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How to Create a Successful Podcast – Mind Pump

Key Takeaways

  • In 2018, 17% of Americans said they had listened to a podcast in the last month
    • In 2019, this number jumped to 26%
  • Over $500 million was spent on podcast advertising in 2018
  • Tips for creating a successful podcast:
    • Be an expert in your space
    • Invest in sound quality
    • Be authentic and vulnerable
    • Be consistent with your release schedule
    • Cultivate a community around your audience


  • Mind Pump consists of Sal Di Stefano (IG: @mindpumpsal), Adam Schafer (IG: @mindpumpadam) and Justin Andrews (IG: @mindpumpjustin)
    • The trio have 50 years of combined fitness experience as personal trainers

Podcasts Are Exploding in Popularity

  • 🎧 In 2018, 17% of Americans said they had listened to a podcast in the last month
    • In 2019, this number jumped to 26%
  • The news gets better: There’s still tons of room for growth
    • “Still to this day, 56% of Americans have never listened to a podcast… But 92% of Americans listen to the radio on a regular basis.” – Sal Di Stefano

Podcast Advertising Revenue is Growing Exponentially

  • 🎧 “Ad revenue for podcasts in 2018 was well over half a billion dollars. It’s growing exponentially… We’re probably 5 years away, maybe 10 at most, from podcasts being the number one place companies spend money on ads.” Sal Di Stefano
  • One of the best parts about advertising on a podcast: The audience is extremely niche 
    • Compare this to a commercial during a football game – the audience is much, much broader
  • Typically, advertisers pay podcasters per 1,000 listeners (AKA CPM)
    • CPM’s range from $10-15 on the low end to $100+ on the high for podcasters like Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss
  • Podcast listeners are an excellent advertising target. Here’s why:
    • They’re generally more affluent and educated
    • Podcast listeners are more active on social media than the general population
    • Also, they’re far more likely to subscribe to things like Netflix and Amazon, which means they’re less likely to be exposed to TV advertising

Steps to Creating a Successful Podcast

Be an Expert in Your Space

  • With hour+ long episodes, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’ll soon become apparent
    • To boot, the best way to add value to the listener is to be an expert 
  • “You can get away with bullshitting on a short-form format. I can bullshit an Instagram post, or even a short blog I can bullshit, but try to bullshit an hour-long podcast week in and week out; it’s just not going to work.”Sal Di Stefano

Invest in Sound Quality

  • For more on the best mics and podcast equipment, check out these Podcast Notes
  • No matter what your podcast is about, even if it’s the most exciting subject in the world, if the sound quality is poor, listeners will turn it off
  • The mics play part of the role, but the environment in which you record the podcast is probably more important – find a room that doesn’t echo and deadens the sounds
    • Do what you have to do – park yourself in a closet, and line the walls/floors with blankets/carpet, or preferentially foam tiles
  • At the end of the day, improving your sound quality is a small investment worth making

Be Authentic and Vulnerable

  • The information/subject matter is essential, but what’s even more critical is authenticity
    • Trust is built with the listener through vulnerability
  • When you’re trying to be something you’re not, it’s going to reveal itself pretty quickly during a long-form conversation

Be Consistent

  • Pick a release schedule and stick to it
    • Your core audience will learn to depend on when you release an episode – you’ll absolutely KILL off your avid fans by taking frequent breaks, especially at the beginning
  • Start small – commit to releasing X number of episodes/week (with X being a number you know you’ll have no problem hitting)

When Launching a Podcast, Have 10-15 Episodes Ready to Release

  • Also, when you release for the first time, drop 3 episodes at once (at a minimum)
    • Why? – When you first launch a podcast, Apple only ranks you against other podcasts that launched in the last 8 weeks
      • For your first release, dropping 3+ episodes at once allows you to rank highly

Practice, Practice, Practice

  • The best way to improve your interviewing skills is through repetition, there’s no way around it
    • No matter what, you’re going to suck before you get good (and that’s okay!)

Cultivate a Community Around Your Audience

  • You may not end up creating a podcast that reaches 10s of millions, but with some hard work and a little luck, it’s relatively easy to create a community that provides you with a 6-figure income
    • This is similar to Kevin Kelly’s advice in his famous essay, 1000 True Fans
  • How exactly do you cultivate a community?
    • Create a private forum
    • Start a Patreon
    • Release exclusive episodes for paying members
    • Etc.

More Notes on these topics