32 episodes

Starting a podcast is easy. Making a successful podcast is hard.

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Podcast Gym Andy Wang

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Starting a podcast is easy. Making a successful podcast is hard.

Listen to Podcast Gym for bite-sized, big impact ideas to better create, promote, and monetize a podcast.

Join our community of podcasters focused on collaboration, growth, and success!

    Get Your Podcast Noticed, Zag When Others Zig

    Get Your Podcast Noticed, Zag When Others Zig

    Podcasting has become an incredibly popular medium for people to share their ideas, stories, and insights with the world. I absolutely love it. Hitting publish on a great episode you created feels really good.
    The trouble is that the competition to stand out in the podcasting world has become increasingly fierce. You're up against hundreds of thousands of actively published podcasts. Some are supported by podcast networks with marketing budgets. If you're looking to increase downloads and create a successful podcast, it's important to find ways to differentiate yourself from the pack. One way to do that is to zag when others zig. In other words, try doing things differently than what everyone else is doing.
    One of the most common ways that podcasts are produced is by recording pre-recorded episodes. While this has been the tried and true method for podcasters from the start, it's also an opportunity to do things differently. For example, you could experiment with live streaming your podcast, either through social media or a dedicated platform like Twitch. This would allow your listeners to interact with you in real-time and give you an opportunity to create a more engaging experience.
    Another way to stand out is to record your podcast in person. While it's common for podcasts to be recorded remotely, there's something special about the energy and chemistry that comes from recording in person. This can be especially effective if you have co-hosts or guests on your show. You could even consider recording your podcast in front of a live audience, which would give you the opportunity to interact with your fans in a more personal way. I actually did this at Hubspot's Inbound conference in 2019 when I interviewed Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith. It's the only time that I recorded with a live audience. It was scary and fantastic. I highly recommend it.
    In addition to these production techniques, there are other ways to zag when others zig. For example, you could focus on a niche topic that isn't being covered by other podcasts. Alternatively, you could take a contrarian approach to a popular topic, offering a unique perspective that challenges conventional wisdom.
    Ultimately, the key to standing out with your podcast is to be authentic and true to yourself. Don't try to mimic other successful podcasts just because they're popular. Avoid common listener pet peeves and overused podcast phrases. Instead, focus on creating a show that reflects your own interests, passions, and expertise. Lean into you, the creator, because you make your podcast unique. You are your podcast's secret sauce. If you're passionate about what you're doing, your listeners will be able to tell, and they'll be more likely to stick around.
    If you want to grow your podcast audience, it's important to find ways to stand out from the crowd. I'm suggesting one way to do that is to zag when others zig. By experimenting with different production techniques, focusing on niche topics, and staying true to yourself, you can create a podcast that is truly unique and engaging. With persistence, dedication, and a little bit of creativity, you will build a loyal audience and establish yourself as a podcasting powerhouse.
    How is your podcast unique so it stands out?

    • 3 min
    Avoid These Podcast Pet Peeves

    Avoid These Podcast Pet Peeves

    After ruminating on my podcasting pet peeves (I’ll share them at the end), I searched Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook to find out what bothers podcast listeners the most. There were commonalities and upvotes that we can use to improve our podcasts. It turns out that listeners do not just want to be entertained, educated, or inspired, but they want podcast creators to respect them and their time.
    Here’s what I found.
    TOP 10 PODCAST LISTENERS’ PET PEEVES:Uneven audio levels (especially louder ads)Too much rambling banter at the startPoor audio qualityAn interviewer who interrupts their guestMouth noises (lip smacks and clicks)Host’s lack of preparationGoing off topic for too longInside jokesToo many adsMentioning books, articles, etc., but not including in the show notes
    While I’ve heard creators say that content quality trumps audio quality, listeners’ most frequent complaints focus on uneven volume and poor audio quality. Uneven audio within a podcast episode that requires the listener to constantly adjust the volume is a big turnoff. Also, having your podcast episode too soft or too loud compared to other podcast episodes is also a problem. While commercials on television often boost the volume to make up for you heading to the kitchen for a snack, podcast listeners do not appreciate loud ads played in their earbuds. Quality is most important but do not pass on a relatively easy fix to keep your listeners happy.
    Solution: Manually fix audio levels in your DAW. There are also very useful plug-ins and tools that can help.
    Here are my favorites.
    Waves Vocal Rider Plugin or Waves MaxxVolume Plug-in: These are very similar and help to adjust levels on individual audio tracks or on an overall mix.Auphonic is a fantastic tool for leveling and normalization that uses AI-based audio algorithms.Izotope RX 10 Mouth De-click is a great tool for automating the removal of weird mouth noises.
    Listeners want a podcast episode to deliver on its promise. That means getting to the meat of the content quickly, without too much rambling or going off-topic for a long time. If you host an interview show, this requires preparation so that you ask questions that listeners want to hear answers to, not interrupting or talking over your guest, and not spending too much time on inside jokes.
    Solution: Follow the British Army adage: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Follow the 7 Ps and the payoff will be a stronger podcast.
    MY (MAYBE CONTROVERSIAL) PODCASTING PET PEEVESBig microphone – Not sure if I’m in the minority here but the proliferation of big microphones onscreen bothers me. I’m all for great audio and understand that being close to the microphone / proper technique helps a lot; but for some reason, I do not like it when the microphone dominates the visual. Perhaps I’m just realizing that I’m a podcasting pacifist and protesting against the microphone arms race. P.S. I like the Shure SM7b but do not have one. Maybe it’s mic envyOpening with, “Tell us about yourself.” – This one is controversial if you do it. My rationale for not opening with this is that I have yet to find a journalist or TV talk show host that opens with this question. In my opinion, it is a weak way to start an...

    • 5 min
    What We Can Learn From Marc Maron's Three-Year Deal with Acast

    What We Can Learn From Marc Maron's Three-Year Deal with Acast

    Marc Maron has struck a three-year deal with Acast to host, monetize, and distribute the comedian’s hit podcast, WTF With Marc Maron.
    Comedian Marc Maron launched “WTF” in 2009.
    1,335 episodes have been published, with new ones coming out twice a week.
    The show gets about 55 million listens per year.
    Wow, that is a platform. And platforms are worth money.
    For example, former late-night host Conan O’Brien recently sold his podcast company to SiriusXM for a reported $150 million.
    In May 2020, Spotify announced a licensing deal with Joe Rogan to host The Joe Rogan Experience, exclusively on the streaming platform, for what insiders say was a three-and-half-year deal worth at least $200 million.
    Spotify’s exclusive deal meant that Joe Rogan fans could only listen to or watch JRE from the Spotify app. Shows were removed from YouTube and all other platforms.
    Generally, being on fewer platforms means sacrificing listeners who do not want to migrate to an exclusive app. For $200 million, Joe deemed it worthwhile! 
    I’m curious, what would your number be?
    Going a different route, WTF With Marc Maron will be hosted, monetized, and distributed via Acast. Notably, WTF will continue to be available on all major podcast platforms.
    “Entering into a partnership with the podcast giant Marc Maron is a big win for Acast and for the open podcasting landscape, as this deal guarantees that the podcast can continue to be listened to by everyone, everywhere, and on their preferred listening platform,” Ross Adams, the CEO of Acast, said.
    Deal Highlights:
    WTF will offer bonus content, merchandise, and live event offerings via Acast+, the podcast company’s subscription service. The WTF back catalog, currently available without ads on SiriusXM’s Stitcher Premium, will be moved over to the open feed. A “small portion” will be paywalled on Acast+.Advertisers will be able to place dynamic ads or use Acast’s in-house team for premium spots that will appear on Maron’s show.WTF also hopes the Acast partnership will help grow the show’s international listenership.
    EXPERIMENT LIKE A SCIENTISTBig podcasts with lots of downloads can sell lucrative ad spots, but they too are experimenting.
    Open podcasting vs exclusivity.
    Paywalled bonus content.
    Dynamic ad spots and Premium spots.
    These ideas can inspire the niche, independent podcaster too.
    Figure out which advertisers (sponsors and affiliates) would most benefit by reaching your audience. Make a pitch deck and earmark times to consistently sell your podcast to advertisers.
    Be willing to experiment by offering different packages and campaigns to see what works.
    BUILD A PLATFORMDon’t shortchange your podcast by just thinking of it as a podcast. Build a platform.
    Celebrity podcasters are taking advantage of the opportunities arising from the decentralization of content. But you do not have to be a celebrity.
    Today is the Golden Age of the creator and one reason is that you have countless distribution channels at your fingertips. 
    You can ideate and execute episodes more nimbly than ever as a solo creator or small team. 
    Seize the opportunity to build a loyal audience. 
    How can you do that?
    Follow the dataKnow your target listener and look at your analytics to see what episodes performed well. Are there topics that you should revisit or go deeper into?Be authenticYour audience knows and trusts you. Lean into your brand and...

    • 4 min
    The Podcast Advertising Market Surpassed $1B in 2021

    The Podcast Advertising Market Surpassed $1B in 2021

    “And all this science I don’t understandIt’s just my job five days a weekA rocket man”― Elton John // Bernie TaupinDuring your podcasting journey, you’re bound to feel a bit lost.
    Things have been a little crazy for me recently.
    After many close calls, COVID got my family last month.
    I’ve caught 6 mice in my house in the last 10 days.
    My dad just returned home after a stint in the hospital. (Being a self-appointed patient advocate is exhausting.)
    The stock market is correcting.
    I foolishly tried running across my retaining wall yesterday in the pouring rain, slipped, and fell 4 feet onto the wet grass below. I tried to gracefully execute a ninja roll, but I looked more like the victim of a ninja who had kicked me off the wall.
    My pipeline of podcast interviews went down to zero.
    None of this appeared in my social media highlight reel, by the way. 
    May is Mental Health Awareness Month so be sure to take time for yourself, if you need it.
    For me, guitar is my medicine. If you’re in New Jersey this Saturday, come hear my friends and me play at The Heritage of Asian Pacific Islanders (HAPI) Fest NJ. The hula dancers will be fab.
    If you fall, literally or figuratively, pick yourself up and hope the neighbors didn’t see you. Lucky for me, karate men bruise on the inside. And mud washes out of jeans easily.
    Last week, I only had time to publish a 5-minute solo episode. 
    Do what you can.
    If you cannot. that’s okay too.
    Your podcast is valuable. If you want to monetize, it is critical that you create engaging content and drive audience growth. Many experts will tell you that it should be in that order.
    Podcast advertising is growing like a rocket defying gravity. 
    The sixth annual IAB U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue study by PricewaterhouseCoopers is out and the data is impressive.
    For the first time ever, the podcast advertising market surpassed $1B in 2021.
    Revenues increased 72% YoY to $1.4B and are forecasted to exceed $2B in 2022 and almost triple by 2024 to over $4B.Podcast advertising grew 2X faster in 2021 (+72%) than the total internet ad market (+35%).
    Podcast advertisers are not only seeing the benefits of brand-building and driving business outcomes, but they are getting more sophisticated.
    In 2019, dynamically placed ads made up less than half of the podcast ad market. That has changed. Last year, 84% of ads were dynamically inserted into podcasts. 
    Advertisers are using technology to manage campaigns that target listeners based on location, age, and gender. Further, there are better methods for advertisers to track the effectiveness of their ads.
    The rapid growth makes sense. If advertisers can better...

    • 4 min
    Keep Your Eyes Wide and Stay Open

    Keep Your Eyes Wide and Stay Open

    “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”― Isaac AsimovThe word for this post is “open.”
    Be open to unexpected guests.
    Be open to new ideas.
    Be open to being uncomfortable.
    Publishing a podcast regularly can be a slog sometimes. Being open to new things can keep things fresh — in a good way.
    I’ve talked previously about striving to get 100 nos in a year. This can push you to invite more guests and to reach higher.
    Since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I decided to try something I’ve never done — attempt to book 4-5 AAPI guests. 
    I proudly report the following:
    No: Margaret Cho, Ali Wong, Ronny Chieng, Nims Purja
    Maybe: Michael Paul Chan
    Yes: Etta Lau Farrell, Steven He 
    If you don’t know Etta (I didn’t), she is the wife of Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, a long-time dancer for the band, and backup singer. She just released her debut single. 
    It’s unexpected so I’m going with it!
    I’m excited to interview Steven He. Emotional damage!
    About 20 of my invites remain unanswered so I still have work to do. Wish me luck.
    Meanwhile, I put together a list of 31 Asian American Podcasts for AAPI Heritage Month. Please add a few to your playlist.
    Monetization is always a hot topic for independent podcasters. It’s doable but can be hard.
    If you’re monetizing your show, how are you doing it? Hit reply, I’d love to hear from you.
    IMHO, here are three ways:
    Sponsorships – I’m not talking about MailChimp, Squarespace, or Blue Apron. Leave those to the big download shows. If you’re small and your niche, you can proactively approach businesses that sell a product or service that fits your audience’s needs. Price a quarterly or 6-month campaign according to the value of your niche listenership, not by your number of downloads. Ask enough prospects, and you can land sponsors.Affiliate marketing – This one is working for me. Again, the key is to find products or services that your listeners could use. Mention a link or code for listeners to support your podcast, and the affiliate partner will pay you a percentage of sales. Pro tip: higher ticket items can be better. My top seller is an $80 side hustle how-to manual that pays out 40%. That’s much better than Amazon book links that pay a few cents.Sell your own product – Because you are building trust with your listeners, you have a great opportunity to sell them things like your course or one-on-one coaching. This is a popular one because it works. It tends to be a higher-ticket item so the potential revenue can be meaningful.
    Should you ask guests to pay to be on your show? This one can be controversial. 
    John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire charges some guests a $3,500 appearance fee. You can place a PayPal link on your booking page requiring a guest to pay. I do not know about you; but if I were a potential guest, a surprise “marketing fee” would turn me off. 
    I’ve heard of podcasters charging PR companies $100-200 to book their clients. On the higher end, I know of a podcaster who successfully offers a VIP red rope package to PR firms. For $500, PR firms get their client’s episode moved up in the production schedule, social media...

    • 6 min
    Rebrand a Podcast Because Consistency Is Not Enough

    Rebrand a Podcast Because Consistency Is Not Enough

    “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.“― Theodore LevittPivot is a popular word in the start-up world. A pivot means fundamentally changing the direction of a business when you realize the current products or services aren’t meeting the needs of the market.
    It’s a fact that most entrepreneurial firms fail. For an entrepreneur, the idea that you can pivot and survive is critically important. 
    Since most podcasts podfade, we’d better pivot too.
    This week, I read Carrie Caulfield Arick’s piece entitled, “F*ck Consistency. I’ll take quality over it any day of the week. Fight me.” It was good to get a different perspective on the 3C’s of podcasting: content, consistency, and community. Carrie says the podcast industry is too rigid in putting consistency first.
    It got me thinking. Publishing for the sake of consistency may make us less likely to listen to our audience and less willing to pivot. 
    How often have you made significant changes to your show? Probably not often enough.
    I’ve been publishing weekly for 4.5 years without taking a break. Seasonal breaks would provide time to listen, reflect, and refresh. I admit that my weekly production schedule does not give me much time to think or act strategically.
    Consistency is meeting expectations in the present. We are told that listeners come to expect a new episode on a regular schedule. They thrive on consistency and predictability so it’s essential that you deliver it if you want to grow your audience.
    But has your growth stalled? Have your downloads plateaued?
    Here is the problem.
    If you are only consistent and not innovating, you will get the same results.
    Another thing we tend to do as podcasters is emulate bigger podcasts. What if like some big corporations, big podcasters are too content with where they are and at risk of losing touch with their rapidly changing environment. Think Blockbuster, Radio Shack, Toys R Us – retail leaders that collapsed in the last decade.
    Indie podcasters have a tendency to follow established behaviors that may have at one time brought success. What if they now result in failure? Our time is too short to be another me-too, water-downed podcast.
    We must be nimble podcasters who are willing to push boundaries and disrupt ourselves.
    Innovation is meeting expectations in the future.
    For an example of a podcast pivot, I present my friends Steve and Veronica. After publishing 108 episodes of Pod Sound School, they’ve done the unthinkable and said goodbye to their beloved podcast.
    As full-time content creators and business owners, they explain that they’ve grown out of their podcast. They realized that their thing is not only podcasting – it’s just one skill set among many. Case in point, their YouTube channel currently has 55.6K subscribers. They’re fabulous video creators.
    They will soon rebrand their podcast as “Content Jefe Podcast by the Pod Sound School.”
    This innovation is worth emulating! Analyze your audience and your strengths. Decide where you want to go together.
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    • 3 min

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