The Mystery Podcaster
I just did a great interview with a guy who helped to start Disney's record label, Lyric Street, and we discussed what makes somebody a "superstar."
Something I mentioned, which I heard from a friend who worked for ZZ Top, was that their manager, Bill Ham, refused MTV's request to do an "Unplugged" special and album.
He believed in "mystery." Which is why the guys from ZZ Top weren't even the main characters in their music videos.
I believe in mystery too. This is one of the reasons I suggest you never put your photo on your podcast artwork. And it's one of many reasons I advise podcasters to focus on audio rather than video – "theater of the mind" is powerful.
I'm going to be blunt.
We've all had a friend in a relationship with a person who didn't exist. In other words, the friend loved the thing he wanted that person to be, not who the person actually was.
I've been there myself.
That's the downside of "theater of the mind." It can keep you in a fantasy world that isn't good for you.
But the upside is powerful and good.
ZZ Top had mystery. Radio hosts like Wolfman Jack has mystery. It makes them more exciting than they actually are. And that's fine when it's just entertainment – it can even be helpful.
Consider this when producing your podcast episodes and being on social media this week. Leave in some mystery. You don't have to tell everybody everything.
Starting a "Local" Podcast
Going "local" is, by far, the easiest way to attract an audience as well as high-paying advertisers.
The highest-paying podcast I've ever done, per listener, was for a neighborhood of about 1500 houses. But it's not just geography that makes something "local" – you can use these same techniques with any podcast that caters to a very specific audience. For example, many of the things that apply to a geographically local podcast also apply to the my broadcast radio show, Music Business Radio.
Think about this...
A "guitar string" company, like a local coffee shop, isn't selling to everybody – they want to reach a very specific group of people, in this case either musicians or people within a few blocks of the coffee shop. Anybody else isn't a match for these companies.
Which would be a better podcast on which to advertise? A podcast with 1000 people who could use what either of these companies had to offer or a podcast with 100,000 "general" listeners?
If you're got a small, but focused audience, this should be your pitch. Yeah, you don't have a lot of people listening, but you have the right people listening.
When it comes to advertisers, the only listeners that matter are the ones who buy. This is how you can get "100,000 money" for a podcast with just 1000 listeners.
Again, going local is an easy option to do this. And there are similarly-powerful segments for most podcasters (probably yours).
Need help making it happen? Work with me.
Your Podcast Needs an Enemy
When I was a kid, I used to go to live wrestling events at the local fairgrounds. This was in the early 80s, back in the days of independent promoters and guys, arguably more like you and me than not, were trying to make a name for themselves and make a few bucks to feed their families. There were "popular" wrestlers who were well-liked, but no real superstars.
As the business of wresting changed, many of the guys I'd see did became big stars later – Andre the Giant, Jerry Lawler, Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Hart, Koko Ware, etc.
So when a friend of mine in the "fight" business asked me if I wanted to go to an independent wrestling event, I agreed. If nothing else, it would be nostalgic for me.
As I was sitting there, watching the crowd cheer one guy in the ring, then immediately boo the other, it occurred to me – these dudes are on the same side.
Obvious, right? Yeah. But nobody likes a hooray-for-everyone sporting event. And even if wrestling is fake, it's a better experience for the audience to pick sides.
The same is true for your podcast.
Pick a side. Have opinions. Calls things out. Don't just "like" everything.
People want to know where you stand, so stand for something.
Facebook Gives Users More Control with Feed Filter
Facebook said it will introduce a feature that will make it easier for users to choose how content is presented to them.
People like choices, especially about how (and when) they consume content. This is one of the reasons podcasts are so popular.
You can do the same thing with niche podcast feeds and limited-run podcasts. If you've been podcasting for a while, you've got some tightly-focused content that would be perfect for this.
Want some podcasting-related examples? Here you go! It's the same stuff you'll find here or on my main podcast, but organized to give listeners a very specific experience and result.
Need help doing this? Work with me.
Do you take "calls" from your podcast listeners? Here is why you should!
Dave Jackson from School of Podcasting turned me on to this tool and it's worth a look.
Here's why you should consider it and how i suggest putting it to use:
I had an old school radio guy I worked with who wanted me to do some IDs for his station. I was a little bit intimidated (OK – maybe a lot intimidated) by this guy and was thinking, "Why me?" But I said yes...
When he got me in the studio with him the first thing he said was, "I'm glad you could do this. We want to showcase different voices on the station. Listeners need to hear different voices."
Why? Because "different" is what makes people pay attention. "Different" is what we find interesting.
How to Do This With Your Podcast
Voiceform allows you to post a question to Facebook (or anywhere else online) and immediately get voice responses from people which can be used for your podcast.
For example, let's say I post something like, "What model of microphone do you use and why?"
Rather than have people type out an answer and later read it on my podcast, I could send them to Voiceform, get a recording of them, and play that recording on an episode.
- Showcases the fact that somebody listening isn't the only one – it's instant social proof.
- Brings in "different" voices that keep listeners more engaged in my episode.
- Keeps me (and you) on top of what listeners are doing, which helps to plan future episode content.
And that's just the start. It's great for getting feedback, doing automated "interviews" with people, and so much more. Check it out and let me know how you're using it.
Looking for a Podcasting Job?
If you're looking to make money in podcasting, you'll want to bookmark this one.
Podcasting is hot. Because of this, a lot of companies are looking to work with talented podcasters, podcast editors, and podcast producers.
I've worked with a lot of people in audio production, from narrators, to musicians, to engineers, to producers... Most want to work on their own stuff. And all have what's known as "personal work," that keeps them artistically fulfilled.
But it's possible to have both money and fulfillment, sometimes on the same project.
So take a look and see what options are available to you, even if you're already booked solid. You never know when the right opportunity will come along.
The Wrap Up
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My goal is to better empower podcasters to be more successful spreading their messages and make more money with their podcasts.
I'd love it if you'll help me spread the word about this newsletter by sending your podcasting friends to bigpodcast.com/newsletter.