If you haven’t already streamlined your podcasting process, you might miss out on some key growth opportunities for your show. In this episode, Alex Sanfilippo joins Tracy Hazzard to discuss how you can do just that and achieve your podcasting goals better. Alex is the host of the top-rated podcast called Podcasting Made Simple. He is also the founder of PodPros.com, a software company focused specifically on the podcasting industry. In short, this guy knows what he’s talking about when it comes to podcasting. Join as they exchange insights on how to simplify your process, along with tips on narrowing your guest list, authentically growing your listenership, and monetizing your show, all while still adding value to your audience. Take your business to the next level with these golden nuggets by tuning in.
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Achieve Your Podcasting Goals Faster By Streamlining Your Podcasting Process With Alex Sanfilippo
Welcome to the show. This is a crossover episode. I decided that I was going to make this a crossover episode because Alex Sanfilippo is so amazing. Creating A Brand was the original podcast. He moved into Podcasting Made Simple. This is all about podcasting. There were so many tips from this interview that I thought belonged in Feed Your Brand. We are going to create a crossover between the two shows, so we are actually repurposing it. If you have tuned in on Feed Your Brand, you do not have to tune in on The Binge Factor, but go ahead and make sure you are subscribing to both if you have not already. Check that out. That is also a way in which you can create by creating crossovers between multiple shows if you have multiple shows.
You can create audience overlaps because they will hear about The Binge Factor and think, “I have not heard that yet,” and on Feed Your Brand that is going to drive more subscribers and hopefully, that will happen the same thing for Alex. It is going to help them subscribe to his show from two different places. You are driving more traffic to your great guests. That is what I want to do here because Alex Sanfilippo is an amazing podcaster. He has been in the podcast industry for a while.
I cannot believe our paths have not crossed. We finally met each other live at Outlier and I have wanted to have a conversation with him. It is one of the reasons I did not invite him on the show earlier. I expected to have an in-person conversation prior to now. It fell through the cracks that I did not invite him. I should have. We should have done this long before. I am so glad this is finally happening. I want to give you a little bit of background on him and then I am going to go straight into the episode because he adds so much value.
Alex Sanfilippo is the host of the top-rated podcast called Podcasting Made Simple. He is also the Founder of PodPros. PodPros is a community and software company focused specifically on the podcasting industry. Alex and his team have created popular services like PodMatch, a service that matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews, and PodcastSOP, a project management tool that helps podcasters keep up with their episode releases.
I had tried PodcastSOP before this because I wanted to make sure that I talked about it knowledgeably. At the end of the episode, I am going to talk about my experience using it and who I think should be the right fit user for it. You do not want to miss that as well, so stick around after the interview for that. Everyone, Podcasting Made Simple and an inspiring conversation with Alex Sanfilippo.
Alex, I am so glad we are talking again. I cannot believe we have not met before. We have both been in the podcasting industry for quite some time. We have such aligned visions for the industry. I am so glad we are talking.
I am glad to be here. I did not tell you this before we started recording, but The Binge Factor is an amazing show. It is good. I am glad that I found it. Technically, you invited me. I was like, “I am going to listen to the show,” because that is what you got to do to have some integrity. I started going through episodes. I am like, “This is binge-worthy.” You are practicing what you preach. Great job. I am honored to be here. Thank you.
Everyone does not know yet because I am going to announce that at the end, but I am going to do it right now because you said this. I am going to make this a crossover event. We are going to have a crossover episode between The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand because I feel like we have different audiences there. Our audience here is podcasters who already have existing shows and are looking to up their game, like the successful pros like you. On Feed Your Brand, it is a lot of newbies. I think they need to know about you and your tools. Tell me what got the podcasting bug for you. We got to start at the beginning a little bit. Where did you say, “Podcasts sounds like a really great idea.”
This happened a couple of times, sadly. It is having the best of us. I was blogging years ago and someone was like, “You should do a podcast.” I was like, “A what?” I did not even listen to one. I just started recording audio. I was using my phone. I was brilliant back then. I decided that your car has no echo. A car would be the best place to just talk straight into your phone and then post it somewhere. Not a good idea. I lasted a couple of weeks. I was like, “This is silly. No one is listening to it. I do not want to do this.”
I am like, “I do not like this.” Parking lots are too loud like, “What am I supposed to do here?” I was doing it randomly. My wife would go somewhere like, “I can record a quick episode,” which is not a bad idea. Let’s fast forward to when I, for real, got into podcasts. I started listening to shows. I am like, “I actually like this. I think I want to do a podcast.” What got me into it was I wanted to become an entrepreneur. I was a senior executive at an aerospace company. Quick disclaimer, I was not an astronaut, fighter pilot, or anything fun.
People hear aerospace and like, “Have you been to space?” I am like, “No, I have been behind a computer for many years.” We were a parts manufacturer. We focused below the atmosphere, but it was a really good job. I was there for fifteen years but got this itch to be an entrepreneur. I realized during that time of saying, “Let me see if I can get some side hustles going.”
What you learn in corporate does not translate into entrepreneurship. Not very well, at least. My lightning fast brain, here I am. I was like, “I am going to start a podcast where I talk to people who have successfully left a 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM job to be a full-time entrepreneurs. I am going learn from them.” That show did really well. That is what got me into podcasting.
What show was that one?
It was called Creating A Brand. It has since been repurposed.
This is the precursor. You shifted Creating A Brand into Podcasting Made Simple at some point in the process. Do you know what you did that was so smart? I love it. I tell my clients and I tell everyone on the show, but tip here, keep your feed and switch your show because you earned that audience. I am so glad you did that.
I would like to take credit for that, but I did not know what to do. I did this at the beginning of 2022. It was when I made that decision. It was bittersweet. It was sad to let the old show go, but the first 158 episodes of Creating A Brand still have the same intro. They are really powerful and impactful. They still get a ton of listens, which is great. I was not sure. I am like, “Do I start a new feed? Do I keep this one? What do I do?” I happened to be connected with Jordan Harbinger, who is a friend of mine. He is a big podcaster. He has been in it a lot and he is had a lot of podcasts. I just reached out. I am like, “What do I do?” I expected an elaborate response. He said, “Keep current feed. Do not lose that.” That was all he said. I am like, “Cool.”
You earned all those listens. You earned everything there.
That is what I did. I changed the name. I left a couple of weeks between it. I had the final episode of Creating A Brand. I did a post about it where I was holding a little sign that said, “Farewell, Creating A Brand.” I do not know what I did wrong because I wrote it really well. Apparently, people do not read. Everyone thought I was leaving the podcast and completely. People still will be like, “What do you do now? I know you got out of podcasting.” I am like, “What? That is what I do full-time.”
It was a bittersweet thing, but it was the right decision. The numbers reflected that. We had an immediate dip when entrepreneurs left, but podcasters started showing up and listening and podcast guests. Years later, the show had continuously grown at a faster pace than it was when it was Creating A Brand. The show was already, to me, a good size show.
You know what I think is smart in the shift for you is that, and this is because I happen to follow you. I know you. I know what is going on in the podcast industry and what has been going on with your companies, which we will talk about in a minute. The audience you are gathering is more suited to Podcasting Made Simple than they were to Creating A Brand. They were not adopting it at the rate at which they are now. Your access to your audience is much more interested in talking about podcasting. They are subscribed to PodMatch, PodSOP, your PodPros community, all of that is driving the right type of listeners for your show.
I am glad you said that because one of the things I realized in entrepreneurship that people get wrong is not looking at the friction points. They are like, “I have got to do this.” It is not aligned with that, but it is just all part of it. The truth is it should be more fluid than that. That podcast, as much as I loved it, was not fluid with the rest of my brand and where I was heading and where I was taking people. There was some friction involved. I am like, “I got to stop, but I got to go do a Creating A Brand episode.” I got to get all that done and ready with the team. It is a separate team. I have just brought it all together. It is all aligned because people are not asking me, “How do I start a business?”
They are saying, “How do I grow my podcast?” I am like, “We have got an episode for that. Here it is, go check that out.” I have a fluid running business. I think that is important for anyone getting into business, getting into podcasting. Make sure that it all aligns with you. Ultimately, you are the brand of what you are doing and make sure that it is all following one path instead of being like, “Here are the ten different things I do.” They are all going in different directions. That does not work for people long-term. At least, maybe there are some more talented multitaskers out there, but for me, I have got to have one main thing if I am going to stay sane.
People will always ask me the same thing. It is like, “How do you fit in all the podcasts that you do?” I am like, “It is a part of my job. It is aligned with everything I do. I love it.” It makes it even easier. I think you love your community, Alex. That is my view from the outside looking in, but you run masterclasses. You have got your PodPros community. You have got a rich social media engagement I see going on there. What is your mission for that community itself?
The whole idea behind this is, “Can I help podcast guests and hosts go further, faster?” Some people get into this space and do not know what they do not know. If we can help them make that next step, one that is proper and right, we can save them a little money along the way, a little bit of time or a lot of time. That is what we want to do. I have found that people in podcasting on either side of the mic give up too soon. There are a lot of reasons for that.
I am going to use the ultimate example, which has probably been on every podcast episode you have ever done. People reference Joe Rogan. People get into podcasts and go like, “I am going to be like Joe. We are going to do that same thing.” It does not happen in two weeks and then they quit. Guests are the same thing. They are like, “I have got this product. Someone said I should get on a podcast.” They tried being a guest on two shows and they quit because they are like, “I did not earn millions of dollars off those two shows.” Everyone has these wrong expectations.
I have realized I cannot necessarily fix the mindset, but when you get into a community, it can change some things and be like, “This is something. These guys have been trying this for two years. It is starting to take effect. I need to figure out how he stayed in it so long.” People meet each other. They find ways to collaborate. It keeps people motivated. I am a community guy.
Through and through, that has been like if I look at my life, my entire history, anywhere I have ever done the best has been in some form of community. I know that I do a good job fostering that, making it healthy, and helping it to grow together. For me, that is why we have that community. It is to bring everyone together saying, “Here is where the industry is going. Here is how we can help. Let’s go there together. Let’s do this as a family.”
I was skimming some of your topic episodes because I wanted to get more of your voice. I found that I listened to one and I was like, “This is a masterclass. This is somebody else,” as I was listening to the podcast. When I went to skim some of your topics, one of my favorite ones that you did was talking about discipline. I think it is a theme you touch on repeatedly because that is what I think has been so missing in the podcasting world. It is the requirement that you do have to have some discipline about what you do, some process to what you do, some time commitment to what you do.
I am glad that you went there because Podcasting Made Simple sounds like you are going to go for the simple, easy, “Let me just sell your stuff.” You have done it. You talk about how this stuff is hard, but it is simple because it is one thing to think about, “I am going to put the time in. I am going to make it a routine. I am going to do it every morning or I am going to do it once a week.” Whatever that is, that is not the hard part. The hard part is committing to that.
At the end of the day, we call it Podcasting Made Simple because it is simple, but it is not necessarily easy. I did not call it Podcasting Made Easy. At the end of the day, it is a simple process, but it is not easy to do because the main thing being all of us, including myself, the lack of self-discipline that we have in this world. I know that is a totally different topic, but it is what I am really passionate about. Consistency seems to win time and time again.
I remember a quick story here, Tracy. Years ago, I met John Lee Dumas and we were hanging out together for a couple of days at an event. A couple of months later, we got on a call and he was like, “How are you? How are things?” I am like, “Good.” He goes, “I want to let you know I listened to your podcast.” I am like, “John Lee Dumas listens to my show.” He goes, “It is good. Do you want to know the difference between my show and your show?” I was scrambling to find a notepad. I am like, “Yes, please. Go. Give me these words of wisdom.” He just said one simple statement. He said, “Seven years.” That is all he said. He got quiet.
I did not say anything back. I looked at him. I was nodding yes. He goes, “I have never missed a day that I told my audience I would post something in seven years. If you do the same thing seven years from now, you will be exactly where I am.” That lesson has always stuck with me because it is so true. It is the power of being consistent and doing things when you do not feel like it.
It is discipline right there. That is the definition of it. We call it consistent and constant because of those two things. The weird part is humans do not love it. Fortunately for us, the digital bots adore it. For those of us that can have a little discipline and be consistent and constant, John is right. Seven years later, you are going to have the killer show.
To that point, if you are like, “This is just too much.” If you have the budget or you see the future budget coming into play, sub some of the stuff that keeps you from staying consistent. For me, I loved editing. My team finally was like, “It is time to stop.” I think it is fun. If I take out the trash, but it was not on my to-do list to do that day, I will write it down so I can check it off. For some reason, I am being really careful.
I always have a to-do list too. I will do that.
Right when I am done with this, I will check off that we had this conversation. When I was doing podcast editing, it gave me a feeling of like, “I am getting stuff done.” I can knock it out. I can see that I have been through five minutes. I felt like I am accomplishing something. It was time to step out. For me, the thing that I did enjoy was the social media side of things. I would always end up just skipping it, which is not being consistent. I hired it out. I have somebody who does all that and someone does all the editing.
My point is that if you are having trouble staying consistent, it is because you are doing something you should not be doing. If it is something that you say, “It is a requirement for what I am doing,” then find somebody to help. Find a team member, get a partner, get somebody that can help you do that thing so you can stay consistent with the stuff that matters most
That is what I think people have such a hard time understanding what is going to matter most. That is why I love the way you have set up Podcasting Made Simple because when you are thinking about that, the simple things like, “What are the simple things that I could do and I can accomplish? Where does my time best spent?” It is the next question that they will then ask yourself, “What can I cut away? What could I hand out? What don’t I need to do anymore so that I can keep it as simple as possible?”
I am glad you got that from it because that is the point of it. Let’s give somebody one thing and that is why we try not to. Some people come on and speak on it. They like to share twenty points for X, but I am like, “Give people one simple idea, one thing that they can go through and do.” I am glad you got that from it. Thank you for sharing that.
I want to do the three things that I do on every show because we use them for social media. That is its purpose. It is a repurpose ability. It also goes into our article that we write for Authority Magazine. Everyone who comes on my show gets an Authority Magazine article. This is our purpose of dialing in a feature that we do in our show. I always like to reveal behind the curtain what this looks like to our audience here. This is why I do this. Alex has some great tips that I am going to prompt him to give you because I have heard him speak before. I want to make sure.
We are going to start with getting great guests. Founder of PodMatch, you should know what it takes to get great guests. What do you think the key is? When I searched through PodMatch, sometimes I was like, “I do not know.” What criteria do you use and do you recommend for someone to choose a great guest for their show?
First off, no guest is created equal. A great guest for me does not mean it is a great guest for you. There are a lot of factors there. The most obvious being our personalities could be different. If you are super bubbly, super outgoing, and you are going to interview somebody that I interviewed that is really monotone and does not laugh at all, that is probably not going to be a good connection. If that is an interview, your listeners are going to be like, “This is painful.” They are going to get a little antsy listening to it.
Personality alone could be different, but if you are like, “I have this personality, so our guests should be the same still.” That is still maybe not the case. How aligned are they with the vision of your show? Is it really going to work? Is there going to be some they can use to add value that they can share that is going to add value to your audience? You always have to think that not all guests are created equal. To me, it all begins with you knowing who is listening to your show. The best thing to do, especially when you start off, if you are unsure early on, even when you are more advanced, is creating some ideal listener avatar.
Your avatar is a fictitious listener, but it is an accumulation of who is listening to your show. They cannot be general. I even gave my person a name. His name is Adam. Adam is who I always think about. When I am getting a guest, I say, “Would Adam gain value from Tracy sharing on my podcast?” I will think through it like, “Adam is trying to launch a podcast right now. Adam is thinking about how he is going to grow the audience afterward. He wants to keep the conversations fairly brief.” I can say, “Tracy knows podcasting. She has done a lot of audience growth stuff and she can have a good conversation, but not talk too much.”
Some people you might listen to could be a total dominating conversation. A lot of big names in marketing can talk for an hour straight without you even looking at them. They just feel like they can keep on going. That would not be a good fit for some audiences. The very first step is to make sure that it is a good guest for you, based on who is listening. Find that avatar.
It needs to be a match. That is the part I love about what you named there. It needs to be a good match. The idea is that if you are thinking those things through, you are going to make better choices. In the beginning, everyone is like, “Let me just get as many guests as possible. I am afraid I will not have any.” It is a starter thing, but after that, be selective. I think you should be selective from the beginning because I think it is going to make it better, but you might need to reevaluate. Sitting back and reevaluating your avatar.
When I started my first podcast on 3D printing, we thought it was going to be geeky fourteen-year-old boys in the garage. It turned out to be women engineers in Chicago and educators in Ohio. That is when we were reached out by our first audience. We changed all the names of our avatars and made new profiles. We would give them shoutouts on the air. We would be like, “Cara, I know you are going to love this guest today.” They would love it. It made them engage more, but it was in our heads.
When I launched Creating A Brand, which did really well, I thought who would be listening were people like me who were in a 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM job, had no clue what entrepreneurship was, but wanting to learn and wanting to leave their job. Who actually were listening were people with successful side hustles, almost successful enough that they quit their jobs. They were ten steps further than I was. They still wanted to hear from these people because they were looking for the motivation to finally say, “I am leaving.” I had to redo the avatar. From day one, it is so important.
If you are reading this before you have launched, be picky with who is on your show. I think that that is the right move because I look back to my first season of Creating A Brand. There were twelve episodes in that first season. Four of them really had no business being there. They were not a right fit. Now I know that, but if you could learn that from day one, it would be important. I think that is a good tip, but going back to the main question here, how do I know if a guest is good? Something I always listen for is how the guest speaks.
What I mean by that is not necessarily the cadence in their voice or how long they take pauses. More so, what I am referring to is, are they always talking about themselves? Especially if a guest pitches and says, “I want to talk to your audience because I have a new product and I want to grow my business. I think it would be really good for me,” and I this and I that.We call it podcasting made simple because it is simple, but it's not necessarily easy. Click To Tweet
If you start hearing that stuff, then it is not going to be someone who is going to be driving with value. It is going to be somebody who is more so interested in selling to your audience. You have done some great episodes. I heard one on May 4th, 2022, with someone named Nikki. It was all about selling authentically through podcasts. It is a good episode.
Nikki did not do it in a way that was like, “By the way, if you want this, here are my first four points. You want the fifth point. You got to go to this website and download this thing inside of here.” It was not like that. Some people will try to get on your show and you have seen it. They want to be that way because that is the only thing they know how to do. That is a bad guest. That is not a good guest at all.
The other thing that I listened for is if they say the same thing on more than one show. That is why I cannot just listen to one time. You got to pick a couple of shows. I will try to pick a couple of shows they have been on that are other people’s and go, “Do they say the exact same thing?” I do not want duplicate content. It is a no-no in the digital footprint that I am creating. It is also a no-no to me because I do not want to bore my audience. They could listen to any show and get the same information.
A lot of big-name guests have coaches that teach them, “Only share your soundbite. Find a way to turn it back to this.” Nothing against them, but if you go listen to Matthew McConaughey’s podcast episodes when he did his tour when Greenlights came out, it was super good and valuable. If you went and listened to another one, it was the same episode. He shared the same exact thing almost 600 times. Apparently, that is what he did. Nothing against the guy. That is what his coach taught him to do. It is all different audiences, but you cannot follow that person around.
I had a big guest on that was a celebrity, not quite at that level, but very close. I never posted the episode because I listened to him and he shared the same thing on every podcast. I am like, “I am going to be the one to break him. I am going to get him to share something different.” He did not share one word that was different than what he had done previously.
I ended up never sharing the episode. I am like, “I do not want to repeat. Everyone has already heard this.” It is important that you find somebody you feel that you have an authentic conversation with and will listen to you. Tracy, if you ask me anything, I am not going to answer the way I did previously. I am going to listen and be like, “I am going to respond authentically.” I think that is a really important thing to do.
That is why when I prep people for my show here, I listen to your show. I also listened to you on another show to check that out and make sure because I do not want to have that. Normally, when people come on The Binge Factor, lucky for me, this is not something that they got to talk about on a ton of shows before. They are talking about their podcast. They are usually talking about their business or something else in some other place. Lucky for me, the format of the show can force them to be original. Those are great tips.
Everyone, TheBingeFactor.com or at Podetize.com, which is where we house Feed Your Brand. If you are listening on that platform, you will be able to find all the links to go to PodMatch where you can learn a lot more about guesting and all of those things as well. Let’s move on to the second thing, getting more listeners. Every podcaster I talked to wants more listeners. This is always their weak point, but you are finding a boost in listenership. What do you do actively to get new listeners?
This is what I am going to want to hear from you on as well. I am going to flip the question to you in a minute, but I will answer in the most interesting way that I have been thinking about. So many of us in podcasting are saying, “We want to grow our listenership.” What we do is we start trying to think of how we can do a massive campaign. “Can we partner with somebody? Is there a way we can make a viral post of some sort? Can we make more audiograms? Can we make more short videos, more posts? How can we get this out there and blast out to as many people as possible?” I have been thinking like, “What if we did the opposite of that?”
The opposite of that is not necessarily do less content but do one-on-one outreach. Let’s use that example, “I found Tracy in a Facebook group. Tracy looks like someone that might be interested in my show.” I am going to reach out to be like, “I checked you out, listened to you over here on this show. I would love to stay connected.” Start an organic conversation. Eventually, Tracy is like, “I would like to know about growing my audience.” I would be like, “Here is an episode of my show about growing your audience. Check it out. I would love to chat with you about it.” Leave it at that.
The next day, reach out to somebody else. Do something similar. I am not talking about link spamming like, “Hey, Tracy. Here is my new podcast.” It is building a relationship. I have been thinking of this. I brought it up to a friend, and he says, “That would take forever.” I am like, “Imagine you do this once a day. One new person a day and you have an authentic conversation. You send them to your actual podcasts. They listen to it. After 365 days, that is 365 listeners. Let’s say you committed two years of podcasting. You are looking at over 700 people.”
That is 365 new podcasters who have now listened to a year’s worth of episodes. You are actually talking about thousands of listens at the end of the day.
Even if they only listen to one episode or just pick up where they are at once a week, listen. Still, if you had 700 new people in two years listening to your show, podcast listenership, everyone knows that most new shows do not have very many people listening at all. If you had 700 people listening every week, that would put you up toward the top end of podcasting. Not maybe the top 0% or anything like that, but it is going to put you up toward the top.
Instead of creating all this content, trying to push it out, saying, “Let me try some organic one-on-one relationship building with podcasting.” I think that might be an interesting approach that I have not heard many people talk about yet. It is something different. I wanted to share that here. Hopefully, it sticks.
Thinking about doing something that is so simple that it does not take a lot of time. You are already on your social media every day anyway. Take one minute to send a private message to someone that is nice and short, and say, “I thought of you and wanted to share this. I would love your thoughts.” People like to reciprocate. They like to give their opinion. I think it is an interesting model. I love to see you do it and then report back. I would love to see how it works.
I have been doing it. I even got the idea because I heard it from a friend once who said that that is how he is grown. He does not have a big show. He is like, “I have got hundreds of people listening.” I keep on reaching out. I had people start reaching out to me. I started building relationships, being like, “What you are describing is this episode.”
People started listening. It has worked good for me. My show has grown faster by doing that than anything else because the other thing is it has this effect of people like, “I met this guy Alex. He is the host of this. He sent me this episode.” They send it to their friend who is interested as well. They send it to their friend.
It starts bouncing around because it actually came from a human. It was not like, “Check out this audio gram post somebody made.” It was like, “This guy sent me a message. He is the host of it and check it out. I will share that with people as well.” So far, it is going well. I will report back when I have more. To flip the question, you are a professional in this space. I would love to hear what is working for you.If you're having trouble staying consistent, it's probably because you're doing something that you really shouldn't be doing. Get somebody that can help you do that thing so you can stay consistent with the stuff that really matters most. Click To Tweet
I am so glad you asked because I think it ties to what you are doing over at PodMatch. What I tell my clients and what I see so often happen is that we forget to interview podcasters. When we interview guests, we forget that at least once a month, mine is four a month because of my show type, but even on shows that are not that. If we can attract a podcaster to be our guest, we are more likely to get listeners from them than we are from another type of guest because they already have podcast listeners. They are going to talk about being on your show on their show or promote it within their platform of other podcast listeners.
It is going to have a better effect and impact on you in getting listeners and driving back to you. I sometimes wonder why authors are talking about their books on podcasts instead of their Audible. It does not make sense to me that the media type is different. If you have got an Audible book, you ought to be talking about the Audible version of it. Mention it. It is worth it because that is the first thing a podcast listener goes, “Is this available on Audible?” I am not one of those, even though I am a podcast listener. I am still a reader, but I would check it out in whatever format I wanted anyway. Why aren’t you talking about that more?
I think that is the biggest thing. If I can PodMatch and not only get guests but go get other hosts to be on my show that is a match for me, I am going to do better in the long run. You do not have to do every single person who is a podcaster, but you can do it so that once a month, you bring in a podcaster. That is going to give you this mix and boost.
I am glad you brought that up because it ties back to the first thing we discussed. We were talking about what makes a good guest? Usually, a podcast host is a good guest because they at least understand the basics. Their phone is going to be on silent. Their dog is not going to be in the background. Their mic should be good. You can listen to their show. It makes you be like, “They will show up. They will be good.” That is a free little bonus.
Additionally, this is my biggest claim to fame in life. I do not have a lot. Jasmine Star came on my podcast. She is also a podcaster. I consider her a celebrity podcaster. She liked the episode so much that her team reposted it on her podcast feed. She has an episode on her podcast with Alex Sanfilippo. For me, that is the coolest thing ever, being on Jasmine Star’s podcast with me interviewing her. Nonetheless, that is a bonus that happens sometimes. It is called podcast swapping.
It organically happened because I happened to interview somebody that was a podcaster. I love that tip. I think that is a great thing that all podcasters should consider doing. They do not necessarily need to talk about podcasting. They can talk about something unrelated to their show, but it will come up organically.
If it is a right match for you anyway, you do not need to ask for a swap. If I ask you on my show, you are going to naturally enjoy the experience. If I am a right fit for you, you are going to invite me back. It happens every time. I always ask first and do not worry about the reciprocation. I think it is going to come. If it does not come, then it was not meant to be. It was not a right fit. I am okay with that. I did not waste my time. You are getting the cross-link anyway. They are not going to not promote it. That is my side of it. I think that would work for you.
Let’s talk monetization. This is where we got to meet in person at Outlier. I enjoyed Outlier so much, not because it was the first podcast event that I have been to post COVID. I have been to lots of other events, but it was the first podcast community event that I had done live. I loved it because of that, but I thought the caliber of a speaker and the topics they spoke about were much higher than any other show I have been to. I was impressed by it and so sad that they did not have a bigger audience that could hear that.
I want to bring my audience some of the tips. When we talked about monetization, you had some great ideas that were a little bit guest related. I would love for you to give me three of them. Give the readers three of those that you thought that you thought were your favorite ones out of that monetization group.
The first one I will share as it relates to you and your guests. If you are a host and you are interviewing guests, at some point, your show will grow if you stay consistent with it. We talked about that a lot. A quick shout out was on June 1st, 2022, Tracy, you shared an episode with Chase Clymer diving deeper into your podcast audience. What he was saying is you need to stay consistent and continuously offer value. That is how he has been able to grow time and time again. I encourage everyone to go back and listen to that because we are not going to dive into that. We have already talked about consistency a little bit. That was a really powerful episode.
The point is, as you are doing that, staying consistent and adding value, people will start coming to you and saying, “Can I please be a guest?” They might all be a good fit. The thing is, at some point, you are going to hit the same thing that most podcasters are in that has been consistent for a long time. They have this crazy backlog of, “You can come on the podcast in three months and then we will post it six months after that.”
I have podcasters that are out nine months, which I think is way too long.
If I am an author and I am going to come on your show and it is a great interview, I loved it, and I am like, “My book comes out in three weeks and you are not going to post it for six months. That is too bad. I wish it could be out sooner.” Offer what I call the skip-the-line option. You did not charge the guest to be on the podcast. I do not believe in that.
It should just be an exchange, but you can say, “I can post it the day your book is coming out in three weeks from now as a bonus episode. I will have to move everything around,” because you and your team will. You can have some fixed fee saying, “Because of all the production shifts and all the things I have to move, we will have a little fee and we will bring it there. It is just a skip-the-line option.”
You should not offer this if the interview was terrible. If the interview is good and they feel like it was good and they are like, “I want that to come out the day my book comes out because I want to promote this episode,” which is a win for you and a win for them, they might be willing to pay a little bit for that. I think that that is a good tip that I do not see people taking advantage of. It serves you and serves the listener and also serves your guest.
The next one here is to turn your guests into customers. What I mean by that is perhaps the best thing you can do if you have some coaching practice or some course. The best person you could be selling to, instead of even the listenership, they can be a bonus, is to sell to your guest who is coming on the show. Bring on a guest that could be your ideal client.
What you do not want to do is have an episode where you are selling them the whole time, like, “Tracy, that is why you need my course. That is why you have got to have this.” You want to be value-adding but so interesting to them that they, at the end of the recording, would be like, “Tracy, that was amazing. Do you really have something that does that?” You bring them on because you are like, “This would be a great client.” That is a great way to do high-ticket stuff.
Let’s do that. I am going to take a little section. I am going to take a piece. I had something that I was going to suggest to you after the call, not because I think I want Alex as a client. I would love to have Alex as a client, but that is not the purpose of it. When he said something about something he had done, it occurred to me that we have a tool that would be amazing for him. To drop a tip or a drop a share at the end, and ask them if they would like more information about that, is a great way to do that. Alex, here is my one for you.No guest is created equal. Click To Tweet
You said that you had 158 or 160 episodes when you switched your show. The thing that we love is putting the feed on top of it and doing what you did was perfect. Jordan Harbinger is exactly what I would have advised. If you had multiple feeds available to you because of your hosting subscription, be able to spin off those 158 episodes, weed them out and make them into different series for which you could create landing pages or create new feeds. Remove them from your feed as you go along the way. What if you could do that? You have multiple feeds. You have a second show where Creating A Brand is its own show. You could spin off anything in any order that you want automatically. It is super simple to copy and move.
You are saying I would not be creating any new content necessarily, right?
You would create Creating A Brand again in a brand new feed and then move the episodes you wanted to preserve, the best of Creating A Brand. You create those over on one side. It could be the best ones that are the best tips for podcasters. It could be the best episodes that are your personal favorites. You create a special place for them and you move them out of the regular feed because as you get over 100 episodes, it is overwhelming for someone to search through that.
It is not all aligned either. It is crazy that you bring this up. I have a certain time in my morning routine where I am thinking about ideas. I was thinking like, “What the heck do I do with Creating A Brand?” I still own the domain. I have got all these old episodes that are amazing. They are so good. I was thinking this. I would be super interested in seeing a written-out plan of what someone would recommend.
I was suggesting creating a feed for Creating A Brand that is super simple for you, so you do not lose its content as an attractor. Its content as an attractor might still be great because people want to brand themselves as podcasters. That is something that they think about as well.
We got to talk more about this, but you totally did my point. That was exactly what I was talking about. We are perfectly aligned.
You did not hear, but I am like, “This is a tool that we happen to have on our Podetize platform.” I can generate a further conversation without selling. That is a perfect idea.
This is the only time anyone has ever given a real example of that. That was perfect. That is exactly what I am talking about because I mentioned that in the episode. It was not even Tracy. You probably knew that, but it was not something that you had the agenda of like, “I am going to mention this.” I talked about it and now you just said, “You mentioned this. How about that to go with it?” I am now super interested. I do not even know if I will be able to focus on the rest of the episode because I want to know more about that. I am going to bring it back.
You have got some other ideas for monetization, but I love the strategy of having your guests as, whether it is a refer or the moneymaker itself of becoming clients.
I love that one. That one is, I think, a good one. Move on to the last one here and then we can continue. The last thing I will mention is doing a marketing boost for your guest. You might need some help with this and work with somebody who knows this stuff. If you do not know Facebook ads or Instagram or LinkedIn, you might want to sub out the work a little bit, which would make the cost go up a little bit.
The episode, imagine it is really good, you have finished recording. You know that the guest has something they want to get out there. Maybe an author or maybe some coach. Someone has some new business or something like that. They want to get out there, offer them saying, “I will run some ads against this specific episode. I will get this blasted out there to people.”
You can say, “Here is the cost. There are three options,” or say, “We can run it a dollar a day for the rest of our lives. As long as we want, we can run it for a year and see how it goes.” You might have a guest who says, “I have a marketing budget. Let’s do that.” Here is the win for you. Keep a little bit because it is your time or someone else’s time, depending on how you do that, that will be used to create that. There needs to be a little bit of margin in there for you.
Additionally, what are you bringing people to that you are not paying for to your podcast? They are coming to your show. It is a total win-win because if they come to your show to hear that guest, it is going to help the guest, but also it is going to drive up those download numbers. That is another way you can monetize with a guest that brings you great business.
It is better if the ads are running from you about somebody else. It is better for them. They get more power than if they were promoting themselves in their own ad system.
At the end of the day, this is something that I believe in. I have used this as a strategy. People are like, “You never sell.” I am like, “I do not really.” If I am speaking at an event, people are like, “Tell us about yourself.” I am like, “My name is Alex and I run a company.” I just start talking. What happens is, which is really powerful, the host is like, “Alex is being so humble. Let me tell you what Alex does,” but them saying what I do versus me saying what I do is 10X more valuable because that person is the one that owns the stage. It has all the clout with these people.
I am a big fan of strategically holding back what I do and letting someone else sing my praises. It is a lot better to do that. I follow Jesus. That is what I do. In the book of Proverbs, there is a verse that says something about that, “Never be the one to call yourself up to the King’s level. Wait to be called to that level so you will be honored and respected.” That is the way I live my life.
It comes across in your community so well because your community is not about affiliate pitching people. It is about serving people. I think that is the big difference. Your masterclasses, tell us a little bit about the kinds of classes that you run. The masterclasses that you run with your events are in-depth with useful topics. Are they creating them custom just for you? How do you make that content so valuable?
The idea behind it is we want it to feel more like a TEDTalk. I wanted to use the name PodTalks, but I realized that the TED organization sues anyone that uses any three letters followed by the word talks. I was just like, “We are just going to call it PodPros Quarterly.” We wanted to bring something in that is a short 12 to 16-minute talk. These people are creating this content specifically for what we are doing and maybe they reuse it somewhere else. That is perfectly fine, but like, “What is the one thing that you know about being a podcast guest or host that could add value to other people? What is that magic thing that you do?”Turn your guests into customers. Bring on a guest that could be your ideal client. Click To Tweet
It is always something really unique that what we look for, but the way we build up the topics and I figure out who to reach out to invite is we have a question when you join the PodPros community that says, “What is one thing that you are struggling with right now in your podcast or in your podcast guesting?” As people answer that, we not only respond to help right there, but we also build it into a spreadsheet and see what people are consistently asking about.
Sometimes we get these weird trends that come through, like, “People want to know about talking in soundbites.” That was something we had someone talk about. People want to understand how to get better at that. I found somebody on PodMatch, who is an expert at soundbites. That is what they train and teach them. I am like, “Would you come speak about that and do a Q&A with us?” That type of thing goes back to looking for the problem and offering a solution. That is what we have done with these events.
That is how we have gotten real unique content. It is not me going out there and learning it and sharing it. It is me finding someone who is already an expert and saying, “Will you come share with the audience? We will push all your stuff.” If they want to enroll in a program you have, let’s do that. At the end of the day, it is just, “Can we add value to people answering the questions or asking us?”
I pretty much try everything that might be suggested to my platforms. If somebody wants to come in and teach something, I am like, “I need to try it first. I need to check it out myself.” I consider myself the gatekeeper for what the podcasters will find overwhelming or not. I have a high tolerance for overwhelm myself. My threshold is not like my clients, but I do that just in case. I decided to check out your PodcastSOP site. I am going to share in my post comments about my experience doing it. It is not for everyone. I know that. It is a certain personality that wants this, but I love it personally.
I love how PodcastSOP is thinking about the things people are missing and trying to make it simple. When I look at your binge factor overall, I am going to say that I am not going to give them a binge factor for your show. Alex Sanfilippo and PodPros overall have their own binge factor and why you might binge on their community, why you might binge on their products, and why you will definitely binge on his podcast, Podcasting Made Simple. Consider what that is because you are dialing into the simplest value. That simplest value is my takeaway already.
You have done the work for finding the takeaway for me. I often have to go into a platform, go into a course, and find these people who want to be experts on my system to go in and figure out where the value lies. They are not good at communicating it, but Alex, you are great at communicating the simple value of something. That translates into a whole lot less time I have to spend as a listener and a podcaster figuring out.
That made my day. I appreciate you saying that. It means a lot. At the end of the day, you got it exactly right. I am looking to solve the simplest problem I can to offer the simplest solution to what people have going on. PodcastSOP, the SOP stands for Standard Operating Procedures, in case somebody is wondering. That is why we named it that. Going back to the problem we kept on seeing, people are leaving podcasting as soon as they start. One of the reasons is the stress involved. I was like, “Use Trello. Try Asana. Try these apps.”
If they were not familiar with them, I gave them something that does 20,000 things. Although it is great, I just told them, “You are struggling. Here, struggle even more with this.” We built it as a simple solution for someone saying, “I want to be organized. Can you help me be organized?” It is a glorified checklist for your podcast. When you are releasing episodes, you can check through everything, set it up yourself, add your team members.
I have seven people who run it in there. Out of the 39 tasks we have on our SOP for our podcast, I am only assigned to four of them and there are 39 and there are seven people who handle the rest of it. I think it is a great thing. I, I love it. I appreciate the fact that you checked out. That shows so much integrity on your part. I appreciate the fact that you figured out my binge factor.
I really wanted to test myself and see if I could simplify the process even more. I have the benefit of having Podetize behind me. I feel like I do not have to list out. It is like, “Turn it over to the portal. Record, upload, done.” That is our motto over there. I would say half of the tasks in there are my tasks only because that is the way I built it.
When I built my template in your SOP, I ended up with ten tasks. I was proud of myself. I was like, “That looks really doable.” If I looked at that, I was five of them. I was one that I almost never do, but I am there in case they need to tag me on it. It is four of them, but I thought, “I have gotten it to a simple level.” That was a good a-ha for me, doing that and working through it to realize that the rest of my systems and process worked for me to automate things.
It takes all podcasters so long to get to that point. When I first started and I had somebody tell me this as well, I was like, “I have over 100 things I do.” Someone smart like you was like, “No, you do not. Are you building this and this? You do that at the same time. It is one thing.” I have heard a podcast be like, “Nothing like that could ever work for me because I have over 100 tasks I do every time I release an episode.” I am like, “There is no way. I know what podcasting. You are not releasing a movie. That is too many.” I love that you got it down to a simpler form than I do. You challenge me. I am at 39. I need some work.
Everybody is different. Everybody’s process is different and their team is different. Lucky for me, I just have dialed in. That really works for me.
You are the best in the biz. It makes sense. I am going to get there. Maybe some consulting.
It does not require consulting. It requires a little bit of running through Feed Your Brand or something like that. We will connect those episodes to everybody, so they know how to do that. I love it. That will be a lot of fun. Are you going to do podcasts for the SOP side? I think it might be a different audience.
We have four of them that are done that are not released, but they are podcasters. I am looking at small, independent podcasters and what they are doing to release an episode. I am finding them in different spaces and that is exactly what we are going to do. I do not know if there will be a podcast feed. Maybe it should. I am not really sure yet. I should ask your advice on that. What we are going to do is help them. They have built out their templates so people can assign that as their own template if they want to see how somebody built it, but they are going step-by-step with everything that they do.
We have four of those ready to go, which I am excited about because I think, as an independent podcaster, I think hearing from another independent podcast is great. I am not interested in how NPR releases a podcast episode. Not because they are not great, but because I do not care about the 3,000 tasks and $10,000 it goes into a single episode. That is not me. Never will be, I hope. The person who is like, “I started a podcast. I had this really great hack. Here are the 30 things I do.” I would like to hear that and see if I can pick up anything and learn from it.
I think that that helps people find the fit for them. I think it would be useful if it was publicly available. If you sign into the SOP site, you can actually get to that. You can get to it because they give you examples of the templates. I have seen those four episodes.Never be the one to call yourself up to the King's level. Wait to be called to that level so you'll be honored and respected. Click To Tweet
We are working on eight. We have 78 people in addition that have signed up to do one. We are going to have them. It is me interviewing them. It is them talking to a camera, walking step-by-step, maybe they have a presentation if they want to show people. We have a bunch of them. I am not sure what to do with the content past just sharing it there. You and I are going to talk about that. It could be valuable.
I cannot imagine your Podcasting Made Simple. It does not go hand in hand with that. They are not the same audience. That is when you need a new feed. That is when you need a new show, which makes sense for me as a future for you. Podcasting Made Simple, you switched it up and where is it going to go? Where do you want to see it in the future?
I believe we are going to build in a catalog of helpful tips for people so that when I do meet people, they are coming in saying, “I am struggling to speak in soundbites.” I am able to say, “Here is an episode about that,” or somebody who is like, “I do not understand how to monetize my show.” I can be like, “Here are three options.” I would never send an option. I would dive in a little further on what they like to do and then send them the direct thing. We want to build a good directory of education. I think that is the big vision for PodPros. Past the softwares is, “Can we help educate this industry in a big way?” For us, it is going to build that catalog out.
I really hope that you take a dent out of the pod fade in the industry as well.
If I have one big mission, it is that. I want to take a little chunk out of there. If we can make it 1% better, I am happy with that.
PodPros is an amazing community. You all have to check it out. Podcasting Made Simple Podcast is a must listen for aspiring and existing podcasters out there who want to get to a much simpler process and focus on the things that matter in the impact. Alex Sanfilippo, thank you for being here. I appreciate you.
I am honored to be here. Thanks so much, Tracy.
- Alex Sanfilippo
- Podcasting Made Simple
- The Binge Factor
- Chase Clymer – Past episode
About Alex Sanfilippo
Alex Sanfilippo is the host of the top-rated podcast called Podcasting Made Simple. He is also the founder of PodPros.com, a software company focused specifically on the podcasting industry. Alex and his team have created popular services like PodMatch, a service that matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews, and PodcastSOP, a project management tool that helps podcasters keep up with their episode releases.