Talk Marketing

How to Start a Podcast and Sustain It Over 1,000 Episodes (with Kevin Palmieri of Next Level University)

In this episode, John McDougall talks with Kevin Palmieri from Next Level University. Kevin explains how he got to over 1,000 episodes recorded. Then, he provides tips on building an audience, making your podcast work for your business, and more.

John McDougall: This is John McDougall with Talk Marketing Made Easy, and I’m here today with Kevin Palmieri, CFO and founder of Next Level University. And welcome, Kevin.

Kevin: Thank you for having me, my friend. I’m excited to chat and see where we go today.

John: Yeah, sounds good. I mean, first thing that struck me was that you’ve done over a thousand podcasts. That’s … Congratulations. That’s awesome.

Kevin: I appreciate it. It’s been an interesting road to say the least. And literally we were recording last night. We recorded episode 1,245, I think, and-

John: That’s intense.

Kevin: I had a moment where it was like, “Oh wow, I can’t … ” You have those moments where it’s like, “I can’t believe how far we’ve actually come.” So I appreciate that very much, and I still do pinch myself often.

How to Start a Podcast With No Audience

John: Nice. And how can people start a podcast if they have no audience or they’re just starting out?

Kevin:   Yeah, I think the important understanding is, I would say the vast majority of people don’t have an audience, or they don’t have a consumer base when they start something. It’s kind of easy when you do. So most people start from a place of I’m trying to grow everything. The thing that stops most people is lack of clarity.

So what I tell people, it’s often, it might not seem super valuable, but I always say, “Figure out what problem you’re trying to solve. Figure out who you’re trying to solve that problem for. And figure out what makes you unique in solving that problem.” Those three pieces of clarity are huge for you to actually get the ball rolling.

And then I just say, “Create the lowest barrier to entry that’s the most sustainable.” What can you do? You can literally go on a free app and start producing content directed towards your ideal listener, and that’s it. That’s what you do.

And then, here’s the other thing, and I think you and I were talking about business behind the scenes. You try to have the most realistic expectations possible that your first episode’s going to suck and you’re not going to get a lot of listeners. The first month you do it, you’re probably not going to get any love. But six months in, eight months in, 10 months, 12 months, that’s where things can start to happen. So you have to understand that building an audience, especially an aligned engaged audience, just takes time. And if you start from a place of, “I’m six months in and I don’t have a huge following yet,” you’re setting yourself up for a lot of pain and potential failure. The expectations are super important.

How to Grow an Audience Quickly

John: Yeah. My next question was how do you do it faster? How do you grow an audience faster? But you almost already answered that, right?

Kevin: Well, there are … What I think is super important is building relationships. So when people say to me, “Okay, I’m doing these things. How can I build an audience faster?” I always say, “When you share your content on social media,” or let’s put it this way, create as many opportunities as possible for your listener base to self-identify as listeners.

So we have 750,000 downloads as of today. I don’t know who 749,000 of those people are. I have no idea who they are. So if I don’t know who they are, I can’t really go start conversations with them. And if I don’t start conversations with them, I’m not warming up the relationship.

So if you want to get more listens faster, if you want to grow faster, you have to build relationships with the people who are listening because here’s the thing, if we can get somebody who’s only listening to one episode a month to listen to four, that’s a big jump. And if you can do that with many listeners, you have way more listens.

So that’s an interesting perspective. Not everybody needs more listeners. We want more listens, but if you are not fully engaging the audience you have through building relationships, that’s an easy way to do it.

Interviewing Experts Helps Your Podcast Grow

John: And also, how does interviewing other experts help in that?

Kevin: Yeah, one of the things is you’re kind of, you’re potentially borrowing somebody else’s audience. You and I do an interview and you create some social media content, and then I share that social media content and people say, “Oh, I like this John Guy. Let me give him a follow, and then maybe I’ll check out his show.” That’s one way.

The second way is you start to build trust up with your audience of, “Oh, this show is the type of show that has these experts on. I want to make sure that I’m tuning into this.”

Another interesting thing is I think it helps promote word of mouth, where if you are listening to a show and they have a guest on that you really like and your friend group likes, you’re going to say, “Hey, John, this show just had blank on. You should really give this a listen. It was awesome.” So those are some big ones.

And here’s the other one. It helps with searchability. If you have a certain guest on and that person gets searched online or on the podcast app or on YouTube, whatever it is, the likelihood of people finding that it’s just higher than if you did an episode on building confidence. There’s just a big difference when you have a big name attached to it, not only from social proof and credibility, but yeah, it’s a little bit more searchable and easier to find.

John: Yeah. People searching for their brand name, but for the person themselves as well.

Kevin: Yeah.

How Can YouTube Expand Your Reach

John: And what about YouTube? It’s such a huge animal that just keeps expanding and it is supposedly bigger than Apple Podcasts for podcasts. How does it extend your reach in podcasting?

Kevin: Yeah, so number one, YouTube is the second-biggest search engine on the planet. TikTok is kind of coming up there, so I don’t know if that stat is still true. I would say it probably is. But here’s the thing. You are catering to a completely different audience.

And I think that’s where people get confused is they say, “Well, I have a podcast. There’s no reason for me to put that on YouTube.” YouTube is a completely different audience that might not even listen to podcasts. So you’re losing a massive amount of eyes if you don’t at least give it a try.

Here’s the other thing. One of our guests, her name is Bronnie Ware. Bronnie Ware wrote a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, and it is a very, very high profile, successful book. We did an episode with her and we put it on YouTube, and it ended up becoming the third or fourth search on YouTube. So if you searched her name and you clicked on her name, we would be the fourth video down. We never would’ve gotten that amount of reach on a podcast platform because it’s not the same. The searchability is not the same.

So understanding that some people would go onto YouTube and they would search for her audiobook for free. They would search The Top Five Regrets of the Dying with Bronnie Ware free. If you searched The Top Five Regrets of Bronnie Ware or The Top Five Regrets of The Dying, that was the name of our episode. So that would come up. So there was just a lot more search traffic for that, and we never would’ve got however many of those listens we got if it wasn’t for YouTube.

So yeah, YouTube, I just consider it free … I don’t want to say free, because it can cost you money to make the content, but it’s kind of free eyes. If we are already doing this on video, why wouldn’t we just throw it up, name it, and let it go? Right? It’s just extra, it’s extra impact is the way I look at it.

Posting Full Podcasts Vs Shorts on YouTube

John: Yeah. And what about tactically? I’ll just share transparently my journey so far with this new podcast and some new processes lately. I’m doing shorts from every episode, so a weekly podcast at the moment, and then every guest will have a blog post with the transcript for SEO for my site, and then two shorts from each interview like this to go on a separate channel just for my shorts.

And then a seven or eight minute summary of this podcast interview on YouTube, where my editor goes through and takes kind of the highlights. So if this is a half hour or an hour, someone on YouTube can get the gist of it without having to go through the whole thing.

What are you seeing more commonly people putting the whole thing up, even if they’re not Joe Rogan, who could just talk to Mark Zuckerberg and doesn’t matter if it’s just two guys talking heads, it’s those two guys. But if it’s, no offense to me, but if it’s just me and whoever it might be, I’m not Joe Rogan. So will people listen to my half hour, hour podcast on YouTube unedited as a video?

Kevin: Well, the thought behind it is YouTube is really creating places for podcasts. YouTube is starting to-

John: Yeah, yeah, with Shorts.

Creating Multiple Pieces of Content With Limited Time

Kevin: Yeah, they’re starting to leverage the short form content, but they’re also starting to try to redirect podcasts. So anytime you see a big data center like that and a big technology company doing things, the odds are they’re planning on doing bigger things for a reason.

So I see no downside in putting the full episode up there. I love the approach of, and again, this is always my frame, how many pieces of content can we get out of one hour of our time?

John: Yeah, repurposing.

Kevin: So full episode, a bunch of teaser clips, eight minute kind of summary. That’s great. Blog post, email post, awesome. Why not throw the full one up there? That’s always my thought. You never know.

John: As video or as, right, like you always leave webcams on-

Kevin: As video. Yeah.

John: Yeah, as video.

Constant Improvement of All Aspects of the Podcast

Kevin: Now, again, so this is always my frame. I kind of think of it as there’s the foundation. The foundation of a podcast is audio and potentially video. Cool. Then it’s, okay, how do we make the audio a little bit better, and then how do we make the video a little bit better? And then how do we make the content a little bit better?

Okay, cool. Then it gets to the point where it’s like you’re doing audio and then you’re doing YouTube, and then you’re breaking everything up, and then it’s getting pushed out. And then you figure out, how do I increase my studio? How do I make the audio even better?

So ideally, yes, you would put the video on YouTube. If all you can do right now is create an audiogram and throw it on YouTube, it’s better than nothing. And then focus on how do I get that audiogram up to the point where I actually understand how to edit video or delegate that out to someone.

ChatGPT for Podcasts

John: Yeah, that makes sense. It’s just changing all the time. Like ChatGPT, it’s like, things are nuts. Have you been using ChatGPT at all?

Kevin: No. I haven’t. I’ve heard a lot of really good things about it, but for me, where we are, I don’t know how I would leverage it yet.

John: Yeah. I did do a podcast with a client the other day, and John Maher, my right-hand man usually does our client interviews. But I personally want possibly a generator or a Tesla power wall to connect to my solar. So my client wanted us to cover the topic of Generac generator. So I said, “You know what, John? I’ll do this podcast with the client because I want to ask him all the questions. It’s free information for me.”

So I went to ChatGPT and said, “write me six podcast questions about the benefits of Generac generators”, and it was pretty sick. In 10 seconds I had six pretty well-thought-out structured questions that actually had a logical flow to it. So I was like, “What the hell?”

Kevin: Yeah. It’s definitely, I mean, it’s good in certain ways. For us, we do seven solo episodes a week, my co-host and I, so-

John: Seven solo ones?

Kevin: We’re not having-

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Yeah. So it’s almost like, I mean, I understand our demographic at a very deep level. Would ChatGPT? I’m sure it would too, but for me, you cannot … I shouldn’t say you cannot. It’s very hard to replicate conversation. And that’s one thing I think that my co-host and I can do without the assistance of that. But when you’re coming up with questions and stuff, yeah, I think it’s super helpful.

AI Vs. Human-Generated Content

John: Yeah, I mean, we’re sort of stressing out a little bit right now because even clients are saying like, “Oh, you’ve got to use ChatGTP.” We’re saying for SEO, Google has said many times that it’s scraped content, but Google’s made some other comments about it. So it’s a little confusing. I’m a little skeptical that you should really be cutting and pasting from ChatPGT as a blog post, but the world changes.

Kevin: Well, I went to a podcast conference a couple weeks ago and they said that … I mean, there’s algorithms that can tell if something’s been created by another algorithm. Anytime there’s kind of always that check and balance of when you come up with some sort of powerful technology, there’s usually something that’s coming out to make sure that powerful technology doesn’t get used and abused. So it’s interesting. We’ll see where it goes.

John: is one of those. So I’ve been doing a lot of work in the last few days actually just on sorting that out because we’re really into original unique content. Podcasting and YouTube videos are a great part of that.

I call it Talk Marketing, the power of your authentic voice, creating content, not just push a button and have a robot do it, who might not have the right emotion. Or exactly like you were saying, it’s very important to really get your exact audience right and get them engaged and get them to listen to four episodes like you said, and yeah, can a robot do that?

Anyway, who knows where the future will go. But what about other ways to promote your podcast like ads, like overcast ads or audio ads, anything? Has anything worked well for you, or do you see stamina, like you said earlier, being the key factor?

Should You Use Ads to Drive Interest in Your Podcast?

Kevin: Yeah, so we’ve never … I think the only thing we’ve ever done in terms of paid ads, we tried some Pinterest marketing because our demographic is a demographic that uses Pinterest, but that was only a couple hundred bucks. I haven’t done a lot with paid ads because honestly for us, we put all of our money back into the business, building the team, creating better content.

One of the things I’ve seen is the more niched you are, usually the better the ads actually work. I’ve seen that work where I had a client who was a stay-at-home parent podcast. She ran an ad and spent $300 or $400, and she doubled her listeners from 2000 to 4,000 a month. That’s really-

John: Wow, that’s a big jump jump.

Kevin: That’s a big jump-

John: For cheaper.

Kevin: But here’s the problem.

John: That’s not common though.

Recording Podcasts That Solve Listeners’ Problems

Kevin: That’s not common, and if you are not capable of monetizing an audience, you’re just throwing money out the window. So that’s always my frame, is make sure the business doesn’t have any leaks in it before you start throwing money at something. A lot of people think they need, “I need X amount of listeners or listens to monetize.” Sure.

If you’re going to do a sponsorship, if you’re going to run an ad, or if you’re going to do affiliate marketing. If you’re in the self-improvement industry or the problem-solving industry, you can get somebody to pay you $75, $100, $150 an hour for coaching. You don’t need 100,000 downloads to do that.

So I think it all depends on the ultimate goal of the show, but I think for most times that money would be better used to build the business, upgrade equipment, bring on teams so you can delegate stuff. I really think that’s probably a better use of capital.

John: Yeah, that makes sense. What about your solo episodes you mentioned? You and your team member do those. You do one, and then he or she does a different one, or you do them together?

Kevin: We do them together. So …

John: Yeah. You call them solo, it’s two people, but it’s not another influencer, you mean?

Kevin: Correct.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Correct. We found that … I mean, think of it this way, and this is a good way to kind of use it as an analogy. You can really only title this episode based on what you and I are going to talk about. And imagine if you thought to yourself and you probably are doing this because you understand your end user, “but what are the top 25 to 50 buzzwords that my ideal listener would click on? What are the top 25 to 50 problems that they’re dealing with?” You just created 50 solo episodes if you can come up with 50 problems.

And that’s the way that we prefer to do it, because having guests on is great. You’re going to get listens that you wouldn’t get. But I don’t always think that guest episodes are as valuable because they’re not necessarily solving the specific problems that the audience has. So that’s another perspective, too.

Solo Podcasts Vs Hosting Guests

John: That’s interesting. So how often do you have guests as opposed to the solo ones?

Kevin: We have not had a guest in, I don’t know, eight months, something like that.

John: Oh, okay. Yeah. So when you said you do seven a week, that’s the whole show, and it’s you and your team member?

Kevin: Yeah. Yeah.

John: That’s cool.

Kevin: Yeah, we batch on Mondays, so yesterday was Monday. We recorded seven episodes yesterday.

John: Yeah. You just one day a week, you do the week.

Kevin: Yep. Yep.

John: That’s cool.

Kevin: Yep.

John: And how long are your episodes typically?

Kevin: 20 to 30 minutes.

Posting Podcasts With Text: Show Notes, Transcripts, and Blogs

John: Yeah. And you transcribe the texts of all of them, put them up on a post, or is that also a …

Kevin: No. So I actually-

John: You do show notes?

Kevin: We do show notes. We do timestamp show notes with here’s our website, here’s our social medias. I think what we’re going to do at some point is we’re going to start doing a more specific intentional blog where we just have somebody in the team write out, these are the top five takeaways from this episode, something like that, as opposed to doing a transcript or something.

Intentional Branding and Community Building

John: Yeah, that makes sense. And what about if you were starting a podcast today, knowing everything you’ve learned over 1,000 episodes, what would you do differently?

Kevin: I was talking to somebody about this the other day. I would be more intentional about the name and the branding. And one of the reasons I say that is because we started a show, originally, it was called the Hyper-Conscious Podcast. Nobody is searching for hyper-conscious. Most people don’t even know what that means.

So understanding that the first word of your title is unreasonably important, especially on the podcast apps, understanding that, I probably would’ve reversed engineered my title based off of searchability and not saying I’m going to name it whatever I want and then just make it grow. That would be one thing.

And then I think I probably would have … I probably would’ve started a Facebook group sooner because our demographic is a demographic that values Facebook groups, and we have one, and it’s great, and we have a lot of engagement and a lot of great relationships being built. But we waited three years, I think, to start that. I think if we started it earlier, it would’ve been more beneficial because it helps you build …

Here’s what I think it’s an important understanding for podcasters. Your podcast is a problem solver. People tune into your podcast because it helps them at least have an awareness or tactics to solve problems. And my question for all podcasters is, after the episode ends, where do you want people to go? Where are they supposed to go? Are they supposed to wait till next week till another episode comes out, or do you have a Facebook group? Do you have a mailing list? Do you have events that you do? I think if we had the Facebook group earlier, it would’ve just benefited us at a deeper level.

Facebook Groups for Podcasts

John: That’s interesting. Yeah. And Facebook, the only thing that makes me nervous with that kind of thing is they could shut it down, or-

Kevin: Of course-

John: Even inadvertently, there’s a lot of weird stories of people losing access to Facebook for just random stupid things, not like oh we spammed, or this is some crappy thing. Have you thought about using another tool like or whatever, or Facebook just has too much benefit because of its…

Kevin: The benefit outweighs the risk for us. And we have an email list too. But we’re a self-improvement company. I’m not really worried about anything. And could it happen? Sure. Could we inadvertently get shut down? Sure. But the relationships, here’s the other thing, everybody who joins the Facebook group, I end up being a friend with on Facebook. So worst case scenario, if it gets shut down, I still have all those people as people I can add value to. So yeah, I think it’s worth it.

Podcasts and SEO

John: Cool. And what about SEO? Have you intentionally used strategies for your podcast or for blogs relating to the content you’re creating or?

Kevin: Yeah, we have for blogs in the past. We’ve got to get back on that. There’s been a lot of growth and infrastructure that we’ve been building that we haven’t been doing. The hard part, and I think this is the uncertain part, is when it comes to podcasts, I don’t think the SEO is really up to the standard yet, where, I mean, you got to think, the apps aren’t super connected to the outside world.

There’s so many different apps. You don’t know how it’s actually going to connect. And there’s a lot of different podcast titles that have similar words, similar phrases, same guests. So I do not know where the future of SEO for podcast specific is going, but I do think the YouTube route is huge. Blogs are huge. And then really just leaning into what are people searching for when they’re searching for your guests. I think those are three opportunities.

Favorite Podcasting Tools

John: And what about tools? Do you have some favorite tools that you like?

Kevin: I like Ubersuggest.

John: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: Ubersuggest is a good place to find keywords and key phrases that your audience is searching for. That’s the biggest one for me, is just getting better at understanding what topics are trending and then what are people searching for that we can help solve those problems.

John: And just podcast tools in general, like podcast hosting or what other promotion tools do you like?

Kevin: We use Buzzsprout to host.

John: Yep.

Kevin: Great stats, super easy to get out to other platforms, user interface is really, really simple. And then honestly, from there, I mean, we use StreamYard to record. We use Audacity, but I use Audacity. So it’s a little bit of an upgrade.

John: Stack, yeah.

Kevin: We use StreamYard to record the video. We also record our audio in StreamYard, but we both record our audio natively to our laptops as well. So you get the best audio quality possible and you get the best video quality possible. So that’s a little bit of a … You have to do some stuff in post-production, but we’re grateful where we have a team that does all that and they’re the best. So that’s a little upgrade where, yeah, you can upgrade your platform and you can do audio and video. How do you get better audio? How do you get better video after that?

John: Nice. Yeah. Yeah, I have to try Buzzsprout. At the moment, we’re using Libsyn and we’ve used SoundCloud for a decade on, or I don’t even know how long time for clients.

Kevin: Yeah, I like Buzzsprout.

John: Buzzsprout. Yeah. Yeah. Seems to, I’ve heard what you said, it has a lot of ways to get things on other platforms, even like a … I think Spotify, I think Libsyn makes it, has that option, but it sounds like Buzzsprout is more the iPhone of that type of thing, just makes it easy.

Kevin: It makes it simple.

John: Yeah, yeah.

Kevin: The other thing too, and I think this is one of the measures of a good company, the customer service is really good. I’ve used, and again, I don’t get paid by any companies to say anything. I’ve used other companies with clients and the customer service just wasn’t great. Where Buzzsprout, I’ve sent emails and I’ve gotten responses within the hour.

I’m big on that because as a creator, the last thing you want to do is have it feel like you can’t get access to what you’re doing, or, “Hey, I need help. How do I find this help?” “Oh, reach out to us. All right, we’ll get back to you in a week.” “No, no, no, you can’t. This is my baby. This is my livelihood. I need this fixed today.” So yeah, Buzzsprout’s been big for that.

John: Yeah, a lot of tools are just a guy in a garage. People don’t realize they’re not all huge companies. They’re just a developer and maybe some dude that helped sell it for him.

Kevin: Yeah, yeah.

Future of Podcast

John: Yeah. And what about the future of podcasting? What are you excited about or what do you think’s changing?

Kevin: One of the things I think is changing quickly, and I think it’s going to continue changing, is I think people are way overusing ads and sponsorships. And I think one of the benefits of listening to podcasts in the beginning was there were no ads, there were no sponsorships. It was just a fly on the wall of a conversation. I think people are taking advantage of that, which some people, that’s how they monetize. So you do you.

I think that’s going to start shifting the other way where people are going to stop listening to shows that have so many ads, even if they like the shows. Because if you look at the reviews of some of the more popular podcasts, when they start using too many ads, you see a lot of negative reviews, those people are going to go somewhere else.

So I think the shift is moving away from that type of monetization and really, really understanding how do you monetize your podcast as a business, as a service provider, as a product division? How can your podcast actually make money in the real world, not from sponsorships and ads, because I think the end user is going to … they don’t want that. The people who listen to podcasts, you don’t want to have to skip ads. You want to throw it on and just let it go. So I think that’s big.

And then I think at some point, I’m sure all the podcast platforms are going to get to the point where they have video. I can’t imagine that not happening. So making sure that you’re doing video and you’re doing micro content, I think is going to be very, very, very big. Those are a couple things.

Yeah, those are the big ones. And here’s the thing, and you mentioned this earlier, the staying power. The staying power is really, that’s where you’re going to see the differentiation between people who make it and people who don’t. Because there’s a lot of people who start and they do it for six months or whatever. You’re going to see the cream start rising to the top. The people who have done so many episodes, it’s going to start to show through eventually.

Importance of Keeping up Your Podcasting Stamina

John: Podcasting, like many things with the pandemic, got a boost, but there are going to be a lot that fall off. And I’ve been guilty of that myself, started podcasts and drifted off of them. So what are other takeaways there with keeping your stamina up, essentially?

Kevin: Yeah, you got to find some sort of … So two things. You have to find necessity. I have a business partner, which is public accountability or accountability. We’re also, we’ve branded ourselves as self-improvement in your pocket every single day from anywhere on the planet for free. So it’s in our branding. We can’t miss. So there’s a lot of accountability that’s built in there.

The other thing is you have to understand that, this is always my analogy, if I want to get pizza, I have a pizza spot that’s 15 minutes away. It’s my favorite pizza in the world. If I call them and they’re closed and I still want pizza, I got to go find another pizza shop. If that pizza’s really good, I may never go back to that other one. I may just keep going to this new one.

I think of podcasts as the same thing. If you are not there, somebody else is, and people forget about you quickly. So you have to have that level of understanding that it’s my responsibility to show up for my audience. That’s another piece. And you’ve got to make it bigger than you.

I love podcasting. I love our podcast, but it’s not about me. I don’t want to do seven episodes a week every week. I didn’t want to record however many we recorded yesterday. I wanted to hang out with my wife, but it’s not about me. I feel the responsibility to add value to the community. And yeah, I don’t want it to be just a podcast. It’s a movement. It’s a mission. It’s got to mean more to you than just talking into a microphone. I think those are a couple important points to have.

How Often to Record Your Podcast

John: That is super important. And what about the number of episodes every week? I mean, you’re doing it daily, and that’s a great little trick on yourself is put it in your mission statement that people see publicly, it’s daily episodes.

Two parts to this question. What about for people that probably can’t sustain daily? And what about for people that just want the ultimate, I really want to grow this sucker. Should I do it daily?

Kevin: I do not. I do not suggest, unless you have a sustainable way to make money from the podcast, I don’t necessarily suggest doing daily because there’s just so much that goes into it. It’s very hard to work on the business and in the business when you’re doing pure content.

Number one, I think people should start with one a week and then see how that works for you. Batch it where you either record one, you’d record four episodes on a Monday, and that gets you through the entire month. That’s big. If you want to grow it, it doesn’t necessarily mean more episodes is going to do better because if you only have 100 listeners, you know, it might go from 100 listens to 700.

It’s not necessarily the way to do it for most people. So I would be very cautious about saying more episodes equals more growth. Some metrics are vanity metrics. You might double or triple your listens, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re double or tripling your impact.

And here’s the other thing. There’s a level of quality that you have to upkeep. And when you go from one episode to two, you’ve got to come up with two titles, you’ve got to come up with two topics, to come up with two guests. That gets really hard when you’re doing seven a week. It’s just a challenge. So I do not necessarily recommend that for anybody.

Type and Lengths of Podcast Episodes

John: Yeah. And what about, maybe going to two though, if you do an influencer interview weekly, would you then do a solo one also weekly? Or if you do a half hour or an hour, would you do a 10-minute one? What are the trends there in terms of a couple a week, and what time lengths or variations of length do people have success with?

Kevin: Yeah, so if I was doing one a week and I wanted to go to two, I would do exactly what you said. I would do a guest and a solo. And I think that’s a good place to start because the solo episode is going to get you a further relationship with your listener base, which I think is always important.

The stat that I heard recently, and again, this is probably skewed, but it was the shows that are the most successful average, I think, 56 minutes in length. Now again, Joe Rogan is one of them. Joe Rogan’s an outlier. A lot of the shows that are super successful are also super long. So I don’t necessarily think that’s why they’re successful. So I would be careful with that.

I like to think in this term. Your episode should be as long as you can add value for. I know it’s cliche. I know it’s probably oversimplified. But if you’re adding value consistently, your audience is most likely going to tune in. I really feel that.

For most people, I always suggest you drop the episode on the day that you can do the most promotion. I don’t think there’s a certain day that matters more than other days. I don’t think there’s a certain time that matters more than other times, because again, it’s not about just one thing. It’s about how the one thing, how does that connect to the other things? But whatever day you’re going to be able to promote it and actually take time to respond to people and talk to your community, that’s probably the best day to drop every week.

Promoting Your Email List and Facebook Group

John: And what are some of the things you do to promote your email list, your Facebook group? I mean, what are those other things?

Kevin: Yeah, so basically for us it’s social media posts. And then the way we have it set up is I ask myself, “Okay, why would somebody follow me on social media?” Well, they’d follow me on social media because they want to see my lifestyle. They love my cats. They enjoy my relationship. They like to see me at the gym, whatever.

Okay, cool. Why would they listen to the podcast from there? Well, they’ll see some clips that are really high quality. Okay, cool. And then all I’m asking myself all the time, John, why would somebody come here and then where would they actually go next?

So in a way, our promotion is primarily to our audience currently more than it is to gain new audience, which I understand for a lot of people might not make sense, but I’m not really super concerned about somebody seeing a social media post and then working with us. I want somebody to see a social media post and then stay on my social media for longer, because eventually they might see a clip and say, “Oh, wow, these people have a podcast.”

So it’s mostly social media, but it’s really how do I add value to people behind the scenes. That really is our growth strategy, is add more value than anybody else can, because naturally, eventually you’ll want to listen to the show. I really believe that at a deep level.

So it’s post on social. We send out an email, but it’s a value added email based on one of our episodes, but it’s a value add, not, “Hey, just listen to this.” And that’s really the way we’ve done it is through social media. That’s the biggest way in just building relationships.

Next Level University

John: Kevin, tell us a little bit about your podcast and your company.

Kevin: Yeah. So the podcast as well as the company, they’re both called Next Level University. The podcast is Holistic Self-improvement For Dream Chasers. That’s what we talk about, leveling up your life, your love, your health, and your wealth. That is our jam. And we talk about that every day.

And then in the business, we’re able to fund the podcast and make a living. So we do podcast production. We do social media. We have web services. We get people on shows. We get people guests. So we thought to ourselves, what were the biggest struggles that we had as a podcast, and as entrepreneurs in this space? We figured out how to solve them for ourselves. How do we solve them for other people? So if you’re a podcaster and you have any questions, I’m happy to answer any of them.

John: And what are some common industries, whether, is it dentists, lawyers, are there people that come to you more commonly than others or health coaches or something?

Kevin: Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s usually people in the self-improvement space in some way, shape, or form. It’s usually people who are transitioning from corporate to wanting to do their own thing. So we have a lot of CEOs who are like, “Ah, I don’t really want to do this corporate thing anymore. I want to build my own brand.”

I have a couple of dentists, a couple podiatrists, or one podiatrist, which is interesting. Honestly, it’s two people. It’s the people who just want to get started and they want support. Or it’s the people who are far enough in to say, “Look, I don’t want to have to learn how to do all this stuff. I’d like to pay you to take care of that, and then I want to pay you to help me strategize.” So it’s kind of those two ends.

John: Yeah. And what’s the website address?


John: And that’s the best way to get a hold of you?

Kevin: It’s the best way. You can follow me on social media. Send me a DM. I answer all those too. But you can email me. Whatever your easiest way to get a hold of me is probably the best.

John: Sounds good. Final question, you said you have a couple of cats. Are they a certain type of cat, a certain color? Is there something unique? Tell us a quick bit about it.

Kevin: Oh sure, yeah, if I get to talk about the cats. So we have two cats. One is Fudge and one is Ace. Fudge is just, he’s all black. He’s got a little white on his belly. He is the sweetest. He’s afraid of everything, but he is the most loving cat in the world. And then Ace is, he’s kind of like a Bengal cat, and he is wild. And he jumps up on the TV that’s hung on the wall, and he climbed the Christmas tree when he had it up. And he’s just a maniac. But he is also the … He’s very loving. They’re both very, very loving, but they’re opposites, even though they’ve been living together their entire lives.

John: And they go outside? You’re in New Hampshire, you said?

Kevin: No, no, no. They stay inside. They are inside cats. I don’t think-

John: Yeah, you got bears up in the woods.

Kevin: Yeah. Yeah. We don’t want them outside. That wouldn’t be good for them.

John: Yep. All right. Cool. It was really fun talking to you today.

Kevin: Likewise my friend.

John: Cool. And again, this was John with Kevin of Next Level University. See you next time on Talk Marketing Made Easy.


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