Studio #14 Think small to grow big
I’d like to talk about the importance of thinking small when it comes to growing your podcast and ultimately your audience.
There is a conversation I go back and listen to every so often, because it really resonated with me when I first heard it. It’s an interview with between Tim Ferris and Seth Godin on Tim’s podcast.
Godin is a marketer and author of 17 books. He’s been a speaker at TED, he has his own blog, and if you go to Google and just search for Seth, his name comes up first so you KNOW this guy is pretty popular — and influential. If you’re listening along while reading this post, I’ve clipped in a short answer that Seth offered to a question regarding growing from scratch. His answer wasn’t specific to podcasting, but really any type of project.
We’re conditioned to think big! We start projects, especially projects like podcasting, and immediately expect to draw a large audience. We think that if we build it, we’ll naturally attract listeners. And when we don’t grow as fast as we like — when we aren’t satisfied with the pace of our growth, we start to question ourselves.
How doI build a larger audience? How can I do it quick. Is anyone listening? How do I make money witrh this? Do i need to do SEO or Facebook ads?
Thats why i love this particular clip, and this quote in particular.
If you can’t engage, influence or change 12 people, or 20 or 50, then what makes us think we can do it with 50,000? It doesn’t get easier, it gets the same.
Seth Godin on the Tim Ferris Podcast
This is powerful. By thinking small, and by focusing on a small group of people that YOU can engage, influence or change with your show, you are ALREADY preparing to do those things with a much larger audience. Resist the idea that producing a show for 50,000 people is different than producing it for one person because it’s not.
The reason I decided to tackle this topic today was that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on the Podcaster’s Hangout Facebook community lately. And most of the topics posted there, at least at the time of this post, were focused on growing large. Everyone wants to know how they can get as large as possible, as quickly as possible. I’ve even see a number of podcasters equating quality to number of downloads.
If you are just getting started and you only have a handful of shows don’t even think about your numbers. Thats the best advice I can give. Take a deep breath and think about how you can focus on helping the smallest group of people possible. Make your show, and your content, about helping people and being useful.
When you can engage, influence and CHANGE — operative word being change… and in this case, a positive change is what I’m describing, then you create a fan. When you create a fan, you create someone who will be willing to tell their friends, or other people in the tribe, about your show and how you were able to help them. That is the absolute best advertising you can have.
There will be some who listen to that and think “I don’t have time for that. I need my investment to pay off right now.” And to those of you who feel that way, that’s okay. It’s just not a philosophy that I share, because I have yet to see that work in the real world at a sustainable level.
Many of the most popular podcasters already had an audience or tribe behind them when they got started. In other words, they were well known before they started a podcast. Their audience may not have be as large as the one they have today — my mind immediately goes to people like Marc Maron, Joe Rogan, Adam Carolla and others. Three podcasters who had a tribe to engage, influence and change well before they started a show. Most of us got into podcasting to create that audience, though, and need to do it from scratch. I can’t help but imagine Joe, Marc and Adam all doing standup in a mostly empty room when they got started, making one person laugh at a time on their way to millions of podcast subscribers.
So think small. Think about how your show can help people, one at a time. If you maintain consistency both in your frequency of recording and continue to improve the quality of your show you will grow your audience organically. You and your show will be better for it!