What It Takes to Create a Wildly Successful Podcast

What It Takes to Create a Wildly Successful Podcast

Joel Comm, Co-host of the Bad Crypto Podcast, joins the Content Experience Show to discuss creating a podcast that earned over 3.5 million downloads in less than one year and how to approach starting one of your own.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Got Something to Say?

Should you start a podcast? Considering the success many businesses have had through podcasting, the seemingly obvious answer would be yes. But is there a deeper question to answer here?

Take a step back to when you started your business in the first place. Most likely, you didn’t decide to embark on this journey simply because other people have been very successful. You had to start with a product. If you have a product you believe in and that you believe will enrich the lives of others, then by all means, start a business!

Similarly, before deciding to start a podcast, you must take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I have something I need to say?” This is the question posed by Joel Comm, co-host of the wildly successful Bad Crypto Podcast, which has gained over 3.5 million downloads to date. According to him, starting a podcast isn’t a simple marketing decision for your business. It’s not a clear-cut, “Yes, every business should have a podcast,” kind of situation. But if you have a message and a passion for sharing it, it’s time to think about diving in!

In This Episode

  • How to approach starting a podcast.
  • What things are essential for starting a podcast.
  • How to approach sponsorship as the podcast grows.
  • Ways to promote a podcast.

Quotes From This Episode

“Content is content. It’s finding a way to communicate what it is you want to say to your audience in a way that they want to consume it.” — @joelcomm

Everything that you do as a business person—successes and, especially, your failures—add to your skill stack. Click To Tweet If you've got a message so compelling that others want to share it for you, you've achieved marketing Nirvana. Click To Tweet


Content Experience Lightning Round

What’s your go-to media for entertainment?

It all depends on the situation. When it’s nice out, Joel likes to be outside and active, so he enjoys podcasts ranging from Mike Rowe’s The Way I Heard It to shows about online gaming. When it comes to TV, he’s currently watching Breaking Bad for the third time! He’s also a huge fan of Arrested Development for something more on the lighter side.

See you next week!

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Episode Transcript

Randy Frisch:Welcome to the Content Experience show. I'm Randy Frisch from Uberflip, Anna Hrach's right here with me, and we have a fun one today. To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect this week because yes, we're talking to someone about what it takes to produce a podcast, which for all of us as marketers is really interesting, but it was also about crypto currency, which scares the shit out of me. So, I didn't know what to expect, and I never knew Joel before, but I know his podcast partner-in-crime Travis. Travis is like, "You gotta be on your toes." And I would say Joel's very much the same way.
Anna Hrach:Yeah, agreed. I didn't really know what to expect either. I mean, a lot of you out there probably already know Joel Comm just by name, obviously. He's a New York Times bestselling author, he's a keynote speaker, and he's also co-host of the Bad Crypto Currency podcast, and so a lot of you already know him. We've brought him on to talk about his podcast, and actually how to spin up a podcast because as you'll hear in the beginning, a lot of people forget about the audio side of content. They have a tendency to focus a lot on the written or the visual side, but podcast ... it's a massive market that is in demand.
Randy Frisch:Yeah, and some people may be listening to this now and saying, "Oh, this is another one of ... how to create a podcast that's gonna work." Let's just set the bar here. Bad Crypto was started under a year ago, and already has 3,000,000 downloads. I mean, that's-
Anna Hrach:3.5 million downloads.
Randy Frisch:3.5 million, right. I think we had rescheduled this podcast a couple times, so it went up by half a million, right? And that is wild. We got to talk to Joel a little bit in this podcast about how to get something up and running in no time to take advantage of a trend. That's something as marketers, we're all focused on. But as well, we got into some of the real interesting logistics, including how to handle sponsorship or how to promote that podcast, and I think those are things that whether you're a crypto person or not, if you're a marketer trying to figure out how to leverage podcasts, you're just gonna be in awe.
Anna Hrach:Yeah, totally. And I think, one of my favorite takeaways too I think for anybody out there who's really thinking about starting a podcast, is ... you'll hear this a lot from Joel, and we even emphasize it. It really is about how passionate you are about a subject. And it's just, at the end of the day, being yourself and really knowing what you want to talk about, and that vision. It doesn't have to be this year-long planning process. Exactly Randy, like you said, they spun this up in three days. It's crazy.
Randy Frisch:Yeah, and not just that. They were not necessarily experts when they started. Joel describes it, they were just two goofy guys who were passionate about it, and they started to bring people on and now that they interact with people on a weekly basis ... multiple times per week in fact, they've obviously become much more knowledgeable about the space and are not considered dot leaders. And I think that's the opportunity when you take on a podcast.
I can tell you for me, that's one of the things I get running Conex on a weekly basis, is we get to talk to these brilliant marketers every week. We get to understand different ways to go to market. And I think my key takeaway from podcasting is that that's where the value really lies.
Anna Hrach:Yeah, it's honestly ... podcasting is some of the most fun I've ever had in my entire career, and I think you're gonna hear ... especially when Joel talks about this stuff, he really does come even more alive. He's already a very engaging speaker as is, but he really is very passionate about this. So, Randy, what do you say we bring Joel in and have him talk about Bad Crypto?
Randy Frisch:Absolutely, let's roll this week's episode. I think you kicked it off.
Anna Hrach:I did.
Hey Joel, thank you so much for joining us today. How are you doing?
Joel Comm:I'm doing great, thanks for having me.
Anna Hrach:Awesome. So, just so everybody can get to know you like we know you, can you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
Joel Comm:Well, I'm not sure how you know me so well.
Anna Hrach:Well we've been able to chat a little bit, we're gonna get to know each other a little more here too.
Joel Comm:Awesome. I'm just a guy that's been doing business online for about 23 years now, and in that time I've written books, and I've built sites and sold sites, and affiliate marketing and internet marketing, and blogging and podcasting and video. I've done just about everything that's not illegal, immoral or fattening. And right now, I'm just totally gone down the crypto currency rabbit hole.
Anna Hrach:Yeah, you have ... I like how you started off modestly there, like, "Oh, I'm just a guy." And then you started segwaying into your podcast, but your podcast is wildly successful. Last I heard, it had over 3,000,000 downloads, correct? It's probably over that by now.
Joel Comm:Yeah, I'd say about 3.5 million. We started in July of 2017, and so in a few more months we're coming up on one year.
Anna Hrach:That is fantastic. I mean, congratulations. I shouldn't skip over that. And that's actually what we wanted to talk to you about today, was, a lot of times when people talk about creating a content experience and they talk about their content marketing plans, they leave out podcasting and podcasting is actually still massive. There's still a huge audience for it, it's gaining in popularity, but it seems like we forget about this piece. Do you agree with that? Do you feel people skip over the importance of podcasts?
Joel Comm:I think they either skip over the importance of it, or they are not aware of just how relevant podcasting is, and what a great way it is to get your message out.
Randy Frisch:And before we go into ... first of all, this podcast has been so successful, and I'm talking of course about both of our podcasts but especially yours with the number of downloads. Maybe you can talk though about what the goals for a podcast could be, or should be. More broadly, but as well in the case of what you've been able to accomplish over the last year on the crypto market.
Joel Comm:Well, content is content. I've been a content creator for so many years now, and there's so many ways to deliver that content. There's the written word on your blog, there's micro blogging on Twitter and using other social sites, there's video, there's live video, and then of course there's the spoken word which is ... I refer to podcasting usually as spoken, though there are video podcasts. And it's just finding a way to communicate what it is you wanna say to your audience in a way that they wanna consume it.
And this is not my first rodeo, I've actually had five or six, I would say, other podcasts that I have done over the years with varying degrees of success, but none of them even remotely coming to the success levels that that crypto podcast has hit, and so it's just a matter of the right message, the right content, delivered the right way to the right audience at the right time, and that's where you get the magic.
Randy Frisch:So just to get in a little bit deeper there, because when I talk to some marketers sometimes and they're debating, "Should we do a podcast? Should we not?" And back to that idea of goals. I think a lot of them were very focused on things like legion, or connecting with audiences after the podcast, they struggle there, right? Because as great as podcasts are to listen to and get educated, there's not always that opportunity to engage with your audience or understand your audience too well.
How have you been able to set the goals that you're looking for and match ... whether it's ROI, or justification for what you've done? How do you approach it from that way?
Joel Comm:For me, business has always been more organic than planned. I just do what it is that I wanna do. I believe that if you follow your passion and allow your creativity to come forth and do what's interesting, then that's how the magic always happens. And if I look over my career, again 23 years, all of the unicorns, the big successes that I've had, have come from that.
And this was just a result of myself and my co-host and friend Travis Wright, who's a leading marketing technologist, just having conversations about crypto, and him sending me a message one day and saying, "When are we gonna do the Joel and Travis crypto show?" And he was saying it jokingly, sarcastically, and I said, "I got an idea. Let's take our conversations and let's make them public and see what people think."
So, this wasn't something that was like, "Okay, we're gonna plan this for months." No, it took two days. Literally two days. July 16th is when he sent me the text, we had a conversation within 30 minutes, I said, "I've got an idea." Within two days the name was selected, the domain was registered, the WordPress blog was set up, the logo was created, social profiles were set up on Twitter and Facebook, and we had our Libsyn account. The first episode was released on July 18th. We just took action on something that we were excited about.
Randy Frisch:It's so cool because I actually ran into Travis. I remember, it was at Content Marketing World, which is always at the beginning of September. And to your point, it had been two months I guess, since you guys had gone live and he had said to me, he's like, "This is blowing up." And Travis, I feel like anything he does blows up, but he said it's like nothing he had ever seen before just as you're speaking to, Joel.
Joel Comm:Yeah, it was great fun and it remains great fun. He and I, just the chemistry and the attitude that we brought to the show was something that was needed at the time. I hope that it still is needed. And we also managed to time it by no brilliance of our own, it just so happened that our enthusiasm for crypto took off right before crypto started to hit this last wave last year. And so, good timing.
Anna Hrach:So, it sounds like a couple of things were really key to the monumental success you've been experiencing. The first thing that comes to mind when you were talking about it was passion. Obviously you two are talking about something you both have a fiery passion for. What else goes into that blend of success? What do you think really was some of the components that were responsible for the podcast taking off like it did?
Joel Comm:Well, we are both seasoned marketers and entrepreneurs, and I think that everything that you do as a business person, successes and especially your failures, add to your skill stack and things that you're able to do.
And so, we both understood broadcasting. We both have radio backgrounds and we've both done podcasting before, we've both created content and we're at ease behind the microphone. We also understand the technology needed to produce a show. In the beginning, we would record on Zen Caster and then I would produce the show. I said, "Hey, let's try this music and let's use this royalty for music but let's buy rights to this, and let's put this thing together." And I set up the Libsyn account and know enough technologically that I could do it without breaking all the things. And, we put the thing together.
And so, all of these skills that we had developed along the road end up becoming useful for this project.
Anna Hrach:Fantastic. For those out there who maybe don't have that extensive background in podcasting and even broadcast, or maybe even ... know exactly where to start, what are some of the bare minimum things you think are absolutely essential for starting a podcast? Just anybody out there who's looking to dip their toes in; whether it be the technology, the platform to record, or even topic selection. What's the bare minimum people need to get started?
Joel Comm:Well, if you're not super excited about doing it in the first place, then don't do it. There's always people asking, "Well, what should I podcast about?" If you don't have the notion to talk about something and share your message with an audience, then you need to let the process take place until you have a passion for something. But if you know, "Hey, I wanna talk about this and I'm willing to talk about it to one person or to 1,000,000 people," then you just need to take action on doing it.
It's really easy to set up a podcast these days. We initially used Libsyn, L-I-B-S-Y-N dot com for out distribution, 'cause it helps you get into iTunes and Stitcher, got us into Spotify and Google Play. And if you can't do artwork yourself, then you gotta hire out somebody to do the design for your covers, get a website set up that you can post your episodes, and away you go.
I think Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas both have great courses on podcast 101 type stuff.
Randy Frisch:This is great advice, Joel. I feel like we just wrote the blog post for how to get a podcast up in three days, which ... one of the three of us is probably gonna spin out right after this, but in the meantime, we're gonna take a quick break here from some of the sponsors on this podcast. Maybe we'll talk about how you get sponsors onto a podcast right after this.
We're back here on Conex, and we've got Joel Comm talking about podcasts, something that we are creating right now, and you just heard some of our sponsors, so it's a good segway Joel, to talk about sponsorship. And as you said, not every podcast people do is going to be hugely successful. Doesn't mean it's not insightful and targeted to the right niche, but when you do take off, you have the opportunity to engage with a very large audience and often a targeted audience. Maybe you can speak about how you've approached sponsorships; both getting them, dividing your time between selling space and creating great content.
Joel Comm:We again, found the right mix of content with a ... sponsorship group that really needed an outlet. We're in the crypto currency space, it's very niched, very target market. You've got a lot of shows out there that take sponsorships from general sponsors, it's not unusual to be listening to a show about travel and hear a sponsorship from audible.com or some job service or whatever, but we don't take sponsorships from general services. We take them specifically from crypto currency companies, those that have websites, those that are gonna be conducting coin offerings, token offerings for their business, for their proud funder.
And so, we have actually ... we have sponsors for regular shows that get 30, 60 second shoutout, but we do one episode each week that's called our crypto spotlight episode. And these are 15 minute interviews with companies that are using some sort of token, some sort of digital money or crypto currency to both crowd fund their project, and in the execution of their project. And so, we vet these projects through our team to determine if this appears to be a legitimate project, and then they are able to pay us in crypto currency in order to have that on the show.
And we are always very clear with our audience at the beginning of every crypto spotlight. We tell them exactly what I've just told you, in that we are being compensated and we never make any recommendations because we're not financial advisors, which has become a running gag on the show. We say it almost every episode in some way. But this gives us an opportunity to monetize the program while creating fantastic content that our audience loves.
Randy Frisch:That's really cool. And, I'm just curious with that need to go in and find them. Obviously, you guys have hit an incredible amount of downloads and interest, so I'm sure that the sponsorships are coming to you at this point. But what was it like in those first few months before it took off? Even though, again, it took off very quickly.
Joel Comm:Yeah, it did take off pretty quickly and once we realized that this was a legitimate model, I started reaching out. I believe Travis did too, to some companies that we spotted that we thought they had interesting projects, and we pitched 'em. We said, "Here's the show, we'd love for you to consider being on. Here's how we run this," and it didn't take long. It really didn't. I think we figured this out six, eight weeks in, and that's when we started doing the spotlight episode. And it's not been difficult since that time. People email us, or contact us virtually every day asking how they can be on the show.
Randy Frisch:That's awesome.
Joel Comm:And we have to turn away ... usually you don't like turning away people that are waving money in your face, but if their project doesn't seem interesting to us or if we think it smells like a scam, because in any industry those exist, right? Surprise, surprise. Or if we don't think it'll resonate with our audience, of if it's in a particular niche that we don't really wanna deal with, we turn away some potential sponsors. And it's easy to do when you have enough quality sponsors coming your way.
Randy Frisch:Absolutely, and it's funny ... I'm not deep in the crypto world at all, and I'm Canadian, so I'm seeing different ads perhaps than some of you. But there's been a great one on TV lately, for I think it's CoinSquare? That talks about how, "Don't be fooled by all these imposters." And it's actually a pretty good TV bit, but it definitely rings true with what you're saying. You gotta make sure as the one delivering content, that you're weeding out those shady characters.
Anna Hrach:Yeah, for sure. It's nice to be able to get to a point where you can select your sponsors and really make sure it aligns with the content of your show.
So, Joel, as you were talking about before in addition to sponsorships, another hugely successful part of what you've been able to accomplish is the promotion side. So, let's talk a little bit about that 'cause you'd mentioned within three days you'd spun up the podcast but then also had all of the social profiles going. What exactly goes into your promotion plan? So, once you create the show and you get it all edited and ready to go, how do you actually get it out there?
Joel Comm:So, once the show comes out, what we do is we put it on our blog at cryptopodcast.com, and then it gets shared out. We have a custom cover image that is made for each episode, and then that gets shared out to Twitter and to LinkedIn, and to Facebook of course. We also have a Facebook page, but more importantly than that, very early on, we started developing a community on Facebook at crypto mastermind, and this is a closed group that we require people to answer a few questions before they come in. And one of those questions of, "Do you agree to read and adhere to the terms of the group?" Well, this really weeds out a lot of the spam. So, we've got over 7,000 people that are in that group and it's the most active part of our community. And so, people always discover new episodes coming in through there.
We've done a little bit of advertising on Facebook, but not a ton. Most of the success of the show has really come from word of mouth. We've not really done press releases or too much other content. We used to put our show on YouTube, and for reasons that YouTube won't explain to us, our account got closed a couple months ago with absolutely no strikes against us and no warning, and no reply from them. So, the evil corporate monster censors that YouTube didn't like us for whatever reason.
But we also have a telegram group that we've got about 3500 people in, and they chat there and word of mouth is still the greatest way to market. It's true, viral marketing. If you've got a message so compelling that others want to share it for you, then you've achieved marketing Nirvana.
Anna Hrach:Nice, you almost have an entire community of advocates who are really sharing the podcast for you, and really ... it's very, very organic which is super impressive.
Joel Comm:Well it's a fun show, crypto currency can be something that's really difficult for people to wrap their heads around and at the time we came on the scene, the shows that were out there were great shows but they were above a lot of people's heads. And so, we came along and said, "Hey, we're just two goofballs that are fascinated with crypto and we're gonna talk about it here and try to inform you, and we're gonna be entertaining because that's just naturally who we are, and come along on this ride with us." And that just really resonates with people because they don't understand.
Anna Hrach:I honestly can't think of a better way to close out this podcast than what you had just said. I feel like that really hits the nail on the head about just being yourself, and going out to entertain people, and just talking about things you're genuinely passionate about.
Joel, thank you so much for joining us today. We would love to have you stick around for just a few more minutes so that we could ask you a couple of personal questions. So now that we've gotten to know the podcasting Joel, we'd like to know human Joel. So if you'd stick around, we're gonna take a quick break and then ask you a couple questions.
Randy Frisch:Alright Joel, we're back here for the last little segment and we always like to get to know our guests. So, we definitely know you're into podcasts, but maybe we could get to know, what are you listening to from a podcast perspective when it's not a crypto podcast?
Joel Comm:Oh, that's such a great question. I have a real eclectic podcast roster of things. I actually don't listen to business shows at all, which might be really surprising and shocking to people. My interests go towards sometimes the political realm, sometimes the spiritual realm. I've got ... I'm a big computer gamer, always have been, and so I've got a couple shows in that realm that I enjoy listening to. I like Mike Rowe, The Way I Heard It. Yeah, it's pretty ... if you were to scroll through my podcasts that I have, you'd probably be like, "Really? Didn't expect that."
Randy Frisch:So, what would be your breakdown from a media engagement between listening to podcasts and watching TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, you name it? If you had to go audio versus visual, what's your breakdown?
Joel Comm:Well, it depends what you're doing. For me, I listen to podcasts when I'm exercising. So, I like to go out for a walk. I live in beautiful Denver, Colorado. It's a sunshine-y day today, when we're done recording this, I'm gonna put my walking shoes on and go out and I'll pull up recent podcasts and I will listen as I walk. Whereas if you're gonna watch something, it's gotta be ... you gotta be in front of something. You can't ... has to be actively watching whatever's on the screen.
Randy Frisch:Nice, okay.
Joel Comm:And so, I think it takes a lot more to produce video as well, than it does audio.
Randy Frisch:Alright, so we need to get a picture of you in terms of what you're watching when you're sitting down. So on Netflix these days, or Prime, whatever it is-
Joel Comm:Yeah.
Randy Frisch:What is your go-to? What are you binging this these?
Joel Comm:I'm actually binging through Breaking Bad for the third time right now.
Randy Frisch:For the third time?
Joel Comm:Such an amazing show. It'll probably be the last time, 'cause once you start getting familiar and remembering the storylines then everything's spoiled, but yeah. I really, really enjoyed it.
Anna Hrach:It is really endlessly re-watchable though. You say it's your last time watching it, but it is really good.
Joel Comm:Maybe not. I'm waiting for the next season of Ozark to come on Netflix.
Anna Hrach:Oh, that got so brutal.
Randy Frisch:Is there going to be another season?
Anna Hrach:I think so, it ended on a pretty big cliffhanger.
Joel Comm:Oh yeah, it's coming back.
Randy Frisch:Nice, that show is actually really good. That show balanced the craziness of Breaking Bad, and ... what's the one with the guy from Friday Night Lights? Bloodline? Is that what it is?
Joel Comm:I haven't watched that yet, I've heard.
Randy Frisch:For me, it's sat between the two of those. Because Bloodline for me was a little too ... sad at times, whereas Breaking Bad is amazing but it's a little sensational. Ozark's sat right in the middle there for me.
Joel Comm:And I think Arrested Development is probably the smartest series sitcom that's ever been on. If people are out there watching Big Bang Theory, I'm like, "Oh my gosh. Turn that pablum off. If you want smart comedy that's just wickedly funny, go watch Arrested Development instead. Go watch Scrubs, go watch Community. Watch something that actually engages your brain." There was actually ... there's a video on YouTube of Big Bang Theory without the laugh track, and if you don't understand just how unfunny it is, go watch it without the laugh track and you'll be like, "I can't believe that anybody is laughing at this."
Anna Hrach:Yeah, I have to agree. I fully defend anybody's right to watch it and love ,it, but I don't get it. But, again, I fully defend everybody's right to watch it.
Joel Comm:That's right. Freedom of viewing. Freedom of bad judgment.
Randy Frisch:So, what I've taken away from this get to know you is we've gotta find a podcast for you [inaudible 00:26:27], because you're Ozark fan, you're Arrested Development fan, we just gotta find his podcast.
Joel Comm:Dude is super talented, yeah. And I'll bet he'd be really cool to hang out with.
Randy Frisch:Yeah.
Anna Hrach:Maybe he's into crypto currency.
Joel Comm:Maybe. Jason Coin.
Anna Hrach:Yeah, Jason Coin.
Randy Frisch:I think Bait Coin is better.
Joel Comm:Oh, yeah.
Randy Frisch:Sounds very cryptic. Yeah. Anyways Joel, this has been amazing. Thanks so much for sharing with us. Maybe you could just let people know where to find your podcast.
Joel Comm:Badcryptopodcast.com, available on all the channels where you would expect to find podcasts, except for YouTube.
Randy Frisch:There, we've got the little stab at the end from Joel. This has been great. For everyone who's listened and enjoyed this podcast, we can be found pretty much anywhere. We haven't even tried YouTube. I don't know, and maybe we'd get pulled off, but check us out on Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes, anywhere you go. Even down to Google Play in our case. You can find us, and please leave a review when you do find that podcast as to what we can do to make this more engaging. Until next time, I'm Randy Frisch from Uberflip, Anna Hrach has been by my side from Convince and Convert, and this has been the Conex show.
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