Is It Too Late To Start A Podcast?
In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Dan Franks. Dan is the Co-founder and president of Podcast Movement, the world’s largest conference and trade show for the podcast industry. He is a CPA and was formerly the Business Manager and Director of Live Events for Midroll Media.
It seems like everyone today has a podcast. You might be wondering if it’s too late to start yours – the short answer? No. It’s not too late. The market may be more crowded than it once was, but people are still listening to podcasts at a growing rate. Podcasts are and will continue to be an amazing marketing tool that gives you a way to build a community and gives you a platform to advertise your products and services. In this episode, Dan Franks shares why podcasting isn’t dead and advice on starting your own.
Questions I ask Dan Franks:
- [1:11] Can you give me a little bit of the history behind Podcast Movement?
- [1:55] What does Podcast Movement look like today?
- [3:26] What’s been your history, and how did you get into podcasting?
- [5:12] If you were talking to someone who was thinking about starting a podcast, would you tell them now it’s too late?
- [11:31] What you’ve seen people doing to make podcast guesting just as effective as podcast hosting?
- [13:03] Have you seen any really out-of-the-box uses for being a guest on a podcast?
- [14:32] Companies today are coming up with different uses for podcasts – what kind of trends along those lines are you seeing?
- [15:56] If I’ve got my show going, how do I get more listeners?
- [18:44] What’s the best starter set up for somebody who wants to get going on a podcast?
- [20:54] What’s your current podcast setup?
- [22:52] Where can people find out more about your work?
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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the duct tape marketing podcast is brought to you by the Salesman Podcast, hosted by will Barron brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Look, if you work in sales, wanna learn how to sell or just peek at the latest sales news. Check out the sales podcast where host Will Barron helps sales professionals learn how to find buyers and in big business in effective and ethical ways. One of my favorite episodes lately, how to personalize your sales outreach at massive scale, who doesn't want to do that, listen to the salesman podcast, wherever you get your podcast.
John Jantsch (00:45): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Dan Franks. He's a co-founder and president of podcast movement, the world's largest conference and trade show for the podcast industry. And he's a CPA was formerly the businessman manager and director of live events for mid role media. So Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan Franks (01:07): Thanks for having me, John I'm super excited.
John Jantsch (01:10): So, so give me a little bit of the history of podcast movement. I guess let's start there. The trade show that you run and known.
Dan Franks (01:18): Yeah, so there was four of us who were big time podcast fans and podcasters ourselves. And, uh, this would've been 20 12, 20 13, somewhere in there and quickly realized that it was a, a somewhat lonely space sitting in closets recording, you know, your own voice and maybe having a guest. And at that time it was trying to figure out how to record people on Skype. And it was really just a very impersonal, medium to be a creator. And so getting together, we thought it would be really neat to create some kind of environment where we could get together with other creators and learn, you know, learn from each other, but meet each other and really just kind of bring some personal connections to this creation side of things. And that's where we started in 2014.
John Jantsch (01:56): So, so I guess now tell me, what does it look like today?
Dan Franks (01:59): Yeah, so at that time it was, you know, kind of a community gathering. We about five or 600 people at that first year event, which is, was really big way bigger than we thought it would be. We actually launched it on Kickstarter. So really just kind of throwing it against the wall to see if anyone else was out there. That thought it was a good idea. And since then, it's grown to a twice a year event where each event gets, you know, somewhere between a thousand and over 3000 attendees each year, and then a Facebook community with 70,000 members, that's super active, the largest Facebook community for podcasters. So really just grown to, you know, a lot of other things too. We've got a daily newsletter, that's got over 25,000 subscribers. That's all about, you know, podcasting and news and tips and tricks and all that. So really grown from just that, you know, idea of a game gathering to now, this living, breathing kind of media machine, all for people who create podcasts,
John Jantsch (02:50): You know, it's funny, you mentioned that about it being kind of a lonely space. I actually started mine in, in 2005. So I, I may be one of the, the old school oldest school, particularly of continuously running because you know, a lot of people that started when I did, I think it was hard to do. It was hard to get people to listen because there weren't, you know, we didn't have the iPhone, you know, app that, uh, came, you know, delivered with the iPhone. And so I think a lot of people did give up on it because they really weren't building any audience or didn't see any point in it, uh, no, necessarily, but then obviously once it became much more mainstream, probably around 2012, 13 is when it really probably took off again. So, so what's been your history. I mean, you said you were a, a CPA, uh, that's not necessarily an industry that jumped into podcasting early on. So, so what was kind of were, was that a real differentiator for you as a CPA or was podcasting just a side gig?
Dan Franks (03:41): Yeah, so, I mean, it started as a CPA sitting, you know, working 80 hour weeks behind a computer, just kind of, you know, plugging and chug chugging numbers and trying to figure out what to do to pass the time. And podcasting was from a listening standpoint, something that really filled that gap. And then from there, you know, just kind of thinking, Hey, maybe I should try this. A lot of people do with while listening to a podcast, it's very common thing. And yeah, ended up connecting with a coworker who had similar thoughts. We were both accountants. We, at that time were specializing in, they call it outsource, uh, CFP. So we were kind of helping small business owners with their financial, not just taxes, but a lot of their financial planning and book keeping and situations like that. And we thought it would be real cool to kind of talk about small business, best practices and interview small business owners and that kind of thing.
Dan Franks (04:28): Yeah. And now that's like one of the most common niches in podcasting, a small business, but you know, 20 12, 20 13, it was still a little bit more of a, of a open pond, so to speak and yeah, just started that way and really kind of immersed ourselves into that creator community. And like I said, the one thing led to another and we just really enjoyed being creators ourselves and getting no other creators. And that led to us kind of putting together that, you know, curating that community and, and led to a podcast movement as it is today.
John Jantsch (04:56): You know, you mentioned that. I mean, it was such a great differentiator right early on. I mean, it really kind of raised a lot of people to the ranks of authority, but you have a lot of people now that're saying, you know, the world doesn't need another podcast. I mean, there's too many of 'em. I know the answer to this, but I'm gonna ask you if you were talking to somebody thinking about starting a podcast and they had a good idea and a good platform, would you tell 'em now it's, it's too late?
Dan Franks (05:19): No, it's not too late, but it's definitely crowded and whatever you can think of that you wanna find a podcast about for the most part, there's a podcast out there. So really the approach, you know, back then, wasn't, you know, back then we could say, is there a podcast on this topic? There's a good chance. It isn't. So you can dive in and be the one and kind of, you know, have that, that early first to market, uh, effect so to speak. Whereas now there's pretty much ever everything out there. So, you know, what's the angle is that you're going to do it at better quality. Are you gonna tell better stories? Are you going to have better guests? Are you going to bring a different angle of ex your experience to the table? Are you representing a brand that hasn't ever had that outlet to speak to its customers or its potential customers? So what are you doing that's different that would just make somebody who's searching your topic in the iTunes, you know, apple play store or in Spotify searching your topic and come across yours and make you pick yours versus the other one that has to do with, uh, you know, a similar topic.
John Jantsch (06:14): Yeah. And I, I think the good news is yes, the market is crowded, but there's also, you know, millions and millions of more people listening to podcasts. So, so every niche that you could think of has got a pretty good size audience, I suspect.
Dan Franks (06:28): Yeah. And it's, you know, it's exciting now because back even five years ago, really to be a successful podcast, a lot of people saw it, meaning you get over 10,000 listeners and you start to be able to sell ads and have advertisers on your show and you make money with the podcast. Whereas now there's so many different definitions of success when it comes to your podcast. It could be, yes. I want to get a whole lot of listeners and sell advertisements, or it could be, I have this product or service that I'm trying to start on the side. And the podcast is meant to be a funnel for that or, or, you know, some, so, so in that particular instance, okay, success, isn't 10,000 plus listeners and being able to sell ads it's can I convert one of my 100 listeners every month to being a customer?
Dan Franks (07:09): And then that's way more, you know, way more profitable for you if that's your goal than just trying to, you know, fight for advertisers. So, you know, now I think there's so many, any more opportunities and with tools like Patreon and all these, where you can kind of, uh, launch these additional add-ons for your listeners. Now, you don't necessarily, again, need those thousands and thousands of listeners. You just need either listeners who are gonna convert for you or your business, or who are going to kind of support you as a creator from that, you know, crowdfunding type standpoint, that premium offerings type standpoint. So just so many more ways now to define success.
John Jantsch (07:44): Well, and I'm, I'm glad you touched on it too, because I tell business owners all the time, you know, think of it as a potential lead generation, uh, tool as well. I mean, if you're, I'm a consultant, if let's say I'm targeting, you know, midsize company CEO as well, I'm gonna do a show, getting best practices of mid-size company CEOs, and I'm gonna have 'em on my show. It's gonna be great content, but at some point some of them are gonna go, oh, I'll take your phone call now and listen to what you know, you, I mean, so you're not using it to sell necessarily, but you're using it to get access to a potential target market. I, I think that one of the most underutilized, you know, aspects of podcasts, you become a member of the media.
Dan Franks (08:25): Yeah. And, and another thing that kind of, that, that reminds me of is one of the things we see a lot now are like professionals. You know, we talked about the accountant thing, but professionals who are almost talking shop amongst themselves, and it's not meant for the customer, it's meant for other people in your position. So for instance, you might be some sort of specialized surgeon that there's only, you know, a thousand of you in the world, but if you're doing a podcast just for, you know, you and your fellow colleagues and you start listening, everyone else starts listening to the show. Well, then you've got these super high dollar advertisers who desperately want to get in front of that particular type of doctor, you know, people aren't reading magazines anymore. And, you know, there's limited ways to get in front of just that targeted audience.
Dan Franks (09:05): But if you have a podcast where, okay, it maybe only has 150 listeners an episode, but 150 of 'em are the exact type of doctor that you're trying to get in front of for your, you know, piece of medical equipment or whatever it is. There's hardly any other way to get in front of that group in such a targeted way. So again, like there's, we see that type of thing start popping up or dentists in a lot of it's in the medical, but it just becomes such a, you know, such a targeted way that you can, you know, create content and get in front of those advertisers that become super profitable. And some, I talked to one doctor who started taking less and less shifts to put more and more focus. And you know, the starting salary there is already pretty good, but the podcast is doing better. So it's pretty exciting.
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John Jantsch (10:42): So let's flip the mic around. Um, a lot of times when people talk about podcasting, they think, oh, okay, I have to start a podcast to use podcasting. I actually started an entire company called podcast bookers, sorry, there's my ad podcast, bookers.com that that our whole intent was to actually get people on podcasts as guests. And I think a lot of times, certainly a lot of people like to be on shows, but actually making that a very intentional part of your marketing, uh, activity to get on the right shows to get the exposure, you know, to get maybe the scene as well. You know, an expert you're gonna get content, but the little dirty little secret is, I dunno about you Dan, but when somebody comes on my show, I promote the heck out of that show. I promote the heck out of the links that they mentioned, you know, on the show. So it's the greatest way to get back links today. So talk to me about, you know, your idea or what you've seen people doing to make podcast guesting, just as effecti as podcast hosting.
Dan Franks (11:38): Yeah. So, I mean, obviously there's services like the one you provide that kind of curates what shows would be best for you as a potential guest, but you know, that's something and you would say this too, that someone, if they wanted to, you know, roll their sleeves up and put in the dirty work, they could do that themselves. And I think there's a lot of value that goes into finding those right fits for you as a guest to be on. I, I like to say like, look at the longevity of these shows that you're potentially sure looking to get on because quite honestly, a lot of people do get that shiny object syndrome, right. And start their own show and you might get pitched to be a guest on that show and it looks good because it's this fun idea and you go back and check it out after your episode is released.
Dan Franks (12:14): Like six months later, you check it out and the show's, you know, sunset and no one's gonna ever hear your show again, because it's gone it's off the air. So yeah, I think, you know, as you're, if you're looking to be intentional about being a guest go, you know, research shows spend some time find those best practices or again, you know, work with someone like you, but yeah, just getting in front of those audiences. And again, like I said about those people that can, you know, buy advertisements on very specialized shows, that same approach can be taken to being a guest. You can find very specialized shows that are the exact right audience that you're looking to get in front of. Yeah. And if you bring something compelling other than just a pitch for yourself, but something compelling, you know, an expertise that maybe some, one else couldn't provide or that, that show was never featured before, you know, you can be as much of a value add to that show as, you know, getting that value in return.
John Jantsch (13:01): I had a client tell me this one and I'd love to hear, you know, if you've seen any really out of the box uses that he actually went and found shows that other guests were kind of his profile of who he was looking for. He'd go beyond the show. And then he would go through the list of guests and contact them, say, Hey, I saw you were on this show too. You know, I really loved your episode. You know, maybe, you know, I'd love to, I'd love to meet you and hear more about what you do. And he, he actually uses it as a somewhat aggressive lead generation or lead mining approach.
Dan Franks (13:32): Yeah. I mean, I think there's a couple different angle there where being on podcasts or hosting podcasts really kind of put you in connection with people that otherwise you wouldn't be able to. So I know a lot of people who host Joe's and bring on guests who otherwise, if they had just cold emailed this person, they'd never make this connection, whether it's a famous person or an influencer in their space, same thing goes with that. If you have that, that, like you said, that, that commonality, Hey, we were both on this show and I, I really enjoyed your episode. Like, can we connect that's, you know, one, a foot in the door that you otherwise wouldn't have had that to be able to relate to people. So yeah, a lot of different ways to skin the cat in terms of leveraging podcasts and guesting and being a guest and having guests, you know, to further, you know, your personal or your professional brand.
John Jantsch (14:14): So in the end, we're really just talking about content, audio content, right. And so a lot of people think in terms of it as a broadcast out to the world, but I'm in, I'm seeing one trend I'm seeing is increasingly companies are using it, you know, even internally or communities are using it internally, just as a communications means what kind of trends along those lines are you seeing?
Dan Franks (14:35): Yeah. We're starting to see a lot of, like you said, companies who are not necessarily replacing, but supplementing that weekly, you know, company update with an audio version of it, or maybe they're interviewing whether it's executives or just interviewing other employees of the company to where you can kind of, you know, learn the stories of the people that you either work with, or that are maybe in other departments. So really just kind of bringing a little more personality to what otherwise would be that weekly team update email. Yeah. I'm also seeing yeah. Municipalities and cities and counties use both YouTube. So video style, but also podcasts for those weekly, you know, updates that the city might send out. You know, don't forget trash is getting picked up, you know, late this week cuz of the holiday. And that sounds super boring, but there's a lot of people who, Hey, I just want to hear that, you know, three minute update from the city and I'm more likely to listen to the podcast than read the newsletter. So that's a super exciting trend we're seeing. And then, you know, a little bit in a similar way, we're seeing these, you know, companies use it a little bit more for content marketing and, and communications with customers or, or potential customers. So in a similar way of, you know, disseminating information as, you know, municipality or a company with it for internal communication, we're seeing a lot of that for external as well. So a lot of kind of newer developments in extensions of what podcasts might be.
John Jantsch (15:51): All right. So a, I know you don't have the silver bullet answer to this, but I know you also get asked this question a lot. So I got my show going, how do I get more listeners?
Dan Franks (16:00): Yeah, no, that is, and you mentioned in, you know, 2005, it was hard to find listeners because you know, there weren't that many of them to begin with the limited shows, but limited listeners. And now it's the opposite problem. Lots of shows and lots of listeners. Lot of what we see working really well are, is cross promotion between shows, right? I know, you know, on some of your episodes, you have, I think it's paid sponsorships, but it's podcasts advertising on another podcast and new shows can do that, have that same effect on one another, just by finding shows, maybe in a similar niche or that might have complimentary audiences and really help each other promote like, Hey, if you like my, this other show you should check out. And we know it works because we see the big, the biggest networks in the world cross promoting their own shows on their own shows.
Dan Franks (16:41): So that's a great way. Just once you've got a show going, you've got a track record, reach out to similar shows. We also see something called feed drops done on a somewhat regular basis. And that's when you find those same shows, maybe develop that rapport with them by by cross-promoting. And then you actually drop one of your episodes on their feed and they'll drop one of their episodes on your feed. So you're not just telling them about, you know, telling your audience about this show and you might record a custom intro on the front end and say, Hey, you know, this week we're taking off, but we've got this special bonus episode of a show that I think you're really gonna like, and then the, they listen to it and then they'll seek it out and subscribe. So a lot of kind of ways like that, where again, everything we do is community focused. Yeah. Um, at podcast movement and that's a community focused type way to help yourself grow and other people as well.
John Jantsch (17:27): I tell you what I've done a couple times and it's been really fun, especially when I have like a new book coming out or something like that. So I have a reason to be very promo emotional myself is I'll actually have a guest host. So I'll actually have somebody come on my show, who does a show and interview me on my own podcast. And now obviously it gives 'em an opportunity to, or, or she to promote their show. So another kind of fun twist.
Dan Franks (17:50): Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's all kinds of things you can do. And that's the fun thing about podcasting and, and YouTube and blogging and anything else where, you know, there's not really anyone telling you what you can and can't do. You can just come up with ideas like that, try it. And if it bombs, don't do it again. But if it works, which a lot of times it does, then, you know, you know, it might go after and do it again.
John Jantsch (18:10): So let's, we a geek out forever on this. So I'll try to keep it short. You know, let's talk just a moment about the tech for podcasting. When I first started, I actually recorded phone calls. I had a little device that I bought from the FBI. I think that plugged in, it was almost like tapping the phone and then it would go into an external recorder and, and I would have to upload that file. It was a mess. It was a lot it's, it's why a lot of people quit early because it was so much work. Now, of course, we've got where you and I are recording this on Riverside. You know, there's all kinds of tools to transcribe, do all this stuff at a minimum. What's in your opinion, the best kind of starter set up for, you know, somebody who wants to get going on a podcast.
Dan Franks (18:51): Yeah. I think the best starter set up is to get a basic USB microphone. There's several out there that you can research and they're, you know, 50 between 50 and a hundred dollars. It's an investment for sure. But it's not a gigantic one, right. Plugs directly into your computer or your laptop. Uh, they dynamic microphones usually. So they're pretty good about canceling out external noises. Right. And yeah, so like from a technical setup, like bare bones, USB microphone, the two that we really like are the audio Technica, uh, 2100, I believe is the current model. And then there's a Q2 Q2 U by Sampson. Those two are very good. They come with little Mike stands. So really those plugged into your laptop and a semi quiet environ, we'll give you pretty good results just to start. And then there's all kinds of like hosting companies out there that'll provide free service.
Dan Franks (19:37): Anchor is the most known one, but some of the really good ones out there red circle is one. I really like, uh, that is free hosting. And you can, yeah. You know, put a, get a podcast ready to go for somewhat minimal investment. Now I don't necessarily think you should just like get on there, plug the microphone in record, publish a podcast. Definitely think there's some, you know, planning and, you know, mapping out what you want this show to be and getting some episodes under your belt before launching. But you know, at bare minimum, it's not a giant investment. We were talking before getting on the air, I'm in a room with a road caster, which is a giant mixer with fancy lights and a bunch of mic microphones all over. Those are cool to have, but definitely think people should, you know, get started, make sure they like it. You know, my parents used to always, you know, we'll buy you, you know, something small and make sure you like it. And then we'll get you the expensive bike. If you actually, you know, show us, you actually wanna ride the bike on a regular basis. Same thing with this. Like you can definitely go more expensive, but make sure it's something you wanna with before spending too much.
John Jantsch (20:34): Okay. My current every day, Mike is as sure what's this one S SM seven B, I think they call sure. SM seven B into a cloud lifter, which lifts the gain into a two mix mixer channel that, or it's actually a four mixer channel. I just use two channels. That was probably a hundred dollars. So, I mean, all, all in all pretty professional setup, you know, under a grant. And what's your current setup,
Dan Franks (20:56): Dan? The one I'm using here in this little, uh, studio at my coworking space, it's as sure SM seven B the same microphone. Yeah, probably one of the, the, the better high end microphones there. But like I said, the roader a mixer, which it's a great mixer. It's really good if you're recording three or four people at once in the same location and
John Jantsch (21:12): Like the Eagles are there and they wanna perform. There
Dan Franks (21:15): You go. There you go.
John Jantsch (21:17): Cause it could handle that.
Dan Franks (21:18): Yeah, for sure. But yeah, I mean, it's, you know, like I said, most, a lot of people would not notice the difference between the listener. When I say, say people, the difference between the a hundred dollars setup and the thousand dollars setup, a lot of it is how you use it, what your recording environment is like, if you're, you know, got the window open and there's someone mowing the lawn outside, it doesn't matter how expensive your setup is. It's still gonna sound like the window's open and someone's mowing the lawn outside. But you know, everything from, uh, I, I know people, I know very large podcast who record in their closet because, you know, close everywhere and really dampens the sound and creates a really nice recording environment. I know someone who's a, a college professor who wears his graduation gown kind of throws it over him as he records. And again, it's like a little recording booth. So, uh, a lot of the podcasters you listen to on a regular basis, they're making due with whatever they can in the house. I mean, that's something that anyone and everyone could figure out kind of a solution for
John Jantsch (22:12): One of my first guests early on was Tim Ferris, right after the four hour work work week had come out and he was on a mobile phone walking on a windy day. So you can imagine what that sounded like.
Dan Franks (22:24): Yeah. And you know, a lot of people now, the iPhone microphone and the, in the AirPod microphones are not horrible, not recommended, but you know, just technology as you, you were referencing earlier has gotten so much better even on those handheld devices again. Yeah. Maybe don't walk down the streets of Chicago on the phone for, for a podcast recording, but you know, if the best you have is your, you know, your iPhone phone, it might make due for that, you know, some of those test episodes.
John Jantsch (22:53): So Dan tell people where they can find out more about your work and certainly, uh, check out the next and maybe tell us when the next podcast movement is.
Dan Franks (23:00): Yeah. So, uh, podcastmovement.com. We've got all of our daily newsletter up there, all kinds of, uh, tips and tricks and advice for new podcasters, as well as, uh, existing podcast and industry professionals and podcast movement right now happens twice a year. So the end of March, 2022 is our next one. And then our flagship event is this August in Dallas. So two big events, hopefully getting back into in person event action this year and yeah. Looking forward to continuing to grow.
John Jantsch (23:27): Yeah. Awesome. Well, thanks for stopping by the duct tape, mark marketing podcast, Dan, and, uh, hopefully we'll run into you one of these days at a podcast movement or on the road somewhere
Dan Franks (23:36): Looking forward to it. Thanks, John.
John Jantsch (23:38): All right. That wraps up another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. I wanna thank you so much for tuning in, feel free to share this show. Feel free to give us reviews. You know, we love those things. Also, did you know that we had created training, marketing training for your team? If you've got employees, if you've got a staff member that wants to learn a marketing system, how to install that marketing system in your business, check it out. It's called the Certified Marketing Manager program from Duct Tape Marketing. You can find it at ducttapemarketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that tab that says training for your team.
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