The Podcast Accelerator

Mark Asquith

Welcome to The Podcast Accelerator, the show that helps busy podcasters to grow their audience in specific, actionable ways. I’m your host Mark Asquith, that British Podcast Guy and CEO and co-founder of https://www.rebelbasemedia.io (Rebel Base Media), the podcast tech company that creates https://www.captivate.fm (Captivate.fm),https://www.podcastsuccessacademy.com (Podcast Success Academy, Podcast Websites), https://www.poductivity.com (Poductivity) & https://www.rebelbasemedia.io/studio (Rebel Base Studios). This short-form show typically runs for between 7 and 15 minutes and releases every Monday and Friday. Usually a solo show, every now and then, I’ll feature expert podcast industry guests and release bonus episodes as the podcast industry continues to grow and develop. I can’t wait for you to join me on the Podcast Accelerator, remember to tell your podcasting friends that the show is available to listen to for free in any app that supports podcasts plus YouTube, now go dive into the episodes and never forget the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel! This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: Podcorn - https://podcorn.com/privacy Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
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Welcome to Captivate Insider - Captivate Insider
How to Get More Listener Engagement
We all want more "engagement" on our podcasts but the word itself poses some challenges and leaves us fighting for broad strokes of interaction that we just can't scale. But we can fix it. Recommended podcasting tool of the week This is a new segment to the newsletter and to the podcast so I'm starting it off with something that I've used since day ONE of podcasting back in 2013 (or 2012? I'm not sure anymore) and that is my RÖDE Procaster microphone! It's rare that I recommend hardware because my love is more about software and the content/marketing side of podcasting but wow, this mic has served me SO well. I've tried ALL sorts of mics over the years and this one has never let me down. It's an XLR mic so it's not something that you can plug straight into a computer like you can the Samson Q2U or ATR 2100 (all amazing mics) but for the budget, this mic was the best pound-for-pound contender for me and my voice and it could be for you, too. It's a dynamic mic so you have to be up close to it but it will keep a lot of the background noise or echo out of the recording, too. It's https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001IPUJJI?ref=exp_mrasquith_dp_vv_d (£140 on Amazon in the UK) and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001IPUJJI?ref=exp_mrasquith_dp_vv_d&th=1 ($218 on the US version of Amazon) (which seems a bit weirdly steep considering the exchange rate right now). About The Podcast Accelerator Welcome to The Podcast Accelerator, the thrice-weekly show that brings you podcast education, industry insights and straight-talking reactions to podcasting news. I’m your host Mark Asquith, The British Podcast Guy and CEO and co-founder of Rebel Base Media, the podcast tech company that creates the Podcast Success Academy, Podcast Websites, Poductivity, Rebel Base Studios & http://captivate.fm/ (Captivate.fm), the world’s only growth-oriented podcast host where you can get your first month of podcast hosting for just one dollar and transfer an existing podcast in, completely free. Thank you so much for joining me on the Podcast Accelerator, remember to tell your podcasting friends that the show is available to listen to for free in any app that supports podcasts. Your next steps I teach podcasting a lot, and usually for free. So, here's what I'd recommend you do next: Watch my free podcasting tutorials on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/captivatepodcasting (https://www.youtube.com/captivatepodcasting) Learn how to launch your own podcast the right way, for free (plus a comprehensive download-and-keep crib sheet): https://www.podcastsuccessacademy.com/ (https://www.podcastsuccessacademy.com) Ask me anything at all about podcasting over on Twitter: https://mark.live/twitter (Mark.Live/Twitter) P.S. you can start engaging with your listeners using AWeber. It's free, no credit card required: https://mark.live/email (Mark.Live/Email) This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: Podcorn - https://podcorn.com/privacy Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
36 mins
An In-Depth Chat with Co-Founder Mark on Global's Acquisition of Captivate - Captivate InsiderAn Improvement to The Podcast Accelerator Format
The newly revamped weekly podcast growth newsletter and podcast is here! But... what's the point?! (Want the email version? Hit "Subscribe" at https://www.twitter.com/MrAsquith) Welcome to The Podcast Accelerator, the thrice-weekly show that brings you podcast education, industry insights and straight-talking reactions to podcasting news. I’m your host Mark Asquith, The British Podcast Guy and CEO and co-founder of Rebel Base Media, the podcast tech company that creates the Podcast Success Academy, Podcast Websites, Poductivity, Rebel Base Studios & http://captivate.fm/ (Captivate.fm), the world’s only growth-oriented podcast host where you can get your first month of podcast hosting for just one dollar and transfer an existing podcast in, completely free. Thank you so much for joining me on the Podcast Accelerator, remember to tell your podcasting friends that the show is available to listen to for free in any app that supports podcasts. Your next steps I teach podcasting a lot, and usually for free. So, here's what I'd recommend you do next: Watch my free podcasting tutorials on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/captivatepodcasting (https://www.youtube.com/captivatepodcasting) Learn how to launch your own podcast the right way, for free (plus a comprehensive download-and-keep crib sheet): https://www.podcastsuccessacademy.com/ (https://www.podcastsuccessacademy.com) Ask me anything at all about podcasting over on Twitter: https://mark.live/twitter (Mark.Live/Twitter) P.S. you can start engaging with your listeners using AWeber. It's free, no credit card required: https://mark.live/email (Mark.Live/Email) This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: Podcorn - https://podcorn.com/privacy Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
1w ago
11 mins
Welcome to Captivate Insider - Captivate Insider2021 Holiday BreakBeware the Podcast Sales!
Black Friday just rolled around once more and, as ever, my inbox was flooded with sales from all sorts of people including podcast "gurus". I'm sure that you had the same emails. With January about to roll around again, the emails will just keep on coming with offers that are too good to be true, time-bound ("Act now!") and at a huge discount ("Down from $997 to $297, today only!"). It means you can save a bit of money, so what's the problem? The problem is: to succeed at anything, you have to do something. My Grandad didn't have a dog, but he bought dog food. My Grandad was a really great guy. If you've https://www.ted.com/talks/mark_asquith_choose_happiness_choose_control (seen my TEDx talk), you'll know how much he taught me about life and why that matters to https://www.captivate.fm (the business that I've created) today. My Grandad loved my dog, Pete, and every time he went shopping he bought whatever dog food was on sale at a cut-price bargain. I once asked him why and he told me it was "just in case". I really appreciated that (so did Pete), but he also told me that the other reason that he bought it was that "it was a bargain because it was on sale". The problem was that he didn't need it and he didn't use it - Pete had already been fed every time we saw Grandad but he kept buying it. Because he felt like he was saving money. That particular item was reduced, after all. But... you're only saving money if you buy something that you need and that you'll use and then you go and find a deal on it. Otherwise, you're spending money that you weren't ever going to spend in the name of "a bargain". Why podcast course sales aren't all they're purported to be. This holiday season, there are so many people in any field offering wild deals for the people looking to succeed in that field. I've talked about the language that "gurus" use a lot and how it's all geared up to make you either a) buy or b) feel bad about not buying. Much of that language hinges on "FOMPS", an acronym that I just made up and that stands for "Fear of Missing Potential Success" - aka, "If I get [this thing, from this guru], it could be the very thing that finally helps me to achieve the success that I've been struggling to find." You see it all of the time: Black Friday and early January are two prime times for the kind of "offer" that I described above and even if you're not susceptible to FOMPS (I'm liking that acronym, you know), the "gurus" have another trick up their sleeve: "WTHNIALTD". Alright, that acronym doesn't work, in fact I can't even say it, so here's what it means: "Why the heck not, it's a lifetime deal". You'll get some emails that offer a lifetime deal to a course or a membership that is simply too good to be true. For example, you'll get an offer to buy lifetime access to an annual membership that usually costs $97 per year, and the lifetime deal will be something audacious like $297 - and it'll come with language like: "This is equivalent to ONLY THREE YEARS at the usual membership rate!" It makes it feel like a no brainer... because it's almost affordable, too. So you're willing to stretch to buy it. Why does it work? Because you then think: "I'll use that one day; I don't have the time now but wow, that's a bargain so I have to get it RIGHT NOW or it'll go away forever and ever and ever." And the "gurus" know that. They even tell you things like "The price is about to go up!" or "This is the cheapest you'll ever be able to get this!" - they sound like meat salesmen on a British seaside market! But the "gurus" are savvy... They know that you were never, ever going to buy from them (because they segmented you into an email list based on your click behaviour and by potentially retargeting you via your content clicks) and that you'll probably never use the thing that you buy from...
17 mins
Dynamic Ad Insertion Explained Simply
As a serious independent podcast creator, it’s important that you have a https://www.captivate.fm/features (full toolkit available to you) to help you to grow your podcast’s audience and to monetize your show(s) in diverse ways. There are so many options available to audio influencers and podcast creators that it can be hard to figure out which range of options to incorporate into your monetization strategy but, inevitably, the subject of sponsors, ads and ad partners will present itself, often sooner rather than later. In short: dynamic ad insertion, or “DAI”, is the process of recording your audio and publishing your podcast episode as normal, then marking areas within that episode where advertising will be inserted by a piece of software after the episode has been published – often with ever-changing parameters, which constitutes the “dynamic” part of the acronym. Dynamic Ad Insertions vs “Baked-In” AdsTo better understand dynamic ad insertion, we first have to look at its opposite number: “baked-in” ads. “Baked-in” refers to the practice of advertisements being read out by the podcast creator during the recording of an episode. Once published, these advertisements are ‘baked-in’ parts of the audio and removing or replacing them typically involves re-recording and/or re-editing the entire piece of content, a time-consuming process that is often too cumbersome to achieve and hinders monetization opportunities for audio creators. For example, a podcaster might secure a deal with a local or niche sponsor to partner with them on four episodes and where the podcaster sells them a “pre-roll” and a “mid-roll” ad slot per episode. The podcaster will then agree on a script and a call to action with the sponsor (usually asking the listener to go to a page on a website) and, as the podcaster records their episode, they’ll read the scripts at the relevant places whilst doing the recording. They then go ahead and publish that episode as normal and the ads are “baked-in” to the audio content. This is a really common way that serious independent podcasters make money: they’re leveraging their audio influence to close a deal and then offering a host-read advert, or multiple adverts, in their content. Dynamic ad insertion gives you the opportunity to achieve the same outcome but also opens the door to various other opportunities, too. Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll & Post-Roll Podcast Ads ExplainedAds are usually sold in “slots”. A “slot” is just a location within your episode that an ad will appear. There are three types of ad location that you might hear about in podcast advertising: Pre-roll – ads are placed before your episode content begins and before any audio from your episode is played. Mid-roll – ads are interspersed within your content. We call these “mid-roll, in-content” here at Captivate because we think it’s a little more obvious. Post-roll – ads are placed after your episode content has finished. There’s a little flexibility in these terms that you might come across, too. For example, a true pre-roll plays before any other content but for a podcaster who sells ads themselves and reads them out (either baking them in or dynamically inserting them later), they may class an ad within the first few minutes as a pre-roll because it comes before the main content of the episode. The same goes for post-roll: where true post-roll plays after all other audio has finished, a podcaster who has sold a post-roll ad to a sponsor directly may class an ad after their content, but before their outro, as a post-roll. The important thing to remember here is that there is no right or wrong or need to worry about that jargon too much, you’ll work with sponsors and ad partners to make sure that the ads are in the right place. Speaking of jargon, there is one more acronym that you need to know: CPM – this stands for “cost per mille”....
25 mins
Scared to Experiment with Your Podcast?
You'd be forgiven for thinking I've been lazy over the last month. My podcast publishing has been slower than usual - dropping from once per week to once every two weeks - but, it hasn't been due to laziness. It's been due to experimentation. Honestly. Promise. But why? A few weeks ago I had a planned week off from publishing. I had a family holiday booked and, as usual, I let my audience know not to expect an episode of The Podcast Accelerator that week. Logging back into my https://www.captivate.fm (Captivate) account on my return, I spotted something interesting: the last few episodes that I'd published had seen accelerated downloads while I was away. I dug into this using Captivate's Performance Comparison analytics graph and what was happening was that my previous few episodes were receiving steadily increased traffic over a more sustained period of time.  I.e. new people discovering my podcast were downloading the more recent episodes rather than just digesting the new episode that I'd have put out on the Monday that I was away. So, I figured that I'd test that out a little: over the course of the next six weeks, I released three episodes instead of the usual six.  To my surprise, the trend continued! Each of those three episodes received 25% more downloads within the first 28 days than the episodes that I published weekly. Why? I'm doing more testing on this but I believe it's purely because new listeners are discovering my show, downloading the back catalog a little more and enjoying them rather than hopping on the latest episode and leaving. What's curious about this, too, is that I didn't do any more marketing on these episodes. Honestly, not a bean. Nothing extra. I purposely left it alone so as to not distort the results: a weekly show gets a weekly episode promotional cycle, so to spend two weeks promoting one episode would have grossly skewed the results, with each episode receiving twice the amount of promotion. But as I said, I didn't do that - I just did my usual email (like this) and a few little Tweets. The numbers still went up on an episode-by-episode basis. Why is this interesting? Well, so many podcasters focus on the number of monthly downloads as a measure of success, but that's the wrong number, in my view. Sure, it's a nice big number that makes us all feel great about our show but it's not really a measure of our audience, it's a measure of the activity across all of our catalog. That's why sponsors look at the number of downloads that an episode receives within 28-days of its release: that is a better indicator of the number of people listening to your show and a better indicator of your audience size. During this experiment, my monthly numbers dropped (because my audience wasn't receiving 6 new episodes during the period and so, my show didn't get the usual weekly spike) but my real audience size seemed to increase which, of course, is a much better success metric than those total monthly downloads. Would I have had the same audience growth without running this experiment? Honestly, I don't know - maybe. After all, the number of new people coming to the show during any given period doesn't seem to correlate to the frequency of episode releases but having said that, I can't prove that it doesn't correlate, either. I'm doing more testing on this so maybe I'll publish weekly, maybe I'll have a few weeks where I stagger it - I'm working on it, it's a live experiment. I want you to take this away from today: don't be afraid to mix things up with your podcast. Some of the best marketing results in anything come from the unexpected and spotting something unexpected is a skill unto itself. If you see something in your analytics or if you have something that you'd like to try, do it. Be bold and experiment with your podcast because, to paraphrase our friend Albert Einstein, you...
9 mins
2 Actionable Podcast Brand Experience Tips
There's an old adage that every entrepreneur claims that they coined but that Jeff Bezos, he of space, is widely credited as saying first: "Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room." What do people say about your podcast when you're not in the room? What do they tell friends about your podcast and how, if you aren't in that proverbial room, can you have any influence over what they say? By creating an experience. Brand, at its core, is just that: the promise of an experience that becomes synonymous with a company, person, product, service or place. Or a piece of media. Just like your podcast. As podcasters, we become focussed consistently on our content. And rightly so: without great content we have nothing. But too often we create superb content and assume that's enough and that because we have put blood, sweat and tears into that content, people should come listen and if they don't, it's them that's the problem.  The hard truth, though, is that there's so much great content in the world right now that people can choose from and for us to shine and become the choice of content for our prospects, they have to know about us and feel like they're a part of what we do. That can sound really odd to a podcaster like you or me because we know our content is great and we know that we don't have lots of time to put into anything else except our content. But in order to thrive as a podcaster, you have to focus on experience. Consider any of your favourite movie, TV or literary franchises. They always have apathetic and passionate sides to their fandom. Many people consume content that they love yet don't feel strongly enough about that "world" to vocalise their opinions but some, like the Star Wars or MCU fanbases, are often vocal about their love or hate of a certain decision, storyline, character or product delivered by their beloved franchises. That passion is borne from brand: the promise of an experience and that passion overspills into noise which, in turn, attracts new fans or activates less vocal fans in becoming vocal. Once a brand reaches that level, it unlocks new "powers". Advocacy becomes natural and word-of-mouth becomes a huge factor in new people discovering what that brand has to offer. The more a brand delivers on its experiential promise, the more that flywheel spins and the bigger the brand grows. You see it often in the startup world where, suddenly, a new app or platform springs into the mass market from seemingly nowhere but actually, that platform has gone through the early adopter phase (where it ironed out its brand and product/market fit) through to the curious user stage (where more curious users buy-in, but don't identify as early adopters) and beyond to the establishment and scaling stages (which is where many of us first discover a new brand). Could we do the same for our podcast? Could we, over time, devise and refine a brand promise that targets our niche audience so specifically that we build advocacy and growth through simply doing what we promised to do? Of course! But producing content isn't enough. We have to be focussed on our brand but perhaps even more keenly, focussed on the experience that we want our brand to deliver for the long term. What do we want people to say about our brand when we aren't in the room? The challenge with brand-building is that you have to be so personally aligned to your brand that living it and embodying it doesn't feel forced - it has to feel natural and certainly not like a "job". A great example of this is how we run https://www.captivate.fm (Captivate), our podcast hosting and growth platform. Our brand experience is designed to be one that educates, supports and innovates and leads for our podcasters in a really inclusive way. If you look at the reviews that Captivate has or the reasons...
18 mins
Effective vs Efficient Podcasting
I owe you an apology. Last week I didn't get my usual Monday content out because we had a crazy week with https://www.captivate.fm/blog (two Captivate mega feature releases). My bad, I thought I had time to get it done but Monday got away from me and it's my fault - I'm sorry. But, here I am this week! Last time, I talked to you about how to cope with podcasting overwhelm and gave you a rule of thumb to start implementing right away. It works, it really does (and not just for your podcast, for most 'work' things). Today, I'm going to talk about "effective versus efficient podcasting" and give you a system to use to make sure that you're being effective, not just efficient. These two concepts come from a book I wrote in 2014 (wow) called The Essential 14-Day Guide to Cutting Your Working Hours and Increasing Your Impact - https://mark.live/time (it's a free book, no email address required and you can get it instantly from here). I'd suggest that you go and download that book (I promise you, I don't ask for an email address or anything, the link is to a direct PDF that you can keep). Ordinarily, I'd write a really long piece today to talk to you about this concept of "Effective vs Efficient Podcasting" but it's all in that book. In particular, I lay out a system that I call "The Triple I" principle which is a method that I still use to this day to make sure I'm doing the right thing at the right time. As a podcaster, it's really easy to just do things and to feel really busy (sometimes that feels great, sometimes it feels awful) and if we aren't careful, a year passes us by with no real progress because we're busy with the wrong thing. "The Triple I Principle" will give you a sense of why you're busy and what you're spending your time on whilst also giving you a framework to improve your own efficacy within your podcast. https://mark.live/time (Download it now for free) (no email, I promise) and on today's podcast episode I'll talk about how it's helped me & how I continue to use it for my podcasting endeavours. Your next steps I teach podcasting a lot, and usually for free. So, here's what I'd recommend you do next: Watch my free podcasting tutorials on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/captivatepodcasting (https://www.youtube.com/captivatepodcasting) Learn how to launch your own podcast the right way, for free (plus a comprehensive download-and-keep crib sheet): https://www.podcastsuccessacademy.com/ (https://www.podcastsuccessacademy.com) Ask me anything at all about podcasting over on Twitter: https://mark.live/twitter (Mark.Live/Twitter) P.S. you can start engaging with your listeners using AWeber. It's free, no credit card required: https://mark.live/email (Mark.Live/Email) This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: Podcorn - https://podcorn.com/privacy Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
19 mins
Podcast Overwhelm Coping Tactics
The more you strive to grow your podcast, the more your plate fills up with things you need to do and eventually, you end up with more and more plates to the point that you could enter the world plate spinning championships. The point is: there are a lot of people giving you advice on how to grow your podcast and most of it is decent advice (except those dodgy LinkedIn "podcast promoters") and so when you begin to think about actually what to do about your audience growth, you can feel so overwhelmed that you do nothing because you have no idea where to start or what is the most important thing to do, and when. I have a way to fix that. Read on my wonderful friend. (Before you do, we have this https://www.captivate.fm/maker/ (free Podcast Maker Day) event this week that will give you a few hours of focus time to work on your podcast with our team. It's open to everyone.) I hate the word "coping" - I want you to experience more than that. I work best under pressure. The shorter a deadline is, the better my work is and until a few years ago I thought that was something that was a problem but that couldn't be further from the truth - it's a real power. When I owned my digital and design agency (from 2005 to 2017) I used to be the "face person" of the business - I'd produce the content and lead the vision of the agency whilst also working on the tendering and pitching for some of our biggest contracts.  Tenders, in particular, were a complete and utter pain in the proverbial, though. We would receive a request for quotation (RFQ) a few months before the tender closing date but every single time our tender documentation would be submitted just before the deadline closed - I was never ahead with it. Granted, there was a little strategy to that (look up "Primacy, Frequency and Recency" to understand that a little more) but if I'm completely honest I left things to the last minute because I knew that my work would be better with some pressure. Sure, in the early days I'd make a deep start really early and get things done way ahead of time but the work was never as good as a "rush" job and I had absolutely no idea why.  On the days that we got the heads up on a tender that closed "tomorrow", I did better work than on those tenders that we'd had months to work on and it baffled me. I mean it really baffled me. Once I noticed it I began to relish it, though. I knew my business, I knew my industry and I knew how to write good tenders; I had come to understand myself enough to know that my "quick" decisions were actually highly thought out plans and strategies that I'd been mulling over in my head for months before and it was just the getting it on paper that was done at the last minute. On the morning of a big tender deadline I knew that I usually had until 1pm to submit it, so I would get up at 4am, grab a Yorkshire Tea and get to the studio for 5am. Once I got there, I would put on some loud rock music and forget that anything else existed for the few hours that I worked on the tender. At around 12:30pm the tender would have been checked by Don and off it went, getting submitted and often, won. When I moved into public speaking, I'd do the same. I'd have a talk planned for some time way in the future and would leave the prep until the very, very last minute - I even did it with my TEDx talk! But it was the same scenario: I'd already planned the story, takeaways and the beats of the talk in my head and had been practicing it, refining it and rehearsing it for weeks prior to simply getting it down on paper. In short: I do my best work under pressure and with far too "little time" to do the job - yet it always, always gets done and it's always, always good. Parkinson's Law. This isn't something unique to me, though. In fact, there's an old adage that speaks to the phenomenon...
26 mins
Test Your Podcasting Tolerances
Podcasting isn't easy. There's so much that goes into a quality podcast episode and that's before we even talk about the launch process, the marketing requirements and all of the pesky business "stuff" that goes into finding and managing sponsors, listener support and any other legal obligations you may have as you start to generate revenue. It's why Captivate creates https://www.youtube.com/captivatepodcasting (so much free educational content) - anything that will help you to navigate the challenges of being a day-to-day podcaster is worth doing. Podcasting is just podcasting, right? "Podfade" is the term that people use to describe a podcast that started producing and then faded out. First and foremost, I want to be clear that that's alright - this is podcasting, not life and death so please ignore anyone being grumpy or telling you that it's wrong to "podfade". There are some angry people out there with access to keyboards. I say that not to be flippant, but so that you know that it's ok for podcasting to not be your whole life. Maybe it's a hobby - heck, I have hobby podcasts that get about 1/3 of the effort that this one does but that I love doing - maybe it's something that you do for other reasons than making money or a business. In short: podcasting is just a *thing* that people do for different reasons and it's ok to put as much or as little into it as you want as long as the expectations of what you'll get "back" from podcasting are aligned to how much you put in. You won't earn a passive living and retire to a beach through podcasting if you spend an hour conducting templated interviews and "automating" every piece of marketing that you do for your show because some guru told you that you can podcast in one hour per week. But, you can make a really good living in the podcasting industry by treating it as a job.  Or you can have a really great time in podcasting by understanding that you don't want it to be a job - much like me with playing my bass, going out with my camera or playing golf; I love them all but understand that I don't want to make a living doing them and so, if I have a week off playing golf, that's ok - no one is going to angrily tweet me about "golfading" or tell me that because I've only played one round of golf that I should be kicked off all golfing platforms and stop contributing to the number of "dead" golfers that make up the vast majority of the industry. Doesn't it sound silly when you say it out loud? One of the challenges with podcasting and in fact, with any other hobby or career path, is that the thing you "do" doesn't always articulate the depth or detail of the things that must be "done" in order to "do" it. For example, "podcasting" is fun and easier than it has ever been but the thing that people associate with podcasting the most is sitting down to record and then seeing that recording on a podcast app for people to listen to. In reality, though, there are so many more nuanced activities that go into a podcast's production and although you might love "podcasting", you don't have to like every act that you must undertake in order to be a podcaster. Without understanding that concept you're at more risk, in my opinion, of "podfading", especially if the things that you don't like to do outweigh the things that you love to do. Test your podcasting tolerances to keep publishing and start growing. There's no point doing things that you don't like unless you simply must do them. That applies in business and in life, in my view, but in podcasting we often have more control over these things than we would if we were trying to avoid doing the laundry which of course, I never ever do. I love doing laundry. Honestly. No, really. What the heck am I talking about? Let's think about some of the things that may go into producing an episode of your podcast: Planning the episode Recording the episode Editing the episode Writing the...
18 mins
A Podcast Network Business Plan to Copy
You don't need big numbers to monetise your audio influence. You just need a plan. Try this one. Last week https://www.captivate.fm/product-releases/network-features/ (Captivate launched professional podcast network features and cross-promotional feed drops) to all podcasters using the platform. It's a world-first innovation in podcasting but it's more than just a feature-set, it's part of a methodology for creating your own podcast ecosystem that can be scaled and monetised.  Podcast listeners don't do what you think. In my mind, someone who listens to my show enjoys it, tells people all about it and it's the ONLY podcast that they listen to without fail. It's a beautiful world to live in but it's not reality.  Instead, my podcast listeners might skip an episode if they're on holiday or get sick or a flat tyre or [insert inconvenience here...]. The only listeners that won't are the true fans, those who turn up every single time and for whom, I'm the favourite podcast. That is only a percentage of listeners, though. My show is enjoyed by a lot of people, but those true fans who will never, ever miss an episode number as a minority of the overall audience. Your audience is the same, too. But why is that? First, building true fans is harder than acquiring drop-in listeners. I talk about it a heck of a lot in the "Listener Acquisition Flow" talk that I give at events like Podcast Movement and the basic premise is that you have to nurture people through a "funnel" to move them from being "lurkers" into being "listeners", "subscribers" and then "fans". Inevitably, there are so many reasons that someone will move through that funnel: their own propensity to get involved in a community (if you have one, this person will stick around more), their desire to dive deep into your back catalogue of content, their own interest in the behind-the-scenes of your podcast - the list goes on. But one of the main reasons, in my view, that someone won't move through your funnel and become a true fan is if they don't always find what they want when they want it. That's not to say that your show isn't right for them, but how can one thing serve all purposes, moods or needs? It can't, we know that. Let me give you an example: I love the "Rockonteurs" podcast with Guy Pratt and Gary Kemp. I'm a big music fan, love 70s-90s rock and I'm really interested in how the music comes together, so an interview show where two highly-regarded musicians from my favourite era talk to other outstanding musicians from my favourite era is perfect. I'm a fan.  But I REALLY wish they'd release more episodes. I'd listen to them all! But probably not when they came out. I'd binge them on a drive or "catch up" when I was ready for it. But why? If I'm a fan why wouldn't I lap every piece of content the chaps put out instantly? Because of my mood.  I said I love music and as part of that, I also play music. I'm (loosely speaking) a bass player. I love it and lap up YouTube content on how to set up my Stingray, on Fender Jazz Standard basses vs American Deluxe basses and meme-style content from Davie504. I'm all over it.  But when I get in my car to make the sixty-minute drive to our podcast studio and office, I can't take that with me and so, I turn to podcasts. I may be in the mood to delve into something musical but it might be some bass guitar reviews or interviews with drummers or tear-downs of famous albums or song-writing theory breakdowns of popular songs. I don't get that from "Rockonteurs". So I look elsewhere, try to find something and if I'm lucky, I do. But I'm harsh on my decision making when I do. Nine times out of ten, when I do find a new show that I'm in the mood for I don't know the person who is creating the show and so I enter their listener acquisition funnel and start again and again and again every time I'm in the...
20 mins
Introducing Cross-Promotional Feed Drops & Network Features for Every Captivate PodcasterNew Captivate Feature Announcement Coming Up
4 mins
3 Signs of a Great Podcast Coach
Last week I spoke to you about the three big "sins" of podcast coaching; the three red flags that you should look out for when hiring or working with a podcast coach. When it comes to coaching, there are inevitably the very bad ones, but there are also the very good ones, too. After I'd told you my views on how to spot the bad ones last week, Steph Fuccio asked me to do a "good list" - so here it is... my 3 signs of a great podcast coach. Plus a little bonus tip at the end, because "3" sounds better than "4", but I have 4. So... (If you do need help and can't quite afford a coach, the https://www.captivate.fm/product-releases/learn-how-to-grow-monetize-your-podcast-with-captivate-growth-labs/ (Captivate Podcast Growth Labs) will help if you're a Captivate podcaster, too.) I used to play a bit in the online business world. Well, actually, I https://www.captivate.fm (HAVE an online business). But it's podcasting software-as-a-service (SaaS). What I mean here is that I used to be around people who have online businesses but sell things that are a little less... developmental. You know the sort of thing: a course, masterminds and of course, coaching. It's a nice space to live in but it's hard to scale. Look at any online business person who sells those things: the smart ones diversify into other, more sustainable revenue channels and the more, erm, blinkered ones keep trying to "fill the funnel" of new clients OR up-selling to current clients (https://www.markasquith.com/the-podcast-accelerator/292/ (see last week) for more on that and why it can be bad for you). You know how to spot the red flags in podcast coaching, then, but how do you start to identify a good podcast coach? 1. This is what they DO. For some online business people, coaching is a way to support their income or bridge a financial gap. It's the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to making money because they already have the saleable knowledge and all they have to do is package that up into something that's clearly positioned, marketed and easily understood.  By creating some content that then positions them as just enough of an expert, popping a lead magnet on their site ("How I Started My Podcast in Just 3 Minutes [My Exact Playbook!]", probably) and warming you up with some emails, they can make some sales. There's nothing wrong with that - it's how it works, after all. But as a podcaster, you don't want someone who uses coaching to bolster their revenue and keep themselves afloat enough to do the thing that they really want to do.  No, you need a coach who does coaching for a living. Someone who lives, breathes and loves podcasting and who focuses on maintaining their knowledge and building quality, deep processes for their podcast coaching endeavours. Ask yourself, would you rather work with a podcasting expert who coaches, or a coaching expert who has decided to coach on podcasting because it's trendy? Looking for a coach who works with a well-developed client base, can show testimonials from that client base and who is willing to share contact details of a few key clients so that you can verify them is a superb place to start. If someone is doing anything as a side hustle, they can only dedicate so much time to it. That is ok in a lot of cases, but you need to know that from the outset. Maybe your coach only coaches part-time as they transition from employment to their own business but because of that, maybe they just focus on the launch phase of a podcast and not, for example, the growth phase. It's really important before you hire someone to ask for those testimonials, get a look at the work they've done and the successes that they've achieved, plus it's vital to gain an understanding of how much they put into a) their coaching business overall and b) each individual client in terms of time and deliverables. A good podcast...
15 mins
Fire Your Podcast Coach (The 3 Podcast Coach Sins)
At least four times per week someone emails me asking why their podcast audience isn't growing. I always reply and ask for a little more info and usually refer them to the free https://www.captivate.fm/product-releases/learn-how-to-grow-monetize-your-podcast-with-captivate-growth-labs/ (Captivate Podcast Growth Labs) because their reply typically frustrates me. They're usually paying a "podcast coach" to help with their growth.  And that makes me think: if they're paying someone to help, why are they emailing me asking for my help, too? I'm not a podcast coach. I used to coach people on the business of podcasting a few years ago, but I was never a podcast coach and there really is a difference. I've been running businesses like Captivate since 2005. My main job here at Captivate is "product owner" wherein I develop ideas, vision and work with the design, engineering, experience and marketing teams on execution. My experience over the last 16 years in business has given me experience in just that, business. Or more specifically, growing something from nothing. That sounds a lot like what we're trying to achieve as podcasters, too, doesn't it? We're creating something, refining it and building an audience for it that continues to develop and grow until, at some point, we can make some money from it. But, growing a podcast is hard. It's hard because podcasting is still a developing market and not every potential listener knows that they can listen to podcasts. It's not like email or SMS marketing, or even Netflix/YouTube and the on-demand video explosion where most of your target audience know that these mediums actually exist. But, because podcasting IS a growing market, online coaches and people looking to make some money on the side are turning, still, to podcast coaching as a way to bolster their income. A good coach is vital, too, in any walk of life. I'm a huge fan of passing on earned knowledge and making money from that. In fact, I think that podcast launch coaches can really help people https://www.podcastsuccessacademy.com (navigate through the potential pitfalls of a podcast launch) and that if you feel you need one, you should find a podcast launch coach to help. If someone has launched a podcast recently with some success, then I believe that it's perfectly fine to sell that very same knowledge to someone who needs help. What bothers me, though, is when coaches take your hard-earned money and give you nothing in return; when they're selling something that they think they know to people who believe them. That is wrong. As someone who works with thousands and thousands of podcasts every day via Captivate, I also get my fair share of coaches coming to me asking for the most basic information on podcasting - even when they're the ones selling podcast coaching. That is wrong, too. So, I decided to put together these three warning signs for you so that you can identify whether your podcast coach is taking your money and not giving you anything of quality in return. 1. Your podcast coach once launched a podcast and that's it. I said it earlier: if someone has launched a podcast, then they can and should sell that base-level knowledge to someone who needs it, but with one caveat: they should be honest about how far they can take you. The problem comes from a coach over-stretching themselves and pretending that they can take you through podcast launch to growth and monetisation. Maybe they have a track record in monetising things online and think that translates to podcasting. Sometimes it does, don't get me wrong, but more often than not it's just subtly different enough to not work for you and your podcast. As an online coach, people often need and want to make as much money from a "lead" as possible. It's easier to up-sell you a podcast growth plan after your launch and give you really...
16 mins
Is Your Ego Ruining Your Podcast's Growth?
When I was younger I could work for a lot longer without breaks. Now I get tired. It's not so much a physical thing as it is a mental thing - my ideas get a little slower to form and my ability to focus on learning and developing is hindered. That's hardly surprising - rest is vital to a successful and happy lifestyle - but the challenge that I often find personally is knowing what to do in order to develop myself after I've rested. There's so much that commands your attention and often, as podcasters, we're running our podcast "on the side" (I refuse to say "side hustle" because I'm not trying to sell you a course) so when it comes to producing our show we do it by the numbers. Producing becomes the only thing we "have to get through" in order to keep our show going but if you've followed me for a while, you know that it's not about just keeping going, it's about moving forward and growing our audience. Why do we stagnate? Stagnation comes, in my view, from continually treading water but mistaking that treading as forward motion. The production of our show is vital, but if that's all we do then we're treading water. To move forward we have to upgrade ourselves bit by bit in such a way https://www.markasquith.com/the-podcast-accelerator/287/ (that we learn new skills) and in such a way that we learn to distinguish between when we're making a decision based on comfort, stubbornness or an unwillingness to adapt. The problem that I see a lot of podcasters face is that they don't know where to start with educating themselves on, for example, podcast marketing & promotion (https://www.captivate.fm/product-releases/learn-how-to-grow-monetize-your-podcast-with-captivate-growth-labs/ (here's a free thing for that, btw)) so they push harder into the things that they're comfortable with to patch over the mental wound of being anxious about beginning to learn something new and uncomfortable. I get that completely, I really do, because we all do it. Every single one of us at some point in our lives takes the easier, more comfortable and known path. The challenge is that, mentally, we want to progress and we want to develop and we know that we're getting in our own way - but if we aren't careful, our ego slips into the mix and we begin to get defensive about our situation in such a way that pushes us more and more into a production cycle - "Hey I don't want to hear this feedback because I don't know how to act on it so instead, I'll just produce more and more episodes so that I feel great about doing something and we'll see how it goes." You can only do that for so long. After a much-shorter-than-expected amount of time, you begin to get frustrated with your lack of progress again. Maybe your downloads aren't moving in the right direction, maybe your audience engagement isn't where you want it to be and the cycle begins anew: it's hard to hear tough feedback, so you produce something you're comfortable with to make yourself feel better and off we go again... That, my beautiful podcaster, is why we stagnate. Let's learn to be uncomfortable. Discomfort for a podcaster comes in many forms. Often, it begins with an inkling or some feedback that the show that we love producing isn't quite as good as we think it is. Sure, that can be subjective but when enough people start saying it, we have to take an objective look at it. We must put ourselves in the minds of our listeners and have empathy with the thing that they're investing in: our show - time isn't free and every time someone listens to our podcast, they invest a little bit more in to our brand. What's more, new listeners may be experiencing the same thoughts as your stalwart listeners and simply choosing to go elsewhere for their content, resulting in slow audience growth and diminishing returns on the time that we invest in the podcast. I've seen this countless times and in fact,...
13 mins
What Podcast Marketing Posts Work Best on LinkedIn?How to Handle Guest No-Shows