The following is the full transcript of Remarkable Episode 1: Harry Duran on Growing Your Podcast Through Relationships and Authenticity.
In this week’s episode, I have a chance to sit down with a house DJ turned podcaster whose own podcast gives you behind a the scenes look into the lives of other, you guessed it, podcasters.
He’s an entrepreneur and an app developer, and he’s interviewed more than 70 podcasters. He’s got a wealth of information about podcasting and he’s well known and well-respected in the podcast community.
I had a chance to connect with him at the podcast movement conference in Fort Worth Texas, last year, and I was really looking forward to this interview, I think you’ll enjoy it and get a lot out of it. Without further ado, Harry Duran.
Dave: Harry, welcome to the Remarkable podcast, I really appreciate you taking time to join
Harry: Hey, no problem, thanks for having me on. I really appreciate the fact that you invited
me on, to come on your show.
Dave: Yeah, so I’ll give a little bit of background. We recently met at the podcast movement 2015 conference, and I heard your TEDx style talk, or PMx style talk about podcasting and I thought that was pretty interesting and what connected or resonated with me is that you have a background as a DJ, so, because that’s something that I’m passionate about I thought I’d start there.
So just give us a little bit of a background. You’ve been a DJ for quite a while – or you were, close to 20 years, is that right?
Harry: Yes, as far as actual DJing, it’s been about 20 years. I think I started in high school, and I was inspired by my cousin and one of my best friends who would be the life of the party, and I wanted to be that person, who was entertaining other folks, making them dance, and, you know, it was the allure of the turntable and the technique’s 1200 which every DJ growing up in the 80’s craves.
Dave: Yep, I had my pair.
Harry: And so, you get those, and get started in on your long, dark rabbit hole of buying vinyl records for the next 10-15 years. It’s an expensive habit if you’re not getting compensated with regular paying gigs, but it’s a lot of fun.
Now that I think of it, in retrospect, it’s probably one of my first entrepreneurial endeavors, because we started a little DJ crew, and then we started doing parties, we started out doing high school parties, then a high school dance, and then just moved our way up from then.
Most of the other folks dropped off, and I just kept at it and kept having a love and a passion for, specifically, house music. I still have that, I still have my turntable, and so every now and then I still pull them out.
Dave: Yeah, so just to clarify, because as a podcast we have a wide audience of people, and I think not everybody’s going to be familiar with, uh, house music, per se – but to clarify, you weren’t a, like a wedding-style DJ where you had a lot of vocals and played modern, I guess top 40 hits, correct?
Harry: Yeah, I mean, from the beginning, I liked going to nightclubs, and at the time I was 15, there were these teenage clubs that you could go to that wouldn’t serve any alcohol, but I was all about – at that time, freestyle music, which was at the time pretty common growing up in the east coast and in New York. And then house music was really, literally just getting started. So it was really that I would try to do those parties as much as possible.
I think I did get roped into a couple of DJs, but definitely not my bread and butter, and it’s not something where I really had that much of a good time, because like you said, the music tends to be a lot more top 40, scripted, and you’ve got to do a lot of starting and stopping, so at the end of the day there’s not much dancing that’s actually happening.
Dave: Yeah, just a lot of chitter chatter, and it’s often times an empty dance floor.
Dave: Part of the reason I ask that is because, you’re a podcaster, and you interview other podcasters, which is a very spoken word, or conversational style, and that’s not the style of DJ that you were, so I’m really curious as to how did you make the leap to DJ, which is not on the microphone, to almost exclusively on the microphone?
Harry: I guess if I had to think about it, there’s probably a combination of things that led to that. One of the first conferences I went to in this podcasting, digital marketing space was the New Media Expo in Las Vegas in 2014.
I actually had an app built, it was a mobile app for DJ’s, it was called ‘know your DJ,’ and at that time, the passion was – and it still is – electronic music. And I said ‘well, I’m going to build something that I’m Passionate about, because I really think that’s something important to focus on.
If you’re going to do something, a new endeavor, a new entrepreneurial thing you’re going to tackle, work on something you’re going to be passionate about so that you can work on it late night, through the weekends , because that’s really what it’s going to take to get it over the hump, and that’s what I did with the app.
I went to the conference thinking I was maybe going to start a podcast and interview DJ’s. I was a fan of a podcast called Resident Advisor, and it was really a fascinating deep dive into the lives of DJ’s, sort of like a peek behind the scene, and it talked a lot about not only their music, but you know what inspired them.
So that was really top of mind for me, but when I got there, something interesting happened. I saw a lot of podcasters giving talks and one of the folks there made a comment somewhere along the lines of being a podcast junkie.
At at that time, I was doing a lot of research because I wanted to learn about mobile apps, and so I started downloading apps about how to build a mobile app – a podcast about how to build a mobile app.
And so I started accumulating these on my phone, and they were sort of slowly crowding out my music podcasts, which is all I knew podcasts were when I first started. And so, I said ‘what if I interviewed these folks, and sort of the idea was born there.
I hooked up with a friend, someone I met there by the name of Chris Murphy, I ran the idea by him. He said it sounded like a great idea, and when I came back from the conference, and as you are prone to do when you attend one of this, is you have a handful of business cards.
I reached out to a couple of people, one of them being Chase Reeves, the host of ‘The Fizzle Show’, which is a really fantastic marketing podcast, and I said ‘hey, would you be interested in being my first guest? I’m going to start interviewing other podcasters.”
He said yes, give me a couple of weeks to get started – which was fine because I had no podcast! And I just said, well I’ve got to get this started, and I joined a podcasting group, to help me figure out what are the ins and out of what I need to do in terms of microphone, and artwork and all those things that you have no idea what to do when you’re getting started.
Some of those Facebook groups in the beginning helped get my feet wet and get my show started, and then one of the main things that they stressed was to have at least three to five episodes in the can. And so I just proceeded to make myself as known as possible on things like Pinterest where I landed Cindy Sanchez, so Pinteresting and also a couple of other folks, and some other forums that really made up my first five to ten guests.
Dave: So you moved directly from listening to podcasts from DJ’s spinning music, correct, into I guess educational or conversational style podcasts because of the new media expo conference?
Harry: Yeah. I guess at one point I thought I was going to do both. I thought, ‘well, let me do this one because I felt like it was more accessible.’ Because the DJ’s that I wanted to reach out to, I felt like they were going to be hard to get in contact with, and you’ve got to go through promoters, and agents and booking managers, what have you, until you can get the ability to speak to the folks that you want to connect with.
I think what I realized at the time is that I had a better shot of getting these other folks on my show. I think maybe in the back of my mind I thought I’d get my feet wet with this podcast, and then I could always transition back to the podcast that I really wanted to do – the ‘Know Your DJ’ podcast.
Harry: Which as of yet has not been launched.
Dave: Is that still something that’s in the back of your mind for the future?
Harry: Yeah. You may have had this happen already, but what happens with podcasters, is once you start podcasting, then everything you touch or everything you see, or come in contact with becomes sort of, good topic for podcast.
You think ‘I could start a podcast on this!’ I mean, at one point I was going to start one on productivity because I’m a big student of productivity, productivity hacks, and I had a domain name that I was paying for and I was hosting with no content.
You know there’s no shortage of ideas and I think that over the past couple of months to a year I’ve really really learned to eliminate a lot of the noise and focus on building the podcast that I have now, which is podcast junkies.
Dave: Yeah, so that’s a great segue. So tell us a little bit about how you came up with that. I know that you mentioned that you heard the term ‘podcast junkies’ and that resonated with you. So what led you to a podcast interviewing other podcasters, as opposed to some of the other ideas that you had. How did you filter through and sort out and come to that decision?
Harry: I think it was born out of a natural curiosity for figuring podcasting, right? Because I didn’t know a lot about podcasting in general other than the couple of shows that I listened to. The more I listen to podcasts, I really love them as an opportunity for you to learn a lot about a topic that you don’t know much about.
And so, in my mind, I was trying to learn podcasting, and so I said ‘well, let me start learning from people who I came to find out had been doing this now for a long time.’ Some of these early podcasters that I had on had been podcasting since 2005.
I think I made a concerted effort to figure out how I could start having a conversation with those folks, because it would be interesting for my audience, because they’d get a little history and a background into people they may not know about, because there are people just getting into podcasting now who don’t realize that there’s people that were doing this a long time ago.
And for myself, obviously, I was a bit selfish there. I asked them a lot of questions about things that I wanted to know about, and then, as is prone to happen, when you start interviewing podcasters – and one important tip I can give the listeners – is that when you have a fantastic conversation with the guest is that 9 times outta 10, they had a good experience, you had a good experience, and you can ask them to recommend someone to be on the show.
Or if they can think of someone that would be a good fit, given that they’ve already experienced an hour with you, so they sort of know what they’re in for and they can think of people that they can send your way.
Dave: Yeah, that’s really great advice. So, as you were beginning to listen to podcasts, and I guess even now as you’ve got close to 50 episodes under your belt, what has stood out to you. Because if you’re like a lot of podcasters, including myself, at some point you end up with dozens of podcasts on your phone or your device, and then you start deleting stuff that’s either not relevant, or applicable – or, as I would like to say, it’s not remarkable. It’s kind of a dime a dozen. So what are some of the podcasts that have really stood out to you, and stood the test of time over the past few years for you, and what do you think makes them stand out?
Harry: I think, David, a lot of it has to do with where you are in terms of your growth. If we’re talking about Podcasting, and you’re trying to grow your own podcast, what is of interest to you as you grow your show?
So, for me in the beginning, I really wanted to wrap my head around the art of podcasting. So I needed to, I think, I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, and I wanted to have in depth conversations – casual conversations – with people that had been doing it that I could learn from.
So that’s why in the beginning I spoke to people like John Lee Dumas and I spoke to people like James Schrampko who’s a fantastic internet marketer based out of Australia. People like Greg Hickman who had, is really a pro when it comes to mobile. People like Daniel J. Lewis of the ‘The Audacity to Podcast.’
I spoke to Srini Rao who has a fantastic podcast called ‘The Unmistakable Creative,’ and he really is a good interviewer. Obviously, I spoke to other veterans like Dave Jackson and Ray Ortega because, it’s funny that you – how you find out there really is a lot of podcasts about podcasting. I’ve even found some new ones, Erick K. Johnson, the Podcast Talent Coach.
There’s really a podcast directed at women called She Podcasts, which I actually listen to.
Dave: I’ve heard a lot of great things about that.
Harry: Yeah, That’s Elsie Escobar and Jessica Kupferman. So, I’m always trying to learn. So that category for me will always remain constant. That category of wanting to learn about the trade, if you will.
Dan Benjamin of the 5by5 network has a podcast called ‘Podcast Method.’ And then, folks from Copyblogger have Rainmaker.fm platform and they’ve got a podcast called Showrunner, which is Jerod Morris and John Nastor of ‘Hack the Entrepreneur.’
You would think there would be a lot of repetition across these shows, but what you find is that they each take their own spin on things, and they approach it from their own perspective and they’ve been successful in their own way.
So, one of my little hacks is to actually listen to podcasts at 2X speed. And so most of the stuff, since it’s really informational, then you can get away with that, and I use overcast. it doesn’t change the pitch, so it doesn’t sound like the chipmunks, it just speeds it up. It takes some getting used to it, of course.
Harry: The first time you listen to it at 1.25, you feel like you’re going a little bit crazy, and you really can’t do anything else besides listening to the podcast when you start listening to them that fast. So then, as that was happening, I started listening to other sorts of shows.
Now, one category that I have been attracted to recently is storytelling. A lot of that comes from the NPR group of podcasts.
Shows like 99% Invisible, there’s a show called ‘Mystery Show.’ Obviously, startup was really popular from Gimlet Media, and ‘Mystery Show’ is part of that network as well. And then there’s a show called ‘Nocturne,’ that I came across a couple of months ago.
I just interviewed Vanessa Lowe from that show. Nocturne, along with five other podcasters created a collective called The Heard, and I actually just released today an episode with Robert McGinley Myers of ‘Anxious Machine.’ I’m really fascinated by the level of detail and attention they put into their shows. Some of these record episodes only once a month, and it’s really interesting and a complete shift away from some of these other entrepreneurial podcasts. It’s almost like the two worlds exist independent of each other.
Because when I ask a lot of the storytellers about the entrepreneurial podcasts, even someone like Pat Flynn or John Lee Dumas, they might know who they are, and sometimes they have no idea who they are. Which is funny.
When you’re in that entrepreneurial space you think everyone knows who Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas is but it’s really a small world and a small bubble that we live in. And likewise, people in the entrepreneurial world, the entrepreneurial side are just focused on tips and tricks on how to grow your show, how to market your show.
So I’m really trying to broaden the range of it. I think the fact that I have a podcast that allows me to speak to podcasters. It’s really fascinating, because I’m increasing the awareness of the show to the point where I’m starting to get some really really interesting guests coming on, and some more folks from the Radiotopia family are scheduled to come on the show.
Hopefully, fingers crossed, I’m going to be having Helen Zaltzman on from ‘The Allusionist,’ and just other hosts that, in my mind, are pushing my abilities as a conversationalist, and as an interviewer, and as a host.
That’s sort of my challenge to myself, as well. If I felt like I was in a rut and I started repeating the same format over and over, and people weren’t getting value, then I’d feel like the show had hit a wall. So I don’t want that to happen, and I make it a conscious effort to put myself in situations where I’m uncomfortable.
Even that TEDx style talk you heard me give at PMx, I mean, it was only ten minutes, but obviously I was a bit nervous getting started. I was revamping the content of the talk even, like, that same morning with my roommate. I went through a couple of variations of what that talk would sound like, and that was only ten minutes.
And then, later on during the conference, I also participated in a workshop with Leah Thau of the podcast ‘Strangers,’ and she asked people who wanted to volunteer to go up on stage and tell the story. And again, I did that.
So I think the consistent thread has been looking for opportunities where I can stretch myself and grow my own skills as a host. And the only way to do that is to put myself out of my comfort zone.
Dave: And that’s great, you’ve dropped a lot of names in there. I’m going to do my best to make sure they’re listed in the show notes for people that want to go exploring and check out, because that could take several days to get through and listen to some of those.
Let me change direction a little big, and move into how you’re building your audience. And before that, what is the ultimate purpose of your podcast? Is this an art or craft for you, or is there a business goal behind the podcast?
Harry: I think at the beginning, obviously like everyone else, I thought since I was talking to a lot of entrepreneurial podcasts, that was sort of top of mind, and so I did all the things that you should do when you’re trying to monetize your podcast. you have a lead magnet, you collect emails, and then you try to sell a product, and you try to figure out how to get a sponsor.
I think maybe in the beginning I was too focused on that, and I was a bit haphazard with the release schedule of the podcast. And then, I sort of had a shift, because I realized I was starting to change the folks that were coming on the show – the types of guests that I was having. I think I made a conscious effort to become A) more consistent with the show and B) a bit of a stickler in terms of quality and how I wanted to present the story of the guest that I had one.
And so it really moved to less of a focus on monetization and really growing the listenership. In a way, they sort of go hand in hand, and so I think it’s sort of, if you put the cart before the horse, I think you really have to focus on developing a quality show and something that you’re proud of. I think that after time the show will grow, the fans will come.
You want people to have an experience when they first hear your show that it’s something that they really like and they really resonate with. That’s something that’s been happening lately, because I have long conversations. I mean, these are not just half an hour Q&A sessions where I’m blasting through the same ten questions over and over. I really try to make them as conversational as possible.
I want the folks who are listening to feel like they are taking part in a candid conversation with some of my guests, because it’s been said before, but I mean sometimes the best part of a conversation comes 15 to 20 minutes, to a half an hour in. That’s what I’ve been cognizant of and that’s why I don’t put a cap on how long the interview is.
So, sort of like, to get back to your question, the focus right now is to build a quality show. And I think as a result of that, I’m already starting to have a couple of one off conversations with sponsors. And I think sponsors are going to be more interested in a quality show that’s interesting that has interesting guests, and that, you know, you’re sort of building a buzz around.
Dave: Yeah, so I guess let me just back up one more step I guess. Are you a software developer? Is building your app and everything your day job and podcasting on the side, or are you building a podcast as your primary business?
Harry: No, I still have my day job, which is IT Consulting.
Dave: Okay. Okay.
Harry: And so I’ve been doing that, and a variety of other things for the past 20 years. So, having that job has afforded me the luxury of building out a podcast at my own pace.
Dave: That’s great.
Harry: Because if it was something where I felt like I had to monetize it to pay the rent or put food on the table, I can’t imagine the level of stress that that would cause. And I think there are some folks that are out there that are in that camp, because I think people have put all their eggs into the podcasting basket without having a backup plan, because they might have gotten the impression that it’s easy to monetize.
From my experience, and it’s something that takes a lot of work. I’ve heard numbers that have been thrown out in the past in terms of how long it takes to build a new project, or a new endeavor.
Folks say, you know, sometimes you need to give this anywhere between three and five years before something can really take off, before it really gains traction. That’s not to say there aren’t cases of people who have been very successful with their podcast in a shorter amount of time. but, I think those are the exceptions.
For me it’s been important to have my main job and to have this something more of a hobby and a passion project. If it grows into something bigger, than that, then that would be fantastic. But it’s really afforded me the luxury to take my time with it and really focus on the quality of the show and figuring out how I can quickly monetize it.
Dave: Yeah, and I think that’s a great piece of information to pull out for the listeners here, is that we do see a lot of overnight successes, and some of them are literally overnight successes where they launch something and it happens.
A lot of overnight successes are ten years in the making, where they come from another avenue – whether it’s radio, or like you said, NPR, and things like that and they’re just moving into a slightly different avenue.
I also think it’s good for the financial side and rushing to grow your numbers and focus on the numbers, but mostly focusing on the product and the end result. And I think that’s really important.
So, you have a day job and you’ve come from a DJ background. What do you think you’ve taken from those as far as marketing and customer service and serving people. What of those aspects have you brought into your podcast?
Harry: So, I’m a student of, in general, of learning as much as possible about something that I get myself into. And digital marketing is no different, because although I worked in marketing departments in the past. Digital marketing, as you’re well aware, is it’s own beast, right? There’s it’s own set of challenges that are inherent with trying to market something online. There’s a whole different set of rules.
I had a one-off coach in the beginning, and then more recently I’ve joined a more formal coaching program and I’ve learned a lot about the importance of marketing. Marketing in the right way, marketing in an ethical way, and just sort of different things you can do to build up your brand.
And so, as a result of that, I think for me, I’m a student of productivity, i’m a student of efficiency, I’m a big fan of standard operating procedures.
It’s probably a bit of my OCD nature where I like to have things written down. I do have a virtual assistant in the Philippines, and that helps me with a lot of the behind the scenes related to the podcast, and I’ve tried to instill a lot of those SOPs, or standard operating procedures, in place so that a lot of it can run without me being there on a day to day basis. And obviously 50 episodes in, we sort of get to like a well oiled machine.
I know ahead of time what I need to ask of my guests, be it artwork or a bio, or even something like what’s your Skype ID when I’m setting up the scheduling tool.
So I try to see that if there’s anything that’s repetitive or that I can put a process in place for I do that, to make my life easier, because at the end of the day, I still have my regular responsibilities with my job. So I really can’t have the podcast be another 40 hour endeavor because there are only so many hours in a day, and I’m trying to learn different things I can do to market the show.
I’ve tried a variety of different ways to market the show, some have worked, some not.
I’m really active on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook. With each episode I make it a point to communicate with guests and give them an easy avenue for them to share the show, and then I’m creative with doing the episodic art work, so I tag them in that.
I also just try to make it as fun and engaging as possible. Every time there’s a new episode out, I sort of try to make it a mini event every time that happens.
Dave: Yeah, that’s great. So, if you could, tell us a little bit more about what you think is the most effective thing you’ve done to build your audience and get the word out there. Anything specific?
Harry: Yeah, I think – I don’t know if I can point to one specific thing if I think about it. I think it’s a lot of little things, because at the end of the day, you can’t pick where your audience is going to find you. You don’t have that luxury – you have to sort of be everywhere, and be everywhere in a strategic fashion.
Now, obviously, you’re not going to learn and master all the social media platforms in one spot, so just pick one and deep dive. So, for example, go deep on twitter for one month or three months. Really, learn everything you can, build up that audience.
When you share posts, when you share episodes, go out of your way to find out what your guests twitter handle is. If you’re referencing an article, go out of your way to find out what the magazines twitter handle is. Put in a relevant hashtag, put in the right link to the episode you’re linking to.
Like I said earlier, I’m a bit OCD about this, but if I’m going to take the time to post something on twitter, I’m not going to just casually just say ‘hey, go read this’, and then make the person reading the tweet work that much harder to find out what it is I was talking about, or who I’m referring to.
Leverage the fact that some of these things can be viral in nature, and get the most bang for your buck for some of these things like a twitter post.
And then after that, branch out into something like Instagram. It’s obviously a visual medium, a lot of pictures, and that’s one of the reasons I tell people to use unique artwork for every single episode, because it gives you an opportunity to post on a regular basis on Instagram.
And the fantastic thing about this is, the last time I checked, it’s about 2000 characters that are allowed on Instagram. So basically, what I do, is I repurpose my show notes and I put them on Instagram.
And then again, I do the homework. I look for my guests on Instagram, if they have a handle (because a lot of time it’s going to be different than it is on twitter) find it, tag them on there. I put relevant hash tags on there as well. And make it as engaging as possible.
Each platform has its own core audience, and each platform has its own fans. Networking, and making new friends in the podcasting space and live conferencing. And obviously, you and I can attest to that, as a result of the podcast show.
It happened with New Media Expo last year, it happened with New Media expo this year.
It’s happened with meetups I had here in Los Angeles. I find a way to be around other podcasters in a live forum whenever I can, because for me that’s important and I think a lot of people think that they’re not going to get a lot of value out of them.
This year I really made a concerted effort – I had t-shirts made and they’re bright yellow and obnoxious and they were definitely seen roaming the halls of podcast movement.
Dave: Yeah, I mean, you make a fantastic point about the conferences and, yeah what I’ve found coming out of the conference -and I think this will be helpful information for everybody that’s listening, is that occasionally you’re trying to build an audience geographically. So near you, where you are.
So a lot of people are building businesses within a confinement of how far they can get to a meeting or an event. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but occasionally, you need to get out and travel and get to a larger audience.
I think that’s what was really beneficial to me to get to the podcast movement, to find a group of people that are passionate about podcasting and trying to dig through the weeds in Eastern North Carolina, or Central North Carolina, and to try to find a small group of people. It was nice to end up at that conference and to have a thousand podcasting fans all around you, regardless of location. So that was, as you mentioned, extremely beneficial to me.
I was curious, do you go out of your way to pick or select guests based on the audience that that will connect you with, or are you more focused on finding the people that you just want to interview?
Harry: Yeah, it’s funny you ask that. It’s been a hot topic lately. Chris Brogan talked about it recently, because he was being hit up by a podcaster whose podcast he was on, and the guy was sort of being a big of a nag in terms of saying ‘hey, don’t forget, you were on the show – make sure you promote me, promote me.’ And it sort of rubbed in the wrong way.
Harry: And then he spoke about it on Facebook, and then Srini Rao made a post on it on medium related to that. I think, if you’re going to go after a guest simply because you want some sort of influence or affect based on their popularity – you know, I don’t really think it’s going to happen.
For myself, for my show, I’ve always wanted people and listeners to feel like it’s a conversation between two folks who know each other, or at least have some sort of connection prior to coming on the show.
Typically what I do is I get a lot of my guests from meeting folks in person, or as a referral, or because I’m a super fan of the show and I’ve listened to the show so much that I can get into a conversation with them and really have a ton of stuff to talk about because I really know the guest really, really well.
So I think the advice that I’d give to folks that are doing interview based podcasts is that, you know, A) go out of your way to find people that have not been on shows. Just do a little bit of homework to find out what it is about that person that you find interesting from a conversation standpoint, not a popularity standpoint.
If the first thing you do when you book a guest or have a guest you’re looking up as a potential guest is look at how many followers they have on Twitter or how big their Instagram following is, then you’re really going about it the wrong way.
Because I’ve noticed even within some of my bigger guests is that they’re really doing you a favor by coming on your show, and so you shouldn’t try to abuse that privilege that they gave you to come on. Go at it with a sincere perspective of wanting to connect with the person.
Regardless of whether they share your show or not, your objective should be to have that person on because you really want to talk to that person, you really want to have an in depth conversation, and you really want to try to go somewhere that that person hasn’t gone before so they don’t feel like, you know, this person is just going through the motions with me, and they’re just trying to use me for my influence.
Dave: Yeah, and I’m along the same lines and I agree. I think people can tell when they’re being used and when they’re really and truly valued. I also recommend trying to do your best to see how you’re either looking for expert advice and information to build your craft, or to add value to you as opposed to use somebody as a cheap gimmick to promote your show. I think people can tell.
Dave: The listeners can tell, as well, and I think it comes across as a little bit fake.
One thing I’d also like to know for you is – for myself personally, as well as for the listeners here – is what have you found that just doesn’t work?
I think there’s no shortage of people in the digital space that are building the brand or their own business with false information, or maybe they read something somewhere and so they’re just repeating it.
What have you tried as far as building your brand and your audience, that just hasn’t work, and that you’ve either stopped doing or you’re just evaluating whether you’re going to continue do it or not?
Harry: I mean, I’m trying to think of an example of something that really really bombed, or has failed. I mean, I’m sort of the person who always tries different things.
I think maybe the fact that there’s not a big sponsor on the show yet is a result of me not having reached out far and wide. I know people do this, and they have great success. A lot of times it’s just a function of not being afraid to ask.
I’ve heard of friends that have gotten sponsors simply because they heard someone on another show, and they thought, hey, obviously, if you’re on a podcast already, then you’re prone to advertise another podcast. And then, they prepared a letter that said ‘hey, I heard you on this show, and I thought you’d be a good fit for my show.’
So I think I haven’t done as much of that as I probably should – and I think it’s something I’m going to be looking into.
The other thing I tried was I tried repurposing content. So I’ve taken the first 25 interviews, and I created an e-book. It’s a kindle book – it’s $2.99 on the Amazon Kindle store and it’s called ‘Around the Podcast Campfire.’
And so, I think I probably could have done a better job marketing that. There’s tons of blog posts on how to actually do that the right way, but I think, since I was holding onto the book for such a long time. I actually had it done, and I was trying to wait for the right time to market perfectly.
Before I knew it, three months had gone by and I had said ‘Man, I’ve Just got to get this book out.’ So I just sort of rushed it out the door and it landed with a big thud. I think with a bit more time – it’s a nice calling card, because I put it on my website now, and it was a nice way to reach out again to my past guests.
So definitely lesson learned there. And I’ll probably continue it with every 25, take the content and repurpose it, and package it in a way that sort of tells a story.
That book, each chapter covers a specific topic, like social media, like podcasting equipment, the importance of networking — so, wherever there was comments made by guests on that specific topic then those were pulled into that chapter.
So it was actually a lot of fun, a nice trip down memory lane for me, to revisit some of that stuff.
It’s just one of those things that serves an example for you to keep trying things – especially with repurposing. You have content really already out there.
I know some podcasters repurpose podcasts into blog posts. I know now there’s guidance being given for bloggers to repurpose blog posts into podcast episodes.
So it probably goes both ways – but just try to be as creative as possible with content that you already have.
Dave: That’s great, and I’ll definitely include a link to that book. That sounds really interesting.
A couple other questions here before we wrap up. Do you mind sharing with us any – and I think you talked about this at the podcast movement during your talk ‘- any major goofs, or faux pas that you made that were maybe somewhat embarrassing that maybe turned out okay in the long run?
Harry: Yeah, I think a lot of it is around missteps of a beginning podcaster.
I recently had – I have to do a lot of traveling sometimes for my job so I do a lot of interviews on the road. I recently forgot my charger for my macbook – and since I record through, right now I’m using a Zoom H5 as my sound card, and so I can get good quality sound on the road – but it doesn’t really do much good if you don’t’ have any juice on your laptop.
So anyway, I tried to do it anyway, and as the guest was speaking, I was literally staring at the battery counter and it was like 5%, 4%, 3%, and I was like ‘finish your point, finish your point, finish your point!’
And then it shut down and I thought it was really like the first time I had lost an interview. But when I got back home, I found out that thankfully the podcast episode was still available so I was able to recover that.
Harry: But I think every podcaster at some point is going to have that have that cherry podcast, of losing – or having a technical failure within. Especially, and it’s going to come with an important guest, obviously. Murphy’s law is going to kick in.
The other thing that happened, and I think I touched upon it in the PMx talk, was the fact that I had – for me – one of my most important interviews was with Brendan McDonald, the producer for ‘WTF’ with Mark Maron. Which, you know, another tip here is sometimes you just have to ask because you never know.
I had heard him on the wolf den – and that episode was about a year old. I literally just tweeted him, but I tweeted @BrendanMcDonald is his twitter handle, Producer McD, I think it is.
I tweeted, and I included the Wolf Den, and then he responded. He was like ‘oh thanks, you know some of that information is a bit old.’ And I said ‘would you be interested in coming on?
Then the light bulb went off — I was like ‘how about you come on my show?’ and he said that’d be cool. The thing I didn’t know, was this was a week before the Obama interview.
And so, I was like – yeah, I’ll be busy for the next couple of weeks. I was like hmm, I wonder what he could be busy with!
Dave: He must‘ve been on vacation, right?
Harry: I was like, come on – what could possibly be more important than coming on my show?!
And so the Obama interview came out and I was like ‘woah, I’m never going to get this guy on.’ But true to his word – I followed up with him and asked if he was still interested and he said yes.
The day of the interview, I had forgotten, because of the length, I use a service called Calendly. It asks for a person’s Skype ID, and I had it, and it was sitting in my calendar. I’m sitting there waiting for him to dial in and I’m like ‘why hasn’t he called?’
And then he like pings me, he’s like ‘are we still doing this?’
I was so nervous already with the interview, and then I think – talk about a range of emotions.
I’m super excited, then there’s like 5 minutes when I think he just blew me off, totally, then I get super depressed,and then I realize that he had sent me his ID so I should have pinged him before the call.
So then I swing over to super embarrassment. Then I’m trying to get up online, then that swings back over to super stressed out. Then, finally, I get into a bit of a – things smoothed out into the conversation.
At that point, I let him talk as much as he could, because I wanted to maximize the information he was sharing.
So all in all, I got a lot of good feedback on that. I think it’s episode 47. For me, I think it was a big win for me to be able to land someone of that caliber. I think it’s just a testament to how the show is growing. I’m looking to do things of that nature, and going after bigger and better guests.
Dave: Yeah, I’ve noticed, in my perspective, I think there’s just a lot of grace and people are okay in the podcasting space because so many podcasts are either done by one person, or a very very small group of just 2, 3, 4, 5 people. And so we all have our hands in the mix, and on the technical side as well – and we’ve all messed up.
So I think it’s a very generous and giving platform without a lot of egos, that I’ve found, so there’s a lot of room for error and people are okay with that. And I think that goes a long way into bringing in more people and to making it okay.
Harry: Yeah, the community is very forgiving. It’s very helpful, and to your point, it’s really something that’s been, that’ I’ve noticed about the podcasting community in general. It’s that we all like to help each other out. it’s the rising tide, lifting all boats, analogy.
Dave: Yeah. Is there a particular podcast or person you’ve run into that you feel like just stands out, just above and beyond everybody else as far as adding value to you specifically? Any other podcasters out there that have done a lot for you?
Harry: I mean just people that are in my space that I’m close friends with. I had someone on recently for my fiftieth episode, Chris Cerrone, he now has a co-host Laci Urcioli, they have a show called The Cerrone Show.
He started out about the same time I did, and he’s rocketed to millions of downloads. He was one of the listeners early on to the first episode I put up on Soundcloud with Chase Reeves, and he said ‘I really like that conversational style, I think you’re going to have a really really good show.’
Then he proceeded to come on my show, and we spoke for an hour and a half.
Harry: Yeah. And then I went on his show and then we spoke for like an hour, and he’s been a good friend and always supportive of things that I’m doing.
But that community is really really good. I’ve met a lot of good friends as a result of having the podcast.
Denny Cray, another friend of mine, has a podcast, Diz Runs With. I’ve sort of connected to folks where we’ve all started around the same time and we’re roughly at about the same number of episodes. We just keep tabs on each other and just keep pushing each other higher.
Dave: Yeah, that’s great. And this is probably, it might be a difficult question to answer, but if you had to delete every single podcast that you’re subscribed to, what’s the one that would still be on your podcast, if you had to get rid of all the rest? What’s the one thing that you can’t go without?
Harry: Yeah, especially for someone who’s a podcast junkie, right?
Harry: I think one of the things things that – there’s some marker that talks about killing your darlings. You sort of like trim the fat and really think about what are the ones that you get the most value from. I mean, they each serve their purpose.
I’m a big fan of 99% invisible, I’ve been really digging Mystery Show. I think, it has to be really the sweet spot, if it had to be one, it would have to be high in production value. High in motivational content, inspiring, and I’m like scrolling through and I’m trying to see which one of those really motivates me because, you know, there’s different parts of the brain that I need active at different times.
Dave: Sure, sure.
Harry: Some of it is right side, some of it is left side, but you know, I think if I had a gun to my head, maybe 99% invisible.
Dave: It’s got some of the educational component as well, to keep learning.
Harry: Yeah. Although, WTF with Marc Maron is one of my new favorites from an interviewer perspective.
Dave: Yeah, it’s an interesting combination of the interview and humor, and fascinating people all mixed together.
Dave: If I say the word remarkable, what comes to mind? And it doesn’t have to be necessarily about podcast, but as you go throughout your day or your week, what stands out as being remarkable that you interact with?
Harry: Kindhearted people. You know, people who I see in my day to day life who go out of their way to make someone, to brighten someone else’s day. Whether that’s paying it forward, or being overly gracious with a homeless person.
I think people that do things that help me put my life into perspective, because that’s something that I constantly need to be reminded of. And you know, if at the end of the day, if our episode doesn’t go up, it’s not like we’re saving lives here.
So, I think you know, people that do good things in general just really really grab my attention. Kind hearted people – people that treat other people, you know like the Golden Rule, like you want to be treated. You know, you see that sometimes in the podcasting space, and you see it sometimes just on the street.
No one specifically jumps to mind, but occasionally I see, you know, good deeds, and it really resonates with me, because I think we definitely need more of that in this world.
Dave: Yeah, I agree, and I think that’s what we see, oftentimes on social media that goes viral, are those episodes or posts where people really go out of their way to be kind to someone, and generous. I think you’re absolutely right, that goes a really long way.
Do you have any advice before wrap up here for podcasters? Whether they be new podcasters or they’ve been going at it a while, based on your experiences? You’ve talked to so many different, great podcasters already. Any advice for being remarkable, and finding their niche or their voice?
Harry: Yeah, a lot of times you may not discover what your voice is until you’ve been doing it a while. I can’t say that I was clear about the direction I wanted my show to take on episode one.
I’m a bit clearer at episode 50, I’ll probably be even better at 100. Even at episode 500, I mean, one of the things Roman Mars talked about at his keynote at Podcast Movement was that you should constantly be improving. It’s almost like each episode is an experiment, and with each experiment you should tweak something that moves you forward.
And so, move yourself out of the comfort zone. Please don’t create a podcast that sounds like every other podcast out there. Please don’t have it end in ‘preneur’ or ‘on fire’.
Dave: That’s great. That’s great.
Harry: Because there’s plenty of that already. Create your own category – if you think you’ve niched down already, then give it another hack and niche down even further. I heard a podcast the other day that was just about the movie career of Val Kilmer
Dave: Wow, yeah, that’s pretty narrow.
Harry: So, I mean, there’s something whatever you can think of, there’s an ability for you to add your own spin. because, David, you and I could be doing the same exact topic, from a podcast perspective, but because of your unique life circumstances – where you were born, where you grew up, where you went to school. you know, the sports you played, the organizations you joined, who you married, what part of the country you live in, where you’ve traveled to – we’re going to tell two completely different stories.
We could interview the same 20 people and they’re going to be completely different interviews, because you know we’re going to go down different rabbit holes with those people, so you know, just embrace what it is about you that makes you different and share that with your audience.
And the people that do resonate with that are going to be your true fans.
Dave: That’s fantastic, and I think that’s a great place to stop.
Before we hang up, Harry tell us one thing or one place where you want to send people. where can we find you, or follow you, or keep up and see what’s going on.
Harry: Yeah, the best place to learn more about the show and to subscribe and listen to episodes is PodcastJunkies.com
Dave: Great. Well, I will include that in the show notes along with a lot of the other things you’ve mentioned.
And again, I honestly and truly do appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to speak with me. I think what you’ve shared will be very helpful to a lot of people listening, so thanks again, Harry.
Harry: Thanks again for having me on, David, I really had a good time.
Dave: Great, let’s keep in touch, take care.
Harry: Okay, okay.
Dave: Bye bye.