Looking back on a failed podcast

Looking back on a failed podcast
Looking back on a failed podcast

Nov 19 2020 | 00:27:52

Episode 0 November 19, 2020 00:27:52

Hosted By

Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

In this episode Matt and Craig look back at the first iteration of Castos' podcast.

Questions that we (and you if you've ever 'podfaded') are asking ourselves are: 

  • Why did the podcast not stick the first time?
  • What are we doing differently this time around? 
  • The new Audience podcast is resonating with our listeners a lot...why is that? 
  • Are there system or process things we can do to make running the podcast easier and more sustainable for the long run? 

Once you have solid answers to these questions a few patterns typically start to emerge about why some podcasts are successful and we stick with them, and why others start, stop, and ultimately fail.  

Having the two podcasts that we've run here at Castos to compare and contrast is a good case study in what to do, and what not to do, for us all. 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:06 Welcome back to the audience podcast. I'm your host, Matt joined by Craig Craig. Welcome. Hey man, how's it going? It was great to introduce you to the two hour show. I know I have not never going to get, I'm going to keep using this joke. It's just never going to get old for me. Speaker 1 00:00:24 I heard someone referenced it today, so it's definitely sticking with folks. So kudos Speaker 0 00:00:29 Today. We're going to talk. Our last episode that we did together was all around the planning phase, the tools, the planning, the strategy of putting together a great podcasts and what we do internally to create this audience podcast. I feel like we're getting better at it every single time. And I was listening back to one of our episodes with ward from the member space episode that we did talking about why membership sites are important to podcasters. And there's a little, little Easter egg in there where you and I were interviewing ward. And you said, wouldn't it be great if we talked about audience version one, this podcast here, but version one of it. I don't have any recollection of version one. I only know audience as audience as it is today, but there was a version one that sort of didn't go anywhere. Why didn't it go anywhere, Craig? Yeah, Speaker 1 00:01:19 That's a good, that's a good question. So as some backstory, the original podcast that we put out as a company was called podcast hackers. I think that's been a, that's the name of our Facebook group. So folks go to podcast acars.com. They can learn about our community and join and get engaged there. And that's always been, even from kind of the beginning of starting the podcast motor brand, we've had this podcast hackers and that's kind of a hackers. Is that online term or kind of group of people that are trying to figure out stuff I think. And so that's kind of why we named the Facebook group and the podcast that, and the idea for the first version of the podcast was interestingly, some of the same things that we do here interviewing customers and learning from people that are getting started with a podcast, interviewing some kind of subject matter experts on things that they, they do particularly well, that, that we think would be interesting to share with the audience, but it obviously fizzled out. And I think there's a couple of reasons for that. And maybe we could dive into some of those, but is that, is that like a good kind of background on kind of what the first version of the podcast was? Yeah, Speaker 0 00:02:25 I mean podcast hackers. It was, uh, of course now that's our, that's the title of, of our Facebook group podcast. acars.com of course. And I mean audience now that I just know audience the title, it sounds so obvious. It's just like grow audience. That's what Casos does. That's what we work. I mean, moments ago we were talking about the success of our customers and really about helping them grow their audience before we go into each reason, or maybe this is maybe reason, one, do you think it never really felt aligned to podcast hackers as the title Castle's content? Like did you not feel internally the synergy, it's a cool name. It's great for a Facebook group, for sure. But did you not feel like that connection to it as Speaker 1 00:03:08 Guests? Yeah, I think so. And I think it kind of permeated through a lot of the way I thought about the content and the people we add on and, and ultimately kind of how, and if the podcast was a successful and valuable asset for us as a company, and I think a lot of those, the answer was no, or it didn't align or I, I just didn't feel good about it. And, uh, yeah, I think, I think part of it comes down to the name, but I think like what's behind the name, maybe it's more important. Like what is the ethos and what is like that elevator pitch of the podcast. It was not clear at all. Like it was not specific. And I think that's the one thing that we're doing very well with this podcast, even though we have several different formats. So the episode that will come out before this one is, was Steve Pratt from Pacific content. Speaker 1 00:03:55 And I think that was a really good example of a very different type of conversation that we have, but addressed a very specific thing that a lot of podcasters need to do really well, which is telling stories. Whereas this one is talking about, you know, a failure of a, of a podcast that we did, we should be good at this. And so I think I hope that people will be able to take away things that they can avoid making these mistakes through kind of us talking about the things that we did wrong. But I think that we are much more specific and focused in this podcast to do a really particular thing and, and to talk to a particular type of podcaster and help them in a, in a specific way. Whereas the first one was not at all focused. That might be the single biggest reason that it kind of floundered out, Speaker 0 00:04:36 Not letting you off the hook, but you know, one of the things that I think that I talk to podcasters, new podcasts, podcasts was amateur podcasts. People who are just starting this thing is it's exciting in the beginning. Hey, I love it. I love recording with people. I love meeting new people and that's so fun for the first like six episodes. And then you get into six and beyond, and you're like, Oh man, this is a lot of work. And at the time, let me take us back a little bit at the time when you launched podcast hackers, you were probably just taking over this, this business, getting this business it's first footsteps through the door. Certainly not at the capacity that it is today. So you're probably just super busy at the same time. And I'm sure that played a massive role. Speaker 1 00:05:16 Yeah. I mean, you and I talked on the first episode we did together of a big reason that I wanted to bring you on the team is to do this podcast together. And that might seem silly to people listening say, Oh my God, they hired this guy to do a podcast with him. Like that seems silly, but there's a lot more to that, right? You and I doing this podcast together a lot of times is like a, a single example of a lot of things that we do together. And that frankly, more people having diverse backgrounds and perspectives on our business and things that we're sharing with our audience and our customers is super healthy and super productive and super interesting. I hope for the listeners, right? Me doing a podcast and me having a single perspective is hard for me. Like you're saying emotionally, and just like the doldrum of like, I got to find a new guest, I got a book and we gotta record it. Speaker 1 00:06:07 We gotta edit it. We gotta do all this stuff. Or you and I have different perspectives. We can share the workload. We can have different types of guests on talking about different types of things. And so I think for sure, yeah, once you get past that sixth or 16th or 25th episode or whatever it is, you get to a point where you say like, okay, I did that initial kind of body of work. Is this really like what I want to do? And this is really where I want to be. And I think the answer was not a resounding yes, for me back then and in a respect, I think that that's okay. Like I think you have to say, man, this just didn't click, you know, for whatever reason. And you say, I'm going to learn my lesson. I'm going to take a step back and reevaluate as we did a year and a half later or whatever, and do it better the next time you can certainly kind of power through and change course on the same podcast. Or you can just say, this just didn't work. And I go think about why and come back the next time and hopefully do a better. Speaker 0 00:07:04 So I've been podcasting now for eight years. And I really think that I've come to grips with just calling my body of work as a podcast, or just giving myself the label of an artist as crazy as it sounds. Geez, Matt, you're only, you're really talking about podcasting for podcasters. You know, in this show, you're talking about WordPress on other shows. I talk business and marketing on other shows. It's not really art, right? Well, for me, this is the art form. And I think a lot of people, many people hit the same wall you did where it's, it's time, it's focus. It's maybe not feeling this level of, of fulfillment. And maybe if you're listening to just nodding your head saying, yes, I feel that way. Maybe you don't even have to pivot your entire podcast. Like you don't have to do what Craig did and maybe just throw away the title, change the branding, you know, switch feeds, right. Speaker 0 00:07:54 Come up with a whole new website. For me. What I did is I would, I intentionally took breaks and drew the line in the sand and said, that was a season. I got to a point in my personal podcasting career where I just said, okay, the season's over, no one ever even knew I was doing a season. I wasn't, but I got to a point where I wasn't happy with it. Like I wasn't being, Oh, it wasn't happy. It wasn't fully satisfied with the content anymore. And I said, okay, that season's done. I'm going to take a month off now. And in that month, I'm going to come up with a new story arc. I'm going to come up with a new season topic and I'm going to kind of relaunch it. And the thing about creators, whether it's a podcast, whether it's a YouTube channel, whether it's an Instagram account is yes, your audience is important, but you're not beholden to that. Like, you don't have to, you're the one in control. You can set those chapters whenever you want. And that's what I like about it. And that's at that point when I realized just like an artist, just like a music artist who throws out the album that they just recorded for the last year, just like the painter who rips the painting off the wall after spending months painting it going, this was terrible. Hey, we reset. And we create again. And that's the, that's the mission moving forward? Is that a fair statement? Speaker 1 00:09:06 Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that the concept of seasons and the, the out, or the excuse that it gives you as a podcaster is enormous. And you know, Matt, I think when we're talking to, to customers or prospective customers, giving them the idea of a season, whether it's really forward-looking and intentional saying like, Hey, we're going to start this eight episode series. It's going to start now, it's going to be done at the end of the year. We're going to take two months off after that and then come back like a cereal or something like that. Or you just saying like you did, this is not working right now. I'm going to do an episode. And then I'm going to say, it's the end of the season. Nobody is going to give you our time or stop listening to your podcast or whatever. But if you don't kind of tie that off and say, this season is done, I'm taking a month off. Speaker 1 00:09:50 I will be back. If you just ghost your audience and don't publish an episode for four weeks, they're going to say, Matt is not serious about this podcast. I am not going to invest my time and emotion in his show because he isn't either. And so I think if you're going to be serious about like operating and seasons, whether you're kind of intentional and proactive about it and doing that upfront, or when it's time to call the season quits, just tell your audience. And it's a great kind of get out of jail, free card for you as a creator to say like, I'm going to take a step back and regroup. Re-energize refocus, rebrand, maybe, and come back, you know, kind of bigger and better. Never. I mean, there's a reason that like every TV show right. Works in seasons, right? It's because you got to take the time and the energy and do the work to make great art. And I agree, man. Like I think like my background is in engineering. And so for me to think I'm an artist is, is kind of not something I would expect, I guess, but this is definitely my creative outlet. And that's how, that's how I look at it. It's like, this is the place I come to make stuff. And I take a lot of pride and I get a lot of like internal energy from doing the podcasts now, I think because I'm aligned with like what it means to us, you know, Speaker 0 00:11:02 Is that your best, uh, Arnold Schwartzenegger, uh, impression I will be back. I will be that's right. That's right. You tell your audience. I will be back. So what spawned the name audience? I mean, it's obvious to me, but I'm curious. How did you come up with the name? And when you came up with the name, did you draw this all out? Did you have your, your notion document ready to go? Did you whiteboard it? Like what, what was that moment where you said, okay, I got it. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to do this again. What did that look like? What did that chapter look like? Speaker 1 00:11:34 Yeah, I think that the name came after the idea or like the spirit of the podcast and it, it has been in the kind of entrepreneurial or online business world for folks that are, that are in it. They know that there's a lot of this, like working in public and transparency movements for people with businesses and things like their revenue, which, which we don't do. And I think that's taking things a little too far, but I like the idea of a transparent body of work that shows people how you do your thing. And so we said, instead of applying that to a business, why don't we have a podcast about podcasting that is really transparent for us to say, this is how we podcast, and this is why. And even, and Matt I'll, I'll keep us honest here. Like we have not done a great job of reporting back on how we're doing from a, an analytics perspective. Speaker 1 00:12:23 We had maybe our 10th episode and we're at 60 something. Now our 10th episode maybe was a check-in on like, this is what our numbers look like at this point. So we should, we should kind of pencil that in for some time before the end of the year. But the idea was to be like a real time behind the scenes, look at what it takes to grow a meaningful podcast for your brand. I think that that might still be the description for the podcast and kind of out of that, the name audience was easier to get after we kind of had that elevator pitch of like what the show is about. And, and I think from a naming perspective, that's the way to go is like really kind of grok what the show is about and who it's for and what you're trying to do. And then the name should come pretty easy after that. Speaker 0 00:13:07 Yeah. I definitely want to do a recap episode, of course, just to see where that growth is from episode 10, to wherever we end up. When we do that episode, maybe later on this year, I could tell you that coming into this job, I felt like I knew everything about podcasting. And I might've mentioned this on other episodes before having fun in your interview movie, again, like I knew, I know, of course you can, you do? Yes, I can. I know everything. And then you start talking to people in adjacent industries that you've never, you've just never dipped your toe into. And you start learning, you know, ways that people are using. I was listening to your Steve Pratt episode, uh, before obviously it was before it was released, learned a ton. In that episode, I interviewed Chris Brogan, lifelong friend of mine, but sort of in that author, you know, higher degree of marketing space learned a ton from him too. Speaker 0 00:13:52 And you know, sometimes the success of a show doesn't just come out of the number. And we said this before the number of count going up, the downloads, that stuff, we're looking at the stats it's about the connections, the relationships that, that, that we've made, right? And learning from these other individuals, how are you even using podcasting? Right. Listening to Steve story about how Ford brand used a branded podcast and what other people do with private podcasts is, is tremendous value that is very hard to measure. And I assume things are going well enough for you to, to continue to do this podcast, because if you were measuring it, you know, maybe it would be like, well, boy, you know, we're not looking at ROI on this the same way as, as, as advertising traditional advertising. You probably would've canned it by now. If it wasn't doing things for you other than just driving the bottom line. Speaker 1 00:14:39 Yeah, no, I mean, I think there's a lot of things that this podcast does for, for me and for our business. And I think the biggest one is by far the most helpful, efficient way for me to learn, right. Is chatting with you ton of experience podcasting. I've learned a lot, you know, in our episodes folks like Steve Pratt chatting with him and like the things that he says just totally blows my mind. Right. And so I think that, I mean, we've had probably a half a dozen episodes where I've interviewed people that first of all, I could never just kind of pick up the phone and talk to, right. So getting them on the podcast is the only valid excuse for me connecting with them. So from a networking perspective, it's enormous from an education and kind of inspiration perspective. It's great. And kind of sneak peek. Speaker 1 00:15:25 We're going to be diversifying a lot, the types of podcasters we're having on here. We're going to be getting into a lot more storytelling folks like in the true crime space and get them on to talk about kind of that artistic side of things. Because I think it's something that we, if I'm honest about kind of how well-rounded our content is, that's, that's a space, we have some room for improvement, but that is by far, the most valuable thing for me is connecting with other people who do this really well and learning from them. I don't know if this has any business impact for us, if it does. That's great, but that's certainly not the reason that we do this. I'm very, very, very happy that we are able to put a lot of effort and resources right here in my time. And in our editor's time to produce this and Denise to help market it and all this to create a valuable resource for the podcasting community. I think that's like one of the coolest things about running a company is that you're able to do these things that aren't any good for the business, maybe, but are really good for the community. And maybe this is one of those. Speaker 0 00:16:23 Let's put each other on the hot seat for a second here. So you launch audience proper, you know, here we are 50, 60 episodes in you make a move that most, maybe most podcasters who are running a service-based business, even a product based business, most of them don't do. They don't hire somebody to run with the podcast for them or alongside of them. Like you did with me one, I'm interested to know your thoughts on, or at least express to us how that has helped. I mean, I know it has helped, but express how it has helped your day to day, right? Busy business owner. You used to do the podcasts every week, or he was the one in charge of doing the podcasts every week. What has that opened up opportunity for you? Not just when I'm like, Hey, I can get more stuff done, but maybe even creatively thinking about the podcast and the business and two, this is the real like unfiltered moment. This is the part where we didn't discuss, but I love the increase. I would love to increase the cadence of our podcasts. Like I want to be able to put out more content and for years now it's just been that once a week thing, I love to push it even further. Curious of your thoughts on both. Speaker 1 00:17:33 Yeah. So the second one is easy. I think. Absolutely go for it. Speaker 0 00:17:38 You know, we, we definitely, Speaker 1 00:17:41 Yeah, no, absolutely. I think those two questions go together a lot. Right. Because, cause I can say, yeah, go for it and let me know what you need in terms of resources. We can chat through the strategy and what the vision of that might be. Because I think, you know, if you're going to have multiple episodes, then it's like, is it two of the same type of episode or is it going to be one that's really like a five minute nuts and bolts strategy kind of blocking and tackling. And then one is more of the creative, artistic storytelling. One, I don't know, like maybe that's the way to do it, to have the same type of episodes every week. I don't know if you're talking about three or four, but I think more content is almost always better as long as we can keep doing it really well. Speaker 1 00:18:18 And I think that ties into the first one, which is it is humbling to have someone come in and do a thing that you did in your business or for your podcast, right. It's kind of the same thing, right? Uh, a podcast and a business and a lot of ways are the same. That is much better than you. Right? And so Matt, you coming in with all of your experience and all of your background in marketing and brand and podcasting specifically to kind of own this thing and for it to be a big part of what you do every week means that this thing is going to be better. Right? Hart podcast is better because it was say out of like the pie of my focus, it was 10% right now. It's I dunno, 30% of what you think about indu. And so just that much more energy and focus going into it for someone who's very skilled at what they do just means that the outcome is going to be better. Speaker 1 00:19:10 So I think that anyone who runs a podcast or runs a business or is in charge of their church group or whatever, is probably going to be a little fearful of saying, I can't hand over my baby to someone else and let them run with it. But if you really think that this person can do a much better job than you, then you owe it to your podcast or your brand or your organization to offload that and to bring someone in to own it. Because that thing is going to be much better than you can do, especially if you're like you're spread thin and you have a bunch of other stuff going on, someone coming in and giving a lot of dedicated folks to it is going to create a better outcome in the end. Speaker 0 00:19:50 I know I've experimented. I know we mentioned this before in other topics, but you know, finding a cohost, maybe it's not even about just handing this over. Maybe it's, it's dipping your toe into that category where you say, you know what, maybe I'll bring on a co-host to help bounce the energy off of, I don't have to think about everything. And this could be just a colleague of yours. Heck even a competitor, imagine like two bakeries in a local town who just do a podcast together. Right. They're competing bakers, but they have these like these, these two really cool perspectives on, on how they make muffins or cakes or whatever. And it's kind of just like this joint relationship it's benefiting you both and entertaining. Heck this is a great idea. I think I'm gonna run with this with my local in my level of marketing as like you're making me hungry. Speaker 0 00:20:32 Yeah. And, um, you know, and so it's dipping your toes into that. You just not like, Oh man, I have to hire somebody. Like I have to go and like do payroll for somebody to come in and do a podcast. No, you can start with a co-host or another great advantage to, and we've done this with our creator series as well as you bring on your customers and you just let them produce the content. Right. You let them tell the story. And you just have those moments where it's like, here's a contributed podcast, right? This is sort of like public radio, public TV, your local news, or your local cable channel. When anybody could go down to the studio and record their own one hour, half hour session, you kind of doing the same thing. Right. And that'll at least give you some breathing room mentally, but also start getting you to explore what it's like to not run your podcasts day to day a hundred percent. So those couple of bits of advice might help. Speaker 1 00:21:23 Yeah. The thing that I'm kind of hearing us come back to with a lot of this is like energy, right? Like the energy you get from doing your podcast definitely needs to be there. Like, uh, not like having another cup of coffee kind of energy, but like, you're excited about doing this and you want to do it. It's not like this drag for you to do another episode. Like finding out whatever way, whatever set up, whatever show format, or scheduling kind of program, you have to let you reserve that energy for the creative part of it, I think is like a very important thing. And I think that there's a lot of different ways you can go about that and keep that and nurture it. But, but I think that might be like the single biggest reason that people fail, because a lot, like nobody starts doing a podcast and on the second episode says, Oh, this stinks, like this is boring. I don't like this. They do because it SAPs the energy out of them. And so I think however you can avoid that is, I don't know, maybe like the single biggest way to avoid pod face, Speaker 0 00:22:20 Right? Yeah. So V1 fails because no vision, no energy. And maybe you were just too darn busy, but audience now here to stay. You've got me, you've got you. We got other people coming on that will help us produce content in the future. Anything else that you think listeners should hear about something that, you know, was a reason why V1 didn't really make, make it off the cutting room floor as much as you wanted it to? Yeah. Speaker 1 00:22:46 I think that kind of going back to this energy thing is making the time to be a little organized about your content goes a long way to freeing up that energy and that kind of mental space later, you know? So like we maybe it's, cause it's not just me working on the podcast, but we are much more organized about the podcasts. Now we have a process for scheduling guests and using Calendly and squad. Casanova's kind of stuff that it's just one less thing you have to think about, you know? And so like some of these super practical things about, you know, having a system in a way and a methodology that you run your podcast, it's less decisions you have to make every episode. And so I think that that's one thing we do now that I didn't do before. And I think it's contributing to kind of the staying power of things at this point. So folks out there that feel overwhelmed, you know, by doing the podcast on a regular basis, maybe do an episode, call it a season, take a month off. And in that month, instead of producing episodes, really think about how you structure your content, how you episodes, how you invite guests, how you ideate on kind of your broader topic and find angles to explore to kind of free up the time you do spend on your podcast to be like the most important, which is like that Chris, Speaker 0 00:23:57 We are in the midst, I'm going to get political for you, Craig. We are in the midst of who is going to be the next president of the United States and to steal a subtitle from the Washington post democracy dies in darkness. I say the same thing about content. Content dies in darkness. When you spend all of this time and energy and you make something and you just kind of, you publish it and you're done, you're out. See you later and move on to the next thing. And then that, that consuming of energy and exhaustion happens all over again. And you didn't give that other one, a chance to really shine. I'm a hundred percent with you. You take that break, you take that season off, but critically thinking about what you're doing with all aspects of content, right? So maybe you are, maybe you do feel more comfortable writing blog posts and podcasting as a thing. Speaker 0 00:24:49 You're just kind of working yourself up there to do really well. Well, you focus your energy on your blog posts still. And then you kind of just make podcasts that are repurposed from that blog post. Right? And it sounds sort of marketing cheesiness right there, but it's like, there's so much you can draw out of a blog post that is not, that cannot be delivered the same way in audio form or that you can do in audio form. So there's huge opportunity to not just burn out or let content die because you, you just had to move on so quickly. You felt like I have to get another episode out. I have to get another blog post out. There's definitely ways to sit back, think about it, strategize and put good value into, into your work. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:25:31 And I just to circle back on something that you mentioned before about kind of starting a new feed and not just rebranding the old show, if we weren't in this specific situation, that's definitely what I would do is just keep the feed alive, change the name, get a new cover image. That's all totally fine, perfectly doable. The only reason we did like start a new feed and really from scratch is this podcast is kind of a case study of what it is to start from scratch. And we didn't have thousands of listeners before, but it was an existing show with some kind of history and existing episodes and SEO juice and things like that. And so we wanted to very intentionally start from scratch because we are trying to have this kind of transparent look at what starting an episode going to go in from zero to one looks like. Speaker 1 00:26:14 And so that's the only reason we did it. It folks that they're saying like, yeah, I haven't published an episode for my podcast in six weeks. That is okay, just go and start, right? Like whenever you're ready and you have that energy, just go start, same feed. If you want to rename the podcast, rename the podcast, don't have to resubmit it to Apple podcasts or iTunes or Spotify or whatever. It's already there. Just change the name and the title and the feed and go. And, and that's definitely the easier and, and kind of preferred way to do it, I think. But for we, just from a Speaker 2 00:26:44 Case study perspective really wanted to start scratch. Speaker 0 00:26:46 We, we didn't scare you away from starting your podcast. Hopefully the phone down, here's what you do. You go to podcasts, hackers.com. You go to our Facebook group. So 2000 podcasters from around the world. You'll start to see me there. Live streaming a little bit more often. We're going to have some Monday in Friday posts where we're going to make you stay a little bit more committed to your podcast. And if that doesn't help you enough, 2000 podcasters in a Facebook group on podcast, hackers.com, you can get our podcast grater, click that button right there. Podcast Raiders, a little man about 60% down the page, give you a little grade on your podcasting journey and you can download a bunch of resources to help make your show a little bit better. I got a podcast checklist. I got a PDF downloads, all kinds of fun stuff to make your podcast episodes a little bit better, [email protected]. Craig, thanks for being on. Speaker 2 00:27:41 Thanks Matt. As a lot of fun.

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