Now you have a show up and running, but how do you make sure it doesn’t halt on its tracks? You are the single most important thing that determines whether you keep that podcast momentum or not. It’s all about self-discipline and accountability. But as we know all too well, these things are a whole lot better said than done. We all have our personal hurdles to really showing up consistently for our audiences, and even our guests and co-hosts. How do we overcome these hurdles and build a system with built-in accountability mechanisms? Tune in as Tracy Hazzard and Tom Hazzard tackle this topic.
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Mastering Podcast Momentum: Overcoming Accountability & Discipline Hurdles
We’re going to talk about Mastering Podcast Momentum: Overcoming Accountability & Discipline Hurdles.
It’s your favorite subject.
Maybe but not so much. This subject is a very good one. I have these hurdles to overcome myself. This is why it isn’t my favorite subject because it holds up a mirror to what I am challenged with. I do fully admit I need support for certain things to be able to show up. I can tell you not only because we’re recording this show and doing it at the same time every week. It’s on my calendar and I’m going to show up, and even record another show.
Believe it or not, I was a co-host on a show that ran for a couple of years where I was the more organized of the two hosts. If we didn’t have that session recurring booked on our calendar at the time when we were going to do it every week, it probably wouldn’t have happened. I don’t recommend that most podcasters do that.
When we were on our very first podcast, we would take one whole day a month and binge-record all our episodes in one day and sometimes in two days. It depends on which show we were doing because we were publishing a lot of episodes frequently. If we didn’t set aside those times, it wouldn’t happen. We would binge-record in one day an awful lot of episodes and that’s what I think most podcasters in business are best served to do.
That would have never worked for you, and even setting aside that one day would have never worked for you if you did not have an accountability partner with a great amount of self-discipline who would organize all of that. That’s how it works. I want to talk about this topic and frame it up for us. Our good friend over at PodPros Alex Sanfilippo s been on our show before and is a partner. We do a lot of work with them through their PodMatch Program, which we love.
Alex did some research and he calls them The Actively Established Podcast for those who reached that good milestone of 25 episodes or more, they post every single week and are consistent, and the podfaders. He did about a thousand podcast host research programs where he did that. Now, there are about 100 of them that are actively established. Most of them ended up in the podfade realm, which is not unusual. In fact, 90% to 10% is pretty common out there for a lot of companies. It just so happened that of the people who participated in the research, only 10% of them were active.
Between the two sides of them, he came up with a list of things that were overlapping. Some of the biggest problems were staying organized and keeping organized. Having self-discipline and accountability were two of the items on both sides as to why they quit or why they are critical to keep going. It works on both sides. That’s why we grouped these together. It’s because of this research.
That is the key factor to how to focus, get going, and keep going with podcasting. I found that these two things go hand-in-hand, self-discipline and accountability. I am that piece in our co-hosting partnership. I’m going to say that co-hosting may be necessary for some of you. I’m going to throw that out there. It is necessary for Tom. When you have to do a solo show, you have trouble getting it started, staying accountable, and doing that. When you have a co-host or you have a partner in the preparation side of things and you have an accountability partner, it makes all the difference for you.
For me, it’s the accountability piece that I need to show up to stay in integrity for my co-host or the other person. That can also happen with a guest. When you have an appointment with a guest, that’s an accountability piece that makes you show up and do it.
In our system and our process, you would never go seeking those guests. You wouldn’t make the time for that if I didn’t already do that on our behalf. That makes a big difference on the topic preparation because Feed Your Brand here is almost all topics with an occasional coaching crash popping in as Alex did at one point. We had Angie Lile and Fran Asaro, which is one of my favorite ones. I referred to it so many times on YouTube optimization.
We have those because I handle that and our team handles that. If we didn’t do that, then you wouldn’t have something to show up to and be accountable for, but we know that’s critical for you. Now, this weekly coaching call though is accountability for you because it’s built into our system. You’re going to show up for our clients. There’s no way that you’re not going to show up, do what you need to do, and talk about what you need to talk about. You’re always prepared for that because you’re going to show up for our clients. We create the system accountability that fits with you.
It’s interesting because I talk with so many podcasters every day in a one-on-one sense. I will often find some people who don’t need that accountability piece to show up. They get overwhelmed with the idea of, “I have to do this every single week. I don’t know that I could do that,” or “I have to schedule this and show up at a certain time to be able to do it.” That scares off some people and we support them to set up systems.
You can allocate 1 day, 2 days a month, 1 afternoon a month, or whatever it is you need to be able to batch-record episodes. That’s one thing they do one day a month and not something they have to work into their schedule every single week. There are people who would not do it if they didn’t schedule a time to do it every week. I will admit, I am more in that camp, although when something inspires me and I have the time, I will go record episodes on my own. I did that for a little series on a completely different subject.
I will admit I started recording those more than a year ago, and I’ve recorded about a dozen episodes. I’ve never turned into publishing that series as I wanted to. It’s not related to podcasting so you’re not missing out on that. It’s a completely different subject matter of something that I was passionate about. I recorded them but then there’s that accountability piece of getting it all done and putting it out there for the world.
That’s the way I look at this. Self-discipline is an internal thing and accountability is an external thing. If you can look at how I create internal and external success, what am I going to do in those formats? That’s how you’re going to stay consistent and constant with podcasting. You have to figure out what those are for yourself. They could be different. They’re very different for me than they are for Tom.
From a self-discipline standpoint, it’s fairly easy for me to say, “This is the task that I have this week and I knocked off my list. This is something that I do. However, I don’t have enough time now.” You may find that as well. What is the first thing that’s going to slip? The thing that isn’t outwardly accountable. I don’t owe this to a client. I don’t owe this to our investment partners. Those are the things that are going to come first on my to-do list because they have an external accountability component.
When I create that in my system, then I help myself. That’s something that we’ve done internally here in order to get enough resources and tips into our tip library because we record that privately. We don’t always do that on the call here. Sometimes we’ve added it to the call here because it’s an easier way for us to make sure it gets recorded. We have an internal team member make an appointment with Tom and knock them all out.
He’ll show up for that team member because we owe our team. We are accountable to our team. They have a job to do and we have to be a part of making sure they can get their job done because we’re measuring them and holding them accountable for doing that. When they show up on our calendar, we sit down. We record those things. We’re done. We did our piece of it. Now, they can go off and do theirs. We created an internal accountability piece for that. Maybe that’s what you need to do. Have your assistant. Have your VA. Make an appointment on your calendar and set that up for prepping you, being ready, and making the recordings happen right there on the call.
I truly need that, especially for doing those tip videos or anything regarding our client portal, updates, and going over every little aspect of the analytics. We’ve created a lot of new resource videos, which is very similar to recording solo podcasts because it’s only me on there recording them and screen share demoing. I have a cool video set up for it. I like those videos. They’re neat.
I do need support in the organizational sense. “What is it we’re recording about today? Okay. Great. I can do that.” Sometimes I have to prepare in advance and make sure I’m prepared and I know what I’m doing and it’s not just spur of the moment. That’s important for me and it’s interesting. We know that people have different strengths in how they think and in how they work. There are four real quadrants for that.
Creative and visionary people are more emotional. Heart-centered people are more logistics and organization, and then people that are more numbers, bottom line, and black and white type of thinking. There are some people like you who are strong in all four of those. Your typical CEOs of companies are good at that. The rest of us can be dominant in 2 or 3 of them, but one is our kryptonite. This one is my kryptonite. I will freely admit that I need support or systems in place to be able to do those things that are not in my nature naturally.
That’s what we come to discover. If we can have a support system and a support team, we have both things because your high integrity is showing up for people, including our internal team and especially our client base. You would never not show up. You have to be unable to speak to not show up. It would have to be bad.
Knowing those things, we structured our system around that because it works to get you into participation in the process. That’s what you need to do in that self-discipline side of things. Break down the things that are not your strengths. Break down the things that are missing and break down the things that make it when you sit down at the microphone and we can get you going what you’re missing. It’s the pieces or the preparation that you maybe didn’t have or need in order to be effective while you’re recording.
This is something that we do. When we book our coaching calls here, we have a topic list. Over on that topic list, there’s a description. There’s a title that starts to link if there’s any outside resources that we had. If we have a guest, there’s all the information about them. It is already over there. The preparation for it means that there’s very little time that you need to do before you sit down to this call. You can take 10 to 15 minutes to take a look and preview all of this. It’s stuff we probably already know but we’re refreshing our memory as to why this is on our calendar this week and what we’re going to talk about.
We then could do a little prep in the pre-call part of it when you’re sitting in the waiting room. That’s what we’re doing over there. We’re setting and prepping that up. We’re making sure we’re aligned with what we’re going to say on the show. We’ve done our prep. We’ve done it over the course of a month in little tiny pieces and our team has supported that and finished them out for us. It makes us sit down here. It’s an effective use of our time. That goes to that brilliance part. We need to show up and be brilliant. We need to not be sitting around agonizing over, “What links am I going to share? Where did this idea come from? What are my bullet points for what I’m going to speak about?”
We don’t need to do those things but we do need to come up with what our message is. We need to be that because it needs to be a message that comes from us authentically to all of you out there because you’re holding us accountable for giving you good advice. We need to show up in integrity in that and that means some bit of preparation and some bit of support that’s coming from outside. It’s not somebody saying, “Here’s what you should say.” That would never work with us. We would never do that.
The reality is it doesn’t take much time. We have a meeting to go through the topics. Since this is a show about podcasting, tips, and support to help people make progress with their podcasts, I meet with so many new podcasters every day. I will often experience something like, “That’s a good topic for an upcoming show.” I’ll put it in the parking lot and save it. I will add it to the list. We then decide where it makes sense priority-wise. That is part of the fun part.
I do think it’s easier with a co-host or a guest to have to be accountable, but even on weeks of this show when you’re traveling and unavailable or I’m traveling. You had a family member pass away and you couldn’t be here for something. I think you did show up for the recording. You were just on the road.
I ended up showing up for recording because I was available but I had a horrible camera.
There are times when you can’t be here or I can’t be here. You and I show up solo but that topic is here and what we want to talk about is not scripted. It’s bullet points. It’s certain key points we want to make. It’s so natural to do what we do. We then show up and it’s wonderful. It’s a great episode on its own as a solo. Although the two-person dynamic, I think any podcast host will admit, is easy for them. Although I did come across someone who I think has been doing mostly solo cast for 50-plus episodes or something and then bringing in more guests. It is a bit of a shift.
Here’s the thing. We have a podcast that we do for our investors. How many have you recorded? Do you know?
It’s not a whole lot. It’s a limited series. How many I’ve recorded or we’ve recorded? Are you calling me out?
Yes. This is what I found. We would make appointments to try to do this and we can’t show up for each other. Co-hosting sometimes doesn’t work if you’re going to show up for each other and you still don’t have a mechanism. It doesn’t always work. That’s what I found. I have recorded probably at least ten episodes for the investors because I need to put out one a month and that’s my accountability to those investors. When I couldn’t get you to sit down and record them with me, I just recorded them anyway.
The problem was with the time of day to record them, I have meetings. When I would record for the other show that I participated in called Purchasing Truth, we would do it with someone outside of our business, I was the more accountable one of the two of us just because of who that person was. We picked a time of day. We were both early birds. We both have no problem waking up early. We record at 6:00 in the morning in our local time for an hour.Self-discipline is internal. Accountability is external. Click To Tweet
That was easy for us. It was also fun and enjoyable for the two of us. If we hadn’t done that, I was the one who was responsible for taking those episodes and submitting them for production, which is another accountability piece. I would do that. Although I would admit sometimes I would be away a week or two before, and then I would submit 3 or 4 together. We were so far ahead though that it usually wasn’t a problem.
That’s where you think about, “Can you be accountable to your spouse?” Not always. “Can you be accountable to your siblings?” Definitely not. “Can you be accountable to your kids?” I hope so, but sometimes that’s hard too. It’s easy to slip. We had this massive meltdown last night because we were too tired to take her to Yogurtland.
Our nine-year-old was like, “You made a promise, Dad.” This can be hard for us, in general. If it is for you, find somebody else to be your accountability partner. Find out what’s working for you. For Tom, that is always an outside. If I decided that I was going to record my investor podcast with one of my investors on a call, Tom would show up. There would be no question about it.
It’s interesting how context and perspective change our priorities when it comes to accountability. Human beings are not perfect. I’m the first to admit that I’m not one. That’s why we put systems and processes in place to help. It’s not about a lack of desire. It’s interesting what it is. I know we may be getting a little off-topic here.
The last thing I want to leave everybody with is when you start to break it down, you understand where it’s not working for you. If you cancel an appointment or if you say, “I’m going to record it this time,” and then you don’t think that through. Why did that happen? It happened because I needed to take a sales call because my clients are more important. What if I set up a coaching call in which I record my podcast? Now, I have something.
When you start to break that down for yourself, you’re going to be able to find the accountability pieces that work for you, or maybe it’s the support. It’s like, “I wanted to record but I didn’t have all the information about the topic,” or, “I didn’t have all the information about my guest. I felt unprepared for it. It frustrated me. What do I do about that?” We have a whole system. Reach out to us. We’re here for you. That’s what we have.
If it’s not in Feed Your Brand and you’re not a prototype client, there’s a whole tip library available to you. We have a process for setting up and getting all the details from your guests in your calendar so it happens in one fell swoop and the guest does all the work to give you the preparation that you need, so you don’t even have to have a support staff do that for you. There are ways around that.
The most important one for any podcaster is having a good booking calendar link that is scheduled for those times that you’re willing to be available to do an interview. It doesn’t open up your entire calendar. Hopefully, those who are using a booking calendar know this. You can limit for a certain type of appointment the windows of time that you’re available or willing to be available to do it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to have all of them booked up or you might get them all booked up so be prepared and be willing to be available during those times, but that’s not even the best part.
The best part is you have a whole booking form that collects all the things so you and your staff don’t have to chase them down for it later. It’s fantastic. That’s something every podcaster needs. That’s also honestly why our production service exists. We have perfected the post-production process. That means once you’ve recorded. A lot of things we are talking about here are around the one thing that we cannot make our customers do and that’s to record.
The accountability pieces at the beginning. Another thing is if you do not have staff and the right people, reach out to us. Let us know what you’re looking for. We have partners. One of my favorites is Faith and the team over at Masters in Clarity. They’re fabulous. If you need somebody to sit down and do ten hours to set up your calendar and get your guest booking in place, they follow our format. They know exactly what it is. They’ll do it for you.
It’ll be done and it’s out of the way for you. There are people and resources that we can share with you. That’s why we want to make sure that we’re here for you. If you have a question, reach out to us, even if you’re not a client. If you’re a Feed Your Brand listener, reach out to us. That’s what we’re here for. If you’re following us on LinkedIn and YouTube, click common in place. We’ll share one of our tips for you.
We’ll get them out. We’ll get you the resources you need. There is no excuse for you not to be able to use the podcasting industry and all the data and information that is out there to your advantage and help that community provide you the support, the self-discipline, and the accountability ideas that might work for you.
It’s critically important. It is what we’re here for, whether we’re going to break down a very new topic and address a little issue or a bigger issue. This one can snowball because we can go a lot of different ways. That whole accountability piece can be one of many potential things.
Here’s the thing. I cannot stand to be nagged. That will never work. There are people who put accountability partners in place who send you reminders. It drives me crazy. I can’t do it. It makes me not want to do something. You have to understand yourself at the end of the day what works for you and what doesn’t. Also, set up your system, process, and team.Find somebody else to be your accountability partner. Click To Tweet
If you haven’t gone through that as an individual to understand how you think and what you do well and what you don’t, it can be tough to hold up a mirror to yourself and understand that. I’ll tell you, we’ve been through it. It’s incredibly valuable not just as a podcaster but if in any way, you’re in business for podcasting, understanding your strengths and your weaknesses. I know we don’t like to think about our weaknesses. “What do you mean? I’m not weak. I don’t want to talk about that.”
It’s not a character flaw. It’s just understanding. I’m sure all of you are brilliant in some way. You need to understand where you’re brilliance is and where you need some support. Part of that support may be getting help with what we do with our customers. Getting help where you record, you upload, and you’re done. You don’t have to think about it. That’s post-production.
We’re talking a lot about some pre-production things here. You can get support for that if you need it. You can even get support for submitting your episode for production. We have some people that need that. That’s available too. More importantly, do you know where I would need serious support after the recording is done? It’s social posting.
That is not your strength either.
I do engage in social media personally and I enjoy it but I don’t generally post my own podcast. We have somebody that does that for us. I wouldn’t do it on every social platform. I might do it on the one that I care about and I’m engaged in.
Which we know is a mistake because that isn’t necessarily where your clients are. They not be on the platform you like.
You have to be where your audience is. There are a lot of things to consider there.Consistency and constancy are the one thing that sets apart active podcasters who get the most out of it. Click To Tweet
Break it down for yourself. That’s the message that we want to have. Start to understand where things are falling apart. When you make a plan to record and then you don’t, look at that and think that through. Do a little reflection on that and understand why that happened. When you get to that deep why, it’s going to come to ideas for how to put something in place that can hold you accountable.
Put something in place that gives you the prep that you might need. It gives you the ability to be more consistent and constant because whether it’s social media, podcasting, or YouTube videos, it doesn’t matter. Consistency and constancy are the one thing that sets apart those active podcasters who get the most out of it from everyone else.
From someone who is logistically challenged, I can tell you showing up and publishing an episode every single week, at least. We have some customers that do more than one a week. We have one podcaster on our platform that is going to scare all of you but it’s his full-time endeavor. He publishes three episodes every single weekday. He has a reason. It’s a very unusual podcast. This is not a goal. I’m not suggesting this to anybody else.
I would not suggest it for everybody but it works for him and he has a serious podcast. If you talk about wanting to get 500,000 downloads a month or more, that’s one way to do it. The point is whatever your cadence is, and there’s not a right or wrong answer to this, although I will say publishing less than a weekly episode makes it very hard to grow and maintain that audience.
You get the return on investment for your time.
It’s either for your time or to provide real value. People are looking for you to show up weekly for them. They are but that is the most important thing. Whatever you need to do, just show up consistently. It is super critical. Even if you are logistically challenged and you 100% can do it, just get the support you need. We’re here as a resource to help you figure out what that might be if you’re struggling with that.
Speaking of accountability, integrity, and consistency, we will be here next week for you. You can count on that. In fact, we even show up over the holidays for you. We pre-record those messages but we do show up.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we may pre-record that. In the past when we’ve talked about pre-recording it, it was easier for us to show up live anyway. I know we want to test that out because that’s a feature some of our customers are asking about doing a simulive. I do think we should experience it, but I’d probably be there live to answer things in the comments anyway. I don’t understand what the point would be. If Christmas Day were a Wednesday and we wanted to show up, then we’d pre-record but I also don’t think anybody would show up live to watch it. Only a few people.
The point is that’s what you can count on from us. That’s our accountability to our listeners and our clients who are here live, and making sure that the podcast industry has resources like us to show up every single week for you. That’s what we’re here for. That’s why we do Feed Your Brand. Thanks, everyone. I appreciate you, Tom. We will be back here next week time.