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How to Leverage Podcasting to Establish Brand Authority (Episode 125)

Jason Cercone is a brand builder, strategist, creator, and podcaster.

He helps entrepreneurs, leaders, and professionals leverage the brand-building power of the podcast medium to establish authority, increase visibility, and accelerate growth.

He also hosts Evolution of Brand, a podcast featuring self-defined entrepreneurs and professionals sharing inspirational stories and tactical brand-building strategies.

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What you will learn

  • A complete guide to starting your own podcast
  • Why consistent podcast publishing is the key to success
  • The new way to network: How a podcast can be a digital networking platform
  • Jason’s secrets for producing a great listener experience and quality podcast content
  • Tips for building and nurturing your podcast audience
  • Jason’s best strategies for monetizing your podcast

Transcript

Jeff Bullas

00:01:18 - 00:01:29

Hi everyone and welcome to The Jeff Bullas Show. Today I have with me, Jason Cercone. Now Jason is dialing in from on Zoom to have a chat with us from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is that correct?

Jason Cercone

00:01:29 - 00:01:31

That is correct, my friend.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:31 - 00:02:17

Now Jason is a podcast expert and today we're going to look much closer at why should start a podcast, how to start a podcast, how to grow a podcast and things not to do when starting a podcast. And he's gonna tell us a little about a story of his first podcast. So he's a brand builder, strategist, creator and podcaster. Jason helps entrepreneurs, leaders and professionals leverage the brand-building power of the podcast medium to establish authority, increase visibility and accelerate growth and we all like growth generally. So he also hosts Evolution of Brand, a podcast featuring self-defined entrepreneurs and professionals sharing inspirational stories and tactical brand-building strategies.

So welcome to the show, Jason.

Jason Cercone

00:02:18 - 00:02:27

Jeff, thank you for having me, I really appreciate this opportunity. I've been following you for a long time via Twitter and it's a privilege to get the opportunity to chat with you today,

Jeff Bullas

00:02:28 - 00:03:05

Absolute pleasure, mate, and we met on Rocky Buckley's Facebook community, which is pretty awesome and the Power Persona Project, the name of that community. It's invite only, but if you knock on his door he might let you in. So anyway, Jason, what I'd like to find out is what got you into podcasting and what got you to be an expert on podcasting and tell me what your first podcast that you ever created was and the reasons for doing it because I think that story is worth sharing.

Jason Cercone

00:03:06 - 00:08:08

Yeah, it's a pretty entertaining story. So back in 2015, that's when all of this started and I had learned about podcasting a couple of years prior to that, but I didn't really pursue it and me and my best friend had been kicking around some ideas on what we could do if we wanted to start a podcast, what would we talk about, what we're our interests because you know, we'd always sit around and watch football on Sundays and talk about things with our fantasy football expert advice and be like why are we recording this? This would be a podcast, but we never really pursued it. And then in 2015, I was working in the beer industry at the time and I had started a craft beer advocacy blog and I also launched an app that was designed to connect people to events and different beer releases and things of that nature in the Pittsburgh region. And everybody seemed to respond very positively to this and I did this just obnoxious three week countdown leading up to the launch of this app, just having some fun with it, it's the beer world, right? Like you don't have to be too serious there and the day that it went live, I had somebody start trolling me on Twitter and I wondered why I was getting trolled and that was my first experience with that. So I'm of course engaging and arguing back and forth with him on Twitter, that was fun. And then I finally went and looked at his profile and discovered that he hosted a beer podcast and it just hit me and I said to my friend, we're going to do a beer podcast and we're gonna do it better and he said, sure, I love beer, this will be great, and that was pretty much the planning that went into launching that podcast. It was that quick conversation, he jumped on Amazon, he grabbed us some mics, we, I didn't even plan out the first episode, I was like, well just get together and turn the microphones on and we'll just talk and we did this in a noisy bar. My microphone didn't even come with a stand. I had to shove the mic into a styrofoam. Like the protective styrofoam that comes in the box. That's what I shoved my microphone into. We did no editing. I don't even know if we put the music on the front end and we put that puppy out on the internet. So I may have been overstating that we were going to do this beer podcast better than this guy who had been doing a beer podcast for a long time. But from that I learned many things. I mean, we got better as we went through the process, but back in college I had done radio and I loved it and I lightly tried to pursue doing is doing it as a career once I got out of college and that didn't pan out. But getting into podcasting really rekindled that fire. And I fell in love immediately and I knew podcasting was where I needed to be. So as I said, we took that show as far as we could and we got better as we went and I got to have some incredible experiences and meet some awesome people in the beer industry and beyond and like I said, what took that as far as we could, started another show, at least I started another show on my own. And then in that I realized that if I really wanted to do this, if I really wanted to pursue podcasting, I needed to take some time to get good at it. And my way of doing that was to just stop podcasting and start studying different broadcasters, people on the radio, people on television, people that were doing their own pot, excuse me, people that were doing their own podcasts as well. And I put on an analytical hat and really dug into how they were speaking to their audience. How were they conducting these interviews and and having these great conversations because that's what I wanted to bring back to the podcasting world when I decided to jump back into the pool and I didn't plan for a year and a half of that, that's just how long things went until I finally decided, I think I'm ready to do this again. And that's when I launched another podcast that went way better because I understood so much more about planning, about how to build a show format, how to conduct those interviews and have those conversations. And It was in 2020, actually I take one step back, it was in 2019, I started working with one of my friends to help him launch his own show. He reached out to me, he wanted to launch a show when I told him all the work that was involved. He realized it was way more than he thought and I said, why don't I partner with you and we can work on this together. He loved the idea we got the show going and that sparked in my mind that I could probably do this for others. And then 2020 came around, I was already planning on how I could transition into doing this full time and then the pandemic came to the world and changed everything and really forced my hand because I was doing very well with the work I was doing with my brewery partners in my business, But I was looking for a way to go into podcasting full time and this gave me that opportunity. So it was in 2020 that I really made that transition in my business and I've been working with entrepreneurs and professionals and helping them with their podcasting efforts ever since.

Jeff Bullas

00:08:09 - 00:08:21

So just going back to your first podcast event, big lesson is don't start a podcast because of spite or revenge.

Jason Cercone

00:08:21 - 00:08:33

Never start a podcast respite. That is the number one lesson which I always tell that story and I lead with that line and people look at me like why would I ever do that? I'm like, I know, but let's just make sure you don't.

Jeff Bullas

00:08:33 - 00:08:38

And also just because you like beer is not a good reason either.

Jason Cercone

00:08:38 - 00:08:47

No, it's not because some of those beer podcasts can spiral out of control rather quickly and those have happened, that happened many times.

Jeff Bullas

00:08:47 - 00:08:54

So it's called imbibing podcast, was it like imbibing too much beer while doing the podcast?

Jason Cercone

00:08:54 - 00:10:23

Well, yeah, that happened beforehand and I mean sometimes after the fact as well, I mean it was fun. I mean the second go round when I did a second beer podcast, I took it much more seriously. I mean, especially if I was doing a podcast recording with a brewery, that would give me some of their beer to drink so we could taste it as we go. But I was never putting myself in that position to be completely whacked when I got on the microphone because I wanted to, what I learned, I'll tell you that with, Jeff, that was a very important lesson that I learned in that first podcast experience was it's all about the listener and there were a couple episodes that we recorded that memory did not serve me as well as it should have. And you can connect the dots there. The next day when I would go to edit, I realized that was so much fun to record. But anybody listening to this is going to hate me to the point where a couple of them didn't even make air, as I guess, we can't use this, we can't put anybody through this because if they hit play, they're gonna get turned off in a few minutes and that really taught me the lesson of building content that's geared towards the listener experience and making sure when a listener turns on a podcast, you're delivering to them exactly what they showed up for. And if your content doesn't serve them in that capacity, they're going to find another podcast to listen to.

Jeff Bullas

00:10:24 - 00:10:45

So let's go to one of the major reasons people should start a podcast. In other words, what are the big why’s on this? Maybe you can delve into that then before we get into some of the other things like had a plan, design and start and grow. So why should people, why should someone do a podcast? Why should they launch?

Jason Cercone

00:10:46 - 00:14:22

I think it really comes down to your brand objectives and you have to look at what you want to accomplish with the podcasting platform because you can go one of two ways, you can start your own show or you can just be a guest on other podcasts and you can build your authority and make connections that route. If you are going to start your own podcast, understand up front that there is a considerable amount of work involved, so you have to be committed to the project and whether you're doing it solo or you're looking to bring on some team members to help you, either way is fine, but you have to understand that there is work involved and it's going to take a commitment in order to get the show off the ground because it takes time, just like anything else. You can't just launch a podcast and expect the world to hit the play button, you've got to build something that's going to attract an audience and then once you do attract that audience, that content has to consistently keep them in place.

So understanding that up front is one of the big things that you need to know before you proceed, once you make peace with that and you know that this is absolutely what you want to do. One of the biggest things that you can gain from starting a podcast. And this is something that I think a lot of people overlook because so many people walk away from their podcasts way too soon. This is one of the greatest digital network. I say, this is the greatest digital networking platform on the planet and it's not just this recording like you and I are doing right now, Jeff, it's the conversations that take place before the recording starts. It's the conversations that take place after the fact. So not only do you have those great opportunities to find some commonalities, potentially find some people that you might want to work with, maybe the person has a connection they have that they oh my God, you need to go talk with them, like they need exactly what you're offering or you'd be a perfect guest for their show or I know someone that would be a perfect guest for your show, I'm going to make an introduction. You have all of that awesomeness happening on the front and back end of these podcast sessions. In the middle, you get to record awesome content that goes global and what I tell everyone whether it's in a coaching atmosphere or just somebody I'm speaking to like back when clubhouse was a thing, this was all these things that I was saying, like I try to say it on social media as much as I can respect this platform for everything that it can give you and it's gonna keep you engrossed in it much longer than the statistics that tell you that most podcasters walk away from their show or the average podcast only goes about seven episodes because podcasters walk away too soon. That statistic is scary. And to me it indicates that people come into this with no plan, with get rich quick mindset, that this is going to be something that's gonna put money in their pocket immediately. Believe me seven years in, I can tell you with 100% confidence, that isn't the case, but they don't think they have to work to make this take off and not realizing that quality and consistency is really what you need and then you do that over time and let the audience grow from there and then your opportunities start to present yourself. So in the meantime, use this as a tremendous platform to connect with new people to talk about the subjects that you're passionate about and in doing that, you're gonna create new opportunities for yourself and create something that will allow you to communicate with your audience in a very dynamic fashion.

Jeff Bullas

00:14:23 - 00:14:48

I think the thing that motivated me to start was that podcast very much about relationships and networking. I'm talking about networking, necessary to make money, but it's just to have a conversation for half an hour to an hour sometimes or longer or shorter, to sit down essentially like having, you know, catching up for a beer basically. Almost, right.

Jason Cercone

00:14:49 - 00:14:50

100%.

Jeff Bullas

00:14:50 - 00:16:44

Yes, and you're right, the conversations we had before off mic are a gold a lot of the time and after I've had the most fabulous conversations and so for me, the real kick across the line for me to start and I started just over two years ago, I realized that it was a relationship building exercise. And I love that and 2.5 years in, started in February-March 2020, a 120 episodes in, it's just fabulous. I learned so much from just listening to smart people like yourself that are experts in their field. I just do a lot of listening, a lot of questions, but I walk away feeling empowered and also excited and usually have learned a lot. So that's for me is the biggest thing. And the other thing too, like you mentioned is that podcast has got to get rich quick scheme. It's a long game and you learn so much along the way and you really got to say, well, I'm gonna take this seriously I need, and for me I realized that, so that's why I didn't start with, this is going to take a fair bit to put together.

So, let's move on to one of the most important steps in producing a podcast. So let's start maybe with design, starting what's needed and then how do you, what are some best practices and then how do you grow it? And then maybe you can even discuss, you know, what are different ways of monetizing podcasts as well, potentially. So tell us what you've learned along the way, Jason, in terms of the podcasting production process from start to finish, what's important?

Jason Cercone

00:16:45 - 00:23:22

I think one of the big factors that, some podcasters are doing this, many aren't, and I think it's something that everybody needs to start to understand, it's all about the listener experience, as I've said before. So you have to think of what your listeners tuning into your show for. So as you're building out the idea for what you want your show to be about in those initial stages, understand that the faster you can get to the value of your show, the better chance you have of keeping that listener in place for long enough to get them hooked on the content because what ends up happening is some podcasts will do a three minute intro song and then they come in and the host will say, well, we've got some house cleaning items to take care of it. No, the intro to your podcast is not the time to do any house cleaning, when you open your show, quick introduction, say who you are, here's my guest today. Here's what we're gonna talk about. Let's get to it. Because people show up for that and the faster you can get them there again, the longer they're gonna stay engrossed and hopefully that first few minutes of the podcast is going to captivate them enough to say, yep, this is what I showed up for. I'm in this for the long haul. So, these are a lot of the initial planning things that you need to do, at least one of the initial planning things you need to do is build a format for your show that gets people to the value as fast as possible. Always keep that in mind. On the front end, when you're looking to start a podcast, I think the biggest thing you need to do is build out a foundational plan and having that foundation in place is going to allow you to grow and it's going to strengthen your commitment to this project.

Again, I live this, we just threw a couple of microphones on the table and started talking, no planning, no real map to help us navigate these roads because we just figured we're going to do this, we can talk, we do it all the time. No, there's a totally different dynamic. So you have to plan out a lot of things. Many of those items come down to why are you doing this? What do you want to accomplish with your podcast? You need to define that. What am I going to talk about on my podcast? How much time do I have dedicated to my podcast production each week? Because sometimes when people get overwhelmed, it's because they're producing these hour, hour and a half long epics, but they only have a couple of hours a week to dedicate to it. So they don't have the time to edit and put together the actual product that goes out to the world and then market that and then lather, rinse, repeat, do it all over again the next week. So you have to be very cognizant of your time and again, bringing in team members to help you will lighten the workload. But if you're rolling out this solo, which many podcasters do when they get started, make sure you're structuring something that's going to allow you to do it successfully. Having ridiculous expectations about what's going to happen is gonna put you in a bad spot. And I think that's what leads to a lot of this burnout and a lot of this pod fade where people walk away from their show after a few episodes because believe me, there's work involved, there are ways to work smarter, not harder, but if you come into this with these grand expectations of this being easy and the world showing up to listen to your first shows because you launched them, you're not gonna have a good time.

So having the right mindset is probably the biggest tip that I can give and when you set proper expectations and plan out how you're going to do this, that's gonna put you in the right frame of mind and then really commit and I mean really commit to at least one year. Nothing is gonna happen in the beginning, I'll be brutally honest, it takes time to build your audience. Even if you have an established audience on other networks, not all of them are podcast listeners. Will you get some people to come in and listen? sure. Of course you will. But to keep an established consistent audience in place requires you to put out a consistent product on a consistent basis. So commit to your schedule. If you say you're putting content out every Thursday, make sure you deliver. If for some reason you're gonna take a break, at least communicate that with your audience that you're gonna have a month off, we'll be back on this date with this content. So the message is clear to your audience that you are taking a little bit of a heights, there's nothing wrong with that. But many people just leave their audience hanging. And when their audience falls in love with the podcast, they work that into their schedule, whether it's on their commute, whether it's at the gym, walking the dog, doing chores around the house, and if you're not there, they're gonna find somebody else to listen to. And when that happens, it's very difficult to get worked back into their rotation.

So establishing a commitment up front is going to make sure that you are in this for the long run. And again, you can lie to yourself and you could walk away from it. But I'm telling you, it takes time to build that audience. And I can say this from working with a client. We were looking at shows that, he was on a series of shows as a guest. He had great results. And we were working on some summaries to put on his website. And he was telling me how much he really enjoyed the time on those shows. And the audience seemed to respond well from contacts that he had. And I looked at every single episode, every single podcast. I said there's one big commonality here, and he said, what's that? And I said these podcasts, every one of them is over 100 episodes. That means that that podcaster has taken time to build and nurture an audience. And that's why the response was so positive, that's why you heard people reaching out to you when that episode went live, they came to your website, they came to your newsletter, they opted in and checked you out on social media because that audience is clearly showing up on a consistent basis because the podcaster had the respect to show up for his audience consistently and I guarantee you that took time and it shows because he's, well, these podcasters are well over 100 episodes. So that's a very long winded way of saying, you have to build a plan, you have to be committed to that plan and you have to understand that growth is going to come from the quality of the content that you produce and how consistently you put it out there for the world.

Jeff Bullas

00:23:23 - 00:24:05

Yeah, I think a lot of people just randomly going, okay, I'll do it when I feel like it. I'd love the term we use pod fade. That's really, it's really pretty cool. So how often do you think you should to grow a committed audience and continue building relationship because you're essentially, you're a publisher and publishers published regularly, a newspaper comes out every day or a magazine comes out every week or every month. So you're making a commitment to your audience essentially, aren't you? So how often do you think podcast, there's no right or wrong with this. So how often do you think you should produce a podcast if you're serious?

Jason Cercone

00:24:06 - 00:28:35

You're right, there is no right or wrong. But I would say weekly is my recommendation, bi weekly is okay, especially when you're getting started, if you wanna make sure that you are truly going to be sucked into this medium and really be a strong part of it and to make sure it fits your schedule, because you can always make that transition and say, oh we're going to weekly now, demand has been great. The response has been great, we love you guys, we're gonna give you more content. So you can always make that change. Any less than that, makes it very hard to start to establish a relationship with your audience.

The average podcast listener consumes about roughly six hours and that's six and a half hours, six hours and forty five minutes, I didn’t know the exact statistic, of podcast content per week, which is a lot, but they are looking for that consistency and if you're only coming to them once a month or even worse sporadically whenever you feel like putting out a show, it's easier for them to not include you in that time frame because they've only got so many hours in the day. So maybe they're consuming podcasts on the way to work, on the way home from work, while they're walking the dog, and whatever activity they have going on where podcasts are part of the world, it's only a limited amount of time. So if you're not coming at them consistently and frequently enough, it's very easy for them to forget . Now, you may produce something that's so epic that they want to listen to it and if it does only come up monthly, so be it. But again, what was I saying earlier, all those podcasts that had the really strong audience are all over 100 episodes. If you're doing one a week, it's gonna take you two years to get to that. So if you do one a month, get out your calculators and figure out how long that's gonna take, right? So you have to think about your growth and the fact that you can always add more content to the schedule. But when it comes to getting that relationship built with your audience, you want to give them as much as you can. Don't kill yourself trying to get a podcast out every week, but make sure that you're coming at them in a frequent, consistent manner. And I tell everyone listen, if you feel that you want to do once a week, but your time is a little tight and it might be tough to do that. Just shorten the episode. You don't have to do an hour long podcast, there's no rule that says you have to hit a certain time for your content to be quality, you could do a 15-minute show. I know many people that do that and they produce it weekly, that's totally up to you. As long as there's quality content in place, it doesn't matter how long it is. That's one of the funny anomalies about podcasting that I always laugh at when you talk to people and talk to podcasters about structuring their content.

If you're looking for a solution to a problem and you go on YouTube, say you want to fix the toilet in your house and you go on YouTube and you say I need to fix the how to fix a toilet and you get responses or get videos shot back at you ones three minutes, ones five, the other is nine. Are you going for the nine minute video or the three minute video? I'm going for the three, I gotta get my toilet fixed. We've got business to take care of, right? So when it's that type of content, we want fast, we want it delivered to us as quickly as possible. Give me the answer, I gotta move on. But with podcasts, people think, well people need to hear this, they need to sit and listen to this for an hour. I've got to make this long epic show that people are going to tune into and get this big chunk of content for this extended period of time. No, there is no law that says you have to be at a certain time, just bring them quality, bring your audience quality, bring them something compelling and let time fall where it falls. If it's half an hour, it's 45 minutes. I typically try to, I stay for that 45 minute mark with my podcast. There's been a few that I've gone over, but I didn't lose any sleep over that because I knew the conversation was good enough to allow the extra time. But if you're worried about time, produce a shorter show and it's gonna save you a lot in the back end when you're looking to edit and have that show put out into the world.

Jeff Bullas

00:28:36 - 00:29:02

So let's look a little bit more of the monetization of podcasts. What are the different ways to monetize a podcast? And we're not talking about a get rich quick scheme here, playing long games. What are some of the ways you can monetize a podcast and then we'll talk next maybe about how to grow your podcast audience. But firstly, what are different ways people can monetize the podcast?

Jason Cercone

00:29:03 - 00:33:55

Don't fall into the trap of thinking, you have to have a ton of advertisements on your show because harkening back to what I said earlier about listener experience, put yourself in the listeners shoes. If you were listening to a half an hour podcast and 5-10 minutes of that was nothing but ads, you'd hate that podcast and more than likely wouldn't tune into the next one because there's so many advertisements.

So you have to think about listener experience when it comes to that because advertisements are a way that you can monetize and that's typically where people want to go in regards to monetizing and getting big sponsorships, things of that nature. Now with the advertisers, there are processes within some of these host platforms where they'll put ads for insurance companies and big name brands that will just automatically get inserted, but you'll get paid pennies on the dollar based on the number of downloads that you get for that podcast. So if that's important to you, you can go that route. I think it's much better to,

you could produce an advertisement for yourself. If you're a brand and you're doing a podcast, run a 30-second ad about a service you offer. That's one way to monetize because it doesn't have to happen on the podcast platform. If you're communicating with your audience through a stellar podcast and they also learn that there's a service that can help them solve some problems and you're that resource that's going to help them. They may come to you and give you their business. You just monetized your podcast by doing that.

Another big strategy that people incorporate is signing up with affiliates or partnering with affiliates. You can run an ad for an affiliate program where the product or service makes sense for your audience. That's one of the big drawbacks to running advertisements if you're a marketing podcast and you start seeing ads for Geico and Liberty Mutual. And again and start throwing out companies that are running ads in every location of the world. It starts to feel a little diluted. But if you're a marketing podcast and you have an affiliate partnership with somebody that offers a product that will help your audience because they're tuned into your show for marketing advice and marketing tips and you're giving them access to this program that maybe they get 20% off if they use your promo code, that's helping your audience and if they sign up for that service, you'll get paid an affiliate commission. So that's one of the big ways to monetize. I'm gonna throw this one out there. And it's something that I'm experimenting with and it's something that I've never heard anybody else talk about. Now, I know that I am not splitting any atoms with this, but something I'm experimenting with through my podcast is I've had a lot of people that have wanted to be a part of the show and because of that, my schedule was booked out all the way into October which as we sit and speak today, Jeff, it is just at the end of June so for me that's very good to have that much content that I know is coming. But for people that are looking to use podcast interviews for marketing material, they may want to have their shows released a little sooner. And I even had a couple of people ask me, is that’s the soonest that I can get on the show? I'd rather be on sooner with you. So I offered to say, listen, I can offer you an earlier spot and there's a small fee attached to it and I've had a few people respond positively because for them it wasn't about the fee, it was about having the conversation and having this piece of content out to the world sooner because it helped promote what they were doing. And it got the message spread on a wider scale. So a monetization strategy that could become something as you continue to build with quality content is making your show and having good conversations on your show and making it so powerful that people are willing to pay an appearance fee. Now I know there are many podcasts out there that have appearance fees and that's typically the ones with huge audiences that have corresponding huge appearance fee. So this is something more for the smaller end of the podcast. There's like myself that are putting out quality content and just looking for a way to maybe defray some costs. This is a potential way to do that. And to me it speaks to the quality of the content that you're putting out. If you have that much demand, obviously you're doing something right and those conversations are something that people really feel passionately about and they want to be a part of. So those are some strategies that you can use and there are several others, but we can go on and on for hours about all the potential ways that you could monetize your show.

Jeff Bullas

00:33:56 - 00:34:28

I think some really good tips there and to help people think about how they can monetize their podcast. And also one thing can be just creating relationships with potential customers by interviewing them. So that's another one. In other words is that, there's a long term benefit that can come from just doing an interview with what are potential customers. So let's go on to how do you grow a podcast? How do you grow an audience? What are some of the top tips you'd like to share with our viewers and listeners?

Jason Cercone

00:34:29 - 00:39:22

This one is very simple and I've said it a couple times already, you have to produce quality content on a consistent basis. That's really the only way to do it. I mean you could monetize it to the hilt. You could throw thousands of dollars at ads and that's gonna bring in some growth. But you have to also consider psychology. Now, you can advertise on social, I'm sorry, you can advertise on podcast platforms like Spotify and Podchaser, that makes sense because you've got podcast listeners that are on those platforms, they understand what they're there for. They're there to listen to podcasts. You think about the psychology of what somebody's doing when they're on social media. Now, I'm not saying that you should not have some presence on social media with your podcast, whether it's through your personal account or if you set up an account for your podcast. But when people are on social media, their minds are locked into scrolling through their feeds, watching reels, mindlessly watching different videos, reading different pieces of content. They're more than likely not thinking about listening to a podcast in that moment. So you'd have to have the most engaging, mind blowing piece of content that hits somebody's screen to make them say, oh, this looks great. I'm gonna go jump over to my podcast app. I'm gonna start listening to this podcast. You're talking about a complete shift in their behavior. The best you can hope for is that at least in my opinion now, I'm not saying that this is, there's no blanket over all of this. You might get somebody to do that, but it's rare, but you have to make sure that people see what you're doing what you can do with a quick video clip or a sound clip or some type of post that just gets in front of people and hope that they file it away to when they are in podcast mode because if they're laying on the couch, scrolling through their phone, they might not be thinking about a podcast, but when they go to work the next day, they might be thinking, oh yeah, I saw this podcast last night and I think I'm gonna put that on my to do list to listen to on the way to work. So that's one way to think about it. Which is my way of saying that dumping a ton of money into social media advertising may not serve you that well. And I'm saying, I mean, you could blow a lot of money and not see a lot of growth, especially in the beginning, because you have to have a quality product that's out there consistently and let things fall into place over time, the audience will find you. But you said it perfectly earlier, Jeff, it's a long game. This is absolutely not a sprint and not something that you can rush, because if you rush, that's when you start letting the quality of your content suffer, and that's when things start to unravel because the second your your quality starts to suffer, you know, your avid in place audience that showed up for a reason and love what you're doing may give you some leniency in some leeway, but long story short, if you keep doing that, they're out, they're gonna find another podcast. There's just so many options for people to listen to.

So in regards to growth, you cannot control when people show up to your podcast, but you can control the quality of the content that you're producing, the quality of the conversations that you're having and how consistently you're putting that product out into the world, like I said before, don't miss dates. If you're coming out on Thursday, make sure you're there on Thursday. So the people that have worked you into their schedule can continue to be served by what you're giving them and a good way to analyze the audience, because I've talked to many podcasters they get frustrated about, I've only got 30 listeners, 40 listeners, 50 listeners, whatever the number may be, you have to flip, that on its head and think about it from the mindset of that. Those 40 people showed up and were in your living room, would you give them an inferior product and be upset or would you give them your A-game and give them the best that you possibly could and show them respect because they've arrived.

Of course it's the latter and you have to respect your audience no matter how big it is, and don't look past the ones that have already shown up for the ones that haven't yet, just keep making quality content and make it recommendable. So those 40 people, each one of them turns to a colleague or a family member or a friend and says, you've got to listen to Jeff's podcast, this guy is killing it. He's got great guests. I'm learning so much, you need to listen. If all 40 of those people do that until one person now, you've got 80 listeners and then that exponential growth starts to kick in and that's where you'll seriously start to see growth, that takes time. But if you're committed to your project, you're going to see it. And that's the biggest thing to think about when it comes to growth.

Jeff Bullas

00:39:23 - 00:39:43

Yeah, exactly. It's producing great content reliably, consistently and being mindful, especially being mindful of your guest you're interviewing and you know, the term I've heard used before is called The Oprah Effect. In other words, shine the light on them. You as the host is not about you.

Jason Cercone

00:39:44 - 00:40:19

Yeah, that's the thing. I mean, many podcasters have that mindset of being Joe Rogan, right? He's the king of the hill when it comes to podcasting and that takes time, Joe Rogan didn't just become this big podcaster. He was, he did stand up comedy. I'm sure there was times where he was doing his jokes in front of little to no audience, built his way up over time and it was probably a 20-year timeline that got him to that point, but even when he got there, it wasn't just about him, it was about all these guests that he's having ridiculously long and great conversations with.

Jeff Bullas

00:40:19 - 00:40:26

Yeah, I think I went back to one of his first podcast he did and it was atrocious.

Jason Cercone

00:40:26 - 00:40:35

Sure, we've all been there and I told my story to kick things off, you know, you have to get good at this and you only get good by sticking with it and continuing to put in the practice swings.

Jeff Bullas

00:40:35 - 00:40:45

Look, if you ever get a chance to go back to, I think it's on the YouTube channel, Joe Rogan's YouTube, go back to his episode 1 or 2. Yeah. It is atrocious.

Jason Cercone

00:40:46 - 00:41:30

Gary Vaynerchuk is another big name in the world and not so much in podcasting, but I know, I mean everybody in the entrepreneurial world and leadership world knows who Gary V is. You go back and watch his very first wine library video. I mean, he didn't know anything about quality. He just had a mission that he was going to go live or not go live but record a YouTube video every day talking about wine. Look what it's led to because he just kept building upon it. He didn't walk away after a few episodes going, no one's watching this. Yeah. And that, yeah, that's where that, that I talked about before comes and people see those low download numbers and they think that the world is coming to an end. It's just not the case.

Jeff Bullas

00:41:31 - 00:42:35

I think the other thing that is important to me with podcast is that you can create a whole bunch of content around it in different media formats. And it's actually, once you got the editing team in place, it's actually not that difficult and there's actually some new tools emerging take, for example, we produces three media types. This podcast that goes onto the Youtube channel of the show, goes onto the blog. And also, so it's actually text and it's also audio. So, and then we covered that video up into small snippets as well. So the questions I've asked you turned into a three minute, how do you grow your podcast? How do you make money podcast? How do you start? What are the challenges? So, and one of the reasons I didn't start the podcast initially was I knew it was gonna be a bunch of work. I don't want to do all this. I'm not good at all this. I'm not a good editor. So yeah, that's why I didn't become an accountant because I knew I was gonna suck in accounting.

Jason Cercone

00:42:35 - 00:42:38

So know your strengths, your weaknesses, you did it, you did it right.

Jeff Bullas

00:42:38 - 00:42:49

So what are some of the biggest challenges you've struck with, you know, the podcast that people need to be mindful of?

Jason Cercone

00:42:50 - 00:47:09

I think the biggest struggle is getting beyond this mindset that your download numbers are the metric that gauge that your show is going well. I’ve mentioned that before. So many people will look at those numbers and get frustrated with not enough people showing up and then that to them, it triggers in their head. This isn't working. Yeah. And that, no, like that is the statistic you need to get away from. When it comes to the download metric, typically what I tell people to do is don't look at your statistics for the first few months at a minimum, I say even longer, you're only going to get frustrated. What's that number? I actually, I mean sorry. I had a gentleman come on my show when it had just launched and he asked me how many downloads I get. I said, I don't know. I haven't looked yet. What do you mean? You haven't looked like my show is four weeks old. There's nothing in those statistics in any capacity that are gonna tell me what I need or want to hear or read and building this podcast to put quality content into the world and at the same time make high level connections and have phenomenal conversations at the same time. That's my drive here. Now, if we don't have to do this, you reached out to me and he said, no, no, no, no, we're good and we did it and everything was fine. But it's that mindset of you have to constantly be analyzing these numbers. But with this for me and I can tell it like I said, you're not, if you launch a podcast for the first time, nothing in those numbers is really going to give you anything that's gonna help you because in the beginning, it's not about the numbers. It's about getting better at your craft producing quality content, doing it consistently as I've said many times and the more you do that numbers will fall into place. So in the first few months you can't look at those numbers and get upset.

If anything, when I tell people, if they're gonna look at download numbers, don't look at last week's episode, look at your entire catalog because your whole catalog is valuable, right? For whatever reason, podcasters have a tendency to treat this week's release like the hope diamond for about two days and then they're done with the hope diamond. That's a nice diamond. We're gonna throw that over here. Now, we gotta move on to the next one. Now that's the hope diamond and this one is just on the shelf. Know that piece of content is what's making up your entire catalog and the way podcasts are discovered these days, you may have just released episode 112, but someone might stumble upon episode 52 because they did a search for a specific topic or someone else found it and recommended it to them. And then that made them fall in love with everything that you were doing and made you made them say, I want to listen to episodes 1 through 51 then I'm gonna catch up and that's what a lot of people will do. So, you're creating this entire experience for someone to, especially like I said, on the brand level, you're creating something that's going to give people this inside look at your brand and every minute of content they consume is going to engrossed them in what you do, how you do it and how you're going to help them solve problems and it establishes your authority in their mind to when they want to make a buying decision or they're facing a problem that you can solve. That's when they look you up.

So you have to think on this level and when you look at download numbers, don't get fixated on this week, look at everything. Look at how the whole show is growing. Because when this content is out there, it's always going to grow. It may not be rocket ship hockey stick curve growth, but it's growing. It's building and the more content you have for people to sink their teeth into, the more you're going to grow. So overcoming that mindset, it's probably the biggest challenge that people have and I'll challenge anyone listening to this when they start their podcast, three months minimum. Don't even open the analytics page, focus on the quality of your content. After that, it becomes a fun game. How long can I go without looking at my numbers before finally crack. And I have to click that analytics button to see what's happening.

Jeff Bullas

00:47:10 - 00:47:15

Yeah, I think I dived and looked at numbers initially and I went okay.

Jason Cercone

00:47:15 - 00:47:33

I did it too, we've all done it and that's why again, a lot of what I talk about all from experience, I've done this myself when I realized that there's nothing to be gained here. I stopped doing it and now I can tell everyone else. Listen, I did this, don't do it. You're only gonna put yourself in the wrong frame of mind.

Jeff Bullas

00:47:33 - 00:49:00

Yeah. And I think the other thing is don't do it for the money. For me, there are two big benefits for doing that. For me personally is number one having awesome conversations with awesome people such as yourself. It's gold. I am so grateful to be a, have these conversations with smart, successful people and fun conversations, right? Absolutely. Shoot the breeze around, of course, it's gotta be around a topic that's fine. The other part of it is I learned so much. For me, every conversation I have been going and I might not take a note or remember it. But those two things for me, the relationship conversation built through conversation and that brings me real joy and then on top of that is I go away with nuggets of wisdom and insights from their experience because essentially I maybe pick their minds and just got to the distillation of their expertise that's been 10, 20, 30 years in the making. And yeah, it's almost like a time machine. I'm asking you questions about what happened 10 years ago, where did you start? And like, and we've learned today that do not start a podcast based on spite, right?

Jason Cercone

00:49:01 - 00:52:19

You're right though, you can learn so much and that's to me, I've said this, if no one but myself listened to my podcast, I'd be okay because I've got to meet some tremendous people. I've had some awesome conversations and I've learned a ton, a lot of which I've been able to implement into my own practices because I've got experts coming in telling their stories and talking about their strategies and how they built their brand so I can give that to the audience to consume and they are welcome to do what they want with that content into their own practices. But for me personally, I'm learning so much, it motivates me to keep going because I know I get excited when I look at who I'm interviewing, when I build up the show formats. I'm really trying to dig into what they're doing and I'm gonna throw this tip out there too. For anybody that's doing a podcast now or is looking to start a podcast. The number one thing most podcasters think about is growth. How am I gonna grow? How am I going to get better? And we've talked about a lot of strategies, this is the one I haven't talked about yet and it's probably the biggest one that will help, ask better questions. Ask deeper below the surface level questions that will get the podcast guest talking, we'll get them in a position to where they can tell a story that they've never told before. That's my favorite thing to hear when I'm interviewing someone is when they say to me, no one’s ever asked me that before. Because when they say that I know I'm about to get a story that they've never told on a podcast because no one's ever asked them before. So there and right there, you and you can store it away in your head. There's your sound clip for when you for at least one of your sound clips that you're going to promote your show with. I had Jeff on my show and he told this story, which he's never told anywhere else in the world. Take a listen. And for me, that's what it's all about is I have a certain amount of time with this expert in their space. I want to maximize that time and I want to ask some questions that really get the conversation flowing and you think about it, if you have an author on the show and you say, what was it like to write your book? They've been asked that question a thousand times in multiple platforms, through podcast, videos, blogs, wherever they've been interviewed. That's probably a question they've got. But you can go a little deeper and say something to the effect of while you were writing the book, did anything that you were putting together get so frustrating that you just wanted to hit delete and throw the whole damn thing away? Because I've asked questions like that or questions that are, you know, again, compelling to the point where they have to think and say yes, here's a story and that's what podcasts are all about. You get good stories out of people, you've got engaging content, so that's a huge growth method right there, make your podcast better by asking better questions and then everything's gonna fall into place because again you engrossed those listeners to the point where they start telling others exponential growth and you're off to the races.

Jeff Bullas

00:52:20 - 00:52:35

And that is, I can keep it interesting as well, is to have interesting guests. Do you have any tips in terms of getting great guests on your show that are interesting? What are some of your top tips for that or a top tip?

Jason Cercone

00:52:35 - 00:55:37

There is a number of things that you can do, I will say that from, you know from the guest perspective I think, which is where I spend a lot of my time is helping people be better podcast cast. They come into this with, they have something they want to accomplish and you have to cater to that. And a lot of podcast guests will supply questions on the front end that you can use to build a format that will cater to their expertise and I highly recommend that you do that. Now you don't have to ask the questions verbatim as they lay them out to you whenever I get questions sent to me, I always doctor them up and make them a little fancier and I'll even take them and go, like I said, go another level deeper just to get more of a conversation out of them. But that's going to allow their focus to be, where it needs to be when they're a guest on your show, if they know they're coming on a podcast where their expertise is going to be respected and it's going to be reaching the right audience and you're catering to them with a good conversation that's gonna make them excited to be on your show. So that's gonna have a two pronged effect.

They're gonna tell everybody else how great it was to be on your podcast. So now you'll have other people reaching out to you or when people hear that interview themselves, if they're in that same industry or they're in your niche, they're gonna reach out these days. I just heard you talking with Jeff on your podcast, that was phenomenal content. I'd love to be a guest on your show because I can talk about something similar and I can add X, Y and Z. So just to get that organic type of growth from getting guests on your show. That's a good tip. Again, it all comes back to producing quality content, right. Now, a service that I use. That's helped me tremendously and I always give a plug for these guys. It is PodMatch, is like a dating site for finding podcast guests and for finding podcast host. So if you're a host of a show and you want to find quality guests, you set up a profile that allows you to connect with people based on certain criteria and it will match you based on what industry you're in, what you're looking to talk about what your area of expertise is so on and so on. There's a number of questions. It's incredibly thorough, without question, the most thorough guest booking site or guest connection site that I've ever been a part of. So that's something I recommend to everybody and that I credit that site a ton to helping me build evolution of brand my podcast because I've met so many people through that platform, which is then connected me to others because if I had a good conversation, I've gotten a few referrals from people I've met there. It's a great platform and it's a great way to find good people because I know that a lot of people are concerned about finding good guest and am I gonna be able to have enough quality conversations to really make this content take off, a service like PodMatch will help you do it.

Jeff Bullas

00:55:38 - 00:56:08

Alright, cool. Alright. I think we'll include that in the show notes and that's a great tip. Thank you very much and I'll check out myself and it's an insight learning for me. So just to wrap it up, Jason, what would be top 2 or 3 tips to wannabe podcasters or you start your podcast and you're a bit disappointed. What would be your top tips to help them in the journey to start or grow up? So what would your top tips be?

Jason Cercone

00:56:09 - 00:59:18

Number one tip would be to ensure or make sure that everything you do is rooted in value. Jeff, you had mentioned before, don't get into this for money, you don't want to do this for money now, of course, yes, you want to monetize, you have a business to run and you wanted to serve as a content strategy that's going to help you connect with people that will help you grow your business. Fine. But if you come into this thinking that I'm gonna make millions of dollars because Joe Rogan got this huge payoff and I can do that too, blah blah blah blah blah. No, it's not how it works. And again, you can go to Joe Rogan route, just be prepared to put in a couple of decades of work in multiple areas of the world, that's just, it's reality.

Root yourself in value, make sure that everything you're doing from the content that you're delivering to your audience or if you're a podcast guest and you're coming on shows you're there because you're an expert on the topic at hand and you can have a great conversation and wrap with somebody for 30 minutes, 45 minutes about that subject and educate the audience, do not sell. This is a segue into my second tip, whenever you're making a podcast or being a guest on a podcast either way, do not go into sales mode. It sounds like an infomercial when people are listening to it and that's a horrible listener experience, just like peppering too many ads throughout a podcast. Constantly selling is not going to attract anybody. People are going to get turned off because they don't want to be sold to, they want to be educated, entertained, informed, maybe find some new perspectives, find a solution to a problem and that comes from quality conversation and valuable content throughout that has nothing to do with sales. From the guest side and this is a big one when you bring value to the podcast and you help that podcast or create a piece of content that they can share with their audience is gonna help them grow, they're going to do the selling for you because I'm sure anyone listening to this is more than likely heard a podcast that has said, go check out what this person has to offer. They are awesome. They have what you need because they didn't spend their time selling to get that response or to get that call to action from the host. They just brought value to the table, they just talked about what they know and what they can do and it's not a sales pitch, so do not sell and I'll wrap up by saying focus on your quality, focus on your consistency from the guest side and from the host side, that's what makes makes podcasting great. It's consistency. If you can show up from one interview to the next, when you're a guest and consistently score touchdowns, you're doing something right. On the host side, every piece of content you put out week over week. If it's hitting grand slams, you're doing something right and be confident in knowing that the more you do that, the closer you're gonna get to the big breakthrough that you're looking for.

Jeff Bullas

00:59:19 - 00:59:38

Thanks, Jason, for those words of wisdom and thank you very much for sharing your experience and expertise with the world. And it's been an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. And so how can people find you just to quickly wrap it up? How can people get in touch with you? What's the best way?

Jason Cercone

00:59:39 - 01:00:25

Head over to JasonCercone.com/JeffBullasShow and when you land on that page you are going to find access to, well once you, with your email address you will get access to a master class that I put together called “5 Things People Fail to Do Before Becoming a Podcast Guest.” And as you're on my website, you can grab a beer from the fridge, kindly remove your shoes, but walk around, check things out, take a look at everything I've got on there, I've got some other resources for you to check out and if you'd like to talk more about how podcasting can work for you, look me up on my page, you can book a consultation or just give me a call, always willing to talk.

Jason Cercone

01:00:26 - 01:00:36

Awesome mate, thank you very much for coming on the show. It's been an absolute joy and I look forward to catching up in real life and having a beer in Pennsylvania.

Jeff Bullas

01:00:36 - 01:00:39

Yes, sir, we're going to have to make this happen soon. Thanks, Jeff.

Jason Cercone

01:00:39 - 01:00:40

Okay, thank you.

Jason Cercone

01:00:43 - 01:00:43

Okay.