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One Secret That Unleashes Unlimited Success In Podcasting
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Whether you’re a podcast guest or host, you desire to succeed in your podcasting venture. Unfortunately, the industry is riddled with misinformation about what it takes to “make it” and what metrics are the determining factors of success on either side of the mic. In this blog post, Alex Sanfilippo will share the single most critical key to unleashing your potential in podcasting that no one is talking about. Get ready to impact listeners’ lives on a deeper level by uncovering the silver bullet for unlimited success in podcasting!
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We’re all after success in podcasting, whether from the guest side of the mic or the host side of the mic. Either way, we’re looking to go further, faster. We’re looking to make a more significant impact. We’re looking to gain more influence and ultimately serve more people. But the most common thing I hear in podcasting is that that doesn’t seem to be happening. We feel like we’re not getting the result we’re looking for.
No matter how much time or energy we put into it, it doesn’t seem to move the needle. I find that most of us sometimes get discouraged or even demotivated. And I know that I’ve been in that demotivated seat before. Today, I want to talk to you about the Silver Bullet for success in podcasting. And this will apply to either side of the mic.
Get Ready For The Secret To ALL Podcasting (And Content) Success
I am thrilled to be talking to you about this today because I’ve been thinking about this past year. So we’re going to dive straight into it here. First off, this Silver Bullet is something that you have to be devoted to. So it’s not just like a click here; your wildest dreams will come true. It’s not like that.
It’s not one of those things like, click, whoo, I did it, right? It won’t be a get-quick-rich scheme type of thing, right? Like, it’s going to take work just like anything else. But this is what I’ve seen to make the most sense. This whole idea came to my mind when I was at a podcasting conference in Denver, and one of my friends there asked a question.
A Very Serious Question To Ask Yourself
He said, are you a good podcast host or guest if nobody shares what you release? And I was like, It’s an excellent question. Think about that for a minute. Are you good at this if nobody’s ever sharing it? And now I know where your mind goes.
When we mention sharing, your mind automatically goes to sharing it on social media, right? Please repost this. Please share this. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the intimate form of sharing: texting it to a friend, texting it to a family member, texting it to some group you’re part of, saying, you’ve got to hear this.
So Good You Cannot Help But Share It
You’ve got to hear this guest. You’ve got to listen to this host’s podcast. That’s the type of sharing we’re talking about. And so my buddy’s question was, are you actually good at this? Do people want to hear you if they’re not sharing it? Is that a sign?
And again, that took me back. I thought, man, that’s something to ponder and think about, and it hit home for me. And then, at the same time, I started thinking about some shows, and I’m going to try to say this as nicely as I possibly can, that doesn’t put a lot of work into it. It’s pretty surface-level, not a great podcast. And I’m stumbling on my words here because I want to be excellent.
The point is not the podcast itself not being good. It’s why is that show big? How has that show grown? What is causing them to get all that traction? How is it that people are listening to it?
The Silver Bullet For Success In Podcasting
It’s getting shared on social media. I see it. Forget the whole text thing, right? It’s getting shared on social media all the time. How is that happening? And I’ve come to this conclusion of what this Silver Bullet is, and it’s what I want to dive into here.
I will reinforce this a few times because it’s essential. First off, there is a fine line between being a good host or guest and marketing, and there’s some medium ground, and that’s what I get into here. So, I’m just going to throw the Silver Bullet out there. Are you ready? I hope you’re prepared to take notes.
The Silver Bullet for success in podcasting on either side of the mic is being so good that you cannot be ignored, and people feel compelled to share without you having to say anything. Being so good that you can’t be overlooked and so good that people feel compelled to share your content without you ever having to ask them to. Here’s the thing. Do you want to know a great example of this? I’ll go to the TV route, right?
Let’s Look To TV Shows As Our Example
Let’s go to TV shows. I’ll give you two great examples here. First, Game of Thrones. Was there any chance that Game of Thrones would not be the biggest TV show or one of them, even if it’s not your cup of tea? Like, I didn’t care for it, so be nice.
Calm down, right? It wasn’t my show. But here’s the thing. I don’t deny that it was so good that there’s no way that people who liked it wouldn’t share it with everybody they knew. They know, right?
And for me, there’s been shows like that in the past. It wasn’t that one, right? But for today’s example, that show had no chance of not being successful, regardless of what people put into it to get the word out there and stuff like that from day one. I remember hearing a friend send it to me the first day it came out.
He’s like, dude, I just found the show you must watch. He’s like you like the game. Skyrim and oblivion. He goes, you are going to love this, right? That was the first opening text, and I did watch the first episode.
The Other TV Show: Heavily Marketed, Massive Failure
That’s as far as I made it. But here’s the thing. Let’s go to another show. Now, the lord of the Rings show. I think it’s called Rings of Power or something like that.
A complete flop. And I mean, Amazon has put so much press out there and paid so many people to watch it, right? To try to recover the fact that it’s like it wasn’t a total loss. No, it was a total loss. And that show was marketed so well that boxes showing up at my house for months had pictures of it.
I’d open it up. There are flyers for it. Like everything you could imagine, they did all the marketing in the world. Here is the difference, again, with that whole silver bullet thing. People will not share if you’re producing content that isn’t the best of the best. Therefore, it is not going to live forever.
Content That Isn’t The Best of The Best Isn’t Remembered
It’s not going to grow organically. So that Ring of Power show is The Lord of the Rings or whatever it’s called, right? If they turn off the marketing machine, it will never be discussed again. And we’re already seeing that happen. It’s not getting talked about because people aren’t sharing it because it’s not good content.
Let’s go back to Game of Thrones. People still every single day are starting to watch it for the first time every day because they’re finally like, if any of my friends mentioned that I need to watch that show again, I’m going to freak out. So I’m just going to watch it. Because it’s that good. We have to learn to create content that is that good.
“Create content that is so good that people can’t help but listen to it. Be the podcast episode that they have to share with everyone they know.” – Alex Sanfilippo
Create content so compelling that people not only feel driven to share it but also find it impossible to resist listening. This level of quality demands attention. However, despite the potential of creating such impactful content, many of us haven’t dedicated the time to achieve this. Instead, we’ve leaned heavily into marketing. This is driven by the belief that effective promotion guarantees success.
Don’t Be Like Netflix
And I call this like the Netflix model, for lack of a better term. Netflix produces so much content. I’m not trying to pick on them or anything like that, but they have so much content, and they’re constantly releasing shows and always marketing. It is getting out there. But here’s why I know that model doesn’t work.
“Stop focusing on more downloads and start focusing on getting better as a host. Be the podcast host that people can’t help but listen to and share.” – Alex Sanfilippo
They’re a public company. Look, last I checked, they were over $14 billion in debt with no way to pay because they keep releasing content that is not worth people’s time. We can’t repeat that model if we want success in podcasting. So what I’m telling you to do is, if you’re a host, stop focusing on more downloads and on getting better as a host. If you’re a guest, stop being on so many podcasts.
Hosts, Get Better, Guests, Do The Same…
Go on just a few, but do such a good job that you know you can go to sleep, saying everyone who hears that will have to share it. It’s so good. There’s no way they can’t. I can think of a few times where there have been podcast episodes that I’ve listened to, and I text it to everybody I know everybody would apply to, let’s put it that way. I’m like, you have to hear this show. And sometimes I’m so compelled to do that I’m going to follow up in three days.
If you haven’t listened, I will beat you up, right? Like, that type of thing. And obviously, I’m not going to do that. Please give me some grace here. But the thing is, it’s that good, and I’ll share an episode of my show that happened with me, and it wasn’t me.
A Quick Success In Podcasting Story
It was my guest who came on and just crushed it. I had a buddy who’s a big-name coach, and he texted me, Alex. I’ve listened to this episode six times of your show this week alone. And he goes, not only that, but I told all my clients they have to listen to it or they’re fired. He goes, And I think my family’s getting sick of me just talking about it. He goes, Everyone I’ve spoken to, I’ve told them about this podcast episode.
It was so good. It couldn’t be ignored and was so good that he felt compelled to share it with everybody he knew. That’s the silver bolt we need to work on now, which I discussed at the beginning. There’s that fine line between marketing and good content. We have to do something. You can’t just be like, I’m the best, but I’m the best-kept secret in the world, right?
What We Can Learn From Recent Movies
We don’t want that to be us—a great example of this happening. I know I’ve gone with the TV example a lot here. I’m, like, not even into TV. But here we are, the Barbie movie.
Here’s the thing. That’s the first movie to spend more on marketing than production. And the film did well. It’s profitable and makes a lot of money. Here’s the thing, though, and I’m not being rude about the Barbie movie.
If you like it, that’s great. But it’s not it’s not a movie we’re going to talk about for generations to come, right? It’s not a movie that the rest of our lives we’re going to be like, oh, that’s a classic. You have to see it. That’s not going to happen.
As soon as that marketing engine is shut off, we’ve made the money we want to. We’re done. It won’t get shared anymore because the content can’t match what people want, right? It’s not apples for apples; they market it well to get where they need to go. So here’s the question…..
Don’t forget to RSVP:
Are you a marketer, or are you a podcaster? A host or a guest? Are you a podcast guest or a marketer? A podcast host or a marketer? If you happen to be both, great.
But don’t rely just on your marketing. And here’s why I say that. Because if you’re in software like I am, I’ll go with the software example here. Software is a churn rate service, meaning people who come into your ecosystem join and leave quickly, right? That’s called the churn rate, them coming in the front door, as we say it, and out the back door.
In The Front Door, Out The Back Door Success In Podcasting Example
If you’re a good marketer and your podcast content isn’t good, you have a considerable backdoor but a tiny front door. Or a big front door even, right? If you’re a good marketer. So your front doors, we bring everyone it was like, oh, I want to hear that. I want to listen to it.
Sounds like it’s me. Cool. They listen like, eh, they’re gone. They leave the vast, attractive backdoor because you have a big pool in the back. I grew up in Florida, so that I can tell you the goal.
Imagine having a backyard with a swamp filled with hungry alligators and snakes ready to devour you—sounds daunting, doesn’t it? This is what you want your back door to resemble. So, as a marketer, prioritize that impressive front door, but don’t neglect mastering engaging content. After all, you don’t want visitors leaving as soon as they arrive. Conversely, if you excel as a host but struggle with marketing, focus on creating a welcoming front door that doesn’t look terrifying. Drawing from the back door analogy, you definitely don’t want an alligator lounging in front of your entrance, right?
I’m showing you all Florida, man. Here me. Here I am. But here’s the thing. You want to create a welcoming environment to bring people in.
Which Are You Better At?
And I want to talk about these things. First off, are all marketers good podcasters? Absolutely not. And are all podcasters good marketers? (I’m talking guest or host, remember.)
And the answer is absolutely not. There are some podcasts out there, people that I know that are really good marketers. That one of my buddies. I don’t know how much he brought. I think it was 1.5 million people to listen to his podcast in one month. One month.
That’s more than most of us get in our entire lifetime of podcasting. I’m not saying that to discourage you. He’s an excellent marketer. He told me he’s a cool, humble guy. He’s like, I’m terrible at this, dude.
The content was so bad. He goes, I don’t think there were any repeat listeners. I just leveraged my market. So, I quit my podcast about two months in. People are like, why would you do that?
And he’s like, it’s damaging my reputation because I’m not good at it. I’m like, man. Good point. So, these marketers who can bring everyone in are good at getting people in.
We’re Focused On The Wrong Thing When It Comes to Success in Podcasting
We’re not focused on how people are leaving the back door and how much of their credibility is getting hurt by them having a podcast. So, if you’re not good at marketing, don’t be discouraged by that. You’d be better off having few people listen and retaining them as listeners than being good at marketing. Bring tons of people into your front door that immediately leave out the back. So this is the thing.
There is a balance here, and I keep returning to that. Once again, the silver bullet is to be so good you can’t be ignored and so good that people feel compelled to share your content. So, how do you get a few of those people there? How do you find that fine line? If your content is pretty good, you must be better at marketing.
You don’t have to be as good at marketing if your content’s excellent. Again, going back to Game of Thrones, at this point, there’s not much marketing needs to go into it. It’s a machine that’s moving. Your goal is to get to that point. Now, our minds automatically go to social media.
And I’m going to mention this. You don’t have to be on social media. You only have to be the places you don’t hate or the places that, you know, your audience hangs out. I’ll give you a great example.
Elizabeth’s Podcasting Success Story
I was recently at a podcast meetup here in Jacksonville, Florida. Shout out to JAX Podcasters United. I love that group. And someone named Elizabeth was there. And she and I had a conversation about six months before.
Eight months before, I was recording this right here. And she’s like, Alex, I’m so stressed about podcasting. She’s like, I’m a guest and a host, and I hate it. And I was like, stop your podcast if you hate it. She goes, no, I don’t hate podcasting.
I wouldn’t say I like social media. She says that all of it causes anxiety, stress, and pressure. I’m always behind. It’s just not fulfilling or rewarding at all. And it’s not even really moving the needle for me.
And what most people would probably say at that moment is, well, hire somebody to help you with it. Get better at it. And I told her, I’m like, shut it all down. Only do your podcast, and only be a guest on the podcast. That’s it.
From 10k to 65k Listeners In Less Than One Year With No Extra Work
Like, stop all this. And she’s like, I’ve only got 10,000 downloads on my podcast. Which is like, that’s great, right? That’s 10,000 people who have heard you. That’s value-adding.
And she’s like, but is that just going to stop? I’m like, maybe. I’m like, focus on your craft. Get good at it in just podcasts. Do the only thing that you said you would do eight months later, she reported back to me, saw her meet up again, and I was like, Elizabeth, how’s it going?
And she goes, Alex, I now have 65,000 people listening to my podcast, and more people are listening daily. Like, she’s seeing that number climb. I was like, great. What are you doing? She goes, I’m only doing my podcast and being a guest on a podcast.
Elizabeth Focused On Her Niche
And she goes, I don’t do anything with email. Nothing. That’s the only two things she does. And she’s not even going for big shows. She’s just getting on any show they’ll have her.
That’s in her niche. Which is always something I preach. And she’s seeing these fantastic results, and here’s why. She’s the best there is at her message. She has a real niche.
She has crushed it and proven that you know what? I don’t have to be that good at marketing. I don’t even have to use social media like everyone says you have to. I’ve grown six times the size I was at the beginning of the year by doing the opposite of what most people say to do. Here’s my point again.
Success In Podcasting Only Takes One Thing
The silver bullet for success in podcasting as a guest or a host is being so good that you can’t be ignored. Being so good that people feel compelled to share your content. So how do we do this? I want to get practical here, just for a moment. You first need to determine where you are on that spectrum of marketing and talent.
And here’s the thing. If you’re good at marketing, raise the game with your talent, right? If you’re talented, continue raising your game. Never stop. 1% better every day.
For Success In Podcasting, You Have To Do The Work
You got to do the work but also say, what can I do from a marketing standpoint? How can I get people to start sharing it from their phones? That right there is what you want people to share from their phones. It’s an intimate way to share. But I’ll tell you what: that yields excellent results, and it’s one of the main ways podcasts grow and spread.
So that’s what you want. So the first thing we have to do is get good. Here is a message. And I’ll tell you what. It won’t do well if your message is very general, face value, and generic.
Be Willing To Go Deep
You’ve got to be willing to go deep. You have to be willing to dive into something. You must be willing to cover things no one else can in your niche. The best way to figure this out, and you’ve heard me say it before you’ve ever heard me speak. You got to go back to your why.
What is the reason that you’re seeking success in podcasting? Why are you doing this? Sit down with pen and paper. Get quiet with your thoughts. Go somewhere that inspires you and sit down and say, why am I doing this, and who do I serve?
Get Clear On Your Why
That is your why. Figure those things out and then say, how deeply am I willing to serve this person? To what length am I willing to serve and help this person? When you can get clear on that, you can start figuring out the value you need to add. The next thing I’ll mention here is to get into some groups.
Get Into Community
I always preach community. Get around other like-minded people who are good at this, right? And the thing is, they don’t even need to be your same niche. Be like, okay, well, I got to find people that are specifically good at this. No, they can be anybody.
If they’re a master of their craft, that will motivate you. Get around five people like that. They’re the master of their craft. Even if yours is different, that will raise your game and level you up as a speaker. Getting a coach is another great option. So get a community, get a coach if you can.
Those are good things. The thing that I relate to, which is very practical, is that I record myself daily on my iPhone. And so just put it in a windowsill or somewhere and talk for one to two minutes on a specific topic. Sometimes, have your significant other tell you what the topic is. So you don’t even get to think.
Just get it in there, hit record, rewatch it, and improve the next day. Do it again, do something else. Continue to get those reps in. The more you get those reps in and for that short sprint, the more concise you can answer somebody’s question. And the fewer words we usually use means, the better we know something.
Right? So you want to practice that with short periods. You don’t want to be doing 25-minute keynote speeches every day, right? No. One to two minutes.
Can you tell me why the water bottle? All the influencer buying right now is the best water bottle. It sounds silly, but if you can have a coherent conversation with yourself about that for just a minute and a half or two minutes, and you rewatch it and work on your filler words and things like that, that will help you add value in the long run. So, like this talk, I don’t have any notes. I prepped.
Success In Podcasting Comes From Knowing Your Direction
I knew what I wanted to say but didn’t have any notes. There’s no notepad on my screen right now or anything like that. I just knew the direction I wanted to go, and I’ve devoted the time to be able to share this. I hope this is content worth sharing. Right? That’s the idea behind it.
“Be so good that you cannot be ignored, and people feel compelled to share without you having to say anything.” – Alex Sanfilippo
So again, the silver bullet here is to be so good you can’t be ignored. Be so good that people feel compelled to share your content. This happens by adding value and serving, knowing why you get better at that, being a community, having a coach, and getting the reps in, getting a lot of practice. Be willing to put the time in to make this happen. I’m telling you that balance between marketing and being a good speaker, host, or guest, you’re going to be able to find that sweet spot, and I encourage you to dive into that and go after it.
Talk To Your Listeners
The last point I will share is that this is important: talk to people who have listened to you. Talk to people who have listened to you. Have conversations, have empathy. Think about what it is that they’re struggling with. Ask them insightful questions, almost interview them, right, to figure out what they want from me?
Why are we here in this conversation? What is it that I can learn from them so that I can go and teach that to other people? How can I speak this in a more precise and better way? Talk to the people. Don’t be focused on numbers.
What Podcasting Success Is All About
Be focused on the one person you can serve every day. And that’s ultimately what’s going to help you level up. Again, my name is Alex, and I thank you so much for the time today. Thank you for listening to this or watching this.
About Alex Sanfilippo
Alex Sanfilippo is an entrepreneur who is the CEO and founder of PodPros, a software company focused specifically on the podcasting industry. He is also a podcast host of the top-rated podcast called Podcasting Made Simple and a lead educator in podcasting.
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