Reaching 500 and more podcast episodes is a milestone worth celebrating. In this dual episode, Scott Carson talks with fellow podcaster and public speaker, Thom Singer from the podcast Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do. Thom is an advisor to executives, a speaker, and content creator. He happily chats with Scott about both hitting the 500-episode mark and what they’ve learned from their journey to the top .01% of podcasters. Learn from Scott and Thom as they share some of their secrets that helped them make this far in the podcast and note investment industry.
Listen to the podcast here:
The 500 Club With Thom Singer
I’m excited to have Thom Singer.
I am from Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do. I am joining Scott Carson. We both topped 500 episodes. That’s wickedly crazy.
It is crazy when you think about the dedication that goes from that. You’ve been podcasting longer than I have, Thom. Why don’t we start with you since you’re the elder statesman of the industry?
I started Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do several years ago with the intent of having access to some smart people who’ve done cool things. I don’t know a lot in this world, Scott, but I know one thing and that is success leaves clues. I thought I would do 50 interviews to get around 50 successful entrepreneurs and solopreneurs. By the time I hit 50, I was getting the bug. I figured I’d have to do 500 before I’d be any good at it. Now, I’m over that 500 mark.
Congratulations on that. That is great. I’ve been doing the blog for a couple of years. Although I’ve had my show more than that. I started doing Facebook Lives. We’ve always done video training and webinars all the time with my audience. The Note Closers Show is a very niche show on the niche of real estate investing. We were doing Facebook Lives when we came out live.
Do you do it five days a week then?
We try to do it at least three days a week. Sometimes it’s five. Sometimes we record seven episodes depending on the schedule. When I look back at the numbers, we’ve averaged basically 3.5 episodes per week for the last couple of years.
Based on the math, I do two shows a week for several years.
You’ve been doing this for a few years. Why don’t you share people what your full-time gig is, Thom?
I’m a fortunate guy. I used to be a sales and marketing executive. When you’re in sales and marketing, you go to a lot of conferences. I’d sit there and I’d watch these keynote speakers. Some of them were famous, but a lot of them were people with an idea, a thought and a theory. I would watch them on stage and I literally would sit there. I thought that they have a better job than I do. Many years ago, I started thinking, “I want to do that.” Several years ago, I went full-time as a professional speaker and corporate trainer going into annual association meetings or company sales kickoffs. I am that guy who comes in and brings real content, but at the same time, I have the ability to motivate and inspire that team to take action. That’s all I do for a living. I speak about 40 or 50 times a year all over the country. I’ve been doing that for many years.
Your audiences vary from size to size. What’s the biggest audience you spoke in front of? What’s the smallest one that you spoke in front of?
I have served as the master of ceremonies for 3 to 5-day conferences for audiences as big as 6,000 and 8,000 people. Sometimes, I will be one of the speakers involved in that as well. On top of that, I have done groups as small as twelve. It’s everything in between.
I’ve traveled the last couple of years speaking to audiences in the real estate community. The largest audience I spoke to in front is 2,500 people. The smallest one has been in front of ten people. As I’m out speaking and teaching this little aspect, there might be 1 to 4 people in the country that teach this little specific niche of note investing. I started doing that many years ago when the market turned south. I was a mortgage banker. I was a mortgage broker. When everything turned south, I jumped on the other side of buying. We were buying the debt and working it out. It’s been interesting. If you think about your podcasting stuff, what’s one thing that’s happened because of the podcast that surprised you? Maybe out of the left field, something that you didn’t expect.
Early on, when the podcast was new, it was before everyone had a podcast. I started my podcast on the same day Gary Vaynerchuk launched his podcast. All of the celebrities came in after I got on. Early on, I quickly got a lot of listeners because there wasn’t all this noise out there. I was surprised that people who listened to the first 25 shows were referring me to their bosses who were having meetings. They were referring me. I didn’t know what I expected to get an actual paid speaking work out of it, especially because the title, Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do, isn’t what I talk about.
That was probably the first big surprise. The second thing is I cohost the show called Digital Enterprise Society podcast. It’s for people who work in and around what’s called product life cycle management. There’s a specific set of software. I have been hired by the Digital Enterprise Society to help launch their podcast as their cohost. That’s a paid gig for me. I’ve done work for them as a speaker. That’s something I never thought of. I’m in negotiation with two other associations to host their shows. That was probably the biggest surprise.
One of the biggest surprises that have come to me from doing this is that we’ve started, we’ve gotten good at it with our niche and with our peers that we’ve had on the real estate community. A lot of them have come to me and asked me to start helping market them.
I think it’s interesting how you’ve taken such a small niche. When you think about it, it’s not just real estate you’re talking. It is specifically about notes. The popularity that you have been able to grow out of being super niche. If I was to start my show now, I would probably go more niche because having this broader entrepreneurship show made sense a few years ago. If I was restarting now, I would go tighter. My content that I speak about has changed. In the past few years, I’ve morphed a bit from one topic to another. It’s not a huge change. If I started the show now, I would be focused specifically on the gap that exists between potential and performance for individuals and teams because that’s what I teach. However, at the time, you’ve got to take everything in perspective when you made decisions. I made the right decision a few years ago. Now, I would be super niche like you are.
The niche has been good because we dominated that niche aspect of things. There are not many people that want to do what I do. Few people are doing a show, especially doing it for a couple of years. It’s been surprising the success of the show. I thought we’d maybe cap out at 10,000 downloads a month, but we’re going to hit 30,000 downloads again. It’s led to interesting people signing up for it. We monetize in a different fashion a little bit. We get people that sign up for our workshops and our coachings. We are getting paid speaking gigs from the blog. It’s building notoriety for yourself. We’re both experts in our fields, but I think it adds an extra level to it.
I definitely see that. In 2018, since I had crossed the 400 mark, I started having my bio and my introduction. When people introduce me to come to speak to their group, they include, “He’s the host of the popular Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do show for years with many episodes.” What amazed me when I added that to my introduction is the number of people who line up with their phones in their hands. When I had 100 marks, few podcasts have been around and have that longevity. They talk about podcasts dying somewhere between 7 and 12 episodes. Most of them die out by 25. Some people do a fifteen series run to do a little bit. To be at that level, it is starting to get me more attention. That surprised me.
I think it’s a 1/10 of 1% of podcasts crossed the 300-episode mark. We know some other friends that have done well with podcasts like our buddy Steve Olsher and some others out there. They’re doing well. It’s a rarefied air to stick with that long. The numbers that we officially saw that there were 760,000 podcasts and only 18% of those have produced episodes in the last several months. Less than 20% are constantly cranking content out.
I’m always surprised at the rankings on iTunes, now it’s Apple Podcasts. How many are ranking high? Who hasn’t produced new episodes in a year? Their algorithms are not necessarily working unless those shows are tied to a celebrity where they’re getting a ton of downloads. Why some of these shows are still ranking?
I had a friend of a friend that told me they only have a dozen people working in a podcast office. They don’t rank that much. Change the ranking.
There are 700,000 podcasts and six people are working.
If you didn’t know, Starbucks is a $24 billion company that has twelve people working on its social media office in Seattle. It cracks me up a little bit about how people are surprised to meet you. We get that all the time. People are reading the blog. They either will opt into something or give my office a phone call. They can get a hold of us and talk to us. Is that right, Thom?
They think, “This is Scott. I’m talking to the real Scott Carson. He answers his own phone.” It’s only happened a couple of times. I’ve been out in the wild going about my life. I’m telling a story to somebody over a beer in a bar and somebody a couple of barstools away goes, “Are you, Thom? Are you the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do guy?” That blows me away because I don’t even have as many audiences as you do. I get about 1,000 downloads per episode, which in the podcast world is good but not huge. Still, I’ll get people who listen to it. I always ask people, “How did you even find my show?” When I meet random people, I’m like, “How did you even discover it?” The number one way people find my show is somebody they know told them about it.
We see the same numbers, roughly about 1,000 downloads per episode. Maybe a little more depends on what you think. I’ve had it happen at one time on a plane, which is funny. I was flying to San Diego for a marketing convention. I saw a friend of mine, an old assistant. We got to busy talking and sat next to each other and we’re getting busy. We get off the plane. I go with my luggage. My friend is waiting there. She went to the bathroom and came out. There was a lady with her and she goes, “She asked me if you were Scott Carson from The Note Closers Show.” I said, “Here’s my card. Give me a phone call.” The lady was like, “My God.” I was like, “I’m just a normal guy cranking out content every day.”
I definitely think we’re talking about both of us topping this 500 mark, which is a big deal. A lot of people don’t have the sticktoitiveness. There are a lot of people out there teaching, “How to get rich on podcasts?” They tell people all these little tricks. They’re using the outliers of these 700,000 people. They’re using seven people who were able to monetize to $1 million in eight seconds. They’re using the model of a celebrity who is already famous. People are getting very disheartened by, “I talked to people all the time. I did a show and I couldn’t get anybody to listen.” “How many episodes did you do?” “I did eighteen.” I looked at this all long as it was a long tail play. It’s also been huge in helping me with search engine optimization because the page that I use for my blog is part of ThomSinger.com. It’s ThomSinger.com/podcast. I’m able to link, crosslink and backlink to that. It’s helped my search engine optimization for my main business. Twice a week, I’m creating a page.
We saw that immediately where my page rank for 75 keywords. Now, it ranks for over 1,800 different keywords. We’ve gone from 1,500 visits to the website a month to over 10,000 to 12,000 hits to the website a month because we do the same thing. We take each episode and create a blog posted on the website. It was huge. You’re talking about people getting discouraged because they’re not monetizing or making $1 million in two episodes. It is a long-term play, long-form play to do it. You’ve got to keep providing content. Most people I talk to see this. It burned myself when people say, “I’ve launched for six episodes. Nobody’s listening.” I was like, “Why don’t you do this?” “I don’t want to do all that work.” “You’ve got to do the work if you want to get the pay and make it profitable.”
My blog is not my business. It is a piece of my business. It’s a credibility tool. It’s a marketing tool. I have used it to get in touch with people. I didn’t use it as a dastardly plan, but I’ve interviewed people who I’ve developed a relationship with. They referred me to an association or their company because they were a guest. If you go in thinking, “This is going to be my whole world.” There are people who have turned their podcast into their whole business. However, we can count those numbers probably on two hands. The real value of having a podcast is in that longevity and how do you touch it and tie it to different things. I’ve switched what I speak about. It’s not a drastic change, but I’m focused on this gap between potential and performance.
I asked people who come on my show, all of the entrepreneurs for the last several years, “Why do you think some people are able to get farther across the gap between having potential and getting results? Why did some people fall into the abyss?” The answers they’ve fed me, the 300 entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and business leaders. The answers that they’ve given me have written partially this content that I’m sharing out with other people. All of a sudden, I’m starting to get inquiries to talk at entrepreneur conferences, which isn’t what I set out to do. Having interviewed over 400 entrepreneurs, people are like, “You had to have learned something.” I’m in the process of working on a new side talk of what entrepreneurs tell? What do successful entrepreneurs tell me?
It’s the whole thing about business evolving. As you get at your craft better, you’re honing your message and it gets better. I haven’t listened to my first ten episodes, but I guarantee that we would all cringe going back and listening to the first ten to what we’re doing now.
That’s the other thing. I’ve watched your episodes. You are a great interviewer. I bet you weren’t when you first said, “I’m going to do a Facebook Live tonight.” I bet you were not great, but you were good. You’ve got a fantastic personality. You’re a fun guy to be around. If you look at over the past 500 interviews that you’ve done, it’s made you better. I know that’s true for me. One of the things I offer my clients when I’m serving as the master of ceremonies is I can stay and facilitate your executive panel. If you have a keynote speaker, give him 50 minutes, not an hour. I’ll come out for the last ten minutes. I’ll ask him some questions. Audiences usually say, “That’s the best part of the keynote. That was better than their talk. You picked up on something that they said. It was a throwaway line. How come you’re good at that?” I said, “I couldn’t have done it until I started this podcast.”
I think we all evolve our skills. I appreciate the compliment. You’re a great interviewer as well. I love listening to your show and hearing some of the questions that your guests aren’t expecting. That does pull out some great content and gives the audience to get to know that person a little bit better. A lot of speakers, executives or people get used to saying the same thing over and over again. Anytime you can throw them off their saddle or their horse a little bit there to get them to think a little bit differently, it adds volumes to that episode. Especially if somebody’s been speaking or a guest on other podcasts, it helps set yourself apart.
I have set questions that I follow but I go off of them. If somebody says something like, “Let’s go deeper.” Sometimes we don’t get to all the questions. One of the set questions that I always try to get to is, “Who in the entrepreneur sphere, in the world of entrepreneurs, do you admire? A lot of people will give me an Elon Musk, Richard Branson or Steve Jobs. Every now and then, someone will say, “This will be someone with a billion-dollar company or multimillion-dollar company.” They’ll be like, “My dry cleaner.” I’ll be like, “Let’s talk about that.” We’ll unpack why they’ve picked someone obscure when they could have easily said Steve Jobs. Those are some of the most insightful things when people go with something that isn’t the canned answer.
Is there somebody out there, a celebrity podcaster or speaker that you look up to? Is there somebody that you admire in this industry or outside of your industry that you look up to?
If we look at the speaking industry, my idol, I know him. We could be better friends. I’ve always been like, “I can’t talk to him.” As it turns out I could. It’s a guy named Mark Scharenbroich. If you’ve been to a lot of conferences, you’ve seen him speak. His tag line is, “Nice bike.” He owns a Harley-Davidson. He talks about when you get around Harley people, the slang word is nice bike. He interprets that back to what’s the slang word in your industry? How do you become part of the family? What can you say? His contents are great. Mark is the greatest storyteller I have ever seen, if I can watch him on video or live, watch how he tells a story and weaves the content into the story with emotion and pauses. I admire Mark more than anybody else. In fact, I saw him speak. He was the closing keynoter at the National Speakers Association several years ago. Halfway through his closing keynote, I leaned over to my friend and said, “I’m quitting this business because I’ll never be that good.”
He’s one of those people in the speaking business. If you take it over to podcasting, I’m not pandering, you’ve become one of those people. The reason I admire you is number one, you do a good show. Number two, you’re in close. You invite everybody into your tent, whether they’re new or old. You’re putting together gatherings of podcasters in the city in Austin, where we live, and beyond. Here are the reasons why I admire you. I’ve never told you this, I’ll pander it out there. You are always looking two or three steps ahead at how do you do this. I’ve been successful in my life, but I tend to be on the step that I’m on. The reason I admire you is I liked the way you look at a scene and say, “Have you tried that?” I was like, “I haven’t even mastered this.” You’re like, “What about that?” I was like, “Slow down, Scott.” You and Joel Block both think that way. I’m trying to learn to be more that way, people like you.
I appreciate that. I would say the same thing back about you. I admire you. We’d been around several years at this and doing a great job. I enjoy speaking and seeing you going out and speaking in all the places. That’s something that I aspire to do. I think everybody hits ups and lows in our business. In my niche here, we’ve had our highs and as the market changes, we’re coming down a little bit. I’m going to keep doing the show, but the market is changing. It’s always made me look the other way. I always have something else that we could look at or try to keep ahead of the pace in the market. I’m a big believer in servant leadership. If you can bring people along and help make others successful, it will make you successful along the way as well.
My big guy would be Seth Godin. I’m a huge fan of him. I love to listen to him. I got a chance to meet with him a couple of times. I’ve not had him on my show yet. That will be a goal. He doesn’t quite fit well on The Note Closers Show, but he’ll probably fit well with our livestream or another one that we’re probably going to be launching soon. That’s the thing, you do two shows. This has been my show. I’ve got a couple of smaller shows that I do that are sublets of my industry, but we’re going to be starting a new, purely podcasting, marketing, business, entrepreneur show to help accentuate some things. Identify those that are making a difference out there in their niche.
That’s one of the things that I watch what you’re doing with how you market your show. The way you tie in the video and the different things, I don’t do any of that. I watch it and think, “I’ve got to learn how to do that.” I think a show on how to market your podcast. Since there are 700,000 podcasts out there, I bet you could get a couple of people to tune in. It’s a great idea.
My goal is to help the 82% of people that have stopped. I will help them get launched back up. Do you do your own production on your podcast?
I’m sponsored by a company called Podfly Productions. If you don’t mind, they sponsor me since this will come out on my show too. I’ll do the abbreviated version because they sponsor my show. If you’re reading this on Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do, this episode is brought to you by Podfly Productions, which takes the time and the headache out of creating your own podcast. The commercial goes longer. I won’t submit your readers to it, but I never could’ve done this show if I hadn’t partnered with Podfly from episode one. I would never do the technical work and heavy lifting. God knows what would happen if we had a coughing fit. I couldn’t fix it. Podfly does all that. They’re the best vendor I’ve ever worked with in any job and any career. They are good. If something’s not perfect, they’re going to blow a deadline or I’m going to blow a deadline and they are good to work with. I call them the best vendor I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t do the show without Podfly.
I don’t do my own production. We’ve got a company called Podetize. My friends Tom and Tracy Hazzard out at Irvine. They do a tremendous job. All you’ve got to do is send them the video or the audio. They do everything else. My staff takes what they’ve done and reshared it across different platforms through Buffer. Especially a lot of offers are control freaks. I didn’t want it to be the control freak when it came to production. I’ll pay to have it done.
It will eat your time. Even if you had the technical skills to be able to do the editing. It takes three times the time that recording would be.
That’s the best thing of delegating that out to focus on what you’re good at. Let the other experts go out and do it.
I want to jump back to two things though. I was talking about this gap between potential and performance and we got talking about podcasts. Let’s twist these two things together. You observe a lot more than I do. You play in the pool with a lot more podcasters. I have a lot of podcaster friends. Your fingers go deeper than mine. Why do you think people start a podcast? They all have potential. Everybody has an idea. Everybody has some nuggets and theories that they can share with people. We all start with potential. Some people get farther across. They get a lot of listeners. They get a lot of longevity. They’re able to build something. They have performance, results, and other people fall into the depth of another boring podcast. What do you think that delta is?
I would say the difference between those people is that it’s a lack of patience. They have unrealistic expectations. They think that if they do throw ten episodes out there that they’re automatically going to have success. A lot of people released only one episode. They don’t have a library for people to listen to, to binge on. That’s the heroin crack that our listeners need. When I’ve been out networking and other things at PodFest, Podcast Movement, or local networking clubs as a thing. I get, “I uploaded two episodes. I didn’t get any listeners.” I was like, “You have to give it time for those seeds to sprout, to grow.”
You have to launch with 3 to 6 episodes. What people do, when they listen to one, they want more than they can listen to. The other thing is you have to follow a schedule. I said two days a week. I’ve probably missed less than ten over the few years where I’ve said I couldn’t get an episode out. When I’ve done that, people have emailed me and said, “Where’s my Tuesday episode? I always listen on Wednesday on my way to work.” Your listeners get accustomed to the habit of, I release on Tuesday and Thursday, and my people listen on Wednesday and Friday. There’s something to do along those lines. The other thing is you can’t have an occasional podcast because I know people who are like, “My podcast.” They released two shows. A few months later, a show, and I’m like, “Nobody’s listening. Don’t tell me you have a lot of listeners.” I’m sure there are outliers who are not famous. They do nine episodes in a year. They’d dump them here and there and people are like, “They released another show.” For most people, that’s why they fall into the abyss. There’s no consistency.
This is a hobby and often a passion project. For some people, you’ve got to treat it with respect, respect for your listeners and your audience out there. I think six is a great starting point to release because it gives people something to see, “They’re not a flash in the pan with one show.” I’ve got some friends that have brand new shows. They went in and did twenty bulk episodes. They upload and released them in twenty days straight. They skyrocketed to the top with listeners because they got that crack, that heroin that hits to their listeners. They had a social media database and they marketed it out as well. They didn’t record it and expected the listeners to come. They did a full press, court press across social media, email blasts, and things like that to help grow their audience.
The biggest problem is that people out there, we think, “We’re going to do this. All of our friends are going to listen.” I’m surprised how many of my close friends have never listened to an episode after 500. My own brothers don’t listen to the show. I’ve interviewed some interesting people. They don’t do it. The other thing is it matters so much to get people to go on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get them to subscribe because that’s how the rankings happen. I’ll make the ask for people to go subscribe and leave a comment. A few people take action in the world we live in. People are caught up in their own every second that few people are out there helping you achieve those numbers. Therefore, you better well promote at ten times more than you think you have to.
My closest friends don’t read my blogs either because our friends aren’t in the same niche. A lot of my friends are like, “Scott is that crazy marketing guy.” It’s funny because we have helped some of my friends come back and start their own shows on their own niche. It’s been fun with that aspect of things. Where do you see yourself going in the next few years, Thom?
I don’t know. I toyed with the idea of hitting 500 and shutting the show down and saying, “Checkmark, I did that.” However, it’s a great marketing tool for me. I thought about starting a new show and building from scratch, but I would lose the following that I have. I’d have to push hard to migrate people. I’m going to continue with Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do. It gives me that action to be able to have this university access to how do I grow my own business and share it with other people who listen. What I would like to do with it is figure out how to intentionally monetize it. I’ve been fortunate, I’m doing a show for someone else. I’ve been in talks with two other associations about hosting. I like doing it. I’d probably like to host two or three other people’s shows and continue to grow mine. I’ll get the readers up higher, but then figure out what I’m missing. That’s why you’re going to be putting on a podcaster mastermind two-day intensive. One of the reasons I want to come is I know I’m missing 100 things that are low-lying fruit. I’d like to figure those things out.
I’m pretty excited about that. We did one in Orlando with about a dozen podcasters. I walked away with some great nuggets. You and I have been a part of one-day masterminds before with some of our other podcasters. That’s always been the highlight because there are many events out there that are all about for starting your podcast or launching your podcast. There are not many things out there for experienced podcasters and being able to learn from each other exclusively so that we are able to hone our skills. We all know there are plenty of listeners out there that I call eyeballs and earballs for everybody to listen to. That’s the thing. The two-day event we’re looking at, I think it’d be great. We have 20 to 25 people. They’re doing podcasting and doing it on a regular basis. It works well and it helps you exponentially grow.
You’re only charged nothing. I saw it and I thought, “What’s this going to cost me? I was like, “Sign me up.”
We keep the cost low so we can keep the content-rich.
Here’s what I think. I think if you’re reading this, you have a podcast, and you’ve got some legs to it. You don’t have to be 500 episodes. If you live in Austin, Texas or you’re willing to come to Austin, Texas. You need to track Scott down at The Note Closers Show or whatever other emails he wants to give you to find him. You need to look at what he’s doing for these two days for this podcaster intensive. I’m excited about it.
Thanks. MassMediaMastermind.com is the website. We’ve got a loose itinerary. We’re going through a variety of things. Everybody struggles. Some people are great with content. People are like, “I want to monetize this a little more. I want to get sponsors. Are there some cool tools?” Last time we did it, somebody came in with a whole network of shows that everybody was excited to be a part of. It is mind-boggling. We’re pretty stoked about that.
I was the first person to sign up. I don’t know if there’s another sign up I have to do on the website, but on Facebook I clicked, “I’m going.” It said two people were going. It was you and me. As far as I’m concerned, I was the first person.
You were the first person to RSVP. You’ve got to go sign up for it and pay for it.
I’ll do that. I’m good at it.
That’s the funny thing that we know that now. No big deal. Most importantly is to surround yourself with people that are doing things. When I got started on this journey as a podcaster a couple of years ago, I was running around trying to find other podcasters that were doing things to get an idea of comparative analysis. How is my show doing? I was talking to other real estate podcasts and for all intents, we were doing well. That’s the thing you have to keep in mind. If you’ve got a show out there, don’t try to compare yourself to somebody who’s a few years ahead of you.
Try to talk to them, “How were your numbers when you first started?” and go that route. I’m competitive in nature. I always want to beat and be the number one if I can. I know I’m not going to be the number one podcast out there, but in my niche, I can. I know I’m going to own it and rock it out there like what you’re doing, Thom. You own your niche, you’re rocking and rolling. It’s leading the business and relationships come the outside and helping. I think it helps you bounce out of bed every day because you’re excited about it.
I spent several years with the topic that I spoke about. It was about how to get in a world where everybody had moved to their phones? How do we get people to connect in a gadget-crazy world? That was my keynote for years. The best networking tool I’ve ever found has been this podcast. Not only from being able to connect with the guests I have or the audience that I have, but I’ve made some good friendships with other podcasters. I have Justin Schenck, Adam Schaeuble and then yourself. The list would be 25 people long. Many of them through the New Media Summit but not all of them. I’ve met many cool podcasters who are willing to help.
In my niche, we call it coopetition. I’ve seen that in the podcasting space. Everybody’s willing to help and you achieve things. There is so much bandwidth out there and many opportunities that you’re not stealing anything. It works better if you’re working with other people to grow your audience or share what’s going on.
I will be honest. I’ve become very proud of Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do. I don’t want to be braggadocious, but I’m proud of what the show is. There’s one guy and he’s a former FBI agent. He wanted to become a speaker on cybersecurity. We talked a few years ago, he was a listener of the show. He wanted to be an entrepreneur but he was a career government employee. He listened to the show, got inspired and called me. I gave him some ideas. He spent the next few years speaking in his job as much as he could so he could get good. I told him, “It’s great that you’ve given a few speeches. You’ve got to be good. The only way you get good as a speaker is to get out there and speak.”
He was the FBI’s expert on speaking on cybersecurity. He spoke hundreds of times. When he retired and took his pension, he was a great speaker and had been prepping for a few years. Now, he’s booked solid. He makes more money as a speaker than I do. I was like, “The students shouldn’t surpass me.” The fact is, he tells me all the time that he wouldn’t have made that transition from what he did to what he’s doing now if he hadn’t been inspired by Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do, not just me, but the people I interviewed. He listened to the show religiously and took ideas, nuggets, theories, and spent a long time prepping for it. When he launched, he was ready. There are five different ways now. Many people want it in five minutes, not five years.
That’s the most disappointing thing. I’ve had friends that were going to launch a podcast that never got past episode one. They did everything. They bought all the microphones, the headphones, the webcam, and then never got over that. Is there anything about podcasting that frustrates you personally with stuff?
The list of what frustrates me about the world is long. Without question, the thing that frustrates me the most is figuring out how to differentiate yourself in a world. I have a broad business podcast. I call it entrepreneurship, but it’s business. When I started, there weren’t a lot of entrepreneurs, solopreneurs or business podcasts. Now, there are 400 billion. People who tuned in and listened, they come back, but it’s getting people that first time to say, “I’ll check out this show.”
Sometimes, we go through the content that gets low or like, “What are we going to talk about now? What am I talking about this episode?” Sometimes, I’ve had some guests on my blog that we’re pretty excited about. The episodes flopped. I’ve got a couple of ex-NFL players that have been on that are now on their real estate and the note community. I was excited. I thought they would do well. They absolutely bombed.
I’ll tell you what frustrates me. What frustrates me is the people who don’t promote being on the show. They don’t retweet it. They don’t put it on their social media. I ran into a woman I had spoken on and she said, “Why do you have a podcast?” It is not to get rich. I have it as a marketing tool. She missed my speech, but she came up to me afterward and she said, “I get asked to be on a lot of shows, but they all want me to promote it.” I was like, “Promote it.” She goes, “You don’t understand. I’m an influencer. I only promote people who are more famous than me because that pulls me up. I don’t ever talk about the little people.”
She didn’t use the word little people, but I barfed in my mouth when she said that. I thought then, “Don’t go on the show. If you’re not going to tell people, ‘I was on the show, check it out,’ and help raise that person. Don’t go on the show.” Every show I’ve ever been on, even if it was a few years ago, if they tag me on Twitter, Instagram or whatever, I hit the retweet button because hitting a like says, “I see you told your audience about me.” Hitting retweets says, “I will tell my audience that you told people about me.” I retweet everything and I’m not an influencer. At the same time, even if I was, I would promote anybody who said something nice about me, why not?
It’s always frustrating when you will send links or since our production company creates infographics that we call ego bait. I don’t email. They send the email to my guests with the links, the images and it’s very easy for them to share.
To be honest, sometimes I’m in the midst of something so if they send me that, I don’t share it. If they share it on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter where you can retweet, I will then put that to my wall or whatever it’s called on the different things because that’s easy to do. Sometimes I’m not always able to take what they’ve given me. If I’m on an airplane or something, I don’t do it. I forget but if they put it out there. Even years later, I ran into a podcaster where he said, “You hit retweet almost every time.” I said, “That’s the world. It’s called social media.” It’s not, “I will promote myself and nobody else media.”
That’s the funniest thing when you ask them if they’re sharing it. We get to the point, we tag people in there as best as we can. We’ll post it and tag them or add them on LinkedIn. What platforms do you see the most engagement with outside of iTunes or podcasts? I’m talking about social media and other things like that you see. What works well for you?
I was starting in 2005. I was a blogger. It used to be that if I blogged and then put it out on any social media back then, I was using Twitter. I would get hits on my website. When I tweeted it, a bunch of people went right away. Now, I don’t see a lot of traction from social media. I will tell you though, for me, because I have a business podcast and I’m a business speaker, LinkedIn is probably my best engagement. I posted something that said, “Celebrating 500 episodes.” The more people comment, the more people see it. If I post something, 1,500 people will see it then it fades away. I had 6,000 views on the thing about the podcast because everybody was like, “Congratulations.” What I found is even with LinkedIn, if you don’t get engaged, nobody even knows you posted it.
That’s the truth. LinkedIn has been a big thing first on the business side too. We do create mini-articles and reshare things there. It’s helped us grow our audience in there. We’re leveraging that as best we can to drive engagement.
What’s your biggest frustration in the podcast world?
I would say it’s people that lack patience. Here are some of that frustration. I get solicited for people to be on my show all the time. People like, “I think I’d be a great guest on your show.” I don’t try to pimp my audience out. I try to keep my audience very niche. I’ll make some exceptions and bring on some entrepreneurs on the business aspect of things. Sometimes the motivation for stuff. When I get these people, they’ll say, “This guy has got a new book. He’d be a great guest.” I was like, “Okay. I want you to send me 100 copies of your book. It costs me to do my show. It costs me to produce it. I’m going to take those 100 copies and send them out to my membership. One of the things that we monetize is membership.” It’s going to go out monthly to swag bags. These people are going to share it with you. It also allows me to be able to send stuff on swag bags they don’t have to pay for it. People get, “We can’t do that. They cost me $10 a book.” I was like, “Okay, then you’re not a fit.”
I find it interesting because in the last couple of years, Steve and some other people posted or sold directories of podcasts. I’ve shown up in them. I get 25 to 40 inquiries a week until I’ve gotten a little bit behind. I’m now doing two interviews a week, but I was doing one solo episode and one interview a week. That’s 52 interviews in a year. I’m getting 40 inquiries a week. What I tell people is I need big caps. If you have more than 300 employees, I’ll move into the top of the list because I interview a lot of solopreneurs like myself, people like you who maybe have a couple of team members.
I said, “If you have 300 or more employees, I’ll move you to the top of the list.” Most of these people don’t. Most of them have spun out from the business. They’ve written a book. If your person goes out onto LinkedIn and posts two or three times about why my podcast is good, I’ll move into the top of the list. I’ve had PR people tell me, “My people don’t promote you, and you promote them.” I go, “That’s so funny. It’s a two-way street.” I’ve only had one person ever go pimp the heck out of my show and then approached me to be on it. I moved it to the top.
Are you speaking on a lot of other podcasts as well too?
I’ve been a guest in 2019 on 30 shows. My goal is maybe not one a week, but my goal is in a year to do about 30 shows. This counts because we’re posting it on both shows. This is my show and your show.
It’s one of the ways to help grow our audience. I was in a real estate networking thing. A realtor approached me and said, “I want to start a podcast. I was like, “That is great. What’s going to be on?” She told me, “That’s a good subject about stuff and stories.” I said, “I would also recommend that you speak in other people’s podcasts.” She looked at me and said, “Why would I want to do that?” “It’s because their audience is going to hear about you and come onto your show.” She’s like, “I don’t know about that.” I was like, “That’s one of the easiest ways to help grow your audience and get the word out.” It’s like you’re out publicly speaking whether it’s 12 or 8,000 people.
I never worry if someone has a podcast and they want to interview me. I never say, “How many downloads do you have?” One of those people is like, “I should listen to his show. He’d be great for my sales kickoff.” It’s through the roof. If they have five million and nobody does crap all that, it doesn’t matter either. I always say yes to being interviewed because you don’t know what’s going to come out of it.
That’s the truth. It only takes one person to hear and reach out to be business-changing, life-changing, or podcast-changing.
That’s what’s going to happen with this episode because everyone who’s reading it on my side is going to be like, “We need to know more about Scott Carson.”
It is vice-versa. It is the same here.
They need you in their life, Scott.
Thom, what’s the best way for people to get a hold of you?
The best way to find me is on my website, ThomSinger.com. Go to wherever you find your favorite podcasts and look for Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do. It pops up when you type cool things. It has a little green round marble logo that says Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do. How do people find Scott Carson?
You can go anywhere that podcasts are played for The Note Closers Show or you can go to my main website WeCloseNotes.com.
From there, you can find out about all the stuff you do because you link everything there.
It’s like what you’re doing with ThomSinger.com. This is good stuff.
I’m glad we shared this episode. How many episodes did we cross?
They’re 500 episodes. If we were in baseball, we’d be in the Hall of Fame.
You only have to bat 300 to be doing that. We are at 500.
Those are 500 homers. Good stuff, Thom. Thank you.
Thanks to our audience on my side for tuning in on the show. I say it every episode. If it wasn’t for the audience, why would we do this? We wouldn’t have a show. Thank you for being a continued part of the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do community.
Go out and take some action from stuff you’ve learned. If you want to start a podcast, get started. Do it now, take action. We’ll see you all at the top.
- Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do
- Digital Enterprise Society
- National Speakers Association
- Podfly Productions
About Thom Singer
Thom Singer is an advisor to executives, a speaker and content creator. After a successful career in sales and marketing, he became a growth leadership speaker in 2009.
A decade later he has brought his high energy presentations and action-oriented content to over 800 audiences.