The more I study the entrepreneurial process, the more I’m convinced that A) timing is critical to the ultimate success or failure of a startup; and B) thoughtful entrepreneurs can have more control over timing than you might think. For an example, be sure to read this issue’s featured article where I explain the importance of timing in the customer acquisition process. While most entrepreneurs focus on who they’re selling to, I find myself wondering if “when you’re selling” is more important.
Also in this issue is a an interview I’m sure you’re going to enjoy. It’s with Scott Heiferman, founder of Meetup. Plus, while I’m on the topic of podcasts, in this issue’s Q&A I answer a question from a reader looking for some advice on launching his own podcast. The short answer is “don’t do it!” But the long answer is probably more useful. Check it out below.
Do You Know the Easiest Time to Get New Customers for Your Startup?
Even if most entrepreneurs don’t think much about it, timing is one of the most important factors in a successful customer acquisition strategy.
The Neighbor Who Helped People Find Their Communities
You already know the Internet is great for building remote communities. But Scott Heiferman made it great for local communities, too, when he launched Meetup.com. Hear how he did it on the new episode of Web Masters.
Listen now on:
…or search “Web Masters” wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
FROM THE ARCHIVES…
Why You Can’t Be Friends with Your Co-Founders
Before he was my longtime co-founder, the person I built most of my companies with was also my longtime best friend. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure that was a bad thing.
Office Hours Q&A
I’ve been following your podcast, Web Masters, for a while now and seen what a good job you’ve done of growing it. I’ve also been thinking of starting my own. I wanted to get your thoughts on the best way to launch a podcast and some tips or tricks you’ve learned along the way. Maybe one day you could write an article about it?
Thanks for listening! I’m glad you’re enjoying Web Masters.
I love the idea for a “how to start a podcast” article. I might write that one day. In the meantime, let me share the two main things I’d tell someone asking me for advice about starting a podcast.
Advice #1: Don’t do it!
However hard you think it might be to start a successful podcast, multiply by 10. I’m serious. It’s wayyyyyyy more work than you think.
Yes, creating the episodes is hard, but the really challenging part is getting people to listen.
What you have to remember is that podcasting doesn’t have any sort of great discoverability mechanisms built into the ecosystem. As a result, the work of launching a podcast isn’t just creating the content (which, itself, takes tons of time and commitment). You also have to throw yourself into promoting the podcast, otherwise nobody is going to listen.
Admittedly, my “Don’t do it!” advice is maybe a little tongue-in-cheek… but only a little. If you don’t already have a large audience of people you can promote to, getting listeners is going to be a long, challenging battle.
I guess, rather than “Don’t do it!”, the better advice here might be “Don’t do it if you don’t already have a big audience you can promote it to.” If, however, you do have access to a listener audience, then it might be a (slightly) better idea. But it’ll still be lots of work. And you’re going to sick of your friends rolling their eyes every time you use the phrase, “On my podcast…” (which you’ll find yourself doing more than you might think).
Advice #2: expiring content > evergreen content
Something I didn’t fully appreciate about podcasting before I started was that podcasts generally fall into two categories: expiring content and evergreen content.
An example of expiring content would be a podcast about sports. The sports world is constantly changing, so the time period during which a podcast is valuable is relatively limited.
In contrast, an example of evergreen content is my podcast, Web Masters where I interview entrepreneurs about their experiences building successful companies.Those stories aren’t things that change over time. As a result, an episode I produce today will still be just as valuable/relevant three years from now.
While evergreen content is great for learning/teaching, it’s not so great for building an audience. To understand why, think about how people choose to prioritize what episodes of their favorite podcasts to listen to. People are more likely to listen to the podcasts that have a natural expiration date before listening to evergreen podcasts because the expiring podcasts are about current events and won’t be relevant if the listener waits too long. For example, listening to the podcast about your favorite team’s amazing Game 6 comeback to tie the playoff series won’t be as enjoyable if you already know your team ultimately lost Game 7. As a result, the evergreen podcasts tend to get pushed down into people’s listening queues, which ultimately results in lots of them just never being listened to.
If I were to start a new podcast today, it wouldn’t be about the past. It would be about something important/relevant right now so people feel like they need to listen to the new episode as soon as it comes out.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!
Couldn't agree more about starting a podcast! The article caught my eye cause I run a podcast agency and Ive had the same experience. Podcasts aren't magic on their own, they have to either be pushed by the host or pulled by an audience craving that content. That's part of why I'm experimenting with things like Substack articles and YouTube videos, because Apple doesn't show much signs of fixing the core problems of podcast discovery anytime soon