Bake the Pie, Don't Eat It
You podcast to get pie, but what are you doing with it? Are you trying to grab your slice right away and eat it? Or are you trying to help bake it, and not just your pie, but help bake other people's pies too? That's the secret to success. The more you help others get their pie, the more pie you'll get.
Long Term Game
There's no overnight success in podcast land (unless you have some super power). Once you realize you're playing a long term game, the mindset shifts. You simply can't expect to throw your brand new podcast into the mix of others and expect a piece of pie to pop out for you to eat. You have to bake it yourself. This alone is a foreign concept to a million podcasters out there. 63% of all podcasts have less than 10 episodes! Why? My guess is they quit after not getting their piece of pie. They thought the pie was already baked and they can come right in and take a slice. They didn't realize you have to bake it yourself in this place.
So How do You Bake Pie?
Think about earning interest. Think about compound growth. Listen to 5 minutes of Naval talk about why you should make long term relationships when playing long term games.
At the very least, help your listeners. What is it they should be taking away from your show? Are they tuning in to be entertained, to learn something new, to laugh? Find something valuable that your show delivers and then focus on delivering it as best as you can. The more your listeners find you valuable is how you bake your podcast pie. With as low as 1,000 true fans, you can quit your job and live on the pie, which could be life changing, but you need to make them true fans. People who find your show valuable to them and they'd miss you if you stopped.
It's great to make relationships with your listeners too. Make your email easy to find, be present on social media, and be where they are so it'll be easier for them to say hi. So many of my listeners have been life savers for my podcast. People have contributed artwork, translated other languages for me, reviewing episodes before they go live, or helping me understand things I don't quite get. So simply by helping your own listeners can help you get other things besides pie too.
But baking other people's pies can have even bigger rewards.
Help Other People On Your Same Path
For me, I wanted to be a full time podcaster. So I studied and learned everything there is to podcasting. This became my obsession. So naturally I had a lot of information on the subject. And so I started sharing what I knew with others, and helping other podcasters out. But your path might be something else. To be a great comedian or doctor or entertainer. Whatever your craft is, take it seriously, work towards mastering it, and then teach others who are on your path. One reason is because to truly understand what you know, you have to teach others how to do it too. But another reason is that you'll help bake other people's pies, which can have huge returns.
By helping podcasters on Reddit is how I met my mentor. She was instrumental at teaching me how to be a better storyteller. Finding a great mentor is worth so much to anyone starting out. She's now gone on to be an executive producer for a major podcast network, which has given me even more opportunities. None of this would have happened if I wasn't helping others on reddit.com/r/podcasting.
I've gone out of my way to meet and have calls with other podcasters. Such as going to podcasting meetups and conferences or just emailing out of the blue. This has lead to me making many friends who have helped in many ways. Such as promo swaps, advice, shout outs, and guest appearances. Just last week I saw a new podcast that just launched that looked really interesting and I reached out to the creator to say hi and grats on launching and that I'm excited to hear it. Already there's talks on doing promo swaps, which is not something I asked for or expected, but you see how doors open simply by saying hi.
By helping the podcasting community on Reddit I've been invited as a guest to be on many podcasts myself. This of course has helped my own podcast grow or help more people find this blog to help them on their podcasting journey.
I share what I know about podcasting through this blog and my YouTube channel. Yesterday I wrote this article, on this blog, which made its way into various podcast news outlets (such as here, here, and here). And the next day my inbox was filling up with some pretty well known people in the podcast space. Journalists, major tech players, and even some well known podcasters. So by sharing my experience with one thing, has both spread my podcast but also made connections to people I never thought I'd be getting a message from. And this starts all kinds of new relationships which I'm thrilled to have.
Bake Pies For Others And You'll Have More Pie Than You Dreamed Of
The more you give the more you get, it really is true. And you give be helping people 1 on 1 or teaching in some way like through a podcast, blog, YouTube channel, speaking at a conference, or book.
When I first started podcasting I found Alex Blumberg's course on Creative Live on how to be a better storyteller for your podcast. And I wondered, "Wait, why is he doing this?" He started Gimlet in Aug 2014, and then launched this course in Oct that same year. He should have been focusing on making his podcasts bigger and taking his piece of the pie right? But instead he's on the other side of the country teaching people how to podcast? Why!? Well he was brilliant to do it, because it established him as a person who knows a lot and has a lot to share. He became a mentor to many who he never even met. This of course attracted more people to join Gimlet, but it also sprouted little allies of his all over the podcasting space. Imagine everyone who took his course, loved it, and then went to work for any other show. They all look up to him and Gimlet and wanted it to succeed. Having tons of little allies all over can only be a good thing. And Gimlet did succeed big time, getting acquired by Spotify for $230 million. This is the long term game he was playing. He helped bake many pies for many other people, which resulted in him getting one of the biggest deals in podcasting.
We need more people teaching others. Helping others get through the same path that we've already walked down. Whether it's podcasting or some other skill. It's easier than ever to start a blog, or YouTube channel, or podcast to teach people things. But if you come into podcasting reaching for your slice of the pie to eat it right away, it'll be gone before you know it and you'll have nothing left.