The Power of Starting a Podcast with Mark Asquith

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 Deliveroo started to exist and now Amazon Prime exists. So essentially you can get everything is on demand.

There's been a huge shift in the way that people consume everything. Podcasting was there before all of this. I mean it wasn't there before all of this stuff. YouTube arguably existed on video tapes since the '80s. Been making home videos, aren't we?


So that's what happened, is the mass market, the people that wouldn't ordinarily think about podcasts just went, “Wait a second, this is just Netflix for kind of radio stuff.” And I know there are podcast purists that will kick me in the face for that but ultimately that's all it is, it is. You can be a podcast purist as much as you want, but ultimately that is what my mum will say. Oh it's like Netflix for radio.

I think that's what happened. I think the entrepreneurial space is a little bit bizarre because I think you've got people like JLD who did a great job of [inaudible 00:16:46], he got people like Pat doing a great job, but I do think podcasting, at the same time as all that was happening in the mass market, I think entrepreneurs were thinking wait a sec, so this is like 20 bucks a month for hosting, that's it? I don't need anything else except a microphone and I can interview people and I can build my network up and I can build businesses and build an audience?

Like, they had that realisation around the same time as well. So I think that's why. It was the perfect storm. And I think the industry, I don't even think it's even close to getting started.

And I think that's the thing, isn't it? It seems to be growing but it's still so small when you compare it to other things, that actually it's a perfect time for people to be looking at it.

There's a couple of things that I think about when thinking about doing podcasts, is that first off for me it's not the cheapest thing. Because I wanted to do it properly. I'm one of these people, if I do anything I do it properly. So-

Like Kiran with golf. He's terrible.


He really is bad.

Is he good at golf though?

No, he's terrible. Sorry, mate, if you're listening, I'm sorry. But he likes to do it properly, he's got all the gear.

Yeah. All the gear, no idea.

That's exactly it, that's what I call him.

Honestly, my husband skis. I don't think I've talked about this before. He skis and when I say skis, he used to ski for the RAF ski team.

Oh wow.

He does like downhill and stuff, this guy is phenomenal, and he took me skiing, never skied in my life. I looked amazing. Honestly, the photos, I look awesome. Did I ski? No, I go to the top of the mountain, I sit and have hot chocolate with rum, that's how you have to say it.


And sit there while he skis all day and I work. It's brilliant. But yeah. All the gear, no idea. Literally put a set of skis on once, was not for me. Anyway.

But it's one of the most expensive things I do because I have someone transcribe it, I have someone edit it for me now. I never did when I started, we had to do it ourselves. I have someone write my show notes because I'm not naturally the best, easiest writer. And then I have a VA who works with me and she helps me manage the podcast, she helps with all the social media stuff, and that sort of thing. So for me the podcast is a fairly expensive thing to do from a content point of view.

Because if we're talking about posting on social media or a blog, there's a lot more cost with a podcast. Secondly, it takes time and granted if I was to write a blog that would take me a hell of a time because I hate writing. But planning and organising who's coming on, what you're going to talk about, then doing it, then the process of okay now I've recorded it, it's got to go off to be edited, then it's got to have the show notes, then it's got to go to Rev and get transcribed, then it's got to be put on the site and blah blah blah blah.


How Do You Stand Out and Who Is Podcasting For?


So it's a big deal and I'm just really interested because there's lots of people out there who are probably looking at podcasts going… Hang on, there's a couple of things, my mind's going all over the shop now. Right, one thing is how do you stand out? Because I remember talking to Andrew and Pete and they said, they did a podcast and they said, “We just don't want to be another marketing podcast that interviews people.”

So when I started it I was a bit like holy crap, am I just going to be another marketing podcast that interviews people? But also, can just anybody do it? Is it as easy and worth people doing it as people might think when they listen to the podcast, oh yeah I want a podcast?

Yeah. So two parts to that. I agree with Andrew and Pete wholeheartedly. Like I did 150 episodes of my interview show and it was all right, I got some big names early. I'm talking like episode five is Guy Kawasaki or something, and I'm like that's cool, Guy's all right, we had a good laugh. Robert Scoble crashed the party. So you can build a network pretty quickly.

I think that's the first thing you have to understand is where do you want to be with this? Because I do agree with Andrew and Pete, I don't want to be another “crappy interview podcast”. People did start to rip at John, Ducker and a few of the other guys. John in particular, [inaudible 00:20:30] people that I like. And I see this every day. And I'm like, “Look, John did that really well.”

Because that was thing and his thing.

Yeah. And just do something else because that guest that's on your show has probably already been on John's show, and John has got this format and this formula and people like him for that. If you just copy it, I may as well just listen to John, do you know what I mean? I may as well just do that.

And it's easier for John to do because that's the way he is, whereas if we're trying to copy someone that's not very easy for us to do.

Exactly. And to put it into context, John is not doing that anymore. There's a reason he's not doing that. He's got a slightly different format now.

So I think, I agree with that but you've got to understand what do you want to get out of podcasting? If it's network, yeah, interview people. But then understand that you're probably not going to do as well as you think you're going to do with an interview show. I've probably been on 1000 podcasts, and you have and someone like Guy Kawasaki has been on. I love Pat Flynn to bits, he's a great guy, we're friends and we talk. I'm not interested in having him on my podcast.

Because he's been on so much stuff.


He's been seen in so many places.

And the only way you can do, if you do want the big names, get them to talk about something else. Like if I was going to get Pat on a podcast, or even, in fact Chris is the better example, so Chris is a friend, we work closely on some projects. I ain't getting him on my podcasting podcast, I'm not getting him on my business podcast, I'm getting him on my Star Wars podcast. Do you know what I mean? Because he's going to talk about something that he's never spoken about in public.

So I think there's that side of things, if you're going to do interviews understand that you ain't going to build a million dollar empire from doing it, and if you are it's going to be a hard slog and you're always going to have to be topping up your backend. What I mean by that is more courses, more products, more stuff. And that's not easy money. That's hard money.

And it takes time.

It really does because people need to trust you and that's the other side of the coin with that is whose trust are you trying to build? Are you trying to build trust in you or trust in them? Because you're trying to build, like I've done all the talking.

Yeah. And that's the point. When I'm interviewing someone and actually I'm going to do it right now and I'm going to tell you that I'm doing it but I spoke to someone the other day and I said I was listening to someone else's interview and it made me think oh my god, do I talk too much at my interviews?

No, you don't talk enough. I don't think you… You don't talk enough. So this is your show. This is your show. People aren't tuning in for me because all they have to do is google me. They can hear me in 1000 places saying, not always the same stuff, but variations on a theme, because people ask me about podcasting. Whereas for you, they're tuning in to listen to you and me, but the key thing is it's you, because we wouldn't talk about pole skiing on Pat's show, wouldn't talk about… Do you know what I mean? That's the thing.

So you're the centrepiece of this one. So I do think there's something around designing a format that lets you the host shine. Where you've got to think about, so if we go a bit further into that, what's your goal? If it's just to build a network, sure, sit back and just interview.

And it's brilliant because I have met and interviewed some of the most amazing people, and if you've listened to the show, will know who I've had on, they know I've had Amy and Pat and Michael Hyatt and in two weeks time we're travelling out to Nashville and I'm going to be sat in a room with 10 people and Michael Hyatt.

Like, I'd never have got that opportunity if it wasn't for the fact that I did this kind of thing. However, I totally agree that the reason I do the format I do, which is every other, pretty much. So interview, solo, interview, solo, is because sometimes on an interview, you interview someone who's amazing and they don't give you what you want or you sit there and think this person could be great at telling me these steps and they have another agenda, or it just doesn't quiet work out the same and then I wonder what content someone's getting from it.

So for me, doing the solos means I can teach and give real content, and for me, although I love doing the podcast and I think I would just keep doing it, ultimately it is a part of my business. It's a way for people to find me, for people to get to know me, to like me, to trust me, and then realise that hopefully if they want to come into the academy I can really help them.

Doing that through those teaching lessons is probably way more useful to me than necessarily some of the interviews. And although the interviews are great for me to go oh wow, I had that person, sometimes because we're so wrapped up in this world I interview someone that I'm like oh my god, this person's amazing, like the other day. Because they don't know them do they? So it's a real interesting strategy that, isn't it?

But it's curious because, and it really is good to be able to say I'm going out, I want to spend some time with Michael and we know Pat and all that sort of… I'd rather be trying to increase the monthly recurring revenue. I'd rather be at home doing that.

I think you get to a point, like I'm quite forceful with my networking, like I'm literally within two years of being in the space I'm fairly close with the [inaudible 00:25:26] guys, fairly close with all the people, and everyone's like how have you done that? It's very easy, you just say do you want to be here?

None of this is secret stuff. And the fun thing with it is is that I think you get to a realisation when it comes to the podcast and I think you just articulated it really well is you are adding more value by teaching, because this is the other thing. You asked the question can anyone do it and should people be doing it?

Yes, but. It's a yes, but. Especially for people in business. Because I say to most people, like what are you doing with your podcast? And they'll say, “Well, I'm going to add value to my listeners.” I'm like, that is like a plumber turning up and saying I'm going to do plumbing. Of course it is, that is what you're here to do, that is exactly what, but specifically-

I paid you for that.

Yeah, exactly. I've pressed play and I've paid you with my time, that's kind of what I've paid for. I expect you to add value or entertain me. Either make me laugh or teach me something. That's it. That's the only thing that podcasting's there for, one of those two things. Evoke some kind of emotion and entertain me, or teach me something. There's nothing else.

And I guess if you can do a bit of both, you're on to a winner.

That's huge, yeah. That's why Andrew and Pete do well, you've got the personality to do that as well with your solo stuff and the interview stuff is always fun. So you've kind of got that real mix. But most people start in podcasting just think it is going the be quick and easy because they can just “add value”.

What does that mean? Because it's rare that I see a podcaster positioning themselves, and there's only very few people that I can think of that I've seen start in the last three years that have truly done that. And have really used interviews truly to position themselves. Otherwise it's just what they say online and what they talk about in person is probably very different to what their annual revenue is. Because it's disparate.

It's easy to be able to say I've done this, this, and this, but actually where's the brass off the back of it? So you've got to be really careful with that.

And I'm really honest about this, because I think there's too much, and I don't think it's just this industry, I'm sure it happens in every other industry, but anybody can watch my Insta stories, they can watch my feed and see that I'm speaking on this stage and doing this thing and recording with this person and travelling here. It costs me a fortune.

When I go to Nashville, that's not paid. I'm not being paid to go to Nashville, I've got to pay to go to Nashville, I've got to pay to be sat in that room. I spoke yesterday in Harrogate, which is why I'm in Sheffield today, and I didn't get paid for that. It was a marketing event with Prof. Phillip [inaudible 00:28:00], so therefore it's a very prestigious thing to be invited to. I didn't get paid. That's two days out of my week where I'm, it looks great, but I'm not earning any money from that.

And like you said I have my academy now which is where all my efforts are going into and that's what I want to build, but doing it through speaking and podcasting is two fairly slow ways of… I probably should think of a more faster way to build this because this isn't going to help me tomorrow when I want to pay for shopping.

That's true.

Christmas is coming [inaudible 00:28:31]. So it's difficult because those are the slow burning things, however and hopefully you'll agree with this, I feel like when I speak to someone and I talk, hopefully, fingers crossed you agree with me, when I talk I'm talking as if I'm talking to one person. So when I'm in your ears and you're hearing me talk, that over time when you do make the decision to come and join me and hand over money for something at some point, you will be my best, longest customer, because you've sat and built that trust over time. Whereas if you just saw an ad, went to a checkout page, checked out, that might be the only thing you ever buy from me.

Yeah, I think that's important and you're essentially building your assets up as well, back to that speaking and stuff. That's how we build our business in podcasting so quickly is that we went to every event. I've invested hundreds of thousand of pounds in going to events and sponsoring events, right out of the gate we sponsored the biggest podcasting conference. People were like who are these guys? Who was invested? No one had invested. We just, I had paid for that.

That's brave, isn't it?

But you've got to do it so now it gets to the point where we built relationships with Apple and Spotify and Google very, very quickly, as opposed to… it's having the confidence to go out there and do that, but there is something around in particular with podcasting where people see it as the short, like it's the classic SEO thing. It's I've tried SEO for three months and it didn't work so I'm going to cancel it.

And you're like well, that's not how it works. The O is optimization, like optimization implies longevity and time. Like, get a grip. It's the same with podcasting you can't just turn it on. But I do think you do have to be careful, and I think you've got a really nice mix of the interviews and the solo stuff because your ultimate goal is to position you as the authority. If all you do is interview, and you've only got to look at some of the entrepreneur podcasts out there, go and look at revenue reports for some of the entrepreneurial podcasts out there and just go and look at whether that revenue's grown over the last five years and it hasn't.

There's 50 out there that you could pick from. Go and look at their revenue year on year and the only ones that have grown are the ones that build other stuff, that don't use a podcast just to build their business. They do the podcast because they love it. They're not using the podcast to build an audience and then fulfil a backend of something semi-intangible.

You've got to be really careful with that, that's why people like the next wave, I think micro… not micro podcasts, but sort of like regional and hyper niche stuff. I'm talking like accountants in Barnsley, have a little podcast. I don't care about the budget, I honestly do not care. What's going to happen to my milk and what's going to happen to my tax, I don't care about… and the beer obviously. That's the only thing.

Obviously. Forget the milk, I don't know what you're talking about there.

I need the milk for the day after, for the tea. But have a look at what's going on in that kind of niche where there's a micro podcast that's saying you know what? If you need accounting advice in Barnsley and you're wondering what's going on, we're only going to get 50 downloads but every person that needs and accountant in Barnsley, we are the logical choice because we're the only ones that have told you what you can expect from the budget.

It's a tiny little thing and that is content marketing in its most pure form. People aren't thinking like that, they're thinking I'm an accountant in Barnsley, I need to basically interview the person that invented numbers. Do you know what I mean? They try and think way too big.

And do you know what, I had this discussion just the other day with someone in social media, who's in my academy, we were talking about creating content and what kind of content people want. We talked about the fact that often our customers or people we're trying to sell to want the most basic stuff, right? So I walk in a room and I did a workshop the other day for a friend of mine, she had a coaching event.

And I'm talking about building their strategy and their funnel and all this kind of cool stuff, and at the end someone comes up to me and goes, “I'm not sure what Instagram is but do you think I should be on it?” And of course there's nothing wrong with that, like if you're sat there listening thinking oh you think I'm stupid, no no no, I don't think you're stupid, I think we're stupid because we sit there as experts, like you said. Who are we trying to impress?

Are we trying to impress our peers by going oh look, I know this and I've done this, and like you said I'm interviewing some amazing person who created social media, or… it'd be a bit like me interviewing Mark Zuckerberg, don't get me wrong I'd actually quite like to interview Mark Zuckerberg, but it would be like me interviewing him, he's going to add nothing to my audience. There's nothing he could say, I don't really think, that would benefit my audience in terms of so how do I do that ad or how do I post a picture on Instagram?

And I think we need to decide, are we trying to be experts in our industry to be seen with all the experts or are we trying to sell to our customers?

Well, that's true and Zuck would come on and he'd be all weird like he is and he'd just…

He'd be a terrible interviewee.

He would be so bad, wouldn't he? It'd be like Congress all over again. But he would, he'd entertain. That's why Tim Ferriss does such a good job because he is so broad in the type of people that he gets, but the core of it is always around improvement, the mindset of improvement. He's flat. It's only very recently that he's started running ads and stuff to his podcast and he's started saying download, check this for me. Like something's going on with Ferriss, I don't know what's going on but something's going on with him.

He's had someone new in his world going you need to sort this out.

I don't know, something like that or maybe, and I've got nothing to back this up, but maybe I don't know, maybe the sponsors are getting itchy, maybe the numbers are dropping or maybe the numbers are not growing like they'd expect. But something somewhere is going weirdly. But up until recently he was just like look I've had Arnie talking about a mindset of winning. That's amazing content but then you could get Mark Hamill and you could get, I think he's had scientists, Michio Kaku, he's had all sorts of people I think on the show, and you're like, these are so varied but he's always got that nugget of self-improvement in there. So he's not even pretending to do anything else, it's just like look, these are great stories from people that have done really good stuff, and I might have climbed Kilimanjaro, might have been Mr. Olympia 100 times, or I might have invented this or built this business.

So it is deciding what you want to be and I think it's how are you going to monetize the entire thing, and I think one of the worrying parts for podcasters in particular is that people forget to make the distinction, when you start a podcast you've got to understand is the podcast the product or is the podcast helping you to sell a product?

And with us it's very clear, Captivate and my Podcast Accelerator show. My Podcast Accelerator, I'm teaching you the bits of podcasting that no one's really teaching you. And the reason I'm doing that is not to get sponsors [inaudible 00:35:16], but like it wouldn't matter if they were, I'd still do it.

The goal is to position us as people that know what they're talking about in podcasting, because guess what? I own a podcast platform. It's not… So many people try to do both, there'll be an entrepreneur that comes on and like right, I'm going to start a podcast and I'm going to get a sponsor. Like, why are you trying to get a sponsor? How many blog posts have you got on your website that have got sponsors? None. How many videos on YouTube have got sponsors? None. So why do you suddenly feel like you've got to do it with your podcast?

Like, use it as a channel and focus on that as a channel so that you can start to say to people, well, look, this is what works really well for us by the way. Is that someone puts something on Captivate support, “How do I get my podcast in Google Podcasts?” I'm like, here's how you do it! And then a day later, there's a podcast episode.

And it does great things, because the cool thing with that is that people see the episode and then they'll listen to the next episode, which is how do I get my podcast into Apple Podcasts? And it might answer the question, it might stop a support request. But also, they're going to tell someone. They'll see it on Facebook in the podcast movement, how did they do this? Well, Mark's got an episode about it and Captivate does it. Ah, okay, that's very easy, I'll sign up for Captivate and subscribe to Mark's show. So it becomes very obvious when you think about it like that.

And like you said you've been really clear that that podcast is not making you money or the aim of that podcast is to not get a sponsor, the aim of that podcast is to help people learn how to do podcasting but also make the right decision and join Captivate. And that supports that perfectly. And I love the way that you said that really clearly, it's either the product or it's selling a product.

And it can't be both, I don't think, because… Well, I think you can get sponsors but I don't think it will ever be sponsors that you can live off. If you look at anyone that's got major sponsors, again, look at people that are generating income from various things online and podcast the main thing. The bulk of the revenue that comes from these people is on podcast sponsorships. Like, they're selling.

So if you look at any entrepreneurs online that just do their podcasts, and they might have memberships, but I'm willing to bet that it's a fairly disproportionate split. Like, the show is probably earning the money.

Look at anyone that's got a big show, the podcast is their revenue. Look at the way that Wondery do things, the big networks, and look at what they're doing. Yes, they're trying to position to IP later to sell out to a TV studio or whatever, but they're positioning the story to make the money. They're not saying, “Well, guess what, we're going to do Dr. Death or Bad Batch, and what we're going to do is we're going to sell you a course on how not to choose the wrong doctor and die.” That's not what they're doing.


Podcasts and Sponsorship


But that, to me, kind of goes that's the entertainment industry. That's not an entrepreneur trying to build a business in something else. So the other thing about sponsorship is interesting, because someone asked to sponsor my podcast and I said no because one, I didn't know what the system was and that doesn't sit with me, but there is still something, I talk about certain systems all the time, I talk about you guys online, I tweet about you and how good Captivate is.

But there is something that really would have to sit so authentically with me that I couldn't do it otherwise. Even when I listen to some of the podcasts that I love and they have an actual sponsor and they go, “This week's episode is sponsored by…” I could not do that. I just, like I'd almost want to say… No, to be honest, rather than looking at the sponsorship for the podcast I would rather just do affiliate stuff and say, “I'm talking about this company this week because I love them.” So I interviewed the guy who heads up [inaudible 00:38:50].

Oh, Ollie or Matt?



Really lovely guy, I had a great chat with him all around loving customers, and of course we talked about [inaudible 00:38:58], but, so I said on the intro and outro, I've put a link in there, it's my affiliate, you don't have to use it, you can go and google it and you'll find them. But I'd much rather do that then just try and make it sound authentic, which I don't think I could do by going this week it's sponsored by…

Well, the data backs that up as well. The data proved that hosts read ads or where the host really cares performed better. If we think, so you made a great point earlier which is kind of the more articulate way of saying what I was saying, which is it's either the product or it's not the product. But you said this is entertainment, so it's entertainment or value.

So you've got to think that the entertainment industry in podcasting is huge, that's predicted to hit one billion next year, it's going to be 2021, now it's 2020. And we're talking people like, let's say like Dr. Death. I think that's 39 million downloads. That's entertainment, that is mass entertainment. And they're trying to figure out what works, programmatic ads, dynamic ad insertion, is it host read stuff? The host read stuff always works, where you can thread a narrative, because it's always a…

If you and I were, let's say there's a [inaudible 00:40:03] company called Cups Unlimited, because I'm looking at my cup, there's Cups Unlimited. It's like oh, Teresa and I were in the studio, blah blah, just having a quick brew before we get into it. By the way, if you want your own brew in a cup, go to Cups Unlimited.

It's a very natural, and they perform better, the studies show that they perform better. So if you are a podcast and you get a sponsor and you don't really believe in them like that, no way on earth does Squarespace power the website of [Serial 00:40:30]. No chance.

So if you don't believe in it, it's a fairly… Unless you've got mass numbers and it's a big entertainment play like Squarespace and mass appeal by sponsoring Serial, if you're a podcaster that's doing things like entrepreneurs or marketers or using it to build your business, if you take a sponsor, that's sponsor ain't sticking around long so you may as well not bother. Yeah you might earn a few grand from it but at what cost? You've sold that spot in a knee jerk reaction and your audience aren't really going to benefit from that one minute of ads.

It's a really weird scenario, because if you don't have enough audience or if your audience is not engaged enough, the sponsors aren't going to stick around anyway because they're not going to get any results.

You're right, and the other thing that's really interesting, which I find fascinating and one of the things that you did in the business, was you did a big questionnaire to some podcasters.

Oh yeah.

Because one thing that I found really frustrating when I started was how do I know if I'm any good? How do I know if actually that's a good number of downloads or that's what's expected? And of course lots of people aren't very honest, right? They like to make this stuff up.

Oh, they do.

Right? So you might speak to someone and go, and I have asked the very honest question, and gone, “How many downloads have you got? I'll tell you how many I've got.” I'd even show them, like before I'd move to Captivate it'd be on Libsyn, I'd go, “Look, that's how many I've had in total. Do you think that sounds about right? Or what did you get?” Because I was so fascinated.

And you did this report and you talked about it at Retain, where you spoke, which was awesome, a really good event. The interesting thing is, surprisingly the majority of people get under 100, was it? No, under 500 downloads an episode.

Oh, and it's way under. I'm talking more like less than 100.

And that's the majority of podcasts. And that just blew my mind because like you said, you listened to podcasts and obviously as people we tend to probably listen to the popular ones, so Amy and James, and Pat and all those guys. And the last stat I heard of Pat's was he's had like 50 million downloads across all the stuff he's done.

And you sit there and think oh right, 50 million, okay, that's what I've got to get to. Right? Hello, let's be realistic here, like seriously, that's crazy to think. And it was lovely, I have to say I feel very reassured because I think on average now we're probably getting in the first… Because you talked about the first 30 days, and the first 30 days we roughly get about six or seven hundred downloads per episode, which I am proper pleased about.

That's a great number.

I'm really, really happy about it. There's nothing nice there, and you must find this, I had an email the other day, this lady emailed me saying, “My son and his boyfriend said I need to speak to you because they listen to your podcast and they know everything there is to know about lead magnets because of you.”


Using Captivate and Getting Started


And I was like, that's brilliant, I love that these two people out there that I have no idea who they are and they listen to the podcast and it's just ace. So for me, it's been a really good tool but I think for a couple of reasons. One, because I like speaking, and I find that much easier to do than writing, and I like teaching. So for me to be able to sit down on the podcast and go, right, if you want to get this on Instagram, do this, this, this, this, this. If you want to know whether your ads work, do this, this, this, this, this.

And that just fits perfectly with me. So with that in mind, looking at someone who's wanting to do a podcast, I want to bring up Captivate, and obviously this wasn't necessarily the reason I wanted to interview you but I do use Captivate, it's a brilliant, brilliant tool, because when I started my podcast, I didn't do any of the tech and that showed.

It really did.

Like literally I did nothing. So when I moved over to Captivate, I have taken on doing the tech. Right? When I say tech, it's not really tech, it's literally just uploading an episode. But I have taken that on because first off it's so, so simple, which is amazing. It looks brilliant, which again is phenomenal, so literally putting in a bit of code on a page on my website, boom, there's your player, just looks brilliant.

And it's been an amazing tool for me to use and it really is great. And I moved from Libsyn and I'm very honest about that's fine, that worked great. But I moved over and Captivate, for me, has done… Well, one it's much prettier and I really like pretty things. Did you design it, Mark?

No, I'll tell you about that. It's had like 32 designs.

Is that all?

And actually it's not had any design. That's the irony of this thing is that it's not had anything. So we've got this team… So we started life as Podcast Websites, and then we introduced the Rebel Base Media group and then spun off some other products.

The way that we always do that is that we'll build that, we built Podcast Websites, put that team in, and Kiran and I, what we do is we start the next one. So Kiran and me literally, no one else has worked on Captivate apart from maybe a little bit of design on the player and maybe a tiny bit of help on one of the backend bits of code, like a tiny bit of it. Everything else has been myself and Kiran, apart from the branding as well, we didn't design the branding.

But everything else has been me and him. So we reset the team, it goes back to just me and him, and we aren't designers. Like I'm pretty good at UX and user experience because that's what we've done for years, so I mean it's had a lot, it's had a lot. Like, we used to work Wednesday nights, so the way this started, remember it was January the 3rd 2019, this year. Captivate didn't exist, we'd announced it.

And I remember firing up Bootstrap, which is like an HTML layout set of code. And I was like, better build the frontend of this thing and prototype it, and just coded it up. And all we've done is iterate, iterate, and sit down and say, right, how can we make that bit better? What if we just made the heading more usable?

So we've refined and trimmed and trimmed and trimmed to end up where it is now. So it's funny because it's not had any design, it's not had anyone designing anything. And I think that's a bit of a lesson because people overcomplicate it. A lot of people think I need to start something but I've not got the team. You probably don't need it. As long as you've got a bit of the skills or you can buy a little bit of some of the more extreme skills in, you can probably do it.

And what that shows, you knew what you were talking about because you've been in this industry for a long time and therefore you'd worked with it. And I think sometimes in lots of different things, people see the online space, they see courses and memberships and tech and things and they think yeah, I can do that.

And it's like, not saying you can't do it, absolutely, but your skill really came out because you knew what people would want because you'd done it for years, and you knew what you felt when you were setting yours up.

Well, I actually built it for me. Some of the features that are in there that people absolutely love, I built because I was annoyed. I think I was annoyed one morning because I'd been stuck in traffic and I was like Kiran, I've got to publish this episode out. Why, every time, when I publish an episode, do I have to choose the time it goes up? Why can't we just put a setting in the show settings that is default show time? He's like yeah, all right, we'll do that.


And everyone's like that's a genius idea, and I'm like it's just because I was annoyed. And that's the thing about, like you talked earlier on about sometimes we're a little bit crazy insofar as we think that people want more advanced things. Like you said, a lot of people don't, they just want the stuff that they're doing to be a little bit easier and more understandable.

So if it's what is Instagram, how do I use it, give them that. There's a progression and you've got to understand that we could… I always think about this like with conferences, like we could go to a conference for five years running, see the same speakers saying the same thing.

And you're like oh come on. But there will be the majority of the people in that room, it will probably be the first time they're even considering that content because there's more people in the world than you think. And people have always been attracted to new things and podcasting and entrepreneurship or marketing or whatever.

So there's always a new stream of people. So you do have to kind of… you've got to trust yourself, I would say. Like with Captivate, we've not looked at any other hosting platforms. I've not seen any of the hosting platforms on the backend how they do things, I don't know how they sign people up, I don't know how they onboard people, I don't know how they display their analytics. I have got no idea.

And when you see people using it saying, “That's a little bit like these guys.” Well, that means that those guys obviously know the industry as well. So there's a lot to be said for not looking over the fence. And when we built Captivate we'd never looked at Libsyn, I don't care what libsyn do.

You've got to have that confidence, and I think you do this really well with your content and the way that you pitch yourself and position yourself and there a few other people, like Andrew and Pete do it really well. You've got to trust that gut a little bit, which I think that's vital.

Today, if you go right back to the beginning where I asked how can people stand out, there's nothing any different about anyone. None of us have got anything different apart from the opinions and the beliefs and the experiences that we've got.

And how we put it across.

Yeah. And you've just got to stand by that. Be confident with it.

Yeah. It's just me and you and how we do things. If you wanted to know how to set up an Instagram account, there are a million people who could tell you how to do it. But I might say it in a different way, I might pitch it differently, whatever, or you might just like the way I say it but there's nothing different out there.

Okay, so if someone's starting, because Captivate does make it super easy for people to start, and I think that's a good thing. And actually I looked at someone's podcast the other day and I went to that page, I was like, “Where's their show notes? Where's their transcript?”

But of course that's just me, because I am like I said, if I'm going to do something that's going to be as good as I can get it, I'm a perfectionist, it's a nightmare. So it takes me ages to do anything. So they can start really simply, can't they? It takes very little for them to get started. So can you just talk briefly through like if someone's sat there going, and I know because I got a voice message from my friend the other day going, “Thinking of starting a podcast, haven't told anybody, don't tell anybody.”

I've not heard a thing.

No, didn't say anything. But for someone like that, what do they need to do? What's your advice for getting going?

So I think first of all, outside the tech stuff, outside the Captivate stuff, you've just got to figure out what you're trying to say. What story are you trying to tell, how are you trying to tell it and who is your audience? It's all the basic stuff that you would do if you were setting up anything.

And it's really about starting with something that's manageable. A lot of people because they John do it, I'm going to start a seven day a week show. That's mental, don't bother.

How the actual hell did he ever do that?

Just team and batch recording. There's editors and VAs. This is the thing, you've got to understand your resource set. If it's just you, don't bother. Do one every two weeks or a season, whatever. Just start with something that you can manage, because it's easier to add to it than it is to remove from it.

So start with something basic, decide what you're going to do. Do some cover art, doesn't have to be anything crazy and super designed. Just start with something. Square cover art, 1400 pixels, that's all you need. And then yeah, something like a Captivate will just make it easy. You literally go on there, click create podcast, you can do it… you can be on Spotify within an hour.

Yeah, amazing.

And you just literally create the podcast, type the name of the show in, type a bit of a description, put your cover art in. Very, very simple to do it but the core thing is understanding what you're trying to record. What are you trying to say, what are you doing, why are you trying to do it?

And just go with the basic MVP kit, just go with the minimum viable kit that you need. You probably just need an ATR2100, like we spoke about prerecording, is you need a USB mic. Even do it into your phone. People are going to be a little bit oh you shouldn't be doing that, but I'd rather you did that-

To get started.

Yeah. I'd rather you did that then not get started.

Yeah. And also people will, they are a bit forgiving of some things aren't they? Like this is a super cool studio, amazing mics, best equipment, I'd love it. This is like podcasting goals. But right now, and what I have now is way better than I did when I started, the quality's probably way better than it was. And I'm probably way better than I was.

Practise makes perfect.

Exactly. But you have to start somewhere. And I think for me, it's the consistency, it's knowing like you said, this is what I want to get out of it. And one thing I did do, which I personally would highly recommend, not sure anybody else would, but when I went to Traffic & Conversion, I saw John Lee Dumas there and I saw Pat Flynn.

They both talked about how you get cool people on the podcast, because that's what people want, isn't it? They want the big names. And I'm going to be totally honest, unless you have a relationship with them they're not going to come on.

I don't know about that.

Well, I don't know. Okay, who do you think?

I think that's changed.

Do you?

I think that's changed. I did an episode, and I debate the merit of this because I agree with it principally.


But I don't think that today it's the same. Because podcasts have just become part of a business person or an author or a video producer's PR process.

Yes, I agree with the… Yeah.

Become the same stories.

So when, Seth Godin, I asked him to come on the podcast, and he very politely and very quickly said no he was too busy, which I totally get. And I was talking to someone the other day, oh Mike Stelzner, and he said that ask him when he's next got a book out? And it's like, yeah, you're right. When someone's got something to promote, they are doing everything, aren't they?


Getting Guests on Your Podcasts


And I think for me, and I've had two people not including Seth, I've had two people… No, including Seth I've had one person say no, because they asked for my download numbers. And obviously what they were… And they were big, they were huge. And obviously what they're trying to do is they're trying to make sure that they're not wasting their time, and I get that.

So basically John Lee Dumas was talking about the fact of how you can get these bigger people on your podcast, and obviously if they are asking what your download numbers are at the beginning, you're not going to have those download numbers.

And he was saying to me that basically you need to do at least, and he said 50. I didn't do 50 episode, but he's like, you need to do a lot of episodes on your own, get really comfortable and used to that and then do interviews.

For me, that was massive, because one I could work out how I got to talk and liked to talk and do those episodes. Two, the pressure of trying to find interviews in those early days is hard work because again, if you're trying to get what you deem in your industry is good people, then they are going to be harder to get, and if they do say yes, they're not going to be available that following week or very unlikely to be.

So I remember I had Jasmine Star booked in for months and months before we actually recorded the podcast episode, and I knew it was coming but she just wasn't free and that's fine. So for me, doing those episodes on my own really helped cement me in my style and what I liked to do, took the pressure off the interviews, and then started getting a little bit of traction in terms of listeners. Rather than trying to jump in day one.

You know what else is super interesting? So Pat and Amy were my first two. Loads of people have heard this story as how this happened so I won't go over it again, but they haven't had as many downloads as the people who I've interviewed last week.

They won't do.

Because they were back gone whenever it was.

Also, I don't think it's that. I would urge you to check who you think are the top 10 biggest names you've got and compare them to the top 10 people that you think are unknowns.

So, interestingly enough, you and I have had a conversation about who is my most popular podcast episode. This is slightly ruined now because this person has just come out with a podcast so this isn't going to work for anybody else, but Jasmine Star, and granted she is a big name, but for ages and probably still is my highest download and she was months and months and months ago.

But you said, and ever since then I've always thought of that in mind is she didn't have a podcast so if someone wanted to listen to Amy, they go listen to Amy's podcast. If someone wants to listen to Pat, listen to Pat's podcast. Jasmine didn't have a podcast, so for me, whether that's why she then… And she also promoted my stuff, which was amazing.

What did she talk about?

She talked about Instagram and how to be authentic on Instagram and she's just, she was a great episode, she's a great storyteller, she's very personable, we both talk fast so god help anybody else with that episode. There's no way you're listening to my episodes on fast forward, there's no way.

There's a 0.5 speed on the podcast players.

Exactly. Slow that thing right out. But like, so she just talked about Instagram and it was fairly simple, fairly basic, but I think there was a few things like you said, one she didn't have a podcast so there was nowhere else for people to go and listen, and the content wasn't rocket science. It wasn't trying to blow people's minds or show everybody she's the authority in the industry, it was really straightforward, basic stuff.

But again, since then, I've had people who are not far behind her who are technically, I hate saying this because it sounds so egotistical, but technically unknown compared to someone like Jasmine Star, just because their content was great. And we had ones on live video and people really, really enjoyed those, so that for me is a good one to go with again. So yeah.

I think it's you, I think what you said there is a perfect example. You're like, getting big names, this is my humble opinion all right, but getting a bit name on your podcast is for you. It totally is.


And if you look at what John and Pat did back in the day with that, Pat's is always great content, John was very formulaic, nothing wrong with that, but he did that to build his business. There's nothing wrong with that either, but let's be clear, he needed, in the early days when he didn't have an audience he needed the audience of other people.

Nothing wrong with that, that's how you build it, referrals, that's what it's all about. But, the industry's changed. It's not like that anymore. I truly believe you now need to be more creative. Like look at Gav Bell's podcast, funnily enough. He's on the show, he's like, “Welcome,” I'm not going to do his accent, “Welcome to the show, Mark.” Sorry, Gav. He's got a lovely accent. Someone battered him for his accent on Instagram yesterday, I was like that mother, I'm going to defend him.

He's like, “Now, Mark, welcome to the show. Before we get into it, what's your favourite colour of sock?” And you're like what? What's going on there? But the thing is with that, it's designed to show him, I remember talking to him pre-launch on this one, he's a Captivate user as well, and I remember talking to him I'm like, “Dude, that's genius because it's instantly sharable.”

So now I think it's much more about sure design. What can you design into your show so that people are still pretty comfortable but they're like oh god, this is the… I think that might have been the only episode of a podcast I've been on that I shared because I was like, “Yeah, that's right Gav, yup, I do wear old socks.” Blah blah blah. So it gets a bit of banter.

So I do think, like I did it the exact opposite way to what John recommended. Like my first episode was like Chris Brogan or something, and I'd never interviewed anyone before. And it was just, I think there's just so many different ways of cutting it but you've got to be so clear on the fact that, there's so much advice out there from 2013/2014, it's just not the same industry anymore.

Yeah, that's interesting.

It's just like YouTube has changed so much and there are ways to do it but I think the power is with those independent creators. I do think that as an industry. You've got to think there's maybe three or four tiers to the industry now. There's the massive upper echelons, Wondery, The Daily.


Yeah. Entertainment.


And production.


These are studios.

Yeah, these are like radio shows on a podcast.

Yeah, or even movies, like if you look at documentaries, look at Wondery's Inside Star Wars, Mark Ramsay wrote that and he acted the voice… I mean this is a production. Millions and tens of millions of downloads. That's the upper echelons.

You've got kind of the tier beneath that, so maybe Ferriss, you've got Jordan Harbinger, a few of those guys that are up at that, like Joe Rogan up at that level. Then you've got maybe the tier beneath that so you've got maybe like Pat and John, that are kind of like, they do all right, but they're not 39 million. They're certainly not, the numbers that Jordan gets far eclipse that.

And then you've got the tier beneath it which I think is the middle ground, which is the guys like you and I who are really doing podcasting for another reason. I'm doing this to build Rebel Base Media, you do this to build your brand.

And then there's the tier beneath that which is like my Star Wars podcast. It's growing, of course it's growing, and yeah we've got Patreon and we've got patrons, but it's just a laugh. I just do it because I like doing it and I'm lucky enough to be able to talk about it and somehow get paid for it. But I'm not getting paid for the show, it's just no one's going to tell me off for not doing the show.

And there's so many people that are doing that. So I think there are those four tiers. There used to be three tiers, and I think now there are four tiers, the upper echelons have kicked in a lot more now. So it's understanding where you want to be, where do you want to land? Do you want to be in that second or third tier where you're making your money from your podcast?

And if you do you probably do need some big names, but I'm willing to bet that the biggest names, if you'd take a cross section of all the biggest business shows, with some outliers, so I'm thinking like Schwarzenegger and so on on Ferriss's show. If you take all of the “big names” I'm willing to bet that it's not them that have got the download numbers. It's someone that is very clear on what they're doing. So someone like Jasmine who's like do this on Instagram.

Yeah, and that's what she did, and just so happened to be a fairly big name in our industry, but without a podcast.

Exactly. I think that's interesting. But my show, some of my older shows have got the biggest downloads from guys… So I used to have an old Zoom H4, which I've still got knocking around somewhere, and I used to go out and I'd take two EV microphones, which again I've still got, and I'd do all my podcasts around a coffee table or with a beer. We'd just hold the mic and shoot the breeze.


And some of the highest downloaded episodes I've got are from people that live like four doors down from me because it just so happened that this guy is the CMO of whatever, a big corporation and all that, well that's quite interesting.

So I'd never heard of him, it was just he has an interesting topic. So it's very interesting, but I think the thing with this is it draws everything right back to the idea of testing everything. We bring it right back to marketing. There's a massive assumption that big names, I see it so much, people saying there must be something wrong with the download statements because I've had Gary V on my show. You're like, yeah, but Gary V's got his own stuff.

So there's a huge assumption that one thing will work, and ultimately it might work, like Gary V might be the biggest episode but it's probably not just the fact that it's Gary V, it might be the fact that he's said something that he's never said before or that you're talking to him about a topic that he's never covered before, or it might be you landed on a day that was a quiet news day so everyone was browsing something. There's so many variables and it's trying to figure those out, I think.

And that is hard on the podcast because like you said sometimes you do something and you think, that went brilliantly, why? And you have no idea, and then you do something else and you think that should have gone brilliantly and it didn't and you have no idea.

So it's actually a really difficult thing but I want to come back to the fact that you said that often you get the big guest for you and you're entirely correct. From a personal point of view, having conversations with some of those people have been amazing. Brené Brown is someone that I absolutely think is phenomenal, I really like the way she is and the way she speaks and her ethos around stuff, but she actually would not be the best fit for my audience. Not to say that they wouldn't get something out of it because they absolutely would, but she's not going to come on and talk about Instagram, she's going to come on and talk about vulnerability and talk about shame, which I totally think would be interesting. By the way, she's not coming on, I haven't booked her.

Oh, well fine, I'm out.

Sorry, now done it.

I'm going to unsubscribe.

But she would, I would be like she'd be at the top, not the top of my list but she would be up there for who would I want to interview. But like you said that's purely for my own oh my god, I interviewed Brené Brown. Whereas actually, an episode of me solo going okay, you want to get more followers on Facebook? Actually might be more relevant to my audience, they might like it more.

Yeah, and it will get the bigger numbers and I think that's the key is testing, really truly testing what's working and what's not. That's the only way to grow anything, we know that. People forget that with podcasting. So many times you hear people saying, “How do I grow my show?” Well, tell me what marketing your doing for your show. “Well, I put some social media tweets out and I do tweets or I do some Instagram posts and I do one of those fancy audiograms.”

Like, that's brilliant, that's going to do absolutely nothing. That's just awareness, it's not going to convert people because you're not giving them a path, you're not understanding how people flow through and understanding how they subscribe to things. Just ain't going to work. They'll listen to that one snippet on Instagram and go, “That went nice. See you later… Oh, look at this, a duck.” Do you know what I mean?


That's how it works.

So I could literally talk to you all day and I know we talked for ages, so we will wrap it up there, and obviously I'm going to link to everything in the show notes. If you want to check out Captivate then please, please do because it's an excellent, excellent platform. And thank you so much for your time, Mark, I've really appreciated having you on.

Thank you very much for having me and I'm sure we'll see each other again very soon over a gin or three.

We will indeed.

Teresa two drinks.

So I loved that interview with Mark, he's such a nice guy, and super, super smart, which is amazing. He's built this amazing business, he knows what he's talking about when it comes to podcasting, and even if you're not thinking about podcasting, I hope you enjoyed this episode because he is a smart guy, I like talking to him about how he built his business and things, and it felt like a conversation.

In fact, we let the time run away with us. I think both of us were just sat there having such a nice chat that we completely forgot how long we'd been sat there chatting for. So yeah, it was good fun, I enjoyed it. Also, as always, all of his links to everything, to Rebel Base Media, to his podcast, are in the show notes for this episode, And also I've put my affiliate link in there for Captivate. So it is an affiliate link, you don't have to use it, you can just go and google Captivate and find it.

I really love it, it's a great podcast host, great analytics. So next week back with a solo episode. Like I said don't forget to go and check out that challenge because it starts on the 9th of March and I can't wait to see you in there. All right guys, have an amazing, amazing week and I will see you next week.