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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 1087: How Can I Increase My Audience Engagement with a Podcast?

AP 1087: How Can I Increase My Audience Engagement with a Podcast?

By Pat Flynn on

Kara has built a following at karagottwarner.com, where she hosts her knitting podcast, the Power Purls Podcast. She’s been at it for over two years, and she’s wondering how she can continue to expand her community and keep growing. As she puts it, “we don’t hear enough about those in-between stories about the struggles that others in my place deal with.”

In this episode, we’re trying to help Kara take the following she’s created and figure out how to deepen those connections. So many podcasters I talk to have the problem of almost making themselves too accessible to the community. They invite their audience to reach out on basically any social media channel you can imagine, instead of focusing in on where those engagements will be the most useful for them and their community.

Another thing we talk about that might be really useful to those of you looking to deepen your connection with your community is how to bring your audience behind the scenes. That can look like any number of things, but the key is striking that balance between when you respond to your audience’s questions and when you’re inviting them to take a back-row seat. We focus in on where it’s most useful for Kara to engage with her community, and how she can take those interactions to the next level.

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Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 1087 of AskPat 2.0. This is a coaching call between myself and an entrepreneur just like you. Today, we’re talking with knitting rebel, Kara Gott Warner. You can find her at karagottwarner.com. She is a rebel knitter. She makes things, but also is building a community of other makers, and specifically with knitting, but she helps also teach through her knitting. Things like creative confidence and being intuitive. It’s just a really special niche, and she’s growing. She has a big audience, community, and a podcast, and a blog, and lots of things. We talk today about, well, how do we move forward and still stay happy in the process? She’s wanting to grow her business, but she also wants to reignite the passion that she has because she’s in the weeds of her business. She’s doing a lot of the things herself. Today, we’re going to talk about simplifying and how to do that, a really important conversation that we had in her journey and hopefully one that is important for you, as well.

Without further ado, here is Kara Warner from karagottwarner.com. Hey, Kara. Welcome to AskPat 2.0. Thanks so much for being here today.

Kara Gott Warner: Thanks for having me, Pat. I’m so excited.

Pat: This will be fun. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Kara: Sure. Okay. I have a podcast, and it’s called Power Purls Podcast. That’s as in knit and purl, P-U-R-L, if you’re familiar with the purling aspect of knitting.

Pat: Personalized URLs? Is that what it is?

Kara: Power Purls.

Pat: Mm-hmm. Oh, okay.

Kara: So, like knit and purl.

Pat: Got it, okay, because there’s this thing in internet marketing called P-U-R-L, PURL, which is a personal URL, which is a super geeky thing that we don’t need to continue to talk about, but anyway—

Kara: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s knitting. It’s all about knitting.

Pat: Got you.

Kara: I started it in 2015 while I was the editor of a knitting magazine, and my mission was to help knitters who want to boost their creative confidence and their knitting intuition. So, this idea of being more intuitive emerged as my main message because I realized that there were all these fearful knitters out there, and I wanted to be a cheerleader for them. The podcast became a platform to do that. Fast forward a few years later, I left the magazine in 2017 to become a coach, and so I mixed business and life coaching strategies to help designers and yarn shop owners, and I’m able to pay forward my experience of more than fifteen years in yarn craft publishing. As a result, I created a coaching program. I call it Rock Your Shop. It’s a six-week program, and I help designers and yarn shop owners navigate all the similar universal struggles, these struggles that a lot of business owners face, and yeah. I think that’s probably it in a nutshell.

Pat: I like it. Rock Your Shop. You’re taking this idea of coaching in businesses, which can be applied to all kinds of different spaces, and here you are in your own little superpower, in your own little niche, crushing it, which is really great. I think that’s really smart. Another classic example everybody of the riches are in the niches, right? This is fantastic. I’d love to just ask you, sort of related to all this, what’s on your mind?

Kara: Well, when I started the show in 2015, I was so excited. Right out of the gate, I was . . . Well, for downloads, I was in the top fifty percent of podcasts, and I thought this was really awesome. And so, after the first year, downloads and engagement began to level out a bit. It was not so much about my concern about the declining downloads, because it’s engagement. I get that. Really, that’s huge. So, things just kind of leveled out, and so there was no exponential growth that I was seeing, and I kept going because podcasting is a passion, and I totally see the value in podcasting. I love it. That is what drives me, and I remember what you said in the SPI episode, the Dear Podcasters episode, which was so inspiring, by the way. You said, “I know that what got me here won’t get me there.”

I think that’s what you said for those of us that have been out there for more than two years, and so I guess I just feel like something needs to change, maybe, and I just know I’m not alone in my struggle as a podcaster because I think we don’t hear enough about those in-between stories about the struggles that others in my place deal with. It’s about, okay, how do you start a podcast? That’s exciting and let’s go, but then after that, what’s next? You know what I mean? So I hope that this coaching will help me, and people like me, to know if they’re actually leaning their ladder up against the right wall, or maybe it’s time to pivot or just look at some other things. That’s why I’m here today.

Pat: Ultimately, what would you love to happen? No matter whatever strategies or whatever we talk about, on the other end of this, what is your ideal situation?

Kara: Well, my ideal situation is I want to be able to engage with my community, so create the community, but I also want to be able to sell more coaching programs and courses, and I know that after I cultivate that community, that I can get to that point. I hope I can. That’s my goal, to do more of that. So, that’s a goal, and also to get back to the passion, because I think I’ve gotten lost in the tools and the minutia of things.

I can kind of go back in time a little bit, but I started podcasting, actually, in 2014. It was no bells and whistles. I did it all from my iPhone, total pocket podcasting. It really allowed me to do . . . The reason why I got into podcasting in the first place, and it was to get behind the mic and hit upload, and then just engage with my peeps. You know what I mean? That was, really, I’d love to get back to that. Then, like I said, just be able to cultivate that community, build the know, like, and trust, and grow so that, yeah, I can make this sustainable and wrap this all into what I do as a business owner, as an online business owner. That’s the ultimate goal.

Pat: When you say engagement, and you want to get more engagement, and it’s something you had that you don’t quite have as much of or it’s just kind of remained stagnant, what is that to you? What is engagement?

Kara: The engagement is being able to have conversations with the people that are listening to my show. I noticed that there is a disconnect between doing the podcast and then jumping on a live video, which I did a lot of that as well. It was just so time-consuming. Again, going back to—I love it, and I got into this because of the passion—but it’s like, I feel that the engagement piece is really important for me to really connect to have those conversations, so I know what my audience wants. And so, I guess to answer that question, going back, circling back to that, that’s really what engagement really means to me.

Pat: Okay. I love that we’re having this discussion because, ultimately, you said you wanted more customers and to be able to build this business, obviously. That happens when engagement happens, right? So I think we’re looking at that first domino that will kind of knock over the other dominoes. So, I’d love to focus this conversation on how one might be able to increase their engagement with the podcast because the big struggle of the podcast is, you’re recording in an office or at your house, and nobody is there to continue that conversation with You have to find ways to continue the conversation after the show. It’s unlike a lot of these other platforms, like YouTube, or especially live video, where in real time or even after in the comments section, you can continue to have those conversations and understand. What I always recommend is to . . . For people who are podcasting and it’s a primary platform for you, is to also have a primary platform for where this engagement will happen. I don’t know if you want to speak to this based on your experience, but I know from speaking to a lot of podcasters that they try to be everywhere. They go, “Oh, well, you can connect with me on Instagram, or on here, on a Facebook group.” They give you, like, fifteen different ways to connect, and then there’s no one central location where people can connect with you as the podcast host, and/or each other because it’s just so mixed. I’ve been recommending this to many people, is one primary platform, one primary mode of communication, one primary sort of community area. Where might you believe that your primary community would live, outside of your podcast?

Kara: I believe it’s Facebook, doing Facebook live videos. I did those consistently and religiously for more than three years, before I even started doing the podcast. To me, that was where the excitement was. That’s where the fire was, where I could talk and have those conversations.

Pat: You said you were looking for that again, too.

Kara: Yeah. When I left my recording to get the coaching with you, I basically . . . I’m on a hiatus right now because I was like, okay, what do I do? Do I stay, or do I go? And so, I did the live videos for a bunch of years, the podcast for over three years, and I felt like I tried a lot of strategies. Maybe I was going down too many rabbit holes. It’s like circling back to what you were saying about the one platform for the communication. I really like that because I need to simplify.

Pat: Yeah, we all do. Trust me.

Kara: I think if I have a process to just say, I record the podcast, and I jump on a live video, and I have conversations about what I talked about in the podcast.

Pat: Right. There’s many different ways to systemize that, right? You could record the shows ahead of time, and then you can go live when they are published so that people can go download them right away, and people may have already listened to them, and you can have discussions about that. Or you can just, like you said, literally finish recording, and since it’s fresh on your mind, you can let everybody kind of in on your process and go, “Hey, guys. This podcast episode I just recorded, I need to tell you, goes live during this time, but here’s what we can talk about right now.” Or, you can go the other way. You can go live first and go, “Hey, guys. I’m going to be recording a podcast episode right after this call.” You could even go, “You’re welcome to stick around and watch me record that, but I won’t be able to communicate with you then, but you can get some behind the scenes. But anyway, we’re going to talk about this topic for fifteen minutes.” You keep it short and sweet or whatever.

What’s cool is, you can engage with people about that topic. What is amazing about that is you can make them feel like they’re included in the content that you are about to create. You will have them help you influence what the podcast episode becomes. You will maybe even spotlight a couple of your key community members, which is a big strategy I talk about in my book, Superfans, and I always recommend podcasters to do, but especially on live video. When you say a person’s name who is a representative of your community, that makes the entire community feel good.

So, I would imagine a podcast episode where you go, “Hey, everybody. Welcome in today. I just had a really good live chat with my audience on Facebook. If you aren’t a part of that community yet, go here, but I wanted to mention something that Marissa said. She asked a question, and I wanted to start out this episode by talking about that.” Then boom, it’s just like, oh my gosh, I need to be a part of this community. Where can I talk to Kara? Where can I see Marissa? Where can I continue this conversation after? Again, that, combined with let’s just have those things be the things and not even worry about anything else. The joy of opting out of all other strategies just to focus on this. I think that would alleviate a lot of the tension, related to trying to figure things out. I think it would excite you again because you just know that’s what you do, and you know that your community is going to be there, and they’re going to be interested. I don’t know. I’m just kind of spitballing here, but what are your thoughts on that?

Kara: Oh, I love it. I love it so much because it brings the podcast into the live aspect, and I love both. I love to kind of connect the dots. I’m really big on connecting the dots, and the one thing that I get really tripped up with . . . and this is different with what you do and other digital marketers where it’s like, you’re not doing tutorial videos, and you’re not knitting, and you don’t have to do all these little knitted things, right? Sometimes, that really slows me down. I’m always thinking, okay, what can I do to add value, but not always be teaching a tutorial and having to work to create all this extra stuff before I even jump on video? And so, what you’re saying is such a great way to reconnect the dots, bring it back to the podcast, and still get people really, really excited because they’re listening to the episodes, and I’m not knitting on the podcast.

Pat: Of course.

Kara: I mean, maybe I am, but they can’t see it. So, I really love this. That is an awesome piece of advice.

Pat: Thank you. The best thing about a podcast is a perfect platform for story-telling. Whatever stories pop up, whatever questions come up in these conversations, and especially when you start naming your community . . . I mean, the best sound to everybody is their own name. When you say that person’s name, it makes people feel like they’re really part of something. It makes others on the outside go, “Whoa, Kara knows who is in her community. I want to be a part of it, too.” But then, your conversations, your stories that you tell can be based off of that, versus you always feeling like you have to plan four weeks ahead of time for specific kinds of stitches and techniques, right?

Kara: Yeah.

Pat: I think those things are things you could do live, and even say on your podcast, “Hey, by the way, every once in a while, I like to teach something live. So, make sure you don’t miss out the next one.” Make people feel bad for not finding you live. Just, “Hey, I might drop a technique,” or you could reference different tutorials that you’ve done live with people. Of course, what happens with tutorials is, people go back and they watch them again so they can do it, so you’re getting more engagement on Facebook.

Every once in a while, you’re, again, pointing back to the podcast. Whether it’s the first time or the third time, the person is going to be excited to get on your show if they haven’t already. Likely, when you build this community to this where it’s very clear, “Oh, Kara, she goes live once a week, and you might even hear her on her podcast behind the scenes,” they’re going to gather all their friends, too, because that’s something to talk about, versus, “Oh, yeah, Kara, she does her podcast, and sometimes I chat with her on Twitter. Sometimes she goes live. Sometimes she doesn’t.” I mean, that’s not as appealing.

Kara: Yeah, exactly. No, you’re blowing my mind. This is so awesome. This is perfect timing because, actually, tomorrow is my first—Well, I know when we’re recording this, it’s going to go live another time, but I’m actually going live tomorrow, and this is really . . . It’s just really inspiring me, but can I circle back to something you said just before about behind the scenes?

Pat: Mm-hmm.

Kara: Are you suggesting that maybe I . . . because I’ve done this before, but let’s say I’m in my studio. “Hey, guys. I’m doing a live video from my studio,” and they can’t see . . . I’m talking. Are you saying maybe record maybe the first couple of minutes of me talking on the podcast so they can see my microphone and what have you, or were you just saying not necessarily showing that, but just talking about that on the live video?

Pat: I see.

Kara: Or maybe both. I don’t know.

Pat: It’s really whatever you’re comfortable with, honestly. Any sort of behind the scenes goes a really long way. We, as humans, are just very curious about everything. This is why shows, like How It’s Made, have been going on for years, because we just want to know how the tire gets manufactured, right? And so, you’re essentially showing the same kind of thing so that people who have listened to your show start to get interested with how you produce it, and they just see the quality and the care that you put into it, and it just becomes another cool thing that they know about you that differs yourself from others who, they don’t get to see that. Again, you can structure it in all different kinds of ways. You could go to the extreme and go, “Okay, guys, for the next . . .” I don’t know. How long are your podcast episodes, Kara?

Kara: They average, about thirty minutes.

Pat: Thirty minutes. “For the next thirty minutes, I’m going to be recording into this microphone right here. I won’t be having a conversation with you watching live, because I’m recording this for the audio listeners, but guess what? You get to hear it first right here, right now. What’s cool is, I might mess up, and you’re going to hear the real me,” that kind of thing. You can go to that extreme, or you can just go, “Hey, guys. I’m going to hit record in just a minute, but I just wanted to show you that this is where it all goes down. This is the microphone. Here are my notes for this upcoming episode. Thank you, Marissa and Jenny, for your questions. I’m going to address them on the show. So, make sure you listen to it when it comes out, but for right now, I’m just going to say bye, and I’ll see you all later.” You can do it that way.

Kara: That’s great. That’s awesome. This is so cool. How do you feel about show notes? How detailed? Do they really have a huge impact on . . .

Pat: They can. They can. It kind of depends on the behavior of your audience and how useful it might be for them. For shows like mine, it is useful because there’s a ton of links. There’s a ton of things that I mention, and it also helps with affiliate sales and getting people on my email list. I think show notes can be key. However, I do know some people spend more time on their show notes than they actually do recording their show.

I always go, okay, if this were simple, but effective, what would it look like? Whatever that looks like for you is what I would recommend. I think that if it is a little bit of a burden, keep it more on the simple side and focus more on the delivery in your live videos as your key way to connect with people and share things. I think there’s just some essentials that should live on show notes, like any resources, links, affiliate links for any products that you might mention, and then of course, an opt-in of some kind of opportunity for them. But beyond that, I mean, some people go as far as creating timestamps, writing a blog post to go along with it in their show notes for people who can’t listen. They can still read it and get the gist. To me, that’s a little overboard for . . . I know my time can be better spent elsewhere. I’d rather record more podcast episodes than write more show notes.

Kara: Yeah. My instincts say that it’s—like you said a moment ago—you have the call to action. You have the basic important stuff. For me, I think bullet points and the basics are enough because I can get lost in that. I mean, I have a show notes writer, but still, it’s like, how much time do I . . . How is this having an effect on the bottom line to me getting behind the microphone, and then getting in front of my people? That’s the most important.

Pat: Are show notes exciting to you?

Kara: No. You know what I realized? Because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my podcast over the last couple months. I’m also an avid podcast listener. I mean, I’ve been listening to you for years, but I never go to the show notes page. Occasionally, I’ll go to your page. “Oh, well, look at that. That’s cool.” But I don’t, because I’m out running, or doing the dishes, or whatever. I never go to show notes pages, or you mention a call to action. I’m doing it on my phone right then and there.

Pat: Right, because it’s simple and easy to remember. So, yeah. I think you know what the answer is. I mean, you mentioned your intuition. You teach being intuitive. I mean, you know what to do. The reason I ask, are you excited about show notes? I think the obvious answer for most people is no. You’ve been looking for that excitement, and you have found it in your live videos, apparently excited about a system moving forward, however that might look like. You can obviously experiment and change things over time to your liking. That’s more interesting in my eyes than show notes to you.

Kara: Thank you. Thank you for letting me give myself my own permission. You know what I mean?

Pat: Somebody once told me, “The name of your show should be just AskPat for Permission,” because, really, I mean, most people know what to do. They just need somebody on the outside to tell them what to do. It’s hard because you can’t read the label when you’re inside the bottle.

Kara: Absolutely. It’s like shining that mirror, and it’s so important. It’s awesome.

Pat: Exactly.

Kara: Thank you. I appreciate this.

Pat: Can you tell everybody where to go and find your show?

Kara: Sure. Okay. If you go to karagottwarner.com. That’s Kara with a K, and Gott with two Ts, karagottwarner.com, and you’ll be able to find the podcast, so Power Purls Podcast and everything else I mentioned. Easy to find.

Pat: Great. We’ll have the links in the show notes for everybody.

Kara: Well, awesome.

Pat: Kara, this was amazing. Thank you so much for being open, and I’m excited for you. Do you mind if we perhaps connect sometime down the rd to see how things go?

Kara: Oh, that would be great. I would absolutely love that.

Pat: Awesome. We’ll make it happen. Kara, thank you so much. I appreciate you, and have an amazing day.

Kara: Thanks. You, too, Pat.

Pat: All right, I hope you enjoyed this coaching call with Kara. Kara, again, you can find her at Kara, K-A-R-A, Gott, with two Ts, Warner, .com (KaraGottWarner.com), and you can find out all about her, and just she . . . On her picture, she has this amazing dyed hair and these amazing knits, and she teaches. She goes live, as you know, and podcasts, as well. She’s amazing. I’m so thankful that she’s here, and I cannot wait to connect with her in the future to see just how this simplification grows things. Oftentimes, this is the theme of the coaching calls here, is let’s simplify. It’s hard to do because there’s so many options, right? But truly, when you start to select what you should be doing and not focusing on the others, having the joy of opting out of those other strategies, the strategy that you do focus on has that time and attention to take off. And I imagine that’s what’s going to happen for Kara, too. Kara, thank you so much for listening, and I appreciate you all.

If you have not done so yet, please subscribe to the show. If you haven’t already, check out my other show. It’s Smart Passive Income. Thanks to all the podcast listeners out there, especially those of you who are taking a little bit of time to leave a very honest review, and I appreciate that so much. That helps me. It helps the team and helps others realize that this is or is not a show they should listen to. If you have something to say, I want to hear it. Leave a review for AskPat. I appreciate you.

If you want to also get coached, just like Kara did today, you can fill out the application, leave a little short voicemail for me, and you may be selected in the future. All you have to do is go to askpat.com, and you can ask right there on that page. I’m here to serve you. Cheers to Kara. Thanks so much, and I will see you on the next episode. Team Flynn for the win.

Oh, hey, before you go, Team Flynn, and speaking of Team Flynn for the win, if you want to join Team Flynn in San Diego July of next year, tickets are on sale now for Flynn Con 2. Ticket prices are going up October 1st and every month thereafter for a while until we hit the peak price later on. So, you can still get in at the early bird or the early pricing right now if you go to flynncon2.com, we had . . . Oh my gosh, it was such an amazing time last year, and we already sold nearly a hundred tickets at the event for this coming year, and so this is going to be hot now that people know that, hey, we can do this and we can do it really well, and just kind of a little bit more about what’s involved. Again, go to flynncon2.com. Hope to see you there. Get your tickets now, before the ticket price goes up. Team Flynn, you’re amazing. We’ll see you there. Bye.

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