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Feb. 1, 2023

The Business of Entertainment Podcasting: What You Need to Know

The Business of Entertainment Podcasting: What You Need to Know

On today's episode, we're diving into a topic that is near and dear to our hearts – growing an entertainment-style podcast. Whether you're a host of comedy, true crime, or any other form of entertainment podcast, we're here to help you take your podcast to the next level. From the beginning, we both started our podcasting careers with entertainment-focused shows and we know what it's like to struggle to grow and find success. But we also learned a lot along the way and we're here to share those lessons with you. So sit back, relax, and let's talk about how to grow your show!

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Larry Roberts  00:00
Do it from your perspective. And that's why, you know, Mark and I, when we were talking about putting this podcast together, we're like, do we really want to do another podcast on podcasting, but Mark and I, we have such varied opinions on podcasting, and they're different than some of the others that are out there. And I think that variety is what we need. And we have to bring that to the forefront on this show. And you have to do the same thing. Bring your personality, bring your input, bring your opinions to the forefront. What is added everybody welcome back to another episode of podcast Ph. D. with myself, Larry Roberts, and my co host, Marc Ronick. Marc, welcome to another awesome episode, man,

Marc Ronick  00:39
how do you go? It's awesome.

Larry Roberts  00:40
And thank you, because it's you and I, we make a great team. We're an awesome team, and we bring awesome content, and everyone should listen to our awesome show.

Marc Ronick  00:47
It's debatable, but we will see, we'll see. We'll see how this goes. Larry, what

Larry Roberts  00:51
are we talking about today? Man? You know, we were having a conversation about how to podcasters that have like an entertainment podcast, whether it be comedy or true crime? Or maybe it's a fan show of a show that's on TV? How did they grow their shows, you know, when in listening to podcast on podcasting, very often, the advice that's given refers to branded podcasts or business podcasts or podcasts that serve a purpose that goes beyond just listening for entertainment. Typically, you hear how to grow your show for your business? Or how to sell your book on your podcast, or how to grow your community. But very rarely, if ever, do we hear input on how to grow a fan show or an entertainment show?

Marc Ronick  01:38
Right? You know, for example, Larry, like you have, you have these podcast professionals out there that are giving advice to help you monetize a podcast, for example. And a lot of times, the people that are listening and taking that advice are, say people like business coaches, and they might have some kind, of course that they're selling, or they're promoting their one on one coaching. What they're doing is they're using their podcast is a vehicle. It's almost like a funnel to drive that audience to those different products and services. And what I come across from these podcasters that are doing entertainment style, I guess, they go and seek out this advice. But they're not doing courses. They're not teaching people things they're out to, for example, get a laugh, like that's their mission is to make people laugh. And they're not going to sell a course on how to make you laugh, although that would be a pretty interesting course. But that's not what they're about. They're about their podcast, that is their thing. That's their vehicle. And they're not looking to sell products and services outside it maybe with the exception of merchandise, but they're not doing these more traditional ways that you and I teach most of the podcasters that we come across. But so we want to talk to you, the listener about how to do your podcast successfully, how to help it grow, even though it is an entertainment style podcast, and Larry and I have some experience with that we both start out in podcasting doing entertainment style podcast.

Larry Roberts  03:09
Yeah, it's because my first podcast was a comedy podcast. I mean, I started just to have fun, right? I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew is that I had heard a podcast. And they were telling jokes that I enjoyed and I related to because I'm a big fan of old school comedy. I grew up in the 80s and grew up with Sam Kinison and Dice Clay and George Carlin and Robin Williams and all the greats back then. But if you think about the comedy that they gave us back then it was a little blue, you know, is a little raw, I was having to watch it through HBO being scrambled back then, because mom and dad wouldn't get HBO and I supposed to watch it in the first place. But I still had a blast that I still have to laugh. And when I found out, I could do that on a podcast, I was like, this is my opportunity to be a comedian. And that's all I was trying to do. I wanted people to listen, I wanted to obviously grow the show. But really, I was doing it because I was having a good time. And my co hosts were having a good time. And I wanted my audience to have a good time to the goal was to make people laugh. But I had no idea how to outreach to people, I had no idea how to grow a show, I had no idea how to grow a community, or get more people to listen or get those downloads that everybody's so obsessed with. So it was a struggle that whole time. But one of the things that I found out and we stumbled on some quote unquote, success with that show, it was back in 2014, you still had a pretty good opportunity to launch a show and if you had good content, there was still an opportunity for shows back then to kind of pick up some momentum and some traction on their own. But we didn't necessarily just sit back and hope that it happened. We got out we told people about it. We did open mics, we took the show to an internet radio network. You know we reached out to a network here in the local DFW area. And we started recording it in a studio on a Sunday morning at 10am. The worst spot you could possibly have for a The dirty comedy podcast, we literally followed the preacher out of the studio and we went into the studio. So the same studio man, they were praising the Lord at 10am, and then had our show at 1030. So it was definitely an interesting mix. But those are some of the things that we did. In an effort to grow the show and grow an audience and reach more people.

Marc Ronick  05:19
Where do you feel was out of the things that you've listed? Or maybe that you haven't shared yet? What do you feel like was the real successful tool, the one that really helped the most for you?

Larry Roberts  05:30
I think it was outreach, networking 100%, we had a lot of the local comedians here in the DFW area that would come into the studio and record and that was something else too. It's interesting, because I've seen that dynamic. Today, most recording, even what we're doing right now we're doing it over, we're using Riverside, but a lot of people use Zoom or stream yard or whatever it may be, to bring people together from remote areas of the country, or even the globe to do a podcast episode. Back then we did everything in person, everybody came into the studio. And that creates a different dynamic as well. Because, you know, even though you and I were friends IRL, you know, in real life, we still can't quite have that same level of conversation that we could have. You were sitting together in a studio, that dynamics just not quite there, no matter how we try to recreate it. So I think that was a big part of it, having a co host. And then having any guests that happened to be on the show, I say any, the vast majority of our guests were actually in studio as well. Now, it's funny, because you know, I my studios at my house, and I was bringing all these strangers over to the house and the wife, she wasn't too keen on that. And you got to get that kitchen pass from the wife, if you're going to be bringing people over to the house to record, I think that was a large part of it was having that co host who I was best friends with in the whole wide world. We'd grown up together, we knew each other extremely well. We had that dynamic that worked. And then again, just having people in studio and kind of growing it locally before we went too crazy on the national and international scene. You know, eventually we started having guests that would call him using Skype, which I'm not a fan of. But that's what we use back then. It was really just boots on the ground. Networking. That's really what it was man was getting out there. And it almost ties back and I know I'm talking a lot Marco let you have a word in sacks. Okay, I'm on a roll brother,

Marc Ronick  07:16
I'm interested,

Larry Roberts  07:17
it kind of goes back to that conversation we had on our last episode, when we were talking about and going to conferences, getting boots on the ground, getting out shaking hands, kissing babies, meeting people connecting with people. That was one of the best ways, in my personal opinion, to grow a show, regardless of the show, it doesn't matter. But we did the same thing. You know, we did the exact same thing with that show. And it eventually grew and word of mouth. And that helped out a lot. But you can't just sit back and rely on people to talk about the show, you got to get them out there and make sure yeah, that they're talking about the show.

Marc Ronick  07:49
I appreciate that. So actually, our show was very similar. It sounds like to your show in the sense that I was working with one of my very best friends in the world. I've known him for years and years. And it made it so much easier to dive into something like that when you've got that chemistry already in place. We weren't necessarily going around face to face shaking hands doing that kind of thing. We were doing it more online. So we were getting involved in communities online, Facebook being one of the big ones for us. And we would participate in these Facebook groups that we felt were relatable to what we were already doing. So our show, we had a heavy focus on our childhood, which was, you know, mainly the 80s. So we were involved in a lot of groups with 80s and 90s people talking about 80s and 90s things. And that translated really well. So we weren't on those sites trying to promote Hey, listen, our show, it's just like what you're talking about. That was not what we were doing. But instead, we were just being active participants and sharing content with other people within those groups that they would connect with and get interested in. And then they would start to question like, Who is that dude, why, you know, he knows a lot about this stuff. And then they either would reach out to me or they would go and find my profile page and see oh, he does this podcast and it's relatable. And our logo was very much like an 80s video game eight bit graphic looking thing. So instant connection there. You know, so we found ways to connect with our potential audience in the internet world as opposed to in real life. And that was super effective for us

Larry Roberts  09:37
it we did some similar things in regards to our logo, you look at the logo, it was very intriguing. It had to guess and it had you wondering, and a lot of people would see it and they go What is that all about? What does that even mean? And typically with the name and I'll just say the name and I mean the name of the show was accidentally the whole Tiff and people would hear the name and they'd go Oh, that is freaking hilarious and they would laugh and It's obviously an innuendo. So there was some creativity that was involved in there. And it was some intriguing, we tried the Facebook and the Twitter route. But we didn't go about it quite as smart as you did, we, of course, were going to to podcasting groups and posting our links in the podcast groups who have listened to our podcast. So we weren't quite a strategic when it came to the social medias as you were, but with boots on the ground, and the creativity and the intrigue and the imagery, and we built a show that people would ask questions about. And I think that's one of the biggest things that you have to do, you have to learn how to generate interest in the show. And there's not a set roadmap to generate interest. There's different tips and techniques that you can try. Some of them may work, some of them may fail. But you got to keep in mind to man that none of this stuff happens overnight. Right? None of it happens overnight, you know, and even the studios that we're sitting in now are around us, the studio blows away the studio that I was using for that podcast, but I've been doing it for nine years now. So it's evolved to what it is today with five different lights, lighting, the space of mine, and a camera that's sitting in front of me and held up by an armature and my monitors mounted on the wall, and I've got sound treatment everywhere. That doesn't happen overnight, and neither does success for your podcast. So that's one of the biggest ways to grow, man. It's just persistence and perseverance, and staying the course and sticking with it. And leveraging all these tips and techniques and tricks of the trade to grow. Your show can be very frustrating for somebody that has an entertainment podcast, because, you know, like we alluded to earlier, there's just not a direct roadmap. And that's the biggest struggle.

Marc Ronick  11:40
Thank you for sharing your name of your podcast. I appreciate you being brave enough to do that. And I

Larry Roberts  11:49
even brave,

Marc Ronick  11:52
and I personally, so I love that name for some obvious reasons, and some not so obvious in the sense that, to me, when I hear that name, it makes me laugh. And that tells me there may be something funny about this podcast, right? Yeah, like, I believe that my podcast, we actually made a huge mistake with what we named that we just named it after ourselves, you know, it was the mark and Lol Show. And that told people nothing. I mean, thankfully, things like our cover art kind of explained a little bit more people get a better sense. But still, they don't really know what they're getting into with that. So I would certainly encourage people to take the advice that you probably have heard us say or others say, which is really be thoughtful about the name that you're choosing, make sure that it is representing what your podcast is about. I see a lot of people using their names in a podcast title. And unless your name is known in your space, it's kind of a waste of your time, nobody's gonna care that it's the mark and lol show until they know who mark and lol aren't. So that's a definite piece of advice that I would give is if you've already named it. And if you've named it something that doesn't really tell us what it is, consider changing that name. It's okay, I'm actually working with some people right now that use their names. And they've recognized this isn't serving us well. And they're now playing with the idea of changing it.

Larry Roberts  13:18
Just to reiterate that, you know, I had to kill accidentally the whole tip because I was in corporate America. And it got to the size that we had some fans of the show that worked for the office, and they would show up wearing our merch to work to a professional. Like on Fridays, they wear our T shirts to work. And of course, I'm promoting it, you know, because I'm having a great time. And eventually, we had that HR conversation where it was not appropriate for a professional work environment. Nor was it an appropriate representation of the company. So I ended up having to kill it. I mean, it lived on a we took it to a live stage show and all kinds of stuff. And it turned into an open mic and all sorts of good stuff came from that. But I named it that on accident. You know, it wasn't that we had all this insight into podcasting that gave us this idea to name it so comically. It was an accident, because after killing the show, I knew I still wanted to podcast, and I named my next podcast ready. Yeah, readily random. I called it readily random. That's the dumbest name, you could possibly name anything you'd have. I mean, I had a blog back in the MySpace days, which was just that it was just random thoughts. And I never had any idea to grow it or anything like it was more like a you know, like a dear diary type scenario. But I figured that was a safe name. And you know, good old Joe Rogan. He talks to whoever he wants to and covers every topic under the sun. So I figured I would do the same thing so readily random seemed to fit and yeah, it did not. It did not fit. It did not work. Nobody knew what the hell it meant, and nobody wanted to listen. So all the accidental success that I saw with the first show was completely out the window and I couldn't replicate it with the second show, because I stumbled into it on the first one and didn't have that foundation. That wasn't until I started going to referencing our previous This episode didn't tie straight going to meetups and conferences that I realized, Oh, I really have to put a value proposition into this title, I really have to provide clarity as to what this podcast is about, in order to get people to listen, because just like you just said, Mark, nobody knew who the hell Larry Roberts was. And they didn't care. They still don't know who I am today. All they know is the Red Hat. They're like, Oh, you're the Red Hat Guy. So they still don't know who Larry Roberts is, and readily random told them absolutely nothing. So that's huge advice. And I'm glad that you threw that out there for everybody to consider, because that's one of the biggest challenges that we have is that discoverability. And in growing a show that doesn't have a distinctive value proposition beyond entertainment, we have to give every hint that we possibly can along the way to entice those squirrels to come over here to our little squirrel house and listen to our podcast.

Marc Ronick  15:48
What would you suggest to somebody who, so for example, when we're talking about promoting your podcast, we often give people advice, again, talking about the more typical podcasts that are out there these days, we give advice always give value, right? So if again, using us as an example, people are probably seeing out there different podcast strategies that we're sharing with people through our brand of podcasts, Ph. D. And that works great. But when you are a comedy podcast, you're not giving tips on comedy, you want people just to laugh? What would you suggest people do to promote their podcasts effectively if they have an entertainment podcast,

Larry Roberts  16:33
I mean, if we're talking comedy, specifically, you got to hone the craft. Now you have to be good at two different things, you have to be somewhat decent at comedy, you have to be able to provide some laughs That's your value proposition. People are expecting to listen to a comedy podcast and laugh. So you have to refine your skill sets in making people laugh, then you have to couple that with refining your skill sets when it comes to producing a podcast, dialing it back just a little bit, let's take into consideration. Tick tock, for instance, right now, most tick tock videos, they have a value proposition. A lot of them are funny, they're designed to make you laugh, tic TOCs evolving now and there's tons of content out there, whether it's a political podcast, or whether it's a political clip, or a news clip, or whatever it is, every 60 seconds, or three minutes or 10 minutes, however many minutes you're adding to your tick tock videos these days, you're trying to provide some sort of value there. If you're doing a skit, the odds are you're trying to get people to laugh. If you're instructing someone, you're providing distinct, clear, a very clear message to what you're trying to get people to either learn or take advantage of whatever it may be, learn how to craft that message, regardless of what it is, if you're talking about your favorite television show, and you're going episode by episode reviewing the show, make sure you hit the high points of that episode, make sure that you know exactly what happened in that episode. And you could probably even dig into the minutiae of each of those episodes of that particular TV show. It's really just knowing your content. Yeah, knowing what you're going to try to deliver. If you know what the odds of you being able to deliver it are much, much higher.

Marc Ronick  18:05
Yeah, taking that as an example, using TV episodes. Find those things that happened during the episode that might be controversial. Listen and see and hear the chatter that's going on, what are people arguing about the episode, and in that tick tock are in that real, share your opinion, especially if it's going against the grain, because that's what gets attention, when you can share your difference of opinion, people are going to hop onto that, and then people are going to comment, and then the more activity that that particular post is going to have, it's going to be more seen around that platform. So tick tock will probably start pushing it out even more when it starts seeing a lot of activity there. So yeah, don't be shy about your opinions. If you're talking about a show or something entertainment, that you have a difference of opinion on, by all means, share that with people and see what kind of reaction you're gonna

Larry Roberts  19:01
get. I'll be honest, I mean, there's some of the pot fathers that are out there that are probably going to see this podcast, and I've thought about that when we kick this off as well, man, so and so here's this, they're gonna be like, Oh, that what are they doing doing a podcast on podcasting? It's that self doubt, and you just start questioning everything that you do. But guess what, man, everybody's gonna have an opinion. Everybody's gonna have some input. Yeah. And we have to be able to accept that you just have to go out you have to create the content. And you have to do it from your perspective. I think that's critical to do it from your perspective. And that's why, you know, Mark and I, when we were talking about putting this podcast together, we're like, do we really want to do another podcast on podcasting, but Mark and I, we have such varied opinions on podcasting, and they're different than some of the others that are out there. And I think that variety is what we need. And we have to bring that to the forefront on this show. And you have to do the same thing. Bring your personality, bring your input, bring your opinions to the forefront, that's going to differentiate you from every other show that's out there. The one unique Think about your show is here we go drumroll. You. And that's what people keep coming back for. Is you your opinion, your perspective, your cadence, the way you talk. I mean, there's so many different things about you, that brings people back to your show. So be you don't try to replicate somebody else.

Marc Ronick  20:19
Yeah, the big takeaway for me about this whole idea of being yourself and sharing your opinions, for the longest time, whether it's podcasting, whether it's business, or what have you, I always used to feel like if I'm not exactly replicating what that guy is doing over there, we're that lady's doing over there. If I'm not doing it in that exact way that they do it, it's not going to be successful. And how wrong was I because the more I actually just take the things that I liked about what they're doing, and then put my own spin on it and my own personality into it. That's the magic. That's where you start becoming your own brand, and not somebody else's brand. I can't encourage enough, it's fine. If you want to replicate certain things from your favorite podcaster that you want to be doing. Go for it. And make sure that you are injecting yourself into that as much as possible. And that's where people start to listen, and people start paying attention to you. Because now they know, this is somebody different. This is a unique personality. This isn't like that other guy. This is something new and fresh for me. And that's what gravitates an audience to you.

Larry Roberts  21:33
Yeah, 100% to kind of extend that a little bit further. You know, we look at other people, we try to get input from other creators, but don't be afraid to invest in yourself, either. Don't be afraid to invest in hiring a coach or hiring a consultant. Even on my first podcast, I definitely hired coaches, I bought courses, I bought Cliff Ravenscraft course, I watched Pat Flynn's course on YouTube, I hired a consultant, he took my money, but I still hired him. And he only showed up for one meeting. But that's lesson learned, you're gonna have those scenarios, too. You know, sometimes it's gonna sting a little bit, but you got to keep at it, and you got to keep following the path, keep following your path and keep investing in you so you can continue to grow. So it's time it's investment, it's personality. There's just so much that comes into the game. And it can be overwhelming because you want to do it all right out of the gate. And you just can't, it takes time. You know, I was on a podcast yesterday. And I was telling the story back in my younger years back in my 20s. I was a big time karate guy. Yeah, I remember I was an orange belt, probably in my late teens in this new style. And there was a black belt there. His name was Stacy rice. And he would beat the living shit at me every night. And I would get so mad because I just wanted to beat him. I just bet there's no way I was gonna beat this guy. He'd been training for years and years, he was already a really good fighter. But I would literally cry because I wanted to beat him so bad. It was just out of frustration, not because he hurt me. But he was hurting me too. And I might have cried for that trip. Yeah, but it was more emotional because I just wanted it so bad. But it took years and years and years before Stacey and I finally got to that level where we could have some really good scraps. And I remember, this was one of the highlights of my 20s. This was several years later, I don't know late 20s. I got a call about two o'clock in the morning. And it was Stacey rice. And he goes dude, and he didn't call me duty, call me a very bad name. He goes, I just want you to know I can't sleep. So what's up, he goes, Well, I'm sitting here spinning up, broke my rib. And I was like, That was so awesome. It was the best, it was the best, because he broken my nose. And you know, I broke toes on his elbows I made finally I got Stacy back. And it was just such an amazing feeling. And that same I know most people don't get excited about hurting others. But he's my best friend even to this day. We're great friends. And it all was formed from you know, literally beating the piss out of each other for years and years and years and years. But I tell that story, because you are going to get frustrated when you're starting you are probably if you're as dedicated as I was, you're probably going to shed some tears out of frustration. But you have to stay the path. You have to keep growing, you have to keep learning, you have to keep training. And every time you hit that record button and you get in front of that microphone, guess what you're doing. You're putting in reps, you're training, you're getting better, you're becoming a better host, you're becoming a better interviewer, you're becoming a better entertainer. And all of that only comes through time. So that's one of the biggest things and it's one of the most frustrating things. When I hear podcasters they get started it and I've even launch shows this year, I have high dollar clients that have launched shows this year, and they've already stopped because they weren't getting the 10s of 1000s of downloads they thought they were going to write even though I told them exactly what I'm telling you right now, the whole process we were going through of launching their show. I was setting those expectations, but it's hard. It's hard to check those expectations because we all want that instant success. That's one of the biggest things that I'd like for you to keep in mind, regardless of the style of your show. Yeah, and

Marc Ronick  24:59
remember like Larry said, you may shed a tear here and there in the beginning as you are learning, you probably won't spit up any blood. I hope not. And you gotta go through it. Like you said, You got to get the experience and you got to embrace the experience and take it for what it is. And understand it's all a learning experience, and you're only going to get better. So yeah, I love that, Larry, please go ahead and make sure you are following this podcast, hit that little plus button or whatever it reads their follow subscribe, whatever it says on that screen, how you're listening right now. Please go ahead and give us a follow so you can continue to get content like this. And don't forget you can find us on our website, podcast Ph D. Dot fro P R. O. Thank you for listening. We will see you next week. Thanks, everybody.