Do you love hearing the experiences of other business owners? I do! And I’m hoping you do too because today I’m sharing with you my journey through two full years of weekly (and more!) podcasting. Over the last two years, I’ve published 146 episodes, which works out to be 2.8 episodes per week. That’s a LOT of episodes. And things are going to change up a bit in Year Three of the podcast.
In this episode, I’m sharing changes I’ve made, what I don’t like about podcasting, and some of the biggest wins and takeaways I’ve had over the years–most of which are very recent.
Curious? Then tune in! I’m excited to share this with you!
Mentioned in This Episode
- Episode 60: What a Year of Podcasting Does to a Business Owner
- Episode 100: The Content Experiment
- She Podcasts Live
- Ask Your Audience Challenge
Welcome to episode 146 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast 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 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.
I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so-called gurus think is the right thing; it’s about you and your business. Your lifestyle and, frankly, your values and belief systems.
You get to do business in a way that works for you.
I am SO excited about today’s episode because it marks the two year anniversary of the podcast! (And my 48th birthday, but that’s a whole other story.)
Today I’m thrilled to talk about some podcast behind the scenes as well as the impact the podcast has had on my business over the last two years.
Before we get into it though, since it was my birthday yesterday, and it’s the podcast’s birthday, I would SO appreciate a little gift from you.
Would you take a moment and leave a review for the podcast? I’ve been showing up every single week, sometimes two and three times a week, for the last two years. 146 times, to be exact, plus a few extra unnumbered bonus episodes. And if you’ve listened to more than one episode, my guess is that you’ve gotten something valuable out of being here.
I would LOVE to hear what that is–in the form of a review. If you can’t do that for whatever reason (Apple won’t let me leave reviews either), please take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram and tag me at @thecontentexperiment. Or shoot me a DM or email. I would love to hear what you love about the podcast!
In episode 60, I talked about why I started the podcast. I’m going to share it again. One of the things I recommend when you’re surveying your audience, something you should do a couple times a year, is to ask them where they’re consuming content. Back in early 2019, I asked a select group of people where they were showing up–how they liked to get information about marketing and content development. They told me that they were really into podcasts–and that they rarely read blogs.
At the time, I was blogging regularly. And to be honest, I wasn’t getting a lot of interaction or conversations as a result of those blogs.
A friend was getting ready to host a “how to start a podcast” class and while I still wasn’t convinced I needed to start a podcast, I joined the course–as a way to educate myself since a few clients had podcasts.
After the first program meeting, I was sold. It looked like a lot of work but something that would really help my business grow and develop.
And I started the podcast. At the time it was called Stories in Small Business. The goal was to talk about how all our business stories are different and we can all do things in our own way.
Of course, I’ve made changes to the podcast since then, which I’ll talk about here
Cadence of publishing & publication date
What day do you publish your podcast? How often? Both of these things matter and there’s also no right or wrong answer.
I started the podcast by publishing every Monday, and I’ve kept Mondays as my release date for the last two years. Of course, I’ve also added episodes every other Thursday for the last year, and in early 2021, just for Q1, I published up to 3x a week. I wanted all the speakers on the summit to be featured on the podcast and I needed to do this to make sure everyone had a slot.
Once the summit was over, I went back to my every Monday and every other Thursday schedule.
I chose Mondays because I felt like it was a neglected day in the podcast space. I always wanted to listen to business podcasts on Mondays and was hard pressed to find something good. All the other podcasts I listened to came out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it seemed.
When I added on every other Thursday, it felt far enough away from Mondays that it felt good.
Super scientific, right? Sometimes you just need to play around with things a bit and make a decision.
Two years later and there are a lot of good podcasts that go live on Mondays. And I’m finding Mondays are challenging with my client load and our production schedule. So I’m changing it up! After this episode, The Content Experiment Podcast will go live on Wednesdays. I feel like there’s another gap in the podcast space and I plan to fill it!
Another big change this year:
In March 2020, I hosted a summit. As I was planning for the summit, which I was planning to call The Content Experiment Summit, I realized how meaningful that name was and opted to change the name of the podcast (which was called Stories in Small Business) and my business as a whole (which at the time was Write Solutions) to The Content Experiment. It felt really fitting for a number of reasons, which I go into more in Episode 100. So a big change was the name and branding for the podcast and actually having a graphic designer create the podcast art this time around (I did it myself in the first iteration).
Shift in messaging
I’ve also shifted away from the messaging that was the original intent of the podcast. When I first started, I planned to only talk about content. We had guests on to talk about Facebook, sales funnels, general visibility, podcast pitching, courses, Instagram, digital products, LinkedIn, and more. But eventually I brought on guest to talk about general business strategy, taking care of yourself, systems, streamlining, connection, leadership and other topics that impact every business owner. Business is a holistic experience and I felt it was important to talk about aspects of business outside of content. I know this goes against everything we know about niching down, but I feel very strongly about looking at business as a whole life lifestyle and I know that we can’t be successful in business without taking other factors into consideration. And I think that a lot of people forget that.
What I don’t like about podcasting:
Finding quiet time to actually record. Since moving into an office space, I’ve struggled with quiet. There’s not a soundproof recording booth, and the door to my office is a big, glass sliding door. This isn’t ideal for quiet, especially if other office holders are having conversations outside of their office suites. Which is kind of annoying. I do still have a home office, which is now in my guest room since moving and downsizing. And that’s not always quiet either. So it’s a struggle but I’m figuring it out and honestly, I’m not going to stress about it too much.
The show notes and general production time–how often I have to “touch” things. I have a love-hate relationship with show notes for my own podcast. I struggle with it. Earlier this year, I had someone on my team write them for me. When she left the team, I decided that I needed to take this role back on. After all, I AM a content creator. And I’m teaching people how to develop the strategies around their own content creation. I should probably be practicing what I preach. Taking this role back on in my business has helped me to feel more connected to the content and my business in general. I need to get into a better routine and workflow for myself to make it more sustainable in the long term.
Don’t tell Apple, but I don’t love Apple podcasts. The recent changes they’ve made have made it so much more difficult to listen on the app. I, for one, have moved my own podcast listening from Apple to Spotify because Apple started being SO incredibly slow for me. New episodes of my favorite podcasts weren’t loading quickly and it was taking upwards of three to four minutes just for an episode to start playing. I don’t know if this correlates to the BIG drop in downloads I’ve seen in the last six months but download numbers seem to be dropping for everyone. There’s been a slight uptick since June and I’m hoping to get back up to my March numbers soon!
Big Takeaways from Podcast
I’ve gotten to meet and interview so many amazing people over the last two years. 89 as of this recording, to be exact. Many of these guests I cold pitched because I wanted to connect with them. Some–very few–pitched me. I generally don’t accept pitches for the podcast because when I’m looking for guests I’m looking for a very specific person or topic. I prefer to do the outreach. But some of these guests I’m certain I wouldn’t have been able to connect with, or at least not in the way I did, without having a podcast.
I’ve also been able to connect with so many of YOU over these last two years. I LOVE hearing your takeaways from the podcast and I honestly receive more feedback on the podcast than I ever did from blogging. By far. I appreciate your social media shout outs and your replies to my weekly emails (which are also switching to Wednesdays very soon). Keep it up–and be sure to give the podcast a rating and review if you can.
Probably the biggest win from hosting my podcast is learning ALL the ins and outs of podcasting…and being able to turn that into a new service offering. I’ve spent my entire small business career, since 2007, creating written content for clients. And I do love it. There’s just nothing quite like seeing the written word on the screen. And I’ll continue to do that. But I’ve learned so much about podcast production and promotion and we recently started doing full service podcast management. We’ve always helped clients with podcast show notes and promotion, but we’ve also added guest management to our services suite. And we’re loving it! I never would have learned the nuances behind this art if I hadn’t done it for myself for the last two years. It’s all a process, and it takes time and effort to get the right guests to talk about the right topics. We’re loving it–and our clients are too! (If you’ve been DIYing your own podcast for a while, you know how much work it is. How would you like to be able to show up to record and have someone else handle the rest!?)
Another big takeaway/bonus of being here and doing this podcast is being a speaker at She Podcasts in October. I’m part of an amazing panel talking about podcasting tools and how to get more eyes (or ears) on your podcast. If you’re not signed up to go yet, I highly recommend it! It’s in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona, and October is a great time to visit. (As I record this in Phoenix, it’s 109 degrees outside today in early September. It’s still warm in October but us Phoenicians LIVE for October through May weather.
One of the things I’m going to talk about in the panel is the value of surveying your audience. An audience survey is why I have a podcast at all…I asked them how they like to consume their content and they overwhelmingly responded “podcasts.”
If you haven’t surveyed your audience recently or you’ve never done it, it’s TIME. And I will show you how–for free in the free Ask Your Audience challenge I’m hosting the week of September 27.
During this 5-day FREE challenge, I walk you through who to survey (who NOT to survey), what questions you need to ask, how to ask them and more–plus I give you several templates using different tools so you can use what works for you. Not only that, but I will answer all your questions and give you customized feedback on your daily homework in a private pop-up Facebook group.
You will walk away with SO much clarity around what kind of content your audience wants and needs from you and even a nice list of content ideas so you’re no longer staring at a blank screen.
We start September 27 at 8 a.m. Pacific. You should block off an hour each day that week–about 30 minutes for the instruction and 30 minutes to do the work. And if you stick with me live through the whole challenge and submit your homework daily, I’ll chime in and give you individualized feedback. Which is priceless, if I do say so myself.
I hope you found this rundown of my last two years podcasting helpful. I know I love to hear other people’s journeys and experiences and I hope you did too!
If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. Tag me at thecontentexperiment. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.