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Podcast Pontifications

286 EpisodesProduced by Evo TerraWebsite

Podcasting needs to be made better, not just easier. Because after 15 years, less than a quarter of the population listen to podcasts regularly. While new business models, discovery apps, and content curators will evolve, much of the responsibility --and work-- falls on us, the working podcaster. Th… read more


Focus Collaboration For Focused Audience Growth [Episode 132]

This week, I'm focused. So, therefore, the conversation is all about being focused.

Specifically, I'm going to bring forth some ideas bring getting better focus to your podcast. Tips I gathered mostly from the last week when I was at Podfest in Orlando, which was my first time being at the event. I have to say this about Podfest: Hands down an amazing event. Thank you very much to the organizers for bringing me out and out. You probably should make plans to go attend pod fest 2020. Lots of excellent information at the show and some of that information this year had to do with focus.

Get Focused to Improve Your Podcast

Specifically, focus on collaboration to build your audience. Because you're not part of a big network and it's hard for you to grow your audience without a big network behind you.

The reason that the top 10 shows in the charts are all from big companies most of the time is because of something called "the network effect". The network effect means comes from an actual network of other shows working together to elevate a brand new -- or perhaps re-launched -- program to the top of the charts. That's hard for you to do because you are not part of a big podcasting network.

But thanks very much to my friend Dave Zohrob at Chartable, there is a way. His presentation was all about this, drawn heavily from an episode of his program -- Chartable Radio. -- with Multitude Productions' Amanda McLoughlin.

Creating the DIY Network Effect

Amanda refers to this as the "DIY Network Effect". You're trying to replicate that effect by building out your own collaborative network. A network that exists so other like-minded shows can collaborate, share, and help a new show flourish.

Unlike a "real" network, the DIY Network Effect doesn't share resources. (You could if you wanted to.) The idea to get audience growth for a highly-focused, niche-appeal show. Candidly, your show is not something that the masses want to hear. The masses who listen to audio drama, or the masses who listen to random interviews, or even the masses who listen to funny comedy shows. Getting shows that do appeal to those audiences to mention your show is hard. Worse, all of that exposure isn't going to help grow your show. At least not in the same way it benefits the mass-appeal shows that do get mentions on the big networks. Those shows all have a focus and a theme. And your focus and your theme for your show are different.

So that's what you're going to do as well. You may not break into the Top 10 All-Time charts anytime soon. But you can definitely increase your audience. I've seen it time and time again by utilizing this focused network approach. Here's how you do it.

From Discovery To Collaboration

It starts by finding somebody you can collaborate with. One of the best ways to do that is to... well, go search. Yes, we know that search in podcast directories is terrible. But it's what we have to work with. That's step one: go search and discover other shows that talk about the same things you talk about on your show. Get a list five, 10, 20... whatever number you can come up with. The more the merrier, because not all of them are going to say "yes" to this idea.

Listening to those shows -- at least one episode fully -- is required. And make sure put your critical-thinking hat on as you do. Step from outside of your normal comfort zone and think as if you were a listener of your own show. Then ask yourself: Is this the kind of content I would be willing to share with my audience? It is similar? It is complementary? If it's not: cross that one off your list. If you're not willing to share the show with your audience, cross it off your list.

But if you are, then ask yourself a second question: Does this show seem like it might appeal to an audience who might like my content as well. And again, if that's a no: Cross it off your list.

Now you've got a potential match. Someone who makes a show you're willing to share, and someone with an audience you think might be receptive to your own content. Perfect.

So now... connect with them. How do you do that? Well, it's pretty darn simple to find out who is actually running a podcast. You click through to the website on whatever app you're listening to. You find the host/producer's contact information, and then you tell them (not in a form letter and not in some email blast you also send to 100 different people) how much you really liked their episode, and you tell them that you're a new subscriber. (Because you really need to listen to other shows to really make this work.).

How To Collaborate With Other Podcasters

Next, you offer up your desire to help them grow their audience, which helps you, in turn, grow yours.

Guest First, Swap Later

If your show is an interview show, ask them to be a guest on your show. After they've had a great time guesting on your show, you offer this idea of being in this quasi-network -- a collaborative network -- where you help each other. One way to do that is with an episode swap. I did that recently with Mark Asquith. He has a show called The 7 Minute Mentor where we both "swapped" episodes recently, gaining exposure to each other's audience. Not as a guest (though guesting is a great idea too), but with the full show for the other audience to enjoy.

And if you really want to stretch the concept, go ahead and do your half of the swap ahead of time -- even if you don't know that you'll get reciprocation. Tell the host you did it, and then ask if they'd be willing to help your show as well.

The Group Power Of Live Podcast Shows

Another great use of a DIY Network Effect is with "live" shows, where you book a venue and you record your show live in front of an audience. But your show may not have enough listeners to warrant the cost associated with that. So you collaborate with other podcasters who are in the same town to both share the costs and reap the benefits. Don't have other podcasters in your town? Look again. You'll be surprised. Ask if those hosts would be willing to come and share the stage with you. Make an entire evening of the event. Or an afternoon or a morning if that makes sense. You could even do it virtually if you wanted.

Sharing Sponsors Among Podcasters

Finally, you could use your quasi-network to share advertisers and sponsors. Because if you don't have the audience to entice an advertiser, you can bring that advertiser to the others in this little DIY network you've built for yourself. Sharing the wealth.

All this is designed to bring your content to more people to grow your audience. And I really hope that you do.

Need A Hand With Making DIY Podcast Networks For Your Business?

If you need help with any of this, please get in touch. As you know, I launch podcasts for businesses and keep them out of the technical weeds. You can get more information at and reaches me.

I shall be back tomorrow with yet another podcast pontification. Cheers!


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