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SPI 440: How to Create Bingeworthy Content with Tracy Hazzard

I remember when I first started listening to podcasts back in 2007. I was introduced to the Internet Business Mastery Podcast, hosted by Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden. And truly, it was life changing for me. I was literally binge listening to it, and listening—not just to every episode one after another—going back and listening through it again, because I was getting inspired and motivated, and because they were teaching me along the way, sharing a lot of things that we’re going to be talking about today with Tracy Hazzard

Tracy is an amazing content creator and somebody I’ve come to really admire.

She’s here to talk about what gives a podcast that “binge factor” (which also happens to be the name of one of her podcasts). She’s learned a lot over the course of completing over 2,600 interviews and helping many others during the post podcast production process with her company Podetize.

Today’s Guest

Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is an Authority Magazine columnist, former Inc. columnist, and host of five top-ranked podcasts including The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand—one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the cofounder of Podetize.com, the largest podcast post-production company in the US. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors and experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 billion worth of product innovation around the world. Her innovative Brandcasters method and platform provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their content marketing message from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and retaining valuable platform authority without a lot of time, cost, or effort.

Website: The Binge Factor

Facebook: tracyleighhazzard

LinkedIn: tracyhazzard

You’ll Learn

Resources

SPI 440: How to Create Bingeworthy Content with Tracy Hazzard

Pat Flynn:
I remember when I first started listening to podcasts, it was back in 2007, I was introduced to the Internet Business Mastery Podcast, hosted by Jeremy Frandsen and Jason van Orden. And truly, it was life changing for me. In fact, even when I was still at work on my final days of working before I officially got terminated, and then of course the whole story about starting my own business. I mean, they were the reason why I got inspired, and it was because of their podcast. And in fact, I was literally binge listening to it and listening, not just to every episode one after another, but going back and listening through it again, because I was getting inspired, because I was getting motivated, because they were teaching me along the way, sharing a lot of things that we’re going to be talking about today with Tracy Hazzard, who is an amazing content creator and somebody who I’ve come to really admire, especially in the podcasting space, but just in content overall.

Pat:
She hosts a podcast called The Binge Factor. She also hosts a number of other podcasts. In fact, she’s conducted over 2,600 interviews. This person, Tracy, is qualified to teach what we’re going to learn today, which is how to create binge-worthy content. So we’re going to dive into the idea of, well, okay, we’re going to create content, we know this, but how do we frame it in a way, how do we craft it in a way such that people will want to continue to keep coming back and listen again and share it, and then listen, and have more people listen and then share it, and all this stuff starts snowballing.

Pat:
And Tracy, her husband, Tom, and all of their clients over at Podetize, like monetize, but Podetize, they just know how to do it. And so I’m going to unpack that for us today. You can also find Tracy at Feed Your Brand, which is another podcast that’s going to be injected into the Podetize brand very shortly here, if not already, by the time you listen to this. Anyway, we have a lot to uncover. If you are a content creator of any kind, you’re going to want to listen all the way through, because you’re going to learn how to create binge-worthy content.

Pat:
Cue the intro.

Announcer:
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And know your host, if he could choose any superpower, it would be the ability to write copy that converts 100 percent of the time, Pat Flynn.

Pat:
What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to session 440. 440, how crazy is that? Thank you so much for joining me today. If you don’t know who I am, my name is Pat Flynn here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people too—that be the most important thing. However, sometimes there are ways that we can create content to attract people, but not only to attract people initially, but to keep them coming back. And as we know, and if you’ve read my book, Superfans, when you can get people that continually come back and dive deeper into your brand, that’s how you can create super fans.

Pat:
The super fans that will share your stuff, they’re going to buy your products, they’re going to develop an amazing relationship with you, and have you become a part of their life, really, such that if you miss one of your episodes or you forget to publish that blog post, or you forgot to hit publish on your YouTube video, they’re going to be upset because your content has become a part of their life. How do we do that? Well, that’s why we’re talking with Tracy Hazzard today. Again, host of The Binge Factor among several other things. We’re going to unpack everything that she does and how we can do those things too. Binge-worthy content, here we come, listen in.

Pat:
Tracy, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you so much for being here today.

Tracy Hazzard:
It’s a total honor. It’s actually a dream. When I first started listening to podcasts, you were one of my first ones and I always thought, “I want to be on that someday.” So here I am.

Pat:
No way. That’s incredible. How long ago was that?

Tracy:
Seven years ago. It’s been awhile.

Pat:
Now, you are a podcaster yourself, and you have so many podcasts under your belt. How many in fact have you recorded at this moment in time?

Tracy:
I have five of my own shows. We have hundreds and hundreds of client shows. I think I’ve done in my last estimate, 2,600 interviews. And so some of the things I do interviews, and then I do articles, so I’m not really doing actual it live interviews, so they aren’t going into the podcast, but they are eventually coming into my whole content stream.

Pat:
That’s awesome. What’s been your favorite part about doing interviews, I’m curious, out of all the things that are great about it?

Tracy:
Well, it’s just what you just said, curiosity. I’m curious. I’m an active learner and to me, that’s the best way to learn something new. So I started a podcast on blockchain because I wanted to explore it as a part of my business. And sure enough, there you go, I have done it.

Pat:
That’s really amazing. Of all the podcasts that you have, which ones should the SPI audience listen to? I know you have a lot of different ones.

Tracy:
I do. I do. So the biggest one is The Binge Factor. That’s my more recent one, we just rebranded it. It used to be within Feed Your Brand, which is the other one. Feed Your Brand is for content creators, podcasters, and those that want on the technical side of things. So we talk a lot about tactics, but The Binge Factor are the stories of successful podcasters, what makes content bingeable. And so those are the real two that are probably most relevant to your audience.

Pat:
Then you have a company at Podetize. Tell me a little bit about Podetize and what you do for podcasting community?

Tracy:
Well, in order to tell you that, let me tell you a little bit of story about how I got started. So I’m listening to your show, listening to lots of other podcast experts out there, and we came to this stage in our business, so my husband I are in business together, Tom, and so we had a design business. We were ghost designers, we were behind the scenes designing products that you buy every day, still today at Costco, Walmart, Target, 250 products we did in a decade. And we were really successful, but we saw the end coming, we saw the shift to Amazon sellers. We saw what was going on. We saw less and less clients would be in our future if we didn’t come out in front.

Tracy:
And so somewhere along the ways, I think it was probably your show, convinced me that podcasting was the answer, which is a weird thing for a designer to choose. You’d think I’d choose a more image-based media. And instead, I didn’t, I chose podcasting because it’s… Essentially, I didn’t want to have my hair done every day, and it seemed like a lot easier. So that’s how it happened. So our first podcast was on 3-D printing and it was called WTFFF, which stands for Fuse Filament Fabrication, which is the geeky term for 3-D printing. Now, keep in mind, we still have that show today, we’re almost at 600 episodes.

Tracy:
And so that was the start of everything for us. And what happened was is that, I was trying to integrate a podcast into a really busy day job and a heavy client load and all the things. And I was doing it because I was planning for that future, but I also had to figure out how to integrate that. So we started putting in systems and team and processes in place. And as I met other podcasters out there who would go, “Oh, you have a show? I have a show. Your show has 100,000 listeners a month, what’d you do?”

Tracy:
And so I would say, “Oh, well, we just did this.” And they said, “Would you just do that for me?” And they would shove their credit card at me. And so eventually, I expanded my team and just let other people start doing that. But along the lines, the one thing we did was we invented—because that’s what Tom and I do. You might be able to, if you’re seeing a video, you’d see it at the top of my head, but we have a lot of patents, and so we invented a way to mix ads in and take them out again, because I didn’t want to pay my editors to re-edit my show. And so we have a dynamic ad-mixing process that allows you to put your ads across the entire show catalog. That’s what became Podetize.

Tracy:
And so we eventually said, “Well, we have to take this into business. We can’t just keep hoarding it for ourselves,” because more and more people wanted to use it. So that’s how Podetize came about, it literally was people saying, “I want what you’re doing. Please do this for me.”

Pat:
That’s really amazing. When you would have these conversations with these podcasters and they were like, “What are you doing?” What are those systems? What are those things? Because it sounds like what you were doing was helping you gain more exposure and get more listeners. What specifically were those things?

Tracy:
You know what, what’s the thing, is it’s not like an active marketing thing. These are the hidden technical, boring things that you don’t want to do. We still do a hefty blog strategy today. So the core value that we provide is that 60 percent of my clients listens happen on their website, so it’s happening within the blogs. So we do full length transcription blog posts, but not like transcriptions like you’re used to, we don’t do timestamps, we don’t do Pat says, Tracy says, it doesn’t look like that at all, it looks like a blog at the end of the day. And over the six years that we’ve been doing this, we’ve honed it into a system. And we talked to Google about it, we’ve honed it into something we call verbal SEO.

Tracy:
So we call it verbal search engine optimization and it’s hone to tap into the algorithm shift for voice recognition, which is going on because of Alexa and Siri and Hey Google. And so that’s really what we’ve done, and that’s where the power comes. So nobody wants to do that part. We edit audio, we put out this blog post, we create all this social media graphics and everything that you need. We even send out emails for our clients on the email followup to remind them that their guests… and give their guests all the links. And then we do one more thing, which we call ego bait, which I’ll mention in a minute. But ego bait’s, a lot of fun too. It’s another social share, and that gets dynamic sharing going, and it gets people to share your show.

Tracy:
So part of it that it’s just all technical underpinnings, and I have a 60-employee team worldwide that does this 24 hours a day, seven days a week, round the clock. And we produce episodes for our clients in seven days.

Pat:
That’s amazing. I’m very curious about, because it’s not often spoken about probably because it is more technical, the voice activation of podcasts and Google Voice and Alexa and such. This is something that’s coming and it’s already here. What are the first things podcasters can do to take advantage of that opportunity? Is just putting out a podcast by itself enough? And then what kinds of things are you helping… Help us understand technically what might need to happen that your team obviously takes care of for everybody?

Tracy:
Well, one of the things that… and you were on my show earlier, you were on The Binge Factor, so we’ve recorded these at the same time. And one of the things you mentioned was having a planning strategy for it. And so that’s the thing, is it’s no different than when you went to go write your blog before. If you’re topic planning, then you’re doing a better job of making sure that you’re tapping into what people really want to listen to. What are they looking for? But the difference is, we’re not doing a keyword look up like we would do in Google, we’re using phrasing that comes in our natural voice patterning. So people are asking questions, “How do I start a podcast? How do I monetize my show?”

Tracy:
So those are the languages we want to use, and we don’t want to change them out to tap into what is old school SEO, we want to keep that voice patterning alive and vibrant. And then we also want to allow that we are naturally going to speak it better than we will ever write it. So we don’t want to mess with that essentially at the end of the day, because we’re going to speak in a way where I might say monetization, one way, making money from your podcast in another, I’m going to naturally use all the terms that surround it. But if I wrote it, I would try to hit strictly and continue to hype in that keyword if I wrote a blog, and I know that because I’ve written a lot of articles over time, that’s how you do it. So if you don’t mess with that and you don’t over edit it, you’re going to be much better off.

Pat:
So how does one navigate the idea of old school SEO with Google whilst also considering voice activation and the way we speak, which is different than how we type? And I’m imagining even just titling your podcast, you have to consider both those elements. And like you said, how to start a podcast, that’s what we ask, but I might potentially title something very similar, five content strategies for building your podcast fast, but nobody talks like that, right?

Tracy:
Right. Yeah. So a lot of times I do colons. Like we’ll do colons, dashes and that kind of thing. So you’ll have one set of terms on one side of the colon and the other’s on the other. So we’ll utilize almost like our keyword on one side in its entirety, and then we’ll put colon and then we’ll say, “How to start a podcast.” So we might say, “Successful podcast launching: Five tips to do this and start a successful podcast.” And so we might use it that way. And so that way, we are always getting both in at the same time. And then sometimes we use a subtitling strategy if it’s just no way to do it.

Pat:
Got you. Thank you for that. For anybody who is listening who maybe you don’t have a podcast, can we just talk a little bit to those people? Because I know you are a big proponent of podcasts, I am as well. I’d love to hear from your perspective, why, if they haven’t already, haven’t they considered a podcast as a part of their content strategy?

Tracy:
This is the thing. Look, it’s so much easier for me to just speak my way to my articles. Like I wrote for four years, because of my podcast, I was granted a column for Inc Magazine, and I wrote for four years on innovation and technology and disruptive technology, and it was fantastic. But I found out very quickly that if I record an interview with someone and then went to go write the article, it would be a better article at the end of the day, because I spoke in terms that people got to understand, I had great quotes that were actual quotes of what people said, not paraphrasing. So like everything about that was better for me. It was easier and it was simpler, and I could crank out articles.

Tracy:
Why not tap into something that you do and you’re comfortable with every single day? Why are you holding yourself back from doing that? You can speak your way to your blog, you can speak your way to a community, you can speak your way to your book. You can speak your way to all of those things, but not getting started, and for me, and not airing it as a podcast at the end of the day, what a waste? People are missing out on your genius.

Pat:
Yeah. I mean, you’re speaking to the quality of what it is you ultimately create and what it is people receive and learn from, and I love that, I think that’s huge too. My podcast has helped increase the quality of everything from my books, to my videos, my just communication in general, even in life, not just business. Can you speak to the growth of the industry and where we’re at now? We just crossed one million podcasts, which it might sound like a lot, but it’s not compared to YouTube, but it’s going to get there, I think. I want to have you convince the people on the other end, like, this is the time.

Tracy:
Well, this is a thing. So some of them go, “Oh, there’s a million podcasts, there’s everybody and their brother and, well, their sisters out there becoming a podcaster. But the reality is most of them quit. There’s a huge pod-fading rate. And pod fading is where you start your show and you get to maybe 11 and 23 episodes somewhere in there, those are the most common numbers people drop off at, and you quit, but you don’t tell anyone. That’s what fading is, you just forgot to tell your audience you’re not going to keep doing this. Those that do 500 episodes or 100 episodes and they’re like, “Okay, I’m done.” That’s not pod fading. So pod fading is where you got in, you got overwhelmed, you didn’t realize what you’re getting into, you didn’t have a strategy to begin with, and now you cut your show.

Tracy:
So there are only about 300 to 350,000 of those million podcasts that are actively producing today. And we know from all of our statistics and everything that we pulled, that if you produce a weekly show, and so some of those podcasts are only producing one a month. They’re not doing well enough. You at minimum have to have a weekly show. And so those podcasts definitely head down towards that 300,000 number. So it’s not a big playing field. It’s a small pond. And you can stand out in almost any category. And that’s the part that I love about it, it’s super simple there. But the second part of it is, podcast listeners are extremely loyal and are action takers and buyers.

Tracy:
And that’s what most people don’t understand. And why is that? It’s why I call it The Binge Factor. It is The Binge Factor. When you binge on something, and for those of you who aren’t podcasters yet, imagine binging on a Netflix show, your favorite TV show out there. We, during this shelter-in-place time, we got into Outlander. So we were big Outlander fans. And so pretty quickly after watching Outlander, what am I doing? I’m Googling or checking Amazon for knit patterns because she has the coolest sweaters on earth, even though it’s summer already here, I’m knitting sweaters in California, but because they looked great.

Tracy:
“Wow. I wonder what a trip to Scotland looks like?” And starting to look at tourism. “When we get out of this place, where am I going to go? Oh, let’s go to Scotland because the Hills look beautiful.” So we start thinking about buying without even being offered anything. So imagine that that’s happening with your content that you’re producing, with the voice and the things that you’re saying to them, you’re in their ear. That power is huge. And you don’t have to be pushy about it. I never push a program, never do any of those things on my show, and I have plenty of clients heading my way. So it’s not required for you to have that kind of strategy to be ready to get started and compete in this marketplace.

Pat:
Well, let’s keep going on this binge factor idea and how to create a bingeable show because there’s a lot of people who create podcasts that aren’t bingeable, it’s a one-and-done situation. And we’ve mentioned consistency being key. I think that would likely be a very important component of it. What else allows for a bingeable podcast or even like if these things are, correct me I’m wrong, these things are probably things that matter across all different kinds of platforms.

Tracy:
Yeah. It doesn’t have to just be a podcast. If you have bingeable blogs, if you have bingeable videos, all of that, it just doesn’t matter what genre it is. But in order to create something that’s bingeable, it has to have a return again and again, it has to have something that’s giving back to the listener, the viewer, the reader. It’s giving them something over and over again and satisfying something that’s a necessity for them. So sometimes that’s learning and sometimes that’s entertainment. So when we pull the two together, when we edutain, we get even better. So if we can do both at the same time, that’s beautiful. But what it is is that we have these connections that we’re building over time.

Tracy:
Those that try to like, and I’m going to say, like vomit every piece of information about their entire life and their entire strategy, their platform, their programs, all of that. And when you try to do that all at once to someone, you just overwhelm them. So the best thing that we do is, when we do it slowly over time, giving them little bits of ourselves, little pieces of information, not because we’re being stingy with the information, but because we’re not overwhelming them, we’re allowing them to digest it, bring it in, get understanding of it. That’s the really beautiful thing about bingeable content, because I said, “Look, I learned something from this, I took action with it, and now there’s got to be more, so I’m going to go back to the person who made me successful or who gave me that little tip.”

Tracy:
And so every time we can do that, where they’re taking some nugget away and they’re applying it into their life, then they’re going to want to come back. And that’s from the education side of it, the learning side of it. From the entertainment side of it, simply being yourself. This is not a persona that you can maintain with as much content as you push out. When we did our first show, we did five days a week, there was no way we could be these like absolute, amazing, perfect experts with everything perfectly aligned and have everything scripted out and ready for us. And we couldn’t do that, so your humanness comes through and people identify with that. And if they like that, then they’re drawn to that and they want more of that.

Tracy:
I did an episode, just real quick, with a binge listener. And she said that the first thing that we do as a binge listener is we take a listen to your first episode. We don’t go to your most recent, we go to your first episode just to make sure. Because usually, in that first episode or if you have a trailer and some people do, then it tells you what your show is about. So I just want to make sure I’m really like, “Did I get it from the title? Am I in the right place?” That’s a checkpoint.

Tracy:
She also did say lots of them have horrible sound, lots of first episodes are bad, and that’s okay. But then I go to your most recent or the most recent one that interests me, and I’ll check that one out next. And as long as the sound has improved from the beginning to the end, I’m okay and I will binge your show. But what I’m going to do is that that point is then check and see, “Okay, you said you were going to deliver this. Now, did you deliver that in your episode?” And if that’s there and I resonate with you as a human and I like what you have to say and you’re not annoying me or just your process is abrupt to me as a person, then I’m going to keep listening, and I’m going to give you a chance, and I’m going to binge listen.

Tracy:
And she said, “There are very few things that will make me quit a show, sound is one of them though, if it’s clicking or has really bad sound.” That’s the only one she said from a technical side that would make her quit a show.

Pat:
That’s interesting. And I know you do these audits for your clients and you listen to their shows and you understand some of the bigger mistakes that they make that detract from the possibility of becoming bingeable. What else besides sound should people be looking out for that maybe we can audit ourselves if we’re a podcaster currently?

Tracy:
I have given this speech at a couple of podcasting events and other things about the 12 things that most podcasters do wrong when they set up their show, but it’s not too late to fix them. And most of them surround the same thing, which is that you’ve made the show all about you and not about your audience. So your cover has your picture all over it, it’s the Tracy Hazzard show, it’s all about me. And while that may have worked six years ago, that just doesn’t work right now. And so when we’re launching our shows and we’re looking to, we need it to be a attraction point that makes the audience feel that you’re about them to begin with. And so everything about that, whether it’s your cover art, your intro-outro being too long, and like to resume-ish, all of those things are all the factors that you can quickly easily change in your show and improve, and you’ll find that the attraction listener rate, so those binge listeners who are out there looking for new shows will find you then.

Tracy:
And that’s really the point, is it’s not that you’re going to miss out on the people who know you, they can type your name in, you’re the host, they’ll find you. So the people who know you are going to find you, it’s about the people who don’t know you yet that you want to make sure that you’re attractive for them. And all of that surrounds being audience-centric.

Pat:
Am I hearing you right in that perhaps using your name and the title of your show is not the best thing to do?

Tracy:
Yeah. We’ve done a lot of tests because we have clients and we give them this advice, and I’ve been giving them this advice for two years now. And the ones that say, “Nope, I’m going to do it because my branding expert and my branding team tells me I should put my name out there because I’m branding myself as a speaker.” That’s your intent of doing the podcast, and if you think it doesn’t come across to those listeners, that your goal is to just use them and use this platform to become a paid speaker, it’s coming across and everything that you do say, how everything’s written, how everything’s comes across in the description, it comes across in everything that you do. And from that standpoint, the shows do significantly worse in the first eight weeks of launch, which is the ideal time to get the most attention, especially on Apple Podcasts.

Tracy:
So that’s where I say, “No, with your name, the hosted-by your name all over there, or if you want to use your image, you use something like a fun caricature of you.” So we’ve got some podcasters that we did that with where one of my favorite ones is a podcast called I’m Not Joking. And it’s like a guy laughing in interviews, comedians, but is actually the host’s image that we created into a caricature, lots of fun. And so you’re still referential to you. So those that know you recognize that, but those that don’t, it could be stock image, they don’t know. So that’s the best way to go about doing it. But the statistics are there. When we launched them side by side, they don’t do as well.

Pat:
Let me play the role of some of my audience right now, but what about the Tim Ferriss show? But what about Gary Vee? What about the Dave Ramsey show? Those ones are going well, those are successful.

Tracy:
How long ago were they introduced? How long ago did they get started? It was a different era. And so we’re hearing like the Joe Rogan backlash coming now. So from him having been bought out and what’s going to happen, are people going to follow him? Are they going to listen? We’re also in a different time where the world is demanding that we be outside centric and not inside centric.

Pat:
Right. And they had already earned their clout elsewhere.

Tracy:
They did.

Pat:
This reminds me like on YouTube, there’s a lot of people who start YouTube channels and they make it their name to start and they want to Vlog. But then, what’s a Vlog? It’s all about you and your life. And how are you going to attract people? It’s almost very self-centered to think that you can just attract people based on who you are. I think there’s a lot of people who have done it right, for example, Peter McKinnon, a very well-known YouTuber, but he provided so much stuff to help people in video and photography. He earned the right now recently after doing it for years to then now film whatever he wants and do vlogs, even to start out that though.

Pat:
He started out by becoming an authority by sharing and helping others first, and through that he became known. And that’s, I think, a great approach, and you can always change the name of your podcast later should you eventually, and perhaps that’s still your ultimate goal to have the Pat Flynn show, but Smart Passive Income, it’s connected very well to Pat Flynn.

Tracy:
Especially if you’re teaching something, if you’ve got an education-based show, some learning, some program that is about that and isn’t really like a talk show, people are coming to find you through their pain or through their aspiration, so you’ve got to tap into that and there’s no better place to tap into that than right in the title and the cover art of the show, it’s what people see first. And we also have to remember that algorithmically, there are only four things that the search engines and almost every podcast player searches on, it’s your title, it’s a subtitle, in some cases, the description and tags, that’s it or your category depending on which player you’re in.

Tracy:
Those four things are all that searchable, so use them to your advantage to attract the right people. It’s no different than our old blogging strategies, right?

Pat:
Yeah. This is a great, beautiful discussion by the way. Thank you. I’d love to talk to you about these two components, the two E’s you mentioned earlier, education and entertainment. I want to ask you questions as if perhaps maybe you are worried about one or both of those. In education, delivering value information, what if you’re not an expert on something, does it now mean that you cannot succeed in the world of podcasting or content creation in general?

Tracy:
It’s a great question, and when I started out in 3D printing, I was worried because I don’t do the CAD in our partnership. I come up with the ideas, Tom draws everything, he runs the printers, so he’s the tech guy in the process. But I am passionate and excited and interested in the industry and I’m always the one out there researching and learning and all of those. So that curiosity actually has lent a lot to the show. And that over itself helps. I ask better questions and that’s a useful tool, being able to do those things. So if you’re curious, you can ask great questions and you’re truly deeply interested in this marketplace or this industry or this topic, then you can be extremely successful in this.

Tracy:
So we recently, that 3D Print podcast, we’d actually stopped producing episodes last year for a bit of time because well, we were frankly really busy on our business here, and it wasn’t part of our core business anymore. And we said, “Well, let’s see what happens if we pod fade it, let’s see what happens.” So we dropped down to about 12,000 listeners a month and Hewlett Packard sent us a message and said, “Hey, could we sponsor your show?” And I said, “We aren’t really producing any episodes, why do you want to press sponsor our show?” And they said, “Well, number one, we spent nine months trying to get you at the first page of Google, and we can’t, so we’d just like to join you. And number two, your passion for the industry. We want people to have that passion for us too, because we think we’ve been doing some really cool things.”

Tracy:
So that series actually drops in mid-June here, and it’s amazing. And I’m so proud of it, but it was absolutely the passion at the end, the curiosity, and the fact that they knew we would just explore and ask great questions, that’s what they wanted from us.

Pat:
I really love that. Thank you. And it reminds me of one of my other podcasts about a topic that I am not an expert in, which is food trucks. I have a business about food trucks. I don’t even have a food truck, but I was playing expert curator. And that was the solution for providing information. I was just the medium by which the communication and information would come from, in these interviews that we do. But I love the curiosity component because if you can tap into how curious the audiences likely about that topic too, or else they wouldn’t be listening, then it’s a match made in heaven and you can build authority from there too. So thank you for that answer, and I love that.

Pat:
And that’s an awesome story with Hewlett Packard and it speaks to also the ever-greenness of podcasts as well, and the continued listening, even after you drop out. Even with food truck, I’ve since sold that business, the show continues to get 4,000 downloads a month, and we haven’t published in last three years, pretty cool.

Tracy:
Yes. There’s residual value. We see that all the time.

Pat:
What about the same question in the entertainment side of things? We all know that you can have the best information in the world, but if it’s not delivered in a way that can keep people listening, then it’s all for nothing. So how might you coach somebody to be more entertaining if they feel that, “We’re just not entertaining”? That’s a scary word, you have to be entertaining. How do we do that?

Tracy:
Well, I think entertaining is like a loose term, we don’t have to stand on stage and tell jokes. I occasionally will tell that same joke about having my hair done and people always laugh in the audience, but it’s not a common thing to be great at joke telling and have to be a comedian to be the host of a show or have to be an actor and be the host of a show. Actually, it’s really harder for them, and that’s what I’ve heard from a lot of the people and the clients I work with in Hollywood. It’s harder for them to do the show because the show requires them to be themselves, and that’s harder. So at the end of the day, we want to be ourselves. And if we’re the geeky dad who tells jokes that make our children cringe, then go for that, be that guy.

Tracy:
And if you’re the woman who is just serious about it and get stuff done, then be that woman because that’s the audience that you’re going to attract. And that at the end of the day are probably your best clients. Look, I’m an action taker, I’m one who’s going to like, I’m going to research it and I’m going to study it, but I’m going to figure out exactly how to do it, and I’m going to just jump in and I’m going to get started because the sooner I get started, the sooner I will know if it’s going to fail or not. So I’m that person, and that’s the kind of people I want to attract.

Tracy:
It’s exactly how everything in my platform is built. It’s for the people who don’t want to do a lot of that stuff, but want to take action and get started quickly. That’s it. It’s an acceleration model. So attract the right people for you, and do that by being you.

Pat:
I love that advice there, it reminds me of YouTube. So I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube as you can tell, and there’s a guy who during the virus here in early 2020, along with the stimulus checks that have been coming out, his channel is called Clear Value Tax. And when he comes on to talk about the latest news, he’s like obviously upset about the situation. He’s holding a piece of paper, he almost is like angry that he has to film the video, but that’s how he is. And it’s just blown up and has gone viral because he’s just himself, he’s not trying to be entertaining, that’s just how he is. And that seems to attract people who are also upset about the situation too that’s happening.

Pat:
So that just reminded me of that. So I love that because that’s easy, we are ourselves, we just have to be more of that. And it’s funny because when we turn on the microphone, sometimes we feel like we have to be somebody different. How do you prepare a new podcaster or even an old-school podcaster or how to be fully themselves when they click record?

Tracy:
I have a tactic that I use with all my clients that I think would be really useful for your listeners here, is that we are more likely to show up for someone else than we are to do that for ourselves. So I always start, for all my podcasts, of course, that are going to do interview episodes, I tell them to start with their first interview episode because I’ll show up in the call, book it on your calendar as fast as possible, then you’ll get started, you’re recording. And now not only are you doing it and you’re doing the interview and you’re in the process, but you’re going to show up in that moment for somebody else, but now you’re going to feel the pressure of them expecting you to air this thing for you to keep moving. So you’ve got a motivating factor in it.

Tracy:
So I always like to start there and I say, look, start with someone who’s not your best friend in the world so that if it doesn’t work, you’re just like, “Oh, we’ll just delete it later.” No, start with someone who’s just slightly outside your circle so that you will feel obligated to make sure that it’s the best that it can be and then go from there. And then we go to our first topic episode, and so that would be, if you’re going to do, and a lot of my clients, this is part of our strategies to recommend doing both topic episodes and interview episodes, to get the best of both worlds of grasping strategies and audience growth and branding yourself as an expert, so you get both at the same time.

Tracy:
And so that topic one is you just pick the topic you get asked a million times because you can talk about it for weeks. And you limit yourself to the 20, 30 minutes plan, whatever your time slot is, and you go and you just talk about that one thing, because that gets them focused on how that’s the way a show should be, one really focused thing, but deeply delved into as you can during that time period. And so then the last thing is we go then to do their intro or their trailer episode. And that’s where we structure it in three ways, and we have three questions that they want to go through.

Tracy:
First is, what is your audience suffering with? What are they worried about? What are they thinking about? Where are they in the world? What do they aspire to? Your first, like 10 minutes of it if you’re going to do a 30 minute, if you’re going to do a 15 minutes, you’re going to do five minutes. What is it all about them? Why do they need the show? And so thinking about them first, then you’re going to insert your abbreviated story, but it’s not your resume and your story, it’s the story of why are you relevant to bring that to them? So if you’re back to your thing of, “If I don’t know anything about this, I just totally want to learn about this, and here’s why I want to learn about that, and here’s that part of the story. And here’s my background in design, which makes me ideally suited to talk about 3D printing.”

Tracy:
So there’s the t [inaudible] in there and that’s what you’ll give them. And then that way you’re giving them resume, but you’re not really giving them resume. And then the third thing is, what can they expect in your show? Like in this, how does it go? And you’ll just spend like a minute or two on that. And it’s like, “I have great interviews with these kinds of guests and I’m going to have these kinds of topics. And this is what we’re going to do week after week.” And you do that because it sets the tone. Now, you already know what it’s like, because you’ve done a couple of episodes, but you’re setting the tone and telling people what you’re going to deliver to them so that they have expectations. And then when you deliver it, they feel good about that. You’ve already proven, you’ve given them some reason to trust you.

Pat:
I really love that structure for an introductory episode and setting the tone. The second tip that you offered about specifically sharing why, not just your story, but why are you compelled to do this in the first place, and realizing that there’s people who are going to listen to that, it almost forces you to, if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, to question is if you should even do it in the first place.

Tracy:
Absolutely.

Pat:
I know some people who they start a podcast because they want to make money, but if you are doing that, then you’re not putting your audience first and you’re not going to make any money at all.

Tracy:
Well, we have a rule that we recommend to our clients that they don’t monetize, even if they got a sponsor or got anything like that from the beginning, that we don’t put ads in, or do any of those kinds of sponsorship models of things until after we hit 25 episodes. And that’s because you haven’t really earned the right to do that with the audience yet. After the fact when they see you’ve been there for them, you’re going to continue to be there for them, you earn that right. And that’s the number one reason, it’s part of that. I need to benevolently give first to prove that I’m really here for you and then I earn the right to be able to share with you what you could do for me.

Pat:
Earn the right and the permission from the audience not the company.

Tracy:
Permission. Exactly.

Pat:
I love that framing. Thank you. To finish off the episode here and again, thank you for all of this. This is brilliant. Let’s talk about podcasts growth. This is something that everybody wants to know about. We create a show, we don’t want to do it for nothing. We want listeners, we want to make an impact and potentially down the road and make some money too, but we need listeners. What are some of your favorite or best tips for gaining ground on earning new subscribers?

Tracy:
Well, I want to reframe that. Not everyone needs new listeners, not everyone needs a large number of listeners. So I don’t love the stats, and I try to get my clients to not pay attention to the stats until they get over that 25 episode hurdle. And the reason for that is because sometimes listenership is not why we’re doing it. So to completely pull the curtain back on some of the shows… The Binge Factor for me is where I interview top podcasters. So it gives me an opportunity to have a chat with the podcasters and demonstrate my services and my strategy and the way that I do things and how we’re in it to promote other podcasters and promote the industry.

Tracy:
What happens is that they become and they refer people to say, “Hey, I want to start a podcast.” And they say, “Oh, you should go to Tracy and Podetize. They do a great job over there and you should see this blog post they created for me and this email they sent me with this gorgeous image of me on it and a testimonial about me.” That’s that ego bait I referred to earlier. And so they see it in action and now they become proponents for us, even though they’re not my clients yet. And then some of them are like, “How do I sign up with you?” So they do become that.

Tracy:
So it’s more important for me to reach the right type of people who I know are going to be influencing the people who I want to be referred to than it is for me to have giant numbers on it. What I guarantee you is that it will eventually flow and it will happen, the listeners will come because the more people rave about how great your show was and how they were on it and share your show, it will happen naturally, but it’s not my number-one goal. And so having what we call, a guest expert strategy or something like that, might be your goal in the beginning. Then when the show starts to take off, your goal shifts and your numbers and the statistics and the things you pay attention to shift, and that’s when more listeners can come in.

Tracy:
So that’s really where I was just reframing that, it has to be all listenership, is not really the case. I have a lot of successful shows that have less than 10,000 listeners per month and their shows are phenomenally successful, their businesses have continued to thrive and be sustainable. And that’s really where we want to be. The other thing is that the higher the listenership sometimes, the lower the conversion rate. So you might get higher listeners, but then it’s not translating into more business for you.

Pat:
Thank you for that reframe. Let me ask a better question. How do you reach the right people?

Tracy:
Well, then that’s always hard, but the thing about it is that a good strategy set from the beginning saying, if you already are in business, it’s a little bit easier than if you haven’t started in the business. So if you’re already in an industry and you’ve got business and you’ve got clients, is that you want to match your best clients. You want to match who they are, what their interests are, what they’re like, and survey them, start asking them. If you don’t ask them, you’ll never know. And so following that, then you know what they want, what’s going to be the best show to go about. And they already like you, so they’ve gotten over that stage of like that attraction point.

Tracy:
So if you’re out there authentic and you’re yourself, you’re just going to attract more of those types of people. So that’s the way I would say to start from the first. If you’re not sure, like when we started 3D Printing, we had zero people on our emails. I’m not kidding, zero emails because our clients were big companies and they did not want to get email blasted. So we had nobody. And five months later, we had 25,000, and within nine months, we had 100,000 listeners a month and we had tons of emails on our list. We didn’t even have a plan of what to do with them because our show was a hypothesis. I call it hypothesis branding.

Tracy:
You go out there and you have a hypothesis that I think this is who my audience is going to be, I’m going to test that strategy and see if my show is resonating with the right type of people. And then once I start attracting people, I’m going to find out who they are, what they’re about, I’m going to get them to engage with me so I can get to know them. And so what we started out with was this premise that if we put ourselves out there and became the brand then people will want to buy these great 3D printed products, and that we would then have this huge catalog and we would start this design business.

Tracy:
I’m so glad I didn’t start that business first, and I tested the marketing strategy and saw if I… because at the end of the day, nobody wanted to buy what we had to sell, but they wanted to listen to the information I could bring them. And that became the business.

Pat:
That’s Epic. Thank you so much for that. Can I put you on the spot really quick here?

Tracy:
Sure.

Pat:
I know you listen to SPI and have listened for quite a while, what is one thing that now that you’ve worked with thousands of clients and have helped them grow, what do you think SPI should do that it isn’t doing?

Tracy:
Well, this is the thing, there are so many things that you bring us in terms of great content and great things. Just recently you had Rick Mulready on, and he was talking about online courses and everything. So I have this podcasting boot camp that’s really low cost and honestly, I make it free because it’s not really that important to me because If people start their show, that’s when I can help them the most, if they’re ready to like get past that stage of getting started, so I will give it away. But he had such great email strategies and he laid it all out and got into great detail about how that lays out and how that does.

Tracy:
That’s really what we found to be the most useful, is that when you go through and you say, “Here’s how I did that.” And you pull back the curtain say, “This is the process.” Whenever you’ve done that on the show, and I’ve taken notes and done all of that, that made me more likely to buy something from you, to come to you, to want to get more, because that helped me solve one single problem within my business. And look, we can all have these successful businesses, but I guarantee you, every online marketer you talk to, everyone and every podcast are out there, there’s this one area that they’re suffering in.

Tracy:
And it might be email and it might be advert, Facebook advertising, it might be crazy things like Rick was talking about like pixels. I’m like, “I don’t want to take a course on pixels, I just don’t,” but it might be your problem. So hearing all of those things, those are so useful, but the fact that you do them and you use them and you reveal that, keep doing that because that is what the value is. You’re out there in front of me taking the tests, doing the research, and now I want to hear what your experience was on that, and I’m willing to pay for that, come behind the scenes and get your experience from things. So that’s really where I think you can always expand on your show.

Pat:
Thank you for that feedback. I’m thankful. Number one, I was trying to demonstrate how important it is to hear from others about how they feel and listen to your show. A lot of podcasters that I know are very boxed in and they actually don’t communicate with their audience a lot. And just one conversation, just like this answer that you had for me now has opened up so many new things for me in terms of things I could be doing even a little bit better, collecting more step-by-step information from people. And in addition to that, when a step doesn’t make sense, to dig a little bit deeper to ensure that that becomes the thing.

Pat:
And I know that that’s what I’m good at on a blog and on YouTube, and sometimes the conversational aspect of a podcast doesn’t lend itself to those moments.

Tracy:
Yeah. Here’s a good thing. I’m going to give you a plug right now because we are probably one of your larger clients on the Fusebox, which used to be called the Smart Podcast Player for you old listeners out there that have been listening while, the Fusebox. We buy it on behalf of all of our clients whose websites and things we’re maintaining, but you don’t really go out every episode and announce that the Fusebox is available and like all of those things. So there are podcasters who are just starting up, who would miss that. And that’s where it’s a shame on one side because you can’t plug everything all the time, and you don’t want to, it’s not who you are, it’s not natural.

Tracy:
So finding ways though to incorporate these things in and how they’re being used, just to go a little deeper on why we love the Fusebox is because it has such great features for me to be sure that my authority is a value in the whole process. So I can get people to listen to my show first on my website. So when they find us over Google, they go to my website and they’ll just start listening there. They’ll hit the subscribe button, they’ll subscribe to my email, then they’ll go to all the links, they’ll subscribe on their favorite player. It’s all available right from there, so we utilize that though as that central house for what we have and what we do rather than allowing the hosts out there to steal your authority.

Tracy:
And by that I mean like your RSS server and whoever your host is for them to say, “Oh no, use our links, use our page.” No, keep it, send it back to you. And that makes it look pretty when we send it back to you on top of it all. So these kinds of things, those values in it, they don’t always come across if we’re not really deep diving into why these things are working for us. We’re working because I’m driving people to my web page and getting them to sit there on my website and listen and so then they see my services, they see everything, not just listen to my show.

Pat:
Thank you for that, by the way. There’s so many implications on web page plays that are so often overlooked. This is why I’m so excited about Fusebox and what we’ve been able to build. And everything from that first impression, because oftentimes, that’s the first time people see the podcast, they come in from elsewhere like you said. Number two, increasing the time on site, which helps with overall SEO for the website in whole. There’s just so many things. So I’m thankful that my team and I were able to put something together to answer that problem and solution. We still want people to subscribe on this other directories, especially for this first time listeners.

Pat:
I’m thankful that you are our client, our best one with the most websites that have been able to spread the message of Smart Podcast Player which then later became Fusebox. So I’m very grateful for you and super stoked for this conversation. I think it’s going to help so many people just starting out or old school podcasters, I’m very grateful for you. Where should people go from here? What can people do to better their podcasting career and how might you help them?

Tracy:
The bingefactor.com or The Binge Factor is the show, so you can subscribe to that. That’s probably the number one place where you can get a lot of information. You can also go to Podetize, which is monetize but with pod at the beginning. And so you can find more about our services and our information and other things there. And then we have Feed Your Brand, which is that other podcast, it’s right now in transition, it’s going to be moving to the Podetize website soon, but we had kept it as a separate entity. So Feed Your Brand goes into some of these technical things. So if you want to know how to title your episodes best, we go granular.

Pat:
That’s super cool. Thank you, Tracy. I appreciate you and thank you to your team, and we look forward to connecting again soon.

Tracy:
Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Pat:
All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Tracy Hazzard. Again, you can find her show, I recommend it highly, that’s The Binge Factor on your favorite podcast app, you’ll find it on the bingefactor.com of course. You can also check out Podetize, P-O-D-E-T-I-Z-E.com. And if you’re interested in the tactics of specifically podcasting and stuff, Feed Your Brand, which is then going to be, like she said, into the Podetize brand very shortly here. If you discover that and you find it, that’s going to teach you a lot of the technical stuff related to podcasting and whatnot, but The Binge Factor, man, as you can tell, she knows her stuff and I cannot wait to implement some of this stuff myself, I hope you do too, and I hope you’re excited.

Pat:
Find us on Twitter, find us on Instagram. Let us know what you thought about this episode, I’m @patflynn. You can find Tracy @hazzdesign, H-A-Z-Z-D-E-S-I-G-N, or Podetize or Binge Worthy. We’ll put links in the show notes for where you can find her and just let us know what you think. Thank you so much, we appreciate you today. Again, show notes for this episode and all the links to Tracy and her stuff can be found at smartpassiveincome.com/session440. Thank you so much.

Pat:
Please subscribe if you haven’t already because hey, maybe this is binge worthy for you, and if not, go check out the archive, I guarantee you, there’s something in there in the Smart Passive Income Podcast archive that is relevant for you right now. Until next episode, keep rocking it. I appreciate you, love you. And as always, #TeamFlynn for the win. Peace.

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with Pat Flynn

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