What’s Behind The Podcasting Surge? From Starting Out To Shining Bright With Dave Jackson Of School Of Podcasting

Podcasting has already come so far. From being far away from people’s minds, we are now experiencing a podcasting surge. And with its growth comes a number of changes and even more nuances in the podcasting industry. Who better to help us understand all of these things than someone who has been there since the beginning? Way back when podcasting was still in its infancy, Dave Jackson had already been the OG teaching people about it. He began podcasting in 2005, launching the School of Podcasting, which currently has over 3.3 million downloads. In this episode, he sits down with Tracy Hazzard to talk about the growth and changes he has seen in the podcasting industry and the things he learned from all those years. Dave also dives into the value of doing both solo shows and interviews and maximizing various tools to promote and grow. He then shares about the School of Podcasting, letting us in on the ways they have been helping podcasters navigate this ever-evolving world. Gain amazing insights and wisdom from the podcasting OG himself in this conversation!

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

What’s Behind The Podcasting Surge? From Starting Out To Shining Bright With Dave Jackson Of School Of Podcasting

Podcasting has already come so far. From being far away from people’s minds, we are now experiencing a podcasting surge. And with its growth comes a number of changes and even more nuances in the podcasting industry. Who better to help us understand all of these things than someone who has been there since the beginning? Way back when podcasting was still in its infancy, Dave Jackson had already been the OG teaching people about it. He began podcasting in 2005, launching the School of Podcasting, which currently has over 3.3 million downloads. In this episode, he sits down with Tracy Hazzard to talk about the growth and changes he has seen in the podcasting industry and the things he learned from all those years. Dave also dives into the value of doing both solo shows and interviews and maximizing various tools to promote and grow. He then shares about the School of Podcasting, letting us in on the ways they have been helping podcasters navigate this ever-evolving world. Gain amazing insights and wisdom from the podcasting OG himself in this conversation!

About School Of Podcasting Host Dave Jackson

TBF Dave Jackson | Podcasting SurgeDave Jackson began podcasting in 2005 and launched the School of Podcasting (schoolofpodcasting.com). His School of Podcasting show has over 3.3 million downloads. He has helped hundreds of people plan, launch, and grow their podcasts. He is the author of the book Profit from Your Podcast: Proven Strategies to Turn Listeners into a Livelihood, and is a featured speaker at events. In 2016 Dave joined Libsyn (the largest podcast hosting company) as part of their tech support team. In 2018 he was inducted into the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame. Find him at www.schoolofpodcasting.com

Follow Dave Jackson on Social: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube

Dave, I’m so glad to finally get you here and get us in the same room. We seem to bookend a lot of events together. One of us opens and the other one closes, but we never get to talk. I’m so glad we’re having that opportunity here.

You’re always one of those people I see in the hall and I’m like, “We’ll have to catch up later,” and it never happens.

We’re always so busy. Exactly. School of Podcasting has been going on for quite some time, 897 episodes. You have been podcasting since 2005. As I mentioned in my open, I learned how to podcast from you.

Happy to help. I did not know that. It’s interesting because you’re in a spare bedroom talking to nobody and you don’t always get a chance to see the effects you have on people or what’s happened because you decided to press record. That was very cool to hear.

You don’t know who’s out there, especially back in 2005. Some things have come a long way. I would love to know what you like most about podcasting now.

 

TBF Dave Jackson | Podcasting Surge

 

It’s so much easier. Back then, I was doing websites in Dreamweaver and making my feed in another software, so now it’s like everything’s all in one. I always recommend the Zoom PodTrak P4. Years ago, that was about $1,000 and now it’s like $200 and you can podcast from the woods because it runs on batteries. The fact that there are now pieces of equipment that are being made for podcasters because there are so many of us, that’s cool. Where before, we’re like, “We might be able to use this thing and if we duct tape it to this, it might work thing.”

It’s less hacked than it used to be. That’s so true. You still love some things about podcasting. What is it that you’ve loved from the beginning?

One of my favorite things is I’ll have somebody. I remember once somebody called me up and said, “I want to start a podcast, but there’s no way I’m going to do it.” I go, “Why?” She’s like, “I hate technology. Technology hates me.” A couple of weeks later, she calls me up, she’s crying and I go, “What’s the matter?” She’s like, “I’m in iTunes.” I go, “I told you when we put it in there that it’ll take about twenty minutes.”

The whole thing is like, “I told you I couldn’t do it. You said I could. Now I did. I can’t believe I’m in iTunes.” Watching someone who doesn’t believe in themselves eventually believe in themselves, it’s weird because first they go, “Nobody’s going to listen to me.” I go, “Yes, they will.” That stops them from launching. I finally get them to launch and then it turns around the direct opposite of, “People are listening to me.” I’m like, “I told you they would.” That’s always what puts gas in my tank.

I did have one person that, as much as I’ve had all these different things happen to me, this is the one that stands out. He said, “My friend of twenty years died suddenly. My job of twenty years died suddenly. I thought I had cancer. My favorite holiday is Halloween. I decided I was going to blow my brains out on Halloween. I heard your podcast and you said, ‘Sometimes having a podcast can give you a purpose.’ I started a podcast and I want to let I now credit you with saving my life.”

Sometimes, having a podcast can give you a purpose. Click To Tweet

I’m like, “I’m talking next to the water heater in a basement about microphones. I had no idea.” That’s the one that I’m always like, again, going back to you don’t know who’s listening. You have no idea what impact. I had a guy. I said, “If you ever come to Akron, Ohio, I will buy you Luigi’s Pizza.” This old listener of mine said, “I’m going to be in Akron, Ohio. I want my pizza.” I’m like, “All right.” He said, “Do you remember how you used to open your podcast?”

I did a podcast for musicians. I go, “I don’t remember what I had for breakfast, let alone what I’d said eighteen years ago.” He said, “You used to say, ‘For those who have money, there is therapy. For the rest of us, there is music.’” That’s how I would sign off. He goes, “I’m now a professor of music. I open up every semester with that.” I’m like, “What? Okay.”

You’re getting quoted back to you again. That’s one of my favorite parts, too. I do love that you’ll have this random impact. I repeat this to my students. I say this all the time. Thank you. That makes me feel good.

It’s humbling. My background is in teaching. All you want are willing students. I don’t have any kids, but I had one person say, “Your thumbprint’s in here somewhere. I wouldn’t have started this podcast without you.” It’s weird to throw your pebble into the lake and watch the ripple effect.

I always say to everyone here that I start a new podcast every single year so I can see what it’s like for my clients. You started 32 shows over the years here. What did you learn from some of those shows?

If you want to do a call-in show and you don’t have an audience, that’s not going to work. Myself and my ex-wife decided on a dare to do the Dates from Hell show. There’s another one. Maybe not start a podcast on a dare. We had a few each, but then we ran out of stories and we’re like, “Send us your stories.” It was a brand-new podcast, so we didn’t have much of an audience. That was one.

The other one was one of my backgrounds besides teaching is customer service. I started the Customer Service Show and by the end, it was me being grumpy. It was like, “I can’t believe I went into this place,” just complaining. I did the traditional seven episodes of that before I found out, “That’s my job, but it’s not my passion.” There’s that. The first podcast I did was for musicians. I did that for eleven years and after a while, I was like, “I think I’ve said all there is to say on this subject.” I had lost my passion.

That’s like our first one on 3D printing. I was like, “I don’t want to talk about 3D printing anymore. Six hundred and fifty episodes later, I’m good.”

The latest two, I started a show in Akron, Ohio. I wanted to do a local show because I thought it would be fun to play, except I don’t have that much passion for my hometown. I love living here, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. I started one called the Podcast Trailer Show. The problem with that is I didn’t have any control over the content. It was other people’s trailers. As much as I would think every podcast has a trailer for their podcast, they don’t. It took a lot of time to find a good one. The return on investment, I was like, “No. Thanks. Never mind. Done. We’ll add this to the list. This one’s not going to work.”

It was a lot more work. I know. I did a segment here on The Binge Factor. We were going to do a Giving Tuesday, but to compile those, search them, and find a good podcast to give a shout-out to a worthy one was too much work.

I started on that show saying, “Just a reminder, I’m playing these promos not because I think the show’s good, but because they had a promo.” When you have to do a disclaimer at the beginning of your show, the wrong information is awful. I’m like, “That’s not good.”

You also are an author. You’ve got Profit From Your Podcast: Proven Strategies to Turn Listeners into a Livelihood. I think profit from podcasting is one of the hot topics. This is one of those areas where there aren’t enough people profiting from their podcasts. What do you think some of those big challenges are that you’ve discovered over the years?

TBF Dave Jackson | Podcasting Surge
Profit From Your Podcast: Proven Strategies to Turn Listeners into a Livelihood

The big one is every coach should have a podcast because when you publish on a regular basis, you’re seen as trustworthy. Anytime you can make a point by telling a personal story, they get to know you. If your content’s good, they’re going to like you. There’s a whole know, like, and trust. I often hear that whenever you promote yourself, you feel like a used car salesman from the ‘70s selling a bucket of bolts.

I had a friend of mine. I’d known her for about six months at the time. I helped her launch a podcast. I said, “How’s the podcast going?” She’s like, “I’m not getting any leads for speaking gigs.” I go, “You do speaking gigs? I’ve known you for half a year. I’ve never heard you mention this. I’ve listened to all your episodes. I’ve never heard you say it.”

She goes, “I don’t want to be all salesy.” I go, “You have to mention it. You can’t hope people read your mind.” She was picturing something like over-the-top advertising. I said, “All you have to do is say, ‘On this show, I was speaking to a bunch of high school kids in Brooklyn and this one young man came up and asked me this question and I thought that would be a good topic for a podcast.’ there you go. You let your audience know you speak to kids. It doesn’t have to be this giant polished ad. Let people know this is what you do.”

You do have to ask. I talk about crowdfunding. Please note, the first part of that word is crowd. When you’re trying to crowdfund all four people who are listening to your show, that’s not going to work. You do have to mention it. You have to treat it almost like a sponsor and deliver value. That’s some of it. For me. Most people think, “I’m going to start a podcast and get ads.” You can. I’ve never got anywhere near 10,000 downloads, which is what most big advertisers, the BetterHelps and the Blue Aprons, are.

However, my show is niche. I’ve had microphone manufacturers, editors, and websites for podcasts and things like that that fit my audience. I don’t do that anymore. For me, the most profitable thing is selling your own products and services because you’ve got that relationship with your audience. They want to work with you because, again, they know, like, and trust you. If somebody wanted to sponsor my show, it would be insanely expensive because you’re bumping me unless I add it. I get nervous every time I turn on the radio. It’s like 30% ads and I don’t want to come anywhere near that benchmark. I’m like, “That’s not a benchmark we’re trying to hit.”

The record I’ve had was a four-minute ad at the beginning of a show because they were running the Anchor ads, the Spotify ads, and then their ads. It was four minutes’ worth of ads before the content started. I don’t think they even realized because they were like, “I’m signing up for ad programs so I can make ad dollars.” They weren’t even thinking about the listener experience.

I know a lot of people love to quote Joe Rogan, who used to have seven minutes of ads and I go, “That’s Joe Rogan. He started his career in 1989. You are not Joe Rogan. When you have hundreds of millions of people downloading your show, then you can think about that.” I always say it’s plan, launch, grow. A lot of people want to skip planning and go from launch to monetizing. I’m like, “You skipped a couple of steps there.”

Plan, launch, grow, and monetize. Click To Tweet

Monetize before they launch. That I’ve heard, too. Good luck with that.

It’s rare. It does happen. I had a friend of mine who started a podcast about vertical farming, which is, again, a niche topic. He found a company that works in vertical farming and got them to sponsor a show that wasn’t even launched yet. That is the exception, not the rule.

It’s very exceptional. I love that. I’m a big fan of the plan. That’s what I think people miss. There’s a whole bunch of coaches in the podcasting space you and I know out there who are all about, “Just go grab your iPhone and just start.” The problem with just starting is there’s no strategy.

There’s no strategy and there’s no target audience. Some people think they’ve done, like, “I’m going to do a show for widows.” You’ve just cut out all the men. That’s good. There’s still a big difference between the 38-year-old widow who lost her spouse in a car accident versus Mildred, who’s 95, and lost Harold, who was 98, to natural causes. When you do an episode about, “Ladies, we’re going to talk about getting back out in the field,” I know Mildred was wild in her day, but I don’t think she’s interested in getting back out in the field.

You have to know who your audience is. The hard part is you have to figure out, “Why am I doing this? Am I doing it to be seen as a thought leader in the space? Am I doing this to promote my products and services? Am I trying to get the word out? Whatever it is, you have to figure out who my audience is and you can’t talk about what they want to talk about because then you talk about French toast recipes and cat videos. That doesn’t get you where you want to go. If you talk about what you want to talk about, that’s called an infomercial.

It’s a matter of where they overlap. What can I talk about that’s going to hold their attention while getting them to my why? Just start. Okay, you can, but it would be a little better to, as the old Abraham leaking quote, sharpen the axe for 4 hours if it’s going to take 5 hours to cut it down, sharpen that first and figure out where you want to go.

You’ve been doing this for quite some time and you have a mix of episodes. One of the things I like to do here on The Binge Factor is to talk about what your binge factor is. I think people have already heard it. This is exactly the thing that you do on your show. The binge factor for your show is, I’m going to go all the way back and listen to all these episodes.

You’ve got the practical advice and wisdom and the storytelling blending together in such a wonderful way that it leaves an impression on what I should do. It’s not this list of things that are like, “Use this piece of equipment and try that.” It is this list of things that I’d be better off reading the blog. At the end of the day, your storytelling makes the change to leaving that impression on me. I digest it. I think about it and I’m ready to come back for more.

I always explain something that shows I did some research because I could say, “Buy this microphone because it’s pretty.” People are looking for objectivity, so here’s what I liked about it. When you also say, “I do hate the fact that there’s no on-off switch,” or whatever it is. They’re like, “This isn’t somebody saying this is great, so I’ll use their affiliate link. This person has a little integrity.”

I always say every podcast starts with two things, no audience and integrity. The goal is to grow an audience while keeping your integrity because the minute you say, “This is a great product,” because you want that affiliate income or whatever it is and then somebody buys it and they go, “This is crap,” they’re not going to believe anything you ever say. One of the things I try to do is explain like, “Here’s what I am.”

Every podcast starts with two things: no audience and integrity. Click To Tweet

I also explain to people that, “I’m a middle-aged White dude and this is why I think this is cool. If you’re not a middle-aged White dude, you may have a completely different perspective on this.” I try to be as honest. I remember once I had a guy that had bought a bunch of equipment and he bought something that he didn’t need. He had already bought one recorder and then bought this RØDECaster thing, which is about $600. I go, “Why did you buy that?” He said, “You said it was cool.” I was like, “Hold on. This microphone is loaded. I got to be careful about what I say.”

There are times when I’ll say, “If you have this equipment, that’s fine. You don’t need to upgrade, but here’s what the new one does.” I’m always trying to do it. I inherited the frugal gene, the cheap gene from my dad. I always spend your money like it’s mine. I want to make sure that you’re going in educated so you can make the right choice for you.

That’s part of the way that you do it. It’s so wonderful because I have it at different levels. I know when you’re talking to a beginner. I know when you’re talking to the advanced podcaster because you put it in context for me. That helps. I want to talk about that growth phase now because it is so hard when we get to hundreds of episodes like you have.

There’s a whole bunch of different technical challenges and growth challenges, monetization and profitability challenges, and decisions that have to be made. There’s a different set than there are when you’re starting out. One of them that I am seeing as a trend going on in the industry and I do see it in yours as well is as you get more advanced in episode numbers, you do fewer interviews and you do more of your own content.

I originally was all solo stuff. I did the very rare occasion of an interview. The reason for that is what’s the why of my podcast? I’m trying to position myself as an expert and I want you to join the School of Podcasting. It can’t be a giant commercial, but it was me. The other nice thing about a solo show is no scheduling conflicts and I don’t have to worry about the person’s audio sounding bad. It’s pretty easy and I can hit record and go to town.

I’ve always liked solo shows, but one of the biggest takeaways of podcasting is relationships because relationships lead to opportunities and opportunities lead to meeting more people. Those people lead to more opportunities. I spoke in Bath, New York and I said, “Who hired me?” I don’t even know how I got here. It was a woman who had met me at Podfest.

I was like, “How did I get to Podfest?” I met Glenn Hebert at Podcast Movement and I asked him to be on my show. If you trace things back, you can see that, again, relationships lead to opportunities, opportunities lead to more relationships, which leads to more opportunities. It snowballs. I always say do a solo show because it grows your influence and do interviews because it grows your network and you need both.

That’s what I’m seeing. It’s a bigger trend towards having both in the mix. If those that started with all interviews thinking that was going to be easier and did a great job of networking and doing all of that, tend to pull in more and more solo shows, they maybe tip their balance and do 3 solos and 1 interview a month or if they started with solos, they tend to bring it in the other way with 1 interview a month and keep it going that way.

There was a guy in the ‘90s named Jerry Springer. It’s one of these shows where they were throwing chairs, punching people, and screaming at each other. What was funny is at the end of this, Jerry would come over and they’d dim the lights and he’d go, “What did we learn?” You do a great job of this, by the way, when I was tuning in to your show. After the interview, you’re like, “Here was my big takeaway from my talk with so and so.”

You want to remind the audience in a very passive-aggressive way, “I am the expert here. It is my show here.” That’s where instead of doing a lot of, “I’ve done that too,” in the middle of the interview, now you get to tell your personal story and what your takeaway was. It gets back to letting your audience get to know you a little bit. If you are doing interview shows, add a Jerry Springer at the end and ring all you can out of that interview.

Bring it all together at the end. I love that. I am a fan of that consistency model and I know you are too. That’s one of the things that you’ve done here. By building up this gigantic library and being consistent over the years, you’ve proven that you’re a worthy expert for an audience to give its attention to. That’s hard for someone to come in and break into. That’s a great position to stay as an expert.

It’s not easy. One of my backgrounds, again, is teaching. I learned quickly that if you’re not continually learning stuff, you’re going backward. I understand what ChatGPT is, I’ve played with it, but I have three toes in the water. I know there’s so much more that can do. The challenge is I’m going to stay up with technology because it always changes and storytelling and everything else.

If you're not continually learning stuff, you're going backward. Click To Tweet

I’m happy I love to learn because I’m always reading and watching videos and YouTube and this and that. It’s the thing where, because I have a passion for podcasting, I don’t mind watching YouTube videos on Ecamm Live and everything else. It looks like I’m a workaholic because I’m always consuming content. My sister-in-law once said, “You are always in front of a computer.” I said, “It looks like I’m working. Trust me, I’m having fun. This is what I love to do.” That’s where that comes into play. You do need to, every now and then, turn it off, go out in the woods, say hello to do a deer, and decompress a little bit.

Also, talk to people live instead of virtually. I love that. There are so many new tools. You mentioned there’s AI, and new things are coming out, but I’m seeing a bigger and bigger trend on video podcasting where you’re also having video. What are you seeing there?

What I hate to hear is, “I’m going to use video to take my podcast to the next level.” That’s not what you’re doing. You’re starting a YouTube channel is what you’re doing. Video takes more time and gear. Now you have to shave and get ready for the camera. Keep in mind that video or audio will always outperform video because I can’t watch your video in the car. I can’t watch your video while I’m washing the dishes or things like that, but I can multitask and listen to a podcast in the car. Bill Maher, the comedian, started off a podcast and he wanted to do video and we talked him into doing audio. He had a team that was promoting the video. Even with all that work, the audio outperformed the video about somewhere between 5 to 10 to 1.

It was a considerable margin. I’m not anti-video. If you’ve got the time and the budget, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to not be on YouTube. What I hate to see is the person who is jumping into the pool. I’m like, “Start off with audio, get used to making some content, and then maybe throw video into the mix,” because it can be a little overwhelming when you try to do both.

I go down the YouTube Shorts rabbit hole about three times a week, where I’ll start watching another one and another one. “This is the last one. Okay, last one again.” It’s a great tool if you’ve got the budget, the bandwidth, and the time. do it. The thing about video is that right now, we’re recording this as a video. You can take this and be audio-only, but you can’t take an audio-only podcast. You can do the thing with the little image in that whole 9 yards, but it’s not quite the same if you try to go backwards and try to turn audio into a video.

It doesn’t work. In fact, it’s 10 to 1, so you’re going to get 10 times more value from an actual live video than you are from an audiogram.

I’ve talked and I’ve heard from many people about the audiogram with a little squiggly line and all of them have said, “We don’t do those anymore.”

It doesn’t work. I’m a big fan of using the video and using human faces because people like that in video and that’s why we capture it here but it’s a promotion tool. I don’t expect the views to be real consumption models. I’m still creating it for my podcast at the end of the day. Video is simply a promotion tool.

That’s a great way to think of it. It is funny because there are people on YouTube who watch YouTube nonstop and there are people that listen to the podcast all day. I had somebody join my membership site who found me on YouTube and she said, “You do audio stuff too?” I was like, “Yeah, a little bit.”

Weren’t you listening when you were watching?

It is a different audience and the whole point of growing your content is to find people who don’t know who you are and get in front of them. Video is one of those ways.

The whole point of growing your content is to find people who don't know who you are and get in front of them. Click To Tweet

That’s something that we talk a lot about on my other show Feed Your Brand and here on The Binge Factor. We’re talking about being in those multi-modes of learning. You want to be visual for the visual learners. You want to be audio for the auditory learners. You’re a big SEO proponent. You were talking about starting blogs and doing those things in the early days of podcasting. Podcasting was like a blog extension in those early days. What do you look at and do you still do a lot of SEO work?

I am somewhat ADHD, take your pick whichever letter you want to throw in there, but I found out that my previous workflow was, “I know what I want. I’m going to write down five bullet points. I’m going to talk to my invisible friend across the desk and we’re done.” After I edit it, I’m going to type up my show notes.

After about the third time of going, “You know what I should have said there?” and then it was like, “Do I go back and edit this? No, we’re done.” I switched. Now, I write a blog post to figure out what I want the big takeaway to be here. I’ll write a blog post, boil it down to my five bullet points, talk to my invisible friend across the desk, and then we’re done.

I’m more focused, and people say, “I don’t have time to write a blog post.” The time I spend writing a blog post leads to better content and it leads to less editing. I’m not reading my blog post, but I’ve figured out what I’m trying to say. We all talk about, “I need to be on YouTube. Video’s the next big thing. It’s the number two search engine.” What’s the number one search engine? That’s right, Google. What does it want? Good words. I want to write a blog post. I still say a podcast to the listener or to the new listener, “It’s like a blog post with a player on it.” You put your follow buttons underneath that and hope that they get the hint.

It’s funny because I’m starting to use more of these AI tools. I’ll write a headline and look at it and go, “Does that make me want to click? Yeah, it does.” I’ll have 3 or 4 and I’ll put them into these AI tools and they’ll be like, “That’s a 60. That’s a 55. This one’s a 72.” Nothing near like an 80 or 90. After a while, I was like, “Yeah, but I want to click that. I know the robot said it’s not good because it doesn’t have amazing and it doesn’t make it clickbaity, but I’m like, “I write for people.”

There are times when some AI tool puts me in a different perspective that I’m like, “I never thought of that.” I’ll use AI to brainstorm, but in the end, I’m a person and I write for people. If that headline makes me want to click it over the one that the robot suggested, I’m going with the one that the human said, “Let’s go with that.”

I am a big fan of the human headlines. I used to have this problem when I was writing a column for Inc. Magazine. They would be like, “That doesn’t rank high.” They were even doing this years ago. I would be like, “People who want to know, want to know this. This makes sense.” At the end of the day, that would be what people chose.

There’s a tool now that I go, “Couldn’t I do that for free?” If you type something into Google, you’ll see about halfway down the page after you get past the 8 million ads that are there now, you’ll see people also asked and somebody said, “You should look at those people also asked and put those as sub-headlines in your blog post,” which is your podcast because you know people are searching for that. I was like, “Why didn’t I think of that SEO trick?” I forget the name of the tool that you basically could give them $15 a month and they would do this for you and feed it to you.

It’s already there. You just type it in yourself.

I can do that and look at there, but that stuff that you go, “Yeah, that makes sense.” That’s an easy SEO trick.

You come out of the blogging world. I used to write a blog way back in 2005, right around that time as well. I come from that viewpoint on things and I agree with you. I don’t like to repeat myself. I don’t like to do things twice, so I would never write first. However, I would write the title first. I would always write what my title is going to be because that’s how I think. I’d then write my 5 bullet points and 2 stories. I’m always like, “What is the story I’m going to tell in between here?” That’s how we used to structure our episodes. We would write the show notes from it because it was already structured to be an article, but the title was always set ahead of time.

My strategy is, “What’s the big takeaway I want people to have?” Everything under that should reinforce whatever the main topic is. Ken Davis has a book, Secrets of Dynamic Communication, which was his whole thing. His whole thing was that if you talk on stage, you should be able to boil your talk down to a single sentence.

I spoke once at Podcast Movement and boiled it down to how every podcast can benefit from editing. Whether it’s your whole episode or a segment of an episode, you should be able to boil it down to a sentence and then say, “Does everything I say after this reinforce that subject?” It sounds like you do the same thing. That’s a strategy I try to follow.

Let’s talk a little bit about our do-it-yourselfers and our self-editors. You mentioned editing here. There’s nothing that I hate more than editing because that would require me to listen to my own episode again, which is something I try never to do unless I point it out to you. That’s why I have a company that does it because I didn’t want to do it. We discovered what we are capable of and aren’t over time. There are so many new tools in this world and the editing side of things and sound leveling and all of those things. What tools are you exploring right now?

I’m still exploring. I’m playing with Capsho and Castmagic. All these places you upload and they make a transcription and they spit out 37 different things. I don’t think they’re bad tools. I just don’t think I’m the target audience. I don’t have a problem getting ideas out of my head and into my fingertips. There’s that. I always play with plugins for audio. I do some editing for people. I’m all about anything that I can take the horrible audio that sounds like it was recorded in a fishbowl in a bathroom and somehow run it through some process and make it sound amazing.

Occasionally, I will play with those. That’s probably the top two. I’ve been doing it for so long. I use Evernote. When you get out of the shower and you have that amazing idea, I grab my phone and put it into Evernote. You always have to have something to catch those. Those are probably the big ones right now, AI and audio plugins.

That’s simple. Keep it simple. Play with the things. When somebody’s starting out, what do you think is essential, especially in the sound side of it, because you do come from a music background? What do you think is essential in creating a good show?

The biggest one that will turn people away, and it’s so popular that it drives me crazy, is the Blue Yeti microphone. It looks great and plugs into the computer directly, but by default, it looks like a microphone you should put on your desk. Now it’s 2.5 feet from you. I always tell people, “Try to keep your mic around three finger widths away from your mouth.” I pointed at the corner of my mouth.

Talking across it avoids these things called plosives, which are your Ps and your Bs and things like that because when the microphone is so far away from you, and especially if you have more than one person, you have to pretend you’re Oprah. You get a microphone. Everybody gets a microphone. None of this one microphone in the middle of the table thing that doesn’t deliver great quality and it doesn’t have to be a $500 microphone. There’s the Samson Q2U. Right now, I’m using a RODE PodMic USB.

I’ve got the ATR, which was one that was recommended by you way back when because it was reasonable.

The only reason I recommend the Samson Q2U, which I think has been solved, but it was hard to get the ATR overseas for a while.

They were a limited supply.

The other thing when it comes to sound quality that stops new people is you are going to hate the sound of your voice. There’s no way around that. It’s a science thing. If you don’t believe me, the next time you’re talking, put your hand onto your forehead and talk and you’ll feel that your forehead is vibrating. That means that when you actually hear your voice, you’re hearing it through your ears, but you’re also hearing it through your skull.

TBF Dave Jackson | Podcasting Surge
Podcasting Surge: When it comes to sound quality that stops new people, you are going to hate the sound of your voice. There’s no way around that.

 

The technical term is bone conduction, which I still swear is a great name for a band. What happens then is when you hear your voice back through speakers, your skull isn’t vibrating anymore. You’re using your ears. It’s not that it sounds bad. It sounds different. When you first start out, you’re going to probably hate your voice because it sounds different.

The other thing is to be sure to have somebody who’s not related to you listen to your show. When we’re talking about growing a show, that’s the one thing that’s missing. I get that. I did a sales video and I thought I did a good job. I have a sales background, too, but I sent it to my newsletter and I said, “What do you guys think of this? I put on an extra layer of skin, all criticism, all praise is welcome.” Fifteen updates later, because I think I’d have a great, like, “Now what do you think?” They’re like, “Why aren’t you using your brand colors?” I’m like, “Why am I not using my brand colors? That’s stupid. Back again.” I don’t think enough people do that when they first start out.

I get it. You spent fifteen hours making your first MP3 file. You want to get it out there and I get that. The first thing you should get it out to is somebody who’s going to go, “I love this part of the show, but did you know about halfway through, the cat was meowing,” or whatever it was and things like that. Find somebody who will tell you the truth. I had this happen. A member of the School of Podcasting said, “Dave, you know I love you.” I’m like, “What’s going on?” They’re like, “You have a typo in your title.” I go, “No way.”

It happens to all of us.

Plan, launch, grow, and monetize. I’m like, “We’re missing an I there.” When I say you need somebody else to listen to your show when you’re first starting out or when you’re eighteen years in, maybe have them check for typos while you’re at it.

Dave pointed out that we still had Stitcher on our website. We always do an update to our website so we hold out a bunch of changes, but that’s one we should have done earlier because you pointed it out and you’re right, it’s gone. It makes our site look outdated.

You pointed out that my feed doesn’t show all my episodes.

We need experts to help us out. That’s what I think people don’t do enough. They don’t get an expert involved. They think it’s going to cost too much money or they’re going to sell them something and they don’t get real advice and real help. I think that is so necessary. I also think that you said this. Don’t ask your family because they love you and they’re going to say it’s great. You need to ask somebody in your target audience as well.

Mom will say things like, “Look at you. You’re so professional. Look at the microphone.” Notice Mom isn’t talking about the content. She’s talking about the microphone and the lights and then you’re like, “What was your biggest takeaway, Mom?” She’s like, “What are you, interviewing now?” Still not talking about the content.

If you’ve ever seen the episode of Friends where Joey had a new TV show, they’re all like, “I get lighting, I get this. I had that last time,” because nobody wants to tell Joey that’s a horrible TV show. That’s what’s going on with your podcast. You need you need truth-tellers that are going to go, “This was great. I loved it. Did you know that you sound like you’re in a fishbowl in a restroom of some sort?”

There are tools out there. That’s the great part about it that you can point out to them. School of Podcasting. Before we go, let’s talk a little bit about the business. It’s shifted over time. Tell us about what School of Podcasting, the business is.

It started out, and it still is, you have courses there that’ll take you from the idea through building a website, getting your equipment, getting into all the Apple and Spotify and all that stuff, and monetizing if you want to do that. There’s that. We have a community that keeps getting better by the time I think it can’t get any better. It’s the fact that we’ve got professors, people who are psychologists, pharmacists, and video producers. That’s my favorite part. That’s why people stick around. They’ll come for the courses, but they stay for the community.

My big-ticket item was if you wanted one-on-one consulting and it seemed like a big-ticket item. I started tracking how much time I spent to get somebody to hire me for an hour. They would hire me for an hour and I would answer their seven questions and they’d be all set and then they would leave and I would never see them again. I looked at all the time I was spending on that, to the point that my big ticket item wasn’t that big of a ticket.

My background’s in teaching and I’m like, “I love to coach. I have a group of people who are already giving me money. Why don’t I say, “Free coaching for everyone who’s a member.” Somebody said, “You can’t do that. It doesn’t scale.” I go, “That’s exactly why I’m doing it. I will jump off that bridge when I get to it.” It’s working out great. The new members sign up. I have one person that we meet every Monday and it’s around my schedule. If I want to take a break, I can block off some, “Dave needs a break time.”

It’s been great. That’s something. It’s a win-win for everyone because I know sales. I used to teach sales, but it’s not my thing. I’m a teacher by trade. The fact that I get to do more coaching now to people who want to be coached. If you want a coach, come see me. If you don’t, then okay. That’s the bottom line. It’s a great community. It’s a great place to learn and grow. We have a whole discussion now going on ChatGPT because we’re all learning it together. It’s a lot of fun.

Dave, thank you so much for all that you contribute to the podcasting world, and have been contributing since well before my time. We so appreciate everything you bring to the world.

Thanks for having me. This has been great.

I told you we were going to geek out on the technical side of podcasting, what’s changed in the podcasting industry. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Talking about the idea of coaching and consistency, that’s his number one area. He sees podcasting as being most valuable to and I can’t agree more. The idea of putting your integrity first is exactly what Dave has done.

That’s why the School of Podcasting has the reputation that it does and that Dave Jackson is such a sought-after speaker. It’s because his integrity is always first and foremost and its integrity is in teaching and being very useful, not selling out his audience. When we approach our shows from that heart place, from that place of service, all the other things flow. We get partners, we sell more of our products and services. We sell books, we sell those other things because we’ve proven our integrity, not we sell those things first and then that proves our integrity. It doesn’t work the other way. Dave’s proof of that.

I love that he has this plan, launch, and grow model as well. That resonates with me because when we fail to even think through the planning, I’m not saying you need to agonize over the planning and I know Dave’s not either. He’s not about taking super long, but just doing it is not always the answer. Putting some pre-thought into the idea of, “What am I going to podcast about? What’s its purpose and who is that initial audience?” You might be wrong. I call it a hypothesis podcast. You think this is the audience you might want to get and then you’re wrong about it later and you pivot, that’s okay.

At least you had that in mind as you got started. It gave you a focus. It gave you a plan. As you launch, the choices that you make, make sense and that makes it easier for you to stick with it. There’s such a podfade epidemic. Dave’s proof that it doesn’t have to happen to you, that you can take it on, turn it into a business, turn it into a full profitable venture and a livelihood, as he calls it in his book, if you start with a little bit of planning. It’s not that difficult.

The other side of it was the advice that he was giving us technically. Start with a good microphone. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one but start with a good microphone. It’s going to make all the other stuff you have to do easier. You aren’t going to have to edit as much. You’re not going to sound like you’re in a vacuum. You’re not going to sound like you’re in some echo chamber. You’re going to sound great to begin with. You’re going to have less work for yourself and/or your editing team if that’s what you choose to do.

I love that he gives us that perspective and every choice that he’s making and stories he’s telling and advice that he’s giving comes from that place of saying, “This is where I can be of most service,” because telling you to do it and getting you all excited about that and then getting you to do one episode, that’s not going to be sustainable for you or for the podcasting industry. He understands that intimately.

I hope you’re going to go check out Dave’s show, School of Podcasting, especially if you haven’t started your own show yet. If you are thinking at all about editing yourself or doing any of the sides of things yourself, go and check out School of Podcasting. You can’t get a better course program, a better source of information that’s deeply rooted in understanding how things work.

That’s Dave. He’s not a fly by night. I’m not a big proponent. You know that here, that I do not love the been there, done it once, and now I’ve taught the course. That is not Dave. He has been there, done it again and again, 32 shows he’s launched on his own and some of them were failures. You learn as much from those as you do from the successes. He’s done 897 episodes teaching people how to podcast, launch, and grow their shows and because of that, he’s earned his title as an expert in podcasting.

Go check out School of Podcasting, Dave Jackson, and come back and join us for some more episodes with great podcasters in the industry who are going to teach you some ways to grow your show, give you an idea for something that is going to be what you need to take your show and get it off the ground or get it moving up to that monetization level you’re so anxious to get to. Thanks everyone for reading. I’ll be back next time with another bingeable podcaster.

 

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Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is an Authority Magazine columnist, former Inc. 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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