How you can overcome that nagging inner voice that wants to hold you back from charging more money, finding the right customers, and building a tribe.
How you can overcome that nagging inner voice that wants to hold you back from charging more money, finding the right customers, and building a tribe.
Today to invite you on a fun, I hope experiment on unleashing your business, building superpower. This is something that I’ve harnessed over the years to build many business ventures, plus help out my current employer. Castillo’s podcast hosting and analytics platform, makers of seriously simple podcasting plugin to podcasting plugin.
Plugin is freely available to use in the WordPress repo. So, if you can take a guess at what today’s superpower might be, you guessed it it’s podcasting, but fret not. I hope I can enlighten you to create something much more than just a podcast. See, my superpower was born at the intersection where skills like sales, creativity, and communication collided together to form an energy that works really well for today’s content creation tools.
I grew up in the car industry, selling cars and managing a family owned business at an early age, I was roughly 18 years old when the consumer internet started to make traction. Well, before people could look up car prices online, and that whole shift in purchasing started to change fast forward. A decade later when I started my first business, a digital agency, leveraging outlets like podcasting, YouTube, social media, blogs, email, they were fantastic ways to build a business, though.
I found there’s something about podcasting audio, really? That makes it so much more special. Today’s conversation is not just about starting a podcast, but also about putting a twist on how you think about your abilities in the business world. Podcasting. Isn’t the only superpower you can leverage either, but it will make for a fun conversation today.
I love video games and gaming has played a big role in how I built up confidence to engage with other humans growing up in the video game age, where text chat and forums were the only means of communication. You grew accustomed to role-playing to get what you want. You might not realize it, but it’s a fantastic sales training tool, but let’s get back to podcasting and your super power for a moment, much like building a solid business, building a great podcast.
Take time. Takes experience that’s, what’s earned along your journey, but don’t be fooled by that 500 word blog posts that podcasting one Oh one was super easy and you’ll get a million listeners on day one because you won’t. Another trap is thinking that you can do a ton of this content marketing stuff all at the same time that isn’t going to happen, either focused on a small collection of skills and superpowers until you become legendary at it.
So let me introduce you to a slightly different way about thinking about building your superpower. And that’s through the lens of a video game, customizing your character. I’m going to allow for some creative assumptions here, but I’d wager that most video games start your character off at level one.
It’s the weakest and most vulnerable your character will ever be, which sounds shockingly close to when you started your business, it doesn’t matter if you started your business five years ago, or yesterday, we were all at the starting line at one point. The good news is before you set off in your journey, you have the option to invest in a certain amount of skills to pick a superpower.
You have five points to spend on your character, but you can’t level up key superpowers or unlock new skills until you get out in the world and earn XP. That’s experienced points for you. Non-gamers less than one. You can’t be overpowered and that’s okay. One thing I cannot stress enough is to avoid burning out and feeling overwhelmed with all of this stuff much like at level one character creation, we don’t have all the enhanced skills and abilities yet.
We can’t power through a lot of the stuff coming at us until we learn and improve. Ernie experience through trial and error, customer interactions, content creation, what works and what doesn’t work slowly improves this over time. Your podcasting superpower will get better. The more you publish so long as you’re willing to accept the challenge.
Now, back to building out our level one character spreading points out too thin. Doesn’t get us anywhere on our path to harnessing our podcasting super power. We need to level up our most critical skills first. Don’t do a podcast, a newsletter, Facebook ads, YouTube, Instagram, all while trying to fight the level of 50 LinkedIn boss is far too difficult, but also easy to feel.
FOMO. FOMO is real. When you see someone tweet that they increase their revenue by 600% by creating a Facebook ad funnel, get great at something first, uh, level it up and exploit it as much as you can. And for me, that storytelling through content, inviting someone into your world to give them a digital handshake, a concept.
I’ve taken from my days as a salesperson. There’s so much to learn in that split. Second of a physical handshake when all of that was legal and the same can be said about the content we put out into the world. So I remember as a salesperson, uh, living in new England, just South of Boston, it’s January now.
And in those times when it was December, January, February, and it was absolutely freezing out there. The last thing somebody wanted to do was to walk onto a car lot and look at a car and deal with a sales person. Quite honestly, as a sales person, it was the last thing I wanted to do was to go out in the treacherous cold and wipe off.
Uh, a snow covered car and talked to a person about buying a car, knowing they weren’t wanting to be there either. Now, remember this was all before the consumer internet. So people didn’t know about all the features of it, our prices, competition, you know, a lot of this stuff was just getting online at the time.
There was books and magazines, but that was a lot harder for people to access. When you shook, somebody’s hand as a salesperson, maybe many of you who have done sales before, or just, you know, generally do business and shake hands in that moment. There’s a lot to be uncovered, uh, for both parties, but as a salesperson, you could really tell.
How firm was their handshake, what was their body language? Like? Were they just sort of just like, Oh boy, not this again, you know, and you can kind of tell what this engagement was going to be like, and this all happens in those very split second. Uh, and, and you kind of know as what you’re about to get into in terms of, you know, dealing with the person, uh, maybe how much money they want to spend, what types of questions they’re going to ask the whole sort of, uh, personality that’s behind this person.
There’s a lot of things in a physical handshake. That a brain can define in that split second moment. And on the digital world, what I’m imploring is a digital handshake. A lot of the content that we put out, the stuff that’s in our Twitter profiles, our LinkedIn profiles, whatever, uh, the videos, the podcast, all of that is wrapping up to that digital handshake moment is an underlining of trust, which we’ll talk about in a few moments, but that is what allows us to introduce ourselves.
In a different fashion on the digital landscape. That is 2021. Okay. Back to the presentation, listen to leveling up your core skills as a podcaster. Remember podcasting is interchangeable here. It’s about the digital handshake, not about the vehicle on which you get that out on. Having said that the most effective content that I’ve found is the content that builds trust through education and entertainment.
Can I inform my audience and enrich their understanding of a topic, trading them value for the time they spent with me, maybe get a chuckle or two in there as well. Ultimately, this leads into building trust and growing your audience. Within our podcasting superpower. There’s hard skills that we need to learn, like editing audio, keyword research, then there’s soft skills.
Like. Empathy, curiosity and purpose, but wait, this is where spending points early on. Makes a big difference on how we embark out into the world. Imagine that each of the skills above starts off with at least one point in them. And you know, the absolute basics of each, if you only had five points of spend in the section, where would you spend your points?
I’ll give you a second to think about that.
Most of the people I talk to, wants to start a podcast, think about investing in editing and audio. They feel if they get really expensive equipment and they can learn Adobe audition, it will make for a better podcast. And while they might be right, it’ll make a better audio podcast file. It won’t make better content.
So for me, I invest two points into purpose, two points into curiosity, and one point into keyword research. In the beginning, you can dump all your points into audio skill, and you’d have one hell of a great sounding show, but you didn’t invest in making the content any good. Find a balance that works for you and level it up less than three.
Earn more experience points faster. The good news is you level up fast in the early days, you don’t need as much experience to get marginally better at something. Think about getting one podcast episode off the ground. Once you ship it, listen to it, share it with others. You have this whole ball of feedback to unravel.
You can start leveling up your skills and no time getting to level 10 is generally really easy with a lot of that journey, being about learning and understanding the lay of the land. Or the map for many of us in the gaming world. Okay. Before we start spending our points, let’s take a look at the purpose trait.
Having a clear purpose or premise for your show is paramount to the success of your content creation. Clearly defining who this podcast is for much like your business message will impact all of the major goals you set out to achieve. Having a strong opinion that you can articulate across a story arc of shows will align trust and audience awareness that you’re seeking.
Investing points here is well worth. It I’ll be honest. I was really torn when having to decide between curiosity and empathy. Let me define empathy. First in the context of being a podcast host to me, it’s about understanding your guests, plus your audience, varying points of views. To understand that not everyone has the same methods and opportunities, or even the education and getting things done, whatever that getting things done is.
Uh, and just a quick aside as I started to. Increase my podcasting I’ve been podcasting for eight years. And when I started my early days, I had just thought like everyone wanted to start a business to raise venture capital. Right? Like that’s what got me into the whole internet, um, business building excitement, you know, listening to podcasts like Mixergy.
And at the time, uh, tech crunch was really big with a lot of their media that they were putting out. And it was, it was fascinating. And it was just like looking at it from a monetary standpoint. It was exciting. Right. And I was just like, I want to build a business like them. Why not? It looks fun. It looks easy.
It looks like everyone’s having a great time. Um, and then I quickly realized over the course of, let’s say my first year of podcasting that not everyone thought that way. Not everyone was building a business too. Uh, just find investment and grow capital and just be as big as, you know, they want it. And as I grew more in the WordPress space and started to build out a show that was predominantly around speaking to people, running WordPress, from the audience perspective, there were a lot of people who just maybe didn’t agree with the opinions or even built websites.
The way that I talked about them, or even my guests talked about them. And. That sort of journey even till today, uh, in 2021 is one that I listened to and try to have empathy for as much as possible. Everyone has a different point of view. And I know this sounds silly, but a lot of people, when you’re starting a show, you’re trying to work within a box.
Let’s say it’s not always the best method. Um, it can certainly help you get from milestone to next milestone. Uh, but the more you have a, an open view for your guests and for your audience, I feel, uh, the better that your show will be okay. Back to the lesson. This is a skill that one’s leveled up. It can really expand the show’s reach.
But curiosity to me that helps formulate better questions, not just the questions you want to ask, but what the questions the audience wants to hear ask. Have you ever listened to an interview show and you’re just hanging on the edge of your seat, waiting for the host to ask the question buzzing around your head.
I voted to put points here first because the ER, in the early days, it makes an individual show better while saving up points to invest in empathy, to make the overall show better in the long run. Next up to make our journey a little bit more tactical. I chose keyword research as my third skill. Now this is a great example on how the more experience you get playing the game, the better, a skill like this becomes, for example, The goal here is to research topics that your prospective audience wants content about what they’re searching for and what will rank in places like say, I don’t know, YouTube now basic low level research might be posing a question on Twitter.
Then there’s powered SEO, keyword research, which analyzes overall value of a term competitiveness in the technical ranking factors. So while you might not have high ranking keyword research skills, In the beginning, adding a point here and spending time going a little bit deeper and keyword research and looking up types of shows to improve your podcast might help you today.
Eventually dropping some points in audio, like getting a decent microphone will be important to your podcast overall quality. So maybe think about throwing a point in there in the leveler, too. Okay. To summarize where we’re at before we embark it out into the world. Uh, we’re setting our foundation with a solid purpose, leading with a curious mindset to explore and provide content and audience wants.
I think we’re ready to get into our first quest, less than four questing to our goals. Nearly every game has quest. We have to set out on and in our business plus podcasting world, these are what we would call goals. Remember this talk is about unleashing your business building superpower. So what does business building mean to you?
Is it more clients, more product sales, more brand awareness. Uh, these are the three most common goals that I hear when people set out to not only do their marketing, but also what they want to accomplish with a podcast. And I know I’m biased, but podcasting storytelling content, no matter which medium, it’s the perfect deliverable for these goals.
Okay, let’s teleport back into the game. Your first few quests are always easy. As you progress through the game, however, the quests get harder. You need to collect more things, reach further points in the world and solve more complex puzzles. Much of that can be said about our real goals in life. When you start your podcast, you quickly begin to grow your audience.
I mean, even if it’s just your mom listening to the show, it was more than what it was yesterday, which was zero. Here’s a tip. If you’re struggling with what a podcast can do for you, make your primary call to action, subscribing to a newsletter, something that’s easily measurable and has a dose of value for a listener to solve that action.
Now let’s illustrate how that goal or the quest can get more complex over time. Your first quest might be to gather five subscribers to your email list. That might happen after your first few episodes. Congratulations, you’ve achieved the quest. You’ve got five subscribers. Not only were you awarded five new dedicated fans to your show, but you also earned some experience along the way.
You figured out how many episodes it took you to get those five subscribers. You evaluated, how you pitched that call to action. You understood the type of content your podcast episodes needed to produce. Now, the quest gets increasingly harder as time goes on. You’re leveling up after all. Why should it be easy?
Put yourself in the shoes, six months down the road, getting five subscribers is probably easy in six months, but that might not move the business as much as you might need to, to get hundreds of subscribers or sales to move the needle. Now, the quest becomes scaling that goal. Is it more content or podcast episodes you need to produce better call to actions, to entice signups free downloads or courses that get you a list that’s really growing better guests or partnership on the show.
This is why becoming relentlessly good. At one thing is critical in the late game. Early days are easy. It’s easy to whip up something that has a dramatic impact, where there was a void before, but it’s far more challenging to scale to perfection over time details that seemingly bog you down in the beginning are much more critical now.
Okay. Back to our hero, she’s leveling up. She’s gaining experience, investing points into enhancing new skills and all the while accomplishing new goals through the quest. But wait, I think we just found some legendary items less than five collecting legendary trophies. Sorry. I’m not going to give up on why I love podcasts so much something high-end cover it as a podcast or eight plus years ago is something of the most valuable bits of running a podcast, selling product, growing an email list, killing two birds with one stone through podcasting.
YouTube creation is great and all. But one legendary item that’s extremely powerful through podcasting is connection. Podcasting still serves as a massively impressive way to meet new people, not just the audience, but potential guests on your show. Or as a guest on another show, podcasters love talking to podcasters.
It’s a secret, not so secret recipe and the audio creators world, just like an SEO link building, still rules the roost. As, as being a guest on a podcast, if you’re looking to grow an audience, that’s hands down the best method to do so. But the connections you make over time, build a certain set of referral trust with your guests.
I mean, after all you’re spending hours worth of time, interviewing them maybe some back and forth after the show or before the show, maybe a pre-interview and then the referring business to you. So why did I start. The Matt report, the Matt report is a WordPress podcast, uh, and it’s sort of growing outside of the WordPress space at this point.
But when I started my agency, which I, I don’t run day-to-day anymore, but when I started it, uh, 12 years ago, 13 years ago, maybe at this point, I was going to WordPress meet episode. It was like, well, if I’m going to find WordPress work, I might as well go to a WordPress meetup. And then I started to realize like, Oh, there’s other WordPress agencies in this space.
And quite notably, one of the ones that were right next door to me, uh, was Jay Goldman of now of course, 10 up. And when he started 10 up, I started to see. How fast he was growing. And, you know, we partnered together. We did some work together. Um, we were growing our agency. He was growing his agency, but I saw how fast he was growing 10 up.
And I said to myself, how could I compete with that? When I look at Jake, he’s a very, um, uh, acute business oriented person. He is, uh, an engineer, or he was at the time he was a developer. He was deep in the WordPress community at the time I felt like I there’s no way I can’t replicate myself. I can’t be Jake.
I don’t know how to develop a website. And I don’t know anything about this WordPress community thing. And he already had those two major advantages ahead of me, but what I. Try to do was position myself. Uh, in the community, the only way I knew how at the time I was thinking, maybe I’ll do a blog, right?
Like, I’ll do a blog and I’ll start talking about WordPress. And, uh, I was very into podcasts. Like I mentioned before, I loved like the venture capital business side of, of what people were doing. I was a fan of mixer. G still am a fan of mixer G. And I said, well, maybe I’ll try to become like the mixer G of WordPress, if that’s even a thing.
Right. So that’s, what I started to do is starting to interview people who were WordPress entrepreneurs, business builders in the. In the WordPress space and that got me a huge leg up to start growing the agency. Now, obviously not as large as a tenant and what Jake did, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s a story for another day, but having that social proof building connections, right?
For example, interviewing, uh, interviewing Jake, interviewing folks like web dev, uh, web dev studios, other agencies who weren’t taking on smaller work. They said, Hey man, I know what you have an agency here have this, you know, lead $5,000 website or something like that. And it was a fantastic way to, to grow those sort of third party, uh, referrals from, from trusted agencies.
And then outside of that, when we talked to customers and they say, well, why would we hire your WordPress agency? It looks like you don’t have many clients yet. Cause we didn’t. We were very still kind of young in the game. I could then point to my podcast and, you know, whatever I had at the time 50 or so shows, I could say, look, it’s one of the highest WordPress podcasts on iTunes, which was hilarious back then.
Uh, if you like, what I have to say in these podcast episodes, well, maybe we should do business and I’d I’d point to a handful of shows that I produced that I thought might be poignant for, for their use case. So it was a fantastic selling tool, a fantastic social proof tool. It was a great way. To build referrals, right.
And that connection, that network building is so underrated. When people talk about podcasting is generally, it’s just about downloads and monetization and becoming a star. That’s not really what the most valuable parts of a podcast are all about. Okay. Back to the presentation, putting out a consistent message or content type also builds, builds referral trust within your audience.
Remember back to investing points and purpose. If you have a clear premise, you’re crafting that as a relatable message to your audience. People know what you’re about. It’s that whole argument around specialist versus generalist that we hear so much in the freelance strategy world. I call these legendary items or trophies because they are extremely rare, elusive, and they are hard to capture.
There’s no blueprint on obtaining these milestones, but through resiliency, like never giving up your content efforts, you can unlock these unmeasurable return on investment items along the way your digital handshake becomes much more recognizable. Trust is increasing in your network and your audience loves to share your art you’re on your way to that maximizing potential of the superpower, but just on the horizon, a cloud begins the form.
Darkness falls over the land and a chill permeates the air around you. It’s boss time, lesson six, the boss battle. Mirror match. One of the most popular Bossfyte challenges in a video gaming history is the mirror match boss fight. And that’s when you fight the exact version of yourself in order to progress to the next level you’re pitted against well, yourself, all the powers skills oftens defense that you’ve acquired over time are now squarely aimed against you, and then attempt to draw parallels between real life and business life.
Can you see how this is similar to our own challenges? Oftentimes facing our internal thoughts are the most difficult boss battles on our journey, both as a content creator and a business owner, you know, the feelings of doubt and feeling like an imposter or that irritable voice in our head that says we’re not good enough paralyzing thoughts that can hold us back from what we really want to achieve, but they’re just thoughts.
And we can overcome them by facing them head on. You know, this is something that I still struggle with. Right. I never liked the art that I’m putting out. And it has taken me years really to come to terms to say that, you know, when people say, what do you do? I, well, I I’m the director of podcasts or success at APOC as I was in company called cast those.
But when I am creating out into the world are not only the podcast for Casos, but I have my own podcasts and this is an art form to me. It’s taken me eight years to, to even say that out loud. And while you might look at that and laugh and chuckle and say, that’s not art, those that you, that image that I have of you right now, the listener at home of the show was the reasons why I never said I was an artist.
It has taken me eight years to say, you know what? I feel like I am an artist now, because I’m going through the paces of what you might think of as a traditional artist, maybe an artist that sketches or draws or paints, and then like a music artist that is constantly trying to get out their next album and their next.
Hit or their next single or whatever. It’s the same efforts. It’s this idea that’s just rattling around in the old brain and then you have to bring it to life. Whether it’s a presentation like this, or even an interview, what kind of questions are you going to ask? What’s your personality on a show?
Educational entertaining. What’s it like all of this stuff is, uh, Culmination or a representation of you as an individual, again, as an artist, putting this stuff out into the world, I ship a lot of stuff. I am unhappy with a lot of stuff, which is like that, you know, That thing around artists is like they spend years painting something and then they tear it and they say, this was terrible.
We all hate our art. Right. Because we’ve been working on it for so long, but then the past, that was amazing. Why did you, why did you tear it down from that wall? So, look, I struggle with this. It’s never going away, but it’s understanding that it’s there and putting up. Uh, pillars around you to, to deal with it and to understand it.
Okay. Back to the presentation. Look, the more we put out into the world, the more we feel good about our art, the more our confidence rises. It comes easier to some of us more than others, but I can our auntie, the more you play the game, the better you’ll become less than seven. The end game. Once you beat the bus, collect your legendary trove.
Your next step in the journey is to move on and explore more of the land. There’ll be new quests to tackle new experiences, to gain and lots more rewards of bountiful, treasures, creating a podcast or investing in content that scribes the journal of this journey is a superpower you can leverage to bring your most coveted party members along with it’s going to take time and effort.
Something that you’ll have to invest in each skill set to get better at it. But it’s a great game to be in. It’s an open world experience like no other. And this is how I approached the intersection of my work, my content, and my messaging, telling stories and broadcasting to the world. I hope today’s presentation changes your outlook and approach to managing the mindset of leveraging your new superpower of podcasting.
Again, I think podcasting is an amazing tool. There’s tons of ways that. You can approach podcast. I don’t particularly even like, particularly like the, the word podcast, right? I think it can feel too technical. Um, especially if you’re not a technical person. Uh, and it’s like the word blog, it’s like blog podcast and there’s the very, just like, they don’t feel great, uh, to say to a non-technical person, but podcasting for me anyway, is about broadcasting your message.
Feeling confident about what you have to do, uh, and, and having an opinion and feeling confident to, to let that opinion out into the world, right? You might have an opinion, like anyone can build a website, but you might have a particular opinion on only how you build the website, but how you deliver the website, support the website, support the customer, you know, th th the mindset around how you price a website project, or whatever.
Um, leading with opinion in all of this stuff. It doesn’t matter if you’re podcasting or you’re just blogging or doing an email newsletter critical moments. Is that lead with something that somebody can identify, uh, your stance with and then building confidence over time. Right? There is. And it changes the, and this is why I made this correlation to all of this stuff.
Being like a game there’s always a new level, a new map, a new download, a new boss, a new quest, right? There’s always something new that’s going to come. So number one, be ready for it. And number two, just know that it will change, but you get better over time. So long as you don’t give up so long as you’re up to the challenge.
And that’s hopefully the essence that today’s conversation is. Is rooted in my name’s Matt. I run a podcast called the Matt report. You can find email@example.com. If you want to start your own podcast, go to Casto . Com. You can find me there. I’m the director of podcast or success. We put out a free plugin called seriously simple podcasting plugin.
I think it’s like 20,000 active installs, tons of five star reviews. I think it’s all five star reviews on the WordPress repo. It’s a great way to start your podcast. And then when you’re ready to take the next leap. Castos.com to host your podcast, to distribute out everywhere that podcasts can be found.
Okay. Uh, this was an amazing presentation and amazing, uh, organization, big orange heart. Love them. You probably already know. I support them a lot, uh, with a lot of the advertising stuff that I do on mattreport.com. Okay. Thanks for watching.