The Real Reasons That I Chose My New Podcast Format
The Real Reasons That I Chose My New Podcast Format
If you've followed Excellence Expected for a while, you'll know that in March 2015 and after 150 episodes, I put my podcast on hiatus.
There were a number of solid reasons for this that can really be boiled down into one in particular: I wanted to serve my audience with something helpful that solved a real problem.
After a lot of thought, planning and audience research I decided upon a series based format for the relaunch of the show and then looked at exactly what I could deliver to my audience in terms of tangible, actionable content.
The result is volume two, series one: The Straight Talking Guide to Launching Your First Product and I couldn't be prouder of it.
But, it wasn't that easy. Not at all.
Whilst going through this process I found myself struggling to break the mindset that I had about being a weekly interview show.
Specifically, I couldn't get past the idea that to do something a little different was to do something wrong.
Silly Mark. But let me explain.
You see, business podcasting has become a busy space full of interview podcasts that are replicating a superb format pioneered by one or two fantastic hosts a few years ago.
And that's fine, but when looking at how I wanted to serve my audience it became clear that this repeatable format just wasn't for me.
Because although the series I did release after my show's hiatus features interviews, I wanted to provide my amazing audience with a step by step process for solving a specific problem and didn't want to be forced into doing interviews simply because I'd defined the show as an “interview show”.
To dig a littler deeper into this, I felt that the initial version of the show (volume one, which I later broke down into four categories) simply blended into the noise of business podcasts: “I interview entrepreneurs.”.
Right now, so do 20,000 other people in the business podcasting space.
How I finally found what works for my audience
Here's the key thing: you can't copy things. You can be inspired but as my friend Chris Ducker says, it's not enough to be better – you have to be different, and as my other good friend Brad Burton says, you have to be you.
But you also have to figure out what that really means to your audience.
Sure, being yourself and focussing on being different works well and sure, you'll attract people who really are on your wavelength and repel those who simply just won't get along with you, but at the same time there has to be a physical output of this “being yourself”.
And therein lies the challenge. What does this physical output of all of this “being yourself” look like?
That was the challenge that faced me when refactoring the podcast.
The easy path to take was to simply stay a podcaster who puts out interview shows, builds a steady audience and become another podcaster doing a similar thing to everyone else.
And that was the safe path, too.
But really, what value would that bring to my audience? The guests on the show would largely be those who do the podcast rounds and can be heard on a hundred different shows on any given day.
Furthermore, there would be a gnawing issue grinding me down every single time I released an episode: I was just releasing that episode to get some content out there into the wild and keep my content quota up.
Factoring in the time it would've taken to keep my interview podcast running, even with significant batching of interviews – a habit that I'd gotten into – it would still have taken a large chunk of time to produce content that merely allowed me to tell people that I was a “podcaster” – it was just a way of having a marketing channel for my business that wasn't as effective as it could be.
And still, it wouldn't have served my audience in the very, very best way.
It was a conundrum, it really was.
I spoke to a portion of my audience, people who I know well enough to ask them to be honest with me, and asked them:
“What do you really value about the content that I put out?”
The honest answer was that I tell it how it is, I don't spin any bullsh*t and I apparently have a knack for inspiring people to take action through specific “try this” kinds of advice.
At that point, it became clear that that was how I had to run my podcast.
Straight talking. Clear action. One problem, one solution.
And the beautiful thing with this? It fit with my idea of putting series of podcasts out instead of one ongoing interview show.
Thinking about this further, it gave me some real food for thought.
By creating “guides”, both myself AND my audience would benefit in so many ways:
- I would have a tangible, set “product” to pitch to brands.
- I could deliver really tight and high-quality value by hand picking the experts I chose to feature on any interview sessions.
- I could speak on things that I'm super passionate about and know that I add value to, without worrying about “running out” of content.
- Although I'm competing with so many other podcasts for my audience's attention, my “guides” would be evergreen and would only require a set amount of listener time investment. Thus, I stand a much better chance of being picked up by a new listener at a time that the content becomes relevant to them.
- I could provide SO much more value by outlining the sessions within any given guide and creating resources to match them. Then, I could give these resources away to help a) my audience reach their goals and b) grow my email list.
- Personally, I could make the batching process that I adopted for my weekly podcast work even harder for me. I could create a solid, evergreen guide in the same time that it would take to create a series of time constrained, dateable interviews.
Why I'm telling you this?
To provoke thought.
It's easy to fall into a rhythm of creating content that feels great to you, but that doesn't really help your audience in the very best way possible.
The moment that creating your content feels easy is the moment that you need to really look at it honestly.
“Am I giving the people who give me their valued time, the very best that I could possibly give them?”
And answer that honestly.
Don't forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!