Access to information and the rebuking of disinformation. Those were the two things my lunch date—a fellow podcasting colleague—was lamenting earlier this week. More specifically, they noted that they're seeing an increase in the number of shysters and hucksters trying to make a quick buck off of less-seasoned and more eager podcasters in their community.
As evidenced by…well, everything; this isn't a problem unique to podcasting. Disinformation works best when it’s peddled alongside actual information, and it’s particularly lucrative for the dirtbags when a large nascent population is searching for answers or advice. Growth industries like podcasting are lousy with garbage data woven in with facts.
The Right Way Isn’t Very Sexy
Unscrupulous actors are quick to offer—for a nominal fee—promises of helping you cut in line or sure-fire ways to accelerate your podcasting efforts. And you probably find those offers enticing, especially when the prevailing wisdom sounds like:
“Your second 100 episodes will be much better than your first 100.”
“It’s a slow burn to build a podcast audience, so give it a year or two.”
“The top podcasts spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on their episodes.”
None of those statements are attractive. It doesn’t matter that they happen to be true.
People new to podcasting, or even those who’ve found less success than they feel they can achieve, don’t understand why those statements have to be true. They have anecdotes of success stories who found success much more quickly and easily, which means there’s a shortcut that The Olds just don’t know about!
And you know what? There probably are shortcuts and fast-track ways to accelerate the growth of a show that We Olds don’t know about. Perhaps those tools are under development right now, and we’re just too stuck in our “that’s the way we’ve always done things” mentality to accept them. Maybe, just maybe, some of the offers that seem too good to be true are actually true.
This brings me back to my colleague: They do not—as you may not—feel qualified to judge the quality of those offers. Not because they’re dumb or easily fooled, but because they do not—as you may not—have the same lived experiences I’ve had. Not just my long tenure in podcasting, but also the decades of experience I built running marketing departments and advertising agencies, an industry filled with people trying (and mostly failing) to find success shortcuts. And then there are the skills I've built up as a professional contrarian and active skeptic over my entire life. All of that makes me very good at sussing out bullshit.
I can’t (and don’t want) to turn you into me. But I can still do something to help.
Borrowing Bullshit Detection
I don’t have all the answers. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people who wish to prey on podcasters. And I’m closely connected to other people who have their own particular sets of skills. Not Liam Neeson, but some of the brightest minds in podcasting.
I've created a new category in the Advancing Podcasting community called Help Requests. The first channel created there is called simply Too Good To Be True, and it’s where I want you to post links to any offer, service, or piece of advice that seems… well, too good to be true.
I’ll closely monitor that channel and personally commit to giving my opinion on every claim dropped in that channel. And if I don’t have an opinion, I’ll reach out to my network and get someone more qualified than me to offer their opinion.
Because this is a community effort, any other community member can comment as well. Perhaps they’ll agree with the experts. Perhaps they won’t. Either way, it’ll be a good way for you to get answers to help you make an informed decision about some podcasting service or offer that sounds too good to be true.
Copywriting 101 For Podcasters
This is the end of the publishing week for me, and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with a non-fiction book sent to me by long-time listener and coffee-supporting member, Neil Hedley. It’s called Copywriting 101: What Was That Number Again?: Crimes Against Advertising and How to Prevent Them, and yes, that’s a long title!
Neil is the host of The Snooze Button, a show I’ve previously guested on. He and I were chatting recently—membership has its privileges—on the topic of copywriting for podcasts, and he sent me a couple of paragraphs on the topic that I subsequently learned came from this book. He was kind enough to send me a copy of the freshly updated book. Thanks, Neil!
Copywriting is a skill podcasters need to develop. I'm a decent copywriter, another skill that I learned in the trenches, as it were. And while it does take years of practice to develop excellent copywriting skills, you can make huge advances in your own copywriting skills pretty quickly.
No, that wasn’t an ad. Neil didn’t pay me to mention his book. And since I haven’t read it yet, I can’t give a personal endorsement. But I can tell you about the cool things that my coffee-buying members do from time to time. Did I mention membership has its privileges?
Neil finds value in the episodes I produced each day, so he went to BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra and signed up for a membership, which means he automatically sends me a virtual coffee every month.
Neil, along with the others who’ve signed up for a virtual-coffee-for-me membership, and his podcast are listed on the homepage of PodcastPontifications.com. And starting today, they’ll all be listed at the bottom of the editions of Podcast Pontifications In Your Inbox. That’s a free service that emails you a link to the edited audio episode and contains the fully rewritten article, letting you consume the content however you like. Options, baby!
Enjoy the remainder of your week and your weekend, because I shall be back on Monday with yet another Podcast Pontifications.