Why I Stopped Podcasting & 5 Lessons I Learned Along the Way
Why I Stopped Podcasting & 5 Lessons I Learned Along the Way
I love podcasting. Heck, I even made a business out of it.
But on Monday next week, March 28th 2016, I will release episode 150 of Excellence Expected – the final episode of the current run and a superb interview with the fabulous Mr. Bob Burg.
I’ve decided to stop, for a while. Sure, my blog post title here is a little click-baity, but I did that on purpose: so that I can share some lessons with my fellow podcasters prior to doing something different.
Taking it back
I started podcasting in early 2014, thanks to my good friend Garry Aylott twisting my arm into doing a DC Comics podcast. If you know me, which you do, you’ll know that a DC Comics based podcast is right in my wheelhouse.
But honestly, I wasn’t keen on doing a podcast at that time.
I just didn’t see the point, honestly.
But then I got addicted. I mean, seriously addicted.
And, when I love something I have the kind of personality that forces me to learn every single thing about it so that I can be the very best at it and also, so that I understand exactly how it all works.
That’s how Podcast Websites was born – thanks to gaining a deep understanding of podcasting and laying that over my decade (and more) of digital expertise, I realised that podcasters have a series of problems that I could solve.
And we do, very successfully for our members.
But my podcast was different. Excellence Expected was, well, unexpected.
In June 2014 I went on holiday with Mrs. A and, coming off the back of a burnout 18 months earlier I felt I had something to say to people.
The trouble was, I was a little naive.
Well, during that holiday I went from idea to show – literally, I came back with the entire thing outlined: I was going to provide actionable advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs via the form of interviews.
Great idea, right?
Sure, great idea. So good that everyone else was doing it!
Now that’s not something that typically puts me off. Rather, it’s usually something that I relish – someone else is proving for me that it can work – result!
And so, I set about creating a show that helps entrepreneurs and business people take action in specific areas of their lives by interviewing some of the best business minds in the world.
And you know, things went really well. The show did, and continues to do, well.
People like it, people respond to it and I get feedback very often that I have helped people with actual, tangible results in their lives.
And wow, I LOVE that! That is why I set out to create Excellence Expected.
What has the podcast done for me?
People podcast for a reason. It’s either a hobby, a route to monetisation or, I truly believe, a form of therapy. I know that for me, all of those apply.
Thanks to podcasting I’ve made some amazing, real life friends – people who I genuinely know and would invite to events in my life.
There are too many of these people to mention, and that is testament to the power of podcasting.
More so, I’ve carved out a successful speaking career that has taken me all over the world; I’ve created Podcast Websites with my man John Lee Dumas of EOFire fame; I’ve built an email list of followers who seem to really enjoy the content that I create and I’ve also proven to myself that I can do it – that people want to listen to me.
As a kid from Barnsley, UK, that is oh so very weird to even consider – who cares, right?!
I’ve always struggled with self-esteem. Despite being confident and willing to push myself out of my comfort zone, a lot, I still remember being the kid who didn’t want to be in the Nativity play at school because he was afraid of being in the spotlight; despite having fronted a band that played in front of 18,000 people, I still remember being the skinny kid who was always told “you’ll always be skin and bone”.
I remember my hot dog story. Come see me speak and you’ll learn about that (thanks BB x).
Podcasting has gotten me past that – I’m comfortable; I’m happy. But more than that, I help other people be too.
That’s a win.
Why I stopped podcasting
Recently, a few things happened:
- The business podcasting space has become packed out. It’s SUCH a busy market; and
- Everyone is doing interview shows.
- I got bored with that.
- I realised (thanks to a listener, Podcast Websites member and friend, David Johnson) that people want to know and hear my views. I don’t give myself credit for what I’ve done and honestly, despite thinking I’d gotten over it a long time ago, I’ve finally gotten over the imposter syndrome that allowed me to hide behind interviewing experts for the last couple years.
Now let me be clear: Excellence Expected is taking a break; an interlude; a reset, if you will.
Having realised all of the above, I realised that actually there’s nothing for my audience in me doing more interviews. Nothing.
Do I want to be a podcaster who churns content out to hit self-imposed deadlines, or do I want to create content that will continue to serve my listeners over the years?
You know me, you know which it is.
And so, Excellence Expected is having a little bit of a break.
And when it comes back, it’s going to look completely different – it’s going to stand out, it’s going to be something that helps you in your business and helps me in mine.
It’s going to continue to push us all towards excellence.
5 lessons I want to share from conducting 150 podcast interviews
1. Interview shows have to be exceptional and exceptionally marketed to hit any kinds of sponsorship numbers from brands or the “usual suspects” who throw a little cash at us podcasters.
Don’t kid yourself: figuratively, everyone is doing an interview show in the business arena – stand out, be different, be honest and be open.
If you do want sponsors, go niche: find your listener base, and find a sponsor who wants to talk directly to them – don’t go broad because you’ll grab a sponsor for one round of sponsorship, return nothing for them and not renew.
Unless you have very big numbers, “brand awareness” type sponsorships just won’t come.
2. Do not copy other people.
I really, really dislike this. A lot. More than that.
Find your own publishing schedule. Find your own episode format. Find your own brand, your own personality and your own way of working for these people who give their time up to listen to you.
3. “Big name” guests are just people – plain and simple – they have zero impact on your show so stop chasing them.
I did a Podcast Websites Academy session on this because I’m so saddened to see new podcasters jumping into chasing down influencers, believing that it’s a route to bigger numbers and a shortcut to sponsorship. The main man Jared Easley has a great book on this, by the way.
It isn’t. As my friend Brad Burton would say: #BeYou – there’s more in it for you that way because let’s be honest, anyone who does chase influencers is only doing it for themselves anyway.
Treat everyone as a person, if you want to interview someone please make sure it’s for their content, their personality and quality – NOT their name or the fact that they’ll “share” the episode.
Come on. We’re all better than that.
4. The things you think matter, don’t.
“I NEED to get my podcast out at 4am EST because that’s what people say is the best”.
“If I post an episode 8 hours ‘late’, I’ll lose listeners.”
“Everything must be perfect before I launch.”
There’s a million more examples like this and I promise you: they do not matter.
Not a single bean. Nope, nada. Believe me, I’ve experimented, a lot.
Why? Because podcasting is an intimate connection with listeners who choose to spend their time with you. And you are a real person who has a life and who takes the time to create free content for people.
So if things are a little shaky, or you publish a little late – people understand.
5. Stay relevant.
Don’t just churn content out to get content out. People see straight through that.
If you need extra time to put a show together to make sure it’s relevant and high quality, then skip a week – jump on a quick recording for 3 minutes and tell people why you’re skipping a week.
And if you continue to struggle, adjust your schedule – it really doesn’t matter to people.
Heck, if Serial can do it, we can – right?!
Avoid the urge to record a sub-par episode on a Sunday night, just to hit that Monday morning publish date.
What’s more damaging, average content or publishing 24 hours later?
The thing is, podcasting is meant to be fun – so make sure it stays that way and all of the above simply won’t apply to you.
I’ve been thinking about this hiatus for a while and only recently came to the decision to reset the show, to take some time out to spruce it up and redecorate.
The reason I resisted for so long is that it felt like I was quitting on it.
And then I realised something really important:
It’s a podcast.
Keep your eyes peeled for the relaunch soon – it’s going to be a doozy.
And don’t forget… the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel. I promise.