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School of Podcasting - Plan, Launch, Grow and Monetize Your Podcast

Feb 17, 2020

Table of Contents

01:29 How Do You Compete Against Large Networks?

06:44 25 People Vs 1

09:42 Two Things That Kill Podcasts

11:52 Buying an Audience

15:32 Life Without the School of Podcasting

17:01 So How Do You Compete?

19:24 Jet Ski vs Cruise Ship

21:53 Downloads are only ONE way of measuring Success

24:28 Free Webinar 2/26

25:01 Golden Mic Announcement

34:23 Where I Will Be

34:45 Question of the Month

I hear this question a lot:

How am I supposed to compete?  It'll be something like I've been podcasting for three years. There are these other podcasters who I'm pretty sure are buying their audience. They're spouting their numbers, and they're gigantic. How am I supposed to compete with somebody like that?

I totally understand that question. Here are some things to consider:

You Can't Compete

Because its a good visual. How would a seventeen-year-old boxer compete against the champion who has held the title for six years? You don't put that kid in the ring. He's going to get killed. The experience, the stamina, he just isn't ready. He is completely out of his league.

But I've Been Podcasting For Three Years

But Dave, I've been podcasting for three years. You say that in some cases, you know people who are really starting to make a difference with their podcast at three years mark. To this I say"Uh-huh," but here are some things that we need to think about. We never know what's going on behind the scenes with a podcast. You might have a job (or two) and a spouse and some kids. The other podcast may not have any of those. Can you imagine how much free time you would have to promote if you didn't have any other activities and could focus on your podcast 100% of the time?

So if you look at podcasters from the outside, there's a person with a podcast here, and another podcaster over there and you think they are the same and they are not. We have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. They might have a background in selling and your background is in teaching.

Radiolab thanked 25 people at the end of their show. I am an army of one. Can I compete? In 2015ish I was up for a Podcast Movement Podcast Award and one of the shows in my category was Reply All.  I was competing against them. I've also had my Logical Weight Loss podcast compete against Jillian Michaels. Can we compete? Yes. The minute you turn on the microphone you are competing. Some of the things these teams of 25 use you don't need (original music?). While great production is like icing on a cupcake, if its all icing (and no cupcake) that doesn't work (see serial season two).

The Two Things That Kill a Podcast


Babies are so selfish. It's all about them. All they scream is feed me, wipe my butt, I want a nap. That can really get on your nerves (kidding).


When you say "how do I compete" at the hear you are comparing your show to others, and that can seriously do nasty things to your content. If you ever feel yourself comparing yourself - STOP.


You need three things to create good content:

Your attitude

Your health

The support of those around you

(see this episode for a deep dive into this subject).

There is no competition

I am a co-host on the Podcasters Roundtable with Daniel J. Lewis and Ray Ortega. Technically both of these people are my "competition" but they are not. Why? Because you can listen to me on Monday,  Daniel on Tuesday, and Ray on Wednesday. As long as you deliver value, you're safe and don't have to worry.

You Can't Buy An Audience

You can buy an opportunity for people to hear your show, but you can't pay them to listen. Your podcast needs to provide value so they will come back because they want more.

Holly Barey is beautiful. In 2004 they put her in a Catwoman suit, spent a million dollars to my $82 million (a loss of 18 million). On Rotten Tomatoes the movie has a ranking of 9 out of 100 with 197 people voting.

In 2009 Disney worked on a movie called John Carter based on a popular book. According to Wikipedia is the most expensive movie ever created. It was a super popular book. It's kind of a sci-fi fantasy thing. It had a young, hot actor from Friday Night Lights, which was a very popular TV show here in the States.  Yeah, they lost $200 million on that movie

You cannot buy an audience.

And upon the release,  it received a mixed critical reception. In other words, it wasn't any good. There are great visuals. It had a great soundtrack. It had great action sequences. But the biggest criticism was toward the characterization and this thing called the plot that movies have, and you kind of need a good plot, you need a story.

It's the content. It's delivering value. And apparently, this movie did not deliver value because it lost them $200 million.

And I remember seeing all the ads for this movie, that all the promotion.

Before You Start Spending Money to Grow Your Podcast

I see a lot of people who say, "I'm not getting enough downloads and they turned to Facebook ads or advertising an overcast or Spotify or Castro (all podcast listening apps). They are trying to get the word out about their show. You can buy eyeballs/earholes but you can't buy an audience because an audience is someone who comes back for more.

Do What Your Big Networks Can't

Answer every email (in my travels big shows don't do this)

Get your audience on the phone. In the book Superfans (and in the Colin Morgan Interview on Podcast Juinkes) Pat Flynn and Colin Morgan talk about reaching out to random members of their audience via the phone (you can get a free Google Voice number, or Podcast Voicemail to mask your real phone number). How do you provide great content? You know who your audience is. How do you know what they want? You talk to them.

You are a Jetski, they are a cruise ship. You can change your content in record time. They can't. You are much more flexible. They are not. You need to identify your weaknesses and your strengths. You also need to identify your "competition's" strengths and weaknesses and don't try to cover the same area whey they will unquestionably squash you.

Go to where they are. In some cases, if a show is so big they can't go out in public. You can, and while you're there you can get feedback on how to make your show better.

Be sure to poll your audience. This can be as simple as "what do you like about the show, what do you wish I would do differently?" If you want to ask, "How did you learn about the podcast" so you can do more of that.

There is More Than One Way To Measure Success

Keep in mind there are more ways to measure success than downloads. These includes:

  • Is your show successful (are you achieving your "why?"
  • Comments on your website
  • Email responses
  • Social marketing interactions
  • Business metrics (new customers)

The Right Podcast Equipment Webinar

On February 26th there is a free online webinar at where we will go over podcast equipment and the best option for you. If buying the right equipment has been a hurdle for you this will help you get over the hurdle. See

Life Without the School of Podcasting

Today I helped someone who randomly contacted me on Facebook. They hadn't purchased enough storage space for their show. They were exporting their files in the wrong format. They didn't know how to export in the proper format. They were using the wrong format for artwork. Podcasting can be fun and fulfilling when you don't have to band your head against a wall to release a simple episode. At the School of Podcasting,   we show you in videos how to export your show in the proper format. We show you how to order the right plan for your podcast so your media host matches your strategy. We help you podcast frustrating free. Join today at

The New Academy of Podcasting

Let's start off with the positive. Wondery, a company with 82 employees and revenues (according to of around 15 million per year organized a new "Academy of Podcasters" and will launch a Golden Mic awards in 2021. Per their website, "The Academy is professionally run by an Executive Director and an Account Manager.  These roles are overseen by a volunteer Board of Governors who set the strategic vision and goals of the organization. 17 Founding Members will establish the organization and guide its initial creation with a goal of 1) moving The Golden Mics into a key recognition position and 2) encouraging growth and networking of the Academy and the industry. Members are individuals in the podcast industry who are part of one of the Academy’s Peer Groups; each Peer Group will vote on its respective categories for The Golden Mics." 

So it's great that big companies with big budgets are going to be promoting podcasting. This is a good thing.

Someone Needs to Learn How to Google

The companies listed above need to learn how to do some Google searches. When you come in with a "We've arrived" mentality, you can easily offend those who have already been here working in the trenches. I mean who do you think you are the pilgrims?

The larger media companies keep saying things that seem to just ignore history. For example, an article that came out THIS WEEK stated that " Born in the halls of public radio, podcasting has emerged as one of the fastest-growing businesses in media over the past few years." Podcasting was NOT born in the halls of public radio. It was born in a hotel room where Dave Winer and Adam Curry met. In the past, I've just let them roll off m back, but I remember someone from one of these companies who stated there weren't any women podcasters in the early years (completely erasing people like Mignon Fogerty and Murr Raferty. Who can forget Steve Jobs referring to podcasting as "Amateur Hour."

So when I approached Hernan Lopez the founder and CEO of Wondery that there HAS BEEN a  “completely peer-based, not for profit, fully representative" awards show and I had won such an award he apologized.

I'm Not Saying Get Off My Lawn

Lopez was at an educational conference stating a lack of education. I'm not saying get off my lawn. I'm saying Marc Maron didn't invent podcasting (nor did Serial) and if you want me to greet you with open arms, it would be much easier if you would stop kicking me in the balls.

To the best of my knowledge, the Adamy of podcasters which controls the Hall of Fame is still in existence. It hasn't had a ceremony since 2018 due to a lack of sponsorship. This is sad. While some may feel this is just a bunch of friends slapping each other on the back, if you do some research that it's not just old white guys but women and people of color (granted the majority of the recipients is middle-aged white guys because when podcasting first started THOSE WERE THE PEOPLE WHO WERE PODCASTING.

So I look forward to seeing the spotlight the new academy will point at podcasting, and just ask them to quite saying things that make use feel invisible or worse, erase the past.

Speaking of the past, here is a link to the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame

New Podcasters Academy

Question of the Month

How did you get past the "Nobody will listen to me?" see

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