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The Perilous Life Of A Podcast Producer [S3E99]
Episode 9924th March 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

Being a podcast producer is great work if you can get it.

Evo Terra:

But it's still work.

Evo Terra:

Work that somebody else is paying you to do.

Evo Terra:

How can you prepare for when - not if - that relationship comes to an end?

Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

Evo Terra:

Write these two rules down, podcasters.

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Never meet your heroes.

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A dream job cannot be both.

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Now, there are exceptions for both of those rules.

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Obviously, I've met Drew Ackerman from Sleep With Me in person, and

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he is genuinely a lovely person.

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I've also had jobs that I have really loved.

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For a while.

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And they've loved me.

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For a while.

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There's that old adage find a job that you love and you'll never work a day

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in your life and that's utter garbage.

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Because a job is a job.

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At some point in time, it just becomes a job.

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Some jobs are a lot more fun than others, but still it's going to be a job.

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And a podcast producer is one of those jobs that is fun.

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It really is.

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I've been a podcast producer for a long time.

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I've been doing it professionally on behalf of other people

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for several years now.

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And it is a lot of fun, but it is still a job.

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Now, in the early days of podcasting, I resisted the temptation that

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many of my friends jumped into wholeheartedly - and go for it, why not?

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- I resisted the temptation to become a podcast consultant.

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And probably missed out on a lot of money because a lot of my friends who were

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doing that were charging quite a healthy rate for being a podcast consultant

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back in the early days of podcasting.

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But I resisted.

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I also resisted launching my business of podcasting where I produce

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podcasts on behalf of people.

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Because I didn't really want to do that at the time, but I think

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the bigger thing for me was back in the day, I resisted bringing a

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podcast consultancy to my day job.

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One of the reasons I didn't jump into the other things is I had a nice

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well-paying day job that could have dovetailed nicely into podcasting.

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And many of my friends decided to do that.

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They said, Hey, I'm sitting here.

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I got this great job.

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Podcasting.

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We can do it.

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Let's bring it in.

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And I, someone said, I will become the principal of this new podcasting

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division within my company.

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Great idea.

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Sometimes.

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But oftentimes not.

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Because I have seen this play out at many different new media

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things that come up in the world.

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My background is in advertising and I've seen the influx of blogging,

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video production, social media.

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I've seen those things blow up inside of the company and then

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blow right back down again.

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So I had always resisted that temptation of building that into my own company.

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And of course now I do produce podcasts professionally.

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So I've gotten over it, but still you see there's a conflict that

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happens between the creators, people like you and me, who want to create

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amazing things on behalf of another entity, and then there's the company.

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And the company, they may say they want amazing content.

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They may say they're looking for great engagement and things

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that really elevate them.

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But what they really want is to make money.

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Cause if they don't make money, they can't make payroll or they can't

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pay you or they can't pay anybody.

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So they can say they want all those other things.

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But at the end of the day, they still have to make money.

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And if you, as the podcast producer, either internally for an organization or

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externally as a consultant or contractor of some sort, if you're seen and the jobs

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that you do are seen as something that's a cost center for the company, there

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will always be pressure to either lower those costs or increase the efficiency,

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the outputs of those standard costs.

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And that's the race that you're into when you're a cost center only.

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If you're not core to the biz, if podcast production is not core to

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the business that you are in, that you are working for, if that is not

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what they do, if podcasting is not core to their business, you're always

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going to have to fight against those people who don't get podcasting.

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And you'd think 15, 20 years later that we wouldn't have to fight

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that fight anymore, but we do.

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Let's not forget the most recent data from the Infinite Dial 2021 shows us

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that 78% of people in America still don't listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.

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Chances are your boss, the person that you're reporting up to, the person

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you're turning stuff in, it's very good chance that if they're listening to

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podcasts at all, it's infrequent at best.

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So, you're already at a disconnect.

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So, what do you do about this harsh reality?

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I've just laid out in front of you?

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If you are a podcast producer, at some point in time, you're looking

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and saying the writing is on the wall.

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Maybe not today, but tomorrow, sometimes this is going to end.

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What do you do about that?

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I've got three ideas for you.

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Do your best work.

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Always do your best work you can do to the specifications laid

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out and then go above and beyond.

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But while you're doing that work, document what you're doing.

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Take screenshots, grab source files, show your work.

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Now, obviously I don't want you to get into employment contract issues, if you

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signed something that said, you will not do this, then look, don't break the law.

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But assuming that's not the case, you're putting something out publicly.

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Go ahead and grab some interesting bits about how you did that job

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and document exactly what you did.

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Put it in your portfolio.

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That's number one.

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Get credit.

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Get credit for your work, even if you are just a contractor,

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get credit for your work.

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Sure, you can get on the website if that's at all possible.

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But I'm thinking about inside of the in-app episode details.

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If you are an integral part of that show, and you're not just a cog in

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the wheel, tell your client, as part of your job as a podcast producer,

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that best practices is that we should include the names of the people who

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worked on the show to show we are human.

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And again, it's best practices.

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Go ahead and give your boss the title of executive producer and

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give them credit in there, as well.

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That'll help.

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But get your name listed in the credits inside of the in-app details

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of each episode and save those.

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And the third thing to do is build your credibility.

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Now, again, watching out for any employment issues, but get on the circuit.

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Take the knowledge that you have and start talking to people.

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Referencing the job that you worked on, yes, but more importantly, referencing the

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products you were producing for that job.

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Update your LinkedIn profile listing each of the podcasts you're working

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on as a project and specifically what you were doing on the project.

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Yeah, talk about you, obviously.

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The reason you're doing this is to talk about you as a podcast producer.

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You're not here to represent the show.

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Don't misrepresent anything, but start building your credibility.

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Chances are, someone who's not happy with their job as a podcast producer

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right now, maybe they need to hear this.

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So go ahead and send them a link to this episode.

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Or you can go to the article and send that link at podcastpontifications.com.

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That will be helpful to them.

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And if you got any great value out of this, if it helped you

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at all, please consider going to buymeacoffee.com/evoterra

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and buying me a virtual coffee.

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That's always nice.

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That's it.

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.