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Dave Jackson, The School of Podcasting

How Podcasting Can Change Your Life

Today's Guest Dave Jackson

Today is a kind of hybrid episode between our ongoing Life in the Day of Coronavirus series and the regular programming. Podcasting has been an extraordinary addition to my life, and in fact, it was what kicked off my migration from the fully analog world that I was living in to the fully digital world that I now inhabit.

My guest, who runs the School of Podcasting and is my main contact at Libsyn, speaks about how podcasting can impact your online presence, how to get your message across, and how to get started. If you have been thinking about podcasting or if you’re just looking for a new way to reach customers today's episode is an excellent resource for you to learn a great deal from one of the true experts and educators in the industry, Dave Jackson.

What You're Going to Learn


  • The Ideal Podcast Format
  • What You Can Learn From Your Own Podcasting Journey
  • Podcasting is your Business Card Not Your Business
  • How to Create the Ultimate Podcast
  • Communicate with a Podcast During Difficult Times
  • Start a Podcast: Here's How
  • Taking Advantage of Your Podcast’s Evergreen Content
  • Your Audience Needs You to Podcast Now More than Ever
  • And much more!

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Show Highlights

The Ideal Podcast Format

Adam: Is it better to have one big one right that gets like 500, 600 downloads each time or one a day? Tell me what your answer was, because it was a really good one.

Dave:  It depends on what you're doing. I don't remember what my answer is, but this is my typical answer is it depends on who your audience is. If I'm doing a podcast for busy moms, a busy mom doesn't have 45 minutes to listen to a show. It also depends on what you're trying to do with your show. If I'm trying to show I really know my subject, then I'm going to do a 45 minute podcast and I'm going to do a deep dive that you can't get anyplace else and really show off my expertise. But my favorite line on length is from Valerie Geller. She has a book called Beyond Powerful Radio.

And she says there is no such thing as too long, only too boring. So it really does. I think every successful podcaster at their core. You have to really understand who your audience is. People have asked me, should I do a solo show or should I do an interview show? And I would say do both because the solo show, you build your relationship with your audience because you're just talking about one person. Don't do things like, hey, everybody. Hey, guys, how's it going? I always say, thank you so much for tuning in. I'm so glad you're here. I always talk to one person and then when I do an interview, I'm growing my network. So you're growing your influence and you're growing your network. And so don't don't rope yourself in on. Do I have to do one or the other? So it's. And in the interviews are great because you get to meet people like you said. And it's it's amazing when they say, yes, you're like, Really?


What You Can Learn From Your Own Podcasting Journey

Adam: Podcasting, really, I think at its core actually is two things it's teaching. But for me, actually, it's been learning.

Dave: Yeah. That's the beauty of it is I had a client of mine once. I asked him, I'm like how's the podcast going? And he's like eh. And I'm like, well, like, how are your downloads? He's like, oh, they're whatever. And I'm like, wait, why are you doing the podcast again? And he said, Oh, that's easy. He goes, I get to talk to people. I have no business talking to. And he said, I got right by the gatekeeper. He goes, so he goes, because the CEOs listen to my podcast on the treadmill. And he's like, so it's it's beautiful. I've interviewed heroes of mine that I thought I would never talk to. You're better at shaping your ideas because if you're doing a weekly show, you have to figure out what the heck I'm going to say and then you start to understand what resonates with people and things like that.

So if two skills that I've acquired becoming a podcaster and particularly since I did video one, I definitely don't um and ah as much as I used to. I'm more conscious of having streams of thoughts and being able to articulate them without what was I going to say without pausing, basically. And the second thing with the video podcast this is interesting is there's one guy that I really follow a lot in digital marketing and he has this aura. There's this there's something about him that makes him really, really attractive. Right, from a professional perspective. And what I realized it was, was that he speaks with a smile. He's always got a smile on.



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Podcasting is your Business Card Not Your Business

Dave: The only time your your podcast really is for me. It's always been. It hasn't been my business. It's been my business card. So I was hired once there was a big social event called New Media Expo. And the guy that was running your podcast track stepped down. And so at the time, it didn't work for Libsyn. So they called Libysn because it was one of their main sponsors. They go, who do you think? And they said, what about Dave Jackson? And then he called Blubrry. And they said, what about Dave Jackson? And then he called Spreaker. And they said, What? He goes honest. He goes, I can't. I don't wanna call anybody else. I'm just gonna call you and stuff like that. You can't write. But all those companies knew me because I had interviewed them all on my podcast. So there goes your network again. They all listed my podcast because they I was finding things through. Maybe we should add that to our platform and things like that. So that's the other one that's always a little hard for me is when people go, well, you're an influencer. I'm like, well, no it's just it's me in a spare bedroom. No, no, no, no.

It's people all the time. Can I pick your brain. And it dawned on me that whole pick your brain thing is called consulting and you can charge for that. So you're again, you're your podcast is kind of your business card. I think my favorite one of my favorite phone calls and a guy call me once and he was driving from like the middle of the US to one of the corners and he said, any I have a phone number on my website. And from time to time, I'll actually answer that usually goes to voicemail. But I picked it up and he goes, what is this, Dave? And I go, Yeah, I go. What can I do for you? And he's like, like, really. I'm like yeah he goes, Why? Just want to let you know I'm driving from point A to point B. Goes, I've been listening to you for about six hours straight. And I said, Man, that is a lot of Dave. And he goes, I don't know what I'm on a podcast about, but I just know you're my guy. And I'm like, OK, well, you know where to find me. So it really is a great marketing piece.

Adam: I must say that when I first sent a request to Libsyn a tech request early on and I got an email from you. Really? Dave Jackson, just wrote back and I thought. Doesn't he have, like, you know, helpers or something? Right.

How to Create the Ultimate Podcast

Adam: Well, the first point when you come up with an idea that is something that you want to express or the content that you want to actually put out there, seeing other people with that idea or something similar is proof of concept.

Dave: Well, number one, you have to. This is the hard part. We say starting a podcast is not hard. It's actually fairly easy. I can fire up an app right now talk into the microphone. It'll be up on Apple by the end of the week. Starting a podcast is not hard. Starting a good podcast is not easy. And this is why, because you have to figure out what your audience wants. And that usually means in some cases going where they are or that might be online and might be in person. People always ask me like, why do you go to all these events? And I go, half the time I'm there. I am often there speaking, but really what I'm doing there is listening. I want to hear what their pain points are, what are they frustrated with? What are they trying to do? And then sometimes. I've known a few people that have jumped into the pool of their, you know, their audience and they thought they were gonna give them product A like, oh, this is - I'm developing product A, I know my audience. They jump in, they find out, oh, you know what? They don't need product A, they need product B, you know, and they they it goes gangbusters. So. So this could be Facebook groups. I had a client of mine that was doing a podcast about dads.

And so he just subscribed to like every dad Facebook group. And they were all, you know. Were they talking about and a lot of it was about the injustice in the the kind of the bias in the courts towards dads and things like that's what we got, all these different topics that he wasn't guessing anymore. Does my audience want to talk about this? He knew they did because he saw what they were talking about. So there there's, you know, Facebook groups, there's Quora, there's Reddit as well as just go to where your audience is, you know. So I had you can go there is a great resource. And people skip this one - Amazon. So go find a book on your subject and then go look at the table of contents. But don't stop there. What you want to do is go look at the topics because the people that didn't like the book are gonna tell you what was missing. That's what they wanted to talk about. So if I say go look at the one star reviews because those people, any kind of reviews, five star reviews or I it's you know, how reviews are. You never know what to believe, but nobody puts a fake one star review in, although there might be some malicious.

Adam: So what is the most important thing? You think somebody's thinking about starting a podcast today? Should keep in mind.

Dave: Why. Why are you starting a podcast? If you don't know you're. If you cannot say why. You're never gonna make it through the how so it's it's why and who. So why am I doing it? Who is my target audience? And then that hard part again is figuring out what can I talk about that's going to hold their attention. But move them towards my Why?

Communicate with a Podcast During Difficult Times

Adam: So what do you think it is that podcasting can bring to them either by finding content or by creating it or the podcast is that, you know, what are they? How are their lives changing for the better as this as this unravels? Right now we're right in the depths of it.

Dave: Well, there are a couple things. Number one, you it does give you still you still have the ability to reach a global audience. For me, when I started back in 2005, one of the things that really sucked me into podcasting was I. I'm in literally nowhere Ohio. And my first piece of voice mail came from a guy in Nuremberg, Germany. And I was like, did he say Germany? Could you what? You can reach the audience. And the other thing that's great about it is. You're going to attract people that are very similar to you because people that aren't like you may not like you. So when I see somebody that says I like your show, I know that person probably is kind of sarcastic because I'm a little sarcastic and we like to have fun and things like that.

I've never met a listener of mine that I'm like, oh, no, here comes whatever. You know, here comes insert name here. And I'm just I don't have that. Anyone that comes in and says, I like your show. I the more I talk to them, the more I like them. So you can you can definitely reach people. The beauty of it is for me, one story I have is I. Have you ever had to put together a desk like you, like you take out of the box and its slot A, tab B or whatever? And I was doing that in an office and I was just ready to set the whole thing on fire. And I was really frustrated. And I said, hold on a second. And I grabbed my phone. I grabbed the Bluetooth speaker and I turned on a podcast. And suddenly I wasn't alone in the room anymore. It was my buddy. He was making me laugh. And it completely was a just a break from. OK. I wait a minute and I just realized I put the drawer in upside down, you know, and I could just get it. Yeah. It's a it's a great distraction. So I really see that is is one thing that we might be able to provide at this point is maybe a little distraction.

Start a Podcast: Here's How

Adam: To me, it is an opportunity for them to discover the beauty. It's the the, um, the liberating effect of being able to use digital media to communicate what it is that you're doing. And it could be in a live conversation with somebody all like this conversation. It could be a live conversation or a conversation that is recorded live. I mean, by definition, every call is live at some point. And then once that is stamped and put out there, now other people can consume our thoughts and ideas and our inspirations. The key is that suddenly they have to involuntarily figure out what is powerful about the digital.

Dave: I always tell people you have the skills. Have you ever been in the car? And your favorite tune comes on from high school or whatever. You listen to classic rock and you crank that thing up and then the phone rings and you go. Hold on. What do you do? You turn down the volume so you can hear the phone. And I go, Aha! You know how to mix audio. And then I go, if you ever uploaded a picture, an attachment to a email and they go, yep, I go. Then you can upload an MP 3 file to your media host. Have you ever pressed start on a VCR back in the days when we had those or on your DVR my get off you open Audacity there's a big red button and you're right, that's still the record button. So a lot of times we have the skills. We all know how to talk. I've I've had people hung up on me on the phone. But that's usually when you're in an argument. Usually if you're just having a good old. How's it going? You know, natural talk. Nobody's hanging up on you. So it's not that your voice is horrible, that people cannot stand your voice, because if they did, they hang up all the time. They don't. So it's not your voice. It's not the technology. You've got the skills. The thing that is driving you batty and stopping you from doing this is it's new and we don't like change. We're afraid we're gonna look stupid. You're not going to look stupid because it's not live radio.

Taking Advantage of Your Podcast’s Evergreen Content

Adam: I mean, that is the power you've created a relationship with them automatically with this.

Dave: What happens if you're doing this for your business, somebody will find one episode and go, "that was really good". I kind of kind of like her. She's pretty funny here. She's entertaining. That guy's pretty cool. And they will download your your back catalog. I have people all the time working at Libsyn and they'll go, there's something wrong. And I'm like, what, and they're like, I you know, I normally get X amount of downloads. And all the sudden I got this big spike and I'll look it. You can see, because usually it's the same number and you'll see like, OK, they downloaded their latest episode a bunch and then all of a sudden there's thirty eight, thirty eight, thirty eight, thirty eight of all their past episodes have been downloaded thirty eight times. And I'm like either somebody mentioned you on a stage, in a newsletter or something, but a bunch of people found your show and they're downloading your entire back catalog and they're like crazy.  Again, you have this great, you know your business card keeps growing and growing and your answering all those questions. For me, I always tell businesses if you have those questions that you're like UGH, If I have to answer that one more time. I'm just gonna, you know, jump out the window. I go, that's episode one. Because now when somebody asked that question in email and you're like, UGH, I can't believe I have to answer this again, just answer it again like you normally do. Oh, we also talked about this in our podcast. And here's a link to it, because they're gonna go listen to a podcast and then download the other episodes, and the other episodes are all those other questions that you're like, ugh if I have to answer that again. And now when they do come back with a question, you have a much better trained customer and a much warmer customer. So now they're now they're going to talk about those things that you want to talk about. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. I'm getting better leads now from my my podcast because they're better educated and they have a they feel like they know you. That's like the best scenario ever.

Your Audience Needs You to Podcast Now More than Ever

Adam: It's this humongous audience of people who have been thrust into the online world, whether they want to or not, and who are looking for a way to grow right to thrive during this time of strife so that you acquire something new that enhances your life today during these hard times. But that also gives you a skill and something of value, something that you can use that enhances your life into the future when all this is over. And podcasting is definitely one of them. But the advice I give to people is. Progress, not perfection. Just get something out there. And get used to the process. You'll start to, you'll you'll rise to the challenge and people will come on and they'll listen to the early ones and they'll laugh. Right. It's if it's dreadful, but they'll still get value out of it. And they'll appreciate that you've grown. Move forwards in your life as well.

Dave: Absolutely. And that's where for me, podcasting is a lot like bowling or golf. You're only as good as your last game. And your goal is I'm just trying to get better for the next, for the next round, whatever it is. And sometimes I always think it's funny. I will do a ton of research. And it sounds like this is what my audience wants to talk about. I will put it out and I will go to bed and I'm like, I'm going to wake up tomorrow. My inbox is gonna be filled. And I wake up and there's nothing. There's crickets. And then there are other times when you're like, oh, I'm kind of pushed for time. I don't know. I guess we could talk about this or I'll put on an episode and I'm like, you kind of hit publish and you're kind of thinking. I'm not sure how this is gonna go over. And you wake up and people say that was the best episode ever. So it's hard to it's not a formula. You kind of do your best that you can, but you've got to start somewhere. I think one of my favorite quotes is from Zig Zigler, he says, "You don't have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great." And when you first start off so many people, I have a guy right now that cannot get over the idea of the audience. I'm going to there's going to be an audience and I go. When you first start. No, there isn't.

Adam: You say you got to start somewhere. I gotta start somewhere. There is this amazing Nike slogan. "Just do it." "Just do it." Now is the time as well. Right now. Right now in this world of morass. Right. If you've ever even had the slightest thought about doing a podcast, now's the time. It's not difficult.



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