At its core, podcasting has always been about marketing. So it should come as more surprise that Danny Brown found his way into podcasting. I first became aware of Danny when I found his assisting many others on Facebook groups with typical podcast problems like, "How do I get more Downloads?", and "I just bought a Blue Yeti and it sucks, what is a better podcast mic to use?" That led to Danny becoming about of renowned Captivate.FM as a support leader.
In this episode, you will hear answers to some of those typical podcast questions, find out Danny's take on Podcasting 2.0 and the value of having transcription on your show, and what Scottish football club he cheers for and why. As a fun bonus, we are going to attempt to use a new transcription service to see how it fares with Danny's Scottish accent and my Canadian accident. Thanks to Aidan Glassey for providing the review that will be posted January 16th on our episode page.
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The transcription below was done by http://avrio.com which gets a 5/10 rating from the owner of the Sound Off Media Company.
Speaker 0 00:00:01 The Sound Off Podcast. The podcast about broadcast with Matt Cundill starts now.
Speaker 1 00:00:11 Today, someone I would like you to meet. Danny Brown hails from Scotland and moved to Canada. He works customer support for Captivate . fm. That's a very good podcast host, by the way, if you're looking to start a podcast. Danny was a big help when I went looking for a transcription service to use. He suggested Poddin.io, which is sadly no longer in service. Not sure if that's temporary or not, but as of now we're looking for something new. And by the way, as you can hear from Danny's voice, finding a transcription service that functions well with accents is a must. Danny's path to working with Captivate . fm is, well, captivating. He's been a regular participant on Facebook groups and helping people with everyday podcast issues. We're gonna answer some of those questions today. Danny Brown joins me from the podcast Capital of Canada, Huntsville, Ontario. I thought I would come outta the gate with a very, very serious question. And is it Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, or Hearts?
Speaker 2 00:01:10 I'm from Edinburgh originally, so it should technically be Hibs or Hearts, but I was always a metal bank vessel supporter, which was like, uh, a third tier team, really small team in Edinburgh. And then Edinburgh city council didn't want a small team competing with Hearts and Hibs, so they took the stadium off them and booted 'em out Edinburgh. They moved seven miles west to Livingston, renamed to Livingston, and that's my, my team.
Speaker 1 00:01:32 How'd you get to Canada?
Speaker 2 00:01:34 I met a girl. Isn't that an always the way? I was a big fan of Dashboard Confessional, which is a very old emo band from the early naughts. And I was on the website on their forum, and just reviewing their latest album, where I think I'd maybe talked about some Scottish punk music or whatever. And this girl replied and says, I really like that, my granddad's Scottish, I'd love to hear more punk music, stuff like that. So we got communicating. Six months later something clicked. She came over to visit me in the UK in October of that year. I came over to visit her in Canada December that year. And that was 2006. Been here ever since. And now we've got two kids and been married 16 years, 15 years.
Speaker 1 00:02:11 After going up and down the LinkedIn, it looks like at your core you're a marketer.
Speaker 2 00:02:15 I am, yeah, for my sins back in the day. Um, my, my background is corporate marketing and marketing agencies, but I moved away from that probably about 2018, 2019. I was just, I've been doing it for years, mate, I've been in it for a long time. So I just moved away, and I was getting more into the tech side, like podcast in Lake Hoston. That attracted my geek side from a, a career point of view as well.
Speaker 1 00:02:38 So what was your first podcast experience?
Speaker 2 00:02:41 I would say unofficially 2009. And that's when I had one singular episode on Blog Talk Radio where I interviewed Chris Brogan, and Chris was like a really, you know, leading light of social media at the time. So I thought that's pretty much my peak. I'm done. I've reached <laugh>, you know, know my guest status is up there, so I'm done. So that was my first episode and then I didn't do anything until 2016. So what's that, seven years approaching now, I guess?
Speaker 1 00:03:08 When I look at podcasting, I see a marketing opportunity every time somebody puts out a podcast episode. You've got the marketing background. How do you look at the opportunity for podcasting? Cause I, I'm guessing you see a marketing opportunity before you see monetization.
Speaker 2 00:03:26 Yeah, and, and I think that's true for any marketing. My colleague Mark, who's one of the co-founders of Captivate where I work, is an awesome marketer and he's always tell- he's always telling you, know your goals first and know what you want to achieve first, and then certainly you work that back. Sort of reverse engineer it and what steps are you gonna take to get there. So if you want to sell a book, if you want to sell an online course, great. Who's your audience and what's the cost of that? What's the benefit to them and the cost to them? And then, okay, what's all the steps leading up to that? So same with podcasting, you wanna release a podcast? Sure, you can release a hobby one and not even worry about monetization. It's for you, your friends, your family to listen to. But if you wanna take it seriously and make it generate revenue, et cetera for your business, yourself, your brand, whatever way. End goal, work back, start point and then that's your path to that end goal.
Speaker 1 00:04:18 How did you get involved with Captivate?
Speaker 2 00:04:21 I started off as a customer. I was a user. I joined them. I'd been, I, I think I tried maybe three, four different hosts prior to landing on Captivate. And I wanted to start to experiment more with different formats and different types. But at the time if you had an additional podcast, you had to pay an additional license fee for that podcast, which got pretty expensive, pretty fast. And I dunno, I think it maybe it was on a Facebook group or somewhere that I, I learned about Captivate and they had like- it fit my needs. It was unlimited podcast, unlimited, no upload limits, et cetera. So it really fit my needs. So I became a customer, I'm gonna say 2018, no, 2019. They came out of beta in 2019. So maybe even a little bit later, maybe even early 2020 when hopped into Captivate. And then I just sort of got to know the team. I was a very active member of their private Facebook group for their customers. I guess I should say our customers now <laugh>. And I was just always helping people out with questions cuz I'd been going through that anyway so I knew the answer to it. So when they posted a position that spoke to that, I thought, you know, I'm gonna reach out to Mark and and see. I'll throw my name in the hat and here I am.
Speaker 1 00:05:23 I kinda love going through all the Facebook groups and seeing all the questions. I think we get a lot of them are the same. A lot of them are, how do I get more downloads? What's your standard answer when somebody asks, how do I get more downloads on my podcast?
Speaker 2 00:05:38 I think that's often the wrong question, cuz downloads, yeah, that's a great starting point for getting listeners, but you can't have a listener without a download, but a download may never be listened to, you know, so it's sort of a catch 22 situation. I can auto download from Apple podcast, I may never go back to that, but it counts as a download. So it gives me the podcaster, a false sense of security. So it's more about, well why do you want X amount of downloads? Is it to attract sponsors? Is it to attract, you know, advertisers? Is it to make you feel good? What's your end goal to these downloads? And then why does it matter so much? So if it's to attract sponsors, well downloads is the wrong question. You need to be looking at the engagement point of view, and how engaged are the listeners of these downloads? So I always, like, advise people to be wary of just thinking about downloads alone, but ask, go beyond that. Thinking back to your marketing question and what does the end goal look like? So you got a download, what does that mean? Does that mean that helps you reach your revenue? Great, but how are you gonna make that download turn into that? You know, so always have the goal of what the download means to you.
Speaker 1 00:06:39 If you could wave your magic wand and make one big podcast mistake go away, for everybody who is starting out, what would it be?
Speaker 2 00:06:48 It would probably be editing. I hate editing. I've got better at it, I appreciate it now, I appreciate the value of editing obviously, but it's not my favorite part of podcasting. And so many people get told by, you know, podcasting leaders, experts or whatever you wanna call them that you know, don't worry about the edit and be yourself. Be natural. Your audience will love it. The audiences won't love mouth clicks, they won't love lots of umms, they won't love the dog barking through next door's neighbor. Even if your content's awesome, Joe Rogan may be the most popular podcast in the world. I don't think he'd get away with having really crappy audio, you know, at some stage that would impact. So I would always say, think about editing and how you can do it. You don't have to be like a super highly produced editor, but just make it clean, clean it up and make the levels, the sound, you know, the the same level, keep your audio the same level. There's nothing worse than listening to your podcast and the ad comes in and it's five times louder than the audio file.
Speaker 1 00:07:43 So that brings up dynamic audio insertion, because you were just talking about ads that would come into a show. What are some of the best ways that one can use dynamic audio insertion to really boost their podcast?
Speaker 2 00:07:54 Make it really relevant to the audience. I mean there's a lot of ways you can use dynamic audio insertion, dynamic content insertion, whatever you wanna call it, make it really, really relevant to the audience. I'll let people think of dynamic audio as an ad. So I'm gonna do a pre-roll ad from my sponsor, and then I'm into my show. Or a mid roll ad all about the sponsor and that's great. But if the sponsor or the advertiser or the dynamic insertion doesn't match the topic of the episode or your show or your audience, there's that disconnect and you're gonna lose your listeners. And then these all important downloads you mentioned earlier, they're gonna go away. So think of your audience, uh, let's say a seasonal message. We've just, you know, finished Christmas, New Year if you celebrate Christmas for example. So why don't you put a little jingle at the start of your, all your episodes, Hey, happy holidays, whatever you're celebrating and I hope you have a safe one and we'll see you in 2023. Something like that. The nice little seasonal message. If you're a news podcast, if something's happened, can you use dynamic content to update a story that is now out of date because new evidence has come to light of a criminal case for example. So there's lots of ways you can keep it relevant and live and active as opposed to just advertisements.
Speaker 1 00:09:01 You sound great, you got a RODE caster that I believe might be new at your end. It sounds great, but what would you suggest for somebody who's starting out as a first microphone perhaps?
Speaker 2 00:09:12 Yeah, first microphone. You don't need to spend a lot. The main thing I always tell people is, try to treat your room first and make that sound good. So that means if you've got a lot of hard walls, if you're in your bedroom or a spare room or whatever and you've got a lot of hard surfaces, try to treat them first. So maybe cushions, moving blankets, anything like that, that deadens that sound from a very hard surface, that's a great place to start. Doesn't matter if you've got like a $50 mic or a $500 mic, if you've got a bad environment it's gonna suffer. But yeah, as I starting out, I started out originally with Snowball ice, which is like a tiny little mic. Picks up every noise in the room, and you can tell by my early episodes that I use that mic, but get a great mic like a Samsung Q2 U or uh, an ATTR 2100 x, they're dynamic mics, that are USB and xlr. So you can plug that mic straight into your laptop and start recording right away. Use a free recording program like Garage Band or Audacity, so you've got very low output to start, you know, and you can use a free podcast host to get your podcast up and running. So very little output cuz I, I don't want people to spend money and then find they don't like enjoy podcasting. So start off low, work to your budget and then build from there.
Speaker 1 00:10:20 One little suggestion that I have for people who do start out and they're not sure, maybe they want to continue the podcast past maybe 2, 3, 4 episodes just to get a few of them out there. It's okay to go and put your podcast up on Anchor, and then when you say, okay, I'm really serious about this, then give you a call and move it over to Captivate and get the upgrade as it were. What are some of the things on Captivate that any beginner would be excited about getting involved with Captivate for?
Speaker 2 00:10:44 So one of the things, I mean we've got a whole bunch of tools. Obviously you mentioned dynamic ad insertion. Our analytics are topnotch, obviously I'm biased, but our analytics are topnotch. We've got a whole suite of tools inside, it's easy distribution. But one of the easiest and the best things that we've got is our resources for education. So inside our Dashboard, we have the Growth labs which helps you, we've got a whole bunch of online courses and videos, helps you grow your podcast. We've got how to start your podcast, we've just launched a course on identifying the four key stoppers that stop people from launching a podcast, which one is you? And then we can help you from that. So I think you've got a great resource section, it's all, all been put together by passionate podcasters. Everyone in Captivate is a passionate podcaster. Mark, Gary, myself, Sarah, everyone's passionate podcasters. So we know what's missing if you like, sometimes from the podcasting space when it comes to starting or being a new podcaster. And we really want to make you a better podcaster, and that's why we give our tools on all plans. There's no hidden analytics or hidden upgrades, hidden behind plans. Every podcaster gets all features from day one.
Speaker 1 00:11:50 In just a second, more with Danny, including some of his thoughts about what lies ahead for podcasting in 2023. Also, I'm using a new transcription service and you can see how well it handled my Canadian accent and Danny's Scottish accent at soundoffpodcast.com.
Speaker 3 00:12:08 This podcast supports podcasting 2.0. If you like this show or are getting value from it, hit the boost button now. If you don't have a boost button, you can get one now at newpodcastapps.com.
Speaker 1 00:12:21 So you're one of the catalysts, along with James Cridland and Rob Greenlee, for encouraging me to get transcription for my podcast. Why do podcasters need transcription? Why should they have transcription for their podcast?
Speaker 2 00:12:34 And that's a great question. Why should they? The key one is accessibility. There's, I think I read a stat where it mentioned just in the US alone, I think it, it's like 5, 6% of adults are hard of hearing. So they will struggle on an audio only podcast. It's why when you see an audiogram on Twitter that's been created for a new episode and the captions aren't there, that's missing a big chunk of audience. You know, you should always put transcripts on an audiogram, but it's all about accessibility. If I'm hard of hearing, but I want to enjoy a podcast just like anybody else. I've got the transcript, the text of that audio right in front of me and depending on the player that you might have in installed with the transcript, the words will fall along as I've been spoken. So first and foremost, accessibility. But it does help with SEO as well. The way that transcripts are put together. You've got these little nuggets that are hidden away deep in the transcript that search engine algorithms and AI can pull out and, you know, help listeners find your show.
Speaker 1 00:13:29 So SEO in transcripts I find interesting, because I see some people they will just attach the transcript to the bottom of the blog post, and then all of a sudden the blog post is a 15 minute read and Google's gonna mark that below the line. So what's the proper way to really sort of infuse the transcript so we do get the best SEO?
Speaker 2 00:13:47 Yeah, and and my colleague Sarah would be far better to talk about that. She's SEO through and through. But um, yeah, when you attach it like that, as you imagine, you've got this huge, huge, huge lantern. If you've got like a three hour podcast episode, that's gonna be a long scroll for the transcripts. I'm a big fan of the embedding transcript players, where it's still on page, but now you've got an embeddable player by the transcript service. So your show notes are on the normal blog post, and then underneath that you've got the embeddable transcript player and that will play and scroll along with you. That saves a lot. I know a lot of people say well just link out to a pdf. But the problem is, you are not making it accessible, cuz you now you're forcing the heart of hearing and those who have accessibility issues to actually click another link just to access the transcripts, and don't even get me started on people that offer transcripts as a premium feature only.
Speaker 1 00:14:35 People do that?
Speaker 2 00:14:37 People do that and they're proud of it. I'm thinking. No, thank you. I won't be listening to your show. But yeah, I just think when you are talking about accessibility and you say, well, this particular part of the audience has to pay to enjoy it like everybody else? No, not for me.
Speaker 1 00:14:52 Sometimes I think it's old broadcast habits that that come back. Cuz I remember you get to the end of like, you know, the local talk show or you know, the town hall meeting- For a transcript of this episode, send $89.95 in a self-addressed stamped envelope and we'll send you it back.
Speaker 2 00:15:06 <laugh>. Yeah and maybe it is, you know, old school, you know, broadcasting or TV media people using it. But I, I just, I I don't see it as much now, but when I see it, it is, it's an annoyance for sure.
Speaker 1 00:15:19 You're up in Huntsville, Ontario, which to me is cottage country. It's not far from Algonquin Park, where I used to spend summers. How's the internet up there?
Speaker 2 00:15:28 You know what, it's pretty good. We are on- who are we with? Cogeco at the moment. So we are on, it's not like a massive plan, but we've got 150 meg downloads speed. Lakeland, who's our, our main provider up here. They're installing fiber outside our house next spring actually, or this spring, during 2023 New year. So that'd be like one terabyte or whatever. It's gonna be crazy fast. So it's, it's actually pretty good, they're investing a lot of money in it, but as you get further out, we are not too bad. We are sort of in the middle of Huntsville and Bracebridge, which is like two large towns in Muskoka. So we're kind of feeding off their internet.
Speaker 1 00:16:02 Can you share some of the podcasting 2.0 initiatives that you're bandying about the group between you, Mark and Sarah?
Speaker 2 00:16:09 Yeah, so we already, we support, obviously we support transcripts, we support the people tag, and we are also looking, I mean Mark and Karen who are the co-founders. They've been speaking to Adam and Dave pretty much since the beginning of podcasting 2.0. And they're always in a lot, lots of contact. We always look at the, the tags that'll make sense for our users, our customers. We could add all the tags right away, but we feel that some, you know, they'll, they'll hinder the users. So I mean, there's lotta talk obviously about value for value. That's one that we get asked a lot about. Taxonomy, we included the taxonomy, you know, podcast taxonomy. So there's a lot tags that we're looking at, but it has to make sense for (A) our roadmap and (B) obviously our users.
Speaker 1 00:16:48 You'd be excited to know that if you listen to this podcast on the Fountain app, you could send us some Satoshis right now.
Speaker 2 00:16:54 <laugh>, there you go. And that's the funny thing, I launched the new podcast just at the beginning of the last month, but it's like a really short fun podcast, and it's main audience is on Fountain. My main audience has always been like Apple, Spotify, and for whatever reason Fountain and it has nothing to do- I find a lot of podcasts on Fountain are value- value or, you know, Bitcoin et cetera. Has nothing to do with them. So I was surprised to see that come through.
Speaker 1 00:17:17 I saw you mentioned in a, in a blog post about your podcasts taking a small hiatus cuz the people who wanted to be on your podcast were really all about pitching themselves. So can you talk a little bit about the poor form about pitching yourself, and really do us all a favor, that if people are gonna be pitching themselves to be on a podcast, maybe don't or do it better.
Speaker 2 00:17:35 Yeah, and I think, I mean it's nice because it, it shows validation of what you're doing with your podcast, which is good, but it's not so good cuz now you are, like you mentioned, I I took a hiatus with that one because I was just tired of, you know, just getting pitched by people that wanted to to come on and speak about the books or their courses, et cetera and not speak about their experiences, which could help my listeners. Cuz that's really why you want to guest on. It's all about their experience, their story, and how that can help your listeners based on whatever topic your podcast is about. So I'm a big fan of, if you're gonna pitch yourself to a podcast, (A) know what the podcast is about. I got a podcast- most of my podcasts are about the podcasting space, and I got a pitch about someone that wanted to talk about feminine products.
Speaker 2 00:18:16 And I thought, that's interesting. I'm not sure, maybe my wife could come on as a, a guest host or something. So it's just, I think sometimes a lot of people see podcasting. They've been told that podcasting is this multi billion dollar industry. It's growing all the time. It's a great way to get exposure as a guest. So pitch all the podcasts, and you don't listen to the show. They just see someone that speaks about podcasts online or the podcast that appears popular or whatever, cuz you see people sharing it or recommending it, et cetera. So yeah, just do your homework and don't be like, don't be a dick when you, you pitch. You know, it's, it's, yes you want exposure for yourself, but that's what the podcaster will do. He or she will make sure that their audience is exposed to you, and afterwards promote the heck out you and your episode. So that's gonna come. You don't have to sell you or yourself when you're on.
Speaker 1 00:19:04 What do you tell people who ask if their podcast should be on video?
Speaker 2 00:19:10 I think if it makes sense for them, by all means. I know a lot of people are saying, well video's replacing audio, I don't subscribe to that. I think there's space for both. I only listen to audio podcasts. If I do have video on, it's in the background. I'm not even aware it's on, it's probably cuz it's auto play on my phone or something. But yeah, if you're gonna do it, by all means do it. And to your point Matt, uh, you were on about it earlier, you know, experiment first and see if you like it, and then if you do, go full tilt. So it takes a lot to podcast, you know, what it takes to research, outline a guest, you know, and then review, do the editing, et cetera. And that's twice as much again when you're looking at video if you're gonna offer both versions. So yeah, by all means, if you are interested in video, but be wary that it's going- it's not just a matter of getting a, an iPhone camera, sticking it on and then uploading it to YouTube and you're gonna make, you know, a million dollars cuz it's, it's just not gonna happen. So yeah, there's space for everything, and if video's your preference, go for it.
Speaker 1 00:20:03 You know, previous years when it came to making podcast predictions between 2018 and 2022, with the pandemic in there, it seemed to be a little bit more obvious when we were making our podcast predictions for the year. But I feel that 2023 it's harder. Do you have any podcast predictions that you wanna take a stab at?
Speaker 2 00:20:22 Well, I think the, the interesting thing I, I just saw a report about how 2023 advertising budgets are being pulled back. Advertisers might be like a huge boon obviously for podcast. And in 2022 it was an amazing year for advertisers and advertising and podcasters, you know, there was lots of revenue for all creators. But now Spotify's pulling back with exclusive shows, Amazon's just, I think canceled a $10 million deal with a a show that they were gonna do. Companies are letting people go. I think what's happening is we're getting to that point now where it's plateauing, and now you really have to be doing something good, or you really have to be doing something different, or you really have to be offering something that not a lot of others are offering when it comes to advertising, monetization, et cetera. So I think we're gonna see more of that, what's the word?
Speaker 1 00:21:07 Attrition?
Speaker 2 00:21:08 Yeah, more of that attrition, thank you. More of that attrition where, it's not gonna be the wild west now where it's gonna be money thrown all over the place, and I think like Spotify, they just lost Brene Brown. Her podcast is no longer exclusive. Joe Rogan's coming up at the end of his contract I think. So he might go. So I think it's gonna be interesting to see exclusives, if that's gonna be the case. I think maybe exclusives are gonna be less now, and companies like Spotify, like Amazon, like Wondery, et cetera, maybe looking for more indie creators, mid-tier indie creators, that they can bring on and be, you know, not so much exclusive. Cause I think that's hard. So I think we'll see less exclusive, but bring the mid-tier creators on that are building a real solid audience as opposed to the big names and all the money that's been thrown out there.
Speaker 1 00:21:53 I don't know that we necessarily needed a recession to find out that being exclusive really isn't worth it. I know Joe Rogan got a hundred million dollars, but I think he was underpaid. I think he probably would've done better just staying where he was. Is going exclusive really not all that big a deal?
Speaker 2 00:22:12 I put a piece up on Substack, but I referred back to the original piece where they were talking about that very thing, and how it's one of the reasons some of the big studios let people go because the exclusive approach didn't pan out as well as they thought it was going to. And nobody was- like, all the listeners that were expecting to come over to the exclusive side didn't follow. There's a lot of people for their own reasons don't like Spotify. There's a lot of people don't like YouTube, et cetera. So if you are exclusive to a channel that people don't like, that's gonna cause a problem, no matter how big a name you are. The Obamas, they've moved away because the Obamas complained about their listener drop off when they went exclusive. So now they're opened up to all platforms again. So I think it makes sense from the hope that you want to keep a high visibility artist on your platform, and that's the only way you can access that. And then if you charge, you know, x amount of dollars to access that, obviously that's income and revenue to use a platform, but it doesn't make sense, as you mentioned, if the exclusivity means that that listener base drops off, because now the advertisers aren't gonna pay as much the revenue because they, the listeners aren't there. So it's, it's that weird catch 22 situation.
Speaker 1 00:23:20 Are we gonna be able to see you on the road this year?
Speaker 2 00:23:24 I think so. I'm, I'm going- actually, I'm at Pod Camp Toronto next month. Mark and Karen are at Pod Fest in Florida.
Speaker 1 00:23:33 Pod Fest is end of the month in Orlando?
Speaker 2 00:23:35 Yeah. So yeah, end of the month. And then I believe we are going to- what's one that just happened?
Speaker 1 00:23:40 Podcast Movement.
Speaker 2 00:23:41 Podcast Movement. Why could I not remember that? That's my, my brain fog. You know what people talk about long covid and that and I, I firmly believe it. I'm getting bad with brain fog, but yeah, I believe we're going to the Podcast Movement, the like, the sort of spring summer one.
Speaker 1 00:23:56 Evolutions in Vegas.
Speaker 2 00:23:58 Yeah. So I think the Captivate team's going there, so I- I'm hoping we'll get out and we'll see how it goes.
Speaker 1 00:24:03 Danny, thanks so much for joining me on the podcast to tell me about your podcast story. And I'd say welcome to Canada, but you've been here long enough.
Speaker 2 00:24:10 Yeah, I, I feel like I'm an honourary Canadian now. I still have to get my citizenship, but I might go for that this year. We'll see.
Speaker 0 00:24:18 The Sound Off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Social Media by Courtney Krebsbach. Another great creation from the Sound Off Media company. There's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.