Using Your Podcast for Lead Generation with Sam Munoz
A drum I’ve been beating for a while is you don’t need sponsors to make money podcasting. In fact, it might not even be the best way to make money. What if you had a product so perfectly aligned with the audience of your podcast, that you could get your listeners to buy it? That’s exactly what Sam Munoz does, and her approach to free content is admirable. If you have ANY business where you’re creating content, you need to hear this conversation. Plus, in Build Something More, Sam and I exchange stories about the time we wrote code for robots.
- It’s OK to get paid for your thoughts. Whenever Sam thinks about free content, she tries to connect it back to her paid offerings. After all, if you’re doing something for your business, what you’re doing should be in the service of making your business succeed.
- You need to spend your time wisely. When you don’t have the margin to think about how your content, which is a lot of work, serves your business or your paid offerings. This hurts you, and your audience, who should benefit from your services.
- Sam’s podcast serves as the top of the funnel for her mentorship. The audiences align perfectly, and her consistent call to action provides enough repetition for people to turn into students. This works perfectly for her because everything aligns so well!
- Sam Munoz
- Sam on Twitter
- Mighty Networks
- How Making Helpful Content is the Right Way to Sell Products with James Laws
- The Intentional Bookshelf
- Join the Creator Crew
Joe Casabona: A drum I’ve been beating for a while is you don’t need sponsors to make money podcasting. In fact, it might not even be the best way to make money. What if you had a product so perfectly aligned with the audience of your podcast that you could get your listeners to buy it? That’s exactly what Sam Munoz does. Her approach to free content is admirable.
If you have any business where you’re creating content, you need to hear this conversation. Look for top takeaways about why it’s okay to get paid for your thoughts, how you need to spend your time wisely, and how your podcast can serve as the top of your marketing funnel.
Plus, in Build Something More, Sam and I exchanged stories about the time we wrote code for robots. We did this separately, different experiences, but we both did it. And it was very fun to talk about.
If you want to hear an ad-free extended version of that conversation and every conversation I have here on How I Built It, you can become a member of the Creator Crew by going to joincreatorcrew.com. It is just 50 bucks a year, that’s less than five bucks a month, and you get to hear ad-free extending conversations of every episode, you get bonus episodes about behind-the-scenes stuff I’m working on, access to my live stream archives, and a seat in every paid workshop for free. Those paid workshops usually go for 40 bucks. So you can pay 40 bucks for one workshop or 50 bucks for a year’s worth of workshops. Again, that’s over at joincreatorcrew.com.
It’s episode 276. So you can find all of the show notes, everything we talked about over at howibuilt.it/276. Thanks to this week’s sponsors, Nexcess and LearnDash. You’ll hear about them later on in the show. But for now, let’s get to the intro and then the interview.
Intro: Hey everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast that helps small business owners create engaging content that drives sales. Each week I talk about how you can build good content faster to increase revenue and establish yourself as an authority. I’m your host Joe Casabona. Now let’s get to it.
Joe Casabona: All right. Hey, everybody. I am here with WordPress developer and mentor, Sam Munoz. She is doing stuff over at makingwebsitemagic.com. I’m really excited to talk to Sam today because, first of all, we have very similar trajectories. We went from doing software outside of WordPress to doing software with WordPress to mostly podcasting and teaching people which is really cool. But I really like the mission and I think the methodology. So that’s too much of me talking already, though. So let’s bring Sam. Sam, how are you today?
Sam Munoz: I’m doing so well. I’m so excited to talk about this. I’m really jazzed about all things related to WordPress, women, web designers and developers, all of those fun things. I know we’re going to talk about all sorts of great things, but thank you, first of all. Thank you for having me on your show today.
Joe Casabona: Absolute pleasure. Thanks so much for coming on. We follow each other on Twitter, which I mostly try to avoid as much as possible. I shouldn’t say that. I love it some days and I hate it some days. But I noticed we follow each other on Twitter, but we got connected through Matt Medeiros’ Discord, Membership Discord, right?
Sam Munoz: Yeah, absolutely. It’s fun over there. And you know what? Okay, I’ll say this about Twitter. I was not on Twitter as of like last year. I was on Instagram. That’s how I was talking to potential clients, potential mentees for Making Website Magic and you know, that community.
And then I don’t know what happened I like randomly decided to go on Twitter. I think I was gonna create a little Instagram image from Twitter. So I had Twitter for that purpose. But oh my gosh, there are so many web designers and developers and tech people there. I had no idea. So ever since I uncovered that, I’m like, Twitter is actually a really, really great space for making connections and getting to know people.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s exactly right. It’s why I still hanging around there. I’ve made a lot of connections. I’m like trying to move more into the podcasting space. So I’ve been making a lot of really good connections there. But I’ve been on Twitter since April Fool’s Day 2007 was my first day on Twitter.
So I remember when it was just like… this is like old crotchety Joe I guess now. Like, it would just be like me and a bunch of people live tweeting Yankee games for a while. And that was so fun. But maybe it’s just the people I follow. I follow some politiky stuff. Like the political wonks on there like go bananas. And then I like can’t help but look at trending topics and any of the terrible takes from anybody about anything.
I think that’s really what bothers me is that there are people who don’t know anything about a topic who were speaking with the confidence I wish I had about anything in my life.
Sam Munoz: I know. And then they make the threads. Yeah, it’s like a whole thing. But if you can keep it really tight around the people that you want to follow and make connections with, it actually can be pretty powerful for relationship building, I think.
I tend to go into the DM realm of social media platforms, you know, even kind of making a connection with our podcasts, you know, I always tell people to DMS because that’s where we can like talk about the podcast. I think that that’s really fun.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. Are you using the communities at all? Like, I know that there’s like communities on Twitter now that’s like kind of like Facebook groups?
Sam Munoz: I don’t because we have our own free community for our people who listen to the podcast to go connect in through Mighty Networks. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that platform. But I use that for all aspects of Making Website Magic.
Joe Casabona: Oh, yeah, I have. My friend and former guest, Erin Flynn, was thinking about getting on Mighty Networks. So I’ll have a link to that. That’s awesome. I’ll have a link to that in the show notes. Everything we talked about will be over at howibuilt.it/276.
So hopefully at this point, people know, right, I did a good job with the bumpers. I’m like doing some time traveling now because I record that afterwards. But people will know that we’re talking podcasting. So your website, makingwebsitemagic.com, is a podcast community and mentorship to help get more women in the freelance WordPress space, freelance web design space.
Sam Munoz: Oh, both.
Joe Casabona: Is it specifically WordPress?
Sam Munoz: Both.
Joe Casabona: Okay, cool.
Sam Munoz: No, it’s actually not. It’s anything. The platform is irrelevant. It’s truly about getting women web designers and developers in to, you know… It’s not getting them into this space. It’s staying in the space by learning better business skills, learning to sell better, market themselves better, find connections, raise their prices so that they actually can sustain staying in the web design and development space. Lots of business stuff. Maybe, you know, some mindset and some strategies. But that’s what the podcast is about. And yeah, that’s what the program that connects to the podcast is about. And I have an awesome co-host, her name is Karyn. She’s also a business partner with Making Website Magic.
Joe Casabona: Nice.
Sam Munoz: And I think that that’s just the fun of the podcast is we can bounce off each other. And we have very different skill sets. I’m much more from the strategy perspective, having run a freelance web design and development business for quite a while. And then she comes in with a lot of the mindset techniques and strategies and ideas. So it’s a cool synergy that we have on the podcast together.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s great. I sometimes wish I had a co-host for this, for like my solo episodes. I usually am doing interviews so like that’s fine. But the solo episodes I do, like the members-only episodes I have, it’s just like kind of me talking like stream of consciousness for 20 minutes. And I’m like, “I kind of wish I had a co-host that I could, like you said, bounce ideas off of or riff off of.” But like finding the right co-host is important. What was that like? Did you know that Karyn was going to be your co-host from the beginning? Did you kind of come up with this idea together? Did one of you approach the other?
Sam Munoz: Very interesting kind of story. And I will say yes, having a co-host I know for me anyway, I’m way funnier when I have someone else to bounce ideas off. I’m just kidding. I mean, actually that’s probably true. But Karyn was working with me at Sam Munoz Consulting, which is my freelance web design and development business. She started as contractor then she came onto the team full time.
And then we’ve transitioned over into actually just having a partnership with Making Website Magic. So she’s got it on a totally, you know, interesting trajectory herself. But when we were coming up with this idea, we were like, “We want to add something else to the business. What else do we want to do? How do we want to give back to the community? How do we want to kind of use all of this knowledge and do something different aside from just implementing websites?”
And then we came up with the… I can’t remember which idea came first, whether it was to do the podcast or to do a program, but it kind of happened all at the same time. And it was very much like, “Would you be interested in co-hosting this podcast? Cool. Would you be interested in, you know, co-mentoring this program with me? Cool.” And then again, yeah, now we’ve morphed that into its own business on its own, that we are both partners in.
Whenever I think about some sort of free content, I’m always thinking about what does it connect to, you know, in terms of me actually getting paid, unless it’s just purely for fun and for, you know, from a passion perspective. But if I do have a program or something, those things need to connect. Otherwise, why am I spending my time doing it?
Joe Casabona: Gosh, that is like… Y’all we’re like eight minutes into this and I feel like that’s like the perfect pull-quote for like my mission in life lately. Because I started using WordPress in 2004. I mean, we had a fantastic pre-show with Sam’s backstory that we’ll talk about more in Build Something More. But you started using WordPress in 2018.
I’m curious to get your perspective because I feel like longtime community members or just people who have been in the WordPress trenches for a long time feel like most things should be free or are afraid to charge what they’re worth because of the mindset.
So when you say, “Whenever I think of free content, I try to connect it to me getting paid,” there’s like a whole faction of people who are like, “No content should have any affiliate links,” or “what are you trying to sell me?” And I’m like, making good content takes time. Right?
Sam Munoz: Mm-hmm.
Joe Casabona: And you should think about how that’s going to tie back to your business.
Sam Munoz: Absolutely. I think that that’s like the core of it is that we’re running businesses.
Joe Casabona: Like, it’s okay to make money.
Sam Munoz: Yeah, 100%. It’s okay to make money, it’s okay to be, you know, paid for your thoughts, and for your contributions. And, you know, there is this other side too where it’s just like not everything has to make money, in the sense that if it’s not within your business… Like let’s say I love gardening. I mean, I’m horrible at gardening, so this is an awful example. But let’s just pretend. Pretend I love gardening, and I want to make a blog about that, that’s great. That doesn’t have to connect to a money-making opportunity.
But when it’s within the context of my business, yes, it’s okay for the content that I’m creating to connect to that, to you know, lead to a product that you offer, to lead to your services, to lead to a program, to have affiliate links, very much so, you know, growing your email list, whatever it is. It’s okay for your content to connect to a money-making opportunity when it’s within the confines of your business because you’re spending your time there.
I do see that as a connection. You know, content can be super powerful, especially depending on what it is at the end of the quote-unquote, “funnel.” You know, I think content works really well for certain industries. It works differently for other industries. So it’s just being mindful of what it is that you’re doing, and how your content that is free connects to the paid portion.
Joe Casabona: You know, you kind of alluded to, I assume this is the case, right? You think about that from the beginning, right? Because you’re providing a lot of value. Having a plan in place is important, not so that you could start selling right off the bat, but so that you understand your readers’ or your listeners’ journey, right? “I’m gonna provide this free content. This is the type of person they are. So they will be a good fit for this offering, or this product or this mailing list.”
Sam Munoz: Yeah, absolutely. Again, it is really kind of a mindset shift, because we can absolutely give things away for free. And I think that there can be real value in like giving a tip and you know, having nothing behind that necessarily. But when you’re crafting a great blog post or you’re creating a podcast episode, it is okay for it to connect to something else.
I mean, never once have I ever thought to myself, Mm, I shouldn’t like plug my program in the middle of my podcasts. It’s like that’s what they’re there for. This is how I see it is when you’re really clear about the free content and what it connects to at the end, it’s an obvious next step for someone who is consuming that piece of content. And you’re kind of doing them a favor by saying, “You have this problem that you obviously have. You want to go deeper, tthis is the solution for you.” And again, if you think about it like that, then it’s just being in service of the consumer.
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Joe Casabona: I like what you said kind of about, you know, if you’re really into a hobby and you want to create content. I’ve heard a podcaster Myke Hurley… podcaster Myke Hurley feels like it doesn’t do what he does justice. He runs Relay FM with a co-host… or with a co-founder. But he talks about how he doesn’t have a watch podcast even though he’s really into watches. He doesn’t have like a Lego podcast because he doesn’t want those hobbies to become when he calls jobbies.
Sam Munoz: Oh, yeah.
Joe Casabona: And I think about that a lot. You know, I think like, “Should I start like a cigar YouTube channel?” And then I’m like, “I just want to relax when I smoke a cigar. I don’t want to have to think about how does this tie to some kind of content or whatever.” I don’t always want to think about that part.
Sam Munoz: That’s really is true. I had a blog about children’s books before I started WordPress, web design and development. So I was in the WordPress space before that, but I started it for fun and then I kind of was like, “Maybe I can make this into a thing, you know, that makes money.” And so it changed the way that I was approaching creating content.
I had blog posts and different articles, and sometimes… I think I had like a mini-podcast thing that I kind of created just for fun with Anchor. You know, you could kind of record it on your phone, just pop it up there. It was another way to like read my blog posts, essentially. But one of the main reasons that I ended up shutting that down was because I felt like it was taking away from me just like reading books to my daughter, because then I was like constantly thinking about, Okay, how could I formulate this into a blog post and all that?”
So it is okay for hobbies to stay hobbies. But I think when we do say, “You know, we’re going to create this content for our business,” having a plan around it I think makes a lot of sense and can be super beneficial for creating trust and establishing your expertise with your potential clients or customers.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, I love that. I’m gonna ask one side question before we move on, right? Because if I tried to do that, it would basically… My daughter likes to read the same book for like a month straight, basically. And it’s always like a Christmas book. I’m like, “It’s May. Why are we reading a Christmas book?” And she’s like, “I want to read this one.” And I’m like, “Well, I don’t want to discourage you.”
So when you read to your daughter, I don’t know how old your daughter is, I don’t if you still read to her, how do you get her or how did you get her to pick new books? Were you just like, “This is the one we’re reading because I want to write a blog post about it”? Or would you let her like pick and then be like, “All right, this is like a good blog post book.”
Sam Munoz: This is kind of a tangent but that’s okay. She was like two or three when I started that. So she didn’t really have a choice, right? I was picking up books for her. I was creating her bookshelf. And then I wrote a book about books. It’s called the Intentional Bookshelf.
Joe Casabona: Oh, nice.
Sam Munoz: And it’s this concept of like curating your kid’s library and all this stuff. Yeah, I’ve been creating content just like as avenues of business things for a long time. It’s just very fun anyway. But yeah, so she didn’t really have a choice. So we were reading all sorts of books.
But now we’re totally in that. She’s almost seven and she wants to read the same—it’s like Elephant and Piggie—or something every day. I’m like, “We can choose a different one.” I’m tempted to hide it but I’m like, “You know what? We want to encourage the reading.”
Joe Casabona: Yeah. Yeah, totally. My daughter is five and she’s been on a big… We have like those five minute stories, Five-minute Christmas Stories or whatever. So she likes those. And my son who is almost two has been really into Pete the Kitty. I’m like, “Don’t you want to read this one?” And he’s like, “Mm-hmm, nope.” And he always like points very emphatically to Pete the Kitty. So I’m gonna check out the Intentional Bookshelf. Is it still available?
Sam Munoz: Yeah, it’s on Amazon. Again, it was kind of I created that book because I had a membership for parents to log their children’s books. So it’s always thinking about how those content pieces can connect to other stuff.
Joe Casabona: That’s so cool.
Sam Munoz: I didn’t think it’s funny. It’s a through line, I guess.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, it totally is. Like you said, it’s a mindset, right? I think that, especially if you’re coming from the services area, you think like, Okay, what’s the service I could offer? But I’ve moved almost fully into the content space because in my opinion it can be more scalable if you have the right process in place, right?
I have three kids now. I really don’t want to trade time for dollars. I want to scale as much as possible. But I think it really is a mindset. So you’ve kind of run the gamut. You’ve published a book. You had a membership based on content. Now you have this mentorship. I think this is a really good pivot at the right time with cohort-based courses being like a really popular thing.
But when you put together your podcast, which again, it’s called Making Website Magic, right? So find it in whatever podcast player you’re listening to right now. It’ll be in the show notes. When you put this together, how did you determine the format, especially the call to action? I think that’s a hard thing for a lot of podcasters, right? Because I think you probably know a lot of podcasts end with like “rate us and review us on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.”
Sam Munoz: Oh, yeah. We mention the rating and reviews. That’s great and all. But yes, the call to action has always been one of two things. Either go do this free thing, which I’ll talk about that in a second, or join the mentorship or, you know, book a discovery call or enroll, however we’re doing it at the time.
But the free thing is kind of the Evergreen like if we’re not enrolling for the program… we’re doing a little bit of a pivot with the program anyway and kind of testing out some evergreen model. But when it comes to building the community portion of it, it was like, “Go… Let me pause. Now that free component is our community.
So it’s just as simple “go deeper with us about the podcast inside of the community, go meet other people who are listening to the podcast inside of the community.” And then similarly with the mentorship is like, “Did you like what we talked about on the podcast? Great. We go deeper in the mentorship. And if you need support around that, this is what you go do.”
And I feel like, you know, there is value in ratings and reviews, right? Because then it’s good for social proof and all that stuff. However, if you’ve got someone on your podcast, and they’re listening, and they’re listening all the way until the end, like I’m thinking, what would I rather them do? Do I want their rating and review? Or do I want them again to kind of like pay me money? That’s okay. It’s okay.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. Especially because podcasts cost money, right? With a blog, you can get a free blog on wordpress.com that’ll cost you literally nothing. But at the very least, with a podcast, you need to maybe buy a microphone, right?
I don’t know if you’re still using Anchor, but I genuinely recommend that, yeah, if you’re going to have a podcast where you’re going to build on your business, you need to pay some money for a podcast host. So there’s like tangible expenses associated with a podcast. And thinking about how you’re going to recoup those, not even thinking about the time, thinking about how you’re gonna recoup those is really important because it helps the longevity of your podcast too.
Sam Munoz: Absolutely. And I will say we actually hired a podcast management company because I was like, “I only want to show up and record and then hand it off.” I was very aware. The way that I run and operate things in my business is very much like, “Is this something that I’m going to be able to offer as a skill and a service to someone else?” If the answer is no, that’s okay.
But I would rather pay someone else to do it so that I don’t have to learn. Because it’s not something that I can sell later. So it’s not really worth me learning how to do. That doesn’t apply to everything. But for something like launching the podcast and managing the podcast, I don’t want to edit podcasts for other people. And so it’s kind of a waste of my time to do it. Just again, in terms of like this is how I run my business.
So we hired a company. They do the editing for us, and the show notes, and all the things that I didn’t want to do, generate the transcript. And then we actually put it up on our website and we share about it. We do all of the sharing components, but we show up and we record, and then we hand it off. And I think that just in terms of the way that podcast fits into the business, that made a lot of sense for us. Does that make sense, Joe?
Joe Casabona: 100%. Especially in your business, you got to spend your time wisely. I mean, I have a blog post called Why Mowing the Lawn is Costing Your Business Money or something like that. I hate mowing my lawn. I don’t have a good lawn mower, I have a small lawn, so I can’t get like a ride on mower or whatever. And I always waited too long because the grass grows so fast here in the Northeast of the United States. And if I wasn’t mowing my lawn every week, it would get too long and my crappy lawn mower would like… it would always be a two or three hour ordeal between like my lawnmower breaking and me having to mow the lawn.
So we hired a service that we pay $30 a week, and it takes them 10 minutes. And my friends are like, “Aren’t you mad that you’re paying 30 bucks for 10 minutes?” I’m like, “I’m not paying 30 bucks for 10 minutes. I’m paying 30 bucks to never have to think about mowing my lawn. Now I can spend that time on my business, or if it’s a weekend, or with my kids.” But if my wife’s working on weekend, then I have to take time on a Wednesday afternoon. And that is now $150 per hour and billable hours that I’m using on mowing my lawn. That was like a real triggering event for me.
I fully support paying to spend your time wisely. I didn’t hire a podcast production agency. I tried doing that for a while and I realized that as a single independent person, that doesn’t really scale well for me, especially because most of the people who hired me also wanted me to be the host. And I’m like, “I can’t do all of that.”
But for my process, it’s very similar. We record in Riverside, I put everything in Dropbox, and then my editor gets an email, my transcriber gets an email, my VA gets an email. And I never touched the episode again.
Sam Munoz: I love it. It’s so nice.
Joe Casabona: My editor edits, my VA puts the show notes together. I check the show notes because my show notes are pretty bad notes. Like I just have the Intentional Bookshelf and then in parentheses “link” so she knows to look for the word “link.” But that’s so vague that I’ll go and I’ll find like the Amazon affiliate link for that book.
Sam Munoz: Yes!
Joe Casabona: So absolutely. I’m gonna buy it too because I have two other kids and I want…
Sam Munoz: It’s been a while since I wrote it. Hopefully it’s still… I mean, I like cringe when I see it on my bookshelf a little bit, because I’m just like, “Oh, man, I would…” You know, and also I wrote it when she was like three, and so I’ve got new parenting thoughts and things. But the concept is really good.
But to your point about like hiring, it’s like staying in your zone of genius kind of thing so that you can focus on creating amazing content. Because if I was spending all of my time editing and all of those things that I’m not necessarily good or skilled at, that might take away from my ability to research ideas and create great outlines.
Karyn does something similar that you do as well. She kind of goes through the show notes before we actually upload it, make sure that it’s in our voice, and it’s reflective of what we want to say. And so yeah, I think that there is a lot of value in spending your time wisely and in the spaces that are most serving of your community.
Again, if you want to think about it, that it’s like… If you have more time to… if you’re using a tool like Riverside or whatever that kind of pulls things together too… I don’t know. I like using time wisely and in areas that are better serving your business or your community. Whichever way you want to think about it.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, yeah, right. Bill Gates said, “you could always make more money. Time is the only thing that you can’t get back.”
Sam Munoz: It’s a finite resource.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, exactly. And it always will be. So the more time that you can save yourself by spending it wisely is going to be better for you and your potential customers. I think I had Alban Brookes… Alban Brooke. I always add the s to his last name. I’m really sorry, Alban. He’s the head of marketing at Buzzsprout.
Sam Munoz: Oh, that’s what we use.
Joe Casabona: Oh, nice. Well, shout out to Buzzsprout. So Alban… I’ll link his episode too. It was really good. But, you know, I brought up that people say that there are too many podcasts when that’s like patently not true. And he said, “I think when people say that they mean it’s like too many guys just talking to their friends on a podcast.” And I was like, “Gosh, that resonates so well.” Right?
Because if you’re doing it well, you’re researching and putting together outlines for what you and Karyn are going to talk about, I do research on all of my guests, and then we have a pre-show where I get some bits so that… Again, we don’t have to do the whole like “tell us about yourself.” I already know about yourself now and I can weave that into the conversation. That makes for a better show. Or my WordPress show which I fully Script. That’s one of the few things I fully script. But stuff like that where you just put a little extra effort in can be the difference maker.
Sam Munoz: Absolutely.
Joe Casabona: If you’re too busy like editing out all of the ums, which you shouldn’t do anyway, then-
Sam Munoz: We’re all humans.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, exactly right. It really sounds strange when all of the ums get edited out. It sounds like an AI-generated version of your voice.
Sam Munoz: Totally. To your point about the outlines and like creating good content, the way Karyn and I structure episodes is always with “why are we talking about this?” That’s where we start for every single episode. Because I think having that… This is how I deliver content in general. You know, if I’m giving a presentation or teaching a class or something, it’s like, “What is the primary focus of this?” So that you walk away knowing at least that one thing.
So the why are we talking about this is like, “What’s the context? What’s the purpose of this? And then okay, let’s like get into actual conversation.” But I think it’s helpful too when someone goes and listens to the episode and they’re like, “This isn’t something that I actually really need to know about. I’ll listen to a different one.”
Joe Casabona: Yeah, for sure. Right? I saw somebody today, say, you know, you only have like a short amount of time to catch somebody’s attention with a YouTube video, but it’s not the same with podcasts. I disagree wholeheartedly with that. You have about 60 seconds to get somebody’s attention, I think, with a podcast.
Sam Munoz: I mean, I totally agree. We do those little like teaser things in the beginning of our episodes. Maybe it’s a quote or whatever.
Joe Casabona: Cold open or whatever.
Sam Munoz: Yeah. And I think those are great because yes, 100%, if I go listen to especially a new podcast that I either haven’t listened to a bunch of episodes of or I’m just listening to just one random one, I need my attention to be captured in the beginning.
And if they’re just kind of like… It’s not a big deal if people like go back and forth. That doesn’t bother me so much. But I do want to know, like, when are we going to get into the topic? Because, again, my time is limited too just to listen. And there’s a lot of things to listen to, you know, that are interesting and compelling and all of that. But yeah.
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Sam Munoz: Quality content is important. I mean, it’s key. It’s not just the quantity of how many episodes and things but like really creating quality content.
Joe Casabona: Yes. So I love this…. why are we talking about this? What’s the one thing they’ll take away? Right? That’s a very… I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But I feel like it’s a very educator-centric way of doing things, right?
Sam Munoz: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: “If my students are going to take away one thing from today’s lesson, what is it going to be?” So this ties again, directly into your mentorship. So how do you come up with content? Is it like questions that you’re getting from other people? Is it things that you struggled with?
I mean, 2018 feels like a million years ago because there was a pandemic in the middle of it. But it’s four years, and I think it was two years since you started the membership. So like starting as a WordPress Freelancer was pretty fresh to you. Did you draw on your own experiences there at first or what was that like?
Sam Munoz: The podcast has only been going on for a year.
Joe Casabona: Okay, I bet.
Sam Munoz: But yeah, for sure. A lot of it was coming from own experiences, questions that we were being asked even, again, before we even started the mentorship. Just like conversations that we were having with other people.
Honestly, conversation that Karyn and I were having behind the scenes. Just kind of like, “Hey, what do you think about this concept around charging more? What do you think about this concept of like, Why are people trying to make email lists when they’re trying to sell their web design services? Things like that. And those like the first core episodes were kind of just like things that we were observing.
And then once the mentorship really kicked off and we were listening to people in the mentorship as we’re going through classes, and just like, “Oh, man, this is something that they’re struggling with, let’s make a podcast episode about that.” Or, you know, just really listening and observing what was coming up for people in the community.
I think another thing that we do on the podcast that you could also apply to basically any piece of content is we do mirror the mentorship and the podcast as much as possible in terms of the categories. So we have four pillars of our mentorship. You know, business foundations, simplified sales, magical client experience, and then expanding your universe is what we call those. And we try to make sure that every podcast episode fits within one of those four buckets so that we can draw on it in the mentorship.
And I’m gonna say one other thing about this and how it’s all weaved together. So inside of the mentorship, we’ll have an implementation section for each of our classes, and we have like strategies and prompts and things, and then we have a resources section. And those are episodes of the podcast.
So we kind of like pull them back and forth. Again, it’s like, “Go deeper in the mentor.” But also, we’re still like talking about these things on the podcast, so you can still get value. I kind of went back and forth like, How does that make me feel that we’re directing people who are paying us money back to our free content? And I’m okay with it, because it’s still valuable.
Joe Casabona: So this actually hits, I think, a really important question that people who are creating educational material have. Which is, what do I charge for and what do I give away for free? And I’ve heard lots of opinions on this—give away the what for free and the how is what you charge for. Derral Eves who is a YouTube consultant says, give away everything on like a six-month delay. That was a really interesting one, I thought.
Sam Munoz: Yeah, it’s interesting.
Joe Casabona: It sounds like with you it’s more about the kind of guided approach, right? You’re talking about things on your podcast, people are listening going, “Man, I really wish I had like a guiding hand to go through implementing this.”
Sam Munoz: Yes, that’s exactly it. It’s like the podcast gets people thinking, but it’s shifting the way they see something. And then the mentorship is the way that they learn how to take action on that, if you will. But you know, this can be said, again, for all types of content.
There’s a lot of free information out there, right? Someone could create their own roadmap through Google of free information and learn a lot of stuff. Most people do not have the time, energy, or desire to create their own custom course for themselves, if you will, and so they pay for access to that roadmap.
That’s also how I see the podcast who is, you know what? I can give a little bit of extra juice. Okay. And someone walks away… and a woman listens to that and she goes and raises her prices, which has happened, you know. Like someone will message me about the podcast and be like, “I implemented this strategy that you talked about, and I raise my prices and they said yes.” Okay, so she didn’t pay me money, but you know what? I still had the impact that I wanted. Right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Sam Munoz: So that’s the other level to the content is it doesn’t always have to be so formulaic, and like the what and the how. It’s okay to like give a little extra every now and then. There’s nothing wrong with that. And you shouldn’t feel limited to not giving away like the whole thing.
Joe Casabona: That’s such a great point, right? Because when I was doing these live workshops, people would basically say, like, “Why would I pay you when I could just get it for free on YouTube?” And I’m like, “Well, you have to find it on YouTube, and then you have to order it in the right way.” So you kind of already need to know what you’re looking for. And like YouTube is great for like that just in time learning, right?
But if you want, like you said, the roadmap, that is absolutely worth paying for. That’s gonna save you a couple of hours by itself, right? Because you don’t have to curate content and then order it in like a pedagogical way or whatever. Right?
Sam Munoz: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: That’s what educators say.
Sam Munoz: And then, I mean, with regards to our mentorship and the way that we structure our program too, it’s very much the feedback, the accountability, the other people in the community going through the same thing. Again, that does ties to the way that we operate the podcast, because the podcast is a one-to-many approach in terms of expanding our visibility for the brand. And so when you join the mentorship, it’s still kind of that same ideas. We’re all working together towards this collective outcome.
But the difference between that and the podcast is very removed from Karyn and I. We’re talking over here and you’re listening in, whereas the mentorship and the programs are we’re talking over here and we get to talk to you at the same time, too. Which happens in our free community as well, which is the draw to joining it.
It’s like instead of just listening to those conversations on your own, and having all of these thoughts, why don’t you go into the community, talk to other people about it and go a little bit deeper there. But if you want to go super deep, that’s when you join the program.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, I love that. You know, I’ve always gone back and forth on should my community be free? Should it be paid only? I’ve had a really hard time building the community aspect, in part because my call to action is usually like, “join my mailing list.” But I really like your approach for your call to action. I do this free thing, where the free thing is “join the community.” Because that gets people more engaged. Right? And I think that’s another thing that it seems you’re doing really well that a lot of podcasters struggle with, which is getting that engagement.
You know, I’ve had this podcast for nearly seven years now and I still feel like I struggle with engagement and getting people to write directly into the show, right? Obviously, I get a lot of questions and feedback like on Twitter or wherever else. But as far as like, “I listened to this specific episode and I have feedback,” I would love more of that.” And I think it’s a combination of asking for it, first of all. People aren’t going to do what you don’t ask them to do. And then giving them a place to do it that’s not just like, “Email me or do it on Twitter.” Right?
Sam Munoz: Totally. You know, I think this is a really interesting thing that you’re making me think of too, is just that, like, there are so many different ways to make money with a podcast or with content in general. But I think it can be really helpful to think about how you want to do it. Because maybe your community is a part of the money generating, you know, opportunity for the podcast. Maybe it is something like a program, so it doesn’t make sense to charge for the community. Maybe it’s with advertising and sponsorships.
You know, there’s just so many different ways to do it. And it’s really like, what is going to connect to the rest of your business model too? And maybe your business is the podcast, in which case, there probably isn’t a back end program for you to send people to so sponsors make sense, because that’s a roadmap for monetizing a podcast. Does that make sense? Like there’s just so many different ways to do it.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. I think that I have certainly fallen into the trap of trying to do too many of them. This podcast started off as… I was gonna do it as a way to get people to my online courses. And then I got a sponsorship offer like pretty early on and I was like, “All right, well, let’s just kind of make money with sponsorship then.” And then I was like, “But why aren’t I promoting my stuff with it?” You know, I just wrapped up a personal retreat, and it was amazing.
Sam Munoz: Awesome.
Joe Casabona: And I have a good direction for everything. But I also have this podcast that I started and then stopped called Make Money Podcasting. And it’s because I really wanted to focus on the non-sponsorship aspect of it, which is why we’re talking. You’re not making money from your podcast with sponsors, you’re doing it with a mentorship.
But the main question I was getting was around sponsorships. So I figured out a direction for that, and for my membership. And now that podcast is going to feed into the membership and coaching aspect of it. Spending a little bit of time to thinking about your approach can really pay dividends. And to bring it back to something we were talking about earlier, if you’re paying to stay within your genius zone, then you have that margin to think about that stuff.
Sam Munoz: Oh, my gosh, absolutely. And actually consider like, “Mm, how do I want this to connect to all the other facets of my business?” Yeah, that’s such a good point.
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Joe Casabona: We don’t have to talk numbers. Did you find like an increase in mentorship come along with an increase in downloads? Or were the downloads kind of like a secondary thing? Because I think a lot of podcasters focus on number of downloads, especially if you’re after sponsors, because they want to know. But if you’re talking to a niche, right… I always like to talk about addressable audience, right? 80% of your addressable audience is better than 11 million downloads who don’t really care about what you’re selling.
Sam Munoz: 100%. In fact, I mean, I look at the numbers just because it’s kind of fun to watch it increase, but I know a few things. (a) I know that we have a very, very specific target audience. Anyone’s welcome to listen to the podcast, anyone can benefit from the podcast, but we’re centering women, web designers and developers in our conversations. So that in and of itself is a smaller audience than say web designers and developers in general. So right off the bat I already know that the audience is a little bit smaller.
I also know that in terms of, again, knowing the business model, how many women do I need in the program to make the kind of money that I’m looking for? Okay, we need like 20 people a year. I don’t really care if we have a 10 million listeners. I just need 200 people, you know whatever it is, 200 people to listen to my podcast, fall in love with it, and then take the action that is, you know, connecting them to the mentorship.
And so really getting clear on, again, like, what is the goal of your podcast. If the goal is to lead them to a program, you can reverse engineer to figure out the actual metrics that matter. I lost the thread of the question that you were asking but-
Joe Casabona: Oh, you answered it. You answered it perfectly, which was basically like, do the downloads matter to you?
Sam Munoz: Oh, yeah.
Joe Casabona: Which I love you know how many people need to register for the mentorship, right? Yeah, that minimum amount of downloads to get 20 people to take action or whatever.
Sam Munoz: Oh, and you were asking if there was like a connection between the mentorship and the downloads.
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Sam Munoz: So what’s really interesting is that, yes, they started at the same time but the first cycle of our program, we had just launched the podcast. And so the people that were joining were kind of listening with the first episodes, right? So they didn’t join the mentorship because they listened to the podcast.
However, with the second, third cycle of our mentorship, every single person that we talked to, was like, “I listened to every episode of the podcast…” We had someone like listen to the entire podcast—there was like 40 episodes or so at that time—all of them over a weekend and then she joined our mentorship on Monday.
Joe Casabona: Wow.
Sam Munoz: And she was like, “I listened to the podcast and I knew that you were the kind of people that I needed to work with.” And so there is such a connection with the people that are joining the program now. And what’s so great is they are kind of leaps and bounds beyond… They already know our methodology. And so we’re able to go so much further and deeper with them in our program because we’re using the same language.
They’re using things like pre-client journey, magical client experience—the phrases that we use in the podcast—when they join the program. So they already buy into the idea. It’s just like, “Give me the strategies and mindset.” So powerful.
Joe Casabona: Oh, that’s awesome. It’s like your podcast almost serves like a prereq for the mentorship, right?
Sam Munoz: Kind of. Yeah.
Joe Casabona: That’s super cool. And I mean, further proof that something I’ve been saying for a long time, right? Podcast is a great way to get people to know, like, and trust you.
Sam Munoz: 100%.
Joe Casabona: So much so that for this one individual, your sales cycle was like two days, and it was your weekend.
Sam Munoz: Yeah. Yes. And seriously, there is something powerful when people are like, “I listened to all of these episodes,” and now the choice is obvious. And especially with that consistent call to action too of like, “Join the mentorship. If this resonated with you, join the mentorship.”
If you have some sort of program to direct people to a course or whatever, keeping those episodes kind of curated around that and then driving them home to that as their solution. You’re kind of like opening up a problem in the podcast episode, right? You’re like giving them ideas. And then you’re kind of like, in a small way, opening this tiny problem and then saying, “If you want a solution for that,” or “If you want to go deeper, here’s where you can go.”
Joe Casabona: Oh, I love that. We’ve been talking for almost an hour. This has been so fun. As a reminder, in Build Something More, we are going to talk about coding robots. I don’t know if I said it exactly like that earlier. But that sounds really interesting. And if it does to you, too, you can join the Creator Crew over at howibuilt.it/276. There’ll be a link there to sign up. It’s 50 bucks a year. That’s less than five bucks a month.
People have been listened to the last few episodes now that I recently paid like seven bucks for a coffee. So that was one coffee that I finished in a very short amount of time. And you’re paying less way less than that per month for great content. So join the Creator Crew. It’s a lot of fun. And you’ll get access to my community.
Let’s talk about if the podcast is the top of the funnel, right? Because this is the interesting part to me. I turn out a ton of content. It’s all very top of funnel, but I don’t feel like there’s a middle of the funnel. There’s just like a gaping hole and then the bottom, which is my offer. What does the middle part of your funnel look like? I’m on your website. I don’t know if it’s a closed enrollment or open enrollment all year round. What does that look like?
Sam Munoz: So the mentorship would be the bottom of our funnel. Like I said before, we’re kind of changing it. So now it’s going to be evergreen, which I think actually works so much better with a podcast model because then someone could listen to it. They don’t have to get onto a discovery call, get enrolled, wait for the program to reopen. They can join at any time. So I’m really, really looking forward to that. So that’s the bottom.
But the middle layer for ours is the free community. And the way that I’m playing around of positioning, that is, you can join the free community to go deeper into the podcast, right? We can have those deeper conversations. We do it all in Mighty Networks. And our program is in Mighty Networks too. So it’s like, “You’re already used to the platform, just come on over. Come on over this other version.”
Joe Casabona: Awesome.
Sam Munoz: But anyway, you can go into the community, have those deeper conversations. We’re posting every episode inside of the community. And then we’re also doing private podcast episodes in there, too. So that’s like an extra incentive, is like you get to hang out with all the people that listen. We throw a private podcast episode in there every now and then. It’s just a place to kind of pull everybody together, if that makes sense.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, yeah, that’s perfect. What are you using for the private podcast? Is that something that Buzzsprout offers or is it something Mighty Networks does?
Sam Munoz: So for now we’re kind of… It’s not like the most elegant solution in my opinion. It is just like an audio file inside of Mighty networks.
Joe Casabona: Oh, nice.
Sam Munoz: However, there is a tool that I know some of my clients who have private membership sites. They have like private podcasts. There’s one called… I think it’s called Hello Audio or something. And you can create private podcast feeds. I’m looking into different solutions. If you have any ideas, I’m down to hear them. But-
Joe Casabona: I mean, this feels relevant to what we’re talking about. My audio host Castos offers private podcasts. But then, I mean, if you don’t want to switch audio hosts, I totally understand. So there’s Memberful is a third party membership option that offers private podcasts. Patreon does as well nowadays. I want to say WishList Member, which is like one of the oldest WordPress plugins. They offer private RSS feeds.
Sam Munoz: That’s how I’ve done it in the past for people is through something called like PowerPress or something. I think that it’s really cool to offer a private podcast as like another layer deeper to get almost like more direct access to your people too.
Maybe share those like random off-the-cuff episodes, maybe they’re shorter, maybe they’re just like, you know, spur of the moment stream of consciousness and maybe a little less outlined. I think that it can be a really cool way to pull people in. And you know, you can do that through so many ways. Through a free community or like through an email list and then just send the audios out. There’s a lot of ways to do it.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, totally. You can always do like an unlisted YouTube video or a private Vimeo. There’s a lot of ways to do it. My members this week, as we record this, got a stream of consciousness behind the scenes episode of how I structured my personal retreat and the conclusions I came to.
Sam Munoz: That’s really cool.
Joe Casabona: So, I mean, they get the roadmapy stuff that I don’t really like to make public, because like, you know, content creation is experimentation. And you don’t want to announce some big thing, and then decide the experiments not going well, and then be like, “Oh, I’m closing the doors.” That’s just a bad look, I think. I try not to announce too many things until I know it’s like a sure thing that I’m going to keep doing.
Sam Munoz: And that’s such a cool way to kind of pull your audio… or like get a temperature check on your audience too. With like a really hot community, those are the people that already said yes to being on your email list or in the community in general. So it’s a good place to pull versus like the larger audience who maybe there’s just like half interested.
Joe Casabona: Right. Yeah. The people who don’t see all your… I try to use Twitter heavily for that. And then I’m like, “But Twitter is not the best place to really do that. I don’t think.” But yeah, the community… I mean, general social media, if you have a big following, I don’t think is the best place. You need people who have bought into what you’re doing already more than just like following you or whatever.
Sam Munoz: Can I ask one more question about the private podcasting?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, for sure.
Sam Munoz: Okay. Just because it’s kind of connects to what we were talking about before with regards to like stats and things, the one consideration that I’ve had about this like just uploading audios to Mighty Networks is that it doesn’t increase the downloads of the podcast overall, which maybe that’s fine. Again, like how important are downloads? I don’t know, especially with the business model that I’m running.
But have you thought about that in terms of like even just like having multiple podcasts? Has that been something that you’ve ever thought about? Like how do I like aggregate all this data? Is it important to do so because there may be different audiences?
Joe Casabona: That’s a really good question. So Castos will give you the aggregate. I have like four podcasts in my Castos account. But then you can divide it out by specific show and by episode. But I like to use Chartable, which is a nifty tool. It’s like a prefix that you add to your RSS feed. And then they’ll do their own stats because Castos has pretty aggressive filtering for stats, so their stats are always like considerably lower than what Chartable shows me. And I feel like Chartable is more accurate based on like what Apple Podcast has showed me as well.
Like I’ve got like 17,000 followers on Apple Podcast. Like they just made this number available. So it’s really hard for me to believe that my new episode, according to Castos, has only been downloaded like 800 times, or whatever, when like according to Chartable it’s like 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 within the first 30 days. Right? So I like Chartable for that reason.
Sam Munoz: Thank you.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, no problem. With a private podcast, I’m less interested in that. Only insofar as like, is the private podcast getting… Because I have like ad-free episodes for those members. Is my membership getting so big that it’s like taking an appreciable chunk of the audience away from those sponsor spots? So then I’d want to adjust my pricing. But so far, it hasn’t been appreciable. I mean, my members still get exposed to those sponsors, because they get like the email that goes out.
Sam Munoz: You know, this kind of like brings everything full circle, though, because that is thinking about the content and how it’s connecting to the rest of the business model, even just deciding, you know, do I need to add sponsors and all of that stuff? It’s all connected to how the podcast fits into the overarching business model, and not just like making decisions because you see someone else doing ads and sponsorships and things. It’s like staying in the thing that is relevant to your business model. So important.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve said the same thing about like my first membership failed miserably, because I just kind of took things that I liked from other memberships and I didn’t consider what it meant for my time or my audience and what worked for them. This one’s a lot more successful because I did what works for me and my mission and my target audience.
Sam Munoz: So important.
Joe Casabona: Gosh, this has been great. So wrapping up your funnel. It sounds like the middle of your funnel for a while was like a discovery call, and then you would open the doors to your membership?
Sam Munoz: Yes.
Joe Casabona: But you’re considering switching to evergreen. I will say heavily that it’s a consideration at this point. But I really like that. And I think it does really fit, right? Because one of the things I worry about with sponsors is like if somebody goes back and listens to the first episode… like the first sponsor was like, “For the next six months, get some percentage off whatever.” And maybe they don’t care because it’s like six years down the line now, but I always think about, like, how is this sounding dated? Or when does the offer become dated?
Sam Munoz: Dynamic content with Buzzsprout-
Joe Casabona: Yeah. You use like digital ad inserts?
Sam Munoz: Uh-huh. Yes.
Joe Casabona: Oh, nice.
Sam Munoz: So for example, currently, it says like, “now enrolling for the mentorship or something.” But we’ll change that ad out eventually and say, “Join the evergreen version,” right? Because I always kind of wanted to be able to open and close the cart. And that’s how it was before. But now we’ll say, you know, “If you want to do some self-paced kind of version with some coaching and support inside the community, it’s this much, then go join here. Now we’re open to having new mentees and more one on one approach, you can open here.” And then once that’s closed back down, we’ll change the ad back over.
Joe Casabona: That is so cool. I didn’t realize Buzzsprout had integrated digital ad inserts.
Sam Munoz: It’s amazing.
Joe Casabona: That’s so cool. And makes so much sense. Right? So you basically have, let’s say two pre-recorded calls to action. And if the doors are open, right, you have that one, and if the doors are closed, you have do the free thing. Making your call to action consistent to whoever’s happening to listen at that time.
Sam Munoz: Like the woman who was listening over the weekend, you know, our program was open. So every single episode she was listening to, the last thing would say, “Go join the program.”
Joe Casabona: Gosh! I usually ask, do you have any trade secrets for us? But I feel like you just gave us like such a good one. I never talked about digital ad inserts on this podcast. Maybe I’ll have to have like Bryan Barletta on, who runs like Sounds Profitable and knows all about that stuff. Gah, so cool. Do you have a prepared trade secret for us or do you want to use that one? I love that one.
Sam Munoz: I’ll use that one. You don’t want to give them all away?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, of course. You gotta join the community.
Sam Munoz: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: Awesome. Sam Munoz, this has been such a fun conversation. Thank you so much for joining us today. If people want to learn more about you, where can they find you?
Sam Munoz: Makingwebsitemagic.com to listen to the podcast. And probably if you want to connect with me, go to Twitter. I’m @HelloSamMunoz. That’s where I like to connect with people. You can DM me or probably, you know, send me a little comment. I’m still learning Twitter by the way. So I don’t know the terminology.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, @reply.
Sam Munoz: There you go.
Joe Casabona: @reply hellosammunoz. The double M is in there, right?
Sam Munoz: Like S-A-M-M-U-N-O-Z?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Sam Munoz: Yes.
Joe Casabona: All right, cool. I will link to that and everything that we talked about in the show notes over at howibuilt.it/276. Be sure to sign up for the Creator Crew so you can hear the ad-free extended version where we’re gonna talk about coding robots. We’ve both done this, which is weird in general. So, Sam, this has been so great. Thanks for joining us today.
Sam Munoz: No problem. Thank you for having me so much.
Joe Casabona: And thank you for listening. I really appreciate it. Thanks to our sponsors. If you liked this episode, again, join the membership at howibuilt.it/276. And until next time, get out there and build something.