Increasing Podcast Listeners: Why Amazing Shows Struggle With Listenership And What You Can Do About It With Brett de Hoedt (Podfaded)

TBF 53 | Increasing Podcast Listeners


Growing a podcast audience and increasing listenership is still one of the things that even amazing podcast shows are struggling with. With the ever-growing number of shows offering diverse topics and styles, it’s become harder to reel in listeners and loyal followers. On today’s show, Brett de Hoedt joins Tracy Hazzard to share tips on how you can increase your podcast listeners. Brett is a media and presentation trainer as well as the host of The Hardest Word podcast, an unusual and interesting show about real people from all around the world making real apologies. Tune in to discover Brett’s secret sauce to bingeability and increasing listenership.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Increasing Podcast Listeners: Why Amazing Shows Struggle With Listenership And What You Can Do About It With Brett de Hoedt

I am going international. I’ve got an Australian podcaster and he has blown my mind with his show. You know that doesn’t happen often. I talk to people, I enjoy their shows, and it’s interesting but this one fascinates me. It’s not business-focused at all. It’s a fascinating concept, it’s so creative, and I love it. How did I find him? He reached out to me on LinkedIn and he messaged me asking if I would join in a Giving Tuesday Podcast feature that he wanted to run.

He wanted to run and was going to run in Australia and there was someone else running in the UK, a feature where we would give shout-outs to startup and under-heard podcasts. The ones that deserved it that were underappreciated. We would give them shout-outs on Tuesday as a giving feature within our show. He wanted to get many podcasts to join. He reached out to me because I have a podcast network with lots of shows on it. I couldn’t get myself organized enough because I record so far out ahead that I couldn’t get it completely organized in time for him. As I started talking with him and as I started analyzing, I realized this is a great idea and we’re going to do more of it.

You’re going to be seeing that coming up on Tuesdays. You’re going to be hearing that. I have more opportunities for brand new podcasters to be featured too. He inspired that and that’s how he connected up with me. I’ve got Brett de Hoedt and he is a host of The Hardest Word Podcast. The hardest word is I’m sorry. It’s an interesting podcast focused around apology. You have to check it out. There’s no explaining the power of it until you see it. We’re going to talk a bit in this interview with Brett about how he structures it, what he does, why it’s working, and why it’s not working. This is when you have to check out and listen because stylistically, it’s so different from so many others that you’ve heard.

Let’s get a little bit more background on Brett. Brett de Hoedt is a former print journalist, network TV publicist, and talk radio host. He now coaches people in the art of apologizing, the art of public speaking as well included in that because it tends to go hand-in-hand these days. This led him to creating The Hardest Word Podcast which showcases real people from across the globe making real apologies. He lives in Melbourne, Australia and he is so passionate and excited about the podcast industry, the things that he’s doing, and inspiring within that. I’m so glad he came on the show. He might not have as many listeners and as many of the other guests that I have on here but I believe he deserves an episode here because it’s so unique, creative, and his listenership should catch up with the creativity and he needs some more publicity. I’m going to make sure that all of you go out there and I’m going to inspire you to listen to The Hardest Word Podcast. Read on about Brett de Hoedt as he tells us more about what he’s been doing with the show.

About The Dardest Wood Host Brett de Hoedt

TBF 53 | Increasing Podcast Listeners

Former print journalist, network TV publicist and talk radio host Brett de Hoedt now coaches people in the art of public speaking including the act of apologizing. This lead him to creating The Hardest Word podcast which showcases real people from across the globe making real apologies. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
Follow Brett on Facebook, Twitter & his Website

Brett, thanks so much for joining me. You have a very different style show. Normally, I wait until the end to talk about bingeability but I have to tell you, I couldn’t stop listening to the show. I wanted to hear another one and another one because each one has its own different flavor to it. The hardest word is sorry. There is nothing to apologize about your show at all.

That’s very kind. It is bingeable for one reason, at least, it’s very small. It’s a snack-size little show. The episodes are about five minutes long and that helps I hope bingeability. It is an unusual show. It’s real people from all around the world making real apologies. It’s a very simple show. I talk to introduce, we hear an apology from someone, I finish the show, and that’s five minutes. We have the most extraordinary range of apologies. I never expected to hear them from people apologizing to a monkey, their cats and dogs, but some husbands and wives apologizing to each other very much at all. People apologize in their country. It’s a very interesting show. I’m surprised by it myself.

It’s got me starting to think that I owe my sister an apology so I may be one of your write-ins soon.

If you do apologize, I need to hear it. I need content.

That must be the hardest job that you have. Most of us, it’s the recording. We’re intensely recording and spend hours doing interviews and all of that but yours has to be the seeking out of the right guests and the right apologies, not a guest in this situation. That’s got to be the most work that you put in because the voiceover is a very short portion of it.

I unintentionally gave myself the hardest format possible for a podcast because I have to extract apologies from people. I did have a fantasy in my head at the start that once I get some shows up on the air and the website, people will send me in their apologies spontaneously. That happens 5% of the time. I spend a lot of time and energy seeking people who might want to apologize. I have contacted and connected with people who work with prisoners across the US Prison System. I find radio producers in Iran and I’ve got some apologies coming from Iran. I spend a lot of time looking at writers groups and people who might be more comfortable talking on air. I thought people with podcasts might be a source of apologies. It is not proven to be so but there’s a lot of time and energy trying to find people who are willing and able to write apologies because they can be very heavy or they can be funny but they must be sincere. We need people who can write an apology, record an apology within 2.5 minutes, and make it heartbreaking.

How did you come up with this idea?

I like tennis a lot and I was watching Serena Williams in the US Open Final when she had a huge outburst whilst playing Naomi Osaka. At one point in time, she was underneath the umpire’s chair and she had been accused of taking coaching from her coach in the stands which is not allowed in tennis. In the final, in front of tens of millions of people on television, she was pointing a finger at him, saying, “I demand an apology.” That was the pinnacle to me of some form of apology culture because apologies are hot right now, whether you’re a YouTube superstar who’s apologizing or you’re a corporate CEO from Boeing apologizing. Australia, we’ve had national apologies to Aboriginal Australians from our Prime Minister.

A key characteristic of a lot of successful podcasts is intimacy and high integrity. Click To Tweet

Apologies are very popular. We’re demanding and you hear about them more. They get analyzed in the media. “Was that a good apology?” I am a public speaking trainer and I help people to practice their skills sometimes to apologize. When I saw Serena Williams do it, I thought, “Something’s happened here.” To be honest, you can’t demand an apology at the end of a finger in the middle of a tennis match in front of tens of millions of people. I was dabbled in podcasting and worked in radio before. It seemed to come together and here I am.

Had you been thinking about a podcast or it naturally lend itself to doing that rather than writing a column?

I had been thinking of various podcast formats. For some reason, this one is crystallized. I remember I ran it past a friend who listens to a lot of podcasts and she said to me, “Never underestimate people’s desire these days, especially to unburden themselves publicly.” That’s another part of our culture these days. People are very happy to share intimate things and it has proven to be. I wish more people would send me more apologies and intimately share things more often. It’s interesting to hear people apologize.

This is always the case where we want an interesting subject. We want something also sustainable as we start a podcast and you have something sustainable because there should be an endless list of apologies that many of us owed people over time. That’s 1 of the 10 steps in any program. It’s listed there for a reason so we should all be doing it. You have built in a great sustainability and each story is unique and different. You’ve built in all the right things to make a great show. You mentioned to me before that, because you have a great show and it’s very well-produced like the production is off the chart as you already know. We’ll talk about that, but that’s not enough. There are still challenges in getting listenership. Have you rose to that challenge or how have you found it to be daunting?

I continue to have to rise to that challenge and it’s the same with every podcast. I first podcast a show in 2004. In this room with a lot more equipment and a lot less technology, I was recording a podcast. In those days, it was literally everyone, even people you think who would know would ask what is a podcast in 2004. Now it’s, “Not another podcast.” That’s the response to having a podcast. I missed that middle phase, that golden era where you could discover an audience naturally. It is an ongoing challenge. This is my very cynical point of view, the thought that you can find an audience naturally is very optimistic because I’ve had some nice national media exposure for the show given its format and being featured in some nice and quite popular newsletters, emails, and websites about podcasts.

It gets great responses from people when they hear it because it is unusual and it’s very intimate. That’s a keyword about it but it has been difficult to find an audience and I don’t pretend otherwise at all. Whether I naturally will, I’m not sure, but I’d love to see the show grow. It’s the endless social media. You start that YouTube channel with videos that I also get specially made for the show. It’s some broad media coverage. It is the reaching out on LinkedIn. I’ve had a lot of good luck with it. It’s aired on Podcast Radio in London and a fine network in Switzerland. That’s people who have picked it up via my approaches on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has worked a treat for me.

Many podcasts say that so you’re not alone. That’s how we met. That works out well. I want to mention that before we get into some of my general questions that I ask everybody. What is this Giving Tuesday Podcast? You sent me a message about Giving Tuesday and I loved the concept of it. I’m going to let you explain it. We will make sure to have all the links to it because podcasters tune in to the show. We’re more likely to create an ongoing movement with that.

I do various things for a living. One of them is I’m a publicist and marketing consultant to the nonprofit sector. Around the world, Giving Tuesday is having a special edition. It’s called Giving Tuesday Now.

TBF 53 | Increasing Podcast Listeners
Increasing Podcast Listeners: The thought that you can find an audience naturally is very optimistic because it’s difficult to find an audience.


Every Tuesday instead of just the Tuesday after Black Friday, right?

Correct. In Australia and around the world, I’d like podcasters on those Tuesdays to come up with a special edition of their podcast. I know that’s a challenge because we all put in a lot of work into the normal.

I’m going to encourage my podcasters to say, “Pick any Tuesday. Don’t worry about the month. Let’s go for it and pick any Tuesday or all the Tuesdays.”

There are only 52 a year. Pick a Tuesday and release a special edition of your podcast. It is not going to be the usual format because you are going to use it to recommend three podcasts very generously. No self-promotion and three recommendations. We want both people to recommend podcasts that are underappreciated, niche, and might be downright weird and who deserve a bigger audience because the big guys don’t need any more shout-out.

People mentioned that their favorite show is Joe Rogan here. I want them to say something that I’ve never heard of. The minute I click on it, I go, “It’s a brand-new podcast I didn’t know about.” That’s the reaction we want, right?

That is exactly what we want. Releasing that special edition works beautifully because it’s speaking directly to people who love podcasts, your listeners at a time when they’re listening to a podcast. You don’t have to know the people that you recommend. Three short sharp recommendations. You might talk about each one. I even played a little clip of each one in my special edition and put it out there into the world with the #GivingTuesdayPodcast. It’s as simple as that. It’s not a quid pro quo. It’s just a genuine recommendation. It might be podcasts that don’t match your own genre of podcasts. That’s even better. Surprise people with your recommendations.

Pick ones that you would listen to yourself or do listen to because people want to know that too. That’s always good from a podcasters’ perspective. I’m so glad you started this. I’m so glad you reached out to me and mentioned it because it’s been in my ear all month long since I first got the email. I’ve been like, “How do I do this? How do I make this work? How do I get my entire team energized?” I thought, “What better way? I’ll invite Brett on the show to excite them.”

Thank you, Tracy. That’s part of my role to be the publicist for Giving Tuesday. As a podcaster, it seemed like an opportunity to do something. It’s got a nice pickup. People are enjoying it. They enjoyed formally crystallizing, selecting three and then talking about it because I found it a little bit more difficult than I expected.

An apology is seen as masterful crisis management and reputation renewal. Click To Tweet

In every show here, I do have five things. My first one of the five things is to find the best ways to do it, whatever way you found the best ways to do it. Normally it’s book great guests, but you don’t have guests on your show. You have stories on your show and you have featured clips. You were talking about LinkedIn and some of the other ways. Explain to us how you’re doing that because it seems a little odd to ask for an apology. How are you doing that? What’s the best way to do that?

For apologies, I spend a lot of time trying to track down people who write for a living as well whether it be copywriting, fiction writing, or blog writing. I try and go where those people gather. Because I want a global perspective on the show, I am on Facebook groups around the globe of writers, poets, artists, and voiceover artists. I’m pitching shamelessly to do that to get the apologies. LinkedIn is a wonderful way also because of its search capacity to find people who write, record, talk, poetry or anyone who’s perhaps more creatively skewed might be more likely to record an apology. I’m also surprised who does and doesn’t respond.

Do you get anyone who just writes in? I have to tell you, I know it was a voiceover artist and I want to talk about that when we talk about production, but the one where a woman from Italy was asking for an apology from China for COVID-19. The whole time that she was speaking, it was so beautiful and the writing was poetic in and of itself.

She contacted the show and was living in Rome. Her family comes from the North of Italy which is absolutely the epicenter in Italy for COVID-19. She had an apology idea. She wasn’t apologizing herself. We get lots of twists on the concept of an apology. She wasn’t making an apology herself. She was waiting and had been waiting for an apology from China for the virus. She’s not declaring it escaped from a lab or anything, but she feels that China owes the world an apology. I agree. She had been so desperately waiting for it and then given up hope because of what she’d heard from Chinese politicians that she wrote it herself.

It was so beautifully written that it shows that your process of seeking out those types of people works because obviously, she must have heard about you from that way somehow.

It’s unfortunate for me because it’s more work. Most apologies are the product of outreach. We’ve had a couple of people write multiple apologies especially early on in the show’s history. That was fine with me because they were ready, willing, and able. Some people get it to a greater degree. I reject apologies that are too self-serving or they’re not really an apology. Some are more poetic than others. A lot of people are either writing and recording not with English as their first language. That adds a charm, nuance or poetry to it. That surprised me as well. I’ve learned a lot from doing the show. With the accent, grammatical errors or pronunciation errors, it makes it more real because that’s important that it is real.

We talked a little bit before about increasing listeners. That’s my second part of my best ways. I know you said this is a struggle for you, but have you found anything that got you out of all the different things that you were talking about? Did any of them get you a boost where you thought, “I might be onto something here?”

I’ve had a couple of large media interviews on radio with listenership that I felt would be very pod orientated on ABC radio here which is the number one producer of podcasts in the country as well and endless promoter of it. That led to some nice spikes, but I must confess those spikes were very short-lived. After a couple of days of nice media hits, the spike was gone. I then discovered one particular apology, which is from a woman to her mother apologizing for being a Wiccan, for following Wiccan culture. I didn’t know much about that before I got the apology. That particular episode suddenly went boom. I was wondering what’s this Wiccan, I had to google and I couldn’t understand it.

TBF 53 | Increasing Podcast Listeners
Increasing Podcast Listeners: Certain cultures respond to a podcast episode being about themselves.


That was the product of one podcast email newsletter. That has proven to be successful on a few different episodes. People randomly picked up my show or an episode of the show to recommend. I do a lot of social media as we all do. Certain cultures out there respond to a podcast episode being about themselves and Wiccan culture is one. I’ve tried Facebook Advertising and social media. That has not worked for me as yet particularly well. It’s a mix of things but getting mentioned in podcast recommendation emails has certainly been worth it.

Your show is highly produced and that’s why I want everyone on The Binge Factor. All of my audience here, I say this every time when I come across a show that’s very unique in its styling, I want you to take a listen because you can learn so much, even if your show is not the same. You can learn so much from great production value. You have a producer that we talked about. The production, tell everybody about why it is styled the way that it is.

To me, it should be very intimate because I’ve realized that’s a key characteristic for a lot of successful podcasts in this genre. People are usually apologizing about something sensitive, heartbreaking. Sometimes they’re funny as well surprisingly, which is terrific, but I thought that people listening to it are listening for an intimate podcast that has high integrity. I wanted that to be reflected in the audio. I’ve deliberately adopted a tone that I feel is very late at night.

I would say here in the US, it has an NPR. That’s a little bit of the styling of it. It’s a little NPR-ish which is great because all things considered, that’s the quality of it. Your voice lends itself to it because you’re not this overwhelming bubbly energy. I’m totally a different personality than you are but you’re not so laid back that it doesn’t have the warmth that is necessary.

Thanks, Tracy. I’d love it to sound like that. I was hugely fortunate to find Brian Wallace, my audio director. Brian’s got this ridiculous skillset. He can literally edit the podcast, but he’s also a professional performing musician and producer. He’s worked with some big bands as well. For some reason, magically, he liked the concept of the show. That’s one of the reasons why he worked on it. He edits, improves the quality hugely, and he also presents and contributes original music to it.

That’s what I was hearing on some of the shows that were original, not just out of the can.

I thought that was a good investment because again, I used to be in radio and that’s a different me. It took a while for me to realize it’s different from podcasts. Most people listening on headphones, they might be listening on the way to work, but at night, in bed listening as well. I thought the quality was very important. I do it on the same microphone I’m using now in the same room I’m using. I haven’t built a fantastic studio or any studio. I find myself doing it on my knees at 1:00 in the morning. I’ve started using my dog’s dog bed as a good surround to the microphone. That’s a hot tip, everybody. It’s a dog bed around your microphone.

I got one that’s giant compared to my dog. If you can go to Costco, they’re very inexpensive. I bought one and it’s a giant. We could put three dogs of my dog’s size on this. The music though adds that professional edge. When I talk about the best ways to produce in a professional way, when you have a show like yours that has that dramatic edge to it, that music enhances it. That’s an entertainment value that is required in a way.

An apology is a perishable item. Speed is important. Click To Tweet

I’ve got to say that that was not my natural predisposition. That emphasis on audio quality is not my way to operate usually, but I realized I have to up the game. Thank goodness I met Brian because we both agreed we didn’t want that music that comes straight out of a music library or something. Some of it is great. A lot of it sounds the same and Brian created an intro. This season, we’ve shortened the intro. I made another deliberate decision because we used to have longer episodes with multiple apologies. Now, each episode is one apology but we’d kept the intro the same length. I’m an idiot. It took me a while listening to it. Normally out on the street, I listen to a couple of episodes and thought, “Now that the episodes are too short, the intro is too long for a short episode.” We constantly refine it.

It’s a smart strategy to have now reduced to one because that way you’re not cramming multiple topics into your title. It makes it easy if I do want to jump around and skip to various episodes when I find your show. Having those ones, that’s going to increase the listenership as you’re going forward. That’s going to serve you very well.

That’s a very good bit of feedback for me because that was the decision to make. What I wanted it to be is very easy to sample for the first time. Thanks to Giving Tuesday Podcast, I’ve come across about 25 that I reckon I might be interested in. I will be honest, when it comes to downloading, I might download and trial the shorter ones first so that I can get a sense of them more easily. At 4, 5, 6 minutes an episode, I feel that my show is easy for people to sample for the first time.

It also gives you something more relevant. If you pick something more relevant, you’re more likely to like the show and then subscribe so that’s a way in. Once you’ve produced the show and you go out, how do you encourage engagement from the person that apologized or from the person who sent in a letter? Do you send them emails? How do you get them to then share it with other people?

You are a true professional. I’m making it up as I go, Tracy, you must understand. That is something I’d like to do more of. However, given the nature of the show, people are less interested in promoting. One of the great models that podcasters use is getting someone with the high profile onto their podcast in the knowledge that when that episode comes out, that guest with the high profile will promote it. That’s a beautiful thing. That’s self-perpetuating. I don’t have that luxury. I don’t think very few people who are apologizing want to share it too much. They might want to share it with one person, but they don’t have necessarily any social media following.

They’re not celebrities or famous people in that way. I don’t get that boost. That happens to be a weakness of the show, but I certainly tell them their episode is on. I can tell you, very rarely have I got feedback on it. I have not got much feedback on, “I feel better.” I would like to do some follow-up interviews with some of the people who’ve apologized. I had done that on a couple of occasions with one of the most incredible apologies which is from a guy in Ghana apologizing for not saving the life of his neighbor during the Rwandan genocide. That’s still the mother episode and that is a remarkable apology. You hear his voice and you can hear it in his voice. It is incredible. A situation that 99.9% of us will never be faced with. He’s gone through it. I have recorded up an interview with him about his feelings post apology. That’s very interesting as well.

I’ve got a suggestion for you. Sometimes I mentor on-air and here’s one. My suggestion for you is that you reach out to some celebrity Hollywood publicist because you’re a publicist. One of the most memorable things is when you go through crisis PR. I know a few crisis PR managers. You go through crisis PR at some point but the one that I remember so clearly was Hugh Grant had gotten caught in a sexual act, got arrested, and something happened. I forgot exactly the whole story about it but it was quite the scandal. I remember he came on Jay Leno and Jay was like, “What the heck happened?” He would disarm the whole situation.

It was the best bit of publicity that he could have asked for. Often, we get these celebrities who get into trouble, do things, and they do not make a good apology. Number one, they should listen to your show so they can understand how to format a great apology because some of them in there are formatted beautifully. Sometimes you get apologies that aren’t apologies. Yours are real, true, and deep apologies. That might be the best way for you to get one of those celebrities out because they’re bound to screw up. This is going to happen.

TBF 53 | Increasing Podcast Listeners
Increasing Podcast Listeners: One of the great models that podcasts use is getting someone with a high profile onto their podcast.


I also remember that apology was seen as masterful crisis management and reputation renewal, and it has come to be. You’re right. Before I started working on it, when I had the idea, that was something I had. I thought this could be a global apology forum, format, or platform for the world. It’s still an out of the question. As we all know, when you start off, you have those big ambitions for your show. Particularly depending on the nature of the show, you might get bogged down in the detail, promotion, and all the complications that come with it. I would love some high-profile people to apologize.

The next time Elon Musk has a faux pas on air, we’re going to have a podcast, The Hardest Word Apology come through to stockholders.

Tracy, the problem is you’ve got to feel sorry and apologize. I don’t think Elon is that way and kind.

I don’t think he did. I’m not sure it’s going to be a great apology. You’re probably not at this stage yet but the last one of the five things that we always talk about is monetization. I’m thinking that you did think of a monetization plan when you began or did you not at all?

I’ve been self-employed for a couple of decades and I am aware of trying to monetize things. This podcast didn’t start off with any emphasis on monetization. However, I have found it to be of interest to my prospective clients who have nothing to do with podcasts or apologies. It separates you from the pack. When you’re a communications person offering things such as communications training, it makes you look a little more contemporary to say you have a podcast, a quirky one like this that they listened to and they find it interesting so it’s good in that way.

It’s building authority as a form of leading you to a client or closing clients.

It emphasizes your authority and I’m a public speaking trainer so it’s very relevant. I have worked with CEOs and so on and so forth about apologies. One of the other reasons I was thinking about apologies in general when Serena Williams had that outburst is I started getting inquiries from clients saying, “We want you to talk about presenting and public speaking, but can you talk about apologies?” CEOs and leaders are hyper-aware that at one point in time in their career, at least, they will be forced or called upon to deliver an apology. They know that they will be judged on the quality of that apology. Monetization for me might not come out of the podcast specifically.

I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to go ahead and tell us what makes a great apology. My readers would be upset if you didn’t give us a primer.

When you apologize in writing, keep it short, simple, and direct. If you need to apologize personally, don't do it publicly. Click To Tweet

Speed is important. An apology is a perishable item. The longer between the offense and the apology, the less likelihood of success with the apology. You are going to have to quickly recognize when it’s time to apologize. This is the hardest part for everyone. You don’t have to put away your ego. I have a feeling, one of the reasons I get apologies from around the world and a lot of non-Western countries, as well as California, is ego is highest in the West. We’re always right. We always want to look right, be considered correct, and have other people bend to our will or our way of seeing things. You’re going to have to put away your ego and get humble to apologize.

Another thing is I beg you, and we’ve seen this with a spat between celebrity shifts at the moment. When you apologize in writing, please, I beg you, keep it short, simple and direct. You’ll be tempted. Not all apologies are high drama. Apologies might be quickly delivered in a corridor in a workplace as your colleague walks past you. Don’t tell them, “I’m sorry about how I responded to your idea at the meeting. That was inappropriate.” Don’t go on and say, “Our three-year-old is up all night and we’re so tired.” You might be tempted to deliver the but and it might even be justified to deliver it, but it will weaken the apology to the people listening to the apology. Use the word sorry.

Ask, “I hope you’ll accept my apology.” Formalize it because don’t forget an apology is very much a concept and a very old fashioned one at that. I say this to some corporate clients who have come to me as well. If you’re a corporate person or situation apologizing, don’t apologize unless you’re going to compensate and make things better. There was a bank that I was looking at their public apology, full page in the newspaper, an apology of sorts but no recompense for something they did that demanded the apology. They also tried to be a little bit cute in writing. They had a bit of a pun in the headline and they had some witty turns of phrase in the written apology. That’s not a time for the humor because the person receiving the apology can feel that that diminishes the sincerity of the apology.

Be quick, full, keep it short, try and make it better, and do that before you make the apology. If you had the chance to do some act to make things better, do that before you apologize. If you need to apologize personally, don’t apologize publicly. Forget the social media apologies. Call the person, call the client, or call the customer on the phone, or call the individual person and talk to them. Ideally, talk to them face-to-face or on the phone. Social media and text messages are less sincere forms of communication.

Sometimes, especially if time has gone by and it wasn’t as soon as it should have been like decades later, you realize you might have tortured your sister a little too much, a public apology is the only recompense that you can make. At least there’s some amount of humility in your big sister doing that. That might be the only thing you can do.

If that’s what your sister demands, you must do it. It’s true. When you’ve apologized and one of the hardest things to do sometimes, it’s not black and white. I certainly don’t think everyone who demands an apology deserves an apology, but if you’re apologizing, you will have to go a little further than you feel is reasonable. That’s what you have to do. It’s like we’re spending a bit more on a present than you want to, but if it’s a good present, it’s worth it.

Before I wrap up, we usually talk all about the bingeability of a show. We talked a little bit at the beginning of that and so you can all hear the great voice and the beautiful stories, all of that is adding to the bingeability factor of it. What’s holding it back from the subscriber bingeability, meaning when I subscribed to your show and I listened to all of them and you’re seeing those spikes on particular episodes, you’re getting a share in those topics that are resonating, but then that are not translating into that true bingeability which is someone subscribing and listening to all of your episodes is that you haven’t hit into the right audience yet.

That is when we start to realize as a society that forgiveness is even better than gratefulness then we’re going to start to raise the vibration and raise the bar. I’ve seen some amazing brain, heart scans, and all kinds of different things that are showing that when you are in the act of forgiveness that you are at the most healthy calm that you can be in your actual physical body. You may be the new therapy.

TBF 53 | Increasing Podcast Listeners
Increasing Podcast Listeners: CEOs and leaders are hyper-aware that they will be forced or called upon to deliver an apology at one point in time in their career.


I can charge $180 in 50 minutes.

You need to tap into that new audience who’s starting to realize the power of forgiveness.

Do you think we need a sister show where people respond to the apologies they’ve heard and say, “I accept your apology. I forgive you?”

As we were talking about twelve-step programs and all of those things that are out there that we get into this stage where forgiveness is a part of it but asking for forgiveness is the more important part. That’s where the apology comes in. If we haven’t asked ourselves for forgiveness and you have a couple of shows that are very much like that where people are forgiving themselves and apologizing to themselves. That might start to be the tipping point for you. This is the case where I asked Brett to come on even though the show hasn’t taken off like it should because I see that all the bingeability factors are there. It hasn’t hit into the right audience yet for it to do that speedy take off but it’s going to. I can foresee that.

I feel like I’ve had a counseling session.

That’s what people say. This is like Binge Factor psychoanalysis.

It’s some podcast guru. I feel stronger and better after our meeting.

I’m so glad. I want to put out for the readers and the podcasters who are out there reading the blog, what’s some advice that you can give them if they’re thinking about starting but they’re hesitant and they’re still holding back in that early stage of, “I’ve been thinking about starting a show?”

I would say, come up with a format or a theme that is distinct compared to the 1.2 million podcasts out there. It’s like parenting or anything else consistent and persistent. I’ve had long periods where I haven’t put out content and that has cost me a lot because I know what I’m like. If I’m scrolling through my subscriptions and my favorite podcast of the moment hasn’t got a new episode, I can start to lose my feelings for that podcast. More content more often than you estimate and perhaps be willing. Kurt Vonnegut, the author talked about killing your babies are being very important. Don’t be wedded to the first idea. You have to be willing to change the format.

In my little podcast world, I’ve made significant changes and the show is better for it. Every time I get an informed outsider, they informed us like you, and a couple of other people I’ve spoken to, they have very different ideas about the show and they don’t hold anything precious the way I hold things precious. Ask the right people who know broadcasting, podcasting, and communications for their advice. They might not be seeing your show the way you see it. That will be very valuable.

You’re inspiring a movement here, Brett. You should be very proud of your show. I look forward to hearing more from The Hardest Word.

Tracy, thank you so much. It’s been a wonderful discussion. I enjoyed it.

Increasing Podcast Listeners: Why Amazing Shows Struggle With Listenership And What You Can Do About It — Final Thoughts

I hope you found Brett as inspiring as I did. He inspired me to put in a new feature for Giving Tuesday Podcast. It’s now going to be #GivingTuesdayPodcast going forward. It’s going to be a regular feature on our show. I’ve added it to The Binge Factor website so you can apply shows, pay it forward and give back. Suggest shows from people you believe deserve it. That would be awesome. I will look the other way if you apply and ask me to cover your show too. We’ll do our best. I have to tell you I’ve already been inundated. I put out one single social post to see what would happen and had hundreds of people reach out to me and recommend shows.

This is going to be an exciting and interesting feature and it’s all because of Brett. He reached out, he goes out there, he’s promoting his show, and he’s promoting the things that he’s passionate about. He’s promoting the art of apology as well. Looking at it, sometimes we have some things that are exciting, interesting, very unique and unusual, and they do more for us than if we did a business podcast show. Thinking about whether or not that’s what you want to do as you structure your show or how you want to shift your show.

I hope that you experienced the advice that Brett has been giving you here so that you translate it and make it work for you because it is challenging, as he’s pointed out. At the end of the day, Brett’s strategy may take longer to take action and longer for it to have traction that he’s looking for, but I believe in the end, he’s onto something. Make sure you check out Brett and his podcast, The Hardest Word. Don’t miss it, I said that at the beginning, and I’m saying it again because I don’t want you to miss out checking out this show. It is truly bingeable in its uniqueness alone and worth your time. I look forward to bringing you more exciting, unusual, new, upcoming, existing successful podcasters, bingeable shows, and bingeable factors in the future. Thanks so much for reading.

Don’t miss Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Brett de Hoedt too!

Important Links:

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Join the Binge Factor community today:

Tracy Hazzard

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.
Scroll to Top