Episode 61 sees master podcaster Charles Max Wood, of Devchat.tv, outline how best to start an engaging podcast to help bolster your agency. Join us, won’t you!

About Charles Wood:

Charles Max Wood is the CEO and podcast host at Devchat.tv – a podcast network for software developers, which reaches over 70,000 every week. Podcasting since 2008, Charles has done over 3,100 podcast episodes across 25+ shows.

He’s the instructor at the Podcast Playbook, providing step-by-step procedures to producing podcasts – while growing your business.

As if that weren’t enough, Charles also casts on Video Games, Songwriting, Harry Potter, and Star Wars, which he produces with four of his five kids.

Points of Interest…

  • How Charles got into Podcasting 2:07
  • Creating Opportunity/Pricing for Podcast Sponsorship 4:33
  • Is the Podcast Space Already Saturated? 9:06
  • Creating Niche Podcast Content 9:35
  • Efficiency of Podcasting from Content Production Perspective 13:34
  • Firmly On the Podcast Train? Here’s What You Need… 19:19

How Charles Got Into Podcasting

You’ll NEVER guess what Charles is here to talk about today… YES. You guessed it; podcasting. Indeed, it is a bit meta – doing a podcast about doing a podcast – but it’s a super important talking point as it’s been so beneficial for both me and our business as a whole. It’s also been of benefit for our listeners, on many levels, from learning about what best processes to implement, to ascertaining what microphone I use for these productions!

For Charles, it all started back in 2007 when a friend of his invited him on to his YouTube channel. After appearing in a number of these, Charles started tweeting about his experience (mostly how he wished he had a nice mic…) and, the next thing you know, Telestream emailed him about sending him out a mic so he could do optimum quality screen casts. Interest piqued, he then reached out to a friend/podcaster, Greg Pollack, who said “yeah, you should totally start a show”, and so it came to be.

When most people start a podcast they don’t see it as a money-making tool in its own right – rather a conduit to increase your existing business. And while that can be true initially, if your audience starts to grow, podcasts can be profitable as a marketing channel. It can actually be like a reverse cost, like net positive marketing channel.

Creating Opportunity/Pricing for Podcast Sponsorship

When it comes to Sponsorship, how much of that is instigated by other people as opposed to you possibly having to create these opportunities for your podcast? Charles lays it out thusly…

“Anything that appeals to your audience; anybody who sponsors that will probably sponsor you – or at least talk to you about it. So, that boils down to YouTube channels; other podcasts; conferences; blogs; other online events; webinars; and people who make their own online courses are usually good candidates. So, anything like that, those are the people who you want to be looking at.”

After you look at those in a similar online space to you, chronicle who sponsors those ventures and approach them. Alternatively, you could let potential sponsors come to you. A way of facilitating that is by having a landing page walking potential sponsors through the process, and filling out a contact form whereupon you can respond to them in the hopes of working something mutually beneficial out.

As for the factors you need to consider when putting a reasonable price on sponsorship; does it relate to audience size, the number of shows you have and/or the frequency of each podcast? In Charles’ experience, the easiest way of determining this is to charge a certain amount per thousand listeners. That methodology isn’t without its issues, however…

“Different audiences engage at different levels. So you have some audiences that are just going to be hyper into anything you’ve talked about. And so you say, Hey, go check out this thing and you get a ton of people over there. Sometimes, however, you have to do a little bit more work so that they get their money’s worth out of the sponsorship.”

What does “more work” look like? Usually, it involves interviewing them for your podcast or sending out an email campaign to generate the engagement your sponsor is after. That said, it seems most people Charles talks to generally charge $20/$25 USD per thousand listeners.

There are exceptions, however, like if you’re working in the programmer space. ***We discuss people dropping more money for products and cost per acquisition at the 7:34 minute mark.

Is The Podcast Space Already Saturated?

One discussion I’ve found myself engaged in of late is the “Are there too many podcasts, or is there still a ton of opportunity in this space?” debate. When I query Charles on his thoughts regarding this hot topic, the quick answer is a resounding “No.”

“It’s not saturated. In some spaces it’s harder, right? But it’s not saturated. No… the places where it’s saturated tend to be at those higher, top levels at. For example, a marketing show? Good freaking luck.”

***If you skoot forward on to 17:23 minutes, we tackle ways you could niche down in a potentially saturated space by giving things a particular twist. Keeping with marketing, you could niche down to email marketing, and create a ‘convert kit’ related podcast for example.

Creating Niche Podcast Content

Why is podcasting such a great format for someone wanting to create content for a specific industry? Because it cultivates community. Instead of seeing yourself as competitors in some kind of rating war, you’ve got to find your niche whereby listeners identify with you. Make it relatable.

“A lot of people compare it to TV and radio, saying ‘I’m going to put together my own show, and I’m going to beat so-and-so that I listened to on the radio.’ I always want to just grab him and shake him and go, ‘No, you don’t, you don’t want to be like them!'”

There is general appeal content – such as crime or comedy podcasts – and then there’s niching down to your specific field. In Charles’ vast experience in the realm of programming; podcasting is the one medium which obliterates all others.

Conversely, you must wear many hats. By that, I mean you need to be what Charles refers to as “kind of general purpose generic.” While you’re catering to your niche audience, you also don’t want to drive potential listeners away.

So, as a podcaster, there is one general rule to abide by – make it about your audience, not about you. Make it about the problem you’re helping them to solve.

“If somebody shows up and sees the ‘Joe Blow Podcast’ with your face plastered all over the artwork – they’re not going to know for sure that that’s the show for them. However, if your show is the ‘Building Mobile Apps With React Native’ show, then they know what the show is all about.”

In short, make your podcast very discoverable from the perspective of what problem you’re solving.

Efficiency of Podcasting from Content Production Perspective

In case it wasn’t already abundantly clear; I think podcasting is a tremendous format – particularly from the perspective of efficient content production. For example; I had a 30-minute chinwag with Charles, which then becomes a range of content, be it Social Media content, video content, audio content…

The levels of efficiency in terms of how I can take this and then create valuable content for all the different platforms and, and places where we want to exist as a brand is unparalleled. That’s easy for me to say as I love talking! Massaging the content of this video into a blog? Not so much…

Different mediums suit different people – and there are a lot of different podcasting formats (i.e. with or without video) which may or may not suit you, or your setup. It’s not a simple case of ‘Hey, video is just audio with visuals’…

“If you’re doing a highly produced show, then your video must be highly produced too, but if you’re just doing highly produced audio, it’s a lot less work. And you’ll see that a lot with people doing things with audio programs, where they just tell a story and they’ve got a background and sound effects. While those are more produced, they don’t have to produce the video.”

Ultimately, podcasting – as a format – is usually the most convenient medium for an audience. They can listen while doing a range of things; commuting, exercising, mowing the lawn.

Firmly On the Podcast Train? Here’s What You Need…

Do you need to go buy $10,000 worth of professional audio equipment? Do you then require an audio engineer degree to use said equipment?! It’s OK, breeeeeaathe, and now imagine the process of creating podcasts being less complicated than initially perceived.

Here is what you need to launch a successful podcast. You ready? OK. The number one thing you need to have to launch a podcast is… a mic. Don’t get hung up on its size, how it hangs, its muffler, the only criteria it needs to meet is that you sound good on it. And, while your not getting hung up on what mic you’re going to get, Charles has a very practical hack in the interim…

“Honestly, just use your phone. If you’re just getting started, your iPhone has a decent mic in it; record a dozen or so episodes on it and, kind of, clear your throat. Find your voice.”

The second key thing you need for a podcast; something to say. A nugget of golden info and frame it in a way that works for you and your potential listeners. From there, you’ll figure out what stories you’d like to share and then you’ll get a feel of what resonates with listeners, what will attract more, and THEN perhaps look at audio equipment.

***Charles delves into the potential audio pitfalls of ear pods, the merits of the Samsung Go Mic, and more, from 20:47.

Apart from that, ensure you have the following…

  • Easily accessible ‘Subscribe’ buttons on your site.
  • Haven’t got a site? Go to WordPress, pick a theme, and then use the PowerPress plugin to put the player on your site.
  • Charles recommends hosting either through Buzzsprout or Libsyn as both are relatively inexpensive.

To recap: you must have…
1. a website
2. artwork/logo
3. a place/platform to host your audio files, such as Simplecast, etc
4. be listed in the directories; most notably Apple, Google, Spotify, and Amazon
5. recorded content!

Charles is that sound he’s put together an actual checklist re all of the above at podcastplaybook.co/agencyprofit, so you can go there and check off everything you need to get you on the road to presenting engaging podcasts!

Key Takeaway…

If you want your show to make a difference, to bring in business, and influence people, then you’ve got to make it about the people you’re trying to reach. In short, don’t make the show about you – avoid emblazoning yourself over the artwork. 

Additionally, heed the following…

Niche Down: Choose a succinct title and . Instead, make it easily identifiable and relatable.

Your Phone is Fine for Starters: as long as your audio quality, doesn’t totally suck…

FOLLOW UP: Your podcast is about your clients/listeners. Ask for people to reach out and make sure you follow up when they do.

Need more Charles in your life? Check out…

Did you learn anything new from this episode? Let us know in the comments below! Our next installment of #APP, on June 2nd, will see us chat with Ben Aston. Our previous blog with Mike Reid is here…

Agency Profitability Tool Kit

If you’re looking for more resources to help you improve your agency’s profitability, check out the Agency Profitability Tool Kit. It’s full of the same templates and checklists we’ve used with consulting clients to help them improve profitability by over 100% – in under 60 days.