The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show – Tim Ferriss on Simplicity and The Power of Audio

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Key Takeaways on Podcasting
  • “If you wait until you’re ready, you’re never going to start”
  • Do what you can with what you have – you can record a podcast with a phone nowadays
  • There are 550,000 podcasts on Itunes
    • Fewer than 500 have 100,000 or more downloads per episode
  • In person interviews are not better than doing something remote
  • Don’t think about monetization too early
    • This doesn’t matter early on
    • What does? – Being unique and different
  • Keep the format as simple as possible – do not get fancy
  • Good content is the best SEO
  • What’s the best way to get sponsors?¬†– Create content good enough so they come to you
Intro
Why did Tim start his podcast?
  • For the launch of The 4-Hour Chef, Tim had noticed that his appearances on podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience really helped him sell a lot of books – and he had fun doing it
  • After the launch, he wanted something new to try that would allow him to develop relationships and skills that would persist, and transfer from one project to the next, even if the initial project failed
  • So he started a 6 episode podcast experiment
    • Why? – He didn’t know if it would succeed, and he wanted an “out” if it wasn’t working out
  • “If you wait until you’re ready, you’re never going to start” – Chase
  • “If I always did the job I was qualified for, I’d still be pushing a broom somewhere”Naval Ravikant
The Beginning – How to Get Started
  • Tim has a good point – you don’t have to publish the first few podcasts you record¬†
    • Treat them as dress rehearsals
  • If you want to interview someone “above your pay grade” – do an interview on behalf of a media outlet
    • They’ll get the text, but agree with them that you’ll get access to the audio
    • “There are ways to borrow credibility”
  • Do what you can with what you have
    • You can use your phone to record audio
  • What was Tim’s setup like at the beginning?
    • “Doing the podcast interviews via phone or Skype is advantageous in the beginning”
      • There are more things that can go wrong in person
      • Plus you can easily take notes, and have references handy when it’s over the phone
  • There are 550,000 podcasts on Itunes
    • Fewer than 500 have 100,000 or more downloads per episode
    • SOOOO many people quit after 3 episodes
      • Why? – They get too fancy in the beginning
      • “I knew if I didn’t keep the format simple in the beginning, I’d quit”
  • Tim did his own audio editing for the first 20-30 episodes using GarageBand
What does Tim’s current podcasting process and setup look like?
  • “I like to be able to do all of the jobs associated with any project I’m working on”
    • This allows him to know which tasks are difficult, and which are not
    • This also allows him to more clearly ask for what he needs
  • Tim has 2 full time employees – an assistant, and a person who helps with podcast editorial scheduling
  • The process and workflow
    • He records the interview with the ATR2100 mic+ Ecam Call recorder on Skype
    • The file is exported as split tracks – .mov files
      • Note from Podcast Notes – I’m not sure I understand this, but this is what was said
    • Those go into Dropbox in a folder under the guest’s name
    • The podcast intro is recorded separately afterwards
    • In an Evernote file…
      • Any edit notes are listed – like which parts to cut out etc.
      • The Evernote file is named “‘Guest Name’ – ‘Podcast’ – ‘Headlines'”
      • There will be a few prospective headlines that Tim or his team will split test
      • Audio file links are placed to the Dropbox folder
      • The blog post for the podcast is written
    • In advance, the guest will:
      • Sign a guest release via HelloSign
      • Send preferred head shots that they own the rights to, or one with photographer credit
      • Provide a preferred bio of 150 words or less
    • The link to Evernote is posted to Slack, and then it’s off to the races
  • There are no more than 2 sponsors per episode
    • These are in a separate Evernote folder, which get added to the episode by the editor
  • “Keep the format as stupidly simple as possible. Do not get fancy.”
  • Tim did his own audio editing for the first 20-30 episodes using GarageBand
What does Tim know now, that he wish he knew when was getting started?
  • In person interviews are not better than doing something remote
  • Make sure you and your guest turn off all notifications on your phone/computer
  • Always have extra XLR cables
    • For in person interviews Tim uses an SM58 Stage Mic with an XLR cable connected to a Zoom H6 recording device
  • “I was able to avoid a lot of mistakes, because I talked to people who made a lot of mistakes”
  • Don’t think about monetization too early
    • This doesn’t matter early on
    • What does? – Being unique and different
    • “You are not going to be one of the top 500 podcasts being only 10% better than something that already exists. You have to be different.”
  • More on being different
    • “In the particular lies the universal” – Chase
      • If you and a handful of friends have a problem/interest – there’s likely 1 million other people out there who have that same problem/interest
    • No matter how weird or niche you think your interests are, chances are every single one of them corresponds to 1 other million people
    • Check out the essay 1,000 True Fans and the book Blue Ocean Strategy
    • If you create something fundamentally different, you can remove the need to think about competition
  • Don’t pigeon hole yourself with a very specific podcast name, but do pigeon hole yourself with a very specific focus
    • If you’re not sure how to make your podcast more different, make it more specific
    • Go niche enough so you have unique access/domain expertise – “If you are really fucking good, you will find people who will take notice”
  • No one deserves a large audience in the beginning
    • Everyone starts with 0 readers/listeners
    • Good content is the best SEO
Audience Questions and Final Takeaways
  • Check out Seth’s new book This is Marketing
    • Really think about making something for the smallest viable audience, really focus on “smallest”
  • These days, Tim batch records his episodes
    • He’ll record on the first Monday and Friday of each month
      • Usually 2 on Monday, 2 on Friday
    • He only releases about 4 episodes a month now – it used to be 6
      • Why? – “Once podcasting starts to feeling like a job, it’s a sign that I need to change how I’m doing it”
    • Sometimes he’ll do a 2 week recording binge and head off for travel
    • Generally he publishes his episodes on Thursday
  • Tips for landing big guests
    • Be flexible and accommodating – offer to record remotely
    • A great way to get ahold of hard to reach people – Twitter DMs
    • Play the long game – Jamie Fox took about a year and a half for Tim to land as a guest, Arnold Schwarzenegger took about a year to get
    • If you want to interview actors and celebrities, check out their movie release schedule on IMDB Pro and ask them to do media when they are already scheduled to do media
    • You don’t have to have a huge network to land big guests, you just need to know 1 or a few people who are very very good at what they do
      • People who are the best at what they do, know other people who are the best at what they do
  • When stuff gets hard, and you’re not doing something you’re deeply passionate about, your’re dead
  • Tim’s process for picking guests? – Mostly just personal interest
  • How did Tim land his first sponsor? – Create content good enough so they come to you
    • Side note – Tim says he charges between $50-100 CPM for sponsors
    • Do the math – Tim makes about $100,00 per episode
  • How much time does Tim spend preparing for each interview? – Highly variable, the most has been 2 full days of prep
  • The best advice Tim has received about interviewing – “Let the silence do the work” from Cal Fussman
    • He also collects good interview questions
    • Some great follow up questions
      • How did that make you feel?
      • What did you learn from that?
  • Closing advice – “Just keep it simple and get started. Try a bunch of formats. Record 10 episodes, of 30 minutes each. Try something new every time, and assume you won’t publish any of them.”
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