start trying to cultivate growth channels and test other channels to figure out what else works.
  • We actually land the plane on each episode. I don't want to leave people hanging, I feel like that's not a great experience and because it's a 24-hour delay, people might forget.
  • I use this service called Pod sites and it's early, right? They are very much a startup that you know, a relatively small team, incredible technology.
  • Podsites has the ability to look at the IP address that's downloading a podcast, which is basically the only information your host gets, the IP gives them a location.
  • Then give them the assets they need to reengage with that podcast audience, because one impression is good, but not really that valuable. Five impressions of 10 impressions are what really matters.
  • What I would tell people is that you don't have to invest a lot in hardware or really software to be able to start a podcast.
  • The other thing that I would do is I am a firm believer that it's worth the investment to have your content edited. 

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HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

To grow your #podcast #audience you want to start an organic and a paid channel from day one because you need to buy in that first little bit of audience to start.

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Doug: Well, welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today I've got a real treat for your ears. My guest is Benjamin Shapiro, and Ben is from San Francisco, a favorite city of mine to visit. He is a marketing and podcast growth expert.

On this episode, he shared some amazing information in terms of how he grows his podcast and how he grew it, and the types of advertising, worried about his advertising and what his budgets are. You're going to want to make sure that you stay tuned, have your note pad ready, take some notes and then follow up with the action items that are there.

Benjamin is a brand development marketing strategy consultant. He left a career in business development at eBay to become an entrepreneur, and he's run a bootstrap startup multiple marketing campaigns at early-stage VC backed companies and then worked as an independent consultant and content business.

He specializes in helping growth-stage companies understand how to identify the overlap between corporate identity and customer needs to build an effective marketing strategy. He is also the host and producer of a top-rated podcast called The MarTech Podcast, which I would highly recommend that you tune into and listen.

With that being said, I'd like to welcome Ben to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today.

Well, welcome back listeners. I'm super, super excited to talk with a fellow marketing peep who is in a city that I'd love to visit in San Francisco. I'd like to welcome a Ben Shapiro to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today, so welcome Ben.

Benjamin S.: Doug, it's great to be on the show. A pleasure to connect.

Doug: It's really cool we have some, a lot of things in common and that we're both sales and marketing type guys and we both podcast, although you do it at a professional level and I do it as a, more as a not lead generation, but as a way to connect with really smart people like yourself and to increase my knowledge and help build my podcast audience.

Benjamin S.: You know I think that we're both coming at it from the same place, where a lot of it is about creating great content and meeting great people, and the monetization strategy or the focus is really about how much content you produce and how much time you can dedicate it to it. I've listened to your podcast, I love what you're doing and I think my show takes a very similar approach, a little bit of a different format. Yeah, it's always great to connect with another podcaster.

Doug: Well, I loved that was Martech. I'm thinking, “All right, I love them. It's kind of a tech geek, so I really like that.” Then as we were looking through and looking at your content saw a quote the other day and it said, how much content should I produce? The answer was regardless of what you're doing, it should be more.

Benjamin S.: It should be good you know, and it depends on the format. Yeah, you know, more content generally gets circulated and I think that consistency is really important in content publishing. One piece of content is not likely to help you build a podcast audience, you need to be consistent. At least that's what I've seen in my experience.

Doug: Yeah, absolutely. Do you want to share a little bit of your backstory of how you got from kind of your early roots in the business to where you are today? Then we can dive in and talk about some fun stuff like the entrepreneur's journey.

Benjamin S.: Yeah, absolutely. I think that the fun story of the early part of my career for going way back, was my first job was in sales and it was for what is borderline a multilevel marketing company. I was selling phone service and water coolers from business to business, which is essentially door to door in Massachusetts coming out of college after graduating with a marketing degree from Boston University.

Obviously, that wasn't the dream job that I had, but it was the first job I interviewed for, I got it and I didn't know any different to take it. I started working and I actually started in sales out of college and got moved around the country because I was competent in being able to describe the differences between the phone services and talk people into buying water coolers. That somehow landed me in Dallas, Texas.

I'm originally from the suburbs of San Francisco. I went to school at Boston University, at Boston University, and Texas was basically a different planet for me. I loved my time there, but I somehow wound up in Texas working at a sports marketing agency roundabout way.

The early stage of my career was very much just bouncing around trying to get some experience. Somehow I got tired of making coffee and making copies for people, working in sports marketing at an entry-level job and I decided to move back home to the bay area, and through some networking was able to land a job at eBay. I spent seven years working my way up from being an entry-level account manager to running some of the biggest portal and partnership deals that eBay had with big companies like Yahoo, Google, HP other sorts of well-branded well-established companies.

I loved my time at eBay, the environment, the people were great, but I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial. I wanted to not just leverage a company, it's a strength, but figure out how to build something myself. I always felt like I was an entrepreneur at heart, so I decided to leave eBay.

I started my own startup. It went the way of the dodo bird. I was dating a girl who said she was interested in getting a promotion to being fiance, but I needed to go get a paycheck.

Doug: Minor detail.

Benjamin S.: Yeah, so she's now my wife and I eventually gave up the dream of the startup and went running a couple of marketing departments at early-stage startups. Then eventually I got tired of the career positioning of being the head of marketing at VC backed startups. Not because those aren't great jobs, but I had a wife and a kid at this point, and I was just ready for something that was going to not be deferred compensation for extra hours of work. I didn't want to hope the equity was going to be worth something in five years when I had two mouths to feed at home.

Doug: Yeah.

Benjamin S.: Eventually I went, became an independent marketing consultant, which I've been doing for about four years. About a year and a half ago I launched the MarTech Podcast.

Originally it was a lead gen project for my consulting business, and it just grew like a weed and ended up being the, now it's the primary focus of my career. I spend most of my time either working on my podcast and trying to monetize it or helping other companies and brands create their audio content assets.

Doug: Well, with podcasting is seeming to come into the mainstream. I mean it's been around for a long time, but it just seems that now everybody wants to be a podcaster or be on a podcast. How did you take, you said it grew quite quickly, so is there any tips that you can share with our podcast audience? Because I'm involved in a lot of forums online, I'm sure like you are, so you see people going, “Hey, I'm starting this up. I just can't get any traction and iTunes has just changed all their algorithms and my downloads are crashing”.

Benjamin S.: Yeah. You know, I think that there's a couple of different ways to think about podcast growth; organic, viral, paid, and then partnerships.

When you think about organic, that's creating great content, making sure that you're optimized to be seen in the app store, consistently publishing, publishing a lot of content. One of the things that we do at The MarTech Podcast is we are a daily show. We talk about marketing and technology and we have an episode that's new every day. The episodes run 15 to 25 minutes, they're about commute length.

One of the little secrets that we have is we're not just taking an interview and publishing the whole thing in one sitting. I will actually have a guest on the show and I'll talk to them for 15 minutes about one topic and then we'll talk to them for 15 minutes, about a similar topic. That gives us the ability to say, “Hey,” let's say, Doug, you're going to come on my show. I would love to have you on the show by the way. “Doug, we're going to talk about you know your experience running a podcast.” Then the second episode would be, “Now we're going to talk about how to get from a podcast to lead generation.”.

They're discreet pieces of content, but there are also two parts of one conversation.

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HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

To grow your #podcast #audience you want to start an organic and a paid channel from day one because you need to buy in that first little bit of audience to start.

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Doug: That's such a cool idea.

Benjamin S.: That gets people to subscribe because they want that extra piece of content put into their feed for the next day, but there's still utility out of that first piece. That gives us the ability to publish every day, to be routine, to be consistent, to have people sort of build it into their routine. That's from an organic perspective content volume, you get two titles for every interview, so you're able to do more keyword optimization.

To me I like the idea of kind of medium form content, not short form, right? We're not making tweet-length audio content, they're not one-minute bites. They're 15-minute episodes, but I'm not trying to replicate Joe Rogan for marketing and have a three-hour podcast either.

Doug: Yeah.

Benjamin S.: There's virality, that's about getting your guests to share your content and having lots of guests and creating assets and giving them copy to share. You can build processes around like engaging your guests and giving them pictures and giving them videos and just creating snippets of content that they can share and follow up with them, that's important.

I actually think one of the biggest differentiators for the growth of our podcast and other podcasts, is that we bought a lot of our podcast audience. I know that might sound bad, it might sound like cheating, but one of the best ways to grow your podcast audience whether you have a budget or not is to be involved in the podcast community is to get your podcast or your name onto other podcasts.

Doug, it's one of the reasons why I reached out to you. Not that I don't just want to be out of the show out of pure altruism, but I'd love to reach your podcast audience and tell them about some of the things that I work on because maybe they're a fit for my show. Maybe they'd be great community members for The MarTech Podcast.

You can go out and do PR, and that's more the partnership part where you're reaching out and working with other people to cultivate relationships and build content.

You can also go and buy advertising. I use a service called Knit, K-N-I-T, knit. audio I believe is the URL, and you can buy inventory through premium shows like CNN and Bleacher Report and NBA and all of these really like macro brands that have podcasts. It's a marketplace so you can set your bids relatively low and put your advertisements in some shows that it would be really hard to get placements on.

It's not like Anderson Cooper is going to do a host read ad for my show, but I can go buy inventory on Anderson Cooper's podcasts through this platform. That's really my secret sauce, like don't tell anybody, but you know [inaudible 00:10:40].

Doug: Yeah, don't tell anybody but listen to me plug your ears don't do this.

Benjamin S.: In fairness, I have a referral relationship with Knit, so if you do tell anybody, tell him I sent you.

Doug: Okay.

Benjamin S.: That's the that was really the big way that we started to grow the show was in year one I put about $10,000 into advertising and we were publishing content for about nine months and we went from zero to, we hit 10,000 downloads in month nine. A lot of that was paid acquisition. My CPAs were close to a dollar when I was running those ad campaigns, and they're not complicated. At the end of a show, you just record an ad that says, “Are you ready for your next great show? If you're interested in,” in my case, “Learning how businesses grow and you're interested in marketing technology, check out The MarTech Podcast. Here's a 15-second sample, go to martechpod.com to get the show.”.

Those ads perform great for me, so the real answer is you got to build up all of these organic and viral growth channels that grow over time to keep your cost down. Initially, I bought a lot of my podcast audience, it was a paid acquisition strategy.

Doug: Well, you know and I wouldn't apologize for that. I mean I get quite excited when you can buy advertising to promote. As a marketing guy, I don't know what your experience has been, but everybody's looking to create something viral and it's just by nature you can't create something viral. It goes viral because of the content and people want to share it unless you're paying for people to share it and advertise.

I think it makes for a very simple formula like you said to identify your podcast audience, identify where they're listening, they're listening to podcasts already and just go buy an ad there.

Benjamin S.: Yeah, I mean, I think virality comes from having an active and engaged user base. Expecting virality without actually having people that are listening to your show upfront is a recipe for disappointment.

Doug: Sure.

Benjamin S.: You need to have the people that are your core group, your a one listers that are going to listen to your podcast and be advocates and start sharing it, but you need to be able to get that.

A lot of that successful podcast that I've seen have been working off preexisting lists, so they didn't have to grow their podcast audience from zero. I did, so I had to buy my way in and was fortunate to find a really effective marketing channel.

Doug: No, which is great. You know, it's the same thing in Facebook and the social channels. I mean you listen to people say, “Hey, this is how you can get your content shared,” and then because they're free platforms, the rules are always changing. People are now, you see that there's less of your content is shared on LinkedIn if it's not picked up and less of it's shared on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram if people aren't looking at it.

Your choices are like you said, buy your ads, buy your podcast audience, grow your audience then you've got a better chance of building a small tribe of people who are advocates and evangelists for your brand.

Benjamin S.: Yeah. The truth is the more activity you have in any of those social channels, and the more that you're engaging, the more you're going to be able to use them, right? You have to build the organic channels, whether it's by creating your content, by engaging in social communities, like those types of channels. When you're trying to get something for free, it's great and you can be very effective at it, but you need patience. You need effort and time.

Doug: Yeah.

Benjamin S.: What I've seen mostly advising a lot of startups they're saying, I want to build an organic growth channel. I want to be great in SEO, and it's like, “Cool, that's a great idea and you should do it.” What that means is you're going to have one visitor today, two visitors tomorrow, three visitors the next day, four visitors the next day and it's going to grow slowly like that and linearly.

If you keep investing in your content production and the marketing efforts that go into it, same with social followings, right? The more I'm going to engage with the community, the larger a following I'm going to get, the more I'm going to be able to monetize it or convert it to what I want it to be.

The difference between a paid acquisition and an organic growth channel is paid is going to be the same. You put a dollar in now, you put a dollar, you get a dollar out or a dollar and a quarter later and hopefully you can scale that and at some point, you hit the point of diminishing returns and you just can't put more money into it as effectively.

My advice for people that are starting off with a content asset, if you have an existing list or an existing audience, do your best to leverage that. That's the best way to get started, is take advantage of what you already have, but you want to start an organic and a paid channel from day one because you need to buy in that first little bit of audience to start, like to plant the seed of virality.

You also want to be working on developing those organic channels so in six months or a year from now you're not saying, “Oh, I got to spend more and more and more to grow.” It's, “I can spend consistently and then since I've been investing in organic channels, those will continue to grow if I keep doing the same things.”

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HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

To grow your #podcast #audience you want to start an organic and a paid channel from day one because you need to buy in that first little bit of audience to start.

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Doug: Yeah, and that makes sense. I mean the other thing is when you're investing in advertising and your conversion, you figure out what your ROI is, then it's very easy to scale. You're saying, “Hey, I can make money doing this,” so I'm making x number of points so the question is what do you want your sales to be so you can just apply more budget.

Benjamin S.: Yeah, I mean in some cases. Then at some point, you say, “Okay, I'm going to double and triple this,” and you don't get the same return …

Doug: That's correct yeah.

Benjamin S.: … or it's not consistent. You know I'm a firm believer in testing your way in and with the Knit advertising channel that I mentioned before, I spend 1,500 bucks a week on Knit at this point to try to grow my podcast audience. Our goal is to get to 100,000 downloads per month this year and we didn't start off by spending 1,500 bucks a week. I was spending 500 bucks a month.

We've obviously expanded the channel and then slowly poured more fuel on the fire to make sure that we weren't putting money into a channel that wasn't able to scale. Fortunately for us, it's scaled nicely, but it's a marketplace. There's going to be more competitive over time, probably be more competition after this podcast so those costs are going to go up over time.

Just like with Facebook right now, there's more competition, the media gets more expensive, so you constantly need to be testing and evaluating these new channels. It's not like you can just rely on, “Oh, I found a channel or I guess I'm done working on marketing.” Go take 20% of your budget and start trying to cultivate growth channels and test other channels to figure out what else works.

Doug: Yeah, that's music to my ears. I always like to have a testing budget to be testing something new saying, “Here's the baseline, this is working. What else can we try that may outperform it,” because like you said, you'll reach your cap, you may reach your cap.

If you listen closely early on with Founder magazine kicked off and they had their big hurrah to get to a million followers, and then you listen to them talk about, “Hey, we bought a lot of sponsored ads.”.

I don't know if you saw Neil Patel's social media blast that he had on Instagram for a while and it was just a bunch of people up to a sign who is Neil Patel, but he was everywhere I looked on on all these influencer channels. There is a guy who produces a lot of content but was obviously felt he was getting some sort of ROI by I'm getting these social media guys to sponsor and to push out his message.

Benjamin S.: Yeah, he's everywhere.

Doug: Yeah he is, but I mean he does a good job in the content. I mean he says, “This is what we're going to teach you. Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss another episode.”.

It is kind of like you're saying you've got, you've got your hook because yours is the cliffhanger. “Here's the first half, you want to get the rest of the conversation that we had with Ben, it'll be out tomorrow.” A reason for people to come back.

Benjamin S.: Just for the record, the cliffhanger is not exactly how I would describe how we've built in the hook for our content. We're not saying, “Hey, here's half of the interview,” abrupt end, “All right, well I hope you enjoyed this, but if you really want to hear how it ends, come on.” We actually land the plane on each episode.

I don't want to leave people hanging, I feel like that's not a great experience and because it's a 24-hour delay, people might forget.

Doug: Sure.

Benjamin S.: We do actually say, “Here's a discreet piece of content, we're going to have another piece of content in a related,” you know talking about a related topic. We would land the plane on, “Here is how you grew your podcast, great,” put a pin in it and say, “If you liked our conversation with Doug, we're going to continue our conversation with a different spin tomorrow. We're going to talk about how he takes his podcast that he's now scaled and how he's monetizing it.”.

Doug: Fair enough and you did say that, so that was, I apologize for my poor choice of words. Okay, so you weren't holding, showing someone half the content and saying, “But wait, there's more just sign up here.”.

Benjamin S.: Yeah. Just, for the people that are listening that are thinking about that format of their content, don't just abruptly stop what you're saying and say, “Well I hope you like this. We're going to finish it tomorrow, like goodnight.” Let's give a discreet piece of content.

Doug: Yeah and I think if a lot of content marketers miss that in that they want to, they're afraid to give too much. “Well, if I tell people this much, then they won't buy from me, so I'm going to just share a little bit but I'm going to keep the best thing for when they buy,” opposed to saying, “Here's the best thing about what we're talking about.” People go, “Wow, that's incredible. I want to connect with this guy because he adds value to my life. He solves this problem I have.”.

Benjamin S.: You know, listened to the Kara Swisher interview on the Bill Simmons podcast the other day, and she said something that resonated with me. That somebody basically stole an idea from her early in her career and run with it and took credit for it. She was like, “You know what, fine enjoy it. I've got a million of them.”.

You know, it's not that I had an endless number of ideas or I wouldn't be hurt if somebody stole my IP, but I think of the value that you get from sharing your experiences pays off. It's one of the reasons why I go on podcasts like yours Doug, and talk about what channels I use and how much it costs and what my strategy is. Is part of it is like that is the example of what you will hear on the podcast.

There are tangible, actionable things that I have figured out that have worked for me that you should test. If you're constantly working and trying to iterate and evolve on your channel mix, you don't have to worry about giving away some value to other people.

I just feel like there's a great community in marketing, in technology where there is a notion of sharing. If anything I try to open source my marketing strategies so other people can use them, because that means they're going to be avid listeners and followers of the show because they're getting value.

Doug: Absolutely, and if they're not a fit for you now, I mean they may be a good referral or they may be a fit for your business model at a later time.

Benjamin S.: Yeah.

Doug: In terms of the sales and marketing space and what you're doing now and podcasting, what's got you most excited in the next six to 12 months?

Benjamin S.: What's got me the most excited? You know, we are a year and a half into producing The MarTech Podcast. I say we because I'm the host and the producer, we have editors that work on the show, content publishers, there's a writer, so it's an outsource team that's been distributed or is distributed throughout the entire world. A lot of people that we've found on Upwork and other freelancer platforms that have really banded together to make this really unique, special, hardworking team.

We're hitting a point of scale now where I don't worry about what am I going to create in terms of content. We have a large enough established brand or you know, I don't know if it's an established brand, but enough recognition to be able to get really good quality guests at scale. We get a lot of people that are reaching out to us to be on the show, so in terms of content creation and publishing, we've built the machine there.

Where I'm focused is starting to build the machine for bringing on, finding, onboarding and supporting the sponsors of our show. It's not just necessarily the ad sales and monetization, but also making sure that we do delivery and give attribution. I think that that's a really interesting space for podcasting right now, is how do I know how many people listened to your podcast? How do I know who they are, and how do I know if I'm a sponsor? Did they get to my show and convert?

I've spent a lot of time and I feel like we're cracking the nut on how to figure out what the value of sponsorship is, and I integrate hosts in and then how to make the connection from audio to actual performance marketing.

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HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

To grow your #podcast #audience you want to start an organic and a paid channel from day one because you need to buy in that first little bit of audience to start.

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Doug: That's really cool because I've had the discussion at various podcasting events with advertisers who have advertised on some of the bigger shows that are out there in the entrepreneur space. I say, “Hey, you know, I spent this much money and I didn't see, I couldn't find any proof that I got any business. Anything from that show.”.

Good for you for taking it to the next step and rolling up your sleeves and making sure that the people who do business with you can see some transparency in what you're doing and with your goal and vision to help them to get a result. Yeah.

Benjamin S.: Can I tell you a secret?

Doug: The second one in one show. Sure, go ahead.

Benjamin S.: You pretty promise not to tell anybody.

Doug: Yeah I promise. Well, I can't promise but.

Benjamin S.: I use this service called Pod sites and it's early, right? They are very much a startup that you know, a relatively small team, incredible technology. Podsites has the ability to look at the IP address that's downloading a podcast, which is basically the only information your host gets, the IP gives them a location.

Doug: Yeah.

Benjamin S.: It's able to tie that IP address into a mobile app ID, so they can get down to the household level of who is listening to the podcast. For a marketer like me or a marketing podcast, chances are there's only one person in a household that's listening to a marketing podcast. Maybe there are marketers that are married to each other and or live in the same house that is listening to the show, but I'm making the assumption it's a one-to-one, one household to one listener.

I have the ability through Pod sites to not only be able to figure out, not you know, “Hey, what's the relationship between downloads and actual listeners,” because that's what really matters right.

A download is a piece of content that's been put onto a device, a listen is great the piece of content that's been listened, but I can figure out how many listeners, the actual people, which is what really matters.

Then they also have the ability to spin off retargeting audiences …

Doug: There you go.

Benjamin S.: … based on who is listening or at least downloading your show. From a monetization perspective, that's doubled my revenue. I could sell advertorial content and host read advertising until I'm blue in the face, and we were pretty good at selling our content.

When we got to the point where I can go to a sponsor and say, “I'm going to create a piece of content for you, I'm going to tell you how many people listened to it. I'm going to give you a retargeting list so you can send performance marketer, performance advertising to them, and I'm going to retarget a lookalike audience to get more people that look like them, to listen to your content.”

We've really hit a tipping point and I feel like we've found the right way to not only create value in terms of really rich interesting content but to let people know if the advertisement and the content are working. Then give them the assets they need to reengage with that audience, because one impression is good, but not really that valuable. Five impressions of 10 impressions are what really matters. Like that's how you're getting somebody to have real awareness and get to the point where they have enough impulse built up to actually convert and buy something.

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HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

To grow your #podcast #audience you want to start an organic and a paid channel from day one because you need to buy in that first little bit of audience to start.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: That's immediately where my thought went. As soon as you said advertising idea, I started thinking of this stuff that we've done with geofencing where we're doing the same thing. We're picking up an advertising ID and being able to re-market to people that were in a physical location for a period of time.

Benjamin S.: Yeah, I mean we've started taking mobile app IDs and pumping them into Facebook and the conversion rates from running an ad to somebody that's a lookalike audience that looks like someone who listened to The MarTech Podcast. We're getting like 2% click-through rates. It's what I think, what I would consider being really great conversions.

Doug: Well, I just want to stop just for a second and just say, hey listeners, I've talked to a lot of people in the podcasting space. I've had a number of podcast guesting companies as guests, but I think the two secrets that Ben shared with you today are probably the best I've heard out of all the podcast groups that I'm involved in, and you're running your own podcast. I just want to say, just acknowledge that and say, thanks for sharing.

Benjamin S.: Of course, but Doug I thought you weren't going to tell anybody.

Doug: Yeah, well you told them. I just sat there quietly and made some notes.

Benjamin S.: That's right. My bad.

Doug: What's some of the bad advice that you hear? When you're out in a boat or whether you're in, at a cocktail party in San Francisco or you're visiting us in sunny Vancouver eating you says good Sushi, what's some of the bad advice you hear about people starting a podcast or monetizing a podcast?

Benjamin S.: You know, I don't know how much bad advice I've given. What I would tell people is that you don't have to invest a lot in hardware or really software to be able to start a podcast. I use a Yeti Blue microphone that I bought on Amazon. It plugs right into the USB port, there are no other devices. I don't have mixers, I put it on a normal setting. I'm not adding any filters to it for my show, and the audio quality is great. You'd need 150 bucks for a microphone, you could probably get away with less.

Don't invest in a ton of hardware. Get a stand and a pop filter, which is the little Mesh screen that goes in front of the microphone so when you say the letter p, you don't hear a big popping sound in the mic.

Doug: Yeah.

Benjamin S.: That's it, right? You spend 175 bucks, plug it into your laptop. I use a service called Audio Hijack and Zoom Conference. There are services called Zencastr, which allow you to record your content.

Don't spend a lot of money getting set up. You don't need a huge studio, just a quiet room with a mic. Put it on the cardioid setting, which is the one that looks like a heart or a butt and gets close to the microphone and talks into it. That's pretty much it in terms of like how do you get your voice to sound good.

The other thing that I would do is I am a firm believer that it's worth the investment to have your content edited. I don't like, “Hey, here's a raw piece of content. We're just going to throw it up on the podcast and it is what it is.” I give everything to an editor. I found an editor on Upwork, I found them for as little as $15 an hour. I've paid a max of $25 an hour and we give bonuses and we have editors that have been working on our shows that we've tried to compensate very fairly, but there again a distributed workforce.

Doug: Yeah.

Benjamin S.: Too me spending the $50 an episode to have somebody master it and edit it and take out all the ohs, ums, ahs, sneezes, dirty jokes have all that stuff clipped out and make sure that it flows smoothly is where you should be investing, not in the hardware.

Doug: I think that's great advice because I decided I wasn't going to learn how to use software to edit it because I found that that would be, I'd be the guy staying all night trying to edit an episode and I did what you did. I outsourced it to a local person. Then I eventually went to my remote team and we hired an audio editor, which we pay basically we're paying about $400 a month and he does all our audio and video editing.

Benjamin S.: Yeah.

Doug: Exactly as you said, it's offshore. It happens when we're done tonight and this goes up to Zencastr, uploads it to Dropbox. I'll get a note from him and he'll say, “Hey, I've got the file and it'll be done tonight.”

Benjamin S.: Yeah. We're publishing five pieces of content a week for The MarTech Podcast. We're to the point now where our publishing, when we record a piece of content it'll get edited within two weeks, but it won't be published until October. We're usually two, three months out and some of that is because we have sponsored content that bumps the stuff we're doing for free out a couple of months.

It's you can really build a great archive of content and it helps you create more content when you're not doing the editing. It does require investment to consistently produce good content, but it doesn't mean that you have to be slaving over the editing software.

I truthfully, I did one edit for one of our first episodes to say, “I want the edits to be this style.” My editor said, “I get what you're trying to do, please give me the raw files so I can clean up the mess that you just made, but thank you for letting me know the tone that you want.”.

Doug: Sure.

Benjamin S.: That's really what a good editor needs to know, is I want this pace, this cadence. This is the type of thing that you should be cutting out. How raw do you want it to be? If you find a good editor, never let him go or her.

Doug: Well, I mean that's, those are probably two names we're not going to share my editor's name or yours, so you're right. It doesn't have to be really expensive, it just needs to be somebody else who has got the skills that can, like you said follow your style. Make sure it's your tone and your voice.

Benjamin S.: That's what's going to make you sound like a professional is having an editor cleaning it up, because you're not when you're doing an interview, you're not going to get everything right. There's going to be interruptions, there's going to be cars that drive by and look a little audio noise in the background makes it human. That's not the end of the world, but you don't want the dog barking consistently for 20 minutes. People are going to stop listening to the podcast.

Doug: Yeah and there are planes and especially in the city there's fire trucks and police cars and all those other things that happen as they go by.

Benjamin S.: Absolutely.

Doug: Do you want to take a minute and just share a little bit about what you're doing with your podcast network?

Benjamin S.: Yeah, so the podcast network is kind of a relatively new concept. It's not fully blacked even though we have a webpage on our site, that was more a place for me to park some of the previous content that I had created, which the term de jure these days is pod faded when you stop working on a podcast.

I have a couple of podcasts that I started that just didn't make sense for me to continue working on regularly. Then I have the MarTech Podcast and I also produce a show called The Voices of Search, which is an SEO and organic content focused podcast in partnership with a company named Searchmetrics, which is an SEO platform.

We're also launching another show called The Finding A Job Podcast. The business strategy is now that we have this process and the team built up in terms of editors and content producers, I want to try to onboard other people to work with me to create other podcasts and use the same systems that we've built to create, publish, monetize the content.

I really want it to be called the BPN, the Ben J Shap Podcast Network, but BPN is taken, but I don't know who owns the website, so I have to think of a better name. For now, the podcast is the ones that are active shows are The Voices of Search, The MarTech Podcast, and we're launching The Finding A Job Podcast actually later this month. If you know anybody that's early in their career or leaving college that's looking for a job, that one's for them.

Doug: In terms of the mix of your work, how much time now are you spending consulting? You still thinking on consulting clients or are you focused primarily on The MarTech Podcast?

Benjamin S.: I call Searchmetrics a consulting client. I've worked with them for close to four years, so it's the closest thing that I've had to an in house role that's not actually in the house. I work on their podcast and I'm essentially the head of their content strategy for right now because most of it is centered around the podcast and technically that is consulting.

I do more advising and coaching now than I actually do consult, so I'm not in a house or doing intensive six, eight-week projects. I will schedule recurring calls with what I would call consulting clients, but I'm advising them on what they should be doing. It allows me to move towards more of an hourly model and basically says, “Hey, here are the things that you should be doing. To find the operators to do them instead of me being the operator.”.

Most of my operational time is around content production, ad sales and customers support for The MarTech Podcast and our sponsors.

Doug: Well, that's really exciting, good for you. I mean obviously you made the transition, your wife very early on said, “Hey, you need a paycheck,” and came back around to now you have a paycheck, but you get to control that instead of punching into somebody else's place.

Benjamin S.: It's really been one of the most gratifying times of my career and not something I ever expected. I launched The MarTech Podcast 16 months ago, and it was an experiment that was supposed to do lead generation for my consulting business. I was going to do it for three months and after three months we had a couple of thousand listeners to the podcast and I decided that I was going to keep going for the rest of the year to see if I could get it to the point of monetization.

We kind of checked off both of those boxes in the first year, and I was sitting down at the end of last year, beginning of this year and said, “This is the biggest for me in my career is to build this community and scale our operations.” I thought that there were a bigger opportunity and more consistency in terms of monetization than doing my consulting practice. That's how that all happened, but not something I ever would have expected I would have been doing in January of 2018. It's really been a rollercoaster and the most gratifying year and a half of my entire career.

Doug: Well, that's pretty neat. I mean I've got, we've got kids, most of our kids are out of the house, we've got grandkids now and it's nice to have the flexibility in the schedule to be able to hang out with people. Like you said with your Yeti microphone and your laptop I can get on a podcast episode in Hawaii just as easy as I can in my office in Vancouver.

Benjamin S.: You know if you ever need somebody to meet you in Hawaii to record a podcast, I'm only a five or six-hour flight away.

Doug: Well, I might actually hook up with you in San Francisco overdue for some really good food. I need to get back to the bay.

Benjamin S.: That would be fun too.

Doug: Two questions and I'll let you go, so the first question is; who's one guest that I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Benjamin S.: A guest you have to have on your podcast. What are some topics or areas that have resonated with your podcast audience?

Doug: Most of my podcast audience is thankful or I get feedback around how-tos and takeaways. I'm interested right now looking for people that are in the Martech space that are providing a SaaS service for companies or providing sales and marketing services for companies.

Benjamin S.: Yeah, you know the first name that comes to mind is Liston Witherill. He does a show, it used to be called the liston.io show and I believe he changed it to Modern Sales. He's a really interesting guy, incredibly well-spoken, very generous.

Liston Show is about understanding some of the sales techniques and practices. I think he's actually spun it into a few shows, one is about sales skills, one's about being an independent consultant or running an independent business. Fascinating guy. Very well spoken and also a great podcaster.

Doug: Well, excellent. Then the most important question is, I'm looking at your web page it says let's chat, but where should people be reaching out to find you?

Benjamin S.: The let's chat is actually the, I replaced the 404 pages, so you probably found a broken page on the website apologies for that.

The best place to get a hold of me, the easiest thing to do is go to martechpod-dot-com M-A-R-T-E-C-H-P-O-D.com, which is the web link to find The MarTech Podcast. There are links to the episodes and you can find all the links to all the different app stores and everything else.

It is hosted on my consulting site and we're actually going to transition it away to be an independent domain. You can go to benjshap-dot-com, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P-dot-com, which is, it has all the information about my consulting practice and the contact me form. If you want to get in touch with me benjshap, if you're interested in The MarTech Podcast, martechpod-dot-com.

Doug: There you go, that is amazing. I just want to say thanks again. This was so much fun. It was so great to talk to somebody who's got so much experience in this space.

Benjamin S.: Doug, it was a pleasure. I love your show and I appreciate all the work you do.

Doug: Hey, thanks so much. There you go real listeners, if you didn't take some notes or you weren't paying attention, there's some really good stuff here. If you're interested in podcasting, growing your podcast, growing your podcast audience, I think Ben left a ton of valuable information for you here. Definitely check out the websites and better than that, make sure you go and subscribe to his podcast so he can talk to you for 15 minutes every day and help you grow and scale your business.

Thanks for tuning in, I hope you enjoyed this episode. Don't be shy to share the episode out. Make sure you're subscribed to us in iTunes if you're not already, and we look forward to serving you on our next episode.

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HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

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HOW TO GROW YOUR PODCAST AUDIENCE

To grow your podcast audience you want to start an organic and a paid channel from day one because you need to buy in that first little bit of audience to start.

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Get in touch with Ben:

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Links to other related podcasts and or blog posts on how to launch a business:

HOW TO USE PODCASTING TO GROW YOUR BRAND

HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCH AND MARKET A PODCAST