May 27, 2022

Five out of 5 Producers Agree: Do Not Use A Blue Yeti


Welcome to the first episode of the Podcast Super Friends, hosted by Matt Cundill, Johnny Peterson, Jon Gay, Catherine O'Brien and David Yas. We're a collective of podcast industry veterans from across North America who love to talk about everything to do with podcasts. Since it's our debut episode, we thought we'd keep it simple. This week's conversation centers around how to start a podcast, what you need to get going, and how to build a successful brand.

We also talk about the production side of things: Why you need an editor, what makes a good editor vs. a bad one, and the importance of sound quality in terms of audience retention. There's plenty of wisdom to absorb, and decades of experience between us. If you're thinking of jumping into the industry with your own show, this is a great place to start.

This episode was recorded live. You can view the original recording here.

Check out more from the Super Friends below:

Johnny - Straight Up Podcasts

David - Boston Podcast Network

Jon - JAG In Detroit Podcasts

Catherine - Branch Out Programs

Matt- The Soundoff Podcast Network

Transcript

Welcome to the Podcast Super Friends. Five podcast producers from across North America get together to discuss podcasting.

We're on the air in three, two.

Actually, we're live. My name is Matt Cundill. I'm the owner of the Sound Off Podcast Network. I'm in Winnipeg, Canada. Yeah, actually, we're on right now. I want to welcome everybody to this, the Pod Power Roundtable. I want to say Hi to Johnny. Johnny Peterson, who's in Dallas. How are you?

I'm fantastic. I'm Johnny Podcasts, as you can see by my beautiful name card. I'm based in Fort Worth, Texas, right next to Dallas. And I produce podcasts with a specialty in audio and video engineering.

And I want to welcome Catherine.

Hello, everybody. My name is Catherine O'Brien. My company is Branch Out Programs. I produce podcasts for businesses throughout the entire United States. But I'm based here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And I'm here to talk about content. And oh, we just all love podcasts so much.

I want to say Hi to Jag in Detroit. How are you?

Hey, Matt. John Gay, also known as Jag, former radio DJ, turn podcaster. I create podcasts to help businesses build their brands just like everybody here. And I'm excited to be here.

All right. And a lot of people know David. Hi, David. How are you?

Great. David Yas here, Boston Podcast Network. Matt, it's 61 crisp degrees here in Westwood, Massachusetts at the Pod617 studios. Traffic on the Expressway is moderate. And happy to join today and to offer my thoughts, we, of course, produce podcasts here, too, at Pod617.com. Boston Podcast Network, in Pod we trust. Matt, back to you. 

All right. And thanks a lot for coming up with the idea of doing this. What we'd like to do today is go around the table and share some ideas about podcasting. I know a lot of people who have signed up for this and are peeking in today are looking for ideas on how they're going to start a podcast. So we'll start with Johnny. Johnny, somebody comes to you and they say, I want to start a podcast. What are some of the first things that you tell them?

Before we even start the conversation is you have to like, what's the reason for doing this? And I can't tell you- it's become less and less nowadays, but it used to be a lot of well, I saw Joe Rogan signed a $100 million contract with Spotify. So I figure I can bust out a true crime podcast, six months in, start rolling in some ad sponsors, which is a fine goal to have. But you need to have some kind of goal. And I've found with the clients that I work with that having it be tied into growing your personal brand or somehow tying it into your business, whether it's bringing on people who could potentially be clients that you want to interview, this is how you get your foot in the door, having some kind of solid goal that you're going to build the show around. That really helps you define your audience. It helps you define what type of guest. If you're even going to do an interview podcast, that's just sort of my frame of reference because that's who I work with mostly. But again, having that one solid goal, having that defined, and then we start to go from there.

So, Catherine, is there anything else you want to add to that?

Yeah, I think what Johnny was saying is perfect as well. As I often go the next step with my clients and we set a mission statement for the podcast. It's always great to know what your podcast is. It's even sometimes more important to know what your podcast isn't, so that you can start saying no to guests that aren't going to be furthering that goal, or you're saying no to the projects in the podcast or the series in the podcast that really don't fit with what you're trying to achieve. And as we all know, having a mission or something that's clearly stated out from the get-go can really help to keep you on track.

David, tell me about taglines, and describing your podcast when it comes to taglines. 

Well, nobody cares about your podcast until they do. That's a mantra here on 617. First thing they need to understand is what your podcast is about. So when you come up with an idea for a podcast, you should be able to describe it certainly in 30 seconds or less. I don't practice what I preach. I have a podcast called The Boston Podcast, and people ask what it's about. I say I don't know. Anything. I interview people who are interested. But when I do use a tagline, it's usually the Boston Podcast. The voices, the stories of your city told through the voices of your city. So then at least you get a quick idea of what the show is about. I have a music podcast called Past Tens: a Top Ten Time Machine. It doesn't really have a tagline, but at the beginning of every show, we say, welcome to Past Tens: a Top Ten Time Machine. It's the podcast where we go back in time to look at the Billboard top ten hits on a given week and then talk about what has held up and what hasn't. So I think it's a mistake made of many podcasters that they're so excited to have a show and a cohost. And then they're sort of like, hey, welcome to The Jane Rogers Show. I'm here with my co host, Bill. Bill, what's up? It's so cold today, isn't it? And then they go on for twelve minutes and you still don't know what the show is about. So that's the benefit of coming up with the tagline, I think.

So, John, I saved the best question for you, and David sort of touched on it about getting people to care for your podcast. So how do you get people to care for your podcast?

Well, first, let me echo what everybody else has been saying, and there's a great analogy that an early radio mentor of mine taught me, which is that doing a radio show or a podcast is like driving a NASCAR. I'm not a NASCAR fan, but the analogy still works. You do all your work in the pit. So when the race starts, all you've got to do is drive. Prep your show, have your outline. It doesn't have to be scripted. You don't want to sound like you're reading, but have bullet points, know how you're going to get from A to B to C to D and so on and so forth. So I wanted to make sure we hit on that because planning out the podcast is so important. But it's to your question, Matt, how to get people to care. It's just any kind of marketing. You've got to appeal to an emotion. You've got to get somebody's attention. Whether you're telling a compelling emotional story like a true crime podcast, or you're giving somebody valuable information, you're putting somebody on the ground in Ukraine, to use a topical analogy, or providing valuable information about something. Like a lot of financial advisors talking about retirement, talking about what's happening in terms of our Roth IRA conversions going away, things like that. Provide information or appeal to an emotion, to me, are the two ways to get somebody to care.

So you mentioned planning. And I know a lot of people are thinking planning. What do I have to plan for?

My friends say I'm funny and I should have a podcast.

I know it's easy. It's just people talking on microphones.

Yeah, we have such great conversations. We should just record this.

Everybody tells us you should have a podcast. 

But now you want one and it's time to plan one out. So what exactly are we going to be planning for, Johnny?

Well, again, it goes back to your goal, and it's really about finding what the topic of your show is going to be, because a lot of the problems with the podcasts we see now, like you said, everyone was joking. Oh, you're so funny. We should have a podcast. That leads to oh, it's the Anything and Everything podcast. So if you're planning around a specific topic or specific niche, that ties into what Jack was saying of getting people to care. If I'm a nurse and I'm not looking for Anything and Everything podcast, I want to learn more about nursing and the medical world or what's happening in medicine right now or the nursing industry, I'm going to care about something like that. And that's how you're going to plan. Your content is defining who your listener is going to be. Who is that one person? Where do they hang out online? What do they like to talk about? That's how you can really plan around what your episode is going to be. And then if you're like a lot of the podcasts that we work on, again, interview podcasts, it's finding a person that fits within that area of expertise, and then you can kind of flesh it around what they know to talk about because you don't want to bring somebody on that is an expert in X, but you spend the entire episode talking about something else. You're here to help them kind of flex on their expertise, and that really will help you build out what the content is going to be.

Ah yes, the anything and everything podcast. Catherine, why are those ones harder to make successful than, say, one that is more niche?

Who is it for? Who is going to be listening to this? And why? If you don't have that bullseye of your listener avatar, really, if you're not for somebody, you're for nobody. And of course, we all have varied interests and maybe our topic, we can justify talking to somebody who's not specifically in our niche. But really the show is supposed to be doing something. And if you're not really focused in on that, you're going to get into the ramble territory very quickly. And like, our jokes are all coming back to- we all want to think that we're these dynamic conversationalists or whatever, but it does take practice to be able to communicate and get your message across. Ramble works very rarely for a very limited few. So I would just say, that's not you. Everybody who's hearing our voices right now, they have to be talking to somebody about something and let that really be the thing that's guiding your show.

But isn't that, there's like- sorry to cut in Matt. That ties in with what Jag was talking about, is- especially with these types of podcasts, there's a balance between scripting everything out and having some kind of outline. So you don't ramble. But at a certain point, I think that you can overprepare. And then like Jag was just saying, you start to sound like you're just reading off of a script. And a lot of the appeal that comes from podcasting is having that friendly voice, that familiar voice where it sounds like you're just having a conversation at a coffee shop and the listener is sort of just the third person at the table listening to this conversation. And it sort of cheapens the experience when it seems like it's too overprepared. So that's something to think about, too, is finding that line between being too prepared and also not rambling and talking about nothing because you've got nothing written down.

Well, yeah, but what you're talking about really is like the sweet spot between the overproduced and the unprepared. There is like a nice wide bell curve in there. And there is a difference between not having your show for somebody, for a specific listener. That doesn't mean- when you hone in on who you want to be reaching with your podcast, that doesn't mean that you're not going to attract other types of people who aren't that exact person. So it really is that sweet spot between those two extremes.

Yeah.

We're not disagreeing here.

No. We will later.

By the way, later, Jag keeps moving off. Do you disappear? Everyone's going to think I'm putting Jag in a corner.

Nobody puts Jag in a corner. No, I'm having a login issue. I'll be back momentarily. I'll be good. I apologize.

David, tell me a little bit about show structure, because I think Catherine touched on it a little bit about, y'know, there could be just some endless rambling. But when you talk to clients about structuring a show, what does that involve?

Yeah, I think it's important because picking up on what people have said informality is great, but rambling is bad. And so most people want to do an interview podcast. I mean, that compromises probably maybe two thirds of all the the sound off podcast produce is you've got a host and perhaps a co host and a guest. So you start with the simple structure. We're going to ask the guest questions. So is that enough? Well, first off, the advice that I think is probably most important to any podcasters, please make sure you listen to your guest because you can have your list of prepared questions. But the real good stuff comes when the guest mentions something that you want to pick up upon. The guest will say something like, well, you know, I spent five years at IBM and then I spent 20 years at Morgan Stanley. Then there was the year I had to take off because of something with my brother. But that's not important as a host. You say, wait a minute, we got time. This is a podcast. What happened with your brother? That's my first piece of advice. The other piece of advice is structure is don't get married to a structure that will exist for the length of the entire podcast. But it's good to try things that give you guide posts. So, for example, some of my clients just started one with employment lawyer named Valerie Samuels. Her show structure is basically listener mail. So the listener has chimed in with this question. And by the way, if you don't have any on episode one, make one up or have an old radio trick.

Right there, it's a white lie.

Don't worry, nobody's going to call you on it. But a question of the day, it kind of warms her up as the host answer a question. Maybe you let the guest chime in too. Then towards the end of the show, she has something where it's like ten rapid fire questions. And I do that with a lot of my shows. There's a lot of different flavors of that. But I think it is good to have guide posts in certain sort of mini segments because for one, it gives you sort of a sense of comfort as the host that we know we're going to do this, this and this. And also the listener. The last segment that you promised towards the end is a great one. They're going to stick around, listen to the whole episode. They're going to get used to hearing that cool thing at the end.

Jag, we've talked a little bit about the first two minutes of a podcast and how important it is. Why is it so important?

Forgive me for popping on and off. I'm good now, but has anybody done the James Bond analogy yet? Have I missed that or no?

No.

Okay, so this comes from Joel Salzhi, who has a podcast called Stacking Benjamin that was originally started here in Michigan. And he said the first two minutes of a podcast is like a James Bond movie. How does a James Bond movie start? It starts with a car going into a Lake. It starts the helicopter chase or somebody hanging off a helicopter. It's some big, fast thing to get your attention right away. And I'm not saying you have to have some massive adrenaline rush in the first two minutes, but you have to have something that's going to get your listeners attention. And that could even be something as simple as setting the table for what you're going to talk about. It could be a tease. Hey, welcome to the show. Today we are going to talk about X, Y and Z as opposed to, hey, how's it going? Yeah, like Johnny was saying, good, nice weather. David Sandra, good weather today. How's it going? Nobody has time for that. People have a limited attention span. We've all heard the Goldfish analogy, but it's also important to respect your listeners, respect their attention span and the time they're committing to you. They're committing time to weigh more than likely a cat video on Facebook that takes a fraction of a second. But if you are downloading and listening to a podcast, you're making that 1015, 30, 45, 60, whatever it is, minute commitment to somebody, respect them for committing that time to you and be respectful of their time.

Jag, I think there's a wrinkle. There's a wrinkle within that, too, because people just starting out in podcasting. None of us save for Jag and Matt, who come from the radio industry. No one's born a broadcaster. What do you mean you can take this from? Don't take that piece of advice. As you sit down across from your guests, you go, okay, there's no small talk. Once I hit record, we are going. That makes the experience more nerve racking for the both of you. So that's kind of where editing comes into play, too. If you need two or three minutes to talk about the weather, just to get yourselves warmed up for the conversation, get that recorded, be really comfortable in front of the mic for those first couple of minutes. And you can always take that out and post and jump right to that video or that tease that really pulls in the listener's attention. So there is a wrinkle within that.

I like that.

So, Catherine, why do I need an audio editor?

Because speaking of that, James Bond start that we all know, and now anybody who's hearing this will know is that the quality of your audio matters. Of course, you can have good hooks and you can get people interested. But if your sound quality is bad, that's where people are making that connection. If it's poor, then they're going to drop off. So if you have an audio editor, they can work all the magic. You put what you can on the recording and then the audio editor can take it up. And I am amongst some amazing audio Editors right here.

I was thinking about radio and how it was all very live and off the cuff, but then I'm also reminded that anything you can record, you can make better. So, David, when you're doing editing, what exactly are you removing or adding?

Yeah, it's a different philosophy from editor to editor, I think. And some of the pure audio real sort of absolutists will try to take out every pause, every repeated word. I think generally you don't want to go that far, you don't want to suck the guts out of a good conversation. Sometimes a dramatic pause is great, a pause that's there because the guest forgot what they were talking about. Maybe not so great. So we do all use and we compare notes on this, the five of us all the time, about software tools. There are great ones, but it does take a human touch. I tend to try to take out most of the aunts and us, particularly if somebody has a crush, unfortunately, and we all do have a crush that we word that they repeat. Some people don't realize they're saying it three times in a row. When I first got to Dallas, Texas, I didn't know anything about. So in other words, clean that up. We try to look for inconsistencies things, that moments where people forgot the name of something and it's just kind of as a listener, it would be distracting to you to try to take that out. And then there are other tools, like Jack introduced us all to this tool, which I don't even know if I should tell people about it, Jag, because it's such a great business.

Well, here David. David, I'll piggyback off your point there, which is that there are AI softwares that will delete umms and uhhs, but they will not know exactly which ones to take out. And not I mean, if you're on a budget and you're kind of doing this as a hobbyist, maybe, but the artful umm is a panel. I remember at a convention we were all at, where if somebody asks a question of a guest and it's a really good question and the guest has to think about that answer for a second. Let me think about that for a second. That's important to the context of the conversation. You'll want to leave that. If somebody is just saying, I, uhh, y'know, uhh, uhh. To David's point, that's just distracting, that can go. I find as a general rule, I probably take out about 80% of the umms and uhhs. I leave some in for context. I leave some in if just the way the word came. It's not a clean edit. The rule of editing is if somebody knows an edit there, don't make the edit. Some edits can't be made cleanly. So you might just leave some of those crutch words in in that situation.

That's part of the AI thing, too, Jag is it- it does, like, Descript is the software we're all dancing around naming. If you guys are hobbyist podcasters and you want to look into AI editing tools, Descript is the way to go. But there is a downside to that. If you're someone that's really concerned about cutting out all of your umms, uhhs, y'knows, those. The AI does, I would say a B-grade job of removing all of those. However, the edit itself may not be clean in terms of fading out of the previous word or fading out the breath and then fading back into the next word. The AI doesn't do that. It's a really choppy cut. And unless it's a perfect- I'll give you an example sentence. My name is Johnny, umm, Peterson and I make podcasts. It'll get that. And that could be a pretty clean edit. But if you have the word in between two words that are pretty close together, it's going to be a really choppy cut. So it's just kind of buyer beware. If you're going to use tools like Descript, you need to relisten through that audio that's been cut and make sure that that edit is clean. And if you want to learn more about that, connect with any of us offline on Twitter or wherever on social media, and we'll give more context to what that means.

I want to chime into something that Jag said, and we talk a lot about the errs and umms, because every podcaster or every editor talks about taking those out, I would say that there's something artful about silence, too. And we've seen a lot of some of these the AI or some of the editing where it's truncating all of the silence. But silence can really be your friend. Silence can help convey emotion. It can let a point really hit and land. It can be- show the maybe attention or the conflict that somebody is thinking about before they give an answer. So silence is another thing that sometimes can really be helpful to the storytelling aspect of your podcast episode. And it's not something you just want to take out for the sake of taking things out.

Catherine, that's also just good advice as an interviewer. I'll give a quick example. One of the first podcasts I ever did I interviewed the first openly gay judge on the Massachusetts appeals court, and he was talking about how growing up and being a closeted gay male going through law school, there were just really difficult moments. And he was retelling a story, and he paused. And I couldn't tell why he paused at first, but then I realized he was tearing up. He was getting emotional. And for once in my life, I listened to the voice inside my head that said, Dave, shut the hell up. Do not interrupt this moment. And he composed himself. And it turned out to be one of the more compelling moments in there. So silence could be your friend. I'd say, even when in doubt, let the guests have time, because if you decide that pause is too long, you can always take it out later.

I think one of the best reasons why you would hire a podcast producer, and this is my experience, is that I listened to it a number of times, but it doesn't come out the same way that the radio might sound or an audio recording like a song sounds. The levels are low when I get on the airplane, it doesn't sound the same in my car. And then I asked somebody about it, and then up came this word, compression. And I have no idea what compression is. And so that's when I immediately went and hired a professional to teach me a little bit about this. Johnny, why is this important for audio?

Compression? I mean, I wasn't trained in, like, Full Sale University a lot of us are self taught. So I can't give an academic answer to what compression really is. But essentially, when you're a hobbyist podcaster and you're recording- thank you, Jag. When you're a hobbyist podcaster and you're recording, the gain level, I. E. The volume of your microphone, can be all over the place. And if it's way too high, we need to bring that down because it's just going to puncture the listeners ears. So essentially what we do with compression is basically we're putting a weight on top of that recorded audio, and we're pushing it down just a little bit or even a lot if it's way too high. But really, ultimately, the goal of compression is to make the final audio that we're putting out really comfortable for the listener, because if we, as the listener, have to struggle through listening to a piece of audio, you're going to last maybe 15 or 20 seconds, even if it's the most compelling conversation you've ever heard.

So, yeah, I didn't want to get too knee-deep into the audio hoopla on the whole thing. But I guess the question is, why do some podcasts sound bad and other ones sound better? I think it's a lot easier to make a bad sounding podcast than it is to make a really good sounding one.

Yeah.

One of the things that- sorry, Johnny. It is one of the things that will prompt the listener to turn it off. I mean, think about if you've been on podcast, they welcome the guest on and the guest level is so low that you can't hear it and it's crackly, and then you end up having to adjust your volume knob because the host is so loud and the guest is not. So those are the kind of thing people will accept, if someone sounds like a radio calling guest and their voice sounds a little staticky, but there's a limit, and so we all just want to make sure it's a comfortable listen.

I think there's a trade off there, which is the worse your audio is, the better the content has to be. People will be a lot more forgiving of average or C or D audio, but only if the content is an A plus. One of the biggest things, to David's point, is inconsistent volume between the guests. If you've got somebody in a car who has to mess with the volume knob between the guest and the host and they're going to get their ears blown out when the louder person comes on, you're right, they're not going to last long. I don't care what you're talking about.

And they could get in a car accident because they keep looking down at the radio.

You don't want that on your conscience, come on now.

No, that's not why we started this podcast.

Let's go around just briefly about microphones, because I think a lot of people, their first purchase is going to be the microphone or I've got to buy a microphone. What are your quick and fast tips or suggestions for purchasing a microphone? What should you be looking for?

Shure MV7 USB. It's $250. I know it sounds expensive, but get that microphone. It's the USB version of this one. That's all I'll say.

Shure is Shure. Is that right?

Shure M V Seven. 

If that is a little too rich for your blood, the Samsung Samson. The model is Q2U. You can connect by XLR or by USB, and it is about $70-80 on Amazon. Johnny's mic is better. The Samsung Q2U will be absolutely just fine.

Yeah, there I was in Target, just strolling along, I had my cart, I was looking around and I found myself in the electronics department, and there, sitting before me in this shiny box ready for an unboxing video. All came clear to me. Why do so many people use the Blue Yeti? Because it is available at Target. I will say what no one else will say here, don't buy the Blue Yeti. Go ahead and buy one of the mics that the gentlemen here we're talking about. Now, of course, everybody comes back and they say, well, actually, Yeti is not that bad of a mic or whatever. Fine. The problem with the Yeti is that it's very difficult to easily make great sound come out of it. So I'm using right now. I'm using the Audio Technica 2100. It plugs right into my laptop. I like it as a choice for sort of a plug and play durable microphone. But the point I'm trying to make here is whatever microphone you get, you need to learn how to make your mic sound good. The Yeti is difficult because first of all, it's a side address mic. A lot of people don't know that. It's got a polar pattern switch so that you have to make sure that it's picking up the sound that you want it to and not the sound that you don't. It's not pulling in all the sound from the room. And it's much easier to get some success going right away with a dynamic microphone that, as Jag and I are pointing out, is under $100.

But if you did end up with the Yeti, and I have a client or two that-

Don't up-do my dramatic story, Johnny, come on. That was a good story.

All I'm saying is that the power of the Internet, there is a ton of information out there on how you can tweak your Blue Yeti to make it passable for podcasting. So just do some Googling.

We'll put the Bandrew Scott videos, so everybody can watch that.

Yeah, exactly. The Bandrew Scott interview.

Go ahead, Jag. And then I'll go.

I was going to say again, as Matt said, we don't get too deep into the tech aspect of it, but when you're looking at the specs on a microphone to pick out, as Catherine alluded to, there are condenser microphones and there are dynamic microphones. Very simply put, the condenser microphone is built for a studio environment that will pick up everything around you. It will pick up the traffic outside it'll pick up your neighbor yelling across the street. A dynamic microphone is designed to pick up more of your voice going into it and less of the background. As you're starting out especially, get a dynamic microphone, not a condenser microphone.

And just to the point about- we have Yetis and Snowballs around the Pod617 Studios here, but they're kind of off to the side, like, kind of like it would be in a Museum, just kind of placed there. They're not plugged in. One of the big mistakes people make is falling for the thing where the Yeti or the Snowball? One of those, it has a setting where you can set it so that it gets everybody in the room. It will never work well. Never. It'll sound like a bunch of people in a room, not like a podcast. So don't do that. And I'd be curious here if anyone has quick advice. I don't want to get too deep in the weeds, but if you have two co-hosts, you're doing a podcast with a friend, you should have two microphones. The technical aspect of getting both of those into the same feed is actually a little bit more complicated than we would hope. I have a lot of people who just actually get on a Zoom call. Even if they're in the same office, they go into different rooms and that works just fine. But there are solutions. Anyone want to chime in?

Yeah. I literally just got an episode sent to me this morning of this exact scenario, and they had me jump on Riverside with them to make sure that it was all set up. But basically the set up was- they're in the same room recording into the same computer, each with a Shure SM7, which is the microphone that I'm using right now. And Jag is using as well. And those were plugged into a two input audio interface which allows you to take an XLR cable and plug that into your computer. So they had both of those running into the same box, running into the same computer. I just had them sit a little bit further away and I made sure that their gains were set correctly and that everything was plugged in correctly. I think one of the cables was a little loose, so there's some feedback, but it turned out really well. So it can work. But again, you've got to have the right equipment, which points to, again, if you have a producer on call that you can just call, text, FaceTime. That's a great resource to have.

The Podcast Super Friends.

I said we weren't going to get too much into the weeds, but we are here anyway. 

Deep in it. 

But it really speaks to how difficult it is to make great sounding audio. Right? I mean, you do have to do all this stuff in order to get it sounding right. We didn't even talk about the noise in the room. I see, like behind you, Jag, I think you've got some soundproofing, which is very helpful.

And by the way, quick side note on that. Not as expensive as you would think. You can go on Amazon and buy these 1ft by 1ft egg crate type panels, Matt's got something a little bit nicer than I do, it looks like. But yeah, there you go. They are relatively inexpensive. You want to put around- This was a closet in my basement that I converted to a studio. So it's not a $20,000 recording studio, but for a podcast, it gets the job done.

Horse blankets work.

And they look cool. They make you look more like a podcaster.

Yeah. But I feel like I've changed my stance on this over the years. I was really big on record it in your closet, have all your clothes hanging up in the small closet, and so it kind of dampens the sound. If you can afford an editor and not even an editor, but an audio engineer, they can help clean you up. Really, the basics that you need are to be in a room that is quiet with as minimum number of windows as possible. If you don't have to deal with a lot of outdoor noise or people coming in and out of the room? I have no soundproofing panel. I showed that panel, but it's just sitting on the floor. You should really be focused on the content of your podcast and having a solid microphone to start. If you can afford doing the studio and soundproofing your room, that's great. But I feel like my stance on it has changed. Obviously, I'm open to being wrong, but I feel like the percentage difference that that makes is not enough to where it needs to be your sole focus.

I think that you're right, and I think also, too, a couple of things. Audiences have come a long way as well. The audiences have a variety of podcasts that they're listening to, and they are used to just different, sort of, let's call it tones. Plus, I think that as podcasting has grown in popularity, there's more options for those engineering. So if you get a- kind of back to the sweet spot that we were talking about before, Johnny, is that there's two ends of being poor audio quality and there's a wide range of good sounding audio quality.

Yeah, there's a big middle.

There's a big middle. And if you can get your show into that, then you're right. Worrying more about what you're saying, who you're saying it to, those are going to serve you much better.

Agreed.

So all those in favor of banning the blue Yeti say Aye. 

Can we make it a felony?

 Misdemeanor.

I'll say it again. You can learn. There are ways to make, like we were saying, there are ways to make it sound good. Passable. But it's just, you have to know thy mic.

It takes more work. And if you're not already, like into audio, it's weird because if you're into audio engineering and podcasting sound, you wouldn't buy it. But if you're not and you have bought it, you need to have that knowledge to be able to work it correctly. So you're screwed if you do, screwed if you don't.

The worst thing for a bad product is good marketing.

Boom.

Yeah, that's true.

I want to just pivot slightly to performance. How do you know when your podcast is doing well? We'll start with Catherine.

Oh, gosh, why me? I think that somebody who has been in podcasting a little bit longer than I have, they really tried to turn my attention early on to the idea of engagement. So downloads are not going to always tell you what you necessarily want to hear about your show, but engagement will. Are you asking your audience to do something and they do it? That's worth gold. That is marketing gold. Your podcast is doing what it's supposed to do if your audience is taking the action that you would like them to take. So if you're asking for people to hit you up on social media and ask questions or send you an email or sign up for your email list, any of those things, if they're doing it, that is going to be really so much more to you than any download never, ever could tell you.

I just want to point out, by the way, you got through the whole thing and you didn't say download until the very end.

Yeah.

But I guess to that point, it's not necessarily about downloads.

Well, it really shouldn't be because I think that most people, let's just face it, are going to be disappointed if that's their one metric for how they're judging their podcast.

There are so many variables that go into it, and it can be so inconsistent if you live and die by the download. Why was I up this week? Why was I down this week? You'll drive yourself crazy. I couldn't agree more with what Catherine said. Engagement and people interacting with you is so much more of a valuable tool to use to measure.

It's the quality of your audience, not necessarily the quantity. And again, that ties back to what your goal of your podcast is. If you can define who your audience is and your goal is to try and make some money off of them, you would rather have ten people that really want the product that you're selling than 100 people that it's a coin flip whether or not they would even consider buying what you're selling.

That's right.

David?

 Just to piggyback on what people have said, it's always fun to look at the downloads because each one of us, I think, clicks on with some degree of hope and stars in our eyes thinking we're going to be the next big star. We all sort of have that instinct in us. But everything people said is true. No one cares about your podcast until they do. And so when people I tell people I'm into podcasting, they'll sometimes bring up Joe Rogan or Mark Marin or somebody with a million downloads. And it's like, I'll talk to you about them if you want to. But I'm just a consumer of those podcasts, just like you are. What we do is much different in producing podcasts when you're starting from zero listeners. Define your audience. Think about if you're an attorney or a financial advisor, and you want people who are important to you in business, who might refer your business or maybe even potential clients to be listening to your show. If you could every week put 200 people in a room and talk to them and talk directly to them and interact with them, wouldn't that be worth it? Wouldn't that be a terrific marketing effort? I mean, think of how much that would cost if you actually did it to buy all the coffee and the bagels and stuff for people to show up every week. But if you have a podcast, that is what the experience is like, because podcasting is intimate. And so not to mention that just having a guest on your podcast will do you a solid inch favor with that guest. Perhaps that guest may become a fan of your show, he may become a fan of your business. And in that regard, you can have zero listeners, and it's still worthwhile. And the other thing is that you're producing a library that you'll be proud of, we hope and will live forever. And that has value. People will find your podcast years after just through searching for a certain person, they will continue to find your podcast. So those are all great reasons that aren't necessarily big in downloads. Downloads are great, but all this stuff is better.

To change the topic here a little bit. I think what Dave was saying about searchability and discovering your podcast, I think something that's worth mentioning to our audience today is the value of YouTube and Google. Now, Apple and Spotify are by far the biggest two podcast apps. That's where people are listening to podcasts on the app side of things. But we've seen in the last year. Matt, I know you have some data on this as well, but we've seen in the last year, folks are consuming podcast content on YouTube. Why? Because they're Googling something. And as most of you probably know, Google owns YouTube. How many times have you Googled how to do something and you get a YouTube search results? So if your podcast, even if you're not shooting video for it, even if it's audio only, you can still put that audio on YouTube. There are tools like Headliner app. Or you could simply take the static image of your show work and upload the audio, create a video that way. That way, if somebody's Googling for your show or Googling a topic related to your show, you want your show to come up in those search results. Make sure that your title of your podcast itself reflects what the show is about. Don't get too cute. Same thing with your individual episode titles and your show notes. Google can't search audio quite yet, but it can search text. So make sure your show notes are up to date and make sure you're on Apple, Spotify and YouTube for search ability.

Have we confirmed, Jag, that the show notes that Google pulls from the show notes directly or in terms of search results? I'm not saying that you're wrong. I just know that that's a point of contention in the world.

It is a point of contention. But I do know that episode title and podcast title and authors are seen by Google. That is that part is true.

I don't have any numbers to go with this, but one thing that I've added to all of the show notes that I do is I do have a section that's called mentioned on the show, and I phrase things in questions like this question is answered.

I love that.

And it's just a little blurb, just common questions that would have been answered in the show. Again, I don't have any proof about it yet, but it's a practice that I'm employing.

I've noticed it in mine. A lot of the shows that I work on will incorporate the time codes which I've talked to your guys ears off about before. But basically, having each question typed out with the time code in there, I've noticed that the shows that I do that on rank a lot higher in Google than the shows that don't.

Interesting, writing this down.

I mean, it makes a lot more sense, too, if you just think about it theoretically. If you have an episode and you just write out four or five sentences of I'm interviewing Jag in Detroit. He's a podcaster. We have a great time, period. Versus me asking him, writing out every single question that I asked him, what's the best microphone to have? What DAW are you using to edit your podcast? Where are you hosting your podcast online? Is it Libson? Is it Simplecast? Having all of that out there when people search those terms will bump you up the page on Google.

Yeah. Imagine if you did such a good job that when someone searches for Financial Advisor Retirement Planning Detroit, if one of the first thing that comes up is a podcast of you, Mr. Financial Advisor, giving some advice, to me that's worth its weight in gold. And it's better than an article about you. It's better than your website coming out, they're going to actually listen to you speaking. 

Or a paid consultation call where you'd get the same information for $500 an hour.

Right. And you can completely control the tone of your voice in a podcast, people can actually get to know you rather than just a paid ad. Is it what it is, right?

So we got to this particular point. We've talked about Google and the show notes and what goes into all those fields. And now we have to talk about why it's important to have a website.

Matt, you take over.

Matt is the website podcast King.

I don't think I am actually. Listen, Google continues to be a mystery in how it behaves and picks things up. I will say, you need a website. It's always good to have your own dot com and your own domain. And when you market your podcast, you should always be directing everybody back to your website because it's really your home base on the Internet. And the more Google understands that you're in it to podcast and what's going on, the better. Each episode should have its own page. You can set it up in a blog format, for instance, if you're using something like Wix or Squarespace. I know there's some services out there like PodPage, which I use for my network, which divvies it all up nicely. And there's room to put in your meta tags and your SEO and all the other Google geeky stuff that's out there. But you need to play nice with Google. You need to be friendly with them. Understand a little bit about the tags and having the website point to the RSS feed and getting it all to understand that, yes, there's a podcast here. And I see- I think one of the mistakes a lot of people make with their podcast website is they say, well, I'm going to add a podcast page, and it's just one page with all the episodes listed straight up and down. And that's just the one page. Google really doesn't understand that. It's not going to be able to catalog, oh, I had Catherine on my podcast, because if I have you on my podcast and you're all listed on the same page, Google really doesn't understand that. So learn the Google game. It changes all the time. And I think Google's done a few favors for podcasting now that when we type in, whether it's the name or a guest, Google saying, hey, did you know there's a podcast featuring this person here? And I think that's really going to be important for discovery going forward.

And to your point, Matt, about the having your own URL for your podcast. We've seen throughout Podcasting that for a while there Apple Podcast was having problems and everybody was reporting all these issues with Apple Podcasts and the episodes not showing up. And I just thought, oh, and we had just spent all these years saying, find this podcast on Apple Podcast instead of directing it to your own URL, which then you can have links to all the different podcast apps. You can actually have an embed of the episode. People are listening more on browsers. That's a trend. And I think one of the big, less sort of Internet lessons that we've gotten from the last few years is don't build your apartment complex on rented land. If you have your own URL, that's where you can always direct people and they can find the content that you would like for them to have.

And I think when we talk about website, it's not necessarily the one you have from Libson or Simplecast Art 19. They all give you a website. It's nice. And yes, you can connect to all of it, but to have your own.com gets you really cataloged into Google. And on that website, you should have badges. An Apple badge is good. A Google podcast badge. I think Spotify is immensely popular. I'll let Jag answer the next question. I'm just going to set them up here in just a second here. But I think those are the three you have up there as well. You can put an RSS feed and even Amazon Now is coming on. But Jack, who's bigger? Is it Spotify or Apple?

Depends on who you ask. My answer to that is yes. The bottom line is you've got to be on both. And that's why, to your point, Matt, it is so important to have your own website, because if you direct somebody to Apple, well, guess what? Anybody with an Android can't listen to your podcast. If you direct everyone to Spotify, guess what? Everybody who isn't using Spotify, the app or the website can't find your podcast, put them on the website so that there's a player right there on your website. And then they can also listen in Apple Spotify or Google or iHeartRadio or Stitcher or Amazon or wherever they want. For what it's worth, when I sign a new client up for a podcast, I submit them to seven podcast apps. The seven R, Apple Spotify, Google Tune In, Stitcher iHeartRadio and Amazon Music. I think that's seven Johnny.

I got it on my finger.

I used to submit to Pandora, but Pandora takes several months to approve and may or may approve. You aren't listening to podcasts on Pandora, but again, Apple Spotify are the biggest. Google is probably third. And make sure you're on YouTube as well.

And that's really all you need to do, I would suggest, because even after you do that, it will be picked up by other websites and other sources. And I don't know if you guys.

Yeah, to your point, a lot of podcast apps pull from Apple Forecast, pulls from Apple, right? Yeah, exactly. But I think it's one of those things where you pay for your host, your $15 a month or Simplecast or Blueberry or BuzzFeed or out 19 or whatever it is. But it's free to be on any of the apps. So for the five minutes it takes to submit to an app, maybe there's somebody that uses that Apple wants to listen to your podcast. It doesn't hurt.

What about Odyssey?

I have not had good luck. I saw a long process to approve a podcast when I looked at them up, and Iheart has very much improved their process where they're up within sometimes minutes of me submitting a new podcast to them.

That's a USA only podcast app, by the way. That's why. I'm in Canada, so I say that with a little tongue in cheek. I do want to talk about India. There's Jiosaavn and also Gaana. Worth it. The United States has a population of...?

330,000,000 and India is a billion.

Well, it's the same as the United States, plus another billion people.

Yeah.

And there's a fairly large English speaking population there. So especially if you have a podcast where there's celebrity or popular people on.

Western United States, culture is huge, too. I work on a podcast called The Cowboy Perspective, and it's this guy down in West Texas, and he just talks to other Cowboys about bull riding, ranching, things like that. And he's huge in India. These Indian people love hearing about Cowboys. Essentially, you want to be everywhere, and it really isn't that difficult to be everywhere, YouTube included.

It is kind of fun to look at the world map and see all the different countries that the podcast has been. Although for some of my clients that are like a specific Baton Rouge focused, it's like it doesn't work to say. We had twelve downloads in Thailand.

So, Matt, what you mentioned, you mentioned podcast apps for India. Because I didn't know about those.

Yeah, I'll put it in the chat.

I have a new client I'm jumping a podcast with. It's a men's health podcast. He's a Urologist. Why wouldn't I put it in India? They have the same health problems we do. Why not?

They have men over there.

Last I checked. Yeah.

I'd be really pissed off if you didn't put that on, Jag.

I get that joke, David. I get it.

That took me a second, but well played, sir.

This is a good opportunity, by the way, to talk about YouTube. I think Johnny or Jag, you just mentioned it a second ago, but it does play into Google. So, Johnny, do I need a video strategy? What is it? Do I need to be on YouTube?

Jag is really great on talking about the audio only and just being on YouTube, and I love how much he hits on that. When I have people consult with me about starting a podcast, I always ask them if they're interested in video, and if they're iffy on it, I don't steer them that way. I say let's nail down the audio side of things first. Let's just get your podcast rolling. Let's focus a lot on the content and having really high quality audio for your audio only listeners. Because yes, while YouTube is the biggest media consumption platform in the world, people are going to listen to your podcast because it's a podcast. So they'll likely be listening on podcast platforms. But if you are interested in getting into video, you should absolutely do it. You can do it with a very bare bones budget, as much as, you can just have your iPhone set up recording you and you just line it up. If you're on Apple, I think it's called iMovie or there's Premiere. I think Premiere is the Adobe product. Or you can pay somebody $5 just to drop the audio on top of your video and line it up and make sure that your mouth connects with the clean audio. It really isn't that difficult, but it does give a more professional sense to your podcast. And as you level up and go, you can do the multi camera setup. You can make it seem more like a really high production show. But I always steer people towards, let's nail down the podcast side of things first. And if video is something that you're interested in and that you can afford to spend the money on, why not do it? Because that is going to pull somebody in more who's searching and finding you off of YouTube than necessarily a static image.

Yeah, if you're doing two separate rounds of edits, one for the audio podcast and one for the video, that's something you probably want to do three years into your journey as a podcaster. I agree with Johnny completely. Video is good. It's better to be on YouTube than not be on YouTube. But I still file it under Nice Things to have and you can be on YouTube. Maybe someone said it already, but just with a static image of your podcast logo and the podcast running, it does serve a purpose because, like Jack said, people will find you through the search engine. But to try to produce an entire video podcast at Pod six one seven, we do a lot of pods by Zoom or by other platforms, and so there's a video recorded. We sometimes use little snippets of those as promotions for the pod, but rarely do we produce an entire full scale video podcast.

That's what I was going to say. I was going to add on to that, too, David, is that even if you just have it recorded, it's nice to have because you can pull those snippets and use those as teasers for social media or something, and you can even chop up and post each ten minute segment of the pod to YouTube. And because we have the goldfish attention span that our world does, having a shorter clip of your podcast can help it, I guess not exactly go viral, but entice people to tune into a six minute segment of a podcast where there is video rather than an hour and 30 minutes podcast. That someone who has no clue who your content is, they're likely not going.

To listen to the whole thing to that point. I would also say that if you can take a 30 or 62nd clip of the podcast, whether if it's video, great. If it's not video, you can create a little video where the words pop up and it's a transcription on it. You post that on social, post that video to social as a tease. And then if it's a Facebook or Twitter post, say, if you want to hear the whole podcast, boom, here's the link to my website.

Make sure you do that, though, because some people forget. And then it drives me crazy. It's like, okay, I just heard an interesting snippet of this part.

Where can I find this?

And it's the number one reason why people will forget about your podcast, because it's not easy to share, so make sure it's easy to share.

I'm writing that down.

David, what are we talking about?

I have the attention span of a.

Golfer making it easy to share. I think that's a great marketing tip and something that we don't consider a lot when we go out into marketing it. I don't like to be the person who brings all the bad news for this, but after you finished the podcast, you've really only done about half the work because you do have to market the whole thing and make it easy for people to share, sending people back to the website and whatnot I really like the tip with the video clips that could be repurposed out into social media land. So how much social media and how much marketing do we need to dedicate into this?

I think it depends on your bandwidth. It depends on how much you can do. You really got to have a strategy to say I have X amount of hours in my week to dedicate this to social media is big. Another tool that if you haven't used it, is getting people to sign up for an email distribution list. Because if you are emailing somebody, every time you have a new episode come out, you're going right to their inbox versus hoping that Zuckerberg shows them your stuff on Facebook or Instagram, which, let's be honest, it's a real crap shoot. So sorry that Tickets has taken down off of Facebook at this point.

But he's watching right now. He's stream up until then, strike.

I'm sure he is in Facebook jail now, but have an email campaign if you're able to. There are a lot of platforms that are pretty easy to set up. That's something I'd highly recommend as well.

That's the better question I should have asked. And that's what's your favorite marketing tool? And I think to that email is incredibly strong. Who's got others?

Jag had it on the list. It's word of mouth. That's the best way to market your podcast is your listeners are your biggest advocate, your guests that came on the show, their audience is the biggest advocate. So hearing it from someone that you trust, hey, I really enjoy this podcast. I think you'd like it too. That's the best marketing that you can do. And it's free because you have your biggest fans helping you. And so that kind of ties into what your call to action is of your show. You kind of get one chance to ask of one thing of your listener and it's, hey, if you enjoyed this, share it with one person. I know, you know, one person that you know would like this or at least would give it a try, just send it to them.

That is so much better than rate and review because that's cliche. People say that because they hear other podcasters say that and think that's what you're supposed to say. Ratings and reviews are good for social proof, but that's it.

And if you do inflation.

Exactly. If you want to grow your podcast, you've got to get people to share it by word of mouth.

So I want to share one word of mouth tip that I just recently there's a guy I was trying to look up his last name. His name is Travis. He's on Instagram at Poddex. It's a game that he created. And one of the things he says about word of mouth is a great engagement tool is to ask your audience to think of one person, think of one person and tell them about the show. And the reason that that's so persuasive is it's very visual because as soon as somebody says think of one person who might benefit from the show, your mind starts scanning people, you know, friends, colleagues, whatever. So that's very visual. And then it's the very simple tell that person about the show because you think that they would like it. And that's a great word of mouth tip that I have been trying to spread as far and wide as I can go because it makes so much sense. It's one thing to say tell your friends about the show. It's like, Hello, I'd like to tell you about a podcast that I've been listening to as opposed to getting very specific and thinking about a show that you like and the person that you know that would also enjoy that show. So that's a great word of mouth.

Tip that ties back into everything that we've talked about today, which is you want to make this as easy for them, your listener to share this with someone that they care about because they're now putting their name on the line of saying, hey, you trust me, you need to trust me to listen to this podcast. It's everywhere. So it's really easy for that person to find if they're on an Android phone, they can get it on Spotify or Google podcasts. If they have the Apple phone, they can get it on Apple podcasts immediately. If they have YouTube, they can find it on YouTube. Also, it has really high quality audio and video production now. Wow, this isn't some rinky dink podcast where they're just yelling into their computer for an hour. This is a real show. And that's going to make it so much easier for that person, that fan, that listener to share it with somebody else. So all of those factors that we've talked about today make it so much easier and you're packaging it up and you just say, now help me spread this to the world.

And you probably have people that are already prepared and incentivized to share your show because they like your show and people like to be part of something like the music. Oh, look, the logo is going by now, past tense. The music podcast that I do. We have probably about ten to twelve people that every episode will email in with just funny thoughts and reactions to the prior show. Well, those are your ambassadors. That's your posse. If you call them out on the show, mention them on the show. Hey, it was great. Jeff from Wilmington checked in. He had a question about something. People dig that. And then you can send them this episode and say, by the way, we gave you a shout out in this episode. Now you think that person isn't going to want to share that episode or any episode that you asked them to? Oh, yeah, I love it.

I want to throw out there, too, guest on another podcast.

Yes.

Yeah.

Just a great way to extend your audience and your brand out there. 

Podcast listeners like podcasts. What do you know? 

Matt, any how-to recommendations on that? Do you literally just find podcasts that you like and say, hey, I would love to be a guest if that opportunity arises or whatever?

No, I just make myself really available for people who want to do this. In fact, I actually have a part of my website saying, hey, if you'd like me to guest on your podcast, you can just book me in here. And you use a calendar or I use schedule once. And one of those things, marketing is really about making yourself as available as possible. And being involved.

Is it okay to request to be a guest on other people's shows? Because people will find you, because you have such a distinct niche and you've had so much success in the radio space and in podcasting. So people want to seek you out. But for someone that wants to grow their podcast, do you recommend cold calling basically? 

No and yes. I think you got to be gentle about it and be- listen. Some people are forward about it. I happen to be a little bit shy. I'm not going to go anywhere unless I'm asked to do it. And as well as podcasters, we all get bombarded with guest invitations and requests all the time now. 

I don't. I've been a guest on one podcast outside of this group, and it was really fun. Please, people have me on. I love to talk.

Johnny Podcasts is available.

Well, if you have someone as a guest on your show, Johnny, I think there may be you feel a lot more comfortable saying, by the way.

That's my problem. I don't have a show.

Yes, you do. I was on your show.

Yeah, I've been in the graveyard for 6 months.

All right, bring it back. It was great.

Johnny, I still am planning to have you on my show.

All right. So we're wrapping this up because I know, Johnny, you got to do something business-like coming up here at the top of the hour.

Gotta pay the bills.

So finally words from everyone? 

I'd say, if you're wondering whether or not to start a podcast, the best advice is just do it. Don't aim for perfection in episode one. Once you start doing it, you'll get a taste for it, you'll enjoy it, and you'll be proud of it. And that's maybe the best reason to launch podcast.

Jag. 

I'm going to give you a preview of my podcast this week and say that there's a UC San Diego study that headphone listening sticks more than speaker listening because the headphones are in your ear and right in your brain. That speaks to the power of audio and what can be done with a podcast.

Catherine. 

Did you like this live stream? I invite you to think of one person, one podcaster that you know that would benefit from this show and share this live stream. The recording. Share it with them and that's the way you can help us here.

And Johnny. 

Podcasting is really fun if you're on the fence about it, even if it's just doing a test recording where you just record and have a conversation with a buddy and you never release it, just try it. It is a really fun thing to do.

Agreed. Do it.

Thank you, Matt. Fantastic.

Thanks, Matt.

Matt, you don't have to quarterback all of these. We can kind of play around and do- have other people moderate.

I don't mind.

Okay.

I had fun.

Thanks for joining us, everyone.

Yeah.

Thanks, guys.

Bye bye. In Pod We Trust.

Thanks for listening to the Podcast Super Friends. For a transcript of the show, or to connect with the Super Friends, go to the show notes of this episode or go to Soundoff.network. Produced and distributed by the Soundoff Media Company.