March 8, 2022

In The Weeds From Itch to Launch

In the weeds, between an itch to launch a podcast and actual launching, a podcast can be the one thing that keeps you from ever getting to launch. Tie this together with corporate podcasts, and you might just have doomed your podcast before it gets off the ground. So we dive into this and specific strategies to apply along the way to ensure you get to that all-important launch day.

·     Twitter to Launch Podcast integration (1:48)

·     Going from itch to launch with a podcast (6:31)

·     How long should you spend planning to launch (9:17)

·     Using a consultant to help get higher management to buy in (11:13)

·     Things to help get higher management to buy in (13:20)

·     Leveraging project management methods to launch (20:56)

·     Leveraging a consultant to make you launch correctly and on time (25:54)

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Speaker 1 (00:02)

Hello and welcome Podcast me anything and ask me anything for all things podcasting. I'm your host, Ben Clay, and I am joined here in the studio with Matthew Passy, the Podcast control. Matthew and I wanted to move the conversation beyond the Podcasting 101 topics and move into the intermediate to advance podcasting strategy.

Speaker 2 (00:18)

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Speaker 1 (00:21)

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Speaker 2 (00:24)

Or find the notes from today's show.

Speaker 1 (00:26)

Head on over to

Speaker 2 (00:31)

Welcome back to the place where all the chaos of podcasting can feel down to a ground, Earth level of feeling normal. Because often in podcasting, we often get so overwhelmed with all the information. And if you've been to a conference, if you've been to a webinar, there are so many people talking about podcasting. I hope that when you come here to PMA, that this is a place that hopefully those complex things become simple because we've always wanted to focus on the complex, hard things that no one else talks about because everybody focuses on the one on one stuff. And so we've got some of those topics today that seemed like one of one. But we're going to bring some clarity to it. So welcome back, Matthew, to the podcast.

Speaker 3 (01:04)

Why, thank you. It is great to be here, as always.

Speaker 2 (01:06)

And like for you in New Jersey is just starting to get warm here in Wisconsin. I can't tell you how excited I am for that feeling. I have been so ready for spring to come. I can't wait for the Robins to start being outside and hear the birds chirping when the kids get on the bus and just be reminded that.

Speaker 3 (01:20)

Yes, you know, it got warm yesterday. It's getting cold again this weekend. So it's like spring kind of peaked its head into New Jersey. And it's like, I don't like it.

Speaker 2 (01:31)

I'll come back later. Yeah, there's often that, especially in Wisconsin. We'll get slap with the mid March, like snowstorm that will last for like two days of snow on the ground and then it'll all be gone. But nevertheless, it still disrupted everything. Even just two weeks ago, we had an ice storm and it was the first snow day of the year was through ice, not even snow. So the randomness of how winter can go through. Well, let's kick it off to some strange, interesting news that is really more of a tease at this point. But Twitter is announcing that they're bringing podcasts to the platform, which seems like something that again, should have been there a long time ago because I don't think it takes a lot to read those RSS feeds, but yet Facebook took a while to get on the bandwagon Spotify was late to the party, but they were making up progress. What did you think when you saw that news?

Speaker 3 (02:18)

I'm intrigued and I love it. So what you have is Pod news this morning had two different screenshots from two different folks. Alessandropaluza at Alex, 193 A, he did a screenshot of Twitter where it showed on the left hand side column where you would have your spaces article list, a tab for podcast, which is kind of cool and kind of compelling. And then there was a second one that they were highlighting at Janemachhon Wong. And my apologies if I'm just butchering these people's names. I'm very sorry to you. At Wong MJ, she posted a screenshot that showed a little microphone on the bottom tab of her app, which would indicate podcasts. So kind of like Facebook. I think you're going to be able to start displaying podcasts, or maybe even better, maybe you'll be able to curate podcasts. Like with Facebook, you put podcasts on your page. I guess people can play and it'll play in the background while you're doing things. My sense is Twitter might go the other way and say, oh, you like listen to podcast, why don't you kind of curate this list and you can listen to your other stuff while you're scrolling your feed.

Speaker 3 (03:28)

And I know for many of the people that I get to work with who are mostly Twitter folks, this could be a huge boon for finding and attracting new listeners and even just finding more time to consume content.

Speaker 2 (03:40)

And I agree. And I've been on Twitter since the beginning of my journey, and I've never really felt much traction there, even with this in podcasting, like trying to figure out exactly that Twitter mentality of what goes viral and what doesn't, or even what gets traction, what doesn't. Having podcasts natively is something that people would expect, I think, because people don't go to Twitter right now to find podcasts, you might find new podcasts.

Speaker 1 (04:05)

Or if your podcast are trying to find other people podcasting.

Speaker 2 (04:07)

Maybe that's a source where you do some mining for data. But I don't natively think about Twitter when I think about going to listen to podcasts. So even just framing those two words together, I could see it benefiting from that in the marketplace. And Twitter getting additional definition of how it could be useful for people.

Speaker 3 (04:25)

Yeah. I mean, it's really funny. It really depends on where you spend your time, because the people who like the circles that I run in, they only use podcasts. They only use Twitter for their social media consumption, and they use Twitter again, I'm like you. I don't necessarily think a ton of people go into Twitter and be like, show me new podcasts, even though those tweets are constantly elevated in my feet. But I do think what happens is that people who are spending a lot of time on Twitter trust the people who are talking to them on Twitter. They will take recommendations, they will take referrals from the people they follow, and they will say, oh, okay, at so and so really likes this podcast. Yeah, I'll give it a listen.

Speaker 2 (05:09)

And ultimately, I think if we use Spotify as the example, you really only get traction on these things when you go big and you go consistently. So like Facebook, they haven't really made any big announcement after their integration. The integration works okay. But I wouldn't say it's like beyond 1.0 version. And so I think the same thing applies to Twitter. Like if we see a progression of this is step one, goes to step two, step three, I think that'll be the definition because I think we all have attached ourselves to Spotify is because every time they raise the needle by ten fold, they go again and raise the needle above ten fold. And so it's that expectation, like podcast and Spotify are in it to win. And those platforms that just kind of added for whatever often never get that traction. So I think that will be like the Achilles heel. Either get traction because they keep going or it'll just be something that's a glamorous thing on the side and it just becomes something that's extra on Twitter but not actually utilized.

Speaker 3 (06:08)

Yeah. I mean, I hope it's something where they're really focused on it and they do something fun and smart and interesting and help out the space a little bit. But. Right. It's not their bread and butter. And truthfully, if they can't monetize it, how much is it really worth it for them to go crazy on it?

Speaker 2 (06:26)

Well, let's take a pivot into our deep dive, and today we're going to talk about essentially the itch to podcast me anything a podcast. And I want to bring two distinctions because there is a lot of one on one information from going from itch to launch. There is a lot of templates to go from itch to launch. There's a lot of default timelines and default advice. But question I want to bring on the other side of that is how do you know when you're not necessarily like the podcast you're launching may not fit in the template? And then also, what kind of questions do you ask yourself when you're trying to alter the template of how many days you launch your podcast, how many times you should be prepping? And just the overall prepackaged worry that most podcasters get in like it's got to be perfect or I've got to fit into it, and every one of these boxes check on whatever product you bought to help you launch. So what do people need to think about in this particular question to kind of break away from template and maybe ask a question of do I fit in the cookie cutter mold or do I have something different that requires a different approach?

Speaker 3 (07:31)

Well, I think everybody has to follow a series of the same steps in order to launch your podcast, where you've got to think about why you're doing it, what's your ultimate goal, who's your target audience? What are we going to talk about? What value are you going to provide? What are you going to call it? What's the description? Who's the artist field are you going to have music and production elements and artwork? What are you going to do as far as equipment and how are you going to record? Are you going to use are you going to use in person technology? You're going to rely on a Riverside, a resume or a squad cast or something like that? What are you going to use to host it? Right. So I think a lot of us have the same questions that we have to answer and take those steps as they come. I think what's most important, though, is for people to really have a sense of timing. I get emails sometimes with people that are like, I'm looking to start a podcast and I want to launch it. We're recording this today. It is what, March 3 over here, March 3, and I get an email that says, I really want to have this podcast launched by March 10.

Speaker 3 (08:33)

Like, Whoa, can you launch a podcast by March 10? Sure. Plenty of people pick up their phone, download the anchor app, start talking into it, hit publish, and within a couple of days they're on all the platforms and they're ready to go. I think most of the people who are listening to this, though, are not really in the camp of I just want to start talking to my phone and launch a podcast. So the question is, how much time do I really need to give myself in order to comfortably launch my podcast? And my answer is usually anywhere from about six to eight weeks. And truthfully, the six to eight weeks can turn into six to eight months in many cases on purpose or by accident.

Speaker 2 (09:20)

Or is that something like, people intentionally should spend that much time launching their podcast?

Speaker 3 (09:27)

I don't think it's something that people need to spend that much time on. I think what happens often is that you have a lot of podcast by committee, and so a lot of the steps in the process. Let's just start with the title of the show. We might brainstorm a title for the show, put up a couple of names, do a little bit of research, find out, okay, nobody else is using it. We can get some of the social handles we want. We've got the URL, we like the way it sounds. We're really happy with it. Then maybe you've got to take it to your boss, your supervisor. Maybe you've got to take it to a board. Maybe you run it against the focus group or something like that. And all of a sudden everyone's like, no, we don't want that one. And so now you are back to restarting that process. And that can happen in several different places along the way in creating your podcast. And it can also be really problematic because there are other spots where you cannot move forward without it. Right. You really can't develop artwork for your show until you have a name for your show, because the name should be the primary focus of the artwork that you were doing.

Speaker 3 (10:37)

And you really can't move forward with even naming the show. If you don't really know what the focus of the show is, who's your target audience? Why are you doing it? What are your ultimate goals? So, I mean, there are folks who come to us and they're like, I know exactly what I want to do. I know exactly what I want it to look like. I just need somebody's hands to move it. Those folks. Truthfully, I've literally set up a show same day, submitted it. We had to wait a couple of days for the approval. But you can get people going pretty quickly. The folks who know what they want to do maybe need a little bit of help. Again, four to six weeks, I'd say, is pretty good, because then there's other things in the pipeline that are going to take time that will go over in a minute.

Speaker 2 (11:17)


Speaker 3 (11:17)

Right. It's that podcast by committee or podcast by approval where I have seen things just grind to a halt and you think you're moving forward. It's like two steps forward, twelve steps back. And that's why I've seen so many slow down. But good.

Speaker 2 (11:34)

I want to just draw the distinction, because the thing that popped in my head is even bringing it to when do you follow a template? When you don't or when you bring a consultant in is what does the hierarchy of approval look like to launch? Because the more layers, the longer it's going to take, the more nuance and also the more experience you want to bring to those conversations. Because if you as a consultant, have walked this hierarchy of approval multiple times, you can almost understand and predict what rejections people have at the CEO level about something that seems normal at the bottom level. And as a consultant, you can bring that and shortcut that even. And to me, what you just brought up there with the committee and this hierarchy approval, that is a key first step to understand what is the right launch strategy and what's your timing look like. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (12:26)

If you are, let's say, part of the marketing Department, or maybe you are one division of a company that wants to launch a podcast. And there's a thought that, well, let's put everything down, let's do a demo, and then let's show it to people, and then we'll get their buying that way. And I've seen a couple of cases where people have done that, and then they present it to the higher ups and higher ups go, Nah, we don't like it. And so maybe you've wasted a lot more time and effort and possibly money on something that the higher ups are just like, no, I guess I'm more in the camp of I would rather you get the buy in and you get the latitude to do it. And maybe, yeah, there does need to be some final sign off on everything. But a lot of that is just depends on how much of the brand you are representing or how much of yourself you're representing in doing this when someone's going for approval to get buy in.

Speaker 2 (13:23)

Because that's a very good point. I can tell you, in my corporate career, there were many ideas that I was like, you know, what if I just get this in some semi form complete, they have to love it. This is a really good idea. And then you go to people and they're like, come back next time and you're like, oh, and you just feel devalued. So I'm wondering what's one of those questions when people are pitching to get buy in in a corporate hierarchy that most podcasters aren't considering because you're almost biased by their own excitement. And also, just if you love podcasting, you almost wholeheartedly believe in the medium and not everybody does. So what is something they need to bring to the hierarchy to get that approval before? And it's not just the podcast.

Speaker 3 (14:05)

In this case, the big thing I think that most companies, most corporate cultures are looking for and where I think you get a lot of the hold up is what is going to be the return on the investment. Right. How much time, how much energy, how much money is being used to create this product and what are we getting in return? So if you're going to be spending eight to 12 hours of your week hosting, producing, editing, marketing, and maybe you're not even doing the editing, maybe that turns into. Right, you're outsourcing to somebody else, but you have to put together this budget of time and money and even other resources within the company. How much of that are you using? And then what is the company getting in return? And Conversely. Right. If this is going to be something that is super public facing, how is it going to reflect on the company might be even more important than the actual return on the investment, because in many cases, the return on investment for a podcast or a corporate podcast cannot truly be measured. If it's brand awareness, if it's positive reflection on the brand.

Speaker 3 (15:22)

Right. If it's kind of more like an agnostic measurement, it's kind of hard to turn it on and be like, well, we're investing $2,000, we're getting $5,000 out of it. Right. It's hard sometimes to show that. So in those cases, if they don't like it, if they don't think it reflects well on them, then you're definitely in trouble. But if it's something where you can point to a direct monetization. Right, like, hey, we're spending $2,000 a month on this podcast. We've brought in three clients. Each of those clients nets at $6,000, well, then it's really a no brainer. I think you have to think about what is the return on the time and investment, and how is this going to reflect on the brand or some of the important things you have to think about when addressing your higher ups, on bringing this project to them.

Speaker 2 (16:06)

And even understanding the company's vision, their goals, and also even just what their current pain points are. I think that's something that a lot of I know I did this as well. Like, you get excited about something and what's important to you is important to them. And understanding how does this solve a problem for them that maybe you didn't know. But if you can tie it to a problem that they're having, then you're almost going to get an automatic like, oh, yeah, we've been talking about that at this table for three months now. You've got a solution for that. What a great idea. And I think almost being, like, selfless about it, it's not about you and your idea. It's like you have a tool and it's about tying it to the right problem the company is trying to solve. And I think that could give you a lot of lift in your balloon here to get it where you need to go.

Speaker 3 (16:54)

Yeah. I mean, that would be ideally what you would want to have happen.

Speaker 2 (17:00)

Is there any general advice that you would give? Is someone establishing a timeline?

Speaker 3 (17:06)

The other kinds of pieces about the timeline that you have to worry about are one is going to be getting your hands on equipment. So especially early on in the Pandemic, I was getting massive delays for clients who wanted to start something right away, and we would look to order a microphone, and the microphone just wasn't available. Right. Everybody and their mother was trying to get their hands on the microphone. Everybody and their mother was trying to get their hands on the camera, and they just didn't exist in the world. And so that was slowing people down considerably. So I would almost say as part of your timeline. Right. Like make sure you work in a week, maybe even two weeks to do that. And again, if you're in the corporate culture where you might have to go through billing Department, you might have to get approvals, you might have to do RFPs, you might have to do price comparison. You might have to go through a specific vendor or something like that. Those are things that can certainly slow you down on your path to starting your podcast. So that's definitely one I would watch for as you're undertaking this venture.

Speaker 3 (18:20)

The other big one that I think is where a lot of people get slowed down outside of getting approval, getting equipment is getting ahead. So unless you're doing a podcast where you're recording that day, you're publishing it the next day or maybe even the same day. And we're certainly working with more and more clients who are working like that. But if you're going to be doing like an interview show and you're going to be recording guests each and every week, we really stress having anywhere from you can call it four to six episodes, but I honestly, I'd call it four to six weeks. Lead time of content. Meaning if you are launching your podcast on March 1, before you launch, you should at least have recorded maybe not produced, but at least recorded content to get you through end of March, maybe even early April. And the reason why I say that is because your release consistency is going to be so important when it comes to building up your audience and having people take you seriously. So if you're struggling, if you release a podcast, you come out March for a swinging you do another 1, March 8, let's call it.

Speaker 3 (19:36)

And then you're gone for two weeks, and then you come back another week, and then you're gone for three weeks, and then you come back. All of a sudden people are going to go, this isn't great. So I like to get as far ahead as possible. And the reason why it's four to six weeks is one you might not realize how exhausting it is to actually record a podcast. Some people don't realize that it does take a lot of mental energy and physical energy and emotional energy to sit here and talk to someone for an hour. But number two, coordinating schedules can be really tricky, especially if you're relying on guests. So how easily can we get the person on the phone? Are they going to be able to connect using the technology? One, do we want to send them equipment so that we make sure they sound good in doing it? And what does that play into the logistics of everything? What if the person gets sick? If we're talking about big A list celebrities or executives or the people who you are coving in your industry, are they going to get busy? Is an emergency going to come up?

Speaker 3 (20:32)

So what you don't want to have happen is your podcast releases every Wednesday and Monday night, you're running around going, what are we going to do this week? Right? You want to give yourself as much breathing room as possible so that you can get to a nice, strong start. Work ahead and keep your focus on growing the show, marketing the show, not sitting here every week scrambling just to create the show that you now need to put out each and every week.

Speaker 2 (20:58)

Two things that came to my mind in this overall topic. That and I think one thing that people will learn depending on what Department you are in as you start this podcast is your native skills aren't necessarily equipped to handle a podcast. It's an entirely new set of skill sets, and one of those is just maybe project management. Maybe you don't have a lot of day to day overall like month long projects that you're managing and that can be a skill level that is a new one to learn. So even just spending some time Googling what are some basic project management skills that I could add to this process? So that not just that I launched this podcast on time like I want, but I actually learn a skill the proper way versus like surviving which everybody knows what that feels like when you're trying to make a project. And the other word that came to my mind is a Gantt chart. So if you've never Googled project management or never worked with a project manager, Gantt charts is essentially a timeline in Excel. Basically there's a lot of other fancy ways to do it, but just Google it and you'll get a couple of examples essentially laying out the timeline, all the tasks that need to get done and giving it a timeline and also stacking on like we can't start this task until that task is done.

Speaker 2 (22:03)

So it has this natural flow and again it's one of those skills that comes in valuable in all the other areas of business and life. But you can learn it and refine it the proper way and learn how you can take the skill of Gann charting and apply it to every other project you start after this. So I think those two words and even maybe just going out for lunch one day with a guy that specializes in project management, his world will be able to like oh yeah, there's these three, four things that you really should keep in the back of your head. So I think that skill set could be something that I know as a podcast we don't often think about it because we're just focused on the goal of launching. But there is a deep opportunity here to enhance your skill sets because on the other side the project doesn't end. It's really just the beginning. And once you're past the launch phase, it's very important to get past Pod phase of ten episodes. It's very important to keep the value that you're going going because you're working a lot effort to keep these and people's ability to hang on for a podcast, a Pod phase and then comes back is fairly low.

Speaker 2 (23:06)

And so you want to fight that feeling?

Speaker 3 (23:09)

Well, yeah. Listen, I mean the other thing too is that we're talking about a corporate podcast. You still have a job to do.

Speaker 2 (23:17)

Distraction from what they're paying you for probably, right?

Speaker 3 (23:21)

Yeah. No, your boss might be like, yeah, if you want to go do this project, great. But like I pay you to do this. Like you still have to do, you still have to do your job. So if you're adding this then you definitely want to work ahead. You definitely want to figure out time management. So definitely good to work ahead as best as you can. When it comes up to your launch. So that's another place where I think that six to eight weeks is important. Right. So figure you do your planning in the first week and maybe you order your equipment at the same time the second week. You are hopefully finalizing your planning, and maybe you're setting up your equipment by then. Maybe you're scheduling some of your first few guests. So we're talking 3rd, 4th week is when you're recording everything. Well, the other thing to keep in mind is that when you launch a podcast, like you can set up hosting very quickly, that's no problem. You set up your hosting, you upload content. And keep in mind, you need content in the feed for your host, even for your RSS to even be viable.

Speaker 3 (24:18)

So you need to have something. It doesn't have to be a first full episode. It could just be a quick intro trailer, a quick hey, everyone, we're doing a podcast. We're super excited. I come back April 1 and we'll be ready to go. But there's got to be a piece of audio in there for this feed to be viable. Then you've got to submit that RSS feed to get approval from all the different platforms. Apple, Google, Spotify, and the works. Now that can take time. The time has shrunk down considerably. Most people are approved on Spotify same day, Amazon next day. Apple has been like one to three business days, maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit less, depending on when you catch them. But Google is still like seven to ten business days from when you submit until when you're actually going to find yourself. So I tell everybody you want something ready to go and submit to the feeds at least two weeks before your alleged launch date. And I think that's even running it super tight. I would even say once you have your feeds approved, then you want to first start taking two weeks to market the show and let people know it's coming and give them a chance to subscribe and then have your big launch day after that.

Speaker 3 (25:26)

So right now we were about four weeks into it, having maybe recorded our first interview. And I could easily see where you take another four weeks to be more comfortable before you're even ready to launch. So six to eight weeks can even be tight for people who are working really efficiently. So that's why I say six to eight weeks. You can do it, but I think you want to give yourself a little bit more time and be more comfortable and to give a podcast consultant a plug.

Speaker 2 (25:58)

Essentially having that consultant. The sideline is the insurance policy that you don't trip over a step or miss a step that then you have to backtrack. And depending on how important it is to hit on those dates, depending on your timing, maybe it's a trade show that has to be ready for and you're trying to launch it a trade show event, those types of things. Consulting is a great way to close the gap. I mean, consulting is used all over business, so this is a great way to shore up and to just get that insurance policy. What am I not thinking about? What do I need to think about? And just having that outsider view gives you that coaching perspective, which anybody that's had a coach understands, that having that third party that's unbiased by whatever you have going on in your life can just be like, oh, yeah, you do this three things and you're done. That can be a huge, huge benefit depending on how critical it is to hit your launch date.

Speaker 3 (26:49)

And let me tell you one more thing. Somebody hearing this might be, like, in the middle of doing their launch and like, oh, no, I didn't do this. Maybe I shouldn't be. Here's the other thing. Nothing in podcasting necessarily written in stone, okay? There's nothing that says you can't change your title, change your artwork, change your description, change your host. Is it good to be consistent? Yeah, it's good to have yourself planned out. Sure. But let's say you do get to a certain point and all of a sudden you turn around, you realize, oh, no, somebody else has the same name. We didn't do our research. Like, we got to make a few changes. Okay? So you make a few changes. You can replace an episode, you can replace your artwork. It's also okay to kind of move forward with some preliminary approval and just leave yourself the opportunity to update easily. Which is why in many cases, we work with a template for our audio that includes a stock show intro and a stock show outro. And we try not to really talk about the title too much in the content itself. Because what if we decide we don't want to call this podcast anything anymore?

Speaker 3 (27:51)

Well, we can go through and we can just swap out the show intro and the show after we don't have to redo the entire episode or we don't have to go back and listen to the entire interview. Like, how many times did I mention podcast me anything while I was talking to Ben? Oh, we've got to go back and edit that, right? There are ways to make it easy to make these changes. If you are having concerns that somewhere down the line you're going to get a veto of what you've come up with so far.

Speaker 2 (28:18)

Correct. And I'll do one final plug because you have a lot of whatever's going on during the day. The best part of a coach is they're not tethered to what you have going on. Like, they're going to be the calming effect to whatever you have going on. So if you feel that pressure, if you feel any of those things, make sure you check out the podcast consultant, which also plugged. Just redid the website so go ahead and over there and check it out and has all the different resources that Matthew offers authors offers and all the different resources that he has to help you take your podcast from itch to launch and well beyond that, Matthew that does it for us today on PMA. Thank you for another great episode and we dived into a lot of cool areas that were well beyond the basic 101 that people can buy on the internet for launching their podcast.

Speaker 3 (29:04)

It is, as always, my pleasure, sir. Where is the stop button.