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The Power of Starting a Podcast with Mark Asquith
Episode 1062nd March 2020 • Your Dream Business • Teresa Heath-Wareing
00:00:00 01:08:29

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This week’s podcast episode is with a very good friend of mine, Mark Asquith. Known as That Podcast Guy, Mark has seven of his own podcasts and runs both Rebel Base Media and Captivate. With lots of experience when it comes to hosting your own podcast, Mark is the best person to talk to when it comes to getting started and growing your audience.

On another exciting note, I’m doing my first ever challenge and would love for you to join in! The challenge is focussed on starting and building your email list. For those that haven’t started their list or those that are struggling, the challenge will have you signing up new members every single day. It’s a five-day challenge (including a private Facebook group) with tips on how to get started, what systems you should be using and lead magnets. If you’re interested in signing up, the link is below.

  • Podcasts are a great way to build your network in your industry.
  • When it comes to creating your podcast, you don’t want to be the same as everyone else as you will soon find that what works for everyone else, might not work for you. You need to understand what it is you want to get from you podcast.
  • A podcast is a great way to add value, especially if you want to turn your listeners into paying customers. It shouldn’t, however, be used as the only way to grow your business. It’s either the product or selling the product.
  • If you’re looking to make connections when it comes to podcasting, attending events is a great place to start. Although they can be expensive, you’ll be able to network with thousands of potential guests.
  • You can’t start a podcast and immediately be successful, you need to let it grow.
  • When it comes to your podcast, you need to trust your gut.
  • When you’re starting your podcast, you simply need to start with a basic framework and a platform like Captivate. Once you’ve done that, the hard part is knowing why you’re doing it and what you’re trying to achieve.
  • You don’t need an expensive mic to get started, your audience will be forgiving. As your podcast grows, your equipment will get better.
  • What can you design into your show to make it different?
  • There are lots of different ways to get guests onto your podcasts, however, one of the best ways is to build a relationship with them.
  • You don’t need big names to be guests on your podcast in order to be successful.
  • There are so many different variables that affect your listener numbers.
Podcasting can be incredibly expensive but if you do it right, it’s definitely worth it.
  • Introducing Mark Asquith - 04:11
  • So, Why Podcasts? - 12:27
  • How Do You Stand Out and Who Is Podcasting For? - 19:30
  • Podcasts and Sponsorship – 38:00
  • Using Captivate and Getting Started - 43:15
  • Getting Guests on Your Podcasts – 53:45
Transcript below


Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the podcast, how are you? Now, I'm recording this on a very gloomy, rainy, horrible day here in the UK. So I hope to goodness when you're listening to this the weather is a little bit nicer than the day I'm recording. So before I get on with today's episode, which is an interview with the very lovely Mark Asquith, and I'll tell you all about him in a minute.

I want to remind you that I am doing my first ever challenge. Starting on the 9th of March, I am doing a full five day challenge where you can join me in a private Facebook group, and I will email you every single day with a very short and concise video about how you can start and build your email list. We all know an email list is super, super important, we know that even though I love social media and social media is an amazing platform in order to find your customers and build that kind of community, it doesn't belong to you, it's not your platform.

You're effectively marketing on borrowed ground and if something was to go wrong, and believe me I have many examples where it has gone wrong, then you've lost it, you've lost all those people that have followed you, you've lost your community. So one of the most valuable assets in my business and any business is building that email list.

Firstly there's no algorithm in my inbox. Secondly, I get to choose whether I open and read that email or not. And there's another way in which you can build your audience, there's another way in which you can market to them. So it's not to say that you build an email list and then suddenly that's it, you don't ever need to do social media again, that's not the case, it's just another opportunity for them to see your stuff.

And to say I want to be part of your community, and you own it, you own that data. So I want you to join me for this five day challenge, it's going to be really good fun, fast paced, lots of activities. I'm taking you basically through the process that I use in my business and I am holding your hand the whole way through.

So you will not be lost or overwhelmed or concerned about anything, I am right there helping you. And like I said we have a private Facebook group that's going to pop up for the challenge itself and we're going to get you started on that email list and if you've already started an email list, we're going to get you growing that email list.

Then, other thing we're going to do in these five days is I'm actually going to tell you what do you do with them once you've built an email list, because it's all well and good thinking great, I've got this email list, but now what?

So, believe me, I've got you totally sewn up and covered on all of this and it's going to be an amazing five days. So if you want to get involved and join me, which I would absolutely love you to, go to 5 as in the number, and days with an S on the end.

Okay, on with today's episode. As I mentioned I am interviewing the very lovely Mark Asquith. Now, not only is Mark a very good friend but he's also known as That British Podcast Guy, because basically what he doesn't know about podcasts are absolutely not worth knowing.

Not only does he have seven of his own podcasts, which quite honestly is amazing because I can barely keep up with one, but he also runs Rebel Base Media, and basically this company is to do with everything to do with podcasting. And he is also the owner of Captivate, which is the amazing platform that I host my podcast on, and I would highly recommend for anybody.


Introducing Mark Asquith


But like I said, this guy knows his stuff when it's coming to podcasting. So I am really excited to talk to him, he's a lovely guy, I'm very, very lucky to call him a friend and I can't wait for you guys to hear from him. So without further adieu, here is Mark Asquith.

Okay, it gives me great pleasure today to welcome the very lovely Mark Asquith to the podcast. Welcome, Mark.

I'm not used to being called lovely.

Aw, but you are lovely.

I've not got that rep. If you talk to anyone else that knows me.

It's because you're too cool, that's what it is.

Have you seen what I'm wearing? I am not cool. I'm like 1961 cool wearing some old jumper from TJ Maxx. I probably spent too long a time trying to find, rummaging through for the cheapest jumper. You know what I mean? I'm that guy.

No, honestly, in my world you're pretty cool. I think I'm cool sometimes and then I just catch myself and go, "No, Teresa, don't do that again, that's embarrassing." So definitely not cool. But let me explain to my audience that we are sat looking at each other, which this is only the second ever episode I've done in front of someone.

What was the first one?

Mary Hyatt, international.

Oh yeah, I remember that.

Yeah, yeah. And we sat talking and it was lovely. It just, it has a completely different vibe, I think for me anyway, because you actually are having a conversation to that person in front of you. But also we're in your amazing studio, so I feel like we're on the radio or something because the quality, and I'm hoping you can hear it, but the quality of this is probably 10 times better than what you normally get. So this is really, really cool as well.

It is pretty nice, it's pretty nifty. It's bizarre because we get so many types of different people coming in, like people that have podcasted before, people that have just started podcasting. So the studio might be someone's first ever experience of podcasting.

We always get this really weird mix, and we've got everything from, we've got swingers podcast, to Christianity podcast. Like, the range of people that use this studio is pretty wild. But it is nice. It's only small but we like it.

No, it's ace, it's really, really cool, like I said it makes me feel like I'm a real professional talking on a radio or something. So, Mark, we've jumped straight in chatting there but let's just go back a bit and if you can just explain to my audience, in case they haven't heard of you, who you are, what you do, and how you got to do what you're doing now?

All righty then, so I'm Mark Asquith and I'm an alcoholic.

That's a different podcast.

Oh damn, again.

Not this one.

It's happened again, I can't believe it. So I run Rebel Base Media. We're a podcasting company, basically, we're primarily a podcast tech company. We so own a number of different brands in the space. I've kind of claimed the title That British Podcast Guy, just because it's really easy to explain what I do then and I'm usually in the States, travelling and doing whatever we do. So I've kind of claimed that title, but Rebel Base Media, we own this podcast studio, we own a managed WordPress platform for podcasters called Podcast Websites, so it's sort of a fully hosted and managed version of WordPress for Podcasters.

We own [Podactivity 00:06:57], which is an interaction startup in the podcasting space. Podcast Success Academy, which is a membership that you are helping myself and Izzy with. Earlier this year that we're relaunching I think probably January/February time. And the big one that we run, and which people are probably most familiar with, is, which is our hosting and analytics platform.

So we host your show, we host [inaudible 00:07:23]. So we host so many different podcasts, like hundreds and thousands of podcasts across the world. So that's what we do. And my job is really just whatever needs doing. I'm theoretically, I am the founder, but theoretically, I hate the word or the phrase or the acronym CEO, I hate it, but apparently that's what I do.


Which basically means make sure everything's running all right. Doing product dev and product strategy and marketing work and bits of everything is what I end up doing, I think. So that's what I do, that's me.

Cool. So, how did you even get into the podcasting space at all, at the very beginning?

So, it was mainly because of DC Comics, I'm a huge geek. You've just been looking out in the studio.

I have, yeah.

I think there's a Jack Bauer toy, there's a ThunderCats toy, there's a Luke Skywalker toy, there's a couple of dodgy Turkish Phantom Menace toys that Trev brought us in, one of our toy collector friends. So I'm that guy, I'm a bit geeky with that.

I think it was about, maybe 2011, and all sorts of stuff. We used to work with Bosch and all these big brands and I was kind of CEO of that as well. My background is marketing but very much not studied marketing, I was just like we need to make money so what can we learn?

How can we tell people?

Yeah, exactly. So I just learned that for years, and I was a former coder back in the days and I just built this agency and did that with, like you said, with the other guys I was running with. That was around 2011, 2013, and one of the guys that I did this geek blog with, it was called Two Shots of Eddie, said we should start a podcast.

I said, "Gaz, that is absolutely ridiculous. Why would I want to do that, it's not 2005, Lost's not on the TV anymore, what the hell are we going to talk about? This is ridiculous." Sure enough, it got me started. In fact the microphone that I started with, the white Snowball microphone is just behind me on the thingy. The sound was terrible, like Gaz was really pro and I was terrible at it. But we did it. And I was like oh, this is all right.

So then, fast forward, this was maybe early 2014 and I thought to myself, do you know what? People keep asking me for advice on that, how have you grown an agency that's working with these huge brands from this little tinpot studio in Barnsley? Like, it's Barnsley, no one's heard of the place.

Not London, is it?

It's definitely not #LDN. So people were asking for advice. So I thought, like a genius, I thought this is brilliant, I'll do a podcast. And I'm going to interview entrepreneurs. And this is in early 2014, so I'm like no one's doing this.

Then I was like wait a sec, everyone's doing this. But back in the day not everyone was. There was maybe John and Pat and I think Ducker was doing his but maybe not in the format that he's doing it now. So there wasn't that many but I was totally naïve to podcasting, I didn't know people were doing this so I just started doing it.

Then I discovered John, we became business partners for a while and got to know all that kind of side of people, partnering with Chris, and all these people that we now take for granted as doing entrepreneurial podcasts.

But during that process I'd built a website for myself, like a personally branded website, which is now my site, formally [inaudible 00:10:32] site. But I was like this is a complete pain in the ass, like what a total pain this is. I've got to figure out how to work Libsyn, and I've got to somehow figure out why is this so complex.

Then I've got to try and get it on to this website and it looks terrible, because the players aren't great, and it's just a bit heavy. I just thought to myself, there's something going on here where people will want to do this. They might not want to do it now but in a few years time or a few months time I can see people wanting to do this, and there's no way of linking it up to their website easily, people want to use WordPress, there's a gap in the market. So me and Kiran, just on one Tuesday night just created this prototype podcast website, and it was just very straightforward, hosted managed WordPress for podcasters. And we got into that, we launched it with, John was our partner in that in the early days.

And this is John Lee Dumas, just in case...

That's it, yeah, sorry.

That's all right.

So John was our partner in this up until maybe like August or July this year, and we worked together very closely, did a lot of good work together and we launched it. And I remember being sat there, Kiran and I sat in the studio one night just watching this product launch. Before we'd even built it, like we pre-validated it. And that's how we got into it.

Then we'd always had this plan of what we wanted to do, like we knew that we wanted to have Captivate and we didn't know it was going to be called Captivate but we knew we wanted a better hosting platform, we knew we wanted Podactivity. In fact, Podactivity was my first ever idea in podcasting. It was before podcast websites, before anything else.

And that's how we got into it, and then suddenly five years later all the plans that we'd started to put in place five years ago are just now kind of the public are like oh, right, okay, that's the plan. So, it's an exercise in patience and frustration.

Yeah, that's business full stop, isn't it?

Isn't it just?


So, Why Podcasts?


I mean literally my life. So what's interesting is we've got this really weird thing about podcasts, because like you said you started one and you were like hello, we've got the internet now and TV and video so what the hell are we doing doing a podcast? And I remember when I first started listening to them thinking, no, this is old school, this is ridiculous.

And now, literally in the last few months, and we're recording this at the end of 2019, we're literally seeing, I'm seeing adverts for the BBC talking about their podcast platform and how to listen to this podcast.

Every celebrity and their dog is now having a podcast. I've got theories as to what I think or why I think they've become popular, but what's your thought? Why are they suddenly this big thing?

So, a few outliers. Martin Gladwell, you know, it shows that to be a pro hockey player it's better to be born within this time window. If you look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, if you look at the guy that invented Java, I forget his name, I feel terrible for that. But they were born within a 12 month period of each other.

Which meant that when they got to a certain age, there was a culmination of things, of situations, of circumstance that came together to allow them to do what they did, and then they jumped on it. Anyone in that generation could have jumped on it, they did and had one of those pieces not been in place, they would have never been able to do what they did.

It's the same scenario with podcasting, in so far as you see people in line talking about well it's not a podcast unless it's an RSS feed and I remember when I had to type my own RSS feed out. Like, okay, well done you can type and you were playing with podcasting, that's brilliant. But that was the barrier, you know?

Up until I think 2010, what was doing on was that podcasting was almost a little like CB radio. It was brilliant for broadcast, it was brilliant for connections, it was brilliant for getting content out, but it was kind of for the geeks.


I'm not saying you had to manually code things because hosting companies existed at that point but no one really cared because it was natively supported by Apple, they didn't put it on their phone until much later as a native you cannot delete this app app. They didn't put it on iOS as an undeletable for a long time. It's only fairly recently.

So that was one part of it. If you think about the world in general and in particular for this audience now, for your audience, content marketing was still a buzzword, no one knew what it means. And there's still like 50% of marketers still haven't got a bloody clue what it means.

So it's like content marketing started to exist. But then there was this perfect storm of technology, and what happened was YouTube gave creators a way to start to build an audience. Like the Slow Mo Guys, what happens when you pop a balloon at slow motion. It's amazing content, but at the same time it's totally pointless.

Yeah, it's not doing anything.

But it's entertaining and that's the kicker, is that podcasters then decided, wait a second, this is kind of an entertainment medium. But then there was this other perfect storm going on around education.

And the BBC said this, I went to [inaudible 00:15:27] in London last week and the BBC said something that everybody else had known for the last 10 years, which was we are now in an on demand economy. Really? Thank you, I appreciate that. Please put that in your marketing.

But what happened was Uber came around and then Uber Eats came around, and then Netflix came around and stopped delivering your DVDs and started streaming everything. Then suddenly...




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