Hosting a Daily Podcast with Harry Morton
One of the hardest things to do is put out daily content…and on top of that, making it helpful, timely, and in podcast form! This sounds like a ton of work, but Harry Morton of Lower Street does just that. In this episode, we’ll explore how Harry can consistently put out a daily podcast about working from home – from planning to publishing.
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Intro: One of the hardest things to do is put out daily content. On top of that, making that content helpful, timely, and in podcast form. That sounds a ton of work, but Harry Morton of Lower Street does just that. In this episode, we’ll explore how Harry can consistently put out a daily podcast about working from home, from planning to publishing. There are lots of great tips, action items, and advice. Even if you don’t plan on putting together a daily podcast, if you want to put together a podcast at all, or if you want to try to blog more often, Harry offers some great advice here. But we’ll get into all of that in a minute.
First, let’s hear from our first sponsor.
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And now back to the show.
Joe: Hey, everybody, and welcome to another episode of How I Built It, the podcast that asks, how did you build that? Today I am talking to Harry Morton. He is the founder of Lower Street, and he does a lot of work in podcasting that we’re going to talk about today. Harry, how are you?
Harry: I’m good, man. How are you?
Joe: I’m doing very well. Thank you. We met Podcast Movement a couple of years ago now.
Harry: It feels an age ago now.
Joe: I know. I think about things that happened in January, and it feels it happened 400 years ago.
Harry: Right. Exactly.
Joe: So anything that happened before 2020 might as well have happened…
Harry: Just ancient history.
Joe: Yeah, exactly. I wanted to get you on the show today because since the global pandemic started, I know you have been doing a lot of content related stuff. This season of How I Built It is focusing on content marketing and being consistent. And I think you’ve done a really good job of that.
Harry: Thanks. Yeah, we’ve definitely spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of content is needed at the moment and putting systems in place to do that regularly. So yeah, I’m excited to talk about it.
Joe: Awesome. Awesome. Before we dive into that, why don’t you tell the listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Harry: Sure, yeah. As you said, I’m the founder of Lower Street. We are a podcast production agency and we work with brands to produce content for their marketing and branding. We’ve been around for three years. We’re a fully remote team. I’m obviously here from the UK, as you can probably tell from the accent. But we’re spread out across the globe and so are our clients. So, yeah, we’ve had an opportunity to work on a bunch of different shows in loads of different sectors and learn a ton along the way, which has been really cool.
Joe: That’s fantastic. I know that it’s probably really interesting. Starting a podcast for yourself is one thing, but helping brands start their own podcast is something totally different. Right?
Harry: Exactly. The weight of responsibility to make something good is there too. So it’s been really great. I think what we’ve learned from working with people, I don’t know, from a law firm to a dentist to a venture capitalist to a startup, all of these audiences that they’re looking to find are totally different. So the way that you have to think about creating a show that meets the needs of that specific audience is completely unique each time and really interesting. So we, I guess, hone our method of figuring out how we go about discovering what that show should be. That’s consistent. But the output that we get at the end is always different. So it’s super fun to work on.
Joe: I love that. And it’s something that I’ve thought about doing and I dabble in it a little bit. I guess it’s a little bit of a sidetrack right now, but I think it’s really interesting. One of the hard things I think that I’ve struggled with is getting people to find the value in podcasting. I get a lot of feedback that’s like, “I’m not ready to start a podcast” or “I don’t really need a podcast,” or “the podcast will just cost me money.” As you figure out how to make this really good for the brand and make it worth their while, I suspect that convincing them…Well, let me start here. Do you need to convince a lot of the people who come to you that they need a podcast? Or are they already sold on the idea that they need one?
Harry: We’re really lucky in that now that we’ve been around for a little while, and we’ve been producing some good stuff, people come to us. They’re pretty set on the fact that a podcast is right for them, but what they have to figure out is what exactly that looks. So yeah, we tend to do less on pitching on the idea of podcasting itself. Actually, a lot of our conversations are like, “Is podcasting right for you?” So you’ve decided as a brand that the podcast is the route that you guys need to take for your content? And actually, what we want to discover is, is that true? Is it the best fit in your specific case?
Because there’s loads of things that podcasting are amazing for. The cliche that goes around at the moment is it’s a really intimate medium. It’s one to one you’re sharing earbuds with someone you can build a really close relationship at scale with your audience. It’s really amazing for building trust with your audience because they get to know you as a person and you really get to show your knowledge in a really raw and real way.
And it’s a great way for building authority and your expertise in a particular space. But where it’s not so good is like it’s not a really viral medium, as you know, Joe, right? You’ve built this podcast from the ground up and it’s a slow grind. It takes a long time to build that audience to a substantial size over time. It’s not like if you were to produce an amusing cat video on YouTube or Facebook or something and it could explode overnight. That really rarely happens with a podcast.
So if your goal is, “We want a thousand listeners tomorrow,” or “we want a ton of leads to our pipeline this month,” podcasting is probably not the best fit for you. But if you want to build really long term relationships that really are going to help your brand in the long term, then podcast seems a really great fit. So I guess to dive down this rabbit hole with you. That’s more the conversation we tend to have is like, “What role is this podcast going to play for your brand? And how can we make sure it delivers on it?”
Joe: I think that’s really fantastic. Because it does lend to the…if I’m going to convince people they need to start a podcast, what should that language look. Because it’s true. You could say, “Oh, you can make a lot of money podcasting. Pat Flynn, 80% of his income comes from affiliate marketing, he says. That’s probably not the case anymore. I think that’s an older style. And he has a bunch of courses out.
Joe: But obviously his podcast is a big driver for him. But how? He didn’t explode overnight. I didn’t explode overnight with this podcast. So long term relationships, I think it’s a really important point to make because a podcast can be the thing that helps people know and trust you. And that’s really important in doing online business.
Harry: That’s exactly right. It really is. But I think there are ways that we can try to…this is something I’ve done a lot of thinking about, and a big portion of our clients are agency owners and consultants, even freelancers. Exactly as you alluded to before is like, for them, it’s really important to get a return on their investment relatively quickly. So what we’ve tried to think about is the ways that you can use podcasting to fit that need better.
So not to sort of render what I just said completely invalid. But there are some ways we can think about making podcasting make more sense on the front end. The main way for us that we’ve seen and for the consultants we’ve worked for is, basically, again, from your experience, Joe, you’ve probably found that the podcast is an amazing way of spending time with folks that you might otherwise not have access to. So reaching out to someone and saying, “Can you come and be on my podcast and speak to my audience” is a much more compelling offer than, “Hey, can I pitch you my service?” Or “Hey, can I pick your brain for half an hour?”
So what podcasting allows you to do is get access to some really interesting people in your space. It allows you to align yourself with those people. Because if you’re putting out content with these folks speaking to you, then that automatically puts you in that kind of realm in the eyes and ears, I suppose, of your audience.
Finally, I suppose what we try and really encourage is actually instead of thinking of the podcast as a way to make content and grow an audience, instead, we say, “Okay, well, let’s worry about the audience later. We’ll get to the audience later.” What would bring value to you right now is if you could invite your ideal client onto the show and interview them, then you’re building a relationship with basically the perfect lead while also making some really amazing content.” So that’s one way that I think it can be really interesting to push the value more on to the front end of podcast production, where the interview itself is where the value is for you, and then the audience is a plus.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. Just to reinforce both of those points that you made is, if you invite your ideal client onto your podcast and interview them, I think that’s going to speak really well to the audience because it’s relatable, right?
Joe: I had the former CTO of Facebook on my show, and it was a fantastic interview.
Harry: That’s incredible.
Joe: I learned a ton. And I’ve had people like Peter Hollins on the show, and those downloads were not as strong as the downloads of small business owners I interviewed that were in the same place in their career as the listeners, because that was very relatable content. Now, that said, I think part of the reason this show grew more quickly than I expected it to was I had Chris Coyier, who is a big name in web development, and I had Troy Dean who is a big name in WordPress business. They shared the show with their audience and it gave a little bit of credibility. So I think that one two punch that you just mentioned, anecdotally, it has worked for me, I should say?
Harry: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. But how long ago was that, Joe? How long has the show been around?
Joe: This show has been around for four years. This month actually is the fourth year.
Harry: That’s four years. I’m sure it grew quickly and it’s been a great show for a long time. But I mean, that’s a solid journey and a big commitment you’ve made to consistently publish great stuff. I’m sure that’s paying dividends now.
Joe: Yeah, yeah. Well, thank you very much for that. We’ll circle back to this.
Joe: But first, I do want to talk about you started a new daily podcast, right?
Joe: That’s right. It’s called WFH Daily, which is the hashtag for Work From Home Daily. We started it in just at the end of March kind of really in response to the whole COVID pandemic situation where everyone was forced to suddenly work from home for the first time. And us as a fully remote team, as I mentioned, we’re all spread out across the globe. We figured we were one of those companies in the world that we’re positioned to sort of maybe put some useful content out on that front. So we’ve been doing that now for a few months, and it’s been really cool experiment for us and also a really fun process and growing an audience and helping people.
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And now back to the show.
Joe: The first question I want to ask you about this is, what did the turnaround look like? Because end of March, at least here in the States, that was most stay at home orders started on March 13, March 14. That’s two weeks from when we started. I don’t know if it was similar…you’re in England?
Harry: Yeah. I can’t remember the exact date but it was around mid-March for sure.
Joe: So what did it look from idea to execution of getting this off the ground?
Harry: In all honesty, alarmingly fast. I guess the pretext of this is that we’ve established we’re an agency, we’re a podcasting team. So we have all the gear, we’ve got the audio editors, we have the writers at our show, we have the team that can distribute it. So with our clients, we’re setting them up with new shows in a matter of weeks and getting them out the door. So we’re really ready and prepared for that. We have that luxury, I guess.
But in terms of coming up with a concept for the show and pushing it out, it was really, really quick. We just thought, “Hey, look, this is something that’s happening. We have some value to provide here. We think there’s a need for this content and this is something that we really want to explore.” I’ve for a long time been wanting to make a daily show because I think it’s just a really great format, and there are a lot of opportunities to grow an audience there. I wanted to sort of use it, not only to make great content that’s hopefully helpful for people but also to learn about what opportunities there are in this space. Anyway, I’m digressing. The point was that we decided, I guess, around the second week of March, maybe, and it was published, I think, by the 25th, 26th.
Harry: So we just sort of decided between us. At the start, it was just Alex, my lead editor at Lower Street, and I. We just jumped on some calls and recorded some content based on some articles that we read on the subject and just exchanging our own ideas. Since then, it’s just continually developed. Basically what we decided is we’re just going to make that commitment. We’re going to make a show every weekday. We don’t know when we’re going to stop. Maybe we will stop, maybe we’ll never stop. Hopefully not. We’re really enjoying it right now. We just decided we’re going to make that commitment. We just been paving the road in front of us as we go. We just figured, start, and iterate as we learn.
Joe: A daily podcast, I mean, I tried doing it for a little while for my patrons when I had a Patreon and I made it focused on news, which I think was probably a mistake on my part because that means I basically had to record the podcast every day based on the previous day’s news. Or at least in the evening based on the day’s news. Do you batch your episodes? When you came up with content, did you have an outline of things you wanted to talk about? What was the initial content run like?
Harry: Totally. That’s really important because I was at the same view. My initial reaction was, “Okay, let’s make a daily news show about this something that’s really topical and relevant and responding to current events.” But we quickly ran into this idea that you’ve just said there. That you then have to be making the show every single day at the end of the day responding to events that have happened. So you have to then write it, record it, edit it, and publish it all within a couple of hours basically.
We knew we were taking on a project that was going to be time-consuming and potentially stressful at times. But we didn’t need to add that additional stress. So we made this decision to make it current and certainly relevant to what’s going on right now, but not literally responding to the last 24 hours or 48 hours even. So, exactly to your point, we do batch records.
At the very beginning, again, like I said, the process is evolving. But it started off where we would collect throughout the week a bunch of articles we thought were interesting around the subject of remote work. Whether that’s to do with your health, to do with productivity to do with staying connected with people, best practices, technology, all these kinds of things that are relevant for people that are moving from an office to working from home and what they need. Collecting a bunch of those articles. We use Notion so we stored everything there. Then Alex and I would meet once a week on a Wednesday for an hour and just record a bunch of conversations. We typically get three to five episodes worth of content in each session.
At the beginning, we didn’t do a whole lot of preparation to be honest. We just turned up. We had these articles and our own opinions and we just would make conversation. We’re definitely learning as time goes on that the more preparation we do, the better the content is received, and the better it does. But like I said, it was more important to us to just get stuff out there and learn as we went. But yeah, so batch recording is a super important one in terms of being able to commit to that regular cadence.
Joe: Yeah, yeah. I think I am in a similar boat. As you know, my friend and I started a local podcast in response to COVID-19, and we turned it around really quickly. Same thing, we just wanted to get the content out there. But now I think as we refine our process, the content is definitely being better received where we’re getting higher profile guests. This was something that we decided we wanted to interview politicians and local business owners.
Scheduling is a little hard at times, especially finding a good diverse group of voices in short order. But we’re doing our best. But preparation is, I think, really important. But to your point, you launched and then refined, right?
Joe: The beauty of doing a digital thing is that it doesn’t mean to be perfect the first time around, right?
Harry: Totally, 100%. I’ve been so guilty of overthinking and procrastinating on projects before. I’m not willing to put something out until it’s perfect. We’re actually working on another show, which is a season. It’s like six fixed episodes of content on a specific topic. We’ve been kicking this one around for some time now because we just want to make it just post perfect before it goes out. Whereas this was the perfect opportunity to say, “No, let’s just put out whatever we can, and every day we’ll try and get better.” And I think that’s so much better than not starting. Because there’s only one way to learn what works. And that is by putting it out there and seeing what the public reacts to.
Joe: Yeah, for sure. To go back to your process, you do batch record, you collect interesting articles throughout the week, you and your co-host record a bunch of conversations. Are they definitive stop and start conversations? Or do you have a long conversation that you break up into different episodes? Is there an intro and an outro to your podcast? What does post-production look like?
Harry: Yeah, absolutely. So it’s a mixture of both of those things. We have now started to introduce interviews into the show, which has been really, really helpful. That kind of adding new voices, keeping it fresh has been really, really helpful. So we’re actually planning to do more and more interview shows. We’ve also started to introduce some episodes with just me and my wife and my son because one way is our show is about working from home.
I obviously run this company from home, but my wife works in an office or did until COVID-19. So we live here in the country and so we go out walking, and I record a conversation between my wife and I about how we’re going to sort out childcare and all that stuff. Those have been received really well too actually, which has been fun. So there’s a couple of different formats that we play with.
In terms of the post-production, what that looks is that we’ll have that conversation that’ll get edited down by Alex, our editor, and then he sends that to me. Then I listened to those and then just do sort of a bunch of intros and outros each time. Well, many of our client projects will have an intro and outro that stays the same on every single episode, whatever happens. It’s got the music and it’s got their sponsor messages and all that stuff.
But with this, we because it’s a short form show—it’s only 10 minutes long or less—we want it to be fresh. Also, it’s really important to get to the meat of the content really quickly in order to…we’ve definitely seen that in terms of how long people listen to the show. If you can get into the meat of the conversation really, really quickly, that really helps with making sure that people listen to the whole episode. So I just record intros and outros fresh every single time. So they always sound current and fresh, and they can be super short and sweet. So that takes me half an hour to record a bunch of those. Then we send that back to Alex the editor and he publishes them for me. That’s more or less the process.
I think, just to your point around process generally, I think batch recording is really important to get a bunch of content done at one time. Having a routine has been really important for us. So for us Wednesday mornings is recording day. So we just sit down Alex and I, and whatever happening, we’ll spend an hour first thing in the morning just getting the content done. Obviously, if we’re interviewing folks, that happens when it happens. But we just always know we’ve got that Wednesday meeting to do that sort of stuff. I think having that schedule that’s in your calendar every week, you know it’s going to come up, and you just prepare for it and it happens.
Another thing that I wanted to share around this is that being a daily show, they tend to be shorter form, because, frankly, that’s what’s realistic. But also, it’s maybe what people need. They don’t necessarily want to listen to an hour long show every day. Keeping that content short really helps with being able to publish on a consistent basis as well. So yeah, I think those things will help.
Joe: Now, have you noticed…because I’ve noticed my own podcast habits change even though I don’t commute, which is super weird. I drive my daughter to daycare when daycare will be open again, or when we’re ready to send her back, I should say. She doesn’t even listen to podcasts. She wants to listen to Peter Holland’s or some other…It’s the second time I mentioned to him on the show. I didn’t mean to do that. But she likes to listen to music. Have you noticed your podcasts habits change? And has that affected the way that you’ve decided to put out this content?
Harry: Yeah. I find it strange too, Joe, because my habits have changed too. I didn’t have a commute before, and I don’t have one now. But my habits are much, much more selective in terms of what I listened to for some reason. I found that since COVID, I’ve just been busier. That’s probably out of panic more than anything else. I do get the sense that it’s starting to calm down. But what that’s meant is I feel I’ve got less time for content.
So I’m very choosy, so it’s certainly from my perspective, much easier to make into my content diet if it’s a short-form show. For example, you and I both know James Cridland who makes the Podnews podcast, industry podcast. I make time for that most days because I know it’s really short and I can get an update on what’s happening in our industry. And it’s really worth my time. So that definitely went into the decision making around what show we wanted to make.
But I think also this is certainly a takeaway for anyone that’s listening, that’s thinking about making a show is there is a lot of demand I think for daily content right now, I think. There’s a real opportunity in the daily content space, if I wanted to sound like a really boring corporate person. But I think that there’s a lot of unmet need.
Right now we have these daily shows that are in the New York Daily. We’ve got a lot in the UK here for the same sort of stuff of just news based content. But I think we’re talking about sports or industry current events or whatever. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to give people bite-sized pieces of content that is not being met in other places. I think there’s a wealth of content. Maybe talk about interview shows that might be an hour long. But actually, if you can think of a way to deliver that same value in a shorter form, I think there’s a great fit there for a lot of content creators.
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Now back to the show.
Joe: I agree that making time for good content…One of my favorite shows is Scrubs. Zach Braff and Donald Faison just started Fake Doctors, Real Friends, which is supposed to be a rewatch podcast.
Harry: I’ve heard of this.
Joe: Which the first few episodes were focused and fantastic. But the last few episodes have been nearly two hours long on mostly them just reminiscing with whoever their guest is. And I’m really just like, “I want to know about the show.” It’s great that you get to catch up with Sarah Chalke and talk about that crazy day in Cabo or whatever. But I really wish that you would talk about the show.
Joe: So even though I want to listen to it, I’m just like, “Two hours is a big commitment.” I listened to Upgrade and Connected from Relay FM. Those are the two long podcasts I listened to. And then everything else is a little bit shorter. I think that’s right.
Harry: I think we have to think about what are people’s lives looking like right now. I guess I suppose I should also say it’s important not to make too many decisions based on what is going on right now. Because this is not our usual state of affairs. But nevertheless, people’s habits are changing and we’re not commuting so much. That’s never going to go back to 100% it was before because now more companies are working remotely. So people aren’t commuting. They don’t have that time, that dead space for half an hour or so each side of their work day.
The times that they have available to them to fit podcasting into their routine is different. So I think that there’s a lot more cool for these bite sized chunks of content, whether that’s in podcasting, but also in video or in the written stuff. I think we’re seeing a big uptick in the stuff that people are really engaging with on social because it has to fit into these new routines and habits that we’ve got. You’re now trying to get your job done, but also make sure that your kid has had their lunch and doing some homework. Then you’re not having to get in the car and drive anywhere. So you’re probably going to do some cleaning, when you’ve got some downtime.
So all of these things impact the way that we’re consuming content. I think that that’s one of the drivers that’s changing things right now. And it’ll be really interesting to see how that plays out in the next six months or so.
Joe: For sure. I think you make a good point. That the way it is right now will probably hopefully not be the way it is, but there are going to be long lasting changes.
Harry: Definitely, yeah.
Joe: I think it would be a bad business decision for a lot of companies in San Francisco to be like, “Everybody has to come back to our office even though you all did your job well from home.”
Harry: Exactly. And you’re like paying that million dollar a month rent or whatever.
Harry: Hundred percent.
Joe: That’s great. So I love what you’re doing with the Work from Home Daily podcast. I love these tips that you provided us. You were equipped because you have an agency. We touched on this a little bit in the beginning of the show, but how do you help brands come up with their own content? I have the perception and I think it’s right that you spend a lot of your day helping yourself or helping other people come up with content. Is that right?
Harry: Yeah, it is. Like I alluded to at the beginning, it’s a really interesting and unique challenge with every brand that you’re dealing with. We have a couple of formats that we’re familiar with in podcasting, specifically, the interview-led show. We’ve talked about the daily short form, maybe news bulletin show or a solo monologue style show. We also have the MPR style narrative-led pieces, which are really interesting and stuff that we’re really excited by and doing a lot of work with at the moment.
So coming up with the right format is super important. The main reason for that and the main piece of information that leads into finding what content we should be creating and how we go about that is thinking about who your target listener is. So we talked at the beginning about why you’re podcasting, is podcasting the right fit for you. Once you’ve found that is the case, it’s really important to have a really clear vision of what the podcast is built for in your specific case.
Some of those use cases that is common among our clients, and we often sort of encourage them to think about is, are you using podcasting because you want to grow your personal network in terms of all of those sort of serendipitous connections that lead to all kinds of opportunities in the future? So networking is a really big one.
Building authority in your space. If you want to position yourself as a thought leader, if you’re new to an industry and you want to establish yourself or if you’ve been there for a long time but you really want to look towards getting more speaking engagements and be just more known in your industry, then podcast is a great thing. The content will be different in that sense.
If the show is just about making sales, then we need to make sure that the content is going to deliver on that. Obviously, that’s the fact that some people just want to have a podcast to build an audience. So we really want to understand what that goal is. Because that will clearly say, “Okay, so that’s our end goal. What kind of show do we need to make?”
Then the other question to ask yourself is, who is our ideal listener? The question I always ask a client is, if you could only have 100 people listen to the show, who would they be? So that might be let’s say, I don’t know, C-suite executives from the greater Boston area. Or it might be we want to reach millennials that are in the creative industries in South America or whatever. So you have that really clear idea of who your target listener is.
And when we know who they are, then that really informs what format is going to resonate best with them. You know, what do they need in their life that your show could provide them? In the case of the C suite, these are really busy folks. Fitting into their daily routine is going to be so hard. So you have to find either a piece of content that is so compelling that they can’t ignore it or something that will fit into their routine. So that might be that five minute, ten minute episode that’s really short and succinct.
If you’re really interested in creative millennials, then you might be able to get hours of their time at a time. So it might make loads of sense to have really long in depth interviews that are very rich in their storytelling and all that stuff. So I think when we’re coming up with what content we need to make and how that plays out in the podcast structure and format is, what’s the purpose of the podcast and who’s it trying to reach? And then we can work backwards from there.
Joe: Awesome, awesome. I love that. I want to ask you, is there a niche that is too specific? You mentioned millennials in the creative industry in South America. Is that the right amount of specificity? Because I know like “business owners” is absolutely too broad.
Harry: Right, right. Right, right. Exactly. I mean, it probably wasn’t the best example because…
Joe: I like it a lot.
Harry: To your point, I think there is no such thing as an audience that’s too specific. I tell this to clients all the time, because so many people are worried that they won’t get enough listeners to their show. I think the easiest way to kill a show is, if your audience speaks to everybody, then no one’s going to resonate with it deeply. That’s not my idea. I think it’s Seth Godin’s, or someone else that’s far cleverer than I am. But the fact is unless you’re really speaking to someone very, very specifically and in a very focused way, no one’s going to be so, so excited to listen to that content. What we want to try and do is make the person we want to reach, we want to try and make their favorite show.
So I think the more specific you can be…in both examples there, I used geography which actually is maybe not the best way to niche down or be clear. I think it’s just being clear of who your avatar is. And the more specific you can be, whether that’s industry based or personality type, or age, or gender, or whatever. I think having those ideas can just yet really, really help you make something that’s differentiated, right? Because there’s so many podcasts out there. And if you’re going to make something that’s really unique and speaks to people in a new way, then you need to be pretty niche.
Joe: Yeah, for sure. Like you said earlier, podcasting is an intimate medium, and you want that person to feel you are talking to them, right?
Harry: Exactly. Exactly.
Joe: Trying to talk to everybody makes them feel you’re not talking to them.
Harry: That’s exactly right. Also, you’re not limiting yourself to then broaden later. Because at the beginning, you want to have that really specific focus so that you can grow that initial audience, those early adopters, those passionate fans. Once you’ve got that and you feel you’re really well set in that space, then you can start to slowly branch out and broaden the appeal in certain ways.
I think, quite often when you’re starting a project, it can feel quite daunting to go, “Oh my god, there’s only a thousand possible listeners in the world that fit this fitness thing.” I think that’s perfect. Because once you’ve nailed that, and you feel you really serve that audience really well, then you can start to broaden your horizons from there. That’s a really healthy way to think about it, I think.
Joe: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I know that we hear the massive success stories. I know that starting in September, we’re all going to be gunning for that top spot in Apple podcasts because Joe Rogan’s podcast isn’t going to be there. Maybe don’t gun for the top spot. Look for the hundred or the thousand people that will really resonate with you. Because it goes back to know and trust. And if you can create superfans, which is another concept that I didn’t come up with or whatever, then that’ll be much better for your business.
Harry: Yep, 100% agreed. I think everyone that listens to this show is, well, maybe there’s lots of people that are trying to be the next Joe Rogan. But I think that really is a lottery ticket type scenario. I think it’s really, really hard to make something that truly reaches millions of people unless you are backed by a huge existing network or a great deal of money or some other secret sauce that I’m not privy to. Certainly what I’m interested in is making a small bootstrapped business that provides for me and my family. And that doesn’t need to be the number one podcast in an apple podcast for that to happen. It needs to serve a real purpose to a really specific audience. And that’s really great.
I know it’s also really satisfying that you can do that, that you can cater to that need in a really direct way. I think that’s something to be really proud of.
Joe: Yeah, it’s super rewarding when someone comes up to you and they’re like, “I listen to your podcast and I really get a lot of value out of it.” A former student of mine messaged me and said, “I’m talking to a friend here and she loves your podcast.” And I’m like, “There’s no way that’s true. They probably mean the NPR podcast.” He was like, “No, she specifically mentioned your name.” And I’m like, “That is amazing.”
Harry: Super cool.
Joe: Awesome. So let’s wrap up here with some tips for the listeners on how they can…let’s say people listening are ready to start a podcast but they don’t know. Maybe they have their topic. How would you recommend they come up with some content to get started?
Harry: Yeah, absolutely. So what I would say is don’t start with the idea and work out how you can find an audience for it. To my point before, figure out who your audience is and work backwards from that. Once you’ve got that really clear vision of who your audience is and how you’re going to serve them, then I think it’s important to come to that goal. What are you trying to get out of podcasting? Is it for an audience? Is it for networking? Because that’s going to inform who you want to be speaking to on your show. Or indeed if you want to be speaking to anyone you might not want guests it might not be an interview show.
So once you’re armed with both of those pieces of information, the rest starts to fill itself in. If you’re looking to network, then you want to reach out and interview people that are in your field. Let’s say you want to make a 30 minute interview show. If we’re trying to get leads into the funnel, then we want to be educating people and making educational content. So I hope that’s not too vague of an answer. I don’t know if I can be more specific here.
Harry: I think that’s perfect. I mean, the common things you hear, “Look at blog posts you wrote and just convert that into a podcast.” I think that is a way to put out some content. But it’s not the way to put out the content people are willing to share. I can definitely speak to this. I made a big error in my own messaging for my podcast course because I made the assumption that I was talking to an audience that already knew they wanted a podcast. So it was all about saving you time and blah, blah, blah.
Well, after my sales launch, I didn’t sell that many. And I emailed everybody who didn’t buy and I said, “Hey, why didn’t you buy the course.” And I got a lot of, “I’m not ready to start a podcast right now,” or “I don’t really need a podcast.” And I’m like, “Great.” My audience actually first needs to be convinced that they need a podcast. So how do I do that? My messaging has completely changed because now I’m telling them all of the benefits of podcasting and how they can easily get started. So I think that’s super important.
Harry: Yeah. Like you said, if we’re looking for quick hacks to make content, then exactly to your point, repurpose the YouTube content you’re already making, strip out the video and make an edit out of it. You can go deep into the blog post that you’ve already written and turn those into podcasts. That’s fine and those serve purpose, but that doesn’t really make a standout show. Like I mentioned before, you want to try and make the person who we’re trying to reach, we want to make their favorite show. And that’s not going to do that.
So I guess that’s why it’s hard to give a really specific and actionable piece of advice on how to make content. Because I think it really depends on those two pieces of information that we’ve just covered: why the podcast and who’s your listener? And I think once you know those, the rest just starts to make a bit more sense.
Joe: Yeah. Again, you should give that advice more credit because that is very actionable. Who is your audience? If you already have a mailing list, email them and say, “What are you struggling with?” Then maybe you can answer your audience’s question on the podcast. Ask them the problems that they’re trying to solve and then see if that works best. Figure out the audience you’re going to serve. So love that. Love that.
I do need to end with my last question, my favorite question. It’s this question I’ll say, it collides a little bit with the tips for listeners’ questions, but I still need to ask it because I’ve asked you on every single episode. Do you have any trade secrets for us?
Harry: Any trade secrets. Okay, my trade secret is Spotify. Spotify is a real opportunity. Spotify is, as many people will know, comes from the music background. They’re a music streaming service, and they’re getting into podcasting. They bought Joe Rogan’s podcast. There’s a lot of talk about them in the space and they’re doing a lot of things. They bought Anchor, which is the podcast hosting platform. They’re really pushing hard into this content.
If you spend some time going through this Spotify catalog, first of all, you might run into my podcast. I’m very happy to say they featured it here now and then. So we spend a lot of time digging into that platform what’s making it work. Actually, the way that they’re surfacing new content is really interesting as it compares to Apple. So I think that making content, thinking about what content people are listening to on Spotify one and trying to optimize for that, at least in the short term, I think is really, really interesting.
So my trade secret would be, go listen to a bunch of podcasts on Spotify, look at what’s being featured, look at what content they think is relevant to their unique audience. Because their audience skews a little bit younger than the traditional podcasting audience, and all kinds of other things. So yeah, spend some time on Spotify and think about how that might inform what podcast you’re making.
Joe: Wow, I am going to take that trade secret. This might be a first. This might be the first legit trade secret. Because Spotify only still accounts for 10% I think of podcasts. But right it’s been a very fast and furious 10% growth.
Harry: Incredibly fast and furious. And it ain’t stopping anytime soon. With Joe Rogan moving across, a lot of people are going to go over there. I think it’s a really, really exciting platform that personally I’m spending a lot of time thinking about.
Joe: Awesome. I’m absolutely going to dig into that more. So thank you for that. Harry, thank you so much for your time. Where can people find you?
Harry: I’m on Twitter at @podcastharry. You can find everything else you need to know about us at LowerStreet.co.
Joe: Awesome. I will link to that and everything we talked about in the show notes over at Howibuilt.it. Harry, thanks so much for joining me today. Thanks, Joe.
Harry: It’s been a pleasure.
Outro: Thanks so much to Harry for joining us this week. I really enjoy talking to Harry. We met at Podcast Movement a couple weeks a couple years ago, and we’ve remained in touch. And I really love the work he’s doing. His trade secret surprised me. Spotify being a real opportunity for podcasting. So, I had some homework after this episode. If you are interested in podcasting, now I think you do too. You can find links to Harry and his shows and everything he does and everything we talked about over at howibuilt.it/181.
Thanks so much to Yes Plz, TextExpander, and iThemes for sponsoring this episode. Their support helps me put together the show, so be sure to say thank you to them. If you liked this episode, be sure to give it a rating and review on Apple podcasts. Until next time, get out there and build something.