Let's Talk about Failing and Evolving with Dusty Weis
Let’s Talk About Failing and Evolving with Dusty Weis

Let’s Talk about Failing and Evolving with Dusty Weis

We’ve all made mistakes in business (and…shoot…life!). The goal should be to do the thing, potentially fail at it, then learn from your mistakes and evolve into a better version of yourself. That’s certainly been my goal and I’ve definitely applied this process to my podcasting.

This week on the podcast, Dusty Weis of Podcamp Media is sharing some of the mistakes he’s made in his journey from corporate employee to podcast producer and how he’s used what he’s learned to support others on the same journey.

Everything in the podcasting world is NOT amazing and wonderful and it’s time we start talking about the challenges, misunderstandings, and mistakes. Because if we’re not learning, then turning around and supporting others, what’s even the point?

Dusty shares some of his biggest mistakes in podcasting and gives us a reality check on growing our own podcasts. Tune in now!

Mentioned In This Episode

About Dusty Weis

Dusty Weis is the president and founder of Podcamp Media, a branded podcast production agency for businesses proudly based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s also the host of the Lead Balloon Podcast, Adweek’s 2020 “Marketing Podcast of the Year” and a 2022 Webby Award nominee for “Best Creativity and Marketing Podcast.”

​On Lead Balloon, experienced public relations and marketing professionals share tales of the do-or-die situations that defined their creative and communications careers—what went wrong, how they overcame unexpected obstacles, and what they learned in the process. “It’s like This American Life for professional communicators,” Dusty likes to say.

Prior to founding Podcamp Media, Dusty worked as the strategic communications manager at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the public relations supervisor at Milwaukee City Hall. He got his first job behind a microphone at the age of 17, and went on to work as a reporter and news anchor at WIOD-AM in Miami, Fla. and WTDY-AM in Madison, Wis. He was also a correspondent for the CBS Radio news network. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.


Abby Herman 0:08
Hey there, and welcome to episode 188 of the content experiment podcast, a podcast for podcasters that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it. All right all of the time, you have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your podcast and other content, to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience and what grows your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you. Running a business is hard, and I’ve been there on the struggle bus with you more times than I would like to admit, your podcast is a great way to nurture your audience and grow your authority. But it’s a lot of work too. So if you’re ready to make your podcast, your primary content marketing tool feel easier and more streamlined. Keep listening. My guest tonight will give you actionable tips and tricks that are easy to implement. So you can get back to serving your clients and making those sales all while helping you to grow your audience authority and business. And you can do this all while you while you do business in a way that works for you. I can help by supporting you through building a content and marketing strategy, taking care of the podcast management for you, or giving you the tools and resources to take this on yourself. All right, so tell me or think inside your head, whether you figured out this podcasting thing all on your own, or if you’ve been working with someone to start or grow your podcast. And in doing all of this, how many mistakes do you think that you’ve made over the course of your podcast? We’re talking mistakes, like getting crickets when you’ve pitched potential guests, because maybe you didn’t consider some things ahead of time. Maybe you’ve published something that makes you cringe later. Or maybe you have been incredibly frustrated with your download numbers or lack thereof. We’ve all been there. And unfortunately, we don’t really talk about it a lot. We don’t talk about our mistakes. We’re embarrassed because we think that we are the only ones who can’t get a big name guest or who doesn’t like their early episodes, or who isn’t getting the download numbers that they want, no matter what quote unquote mistakes you think you’ve made in business or on your podcast, I can guarantee that you’re not alone. And it’s time to start normalizing doing things the wrong way then learning from them and doing it differently the next time. This week on the podcast, I’m sharing an interview from a rare pitch I said yes to why did I say yes? Well, his pitch was unique. The email subject line actually sparked me to open the email when usually I just delete pitches. And his idea for a topic talking about the mistakes podcasters make was intriguing because we all make mistakes, so I couldn’t resist bringing him on. Before I share the interview with you. Let me tell you more about this week’s guest. Dusty Weiss is the president and founder of podcamp media, a branded podcast production agency for businesses proudly based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also the host of the lead balloon podcast ad weeks 2020 Marketing podcast of the year and a 2022 Webby Award nominee for best creativity and Marketing podcast. Prior to founding podcast media, dusty worked as the Strategic Communications Manager at the Association of equipment manufacturers and the public relations supervisor at Milwaukee City Hall. He got his first job behind a microphone at the age of 17. And you can tell because he definitely has a radio voice. And he went on to work as a reporter and news anchor at W IOD am in Miami, Florida and W TDY am in Madison, Wisconsin. He was also a Cordis correspondent for The CBS Radio News Network. Here is the interview. Hi, dusty, thank you so much for joining me today.

Dusty Weis 4:15
Abby, thank you so much for having me on the content experiment here. I’m pleased to be here. Yeah,

Abby Herman 4:20
I’m excited to have you and I have to say one of the very few pitches that I have accepted as part of this whole experiment in this process and I did that because you just had a really fun subject line subject lines matter folks. So there you go.

Dusty Weis 4:40
I receive enough podcast pitches and I’m sure that you do too that a it’s reached the stage where it barely even qualifies as an annoyance now it’s just like okay swipe to get rid of it swipe to get rid of it and and so when I finally am put in a position where I have to pitch myself as a podcast GUEST, I guess I’m just able to identify all of the annoying things about podcasts pitches and, and try to work around them pitch with authenticity, pitch with humility, and the person on the other end will appreciate you for it. So what I think what did I subject headline that another shameless podcast pitch? Exactly, because that was how I was feeling that bothered you and cluttered up your inbox with my shameless podcast pitch. So I appreciate your taking pity upon me and making space for me on the show.

Abby Herman 5:34
Well, so now I have to ask, do you use that line on all the podcast hosts that you pitch to?

Dusty Weis 5:40
If I’m feeling shameless on that particular day? Absolutely.

Abby Herman 5:45
Okay, good to know, good to know.

Abby Herman 5:48
So before we get into the unknown, we’re definitely going to talk about pitching. But we’ve got a few other things I want to talk about first. But first, I would love to have you introduce yourself and tell listeners what you do and who you do it for.

Dusty Weis 6:01
Yes, certainly. So I am the president and founder of a little Midwestern company called pod camp media. Pod camp got started about three years ago, at the time, I had a really cushy, comfortable job. At one of the largest trade associations in North America called the association of equipment manufacturers, they represent about 1000 OEMs. In North America, companies like Caterpillar, John Deere, Bobcat companies that make big heavy construction and agriculture equipment. Basically, if you’ve got a four year old son, like I do, think about all the toys, the tractors, the bulldozers, all that kind of stuff that he or she has. And all of those companies were our members at 8pm. And I did Content Marketing at 8pm. We were working to get these companies excited about new and emerging technologies in their space. And so we had a multifaceted content strategy that included in person educational events, we did feature articles, we had social media. And then based on my background, I worked in radio for 10 years, we did a podcast and we did the whole thing in house. I oversaw it, I hosted it, and we put it out there into the world. And after about three or four months, all of the goals that we had set for that podcast, visa vie listeners engagement, all that we had pretty much 10x to them, right out the gate. And people started calling me and saying, Hey, we really liked what you’ve done with the ATM thinking for podcast, how do we do that for our brand. And so me, I’ve never really had much interest at all, in running a business. I still don’t in a lot of ways, but I like working with people. And I like telling stories. And it got the wheels turning. And I’m like, there might be a business opportunity here. So we started podcamp media, we produce podcasts for corporate clients that want to use it as a part of their content strategy. We now represent and work with clients like the National Corn Growers Association, nutrient ag solutions, sure payroll, and another one that I can’t quite announce yet. But that’s coming down the pike. And it’s gonna be a biggie. And we’re excited about that. But we help them tell their story to their customers, to their stakeholders to their members, whatever the case, via podcasting, and we also produce a little podcast in house here that’s called lead balloon. Lead balloon is the piece of content marketing that we do to promote ourselves and sell to new clients here at podcamp. Media. It is responsible for about three quarters of the revenue that we have coming in right now. And in fact, it’s the only piece of marketing that we really do outside of social media for ourselves. And it’s a storytelling podcast where we have public relations and marketing professionals on and we basically talk about, usually the worst day of their professional careers, disasters that happened in the world of strategic communications, the pitch that went horribly wrong, the campaign that went off the rails, what went wrong, what lessons were learned and how they move beyond on their podcast, and it’s a lot of fun. We’ve, we’ve gotten a few accolades, so we were named by Adweek as marketing podcast of the year a couple years back. And we’ve been nominated for a Webby Award now here in 2022. And are eagerly awaiting I suppose by the time this airs, we’ll know whether or not we won that. But as of the date of this recording, we are on pins and needles, wondering whether or not we can count on that little piece of acolyte as well.

Abby Herman 9:39
That’s exciting. Yeah, very exciting. So let’s talk about, I guess, kind of the subject matter of your podcast. So this is a content experiment where I like to share different ways that podcasters and other small business owners can experiment with their content because we know that you got to try out different things you have to see what works accent with that experimentation comes those mistakes and failures and changes and challenges and all of the things. So I know I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and in business and in life, I mean, for real. But I would love to normalize it a little bit, can you share a little bit you, you talk about it on your podcasts, you talk about it on your website, some of the mistakes and failures that you’ve had, and how that has helped you shape where you are right now and shape your business? Can you share a little bit about that, actually, I would love to hear from two perspectives, I’m gonna put you on the spot, the transition from your day to day, your nine to five job working for someone else into business ownership, I’d love to hear if you have any mistakes that you can share there, and then mistakes in growing your own podcast, because that is so different from working for someone else and doing that for someone else. So if you could share both of those. Am I putting you on the spot too?

Dusty Weis 10:58
No, no, absolutely. I can do this.

Abby Herman 11:01
Do you have like a bank of of all of the failures, because I knew I certainly

Dusty Weis 11:06
I am somebody I think that I’ve failed, maybe more than most people have. And and I like to think of that as being part of the package. That’s the benefit, right? I’m not afraid to try new things. I’m not afraid to do a content experiment. In fact, I think that trying and failing is often a quicker and better way to learn than an entire semester long class as a for instance. And when I was looking to launch lead balloon before it was even lead balloon when it was just a concept. I knew that if I was going to push content marketing, via podcasts as a product that I was selling, if I wasn’t using that product to sell my own business, it would make me kind of a hypocrite. And so it was 2019, late 2019. And I was sitting down strategizing with my legal pad and thinking, What can I do in the marketing podcasting space that hasn’t been done already. Now, there are a lot of great marketing podcasts out there, yours included. And there are a lot of great podcasters that have been in this space and doing their thing for a really long time. And if you’re a welterweight fighter, just getting into boxing, you don’t walk up to Mike Tyson and tell him that you’re going to punch him in the teeth. That’s not going to go great for you. And so I very quickly realized that if I wanted to compete in the marketing and communications podcast space, I needed to take a different approach, then anybody was already taken. I didn’t want to compete against the heavyweights that had been doing it for a long time. I wanted to find something that hadn’t been done yet and try that. And so I thought back to my experience in public relations, my experience in content marketing and people that I’ve worked with over the years, and thought back to the stories that they like to tell when they get together, after hours for a happy hour for drinks, you stand around the high top table. And what does everybody do? We revert back to telling these old war stories about the goofy stuff that happened to us, the boss that put us on the spot, the client that got away the meeting that went to hell and erupted in yelling and all these tears. And and I think part of it is a sincere desire on the part of the professionals in this space to like to institute self care.

Dusty Weis 13:42
It’s almost a form of group therapy together and you tell these old war stories, but there’s also that aspect of driving past the car crash on the side of the interstate and slowing down to rubberneck. Do you guys call it rubbernecking? Out west? Yes, we do. Rubber whacking rubbernecking here in the Midwest. And, and there’s a lot of it. And so I thought I could take I could sort of use those two inclinations to interest people in a new style of Marketing Podcast where we don’t just do a topic of the week we actually we relive these historic moments. I say historic moments. Sometimes it’s a very personal story. But sometimes it’s something like the 2002 Masters tournament in golf, where women’s rights group went after the sponsors of the tournament because Augusta National Golf Club doesn’t allow women as members. And so I talked to Ben Deutsch, who is the Vice President of Global Communications at Coca Cola at the time, they were a sponsor of the masters. And we talked through the entire thing and I talked to Dr. Martha Burke, who was the leader of the women’s rights group that did this and sort of like told their story from both of their perspectives. What was it like to be a sponsor of that, and what was it like to lead this public relations campaign against the sexist membership practices, and really just tell that story from all the different angles sort of a sort of This American Life approach to, to the podcast storytelling. And in the process, we have a couple of laughs There are usually some, like awkward moments that make people chuckle. But also, I think we learn things because it’s easier to learn from somebody else’s mistakes than to make those mistakes yourself. And so you asked about mistakes that I have made, particularly in my transition from company man to small business owner. And I think probably the biggest mistake that I made, when I launched this company was just assuming that I’ve got a great product, I’ve got a great pitch. And I am going to be able to walk into a room and dazzle anybody that I talked to, and I will have a portfolio of a dozen clients inside six months. And what I was so incredibly naive about looking back at that process, is the fact that getting somebody to sign on as a client and pay you 1000s and 1000s of dollars to do what you’re going to do for them is not like a one pitch deal. This is a nurture process that takes months and months and even years. And so after the first nine months of running my business with one client and having pitched to, you know, a couple dozen others, and just watching that inbox, just sit there empty, I was I was on the roof, I was like I have completely failed. As a business owner, this is not going anywhere. And I need to start looking for jobs again. And thankfully, I had another client come through for me right around sort of the darkest moment there. But then realized that it’s it’s a slow nurture process. And we signed a client last summer, who’s now our biggest client nutrient ag solutions. We had their podcast logo promoted on their NASCAR at Daytona this year, which was a mind blowing moment for me. They signed on as a client for me last summer. And I had been talking to them for two years. And so thankfully, I had a runway, thankfully, I had support. But I just assumed that I’m going to be great at this. And I’m going to have a dozen clients inside six months. And that’s not the way that running a small business works. It’s it’s a nurture process.

Abby Herman 17:46
Yeah. So can I ask a follow up question, I was still wanting to share about like kind of current what it looks like or a mistake that that has happened. But when you were at that point, when you were kind of in panic mode, right? Where I gotta get a client, I needed to add to my my client roster. Were you very, were you super focused on what you do now? Or were you doing something else that kind of transitioned into what you do now?

Dusty Weis 18:14
No, we were still very much designed to be an end to end podcast production company. At that point, I pitch podcast production to clients is having five steps. There’s the planning and strategy. There’s the pre production phase, which happens in cadence, there’s recording, there’s post production and editing, which is where we really put our backs into it at podcamp media editing and post production is probably about 60 75% of what we do. And then there’s the distribution phase, there’s the promotion, getting it out into people’s ear buds, and, and all of that and so I was ready and willing to provide either consultation or just full fledge just providing the service for each one of those steps. And we sort of custom build a solution based on the client’s needs. And and again, at the end of the day, what I didn’t realize then was that’s a big ask getting somebody to trust you with that much of their content project. It’s gonna take a lot of nurturing, and they’re gonna have to feel like they really, really know you before they sign a one year contract or something like that. Yeah. So it’s just it’s a much slower sales process than I had anticipated.

Dusty Weis 19:24
Yes, I. So the reason I ask is because, because I’ve absolutely been there too. So I’ve been doing this full time since 2013. And I started my business as a freelance writer in 2007. And totally have gone through all of those phases of, you know, panic mode and multiple times too. And so I’ve found myself saying yes to projects that maybe I shouldn’t have said yes to because I needed the income because I needed to make the sale. So I was just curious if you were if you went through Do that. And kudos for you for sticking to the long game and taking the time to nurture people into that sale. Because that is, you know, the larger your product or your service, I feel like the more time it’s going to take for people to know like and trust you and to get to, you know, sending you that deposit or signing that contract. So,

Dusty Weis 20:23
but again, how great is podcasting as a marketing tool, then where you can produce? I mean, you’re up to 180 ish episodes now. Yeah, hours and hours and hours of you, unedited, unabridged, Abby Herman, that people can listen to and become familiar with you. And it’s almost like it’s doing half the work right there where people can listen back to the body of your work, they can hear the quality of your work, they can get to know you as a person. And since I have been producing lead balloon for two and a half years now, I have noticed that that that runway, that window of first contact to sale has shortened considerably, as I have had potential clients approached me who are listeners to lead balloon and they say, oh, yeah, we already know that you’re someone we want to work with. We just need to get terms and plan in place and a contract that we can sell to our Vice President of Marketing. And holy cow. Is that a potent tool for for making the sale?

Dusty Weis 21:34
Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Yeah. When it’s done well, and when you have that staying power, you stick with it, because it’s not always going to be fun. You know, in the end, you have a strategy behind it. Yes, it does work. I agree. Yes. Yes. So share with us, if you don’t mind, what’s something that you’ve learned as you’ve been growing? Your podcast and mistake that you’ve made? And oops. We don’t we don’t use profanity on this podcast. Oh, shizzle moments.

Dusty Weis 22:07
Um, personally, I think probably, again, one of the one of the toughest hurdles that I had to overcome, as, as a beginning, podcaster was just having that body of work to establish my credibility, when you reach out to somebody to invite them to come on your podcast, the first thing that they’re going to do is Google you, right? And so I started out saying, Well, I’m going to reach out, I’m going to get Gary Vee on my podcast. Oh, you’re not come on, is getting bombarded by, you know, 1000 podcast pitches a day. He’s one person. He’s not. No, just so I very much I tried to out kick my coverage early on, in reaching out to podcast guests. And And certainly, as a podcast, it’s important to be aspirational. In seeking to have people I have had some very good gets on the lead balloon podcast, I had Rick Wilson, who was one of the founders of the Lincoln project. I had, as mentioned, Ben Deutsch, the former vice president, communications for Coca Cola, global. And so yeah, you want to be aspirational, but also be a little bit realistic. And also set yourself up with some easy gets to write. They can all be reaches, yeah. Otherwise, you’re gonna burn yourself out really, really quick. And so that was one that I that I learned pretty early on. But no, just just be realistic. And then and then get a body of work. If you’re launching a podcast, and you don’t you have three episodes that are out there. People are going to look at that and go, oh, this person isn’t for real. They’re not going to stick around. They’re just dabbling in podcasting. Why should I waste my time doing this show, versus when you get to that 2025 30 Episode mark, then there’s a body of work. And people that are considering going on your show can pull that up, they can sample it, and they can get a sense for who you are and what your show is about. But they also know that you’ve got that, that stickiness that it’s going to be worth their time to go on the show that you probably have an audience built in, who’s going to be listening and they’re not just talking to the void with you.

Abby Herman 24:25
Yes, I What does it pod fade where people you know, a week has gone by or four or five episodes have gone by and I’m not getting the traction that I wanted. I’m gonna stop doing this. It’s not working because I Yeah, you said it. But yes, it’s true. It’s sometimes it can be thankless and sometimes and it takes time especially if you’re DIY buying it. It takes time to do it takes money to produce if you’re hiring people to help you and you just have to stay with it and have a good quality strategy behind it so that, you know, you can get the traction that you want, eventually, because it’s going to take time have I mentioned it’s going to take time.

Dusty Weis 25:11
Joe Pulizzi, who is known in the Content Marketing World as the godfather of content marketing, he was the first person who called it content marketing. I had a conversation with him, I think it was like episode seven or eight of my podcast. So get very generous of this very important and well established person to waste his time yakking with me for 45 minutes, but he was so nice about it. But he’s been doing his podcast for like, 10 years now. And the piece of advice that I got from him that I will impart to every single person that will listen is you cannot begin to assess the success or failure of any podcast until you have been doing it for at least 18 to 24 months. And so if you are not willing to commit to 18 to 24 months of regular podcasting, don’t start a podcast. That simple.

Abby Herman 26:07
such good advice. Yes. Yeah, it’s true. Do you would you say that that’s true also, for other forms of content marketing, for blogging for email marketing for other ways that people create and publish YouTubing and published content?

Dusty Weis 26:23
I would, I would say that absolutely. Hey, it’s just so sorry, you’re gonna learn this talking to me. I’m very Midwestern. I’m based in Wisconsin, Wisconsin is home. I’ve lived other places, and I always boomerang back to Wisconsin. And so we have a habit of putting things in very folksy terms. And I like to tell people that doing content marketing is like rolling a snowball downhill. Does that mean anything? to you in Arizona?

Abby Herman 26:49
No. But I did spend I did live when I was very young in Pennsylvania. So I can imagine in my head what that must look like.

Dusty Weis 27:02
So at the beginning, when you’re making the snowball, it’s a lot of effort, and you’re pushing stuff onto it and trying to get it to stick and you’re trying to get it to move, but it’s kind of falling apart. And then as the snowball takes form, and you’re able to roll it down a hill a little bit easier and a little bit easier, and it gets bigger and bigger. And eventually, it gets so big and gets so much momentum that it just moves on its own and you don’t have to push it anymore. And I feel like content marketing is the same way. The first 612 months is just a lot of busy work and a lot of screwing around and you’re not seeing results. And then eventually it gets bigger and picks up more momentum. And before you know it, you wouldn’t even think about missing a cycle with your podcast, because you’ve already got months of content in the camp just ready to go, you know. So it’s just a matter of staying at it long enough until it develops a mind of its own and then just riding along.

Abby Herman 28:04
Yeah, well and developing the systems and the workflows behind it is so key also, because without those, you’re kind of a little lost all over the place. So I think that’s a really big part of I guess, getting the snowball to go over the hill to go downtown. Is that right?

Dusty Weis 28:24
Down, Down down the hill down the hill. And Lord help anybody who’s standing in the way down at the bottom of that hill, because yes, big snowball dangerous.

Abby Herman 28:33
Yes, yes. So let’s talk a little bit about the podcast production piece. So the evolution of a podcaster what does that look like? So a lot of listeners are either thinking about getting started or they’re currently podcasting. They’re kind of DIY it or DIY in their, their content in general. Everything. So for the people who are DIY, what do you think are? Or what do you know, are some of the most important things that they need to pay attention to whether they have control over it or not? Because they know some things are just kind of out of our control. But what should they be paying attention to and focusing on as they’re getting started?

Dusty Weis 29:13
I preach quality over quantity right out the gate. I know that there is some conventional wisdom in the world of podcasting that just make as much stuff as quickly as possible early on. And and and that’ll get you going and I think that that might have been a best practice 10 years ago. I think that podcasting has matured as a medium now to the point where people expect podcasting to sound as good as NPR, people expect podcasting to achieve a certain degree of professionalism, particularly if you are podcasting as a professional if you’re sitting down in the basement with some buddies and you’re doing your college football have final for bracket picks, whatever, okay, you don’t need to worry too much about that. But particularly in this post COVID era, where zoom calls were the norm for a really long time, I think the more you can do to make your podcast sound less like a zoom call, the better you’re going to be at the end of the day. And so, as a podcaster, as you’re evolving, I think, from a production standpoint, the first thing that you need to be thinking about is getting yourself a decent microphone doesn’t have to be a Shure SM seven B, although you can get some wonderful sound out of one of those, nobody wants to drop $400 on a microphone right out the gate. But for $75, you can get yourself a nice Samsung Q two u microphone, that sounds at 85% as good as a fancy shore microphone, and plugs directly into your laptop via USB. And then it’s just a matter of learning to use that very basic, but very effective piece of equipment properly, you have good mic technique, and I salute you for that. But a lot of people think that a microphone will work just as well for them if they’re two feet away for it from it, as if they’re two inches away from it.

Abby Herman 31:28
And microphones to such a difference in the sound just now,

Dusty Weis 31:31
microphones are designed to be used up close and personal. And if you don’t grow up, using a microphone like that, it’s gonna feel weird and awkward at first because there’s this thing right in your face. But you’ve got to learn to get up close and personal with that. And so investing in a very basic, but effective microphone early on, I think is pretty important. After that, I think the next step is editing. And bringing post production into the process, you don’t necessarily need to be going through and retuning your EQs or anything like that. But getting in. And so there’s this there was this podcast that somebody recommended to me, it was a locally based podcast and they talk about nerd and stuff. And I’m a huge nerd. So I’m like, Absolutely, I’ll check out the nerd podcast. And I tuned it in. And about 10 minutes into the episode, the power went out. And the wireless router went down. And there were two of these podcasters were in the same room together and one of them was remote. And so they lost contact with that person. And they were sitting there in the dark. And literally the podcast was then 15 minutes of them fumbling around in the dark trying to get their equipment to work again. And I never went back to that podcast. As as a listener, I felt so disrespected, because they just wasted 15 minutes of my time. It wasn’t entertaining, it wasn’t educational, it wasn’t informational, there was no value in it for me, it would have taken them all of 30 seconds to snip that part out and edit it out and move along. And they wasted 15 minutes of my time, this was a highly recommended podcast. So learn some basic editing techniques, it’s very easy. There are free software solutions that allow you to do it. Again not to clean up every and although eventually further down the evolution please do move on to the point where you are really going hard on the editing and elevating it but to just do the basic level of editing that respects your listeners time, I think is sort of the the second step in that evolution there. And then and then I think this gets more into your sweet spot then as far as the content strategy and and beginning to integrate it into your operation. Obviously, if you’re starting a podcast, do not open with a sales pitch. Do not use your podcast to just sell nonstop 45 minutes of a sales pitch is called an infomercial and nobody in the history have ever as enjoyed infomercials. So make sure that your podcast is informative or educational or entertaining. First, save the sales pitch for later or never bury the sales pitch somewhere else. Don’t open with the sales pitch. Did I get a hallelujah?

Abby Herman 34:37
Yes. Yes you do.

Abby Herman 34:40
Yes, I can’t tell you. I know that. Some podcasters I listen to some of them. They have ads. I 100% of the time fast forward through the ads. Those are paid ads from you know, from people who are paying the podcaster to mention their product or service. I want to have Fast forward. Nothing wrong with including that because they’re doing the podcast for a business. If you’re if your podcast is for your own marketing, if it’s your marketing tool, yes, talk about your stuff. I mean, you’ve talked about, you have talked about the podcast, your podcast multiple times. That’s great. That’s exactly what you should be doing as a guest. If you are a host of a podcast, you should be talking about your free stuff, you know, here and there. But not as a sales pitch as a here’s a resource for you. To use to take it a step further or to learn more, here’s a resource, end of story. Go on to the next bit, you know, I mean, yes.

Dusty Weis 35:43
And show me Don’t tell me demonstrate your experience. Don’t tell me your experience. Demonstrate it.

Abby Herman 35:50
Yeah, I absolutely agree. Yes, I have so many other things to add to that. But, but we don’t have all day. Okay, so we talked about, yeah, some early things to think about, What about like the next level? So the podcaster, who is tired of doing it all themselves, they’re ready to get some support? How do you know that you’re ready? How do you know that? Okay, it’s time for me to start paying somebody to do this for me? And how do you continue to grow that and grow grow your podcast,

Dusty Weis 36:22
I when it comes to those sorts of things, I use a very cold calculation, that I think it originally came from a Randall Munroe comic that I saw online xkcd.com. If you’re not familiar with Randall Munroe, he’s an internet genius. And he did an entire comic about a person sitting down in cost and calculating the opportunity cost of doing various things, you know, if it costs me $10, to go and wash my car, or I can wash my car myself, and it takes me an hour to do that. Well, that means that I am getting paid, quote, unquote, $10 per hour for my labor to wash the car there, when in reality, I get paid $100 an hour to do whatever my job is. So I just lost $90 by washing my car myself. And so I think that if you are a business person running your own podcast, and particularly if you are sort of meeting with that, that level of success, where it’s like, alright, we’re starting to pick up some momentum, this is going great here, you really just sort of need to start looking at everything like that the opportunity cost versus what you lose. And if editing a podcast takes you five hours, let’s say very generously. And in that time, you could make $1,000. Or you could pay somebody $500 To edit your podcast for you. You’re making $500, quote, unquote, by hiring that editor to do the work for you there. Same with the strategy and promotion. Same with doing your show notes and all that it just turns into that very, very, and it’s really easy to make the decision at that point. I love podcast editing. All right, I love sitting down at Adobe Audition. And pulling all these things together. And I lead balloon we get real complicated with our, our edits, we’ve got, you know, five, six different tracks running and all of that. And it’s like that my OCD loves it. It’s like putting together in invisible puzzle, you can’t see the pieces, but you can hear them when you listen through to it. But sometimes I have to hand that job over to Larry, my editor and producer, because I could be making more money by doing other things. And so certainly, if you if you get real joy out of doing a thing, and I do I still keep my hand on the editing process for some of the podcasts that we do. But over the past year and a half, we’ve had to outsource more and more of our editing and, and it’s better for the business that way.

Abby Herman 39:13
Yes, I hear you. And a lot of times people get that. They’re productively procrastinating, not doing what they need to be doing because they don’t want to do it. So they that might be a good time to hire somebody to do it because you are not doing it. You’re doing things last minute, it’s all an emergency. And you’re putting it off doing the thing that you really don’t want to do.

Dusty Weis 39:37
Oh, that’s just not fun for anybody. And then yeah, no.

Abby Herman 39:42
I agree. So what advice do you have for people who want to grow their following have their podcast a bit they’re ready to. They want to get more listeners. How would you coach somebody through something like that?

Dusty Weis 39:59
I tend to take the tack that one of the most effective exercises that you can go through as any kind of a content creator, but certainly as a podcaster is to sit down and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. And so one thing that I tell clients very early on, is we’re not creating a mass appeal podcast here. I want you to define for me who your listener is, this can be aspirational, that’s fine. But you need to define where your listener lives, what their job title is, what their annual income is, what kind of car they drive, what is their outlook on life? Are they liberal, conservative? I don’t know, figure it out, do they lease their car or own their car, really just go through and on a very granular level. And this this actually gets back to a newsroom that I worked in in Miami, Florida, who D there our program director, Ken Charles, one day just walked into the newsroom carrying this cardboard cutout of like a middle aged dude in plaid and khakis. And he sets it down at one end of the newsroom and it goes. This is Phil. Phil is our listener Phil is 43 years old. He lives in the suburb of Davie, he leases a BMW he has two kids a dog and a divorce. He is underwater on his mortgage, and he takes Ed pills. Phil is our listener from now on every story that goes on our air in its first five seconds needs to answer to Phil, why should I give a darn about this. And we left at Ken because it was ridiculous. Ah. But then, over the next weeks and months, we actually started talking to each other in the newsroom about Phil, as if he were a real person. And this became for us as ridiculous as it sounds a very effective exercise in getting into our audience’s head. And so if you want to grow your podcast audience, start by eliminating all the people who are not in your podcast audience focus on serving that very granular and defined audience. And you will find a way to grow your podcast.

Abby Herman 42:18
I love that. And something that you and I talked about before we hit record that I like because I can see it sitting there on your desk like begging to be read aloud. Is we talked about another way to get more listeners and to expand your reach a little bit is to be on other people’s podcasts. Because if you have a podcast, you have your audiences listening to your podcasts or listening to other podcasts also, and the people who haven’t found you yet, are listening to podcasts. So and I mentioned at the beginning that I don’t typically accept pitches to the podcast, I like to really curate who is on the podcast and who I talk to because I have a really specific idea in mind of the story that I want to tell here and the message that I want to share with people. And so you and I talked a little bit about like really crappy pitches that we get. And so you have one and listeners, I have not heard it yet. But I’m excited to hear it. But I would love you know, I think that the key, the key for me is you had a really great subject line we hadn’t connected in any way before but you your pitch was was engaging at the beginning, which which helps because otherwise, I’m going to figure out oh, this is from an agency or this is from someone who’s just mass sending a bunch out and have no idea who I am. And so I’ll just delete them, or I’ll delete them before I even open them. So you’ve gotten a really you have a really bad pitch in your hand that you’re going to share.

Dusty Weis 43:51
This is actually my response.

Abby Herman 43:53
Oh, this is your response. Oh, okay, good. Okay, even better.

Dusty Weis 43:58
Because Because like you I get I get bombarded by truly awful pitches. And it is it is it’s, I guess I should stop taking it personally. But it’s really hard for me to take bad PR and bad publicity practices. until like, just let that go. It’s like, there are so many talented, good people working in this world. Why are you sending me these lazy pitches, like the people that clearly haven’t even listened to my show, that don’t realize that the way to sell me on being a guest on my show, is to pitch me a story, not a topic, right? We tell stories. And so tell me what your story is. And so I regularly I get these pitches from people that clearly aren’t familiar with the show. They just have an RSS crawler out there generating these random leads, and then they follow it with a boilerplate pitch. And it’s a numbers game good for them. But it’s it’s just it’s obnoxious for me. And so I’ve gotten to the point if normally I just delete it, if I see it potential guests who might be interesting. If they have a good story to tell, I will just copy and paste because that’s what they did to me. I will copy and paste to this boilerplate response. And being a Midwestern nerd is very polite, but also very firmly. Passive aggressive.

Abby Herman 45:18
I love it.

Dusty Weis 45:20
Hello, exclamation point. Thank you for the pitch, exclamation point, you’re receiving this form letter, because your pitch didn’t really answer the questions I need answered before I invite your client to be a guest on the show. It’s okay. They still might be a fit for the show, I just need to know more. Lead balloon is not a typical PR and marketing podcast, we don’t do expert interviews for thought leadership and a typical success in a typical sense. But balloon is a storytelling podcast, every guest shares at least one story from their career of a time when things went wrong about the career shaping lessons that they learned as a result that added Do you know any great stories in this vein that your client might be interested in sharing? Or otherwise? Would they be interested in a podcast pre interview a quick informal chat that’s not recorded, where I can learn more about them and the stories that they might offer? To the show? Please visit podcamp media.com/lead balloon to learn more about my show, and get a taste for the discussions that we have with other guests. Thanks for your interest, dusty host, and executive producer. And would you believe it? Three quarters of the time I don’t get a response?

Abby Herman 46:32
Well, of course not. Because you’re asking them to do actual work,

Dusty Weis 46:35
Lord forbid that we should pick up a PIN and do some work

Abby Herman 46:41
and listen to the show. Yes, you’re asking them to do work. And what I imagine is that they have a quota of the number of pitches that they send, every week, every month, whatever. So it doesn’t behoove them to actually, they sent the pitch, they get to check that off, you know, they’re checking it off, it’s done. So they don’t have to do the next step. Right. It’s

Dusty Weis 47:04
busy work. It’s it’s activity for the sake of activity, and it’s not actually effective. And if their clients are paying them for that, that’s all the more infuriating in my book. But that

Abby Herman 47:17
yeah, that’s that is upsetting to me to see those those trashy pitches come in. And you know, somebody is paying for that. Alright, yeah. And probably it’s not cheap is my guess. So yeah, that’s upsetting.

Dusty Weis 47:30
If you’re going to pitch, pitch with empathy, pinch, having been pitched to, and don’t do the things that are annoying. I think it’s that simple. And, frankly, if, like, I don’t enjoy pitching myself, so when I said to you that I have a shameless podcast pitch, it’s because I was feeling shameless at that day. But I felt like I needed to do it because of the Webby nomination that we have going on right now. But if I just, I feel like such a sociopath, it’s like, Hey, here’s me, I’m awesome. Invite me to come have a conversation with you.

Abby Herman 48:08
It’s part of it’s part of being a business owner, you know, you just like sales, having sales calls, cold outreaches, which I don’t do, but I know people do. It’s all part of the process. And it’s not, why it’s not what we want to do. When we go into business. We want to support people, we want to help people, we want to provide a product or service that’s going to change, you know, people’s lives or businesses. We don’t go in and say, Hey, I’m going to be a guest on podcast, and that’s going to be so much fun. Or I’m going to have all of these sales calls in a week and it’s going to be so much fun. I’m gonna build this funnel. Oh, I’m gonna love it. No, I don’t like any of that stuff.

Dusty Weis 48:48
Sometimes, sometimes when the job calls for it, you have to stand up on a table in the public square and announced everybody. I’m awesome. Come talk to me.

Abby Herman 48:57
Yes, you do. Yes, you do.

Dusty Weis 49:00
The nature of the business.

Abby Herman 49:01

Dusty Weis 49:02
Thank you. Thank you, Abby, for taking pity on me.

Abby Herman 49:06
Hey, as long as we can see the humor in it all and have fun with it. I think that it’s all it’s all good. So we’re all in the same boat. Right?

Dusty Weis 49:13
Yeah. I think that’s that’s a healthy way to look at it. Yeah. And, and I’m looking forward to next week when I don’t have to pitch myself and say, Alright, it’s done.

Abby Herman 49:25
Yes, yes. Oh, well, this has been such a great conversation. And I would love to give people the opportunity to find you in other places. So lead balloon is your podcast. Where can they? Where do you like to hang out online?

Dusty Weis 49:41
Lead balloon you can find us at podcamp media, LinkedIn, on Twitter, on all of the social media, although I’m really looking to pare that down here based on some advice that I got from you in a recent podcast episode. I am on way too many platforms and it’s driving me nuts. But lead balloon definitely, via our podcamp media LinkedIn page will be there. Otherwise, it’s on all the major podcast apps and it’s at podCampmedia.com/leadballoon.

Abby Herman 50:12
and tastic. Well, we’ll be rooting for you. And if Well, this episode will come out after you have been notified if you won the award. So we’ll be sure to include that. In media. Yeah.

Dusty Weis 50:25
All fingers crossed.

Abby Herman 50:25

Dusty Weis 50:25
Well, your award nominated, hopefully winner, we’ll see.

Abby Herman 50:26
We’ll keep we’ll keep listeners posted. So thank you so much, Dusty for joining me, this has been a really fun conversation.

Dusty Weis 50:33
It’s been a delight. Thank you, Abby for the opportunity.

Abby Herman 50:43
I love how honest and open Dusty was around the mistakes he’s made and the mistakes that he has seen. It’s really refreshing to talk about that, versus everything being perfect and wonderful. And his tips on how to focus on quality over quantity on your podcast we’re spot on. If you are a podcaster who wants to learn how to uplevel your podcast you can grab my podcast hosting guide with 10 tips for podcast hosts that thecontentexperiment.com/guide And be sure to check out destinies podcast at podcampmedia.com/leadBalloon if you want more about mistakes that people have made so you can learn from them too. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. You can take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it on Instagram stories. If you tag me at the content experiment, I will be sure to give you a shout out. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners and podcasters just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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