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Home / Tips / Podcasting Still Matters, with Pat Flynn…

Podcasting Still Matters, with Pat Flynn…

In this episode, Darrell talks with Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income about why it’s not too late to start a podcast, and why it’s one of his favorite content marketing platforms.

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These days it seems like everyone has a podcast, but there are some pretty staggering stats that show podcasting is just as viable for connecting with an audience as it ever has been.

These days it seems like everyone has a podcast, but there are some pretty staggering stats that show podcasting is just as viable for connecting with an audience as it ever has been.

In this episode, Darrell and Pat talked about:

  • How Pat got his start in podcasting, and why
  • Why it’s not too late to start a podcast
  • The reason you don’t need to break the bank or get in the weeds launching your show
  • Why podcast production gets easier by the minute
  • The power of storytelling and teaching in content production
  • How Pat’s podcast strategy has changed over the years and the 20% rule he uses
  • An examination of Super Fans and their importance for your business
  • And a defense of self-publishing

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Listen on Spotify

The Show Notes

Read the Transcript
Darrell V

Hey Pat, welcome to the show today.

Pat Flynn

Thanks Darrell appreciate it. Happy to be here.

Darrell V

I’m excited because I’m actually on your podcast this same month, so I’m excited that you’re on mine too, and you’re going to be joining us on the Copyblogger podcast today and you and I have been working together on many fun projects, and I’m excited to talk a little bit about some of those and to talk a little bit more about podcasting today and the new content strategy that you’ve implemented on Smart Passive Income.

Pat Flynn

Yes, I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve been an entrepreneur and a content creator for about 11 years. A lot has changed over these years. I remember back in the good old days when it was just a blog and a blog alone and you’d just pump out as much content as you can and you’d win and now it’s a lot different and strategies have changed and platforms have changed and I’m excited to dive into all of that today.

Darrell V

Yes, we’ve been talking about that a lot. How much things have changed then how some of it, it’s exactly the same. The way that we write and how words matter and all of it is intended to create this connection with the person who’s reading it. And I love how none of that has changed, but there have become a little bit more advanced strategies as our businesses have grown, as we’ve grown and as a culture and society, as we’ve decided to begin consuming content in different ways. As technology has grown around us, there’s been so many different changes, but 11 years is a long time, man, if you think about it, you made it all the way through the 2010s-

Pat Flynn

Somehow.

Darrell V

… creating content and having a business around it.

Pat Flynn

I went to a conference once and somebody was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s Pat Flynn, you’re a legend.” And I’m like, “You’re making me sound so old right now.” But with how fast things move, I guess that makes sense. And I’ve been one of the ones that have been here for a while and stuck it through and I’ve changed a few things here and there, but I’ve always been the same me and I’ve always been trying to do what I do best, which is make connections to people who need help. And that just makes its way through. Because like you said, a lot of technology has changed. But the thing that remains is people need help. People want to get stuff that will be useful for them in their lives and we as content creators, we can step up and do that in all different kinds of ways these days.

Darrell V

Okay. So let’s talk about the podcast because I think that’s the area that so many people know you for is your Smart Passive Income podcast. The AskPat podcast, and I’m teaching about podcasts as well. A lot of people have started podcasts. A lot of people want to start podcasts. Tell me about the genesis of your podcast. What year did it start and why did you choose that as a medium when you could have done a couple of different types of mediums at that point?

Pat Flynn

Yes, so I started out after I got laid off from architecture back in 2008 with a blog, and that blog was basically the document how I escaped getting laid off and starting my own business in the architecture space. And then SPI, Smart Passive Income began and it began to grow and it was just a blog only. But I had always in the back of my head said, I want to start a podcast. Because actually when I started my journey, it was a podcast that really changed my life where I learned a lot of internet business tactics in ways that I could help people online, which really saved me kudos to-

Darrell V

What podcast was that?

Pat Flynn

It was called Internet Business Mastery by Jason and Jeremy, and I really got to know them. And the cool thing about the podcast when I think back is like I really became a huge fanboy of them simply because I was listening to their podcast. I never met them in person until much later and that is how I knew about the power of podcasting. It was like I got to almost feel like they were friends of mine even though I never had a direct conversation. That’s how intimate it fell.

So I always knew I wanted to start a show. So at the end of 2008 I actually bought all this equipment. I spent like hundreds of dollars on gear and software to edit my show and I was getting ready to get it up there and I recorded a little audio file of just an announcement that my podcast was coming and I shared this to like the 10 people who are on SPI at the time. And it’s the worst piece of audio you could ever imagine. Just stuttery, no confidence and the quality was good. I had good equipment, but I just had no idea what I was doing.

But I was like, I’m going to start a podcast, get ready for it guys. And that was December of 2008. My first episode came out in July of 2010.

Darrell V

Wow.

Pat Flynn

Because I was so scared of what everybody was going to think about my show and my voice, and I had no idea what I was doing. The technology was much harder back then, so every time I tried to start my show, I get scared and run back to my safety blanket of a blog. But then something funny really happened. I just said, screw it. I’m going to hit publish and go and just see what happens, and I’m very thankful I did that. And even though I was publishing a podcast every other week and blogging three times a week, I went to a conference a couple months later after my show came out and the people who knew me there could not stop talking about the podcasts. Podcast this, podcast that, oh, I love that story about this or that story you told on the show about that.

And I’m like, “That’s great, but what about my blog? I’m blogging way more, can we talk about that?” And they’re like, “Well yes, I mean that’s fine, but your podcast is amazing.” And I was like, Oh man, there’s something here. Maybe I need to flip the switch a little bit. So I went and doubled down on the podcast. I started publishing every single week and have now been doing so every single week for the last almost decade now. And it’s what I’ve become known for. We just passed 65 million downloads for that show. We created a new show called AskPat, sort of like a coaching call that you can listen in on that came out in 2014 which has tens of millions of downloads as well. I don’t know if you know this Darrell, but I am also the host of three other podcasts and I may be coming out with a sixth.

It’s just become my favorite way to create content. And even though I was not a great speaker, not a great communicator back then, the platform of podcasting has helped me become a better communicator and I have now confidence to get on stages. It has opened up opportunities for me to get on other stages, to write books, to travel around the world and do keynotes and even some random crazy stuff that happened in Hollywood as a result of, again, the podcasts. And I just highly recommend people pay attention to it because it’s like I said the most scalable way to … it’s the best way to scale intimacy.

And you get that one on one connection and from the listener’s perspective, but from a creator’s perspective, I mean, I can have ‘one on one’ conversations with every time I come out with a new episode on Wednesday, 100,000 people at a time. And just the connections that you make with people, when I meet my fans who listen to the show in person, we’re already talking like we’ve been friends forever and they know about things like we’ve been friends forever and I love that and I’m all in on podcasting and now I’m teaching it to others too. And it’s my favorite thing.

Darrell V

So what’s really funny is I actually did the same thing as you except for I never published those episodes that I recorded-

Pat Flynn

Oh no.

Darrell V

… and I learned about it from watching YouTube videos that you had posted about how to start a podcast a long, long time ago or blog posts or something. Some sort of content that you created that was about it I went and spent hundreds of dollars on equipment and I never published those episodes. I’m so glad that I now have this opportunity with the Copyblogger podcast because I love it so much. And same kind of thing Pat, I feel like the way that I’ve connected with so many people over the last few months since I’ve taken over this show is because of this podcast and it’s really great. But I have a question here because podcasting, it felt like a new frontier maybe three or four years ago when your show and other shows of people that I knew like I would go in the top 25 or 50 shows of all of Apple. And there would be like the faces of my friends and people that I knew and now it seems like everybody has a podcast.

Like Katie Couric has a show now and Pro Athletes have a show, Conan O’Brien and Dax Shepard and Marc Maron has been doing it for a long time, but the comedians like that, like they have all these podcasts and people who are famous and people who we don’t even really want to hear from how podcast now too. There’s True Crime podcasts and all kinds of crazy stuff. It feels like it might be too late for people and I think that was probably what a lot of people who maybe have wanted to start a podcast but haven’t maybe saying and one block of why they’re doing it, they’re like, “Well, maybe I’ll go to Tic Tok.” or something else instead because that’s like the new frontier. What would you say to people who say it’s too crowded and it’s too late and I’ve missed the boat on podcasting?

Pat Flynn

Well, first I would question how much of a relationship could you build with a person on Tic Tok on the other end of Tic Tok? It’s going to be much harder to do that. The attention span on Tic Tok is seven seconds, on a podcast people are listening to your show for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, one hour, two hours. This is retention of your audience for tens of minutes, if not hours at a time. And you cannot get that kind of listenership or viewership or attention anywhere else and it’s because of the passive nature of the way that people are listening to the show. They’re listening while they’re on a walk at the gym, in a car ride or wherever. Just imagine where you’re all listening to this right now. You probably couldn’t do other things like you can listen to a podcast.

So I just get really passionate about just that part of it. But in addition to that, when people tell me, well it’s too late, then I go, okay, well there’s over 500 million active blogs out there. There’s, I don’t know, 100 million active YouTube channels a lot, millions. Do you know how many millions of podcasts there are, Darrell?

Darrell V

No, I don’t know.

Pat Flynn

There’s not even 1 million podcasts.

Darrell V

Oh wow.

Pat Flynn

From the last data survey, there’s not even one million active podcasts out there. I was like, I think it was 780,000 from what I last heard. I mean it feels like a lot of people have it because that’s what everybody’s talking about these days and you’re seeing these celebrities. But here’s another beautiful statistic, most people are subscribed to just seven and I say just seven because that’s actually a lot. Seven shows, if you ask a normal podcast listener, “What’s the only show you subscribe to?” They would go, “I’m not just subscribed to one, I’m subscribed to several.”

So you’re not actually competing with the other podcasts that are out there. You can be complimentary or add to the playlists of podcasts that they’re already listening to. So that defeats the whole, well, I can’t do it because somebody else is doing it. You can do it too and you can do it because there’s a lot less competition out there. Where the struggle is for us, podcasters, however, is findability. We only see the ones that we see in the top 200 of different categories on Apple. We only see or hear what we hear from people at The WaterCooler about a podcast episode that we just heard. Now, however, it’s getting a little bit better and we’re starting to see major companies come on board to make podcasts findability much easier. Search engines have always been a part of it.

Apple is a search engine obviously, and so is Google and Google was driving traffic to podcasts, but now it’s different. Now there’s Google podcasts. Now podcasts are being indexed automatically into Google. You can even play a podcast from a Google search now. Google has said that by the end of the year 2022, there was an article that came out that said they claimed that they were going to double the amount of podcast listeners within a couple of years using their search algorithms. And that’s really exciting because when you get Google behind something in terms of findability, I mean they’re the best in the game. You’re even seeing Spotify on board now. You open up Spotify podcast is one of the major tabs up top that you could actually bring on board and actually start listening to. And what I love about all these celebrities coming on, a lot of people go, “Oh, it’s getting crowded now.”

But when you imagine that people are subscribed to seven, and that’s the average. Some people I know are subscribed to 50 different podcasts. I’m like, “What do you do all day other than listen to podcasts?” What happens is Conan O’Brien comes on, he starts a show, he has millions of fans and followers on YouTube and on television. They all come into the podcasting world because now they have a reason to go understand what a podcast is. And now they go, “Oh my gosh, there’s so much stuff here. Like I’m going to look up blogging.” And guess what happens when you look up blogging on Apple, you find my show.

So Conan’s bringing new people into my world, Zach Shepherd’s giving me more people, all these True Crime fiction podcasts are bringing new people into my world. I saw a spike when serial came out in 2014 or 15 or whenever that was and we’re starting to see more and more of that and more and more people are listening to podcast now, which is like the most amazing thing. So hopefully that debunks any, well I’m too late. I think that’s just, I’m a little scared of dedicating time into something that I don’t think is going to pay me back. But I mean connections as we said earlier are the most important thing. And what better way to do it then with no pants on because nobody will know.

Darrell V

I like that. I just counted. I have 26 I’m subscribed to, so I’m above average.

Pat Flynn

You are above average.

Darrell V

What are some of your favorite podcast Pat?

Pat Flynn

I mean, I love Amy Porterfield’s podcast. I mean, the one that I’ve been religiously subscribing to and listening to all the time is Sean Stevenson, Model Health Show. It’s a health related show. He knows all the science, but he’s super cool and I just love all the story he tells and he talks more about mental health and just living a rich life versus just how to look better and stay fit. Can’t give enough love to Lewis Howes, School of Greatness. Seth Godin’s podcasts. I live in the business section of podcasts of course,

but I try to limit it as well because you can definitely get sucked into a rabbit hole. And as a content creator who has a lot of businesses who he owns, who has a lot of things and responsibilities, I want to do some things too. But as a podcaster, I love that people binge listen and that’s what I want them to do.

Darrell V

That’s amazing. Alright, so Pat you’ve convinced me podcasting is still worth my time, but the next obstacle I can see coming up is, “Alright, you and Darrell both talked about spending hundreds of dollars on equipment, and this sounds super complicated. I don’t think that I can do it like it’s writing on a blog is super easy. I just sit on my computer, I write and then I hit publish. This seems too complicated. I don’t think I can do it.” What would you say to somebody like that?

Pat Flynn

I mean, getting into the mental space, anytime somebody says this seems too complicated, what that really means is, well, I don’t understand how important this is yet because honestly, if it was that convincing to you, you would, no matter how complicated it was figured out, right? I mean, that’s just the truth about what that really means. But I understand what you’re asking and I’m here to tell you that it’s not as complicated as it seems. There are a lot of people out there who can teach you how to do it right and how to do it easy, wink, wink by the way that’s me. Because there’s a lot of people who can teach you how to do it, but there’s a lot more to also being found, especially in the early days when you launch. However, if you want it to just go, okay, if this was the easiest way possible, what would it look like?

It would look like getting on Anchor. You can get on Anchor, get an account and start your podcast today just from your phone. Literally that’s all you need. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing that. Anchor is a free platform. I always worry about putting content on free platforms. We’ve all seen what has happened when you do that, and eventually they’re going to need to pay investors and then advertising happens and things out of your control happen. So I worry about that for that reason. However, it’s not that hard to get an account up on Buzzsprout or Libsyn, which is a media hosting company where you put your MP3 files and you can just use a little microphone called the ATR2100. That’s the Audio-Technica ATR 2-1-0-0 guess what? It just plugs into your computer via USB. You don’t need the box and the amplifier none of that.

You just need it to plug into your computer. That’s a $60 microphone. And then guess where you can edit. You can edit on GarageBand or Audacity, which is a free tool for those who don’t like GarageBand or are a PC user, there’s still a few left of those. Audacity is that tool or GarageBand, and I edited my show in GarageBand for six years for free. Or nowadays, because podcasting is becoming more popular, you could hire somebody to help with the editing and all that technical stuff for you. I like and recommend doing it on your own a couple times first just to appreciate the art and the craft, but there’s all these things that can help you now just so that you can be the content creator that you want to be. And it’s not as expensive as you think and it’s not as hard as you think anymore. You just got to want to do it and I promise you there’s some amazing opportunities that come on the other end of it.

Darrell V

I love it. I think this conversation boils down to podcasting still really matters. And I think what happens, at least maybe this is what happens or how I perceive what happens is a fad will hit like everybody starting a podcast and everybody who knows starting a podcast, their mom is starting a podcast. And then it dies out and the new exciting shiny thing comes up. And I think what I’m hearing you say is that podcasting still really matters and you’re sharing some really compelling stats about the number of podcasts that are out there. Talk to me about what’s changed from podcasting since you’ve started it and then what you’re excited about, what you’ll be doing differently going forward? How would you think about it differently from when you started to now and what are you excited about exploring on SPI and AskPat in the future? And it sounds like you have other shows, which, if you can tease at those, I’d love to hear about then too,

Pat Flynn

Yes, I mean, I think one of my shows is called All of Your Beeswax. It’s a show I do with my 10 year old boy, my 10 year old son. And that’s a lot of fun. He’s getting into it and he’s understanding how to edit a show and get behind the microphone and gain confidence. I mean, I think parents should do this with their kids. It’s a lot safer than doing YouTube in my opinion. It’s easy to talk. It’s, harder to film a video and it’s more risky. But yes, so in terms of how it used to be, it used to be a lot harder to get set up because actually the history of podcasting, it started in the late nineties and essentially it was a way for us to be able to put audio files in our RSS feeds to have them embedded in there.

And I think the first one was for a song by the Grateful Dead I think that somebody figured out how to code to do, to encode audio in an RSS feed and allow people to play that MP3. And then it was just something that people who knew how to code and who were super geeky about it and you had to do like subscribing to audio and having it be downloadable from an RSS feed. And then of course companies like Libsyn came on board to help manage that and make it easier. So we never have to deal with the code at all. We just have to fill out a couple fields about what our episodes about and all that stuff. And everything’s going to be easy peasy from there. And what I love about podcasting is a lot of that technical stuff you just have to do once.

Because when you sign up for Buzzsprout or Libsyn or any of these hosting companies, they give you an RSS feed that you then give to Apple. And then Apple just, that’s how they know. They check in with you every few hours to see does Darrell have any new content? No. Okay, no worries. If it does, then awesome, let’s send it out to all the subscribers who are there and have them go download that episode. And everything happens automatically. You just upload new files to your host and that’s it. And what I love about this is the technology is going to get even easier from here and the equipment is going to get even cheaper and it’s just going to be easier and easier for people to sound better and better and to make content production easier from an audio standpoint. And where I’m focused lately, and I think where we all need to be focused on whether we’re podcasting or not, is just trying to tell the story better.

I think storytelling is going to be a big theme for 2020 here and into the future for no matter what platforms you’re on, how can you better hook people into the story, keep them on the edge of their seat and have them listen all the way through with us building a relationship with you and or the person that’s telling the story. And that’s something I’m trying to do more. On YouTube now I’m trying to bring that into the podcast. So whether you have a solo show and you’re telling stories and teaching at the same time or you have an interview show and you’re interviewing others, asking people to tell a story behind the teaching and the lessons is really what’s going to be powerful.

And I think we all know that stories are amazingly powerful and what better platform to tell stories on then a podcast, right? It just makes complete sense. Especially even if you’re having a conversation. One tip I have for anybody who has a podcast is if you want to get a story out of somebody, just go, well tell me about the time when blank. And that’s it. I mean, I learned that from other people, but it’s just so simple. Yet it’s the most powerful content in the world, stories.

Darrell V

Yes, I completely agree and I’m excited to share some content marketing success stories this year on the Copyblogger podcast. That’s something that we’re focusing on as well.

Pat Flynn

By the way, are you going to unarchive your earlier episodes that never got published? I would love to hear that.

Darrell V

Yes, that’s a good question. I’ll have to see if I can find them. I think I recorded four or five of them. I’ll have to see if I can find them. There’s somewhere in a hard drive buried in my desk here. I’ll have to see if I can … I’ll send them to you for sure and then decide if I should put them out.

Pat Flynn

kay. My first interview was so bad. I asked the person what their favorite food was, what is this about? I have no idea. It was so bad.

Darrell V

That’s amazing. What is your favorite food by the way?

Pat Flynn

Buffalo wings.

Darrell V

Wow, me too. Good man. Alright, so let’s get practical here and let’s talk about content strategy because what you had mentioned earlier is that you used to post three times a week on your blog and then once every other week with a podcast. How has that shifted over time? And I’m going to tease up a little bit about this new advanced content strategy that we were able to work on through my agency. We’ll talk about that at the end, but talk about how the content strategy has changed since you started to now. How often are you posting on the blog and the podcast? How are the relationship with the two work together?

Pat Flynn

Yes, I mean, for me what’s important is, well, where are people getting value? Where are they spending time, where are they engaging, where are they communicating? And it just became very obvious that more and more people were spending time listening to the podcast than they were reading the blog. I mean, there was a shift in about 2014, 2015 when that happened. Yet we still continued to publish blog content because that’s just what we were trained to do. We switched from three times a week to just one time a week. But then eventually we started to notice that people were looking forward to the podcast episodes. They weren’t necessarily looking forward to the blog post, not that they didn’t want the blog post, but they just weren’t getting as excited about them anymore. And when we started to look back, we started to understand that, well, we were just publishing weekly so that we could publish weekly.

There was no real purpose behind the blog post that we were writing, even though yes, they were SEO driven and they were about topics people were interested in, they were almost like filler post, but it wasn’t anything to get excited about. It was just the usual stuff. Whereas on a podcast, you’d never know what that story was about or you would never guess what that guest did to make that happen, right? So there was always a reason to get excited about that new episode that popped up on your phone on Wednesday. Not necessarily enough of an excitement leading up to the blog post. So then we started to slow down a little bit more and then eventually we made the decision that, well why don’t we just publish when we have something to say and when something is important such that if we do publish something well then it’s worth reading, right?

And so that’s where we’re at now because when we look back at the most engaged stuff on our website, the blog, it was the long tutorials, the deep detailed tutorials about things like podcast. And we have a free podcasting tutorial on our website. We have a free tutorial about how to get your email marketing set up from the beginning. We have a free tutorial about how to do business fundamentals and the boring stuff, but from start to finish. And those were the things that we’re getting the eight to 10 minute to 20 minute page time on site versus the other blog posts, which is like, one minute 30 seconds, two minutes 30 seconds if that. Because mostly people were just bouncing because it wasn’t worth their time anymore. So why not offer things that are worth people’s time that they can get excited about?

And that’s where we’re headed now. And we’re building this content strategy around that. And it involves, yes, blog content, but it involves a lot of other key components that allow for more excitement to happen, which then thus obviously allows for better rankings in Google, hopefully for more sharing of that content because it’s worth ranking higher, it’s worth sharing any other things weren’t necessarily worth doing that. And I think part of it is also just the behavior change over time and people’s consumption, attention spans, distractions. I mean social media has become a major thing in people’s daily lives now. And that wasn’t a thing back in the blog days. Now it’s a combination of a whole bunch of things. And I think knowing your audience and where they’re at and what they want to consume and where is the most important thing.

Darrell V

Alright, so you have the blog, the podcast, you also have really successful YouTube channel. When you’re thinking about your overall content strategy, how do you handle it all or juggle it all? Like how do you think about cross-platform content strategies?

Pat Flynn

Yes, honestly it’s not super complicated. It’s if we want to help somebody with something, well what’s the best way to tell that story or share those steps. And we just go, okay, well that makes sense to be a blog post because there’s so many things that you need to pay attention to and click on and look at and there’s images and stuff. If we were to teach people on a podcast how to set up a, how to create a, I don’t know how to do things, something that was a little bit more visual or tactical, I mean we could talk about it and tell stories around that would be fine. But then the primary place as the podcast would make sense. We want to know, well, what’s the primary area within our brand where this should live?

And then all things point there, all things should reference that. All that stuff kind of happens after that. Social obviously just becomes let’s let people know and all different kinds of ways until it finally hits with them. Not just blasting the same post over and over and over again until they finally do it. But looking for different ways, different entry points, different stories, maybe some are more emotional. So let’s start with a story. Some are more logical. So let’s start with a start and that’s how social plays out. But when it comes to the main content platforms, like what’s the best way for us to introduce this topic and tell it to people. And in some cases it is going to be a story that’s told on a podcast first.

Or in other cases it’s, Hey, let’s show you how to do your email. Let’s make it more visually compelling with the automation and visual sequences that are available in ConvertKit. And let’s give them a demo of ConvertKit and let’s actually have that also drive affiliate sales for ConvertKit because we’re affiliates and I’m an advisor for that company as well. So it just is on a case by case basis. But it’s nice because when you have all these things you can choose and you’re not forced to go, okay, well we want to tell this story but we only have a blog to work with. And so let’s just write the best words and hope that works versus no, this would be a really compelling video let’s do that.

And then we can use the blog to support it with more things, but drive people back and even embed the video there and use the podcast to do an insider interview with the person who is featured in that story to go a little bit deeper. So people who capture the story on video, who might want to go deeper because they’re really compelled by it might go listened to the podcast. And then people who listened to the podcast with that little insider interview are going to go, what is this video thing that you’re talking about? I want to know, let me go to YouTube to figure it out. And now persons are in our ecosystem, they’re not on our blog, they’re not on our podcast, they’re in our ecosystem and they can’t help but build a great relationship with us.

Darrell V

Yes, that’s really great. Piggybacking on that Pat, I knew you early on is somebody who, part of the content that you put out was your income reports and that’s something that you’ve since stopped and you started a second podcast, you started a YouTube channel. How do you know when to start something new and add it to the repertoire of what you’re doing and then when to let something go as you’re thinking about your content strategy as a whole?

Pat Flynn

So for me, for new things, I allow for myself 20% of time during the week to try new things. I learned this from Ramit Singh Sethi, I learn this from Google who allows their employees or, so I hear just a little bit of freedom and free time to just play and experiment knowing that it could completely fail. I imagine it’s like, you know when you go to the casino and gamble, it’s always best to have a certain dollar amount that you’re totally willing to lose that if you lose it, you’re fine. You’re not going to go back into the ATM, you’re not going to put your house on the line. It’s just, here’s $200 I’m going to play. If I win, awesome. If I lose awesome, I’m still going to have a good time. And that’s how I feel about this 20% of the time.

And if you want to break it down by week, that’s just like one day a week where you’re understanding that, okay, I’m going to try this new platform or try this new thing and dedicate that much time to it and just see what happens. And this for me most recently was a physical product that me and my videographer invented called the switch pod. Shout out to Caleb Wojcik and this was something that I was using with my 20% of time that then just took off. We raised $415,000 on Kickstarter from this project and it’s now turned into a really cool business. But if it failed, it would have still been lessons learned and rest of my business would have still been running. And that’s how I use that and utilize that 20% of time and allow for that because I think a lot of us have heard like, okay, just do the one thing and focus on that and be that and all things or that.

But I think most of us have that creative entrepreneurial itch to at least try other things and to keep scratching that itch and to get excited about something that’s not what we’re doing all the time. And controlling it in that way is what’s been working for me the last couple of years. In terms of when to drop something that’s a little bit deeper of a question because sometimes things just are obvious that they don’t work and that’s easy, like just drop that, don’t do that anymore. But you want to give also something adequate time in which case I always look to others who have succeeded with the thing that I’m trying to see, okay, well what am I doing different? What am I doing wrong? How much time should I give it? I also look to those people to go, is this even worth doing even if this were to be successful, is this worth the continuation of my time and effort and team into this?

Cause sometimes you might get into something because it’s fun and exciting, but then over time it’s just going to be boring and a chore for you and you can look forward to those who are doing it full time or who has that a major part of their life to understand, well, is that how you want to be? Because I think a lot of entrepreneurs think about the business itself and not how it affects their life. And I want people to start thinking about more of their life and how these business decisions affect their life too, which I’ve dove in really into a lot. As you can tell I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the mental side of business versus just the numbers. But part of it is gut too, like sometimes something isn’t working the way you thought you want it to work and it’s not going the way you wanted it to and maybe it’s just not the right time and you’ve given it.

The other thing is just giving it adequate amount of time. You know you focus, you know you put an effort. The other thing I see a lot of entrepreneurs do is they say they’re going to do something and they want it to work and then it’s not working, but they actually haven’t given it enough time or actually haven’t really executed on it. Because they’re distracted by another thing. So one new thing at a time with the one thing you’re doing right now makes sense to me.

And then really following your gut, you have to listen to your intuition every once in a while. And I also love to utilize the relationships I have with other influencers, other entrepreneurs, other business owners who may be able to help me read the label a little bit better because it’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle and we’re all inside our own bottle and we need other people on the outside to tell us, Pat that’s not working and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work for you. And sometimes it takes somebody on the outside to tell you that brutal truth for you to snap out of it and go, “Yes, you’re probably right.” And then you can just finally make a decision from there and sort of instead of just being in limbo the whole time.

Darrell V

Yes that’s so good. I interviewed Matt Ragland on this podcast a few episodes ago and he talked about how he had his YouTube channel and after 60 something videos, he still only had 400 subscribers and it was almost overnight. The 70 something video is when he had thousands of people began subscribing to his channel. And I’m always amazed at people who know how and when to stick through something. But then you also see people who go years and years and years and they maybe should have given up on some things. So I think the mental side of it, you talked about the gut a little bit like there are a lot of aspects that go into it, so I really appreciate you swung through all of the things that I think are super important when we’re deciding what to start and what to stop. But I have to ask, what are some of the things you’re experimenting with now or trying now?

Pat Flynn

Well, I’m dedicating a lot of time on SwitchPod still. I mean, this is still a relatively new project for us even though it’s been in the works for two years. The first two years it wasn’t like I was working on this thing every day either. It was a lot of R&D research and development. It was a lot of, Hey, we got the plans to the manufacturing plant, now we got to wait four weeks to get the prototype kind of thing. So there was a lot of time and now it’s really picked up, especially now that we’re on Amazon, I mean we’re selling 18 to 25 units a day now. We had a conversation with somebody about potentially getting in a big box store. I mean big things are happening and that’s taking up a lot of my extra time that I would have normally had.

But I’m also experimenting a lot with some live events and workshops. That’s been a fun thing within the SPI realm and business that we’ve been focusing on in terms of just how else may we be able to provide value to the existing audience that we have. SwitchPod was very much brand new audience, videography. I’m not a videographer. I mean I have a YouTube channel but I’m not really in that space. And we took an opportunistic based approach to solving a small little friction in that area and built something pretty incredible that people have been responding to. But within the current business model of SPI, it’s really been about, okay well people are coming into our online courses and that’s been amazing and fantastic and we’re continuing to come out with other courses down the road that are serving our audience. But there are more intimate ways to solve those problems with people who many are willing to spend more money to fly to San Diego to be a part of a workshop.

And that’s been really neat and fun. And last year I held my first live event, my first big live event called FlynnCon and it was bringing the team Flynn community, that’s my audience to come to town to hang out with me for two days and bust through like a lot of things to help them level up in their business. And we’re doing FlynnCon too this year, which is really fun in San Diego in mid July. And it’s just a lot of fun because a lot of people bring their families and kids too. And it’s a family friendly event from no swearing on stage to kids’ activities to do during the event, to actually bringing kids on stage to have them teach too. A lot of fun things. So that’s where I’ve been experimenting too in terms of my time, is how to create more heightened experiences. It’s something I talk about in my book super fans is taking this audience that you have, who more knows you online and taking them offline to help build better, bigger, deeper relationships, which can ultimately help your business more.

Darrell V

And that was the perfect segue because I wanted to talk about Superfans, your book that just came out the middle of 2019 such a great book.

Pat Flynn

Thank you.

Darrell V

I’ve read through it once all the way through. And then I referenced certain different points in conversations that I have all the time. But tell us a little bit about the book and why you wrote it.

Pat Flynn

Yes, I mean Superfans when you look at tactically it’s like it’s not anything new. I mean everything I’m talking about in the book is stuff that you already know, but it’s a reminder about what’s most important when it’s comes to building our businesses. And the way I want to frame it for all of you, because I know a lot of you are very knowledgeable in the world of marketing and stuff is I want you to imagine a funnel, right? At the top of the funnel you have just traffic coming into your website or landing page or whatever and a certain number of them become email subscribers. A certain number of them go to your sales page or a webinar, right? And then a certain number of them become customers and then yay like we finished and all is well and all you need to do is bring more traffic in.

You have these systems in place and there’s lovely numbers involved with that and you can just, if you can increase your conversions from 1 to 2%, you’ve already doubled your income. All these amazing things happen when you get familiar with a funnel, but you know it gets forgotten with the funnel is the customer experience because it’s not just the moment they find you and they come into the funnel. It’s not just when they become a customer either. There’s so many other things that you can do after that, and I’m not just talking about the funnel after the funnel, I’m talking about a person’s experience through your brand. From the moment they find you to the point at which I want you to bring them to you, which is where they’re a super fan who literally will carve your head out of wood because they’re such a huge fan of you.

Maybe that’s a little bit creepy, but they’re such a huge fan. If you’ve ever heard of the article called the 1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly, then you know what I’m talking about. A true fan is somebody who if you’re a musician, they’re going to wait backstage to get your selfie four hours after the set. If you’re a product owner, they’re going to be standing in line on the streets a day before the product comes out because they want to be first in line to get your product, those kinds of people. Ans his article said, Kevin Kelly, if you have a thousand of those super fans, those true fans, you have, if you imagine they on a low end, pay $100 a year for your art, your craft, your work, your service, whatever, $100 a year. I mean a lot of us spend $100 a month on things like cable that we don’t even really watch.

$100 a year times a thousand people. You’re a six figure business already from there. And of course when you get a thousand you can get 2000 you can get 3000 super fans. Plus when you think about this, especially for you beginners out there that’s just a fan a day for less than three years. Can you create one fan a day for less than three years? A lot of you probably have been working for longer. What if you were just creating a fan a day for this whole time, you could have had a major business with a following that will be there to wave your flag high support you no matter what, defend you from all the trolls to be your first customers in line always. Your repeat customers, your best customers, your most outspoken people who are always in the comment section. You don’t need very many of them to do amazing thing.

So what this book does is it tells you how to take people from the moment they find you because fans aren’t created the moment they find you. They’re created by the moments you create over time. So how to create lots of different from that first moment to the moment that they are just in your $25,000 mastermind program, that’s what the book teaches you how to do. And there’s some very clear strategies on how to do that. And again, it’s not anything new, it’s just using the new technology and the new avenues that we have to reach people to do these things and connect with our audience in that way.

Darrell V

I love it. It’s a really good book. I highly recommend it. It was one of my favorite reads of 2019. Tell me a little bit about the book from like a business standpoint. Did you traditionally publish it? Did you self publish it? Why did you decide to write a book in the first place instead of creating a course or writing more blog posts or starting another podcast?

Yes, this book actually came as a result of a very popular presentation that I gave, which was actually back in 2014. I gave this presentation called how to create raving fans, which later got adopted to super fans, but that was at New Media Expo back when that program existed and somebody or a few people in the audience saw that, they started talking about it. They started inviting me to their conferences to speak about the same topic and I’ve spoken about it dozens of times since then. And then San Diego Social Media Day 2017 Jay Baer, who’s a good friend of mine, came up to me. He’s from Convince & Convert and he said, “Pat, you need to turn this talk into a book. It is so good. It’s so well structured.” And of course it was. I had done it dozens of times. I’ve fine tuned it since then.

So when I wrote the book it was great because I already knew what I was going to be talking about. It was just extracting these stories, adding more support, going deeper into it, those kinds of things. So kudos and thanks to Jay Baer and this has since become probably my best piece of work to be honest. I’m so proud of it and the reaction from the audience and the fans who are already putting the work in to get results even after the first couple of chapters is amazing. And every single day new messages from people reading it, getting results from it. I had self-published my previous book Will It Fly, which went on to become a wall street journal bestseller and that was published through Amazon and it was through create space that has since merged with Amazon. But that allowed me to create print on demand.

But it was self published and it was on Kindle, obviously Audiobook too. This time I wanted to try something a little bit different as you already know, I love experimenting, so I’ve been working with a company called Newtype publishing, which allows me to still self publish this book and keep a lot of the royalties but also get distribution as well. So in addition to self publishing and owning a lot of the royalties, keeping all the rights, I also have the book in Barnes & Noble and it’s also at the bookstores at the airport and in other places where there are books sold. And that’s been really neat to have a self published book be sort of automatically in Barnes & Noble without trying because of Ryan and the team there at new type publishing and their connections and their buyers at these other stores and stuff.

It’s been really neat and it’s been really fun to see that happen. And I love the model and the audio book and is flowing in and going well too. And I’m just having so much fun with it, but it’s a neat model. I love it and I’m all for self publishing because then we can have more control over the content and really any traditional publishers going to ask you to market your book for you anyway. I might as well keep more of the royalties and I’m thankful that I have a quite a sizable audience to promote it to when it came out. So thanks for the support. I appreciate that. I hope everybody picks it up and enjoys it. I promise you it’ll get you some results.

Darrell V

Yea, I’ve known Ryan from new type for a few years. He’s a friend and what they’re doing is really, really cool to allow you to be able to self publish your book, retain the rights, but also have the power of what some of the traditional publishing offers as well. I think it’s really cool and I’m glad that you’ve had a good experience there with them as well.

Pat Flynn

Thank you.

Darrell V

Pat, this has been awesome. We have spanned a lot of the Pat Flynn world and the Smart Passive Income world. I love it. Thank you so much for being so generous with your time today. Thank you for peeling back the curtain on why you do what you do and sharing with us the way that you think about your content marketing and specifically in your podcast so much today. I appreciate you being with us on the show.

Pat Flynn

Thank you. Thank you for your time and attention, everybody. Darrell, you’re amazing. Keep up the great work here at Copyblogger, and I’m looking forward to being back on the show at some point in the future.

Darrell V

All right, talk soon.

Pat Flynn

Talk soon.


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