What To Know Before Starting A Podcast

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Marketing Podcast with Dan Franks

Dan Franks, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Dan Franks. Dan is the Co-founder and president of Podcast Movement, the world’s largest conference and trade show for the podcast industry. He is a CPA and was formerly the Business Manager and Director of Live Events for Midroll Media.

Key Takeaway:

It seems like everyone today has a podcast. You might be wondering if it’s too late to start yours – the short answer? No. It’s not too late. The market may be more crowded than it once was, but people are still listening to podcasts at a growing rate. Podcasts are and will continue to be an amazing marketing tool that gives you a way to build a community and gives you a platform to advertise your products and services. In this episode, Dan Franks shares why podcasting isn’t dead and advice on starting your own.

Questions I ask Dan Franks:

  • [1:11] Can you give me a little bit of the history behind Podcast Movement?
  • [1:55] What does Podcast Movement look like today?
  • [3:26] What’s been your history, and how did you get into podcasting?
  • [5:12] If you were talking to someone who was thinking about starting a podcast, would you tell them now it’s too late?
  • [11:31] What you’ve seen people doing to make podcast guesting just as effective as podcast hosting?
  • [13:03] Have you seen any really out-of-the-box uses for being a guest on a podcast?
  • [14:32] Companies today are coming up with different uses for podcasts – what kind of trends along those lines are you seeing?
  • [15:56] If I’ve got my show going, how do I get more listeners?
  • [18:44] What’s the best starter setup for somebody who wants to get going on a podcast?
  • [20:54] What’s your current podcast setup?
  • [22:52] Where can people find out more about your work?

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Outbound Squad, formerly Blissful Prospecting, hosted by Jason Bay. It's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. Jason Bay is a leading sales expert, and he talks with other leading sales experts to get you the information you need. I've recent episode, he talked about how much time you need to spend prospecting. Really, really eye-opening. Check it out. Uh, listen to the outbound squad, wherever you get your podcasts. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Dan Franks. He's a co-founder and president of Podcast Movement, the world's largest conference and trade show for the podcast industry. And he's a C P A, was formerly the business manager and director of live Events for Mid-Roll Media. So Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan Franks (01:03): Thanks for having me, John. I'm super excited.

John Jantsch (01:06): So, so gimme a little bit of the history of podcast movement. I guess let's start there. The trade show that you run and known.

Dan Franks (01:14): Yeah, so there was four of us who were big time podcast fans, became podcasters ourselves, and, uh, this would've been 20 12, 20 13, somewhere in there and quickly realized that it was a, a somewhat lonely space sitting in closets, recording, you know, your own voice and maybe having a guest. And at that time it was trying to figure out how to record people on Skype, and it was really just a very impersonal medium to be a creator in. So getting together, we thought it would be really neat to create some kind of environment where we could get together with other creators and learn, you know, learn from each other, but meet each other and really just kind of bring some personal connections to this creation side of things. And that's where we started in 2014.

John Jantsch (01:52): So, so I guess now tell me what does it look like today?

Dan Franks (01:55): Yeah, so at that time it was, you know, kind of a community gathering. We had about five or 600 people at that first year event, which is, was really big, way bigger than we thought it would be. We actually launched it on Kickstarter, so really just kind of throwing it against the wall to see if anyone else was out there that thought it was a good idea. And since then, it's grown to a twice a year event where each event gets, you know, somewhere between a thousand and over 3000 attendees each year. And then a Facebook community with 70,000 members that's super active, the largest Facebook community for podcasters. So really just grown to, you know, a lot of other things too. We've got a daily newsletter that's got over 25,000 subscribers that's all about, you know, podcasting and news and tips and tricks and all that. So really grown from just that, you know, idea of a gathering to now this living, breathing kind of media machine all for people who create podcasts.

John Jantsch (02:46): You know, it's funny you mentioned that about it being kind of a lonely space. I actually started mine in, in 2005, so, uh, I may be one of the, the old school, oldest school, uh, particularly of continuously running because you know, a lot of people that started when I did, I think it was hard to do, it was hard to get people to listen because there weren't, you know, we didn't have the iPhone, you know, app that, uh, came, you know, delivered with the iPhone. And so I think a lot of people did give up on it because they really weren't building any audience or didn't see any point in it, uh, necessarily. But then obviously once it became much more mainstream, probably around 2012, 13 is when it really probably took off again. So, so what's been your history? I mean, you said you were a, a cpa, uh, that's not necessarily an industry that jumped into podcasting early on, so, so what was kind of were, was that a real differentiator for you as a cpa or was podcasting just a side gig?

Dan Franks (03:37): Yeah, so I mean, it started as a C P A sitting, you know, working 80 hour weeks behind a computer, just kind of, you know, plugging and chug chugging numbers and trying to figure out what to do to pass the time. And podcasting was, from a listening standpoint, something that really filled that gap. And then from there, you know, just kind of thinking, Hey, maybe I should try this, like a lot of people do with while listening to a podcast. It's very common thing. And yeah, ended up connecting with a coworker who had similar thoughts. We were both accountants. We at that time were specializing in, they call it outsource, uh, cfp. So we were kind of helping small business owners with their financial, not just taxes, but a lot of their financial planning and bookkeeping and situations like that. And we thought it would be real cool to kind of talk about small business best practices and interview small business owners and that kind of thing.

(04:24): Yeah. And now that's like one of the most common niches in podcasting, a small business. But, you know, 20 12, 20 13, it was still a little bit more of a, of a open pond, so to speak. And yeah, just started that way and, and really kind of immersed ourselves into that creator community. And like I said, the one thing led to another and we just really enjoyed being creators ourselves and getting to know other creators. And that led to us kind of putting together that, you know, curating that community and, and led to a podcast movement as it is today.

John Jantsch (04:52): You know, you mentioned that, I mean, it was such a great differentiator, right? Early on. I mean, it, it really kind of raised a lot of people too, the ranks of authority. But you have a lot of people now that are saying, you know, the world doesn't need another podcast. I mean, there's too many of 'em. I know the answer to this, but I'm gonna ask you, if you were talking to somebody thinking about starting a podcast and they had a good idea and a good platform, uh, would you tell 'em now it's it's too late?

Dan Franks (05:15): No, it's not too late, but it's definitely crowded and whatever you can think of, they, you wanna find a podcast about, for the most part, there's a podcast out there. So really the approach, you know, back then wasn't, you know, back then we could say, is there a podcast on this topic? There's a good chance it isn't. So you can dive in and be the one and kind of, you know, have that, that early first to market, uh, effect, so to speak. Whereas now there's pretty much everything out there. So, you know, what's the angle? Is it you're going to do it at better quality? Are you gonna tell better stories? Are you going to have better guests? Are you going to bring a different angle of ex your experience to the table? Are you representing a brand that hasn't ever had that outlet to speak to its customers or its potential customers? So what are you you doing that's different that would just make somebody who's searching your topic in the iTunes, you know, apple Play Store or in Spotify searching your topic and come across yours and make you pick yours versus the other one that has to do with, uh, you know, a similar topic.

John Jantsch (06:10): Yeah, and I, I think the good news is yes, the market is crowded, but there's also, you know, millions and millions of more people listening to podcasts. So, so every niche that you could think of has got a pretty good size audience, I suspect.

Dan Franks (06:24): Yeah, and it's, you know, it, it's exciting now because back even five years ago, really to be a successful podcast, a lot of people saw it, meaning you get over 10,000 listeners and you start to be able to sell ads and have advertisers on your show, and you make money with the podcast. Whereas now there's so many different definitions of success when it comes to your podcast. It could be, yes, I want to get a whole lot of listeners and sell advertisements, or it could be, I have this product or service that I'm trying to start on the side and the podcast is meant to be a funnel for that. Or, you know, some, so, so in that particular instance, okay, success isn't 10,000 plus listeners and being able to sell ads, it's, can I convert one of my 100 listeners every month to being a customer?

(07:05): And then that's way more, you know, way more profitable for you if that's your goal than just trying to, you know, fight for advertisers. So, you know, now I think there's so many more opportunities and with tools like Patreon and all these where you can kind of, uh, launch these additional add-ons for your listeners. Now, you don't necessarily, again, need those thousands and thousands of listeners. You just need either listeners who are gonna convert for you or your business or who are going to kind of support you as a creator from that, you know, crowdfunding type standpoint or that premium offerings type standpoint. So just so many more ways now to define success.

John Jantsch (07:40): Well, and I'm, I'm glad you touched on it too, because I tell business owners all the time, you know, think of it as a potential lead generation, uh, tool as well. I mean, if you're, I'm a consultant, if, let's say I'm targeting, you know, mid-size company CEOs, well, I'm gonna do a show getting best practices of mid-size company CEOs. I'm gonna have 'em on my show, it's gonna be great content. But at some point, some of them are gonna go, oh, I'll take your phone call now and listen to what you know, you, I mean, so you're not using it to sell necessarily, but you're using it to get access to a, a potential target market. I I think that is one of the most underutilized, you know, aspects of podcasts. You become a member of the media.

Dan Franks (08:21): Yeah. And, and another thing that kind of, that, that reminds me of is one of the things we see a lot now are like professionals. You know, we talked about the accountant thing, but professionals who are almost talking shop amongst themselves. And it's not meant for the customer, it's meant for other people in your position. So for instance, you might be some sort of specialized surgeon that there's only, you know, a thousand of you in the world, but if you're doing a podcast just for, you know, you and your fellow colleagues and you start listening, everyone else starts listening to the show, well then you've got these super high dollar advertisers who desperately want to get in front of that particular type of doctor. You know, people aren't reading magazines anymore. And, and you know, there's limited ways to get in front of just that targeted audience.

(09:01): But if you have a podcast where, okay, it maybe only has 150 listeners an episode, but 150 of 'em are the exact type of doctor that you're trying to get in front of for your, you know, piece of medical equipment or whatever it is, there's hardly any other way to get in front of that group in such a targeted way. So again, like there's, we see that type of thing start popping up or dentists, and a lot of it's in the medical, but it just becomes such a, you know, such a targeted way that you can, you know, create content and get in front of those advertisers that become super profitable. And some, I talked to one doctor who started taking less and less shifts to put more and more focus and you know, the starting salary there is already pretty good, but the podcast is doing better. So it's pretty exciting.

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(10:42): So let's flip the mic around. Um, a lot of times when people talk about podcasting, they think, oh, okay, I have to start a podcast to use podcasting. I actually started an entire company called Podcast Bookers, sorry, there's my ad podcast bookers.com that, that our whole intent was to actually get people on podcast as guests. And I think a lot of times, certainly a lot of people liked to be on shows, but actually making that a very intentional part of your marketing, uh, activity to get on the right shows to get the exposure, you know, to get maybe the seen as well, you know, an expert, you're gonna get content, but the little dirty little secret is , I dunno about you Dan, but when somebody comes on my show, I promote the heck out of that show. I promote the heck out of the links that they mentioned , you know, on the show. So it's the greatest way to get back links today. So talk to me about, you know, your idea or what you've seen people doing to make podcast guesting just as effect as podcast hosting.

Dan Franks (11:38): Yeah, so I mean, obviously there's services like the one you provide that kind of curates what shows would be best for you as a potential guest. But you know, that's something, and you would say this too, that's someone, if they wanted to, you know, roll their sleeves up and put in the dirty work, they could do that themselves. And I think there's a lot of, of value that goes into finding those right fits for you as a guest to be on. I, I like to say like, look at the longevity of these shows that you're potentially sure looking to get on. Because quite honestly, a lot of people do get that shiny object syndrome, right? And start their own show. And you might get pitched to be a guest on that show and it looks good because it's this fun idea and you go back and check it out after your episode was released like six months later you check it out and the show's, you know, sunset and no one's gonna ever hear your show again because it's gone, it's off the air.

(12:21): So yeah, I think, you know, as you're, if you're looking to be intentional about being a guest, go, you know, research shows, spend some time find those best practices or again, you know, work with someone like you. But yeah, just getting in front of those audiences, and again, like I said about those people that can, you know, buy advertisements on very specialized shows, that same approach can be taken to being a guest. You can find very specialized shows that are the exact right audience that you're looking to get in front of. Yeah. And if you bring something compelling other than just a pitch for yourself, but something compelling, you know, an expertise that maybe someone else couldn't provide or that that show was never featured before, you know, you can be as much of a value add to that show as, you know, getting that value in return.

John Jantsch (13:01): I had a client tell me this one and I'd love to hear, you know, if you've seen any really out of the box uses that he actually went and found shows that other guests were kind of his profile of who he was looking for. He'd go beyond the show and then he would go through the list of guests and contact him, say, Hey, I saw you were on this show too, you know, I really loved your episode , you know, maybe, you know, I'd love to, I'd love to meet you and hear more about what you do. And he, he actually uses it as a somewhat aggressive lead generation or lead mining approach.

Dan Franks (13:32): Yeah, I mean I think there's a couple different angles there where being on podcasts or hosting podcasts really kind of put you in connection with people that otherwise you wouldn't be able to. So I know a lot of people who host Joe's and bring on guests who otherwise if they had just cold emailed this person, they'd never make this connection, whether it's a famous person or an influencer in their space. Same thing goes with that. If you have that that, like you said, that that commonality, Hey, we were both on this show and I, I really enjoyed your episode. Like can we connect that's, you know, one a foot in the door that you otherwise wouldn't have had that to be able to relate to people. So yeah, a lot of different ways to skin the cat in terms of leveraging podcasts and guesting and being a guest and having guests, you know, to further, you know, your personal or your professional brand.

John Jantsch (14:14): So in the end, we're really just talking about content, audio content, right? And so a lot of people think in terms of it as a broadcast out to the world, but I'm in, I'm seeing one trend I'm seeing is increasingly companies are using it, you know, even internally or communities are using it internally just as a communications means. What kind of trends along those lines are you seeing?

Dan Franks (14:35): Yeah, we're starting to see a lot of, like you said, companies who are not necessarily replacing but supplementing that weekly, you know, company update with an audio version of it. Or maybe they're interviewing, whether it's executives or just interviewing other employees of the company to where you can kind of, you know, learn the stories of the people that you either work with or that are maybe in other departments. So really just kind of bring a little more personality to what otherwise would be that weekly team update email. Yeah. I'm also seeing, yeah, municipalities in cities and counties use both YouTube, so video style, but also podcasts for those weekly, you know, updates that the city might send out. You know, don't forget trash is getting picked up. , you know, late this week cuz of the holiday, and that sounds super boring, but there's a lot of people who, hey, I just want to hear that, you know, three minute update from the city and I'm more likely to listen to the podcast than read the newsletter. So that's a super exciting trend we're seeing. And then, you know, a little bit in a similar way, we're seeing these, you know, companies use it a little bit more for content marketing and, and communications with customers or potential customers. So in a similar way of, you know, disseminating information as, you know, municipality or a company with it for internal communication, we're seeing a lot of that for external as well. So a lot of kind of newer developments in extensions of what podcasts might be.

John Jantsch (15:50): All right. So I know you don't have the silver bullet answer to this, but I know you also get asked this question a lot. So I got my show going, how do I get more listeners

Dan Franks (15:59): ? Yeah, no, that is, and you mentioned in, you know, 2005 it was hard to find listeners because, you know, there weren't that many of them to begin with the limited shows, but limited listeners and now it's the opposite problem. Lots of shows and lots of listeners, a lot of what we see working really well are is cross promotion between shows, right? I know I've, you know, on some of your episodes you have, I think it's paid sponsorships, but it's podcast advertising on another podcast and new shows can do that, have that same effect on one another just by finding shows maybe in a similar niche or that might have complimentary audiences and really help each other promote like, Hey, if you like my show, this other show, you should check out. And we know it works because we see the big, the biggest networks in the world cross-promoting their own shows, on their own shows.

(16:41): So that's a great way, just once you've got a show going, you've got a track record reach out to similar shows. We also see something called Feed Drops done on a somewhat regular basis. And that's when you find those same shows, maybe you develop that rapport with them by, by cross-promoting, and then you actually drop one of your episodes on their feed and they'll drop one of their episodes on your feed. So you're not just telling them about, you know, telling your audience about this show. And you might record a custom intro on the front end and say, Hey, you know, this week we're taking off, but we've got this special bonus episode of a show that I think you're really gonna like, and then they listen to it and then they'll seek it out and subscribe. So a lot of kind of ways like that where again, everything we do is community focused. Yeah. Um, at podcast movement and that's a community focused type way to help yourself grow and other people as well.

John Jantsch (17:27): I tell you what I've done a couple times, uh, and it's been really fun, especially when I have like a new book coming out or something like that. So a reason to be very promotional myself is I'll actually have a guest host, so I'll actually have somebody come on my show who does a show and interview me on my own podcast. And now obviously it gives 'em an opportunity to, or or she, to promote their show. So another kind of fun twist.

Dan Franks (17:50): Yeah. Yeah. I mean there's all kinds of things you can do and that's the fun thing about podcasting and, and YouTube and blogging and anything else where, you know, there's not really anyone telling you what you can and can't do, you can just come up with ideas like that, try it and if it bombs, don't do it again. But if it works, which a lot of times it does then, you know, you know, might go after that and do it again.

John Jantsch (18:10): So let's, we could geek out forever on this. So I'll try to keep it short, you know, let's talk just a moment about the tech for podcasting. When I first started, I actually recorded phone calls , I had a little device that I bought from the f b I think, uh, plugged in. It was almost like tapping the phone and then it would go into an external recorder and then I would have to upload that file. It was a mess. It was a, it's a lot, it's why a lot of people quit early because it was so much work. Now of course, we've got, we, you and I are recording this on Riverside. You know, there's all kinds of tools to transcribe, do all this stuff. At a minimum, what's in your opinion, the best kind of starter set up for, you know, somebody who wants to get going on a podcast?

Dan Franks (18:51): Yeah, I think the best starter set up is to get a basic USB microphone. There's several out there that you can research and they're, you know, 50, between 50 and a hundred dollars. It's an investment for sure, but it's not a gigantic one, right? Plugs directly into your computer or your laptop. Uh, they're dynamic microphones usually, so they're pretty good about canceling out external noises, right. And yeah, so like from a technical setup, like bare bones, USB microphone, the two that we really like are the Audio Technica, uh, 2100 I believe is the current model. And then there's a q2, Q2 U by Samson. Those two are very good. They come with little mic stands. So really those plugged into your laptop and a semi quiet environment will give you pretty good results just to start. And then there's all kinds of like hosting companies out there that'll provide free service.

(19:37): Anchor is the most known one, but some of the really good ones out there. Red Circle is one I really like. Uh, that is free hosting and you can yeah, you know, put a, get a podcast ready to go for somewhat minimal investment. Now, I don't necessarily think you should just like get on there, plug the microphone in, record, publish a podcast, definitely think there's some, you know, planning and, you know, mapping out what you want this show to be and getting some episodes under your belt before launching. But you know, at bare minimum it's not a giant investment. We were talking before, getting on the air. I'm in a room with a road caster, which is a giant mixer with fancy lights and a bunch of microphones all over. And those are cool to have, but definitely think people should, you know, get started and make sure they like it. You know, my parents used to always, you know, we'll, we'll buy you, you know, something small and make sure you like it and then we'll get you the expensive bike if you actually, you know, show us you actually wanna ride the bike on a regular basis. Same thing with this, like, you can definitely go more expensive, but make sure it's something you wanna stick with before spending too much.

John Jantsch (20:33): Okay. My current every day, Mike is assure, what's this one? S SM seven B I think they call it. Sure. SM seven B into a cloud lifter, which lifts the gain into a two mixer mixer channel. That, or it's actually a four mixer channel. I just used two channels that was probably a hundred dollars. So I mean all, all in all a pretty professional setup, you know, under a grant. And what's your current setup, Dan?

Dan Franks (20:56): The one I'm using here in this little, uh, studio, my co-working space, it's as assure SM seven B, the same microphone. Yeah, probably one of the, the, the better high-end microphones there. But like I said, the Roader mixer, which it's a great mixer, it's really good if you're recording three or four people at once in the same location. Um, and

John Jantsch (21:12): Like the Eagles are there and they wanna perform.

Dan Franks (21:15): There you go. , there you go.

John Jantsch (21:16): Because it could handle that.

Dan Franks (21:18): Yeah, for sure. But yeah, I mean it's, you know, like I said, most, a lot of people would not notice the difference between the listener. When I say people, yeah, the difference between the a hundred dollars setup and the thousand dollars setup, a lot of it is how you use it, what your recording environment is like, if you're, you know, got the window open and there's someone mowing the lawn outside, it doesn't matter how expensive your setup is, , it's still gonna sound like the windows open. And so mowing the lawn outside, but you know, everything from, uh, I, I know people, I know very large podcasters who record in their closet because, you know, clothes everywhere really dampens the sound and creates a really nice recording environment. I know someone who's a, a college professor who wears his graduation gown, kind of throws it over him as he records. And again, it's like a little recording booth. So, uh, a lot of the podcasters you listen to on a regular basis, they're making due with whatever they can in the, in their house. I mean, that's something that anyone and everyone could figure out kind of a solution for.

John Jantsch (22:11): One of my first guests early on was Tim Ferris right after the four hour work Workweek had come out and he was on a mobile phone walking on a windy day . So you can imagine what that sounded like. .

Dan Franks (22:24): Yeah. And you know, a lot of people now, the iPhone microphones and the in the AirPod microphones are not horrible, not recommended, but you know, just technology as you you were referencing earlier, has gotten so much better even on those handheld devices again. Yeah, maybe don't walk down the streets of Chicago on the phone for, for a podcast recording, but you know, if the best you have is your, you know, your iPhone microphone, it might make due for that, you know, some of those test episodes.

John Jantsch (22:52): So Dan, tell people where they can find out more about your work and certainly, uh, check out the next and maybe tell us when the next podcast movement

Dan Franks (22:59): Is. Yeah, so, uh, podcast movement.com, we've got all of our daily newsletter up there, all kinds of, uh, tips and tricks and advice for new podcasters as well as, uh, existing podcasters and industry professionals and podcast movement right now happens twice a year. So the end of March, 2022 is our next one. And then our flagship event is this August in Dallas. So two big events, hopefully getting back into in-person event action this year. And yeah, looking forward to continuing to grow.

John Jantsch (23:27): Yeah. Awesome. Well thanks for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast, Stan, and uh, hopefully we'll run into you one of these days at a podcast movement or on the road somewhere.

Dan Franks (23:36): Looking forward to it. Thanks John.

John Jantsch (23:37): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be, be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketingassessment.co. I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

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