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Keep Your Eyes Wide and Stay Open
Episode 274th May 2022 • Podcast Gym • Andy Wang
00:00:00 00:06:55

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“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
― Isaac Asimov

The word for this post is “open.”

Be open to unexpected guests.

Be open to new ideas.

Be open to being uncomfortable.

Publishing a podcast regularly can be a slog sometimes. Being open to new things can keep things fresh — in a good way.

I’ve talked previously about striving to get 100 nos in a year. This can push you to invite more guests and to reach higher.

Since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I decided to try something I’ve never done — attempt to book 4-5 AAPI guests. 

I proudly report the following:

No: Margaret Cho, Ali Wong, Ronny Chieng, Nims Purja

Maybe: Michael Paul Chan

Yes: Etta Lau Farrell, Steven He 

If you don’t know Etta (I didn’t), she is the wife of Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, a long-time dancer for the band, and backup singer. She just released her debut single. 

It’s unexpected so I’m going with it!

I’m excited to interview Steven He. Emotional damage!

About 20 of my invites remain unanswered so I still have work to do. Wish me luck.

Meanwhile, I put together a list of 31 Asian American Podcasts for AAPI Heritage Month. Please add a few to your playlist.

Monetization is always a hot topic for independent podcasters. It’s doable but can be hard.

If you’re monetizing your show, how are you doing it? Hit reply, I’d love to hear from you.

IMHO, here are three ways:

  1. Sponsorships – I’m not talking about MailChimp, Squarespace, or Blue Apron. Leave those to the big download shows. If you’re small and your niche, you can proactively approach businesses that sell a product or service that fits your audience’s needs. Price a quarterly or 6-month campaign according to the value of your niche listenership, not by your number of downloads. Ask enough prospects, and you can land sponsors.
  2. Affiliate marketing – This one is working for me. Again, the key is to find products or services that your listeners could use. Mention a link or code for listeners to support your podcast, and the affiliate partner will pay you a percentage of sales. Pro tip: higher ticket items can be better. My top seller is an $80 side hustle how-to manual that pays out 40%. That’s much better than Amazon book links that pay a few cents.
  3. Sell your own product – Because you are building trust with your listeners, you have a great opportunity to sell them things like your course or one-on-one coaching. This is a popular one because it works. It tends to be a higher-ticket item so the potential revenue can be meaningful.

Should you ask guests to pay to be on your show? This one can be controversial. 

John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire charges some guests a $3,500 appearance fee. You can place a PayPal link on your booking page requiring a guest to pay. I do not know about you; but if I were a potential guest, a surprise “marketing fee” would turn me off. 

I’ve heard of podcasters charging PR companies $100-200 to book their clients. On the higher end, I know of a podcaster who successfully offers a VIP red rope package to PR firms. For $500, PR firms get their client’s episode moved up in the production schedule, social media assets (a short clip and graphics), and a guaranteed number of social posts. For $3,000, the PR firm can book any 10 guests.

The VIP red rope service kind of made sense to me. I mean, guests pay a pretty penny to PR firms to book them media appearances. Why shouldn’t the podcaster get a piece?

If others are charging and I’m not, am I leaving money on the table?

I was so tempted to include a quote in my last email to a PR firm but didn’t do it. As much as I love watching infomercials, I don’t want to host one.

You’ve got to do what feels right for you. 

No judgment from me. 

Currently, I’m not open to that one. I followed my gut.

There are lots of podcast-related news headlines right now including Facebook shutting down its podcast platform. You’ll see links below to some personnel changes at Spotify. 

Separately, the shocker for me was reading about Tom Webster’s plans to leave Edison Research after 18 years. If you’ve ever attended Podcast Movement or other podcast conferences, you’ve probably heard Tom deliver his state of podcasting talks.

The good news is that he’ll be “doubling down on podcasting” and “evolving I Hear Things into something very exciting, broad-reaching, and ultimately useful for podcasters of every stripe.”

I’ll share this excerpt from I Hear Things (link below for full post):

Spotify has cast a great shadow over the podcasting space–it’s made some of the biggest moves, locked up some of the biggest shows, and (alarmingly for some) been the biggest mover in sequestering at least a part of the podcasting space into a closed system. I’m a big believer in open podcasting, which I see as the strongest path to unlocking the incredible revenue potential of podcast advertising. But I also believe in avoiding false choices, and embracing the fact that podcasting will and must support multiple revenue models, just as TV and digital video do. I want the market for open, RSS-driven podcasting to grow–not for Spotify to shrink. Rooting for the failure of one of podcasting’s biggest companies is not a sane choice if you are staking your future on podcasting.

As you evolve your podcast, the podcast industry is evolving too.

Whether it’s booking guests for your show, experimenting with paths to monetization, or the debate for open RSS feeds, be sure to keep your eyes wide and stay open!


What is something new that you have implemented for your podcast?

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