an interview with john lee dumas_1

Make them hear you: Advice from an expert podcaster 

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On the Mash Blog, we offer expert advice on how to reach your readers, but a writer’s audience is made up of more than just readers. Technology has transformed them into followers, and now even listeners. The podcast format offers a dynamic new dimension to how we engage with artists. The Mash Stories Podcast gives shortlisted authors exposure to a listening audience, and Masher Ilana Masad’s podcast reaches an audience of emerging writers. It can be done!

To learn more about how podcasting can change your relationship with your readers for the better, we invited John Lee Dumas to join us here on the Mash Blog.

John Lee Dumas is the founder and host of EntrepreneurOnFire, in which he interviews the most inspiring entrepreneurs he can find every day. That’s right: he airs a new episode every day of the week.

John started with no experience, nothing but an idea, and built it into a very successful career. He  was sitting in traffic one day on his way to a job in which he was “inspiring nobody, not even [him]self,” when he ran out of podcasts to listen to. He realized that someone should make a podcast that airs a new episode every day, interviewing inspiring people. Today, his podcast boasts over 1 million unique listens per month, and it has changed Dumas’ life for the better. So, as John says, “Are you ready to IGNITE?”

Kate Kearns: Who should start a podcast? What makes them better than other mediums like blogs, newsletters, and print media?

John Lee Dumas: If you have a message to share, inspiration to impart, and the desire to serve, you should start a podcast. Podcasting is better than other mediums because of the intimacy and connection you as a host are able to quickly develop with your listeners.

Humans connect through voice, and podcasting delivers voice in an on-demand, targeted manner.

Kate: Is a podcast a good tool for a self-published writer to build an audience? Have you seen many people do that successfully?

John: Yes. I have seen self-published writers leverage the massive directory of iTunes (525m active subscribers) to reach a whole new audience that they would have otherwise never been exposed to. James Altucher of the James Altucher show is a great example. He got such great feedback from his Podcast where he talked about his book Choose Yourself that he subsequently launched two more books on the choose yourself theme (investing and idea generation) that did very well.

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John Lee Dumas

Kate: How do you keep podcast content fresh and engaging for long-time subscribers?

John: EntrepreneurOnFire pulls unique stories out of our guests, so even though our format and questions are similar from show to show, the answers to the questions are always fresh and unique. Writers are geared toward characters and stories, so the podcasts can do this easily. 

Kate: What are the biggest trends in podcasting? How do you think this medium will evolve in the near future?

John:

People who are succeeding in podcasting are those hosts who have the courage to dive deep into an industry and dominate that niche. The niche is where the magic lives, as that is where you will establish raving fans and momentum to expand your scope.

Kate: It seems like either you manage to make it into a Top 50 list in some app or iStore, or you go unnoticed. What are the best ways to boost your podcast visibility/findability?

John: Interviewing rock stars in your industry allows you to leverage their audiences. Emailing that guest the day the interview goes live with links and one-click shares will easily allow the guest to share their story with their audience.

Kate: Is the interview format the only way to go? Can you have a successful podcast without interviews? What formulas have you seen work well?

John: Topic-based podcasts and Q&A shows are two alternatives to the interview style. Pat Flynn has a very successful Ask Pat show where he answers a question from his audience 5 days a week. Kate Erickson has a great podcast called Kate’s Take where she focuses on entrepreneurial topics. These shows allow the host to build a much closer connection with their listeners in a much shorter time frame.

Kate: Considering that, where do you see EntrepreneuronFire going next? What’s the next level for you?

John: At EntrepreneurOnFire, we are doubling down on free. We are incredibly proud of two trainings we recently released that are completely free: FreePodcastCourse.com and TheWebinarCourse.com. We are going to continue to focus on creating and delivering content like this to Fire Nation, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Kate: What specific action should a podcaster take every day to be successful?

John: Spend time engaging with your avatars. Your perfect listeners are spending time in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, G+ groups…. Go find those groups, become a person of value within those groups by sharing your knowledge and expertise, and share your content when relevant.

One of the earlier mistakes I made as a podcaster was not being authentic and true to my voice, and my listeners called me out on it. My show took on a wholesome feel only when I was true to my personality and started bringing my authentic voice into the equation. If you want to be a podcaster, you simply have to podcast. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. There is no shortcut to finding your authentic voice beyond consistently podcasting.

Kate: As it turns out, a successful podcaster and a successful writer have a very similar journey. As he developed his podcast, Dumas dealt with, and more importantly learned from, a great deal of rejection. He honed his voice and crafted a design that worked for him, and so can you.

Thanks for joining us, John!

Do you offer a podcast? What are your favorite listens? Share in the comments.

 

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Kate has a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University. She enjoys all the equipment on the writing playground, evidenced by her many simultaneous projects. She is a freelance writer and editor, author of the poetry collection How to Love an Introvert, and is working on a piece of non-fiction while dabbling in children’s books and flash fiction. She’s the Platform Manager at Mash Stories and the owner of Black Squirrel Workshop LLC.

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