The Most Important Question Most Podcasters Skip

The Most Important Question Most Podcasters Skip

Welcome to episode 487. I want to ask you a question today, and it’s because the answer to this question will decide a lot of other things for you. In fact, if you can answer this question before you go and do the launch your podcast training, which is a free training over at It’s a five-day training. If you can answer this question, it will help you answer almost all of those questions, because this is truly the cornerstone. This is truly the start of everything. And here’s the twist. It is not who’s going to listen. We do start with who’s going to listen on day one, but before you know who, you have to know why, because why you’re doing something will help you narrow who. So, here’s your question. Are you ready? 

Why a podcast? Why do you want to launch and run and invest your time, and yes, your money into a podcast? Why?

I want to walk through first why knowing your why is important, although there’s a whole book about it Simon Sinek wrote. But second, I want to walk through a couple of the different whys of podcasting, just from clients and colleagues and people in my circle, and how it impacts some of the decisions that have to be made, just as an example. So first let’s talk about why. And the first reason why why is important is because of the examples I’m going to give later. It will impact how you make decisions. It will impact how much money you invest, how much time you spend, how frequently you release content, who your audience is, if you have ads behind the podcast, how you monetize the podcast as a whole, maybe it’s with or without ads. But it will impact all of those decisions.

In addition to that, knowing why you want to have a podcast is important for moments like 2020 as a whole, because I don’t know about you, but for me as somebody who regularly batches this show, who regularly is ahead, who regularly hops on this mic and talks to myself for unusually large amounts of time, if I didn’t know why I was doing that, it would have been really hard to slog through recording podcasts this year. In fact, even for me, who knows exactly what purpose this podcast fills for me, both as a marketing tool and personally, and purposefully, I took a break. When we rebranded and relaunched Uncommonly More, it was on the back of, I want to say a five or six-week break.

I stopped recording. You know why? A, I was real tired, like real, real tired. Isolation is hard for this little extrovert. My family is only good for so much energy before I’m like, “I need new people,” especially because they’re all three … All three of the people who live in my house, my mom, my husband, and my son are introverts. So yeah, I needed some people. And I still don’t have people, but I have a lot of Zoom calls, which is helpful-ish. And so having the energy to do this, on top of the long days we were putting in making all sorts of changes, I took a step back. Now I’m able to do that because I’ve done the show for so long, so consistently and with so many episodes. So I had things to share still.

But also knowing why I produced the show helped me hit the pause button because I produced the show to provide value in two ways. One, to you. You listen, then you go do things. That’s the deal. Value. Also in my business, value is created for me, because guess what, guys, this is a sales tool, love. I’m right now, building know, like, and trust with you. I am demonstrating my expertise. I am connecting with you. And if you don’t like it, you should really stop listening. Although that sounded real creepy. So for me, that value is created in my business, and my bottom line, which again, isn’t going to be produced if I’m doing a lackluster show.

If I come in here and I’m not actually providing you any value, it is impossible for that lack of value to translate to magical value for my business. So where I want you to be connecting with your why most often is when you hit those slumps. And here’s the deal, they will happen. And not necessarily infrequently, not necessarily just once or twice. I probably have one to two times per year where I’m like, “I’m out. I’m out.” Generally speaking, I’m far enough ahead that it’s fine. But there have been a few times in the last couple of years where I’ve taken a couple of weeks off, anywhere from two to six, depending on the break time, which again I can do because I didn’t do that for so long and because we do things like repurpose episodes and repurpose content.

One of the things we talked about a couple of weeks ago was, I think it’s called Three Ways to Add Value with Old Podcast Content or something to that effect. I’ll link it in the show notes. But preparing and strategically creating content to allow for that also comes from knowing why this podcast is produced. So you have to take some time and really give it deep thought. Even if you already have a podcast, even if maybe you’re doing videos or blog posts or whatever, why? Why are you doing this?

Now I want to break through three examples of a show type or a show why and how that impacts some decisions you make around your show. 

So for the sake of fairness, we’ll start with my show. This show’s purpose, as I stated, is to provide value to you, which in turn provides value for me. Not totally selfless, I agree, but nonetheless, how content marketing works, I provide value to you, build our relationship. I know we’re so close. It’s great. And that translates into when I go, “Hey, you want help,” you go, “Ooh, I do, and I want you to do it.” Or when you go, “Need help,” you can follow that thought with, “Oh, I know who can help me.” Content marketing at work. Great.

So that means I do solo episodes. I keep things short and actionable. Generally, you’ll notice our episodes answer some kind of question or speak to some kind of task to do inside of your marketing or podcast production or share an example from me often screwing things up, let’s be real. Again, honesty is the best policy. And so that’s how the why translates into what kind of show do I create? What kind of content am I creating?

Now, financial decisions. I am generating revenue for my business, I know, it’s blowing your minds here, by doing the show. So yes, I invest in this show. Once upon a time because I have the ability, I did do this show front to back myself. Now, all I do is sit here and record, and my team, who produces all of the podcasts for all of our clients, also do my show, which is great. And I’m willing to invest in that because this show has a very direct ROI in my business. Do I run ads? No, because I don’t really want to sell you anything that’s not me, my love. I’m not putting all of this time and all of this money into this to sell somebody else.

Also why we don’t very frequently have guests. When we have guests, I am making a very intentional decision to feature someone because I think it will help you. I think they will provide value I can’t provide you, but that I know you need. And so I bring them in. Or I bring in guests that help demonstrate some of the value my team provides them. You’ll see one of these episodes coming up. You’ll see a couple of these episodes coming up as we go through Q3. And so knowing why my show exists allows those decisions we made.

Let’s talk about a different show. Let’s talk about a show that is more entertainment-focused. 

So let’s say I loved Scrubs. Nope, Scrubs actually does have a podcast. Hold on. I’m trying to think of a show that I know doesn’t have a podcast. Let’s say I loved … I’m pretty sure all shows have podcasts now, like watch-along podcasts now. I don’t know. I only listen to two of them, Scrubs and the West Wing, which is done now. But let’s say I was going to do a podcast on Schitt’s Creek. Also probably has a podcast, but I don’t listen to it, so I feel more comfortable saying this.

Let’s say I was going to do a podcast that was an episode-by-episode watch along and commentary of episodes of Schitt’s Creek. By the way, if you’ve not watched Schitt’s Creek yet, this is where I emphatically and require you, for us to be friends, you’re going to need to be able to speak Schitt’s Creek. If I send you a Schitt’s Creek GIF or meme and you don’t know what I’m talking about, we’re going to have words. There’s going to be loud, aggressive, potentially Karen-like words because it’s the greatest show ever to exist. It is the greatest program, it and West Wing are my holy grail. Now, by the way, if you’ve tried watching it and you’re like, “I can’t get through the pilot. I don’t see it,” give it time. It needed to find its legs a little bit. I think all of the characters in it are just so unique that it takes a minute to be like, “Why do I love you?” But then you’ll know and you’ll fall hard and it’s forever, my love. It’s forever. I’m obsessed.

Anyways, let’s say I was going to have an episode-by-episode walkthrough of Schitt’s Creek. The why behind that is because I love the show. And I, as demonstrated just now, need you to love it too, so that we can be friends and we can talk to each other, and/or I have found other people who love Schitt’s Creek in the way I love Schitt’s Creek, which is anybody who even kind of loved Schitt’s Creek. There’s really no gray area, you either don’t understand yet how wonderful it is or you accept that it’s one of the greatest television shows ever in the history of ever. Anyways.

So that excitement means that I’m getting on the mic to bond and connect and share the show with other people that love the show. I’m going to need to find a different way to monetize it. So am I going to run ads? Yeah. Am I going to hire a full production team to help me? It depends on if I have the disposable revenue or if I can get a sponsor on board early. If I were going to do it right now, I’d probably DIY it for a little while. I’d do a minimum viable product for a season to see if I could get legs enough to get sponsors who would help me invest the money back into the show, like when you start any business because then you’re good. The thing you’re selling is the podcast, and you monetize it through ad revenue. And at the beginning of your business, as you know, my love, oftentimes any money being made goes right back into building the thing that you’re running.

So, that changes some of those decisions. It changes ads. It changes how I monetize. It changes if I have guests. Having guests is going to be a really important part of that show because me sitting here, as demonstrated, having a gush fest about the show is probably less interesting than two of us talking about the show. So maybe I have a cohost or maybe I have a cohost and we bring in guests. Depending on how much pull I’ve got, Dan Levy call me anytime. I just want to be your best friend. I’m sure you get that a lot, but I had to shoot my shot. Anyways, I want you to see how the differences show up.

Let’s talk about a third option. 

Let’s talk about a premium podcast, a podcast where I’m getting you to buy into just this podcast. 

Maybe it’s because you’re on an exclusive network. Maybe it’s because you’re putting the podcast up on Patreon or another monthly sponsorship model. If I’m doing that, then no, I don’t want ads because I’ve already gotten you to pay for getting the content, but it may mean I need to go more in-depth in what I’m talking about. Yes, guests might be a critical part because it may need to have guest expertise or guest conversations to facilitate and encourage more conversations within that group. Again, because the why behind the show changes, because now my why is delivering the value you purchased, some of the choices change. Yes, I want pro-level help because now I’m charging people to even listen to the thing I’m selling, even listening to the show is costing you something, I’m going to need to come in good with the audio. I’m going to need to come in premium with the listening experience.

So those are three examples of where just the simple question of why this podcast changes the decisions we make down the road. This episode was longer than I wanted it to be, possibly because I went on what was inevitably a good five minutes Schitt’s Creek rant, I find to be incredibly worth it. And I will know that you actually listened to the whole show because you send me via Instagram DM, text message, email, GIF, whatever you have access to, memes, and GIFs of Schitt’s Creek. That’s how I’ll know you listened to the whole show. So, get on it.

If you’re looking for some support, a great place to start is our podcast production services. We have a launch service, along with ongoing podcast support. You can find out all about that, all of that good stuff over at I would love to chat with you about how we can support you and your show. If your show doesn’t exist yet and you’re looking at this question and you’re like, “I don’t know,” start with the Launch Your Podcast challenge. It’s a great way to get the questions you want to ask me on the one hour call we have afterward because that is a really good use of that five-day challenge. “I think I want to start a show.” Great. Go through the challenge, write down all your questions that you still have, because oftentimes being faced with decisions means you have more questions. It will also give you the clarity to all the top line questions so that when we get to a point where we’re talking, you have more specific in-depth questions. It’s very good for that.

Anyways, start with that. All right. All right. Schitt’s Creek’s the greatest show ever to exist, also West Wing. That’s the whole show. I’ll see you next week. Bye.

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