How To Strategically Improve Your Podcast To Have Good Returns Of Investment Time With DP Knudten Of NONFICTION BRAND

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment


Podcasting for your business is like crafting a nonfiction brand—it’s not about entertaining, but about communicating your message and mission strategically. To achieve a good ROI for your time, it must feel authentic and valuable for you and your audience. In this episode, we have a special guest: DP Knudten, the host of the NONFICTION BRAND podcast and an authority on branding. DP delves into how to strategically improve your podcast to have good returns on investment time. He emphasizes the importance of crafting a story and a message about your business, organization, membership group, community, and mission through podcasting. DP also talks about the ROI of his time spent podcasting, how it’s coming across on his show, his experience of trying new things, and what works best for him. DP’s podcast is a great example of how podcasting can be a valuable investment of time for your business or organization. Tune in to this insightful conversation to learn more!

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How To Strategically Improve Your Podcast To Have Good Returns Of Investment Time With DP Knudten Of NONFICTION BRAND

I have DP Knudten of the NONFICTION BRAND podcast. It’s not often that I get to be interviewed before someone comes on my show. Often, I interview them first, they come on my show, and then I get invited onto their show. It goes the opposite way. In this particular case, DP invited me on his show first. We had so much fun. There was no way I wasn’t going to interview him on my show. It was going to happen anyway but we had so much fun on it, and I got a different insight.

It means that DP and I could almost have a continuation of our conversation. I do want you to go back and check out when I’m on his show. Look at them both. Make sure that you have the link to the final of everything. They’re airing at similar time frames. You could hear the differences between him interviewing me and me interviewing him, and the continuation of our conversation.

What I loved is that he’s got this fabulous studio. He’s got an ear for sound. We hit it off and had so much fun with everything. This is what he calls himself, DP Knudten, Chief Collaborator, COLLABORATOR creative. Collaborator is what I felt in everything that we have done together. It felt like collaboration when I was on his show. You’re going to hear it. It’s going to feel like collaboration on my show.

DP has worked on some of the biggest brands in the business, including Coca-Cola, The Athlete’s Foot, and ClosetMaid during his tenure at DDB Needham, McCann Erickson, and creative shops in Denver, Sarasota, and Madison, Wisconsin. He is the author of NONFICTION BRAND: Discover, craft, and communicate the completely true / completely you brand you already are, the co-author of Rotoma: The ROI of Social Media Top of Mind, and the creatorhost of the popular podcast, The ROTOMA Podcast and NONFICTION BRAND.

He’s also a keynote speaker and clinician in branding, social media, creativity, and culture for groups throughout the US. DP is so much fun. You’re going to enjoy this as much as I did. We have such great continuations and conversations. If it sounds like we’re picking up in the middle, we are. You might want to check out our other conversation too. Let’s hear it from DP Knudten of the NONFICTION BRAND podcast.

About NONFICTION BRAND Podcast Host DP Knudten

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of InvestmentDP Knudten, Chief Collaborator, COLLABORATOR creative

DP’s worked on some of the biggest brands in the business including Coca-Cola®, The Athlete’s Foot®, and ClosetMaid® during tenures at DDB Needham (Chicago), McCann Erickson (Atlanta) and creative shops in Denver, Sarasota, and Madison, WI. He is the author of NONFICTION BRAND—Discover, craft and communicate the ‘completely true / completely you’ brand you already are,” and co-author of ROTOMA—The ROI of Social Media ‘Top of Mind/’ and the creator-host of the popular podcasts, The ROTOMA Podcast and NONFICTION BRAND. He is also a keynote speaker and clinician in branding, social media, creativity and culture for groups throughout the United States.


Follow DP Knudten on Social: Podcast | LinkedIn | YouTube | Website

DP, I’m excited to be back with you. I loved looking into your studio. You might want to go check out a photo and/or check out the video and see because it’s this nice little depth peek into your studio space.

It’s a peek into my brain. To be honest, this is the square footage of our house that my wife allows me to have. This is the me part. For those of you who can’t see the visual, behind me, I’ve got five guitars, some on the walls and some in stands on the ground. I’ve got some recording equipment over there. I’ve got this, that, and the other thing. It’s a peek inside my brain because as a longtime creative, I’ve found that if you want to be creative, make sure your creative tools are right around you all the time.

We can go into the reasons why for that but suffice it to say, you could almost say every creative is on the proverbial spectrum because one of the things on the proverbial spectrum is the idea of object permanence. If it’s not in front of you and you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. If you’re creative, you need to be reminded all the time that you’re creative, the tools you use exist, and you should use them, especially when you’re stuck. We can go into that ad nauseam.

It’s great to see this insight into you because when I listen to your podcast, I hear very good sound choices. The fact that you’re a musician, you have all these tools, and you understand sound so well is apparent in that. This is the thing. When I get sound guys, and they’re usually men, they overdo it, but you don’t.

Let me talk about that because while I appreciate technology, I love the human aspect that makes it sing. Technology is a level-up tool that I use. I can get down into the nitty-gritty about microphone choice and all that stuff, but it still comes down to the fact, “Do I sound good? I want to sound good, but do I communicate well?” That is the key. How many podcasts have you listened to that have fantastic content but crappy technology, and you can’t stand to listen to them anymore?


TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment


You can’t stand to listen to it but I also think there’s this new idea that there are a lot of podcast hosting platforms out there that have their AI tools. I find that they overdo it. It removes everything good and authentic about the pauses and the dramatic license that you’re taking with your show. Your authenticity starts to disappear.

You can smell the AI. I have this battle because I’m a copywriter. I’m not an art director but I work with art directors. I’m a creative director and copywriter background guy. I have this fight because we’re all playing with ChatGPT to see how it can work for us, “This is an easy way to do a blog post. Isn’t that great?” That’s until you read it and go, “I can smell the silicon. There’s not a human carbon-based life form involved in this, and I can tell.” Let me tell you that our auditory senses were developed not by technology but by the fact that saber-tooth lions and cave bears roar. That meant you were going to die.

Our sense is heightened.

Our auditory senses are fantastic threat detectors but also fantastic BS detectors. I know what you mean because what you were saying was some guys, and they tend to be men, are so into the technology. Not only that. They’re also so into the radio voice that what they do is while they’re on their podcast, they’re doing their radio voice as well because they’ve got cans on or headphones, and they’re listening to themselves. They like the way they sound. I find that so obnoxious.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: Our auditory senses are fantastic threat detectors but also fantastic BS detectors.


I love people. Let’s talk about Hollywood stars. Based on his vocal styling, why is Owen Wilson a Hollywood star? How did Jimmy Stewart ever become a Hollywood star? Even the quirky vocal styling of modern stars like Sarah Carlson. She has a bit of a lisp, and she’s a Hollywood star. How does a Hollywood star have a bit of a lisp? The answer is that it’s not about the lisp. It’s about the authenticity she is able to present on-screen and over auditory channels.

I heard you say somewhere that you’re surprised when people go, “You sound like you do on your podcast. That’s surprising to you because you’re like, “I do. Why shouldn’t I?

Until I listened to some of these people on their podcast go, “I am reading off a script the intro to my podcast, which I have done for five years,” as opposed to, “It’s me. We’re doing this thing. You know who I am. This is who I am, This is what I do and how I do it,” and being completely authentic.

I do want to caution everybody out there. DP and I have been doing this for a long time. He’s got four years in. I‘ve got about 7 or 8 years in now. We have been doing this for a while. We can say that and you’re sitting back going, “I‘m just starting. The reality is your podcast listeners will grow with you. You are a little nervous in the beginning. Please don’t read a script but if you’re a little nervous in the beginning, you will ease into it pretty quickly. Your audience will come along. They will be happy with that. That’s okay.

They will love the fact that they were early adopters of you. You’re the band that they discovered before they were big, “I’m glad you like them. Now they have a top-twenty podcast. I was there on episode one. I know everything about them.” You and I have both done this. I don’t know about you but I found my favorite podcasts maybe at episode 70. I go back to episode one and listen all the way through. I hear the podcast host develop. I love them all the more because I get to take their journey with them.

I can tell, “They got a new microphone. They sound better. I don’t know what that microphone is but they were listening enough to know that audio matters. That’s pretty cool. They changed their music. I don’t know if I like it as much as the old one because I associate that old music with the person I knew way back then.” That’s how much of a relationship you have with the listener.



Just so everybody knows. We’re changing our music. By the time this one airs, the music is going to shift on it. I was hoping everyone would go, “That sounds a little bit more like Tracy. You never know whether I’m improving things or not. You’re right. There’s an association.

That’s the whole thing. We started talking about a change I made. Two-hundred episodes in, I’m like, “I’m getting bored with this. I want to try something different.” I had a format, which was designed for one thing, which was how much time, money, bandwidth, and effort I had available to me. That format was I would get someone like Tracy on as a guest. We would record for a solid hour but I would divide it into two episodes that would run on consecutive weeks. There would be week A and week B.

I would keep my eyes on the clock right around half an hour and say, “It’s about time to wrap up this episode. Don’t worry, we will be back next week with Tracy for more of this fantastic conversation.” I do my outro stuff. I would say, “Pause, pause, pause,” because that would be a cue to me while editing, “Here’s the end of the first episode.” We then would go right into where we left off.

I love that you do your verbal cues. That’s an awesome way to do it. You have to do it because it makes it easier for whoever is editing it, including yourself because you’re not going to remember. You think you will, but you will not.

My podcast ends with, “As always, I’m your host DP Knudten, and she is.” That’s where I get a little radio corny. I do a little radio corny on purpose because it’s a self-knowing outro like, “Wink and nudge. This is our outro.” It also allows the person, Tracy, in this case, to be able to say their name in their voice, which is exactly what my podcast is about. It’s using your voice to get your personal brand out there. It’s a great way to wrap up things.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: The podcast’s purpose is to use your voice to get your personal brand out there. It’s a great way to wrap up things.


For four years and 200 episodes, I do that format of a half-hour episode in week A and a half-hour episode in week B. The nice thing was I didn’t have to do a full-hour edit. On Saturdays, and it was always every Saturday, I would get the audio and edit it myself. I would do the editing because I care about audio and audience experience. For the longest time, I would hand cut out every um. You can spot a person who has a podcast by how few ums they do.

They don’t want to cut it.

If they cut it or if they edit themselves, over time, after you’ve edited out 100 ums in a half-hour episode, you go, “I got to get over that.” The beautiful thing is if you’re a speaker, or you want to do more public speaking, doing a podcast and doing your podcast editing makes you a better public speaker because you are so aware of your quirks. One of my quirks is I’ll start sentences with, “Well.” You might say, “I love Empire Strikes Back,” and I’ll say, “Well, my favorite.” All of a sudden, I’m now sensitized to that “Well” because my mother always used to say, “Well, David.”

In my head, I hear my mom every time I hear, “Well.” I learn to stop saying “Well” so much. I don’t cut out all of them because that would be completely artificial. It’s like cilantro. If you put too much cilantro in anything, it tastes like some weird herbal soap. A little bit is nice but too much cilantro is bleh. I allow myself maybe one “Well” in a half-hour episode. I will only have more in if I can’t possibly cut them out because of the way I said the sentence.

I played around with a new format, and get someone in for a full-hour conversation between 45 minutes to an hour. It broke me because all of a sudden, the two and a half hours I would spend on a Saturday editing became more like four hours because it was twice as much content. I would have to find a new guest every single week, which now doubled my outreach needs for locating people. It was never terribly difficult but it still doubled it. All of a sudden, everything was doubled.

The format did not work for me when the format I had worked beautifully for me for four years. I’m on a hiatus as I restart. I’m going back to the future and back to the old style. Even the episode that you and I recorded, I’m going to take the end of, “And she is Tracy.” I’m going to plug that around the half-hour mark in the episode, so you will have week A and week B because that’s what works for me.

If I can give anybody in your audience a recommendation, don’t do what works for other people. Do what works for you. I know people who have five-minute-long episodes because it works for them. I know people who do three hours because it works for them. If I were to try to do a three-hour episode and I had a great guest like Tracy, no problem. We would fill it, but I know Tracy and I both had guests where five minutes in, we’re looking at the clock and going, “I’m ending this.”

Don't do what works for other people. Do what works for you. Share on X

You’re like, “Why did I start this?As you can tell, DP is not one of those guests on my show. We won’t be shortening this episode at all.

You put a nickel in me.

I was the same way on your show. We will go there. You mentioned this before. You said it this way. I love that you said this, “What you can do but also what you enjoy is the best format for you. There’s no one size fits all.

One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is SmartLess, which has Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. You got three top-shelf TV and film talents and stuff like that. Their format is fantastic because they’re three friends who like each other, and you can tell. They give each other crap right and left. They have different personalities that are so clear and fun that you feel like you’re the fourth member of their team.

You’re pointing out though that they aren’t playing a character. That’s the difference there. They’re themselves.

They’re themselves. Their format and their recipe are, “We’re all Hollywood professionals. We have a lot of friends. A lot of them are interesting A-celebrities.” There are three of them. They have to come up with a guest each only once every three weeks. Let’s say I’m Jason Bateman, and my guest is going to be Dax Shepard of Armchair Expert, another fantastic podcast. I don’t tell the two other hosts who it’s going to be but I start reading their resume in a very cagey way so that it hides the obvious stuff, “This person has been a fantastic A-list TV star for over ten years. Let’s just say they love family.”

You’re going, “Who loves family? What was that show? Parenthood. Who is on Parenthood? Dax Shepard.” They mention something like, “His name might ring a bell.” You go, “Dax Shepard is married to Kristen Bell. I bet it’s Dax Shepard.” Before they even get through the intro, you’re buying into the podcast. What is their prep? If it’s not their guest, they show up and get in front of a mic. That is their prep level. You can tell because half the time, they’re giving Will Arnett crap because he just came off a golf course.

They do give him a crap a lot.

That’s part of the fun because you’re listening to guys who care about each other and rip on each other. That is catnip for any guy and a lot of women as well who like to see men enjoy each other’s company. You then get to meet incredible guests. They had Paul McCartney on their podcast.

That was one of the best episodes.

What a surprise. It’s like, “Zoe Saldana. That makes sense. Kristen Bell. That makes sense, but Paul McCartney?” You hear these top-level celebrities turning to little boys meeting their heroes. That’s compelling audio. You can hear the love.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: You hear these top-level celebrities turning to little boys meeting their heroes. That’s compelling audio. You can hear the love.


That’s because they’re not playing a character. That’s where we get so wrong in our heads about this podcasting thing. We take too much baggage from our radio history or our television history. They said, “We don’t have to do that. We’re stars already. We don’t have to take the baggage of what we know in production. It’s not going to play here.

You look at people who have come out of the woodwork with great personalities like Esther Perel or Brené Brown. They are who they are, and people love them. Esther Perel has this little French accent. She’s French, perhaps. Her content is fantastic, but the fact that she wraps it all up in a croissant makes it all that much more fun. Brené Brown is from Texas. She’s got a little bit of brassiness to her like, “I don’t care what you think. I do but not really.”

There’s a big difference between seeing her on stage, which is a little too cultivated, and the podcast is not. There’s a great difference there. I enjoyed her more than when I saw her on stage. This goes right to what you talk about on your show. That’s why I want to hit on this. NONFICTION BRAND means that we’re not pretending. We’re not playing a character. We’re being ourselves. We’re being authentic.

Do not confuse being authentically true to your NONFICTION BRAND, which is who you are, what you do, and how you do it, and that dreaded acronym TMI or Too Much Information. If you listen to my podcast, you’re going to probably not hear the names of my children ever. You will hear me mention my dogs frequently. There’s a reason for that. My young daughters don’t deserve their dad getting up in their grill and using them too much. We have all seen parents who use their children or stories about their children, or embarrassing stuff about their children as currency. I find that odious and disgusting. I choose not to do it. That doesn’t mean you don’t know I have daughters. I just mentioned them.

Do not confuse being authentically true to your NONFICTION BRAND—which is who you are, what you do, and how you do it—with that dreaded acronym TMI or Too Much Information. Share on X

I’m the same way. I try to respect their privacy. Every so often, there will be something. I’ll be like, “One of my daughters does have a podcast. She told me this,” but it’s related to something, and I do get permission first because that’s the one thing I do. Don’t talk about me with something that I heard early on when I would even talk to my parents. I would be telling a story, and they would be like, “Don’t talk about me. Kids don’t need that.

I’m thinking of a certain individual whose whole life is based on the currency of their past family. I’m not talking about comedians who are dealing with trauma on stage. I’m talking about an individual. This is very much like a podcast intro to the SmartLess podcast. It’s an individual who is well-known for encouraging women to go for whatever their passion is.

They have no problem throwing their ex-husband under the bus and use their children and their stories frequently to elevate themselves. This person who shall remain nameless makes me physically ill because they’re trading on things that I don’t feel comfortable even listening to. However, it may be completely authentic to who they are or the persona they are presenting.

This comes to my mind. I was asked to make a comment about it. I‘m curious about your thoughts on Meghan Markle’s podcast. Someone said that they saw a decline. It was falling on the charts. There were some technical reasons, which I pointed out to them why it was falling on the charts, which had nothing to do with her show. After I listened to it, I realized what the problem was. It’s a persona. Overproduced would be the way I would describe it.

Podcasts are different. I grew up in the theater. I was an actor, acting classes, and all that stuff. There’s a phrase that’s used a lot called the willing suspension of disbelief. If you see a live theatrical event in a traditional theater, you suspend the fact that the house has three walls but one of those walls is open, and we get to see in the house.

You suspend the disbelief of that being a house because your experience watching the show is predicated on you suspending your disbelief and engaging. When we watch movies even, we suspend our disbelief. I don’t believe that Benedict Cumberbatch can wear a cape and do all those things that Dr. Strange does in a Marvel movie. If you’re a Marvel fan, you suspend your disbelief in even the physical laws of gravity half the time because it’s so crazy.

In podcasts, with rare exceptions, there are some, and I don’t know what your feelings are about those produced ones, that are like, “Here we are in Abraham Lincoln’s Oval Office on the day the 13th Amendment was passed.” You then have reenacting actors to do it. I find it corny as crap. I love the content but it’s like, “Mr. Stanton, how dare you say that about the Southern states?” That’s a 40-year-old actor trying to sound like he’s 75. You suspend your disbelief to a certain extent but it doesn’t work as well in audio.

Meanwhile, you see Daniel Day-Lewis play Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s movie, Lincoln. By the end of it, that Englishman is now what I think Lincoln sounded and looked like because it was so compelling. Audio is different. I don’t know about you. When I listen to music and hear Auto-Tune, it makes me disrespect the person using it other than T-Pain. He was the original guy to use Auto-Tune as a sonic signature. When I hear something too perfect, it loses me. I love authentic human-produced music.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: When I hear something too perfect, it loses me. I love authentic human-produced music.


We don’t realize it. We tread on this because I own a production company. In the production company, our rule of thumb is not to over-edit. Unless someone asks us to take out something, we only take out technical problems, ums, ahs, and those kinds of things. We don’t take out content unless someone asks us to. We make that rule because we don’t have a right to make production decisions.

You’re listening to your show. You’re making cultivated decisions. What I find with Meghan Markle’s show and some of those that I consider to be overproduced shows is that they’re so concerned with the way something got said that they edit it out, and then don’t do a retake or don’t add anything back in. They aren’t fixing it. There are these gaps in the story. That’s what’s missing.

You can tell. They’re hermetically sealed podcast episodes, and I hate that. Pause is content.

Please, don’t edit out all your pauses. I love that.

Are you familiar with Audacity, which is an audio program?

We have used or tried Audacity and Descript here.

I like Audacity for one thing. They have a setting called Truncate Silence. If you’ve got a silence gap that is 5 inches long, it will truncate it to 3 inches. You still have a substantial gap. If you’re asking someone, “When your father killed your mother, how did you feel?” and it takes them 30 seconds to gather their emotions, that’s a little too long a pause. If it’s like, “How did you feel?” “I didn’t feel so good about that,” it ruins the authenticity of the moment. Truncating that silence shortens it a little bit but does not remove it. I made the mistake early on. If you go back to podcast number five or something like that, you can hear where I over-truncated silence where it’s like, “What do you think about that?” “I found it disgusting?” “I didn’t think so.” “I thought so too.”

It is too sped up. It’s also an interesting thing. There’s a term in the industry called podfaster. It doesn’t mean you’re starving on PodFast but it means you sped up your podcast listening. Because I have to do so much prep in a week, I am a podfaster. Very often, I find that shows sound so bad because they have truncated their spaces so much that you cannot listen to them on that because you lose all the dynamic pauses and everything in that process. Your show doesn’t. I tested it that way to see.

That’s interesting. It’s a long story. I’ll try to keep it short. I used to collect copies of recordings on vinyl of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I love that piece. I wanted to hear Michael Tilson Thomas conducting this orchestra. What I found was that after collecting fifteen, the variance between the interpretation, the tempos, and everything else was incredibly different, and yet it was still all the same.

Someone could go much faster. Someone could go a lot slower. It retained its integrity because it didn’t mess with the actual key content pillars of what’s going on. By retaining that long pause but truncating it or making it a little shorter, you don’t mess with the tempo of the show. The show will have a tempo. You expect it to move at a certain speed but you also expect a pause in there.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: The show will have a tempo. You expect it to move at a certain speed, but you also expect a pause in there.


There’s a variety in the speed.

I’m glad to hear you say that you’ve listened to my episodes and said that it doesn’t get messed up by shortening things up a bit because I sweat that stuff. People don’t know how much I sweat to get the audio as good as I can.

This is what I want to point out. There’s a big difference. I can hear it in a show because I listen to so many different shows. I can hear a show where someone is settled into this beautiful pace. They’re comfortable with the show format, what they’re doing, and what they’re capable of. You can hear that. It’s one of the reasons I sometimes go back and listen to the very first episode, listen to a current one, and bridge through that to see the progress that they have made through there. There’s also a clear difference to someone who understands the effect that they’re having on the audience.

Both the way you ask your questions and the content that you’re developing as you’re going through that and drawing out of your guest is why people listen to your show again and again. This is your binge factor, DP. You are cultivating that with the sound, editing, guest, questioning, and everything that you’re doing in that content. You‘re having a great awareness of the impact that it’s leaving on the audience. A lot of us are doing it for us, but you’re doing it with the intention of impact.

I’m glad you’re picking up on this because frankly, I don’t know if people are. I assume they are but you never know.

I believe that it comes across. This is what I wanted to say to you, DB. When I listen to your show compared to others, there’s a reason I would come back and listen again and again. It’s because it is apparent, whether I understand that consciously or not.

I’m so glad to hear that because people will say things like, “How do you run your show?” The answer is I invite people who could be interesting. Based on how I met them or what I’ve read about them, I have what PR people would call a peg. I have a peg for what we could talk about but I’m not married to it because all of a sudden, I’m going to talk to someone because they have a great voice, “Let’s talk about microphones or something like that. How will your choosing a microphone can affect how your brand comes across.” All of a sudden, I find out we were talking about our dads and their effect on who we are as individuals because that’s what was interesting in the conversation. People will say, “Can you send questions ahead of time?” I go, “No, because I don’t know what I’m going to ask. I don’t have anything.”

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: People will say things like, “How do you run your show?” The answer is I invite people who could be interesting.


I hate it when people ask me for questions. I’m like, “It’s a red flag. You shouldn’t be on my show.

A lot of people are like, “I don’t think fast on my feet. I like to have things ahead of time.” I’ll say, “Don’t worry. I’m going to make you sound fantastic. I’m going to take out all your ums. I’m going to EQ your tracks specifically to make you sound as good as I possibly can. If it takes you five minutes to come up with an answer, I’m going to cut out 4 minutes and 55 seconds of that pause. I might leave it in 5 seconds because you’re a thoughtful person. I’m not going to mess with your tempo but I’m going to make you sound good.” That’s the key. Sometimes people will listen to an episode and go, “This doesn’t apply to me but I’m meeting two people that I am enjoying.”

People I even invite on my show will ask, “What are you going to talk about and stuff?” I’ll say, “Do you know how when you’re in a crowded coffee shop, and you’re enjoying your coffee, reading a book, or checking your email, and you hear an interesting conversation going on behind you and you start leaning back in your chair so you can listen to it more closely without infringing on the conversation? That’s what I hope every episode of my podcast will be.” I’m not going to say every episode is but all of a sudden, you hear me get excited about meeting this person and finding out, “I’ve never thought about that. Let me ask you a question that I’ve always been wanting to ask someone but I didn’t know who to ask.”

That’s where I find podcasters go wrong, and you don’t. You’re finally able to go and dive into that follow-up question that goes a little bit deeper and uncovers what’s going on because your curiosity is driving that for the audience.

People in your audience, I don’t know if you enjoy Sunday’s Meet the Press or crap like that. I enjoy them to a certain level, except for one thing. That is you get a person on your set, you ask them a question, they drop a bomb, and you don’t deal with the bomb they dropped because you got to go to the next question. It’s like if someone says, “I didn’t support him on this issue but I did support his presidency even when I found out that he had carnal relations with the family dog.”

Let’s forget everything we’re going to talk about and say, “You support a person who had carnal relations with the family dog. You were comfortable with that.” “Yeah, because we were able to get the Supreme Court judges we wanted.” “Let’s talk about that.” They don’t do that. They will blow past the golden nugget that was handed.

You don’t want to have your audience yelling at their phone or their earbuds. That’s what happens. That’s when they quit the show. It’s right there when you don’t do that follow-up. You’re not putting your audience first, and they know it.

It’s interesting. You mentioned the Meghan Markle podcast, which I haven’t listened to so I can’t talk about that. Let me talk about the fact that the most recent Harry interviews are the right stage for his authenticity. He came off as very authentic, hurt, damaged, and honest. Whether you liked it or not, you have to admit the life he had.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
NONFICTION BRAND: Discover, craft and communicate the ‘completely true / completely you’ brand—you already are by DP Knudten

He may have known what they were going to ask in general. None of it sounded like a soundbite ever. Thats why he came off so well in all of that.

I don’t know if you’re a TikTok fan but there is a PR professional on TikTok that I love. Her name is Molly McPherson. She is a woman who’s significantly over the age of 40.

She’s still doing well on TikTok, mind you, for all of you who are afraid to be on it.

She’s killing it on TikTok because she has found her perfect stage. In my book, NONFICTION BRAND, I talk about a concept called style stage. You have a style, and there are stages out there that are perfect for it. In her case, TikTok is fantastic because she uses TikTok content, and then opines on it from a PR professional’s point of view. There is always a PR blowup to talk about. Let’s pick one that’s fairly recent, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady. Tom Brady gives up his family to try to squeeze out one more year as an NFL superstar. To a man like me who has been married for 26 years, and family is the most important thing, I am enraged by that narcissistic male toxicity.

She will opine on whatever the latest thing is like, “It was interesting to see how Gisele Bündchen responded to Tom Brady and his tearful attempt for the second time to end his NFL career. She was very classy and kind. You could tell she was shoving the knife in his back and twisting it because she made her point, which was you have to do the most important things in your life and see them through to the end.” That says everything.

It does. The style stage is interesting. Before we go here, I want to touch on NONFICTION BRAND. We have a lot of people out there who talk about personal brands. I‘m going to say that your view on the world of personal brands isn’t like, “Let’s stick our face on everything and put our signature on every website.” Let’s not do that but let’s find where we fit in providing something for our audience.

The three pillars of NONFICTION BRANDing are who you are, what you do, and how you do it. These are the things you constantly need to demonstrate via whatever stages are available to you. Podcasting is fantastic for me because I get to demonstrate the way I think, the curation quality of my brain by the people I have on as guests, and the way I interview them. It’s a fantastic way of getting people hopefully to say, “That DP guy is pretty smart. I should talk to him about other stuff, at least get his book, have him speak to our group, or something like that.” It’s a fantastic force multiplier for me.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: The three pillars of NONFICTION BRANDing are who you are, what you do, and how you do it.


I’m talking to you from a basement outside Madison, Wisconsin. That’s interesting because back in the day and that’s ten years ago, I would be talking to a wall in the basement of my home outside Madison, Wisconsin. Instead, I’m talking to you all the way in California and potentially to everybody who’s globally aware of your podcast. That’s an incredible force multiplier. That’s why I use podcasting as my number one style stage. It suits my style. It’s a perfect stage for that style.

It also builds a lot of trust in the trustless society that we have now, where we don’t trust anything anymore. We don’t trust what we see on social media. We don’t trust any advertisements, but it’s hard to fake it 200plus episodes in.

It’s interesting. One of my favorite followers is a guy named Scott Galloway. He’s a professor of marketing at the Stern School of Business at NYU. He’s also on the Pivot podcast with Kara Swisher, which is a perennial top ten. He’s also got The Prof G Pod. He likes to refer to people as blue-flame thinkers when they’re smart. He’s a blue-flame thinker. Your mileage may vary on him because he’s a little bit crass. I refer to him as Crassandra, meaning that he’s not afraid to open up or to predict. He will be a little bit 50-year-old guy-ish, but he’s incredibly smart.

He does a lot of speaking. One of the things he said was, “When people come up to me and they say, ‘Thank you. I liked it,’ I know they have seen me speak in public, or they have read my book. When people come up to me like they’re a friend of mine, it’s because they listen to my podcast.” I am convinced that’s because when you’re in a podcast, you’re in someone’s head via their ears. Over time, they learn about your eccentricities, and that endears you to them. They learn about your vocal style, and it becomes warm and homey almost, even for those people who lisp.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: When you’re in a podcast, you’re in someone’s head via their ears. Over time, they learn about your eccentricities, and that endears you to them.


I’m trying to think of some famous lispers who are very popular. Jonathan Ross, the British host, has a terrible speech impediment. It does not stop him from being a superstar in the UK. Why? Because he’s a compelling interviewer who brings out interesting content from interesting people. That’s a good recipe for a podcast, especially if you’re comfortable with your voice.

As you can tell, I’m pretty comfortable with the way I am. For those who can’t see my salt-and-pepper beard that is 99% salt, let’s say I’m North of a certain point in life. I don’t give a crap anymore because I know this about myself. I care about people. I want to be respectful. I always assume good intent with what I say. It doesn’t mean I’m always going to say it the right way because let me tell you this. When you are as old as I am, language has changed substantially during the arc of my life. The garden-variety things to say as recently as ten years ago are now flaming-hot landmines. I’m okay with that because if someone calls me on it, I’ll say, “I’m sorry. Please tell me why that’s offensive because I want to learn.”

Most often, they won’t. You’ve been podcasting as long as you have and as long as I have. When people will say something even if you tripped over it and you didn’t say it in the right way because they trust your intention. They might say it as a friendly reminder like, “You may not realize this,” but they will not go after you as easily.

It’s different. If you’re Uncle Joe who’s constantly trying to poke everybody and punch their buttons, you’re not going to get that grace. If you have earned chits or deposits in the bank of goodwill because you’ve done 200 episodes that people found some value in, they’re willing to go, “That’s tone-deaf but I know he’s smarter than that so I’m going to give him a pass on that.”

Maybe they will educate you a little bit on the side but in a nice way. You will be like, “I‘m better off for having learned that. That’s a great way to do it.

That’s one of the things my podcast has been so great for me. It’s always wonderful for guests to come on. It helps them and stuff, but the biggest benefit I get out of it is learning, hearing other people’s stories, and forcing my brain open a lot of times. When we had our conversation about what you do with this Binge Factor and all that, I’m like, “I never thought of doing that. Why haven’t I done that? Why haven’t I invested in my podcast that I put a ton of time into?” As we have said numerous times during this episode, I have over 200 episodes. Why don’t I have at least 200 pieces of fantastic content on my website, frequently cycling through my social media feeds, and sharing out with individuals when appropriate, not in a braggy way but in a helpful way and a giving way?

It’s still a lot of work.

I’ve got only enough time to do it the way I do it.

I love that. Do what you can. At each stage, there’s something different. I love that you’re going back to your format because it’s working for you. What’s next for the show? What’s next for you and the NONFICTION BRAND?

I’m going to be turning up my curation invitation bar a little bit. That’s not to say I haven’t had fantastic people, but I have hesitated to reach out to what I would consider A-list people because my podcast is not huge. I’m not Joe Rogan and all that, but I have learned a long time ago that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I think I’m going to make some big asks of people that are the real thing. I don’t want to talk to the guys who are leaning up against Lamborghinis with fat stacks of cash on them. I don’t need that type of person.

If you don't ask, you don't get. Share on X

I’m a big fan of TikTok. There are some people on TikTok that amaze me. Let me share one with you that you can look up. Look up Anna Lapwood. On TikTok, she goes by @AnnaLapwoodOrgan. Her story blows me away. Bear with me for a second. She is an organist in the UK. Why do I know the name of an organist in the UK? She happens to be an associate of the Royal Albert Hall.

In Royal Albert Hall, one of the premier concert venues on the globe, there is an organ that has something like 1,500 pipes. It’s 150 years old. She plays it. She practices late at night at 3:00 AM because they’ve got stuff going on all day. It can take six hours to set up the organ and all the different stops to get the right sounds. She will practice stuff like Hans Zimmer’s score to the movie Interstellar. It’s fantastic. When she’s playing, the whole building will shake because the organ is so powerful. This story blew me away.

There’s a British band called Bonobos. It’s not a top-40 band. It’s not a pop band but it’s very well-known and well-respected in the ambient music space. They were getting ready for a three-night stand at Royal Albert Hall. The trumpet player from the group is working with the audio engineer before they started. It’s late at night. They’re doing arcane technical stuff, and she’s practicing.

All of a sudden, he yells out, “Adagio in D-flat minor. Toccata in D.” It’s the old organ thing that everyone knows. She plays it and it’s making the whole building shake. They talk to her and say, “Our final night is coming up. If I wrote you a part, would you play with us the finale of our residency at Royal Albert Hall?” They do that. All this stuff is on TikTok at @AnnaLapwoodOrgan.

They do that. She plays. She’s practically crying while playing because she feels like a rockstar. She’s maybe 30. It’s fantastic. She did a TikTok about it. She said, “I felt like my music career opened up.” Within a year, she went from unknown to a Sony Classics music contract with an album because she was being exactly who she is, doing what she does, in the way she does it on a style stage that suits the personal brand she is. To see that in action, I feel like I know her.

It sounds like you already sat down with her and had this story. I can’t wait for you to get these stories in. I love that you’re going to reach farther because, at the end of the day, when we provide a venue for our guests to come across so authentically just like you have now, thats all that matters. The numbers don’t matter.

The thing that everybody should take away is, as human beings, what are we most desirous of or hungry for? That’s an authentic human connection. We like to think we’re connected to that influencer on Instagram. You aren’t, but you could send Tracy or me an email, and you’re going to get a response. Why? Because we don’t get that many. Even though I know that people are listening, I get very few emails because it’s like, “You’ve got that show. You’re something better than me. You’re at a different height.” No, I’m not.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: What we are, as human beings, most desirous of or hungry for is an authentic human connection.


The person you hear is the exact person I am. I mentioned that people are amazed that I sound the way I sound because that’s the way I sound. That’s the true test of what I would call your NONFICTION BRAND. If people meet you in public and go, “You’re exactly who I thought you would be,” that to me is the absolute best gift you could give me. Thank you. I have worked hard to be exactly who I am. The hardest thing in the world is to be who you are.

TBF DP Knudten | Podcast Returns Of Investment
Podcast Returns Of Investment: The hardest thing in the world is to be who you are.


Thank you, DP, for being who you are and bringing the NONFICTION BRAND podcast to the world. Keep going with it because I cannot wait to keep listening to the future and see who your new guests are.

I’m going to get Anna Lapwood. I’m going to get Molly MacPherson.

I’m going to make a clip for you from this so you can send it to her so she realizes how badly you want her on the show.

Believe me, I’ve got this intellectual crush on her of, “I’m so proud of you for doing this.”

To audiences out there, if you can help DP connect up with her and make sure that she comes on his show, make sure you reach out to either one of us, send an email, reach out to us on social media, and find us. We will connect you.

I loved doing the show at DP. I may have not mentioned this earlier but In My Not So Humble Opinion is the name of his livestream. We were live streaming when I was on his show. He has 4 years of podcasting and 200plus episodes. There’s always something to learn from someone, especially someone who’s an authority on branding and in this case, nonfiction, which is business.

Think about it as a business, organization, or something. You’re not telling stories. You’re not entertaining with your podcast to craft a storyline. You’re crafting a story and a message about you, your business, your organizations, your membership groups, your community, or your mission. That’s what NONFICTION BRAND means. When we think about that, we have to think, “Is it working for us? Am I getting enough out of this? That’s where that ROI is for the time spent.

When he was talking about the ROI for your social media and the time spent on something, he values the ROI or the Return on Investment of his time podcasting. It’s coming across on his show and out to all of you as well. The biggest tell was he thought he needed to mess with his show. In the end, it didn’t fit him as much, and it didn’t seem as valuable. That’s always a great lesson.

Go ahead and try something, but if it’s not working, feel free to revert back to something that works for you. At the end of the day, when you’re in a NONFICTION BRAND situation or when you’re doing this for your business or for you, it has to have a good Return on Investment for your time. It has to feel good. That should be up there in one of your key measurements. Is podcasting worth it for me?

I’m so glad DP Knudten has decided that podcasting is worth it for him because it’s worth it for those of us who get to listen to his show. Go check out the NONFICTION BRAND podcast. You’re not going to want to miss it. Check out his YouTube while you’re at it and the In My Not So Humble Opinion livestreams as well. Thanks, everyone. I‘ll be back next time with another podcaster and another great message about how you can get your messages out to the world.


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Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is a former Authority Magazine and Inc. Magazine Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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