How to start and grow a successful podcast show

How to start and grow a successful podcast show

by | Podcast

Podmotion.co thanks Rob Finlay, host of the CRE Capital Markets Report roundtable podcast, for sponsoring this episode! Find Rob’s show here!

Nick DiBartolomeo and Bruno Pierce are started a new podcast this early this year – then thousands of others started podcasts too!

Community, experimentation, and good social media are the foundations of a successful podcast show

By being focused on community building, experimentation, and mastering social media, Nick and Bruno have achieved a level of success that eludes many new podcasters.

Their show is called Quit The Build, and it’s the voice of their gaming community – Quit The Build. 

Even if you’re not a gamer, we recommend you listen to this episode. Nick is our guest and he gives a masterclass in how to start and grow a podcast. He gives an amazing amount of information and actionable tips on how to start a show and see it grow. 

During this conversation Nick and Sheelagh discuss sponsorship techniques and mention a website called Podthreads – this website no longer exists, just in case you decide to Google it!

Nick’s masterclass in podcast creation and success!

In this episode Nick shares his number one lesson for new podcasters. Nick and host Sheelagh Caygill explore:

  • Take lots of time to plan out your show and it’s format – Nick and Bruno spent a month planning before launch
  • Don’t launch a show with the sole intention of making money
  • Have a goal for your show – for Nick and Bruno, it’s shoot for the stars!
  • Be as professional as your budget will allow with your show’s branding
  • How to plan out an episode
  • Why being friends with your host means you’ll have great synergy behind the mic
  • How understanding the importance of content creation will help you grow your show
  • Why Twitter is essential for podcast growth and engagement
  • How to successfully use one clip and share it across platforms as an audiogram
  • Learning from other podcasters and watching their tactics; try them out and see if they work for your show
  • Being patient with your progress – it takes time to find a rhythm with a show
  • Monetization through sponsorship, Patreon, and advertising.

If you have any questions about this episode, or podcasting in general, get in touch with Podmotion at info at podmotion.co.

Thanks for listening and stay safe.

Episode Transcript

Sheelagh Caygill:

Hi, it’s Sheelagh Caygill with the podmotion podcast. Now, if you’re struggling to grow your podcast or just starting out and want to learn some real growth tactics, you’ll love this episode. It’s with Nick DiBartolomeo co-host with Bruno Pierce of the podcast show, Quit The Build. This gaming podcast show was launched early this year by Nick and Bruno, and it’s gone from strength to strength, thanks to strong production values, great host synergy, and excellent social media work by Nick. This interview is a real masterclass in how to grow a podcast show. Links and info about Quit The Build are in the show notes. First, here’s a message from podmotion supporter, Rob Finlay, creator and host of the podcast show, Capital Markets Report.

Rob Finlay:

Hey, listeners, Rob Finlay from Thirty Capital here. I like the podmotion podcast. That’s why I’m happy to have my podcast CRE Capital Markets Report sponsor the podmotion podcast. You’ll find the link to my show in the podmotion show notes. I hope you’ll have a listen and send me your feedback. Thanks.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Hi, Nick. Welcome to the podmotion podcast.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Thanks so much for having me Sheelagh. I really appreciate being on.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Oh, you’re welcome. It’s great to have you and I’m excited to talk to you today, Nick, because as co-host of Quit The Build with Bruno, your show is focusing on community engagement listener participation. You’re working on the platforms like Patreon, Instagram. You’ve got a great podcast, a great synergy between the hosts. And I think there’s going to be lot of anticipation around listening to this episode. So tell us a little bit about yourself and why you and Bruno launched Quit The Build?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah, so both of us are avid gamers of course, but that being the topic of the the podcast, you know, I think so many people that are our age and even even older generations, they’re just their hobbies and their backgrounds and their their free time is so intertwined with playing video games, it’s it’s become really a universal hobby that, you know, I think that’s a that’s a story that a lot of people will tell about themselves. But Bruno and I go back quite a ways. So we go all the way back to elementary school. We were in a very small private school called Faith Christian Academy in West Virginia. I mean, when I say small Sheelagh, I mean, very small, we’re talking. I had a graduating class. I stayed all the way through he left and and transferred to a public school in high school. But when I graduated, we had a graduating class of a dozen that was it.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Oh, wow.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah. So it was very, very tightly knit. And so a lot of us, you know, we we kind of were a clique, but at the same time, we were an entire class and.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah, a lot of us were into games. And so that was often times the topic of discussion and what we would what we’d chat about and what we’d meet up and play. And so Bruno and I, yeah, we had a we had a really special bond. We really got to experience a lot of great, you know, video game console generations together. And we always enjoyed, you know, going over to each other’s house and and playing the latest games. And so we we had that relationship very early. Now now Bruno moved out to the West Coast when he met his wife to eventually landing in in Portland, Oregon and that’s where he resides to this day, but our friendship really has remained the same. It’s still strong despite that, that physical distance. And so you know, the the inception of Quit The Build, the name has actually been around for a while. Bruno came up with that idea and this goes all the way back to we were playing some older games, Halo and Halo 2. This was probably like 10 years ago, if not more 15 years ago. And he wanted to make a clan name. You can make clans, you know, in that game and have your buddies join and play together. And he came up with that name because he had heard about, it was like a developer term. He had heard someone else using it. I think it was a Twitch streamer. They were saying, oh, you know, this game is bad, I’m going to Quit The Build. Basically, it’s like a developer term where if, let’s say that you’re you’re developing code for a game and you try to launch that game to see how it works, and it’s buggy, it’s a mess, then you can then you might hear a developer say I’m going to Quit The Build, meaning I’m going to exit out, you know, maybe try again from scratch or, you know, retool the code and go back in. So it’s a very unusual term. It’s not one that you hear a whole lot like if you Google our name, Quit The Build, you’re not going to see a lot of people using that terminology aside from like maybe developer forums. But it’s a really good one because Bruno took it one step further. And his mentality behind the name was it’s not just about games, it’s about your mind. It’s about your mentality when you are playing video games because often times it’s supposed to be a hobby about enjoying yourself, right. 99% of people, you’re playing video games as an escape as a way to relax. But we’re very much in this era of gaming, online gaming where, you know, you’re interacting with other people online and there’s that shield of anonymity that can cause people to do and say things that they probably wouldn’t say in in front of you and that can create a very toxic environment. Toxicity in gaming is a a an ongoing conversation I think, I mean, how to remedy that, how to combat that. And so Quit The Build is about not just quitting the game and a kind of going back in and refreshing the game to make sure it’s working properly, it’s also about your mind. It’s about making sure that you aren’t letting yourself become too toxic and letting those negative emotions overtake you. And just take a second, step away, you know, refresh your mind, maybe get a snack, and then come back in with a fresh mentality so that you have the right frame of mind when you’re playing video games. I know a lot of people ask us that question. That’s, that’s, that’s where the name comes from.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Okay, that’s good. I’m with you. Very positive initiative. So let’s focus more on on your show. And it’s not just a podcast, it’s a community. And I’m not clear about when you launched, Nick. I I think your podcast was launched in January, but the website community was launched before that. Can you tell us a little bit about the timeline?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Sure. So like I said, initially, we had that kind of group of friends that we called Quit The Build. It was kind of our gaming group that was intended just to be. It wasn’t meant to be a brand or anything like that. It was just what we called ourselves. And so that has been going on for quite a while, I want to say as far back as 2015. And if you go on to some of our our social accounts, you’ll see on our YouTube page, for example, you’ll see some clips from us playing games from way back before we really rebranded and reinvented what what the build was going to be in early 2021. So the conversation with Bruno when I first started in 2020, like many people, you know, furloughs were in effect and there was with with a pandemic, a lot more free time. And so I had said to Bruno at that time, I’m like, hey, you know, a lot of people are podcasting. We I had looked into anchor and it looked like that app was gonna make it very easy to start a podcast that really needing to know a lot of the backend technical stuff and was free. And so I said, there’s really no reason for us not to try this. You know, Bruno has always had, I think, a vision for what he wanted with the build to be, but we just needed that extra boost and that, you know, more than one perspective rather than it being a solo venture for him. So I mean, it it very much started as just a podcast pitch. We didn’t really have any, any plans at the moment for building a community or certainly didn’t expect that level of success that we’ve had in such a short time. But, you know, when we went into it, we wanted to do gaming news. We said, you know, our conversations when we’re online on Xbox talking about games while playing games, if you were to take that and record it, it would already sound like a podcast. So

Sheelagh Caygill:

Okay.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

All we needed to do was just take that report that back and forth that we’ve built over the years that really I think comes with friendship, right? It’s it’s very hard to replicate with just two strangers and and put that online and just see where it takes us and that’s what we did. You know, when we first started the show back in January, we said, you know, we’re gonna we’re gonna we’re gonna bring our A game, but we’re not gonna, you know, go big on, you know, investing in recording equipment, that kind of thing until we get a couple episodes by just make sure that this is something that we want to do. You know, I I hear the term podfade a lot. I know that you’ve had guests on this podcast in the past talk about that, about how so many podcasts just don’t make it past very early milestones and metrics because they just don’t get that success that they’re looking for. Well, we had a big advantage coming into it because Bruno owns his own marketing media company. That’s what he does full-time and that’s that’s Pierce Unlimited. And so we said, okay, well, let’s, let’s leverage that, right. And create a show where Bruno already has access. And with with Pierce Unlimited, I mean, he’s doing marketing media for major companies, a lot of which I can’t even say.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

That, you know, and he spent a lot of success with that business in in a very short time, I’m really happy for him. And so a big, big perk of that is that we’ve been able to leverage that instantly. If you look on pretty much any of our social media platforms, you’ll see really high quality like audiograms and as, you know, bonus video content and just really good looking stuff. That’s all original content because Bruno has that that video editing expertise under his belt. So I I think we really were able to hit the ground running when we started the podcast. We had so much already done. Bruno already had that marketing vision in mind. And so yeah, but when when Quit The Build it actually started there in January, that’s when the first episode had dropped to answer your question.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Okay, so, so January 2021.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

That’s correct. Yeah.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Okay. So you you had a fair bit of lead time. And it’s great to hear as well, Nick, that you didn’t say, hey, let’s start a podcast and make some money. You started a podcast because you wanted to add something to your community. You wanted to get into podcasting. There was a pandemic happening as you, as you mentioned, so, you know, people were confined to home, that kind of thing. And I’ve noticed as well, you know, the quality of your show and your graphics, its its absolutely amazing, which is impressive for an independent podcast I guess. Yeah, I just love what you’re doing. And just a side note to here to listeners, you know, if you do have an independent podcast, you don’t have to meet this level of quality. But again, the content of your show is really, really important.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah, it really is. You know, when we first talking about when you you mentioned monetization, you know, when we first went into this, both Bruno and myself at different times in our lives have dabbled in content creation. For example, I I had a YouTube channel for a very short time where I actually was doing gaming news, it’s kind of a predecessor to Quit The Build actually because I went on and said, let’s take what I was doing and just put it in podcast forum with the two of us rather than just me solo. Also, Bruno had a a pretty big YouTube channel back in the day and still has it to this day. And also we have tried Twitch streaming, you know, we’ve we’ve dabbled in all these different content forms. And we we already knew walking into it from doing those types of content, it’s not going to be about the money. So that was, yeah, we we definitely did not have money in mind when we made the show because we had, you know, you as a Twitch streamer, you can go for months and even years without seeing any real return on your investment. It’s definitely the same thing for YouTube. It’s so hard to break into YouTube right now, which is the the glut of content that we’re seeing.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah. Yeah.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

And the same thing is true of podcasting, right. Even if you have the the best quality content, you still have to produce that level of of repetition where people can expect you and just keep, keep pushing through even on those days or weeks where engagement is low and you feel like where did everybody go, you know, we’re failing. But yeah, you’re right. You can’t you can’t go into a podcast with money in mind. It cracked me up. I saw, I think it was on Facebook, I want to say it was anchor.fm. I had put an an ad out, you know, saying, hey, you know, join us and and create your own podcast for free. And I saw all these people in the comments saying like how much will I get paid to make a podcast? And I, you and I can both laugh at that, right, because and anybody in podcasting because that is just not how it works.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah, that’s so true. So that that’s great. I mean, the background story is fascinating. You both had experience in different areas of content creation. You brought your YouTube experience. You know, the community had been alive for a while. So you make a decision to begin a podcast, tell us kind of what kind of focus planning went into that podcast before launch? And what kind of discussions happened?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Well, we we definitely had a lot of talks. We we started talking and I want to say it was December. And obviously we didn’t start until January. So there was a solid month where it was just us conceptualizing and making sure that we understood exactly what we wanted the show to be. I think it’s really easy with a with a with timely content, right, in podcasting, you have timely and you have evergreen content, timely of course meaning that you’re talking about topical news and things that are happening in the moment that, you know, become relevant over time. And so I wanted to make sure that we had a real format because I think it’s easy to go into that type of content and just be like, oh, we’re just going to talk about the news and not have any kind of structure or idea behind what it’ll sound like, what’s our target time, how many stories are we aiming to talk about. You know, are we going to have any segments or transitions, that kind of thing. Early on, it really was just gaming news. That’s that was our only objective, was just hey, let’s, you know, before an episode starts, I’ll do some prep work, find the absolute latest news I can find that’s worth talking about. And then we’ll record, I’ll edit it, we’ll put it online right away so that people can get access to that without, you know, 24 hours or more going by. And now that news is outdated, people are talking about something else. That’s what we aim for. And I think I think we were able to achieve it the way that we wanted to like most podcasts as I’m sure, you know, it it takes quite a while to find your rhythm to get that back and forth, especially in a remote environment where you’re you’re also battling that maybe it’s slight delay and looking at someone through a webcam rather than looking at the (inaudible 14:52) in the same room. A lot of things that we weren’t expecting that became challenges, but you know that’s kind of our process. And, you know, we definitely had a long-term goal and that goal was shoot for the stars. We know we, we didn’t really have any specific metrics in mind at very early on in its inception. It was just like an idea for fun to see what would go. But we said, while it is going to be for fun, we’re gonna give this a 110%. You know, we made sure that we became correct with having a professionally done intro, right. We we hired a voice actor to do the intro for that. And of course, Bruno’s spent a lot of time making a professional level logo for Quit The Build that we’re really happy with. And you know, we had all those things day one, so that, you know, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year down the road, we don’t need to do this major rebrand and have to worry about, you know, getting all this new stuff out and will people recognize the new logo, that kind of thing. So we we very much had a unified vision both mentally and visually, and of course, audibly, right with what you hear from day one. I think there’s been some consistency there.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Now, with a show like Quit The Build, which has a strong audio identity and a great vibe between the hosts, I was really curious about how much preparation work Nick and Bruno do ahead of each episode. Is it a lot or are they simply fortunate enough to have a fantastic synergy? Let’s find out. Now, in terms of episodes, how much planning goes into each episode, as you mentioned, you you guys have got a great rapport. But it’s hard to imagine that you kind of just connect your your own Zencastr and you guys start chatting.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Right.

Sheelagh Caygill:

What do you do before you you record an episode?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

I mean, it’s it’ll be surprising to hear I guess, but a lot of it really is just just getting on and chatting. You know, there’s just a switch that turns on both of us have back in our our college days because even though we went our separate ways in high school, we actually went to the same university. That university had a public access radio station and those were the glory days because, you know, I I majored in communications and he went on to major in marketing. And but we both kind of merged there at that, at that what they called radio practicum, it was a course that you would actually have your own radio show. And then we had all the licensing and everything. You could literally take your iPod and plug it in and play whatever songs you wanted if you wanted to do a a musical show versus a talk show because they had all the licenses for us to play those songs. And so there was a lot of freedom in that. And both Bruno and I I think established that ability to kind of talk off the cuff and improvise and just get that radio presence that’s really important when you are, you know, being heard and not seen in a format like this. So we had that advantage. And so I think, you know, when we, when we start recording and we have those conversations, a lot of it really is natural in in the moment. Now, there is some show prep, obviously I I handle that. So usually, like I said, I like the I like the news to be as as last second as possible before I go on because just in case something breaks, there’s nothing better than being one of the first podcast or any media outlet to cover that news. So we always give ourselves as much time as possible for that news to drop. Usually about an hour before we record, I will go in and just, you know, review any notes for major stories that may have happened in the previous days, weigh that against what may have happened that same day, decide what the big stories are going to be or what maybe not even the big stories, maybe just what what people want to hear or what we know or topics that we’re passionate about and that’s going to produce better quality content overall. So there is kind of a vetting process and kind of trimming down what our options are for the news of the day. But aside from that, it really is just, you know, we we put out some basic show notes that we both look at and and, you know, here’s here the stories, here’s some links to the stories and go from there, the rest really is just kind of that that back and forth that is is very much improvised. Now that we do have those bonus round segments that we do and that is where it’s mostly me where I will go and and source out interviews with anybody in the gaming content creation space. It doesn’t just have to be a video game developer. It could be a Twitch streamer. We’ve had voice actors who have have worked in gaming before, really a very nice wide range of people who could come on the show. That’s probably where the majority of the work goes on my end because obviously there is a a major process in establishing kind of a business relationship with those types of people in advance so that you know when you go to to approach them with an interview, it’s a naturally a yes, you don’t have to sell them on anything. And you know, that’s probably where a lot of work goes because, you know, you have to make sure that when you’re when you’re interviewing somebody that you know who they are. You don’t want to go in with just big questions. You don’t want to go in with questions that everyone else has already asked them. I I found Sheelagh that there is nothing better than when you get that one question, that one insight and you ask it to them, and they’ve, you you know, they’ve been on the podcast circuit, right? And they’ll say, that’s a really good question, I haven’t heard that before. That’s always so reaffirming where you’re like, yes, I got I got something. I think that’s where a lot of the most work goes in for me specifically because I do direct the podcast is just making sure I know who I’m talking to and being timely, you know, getting your questions out in advance and just kind of making everything line up so that we can air that, you know, and and make it be successful for everybody.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah, you know, I couldn’t agree with you more about preparing for interviews, you know, just having this checkbox of questions. And, you know, the listeners thinks, well, I could have asked that, you know, why aren’t you asking this and they’re just itching to jump in. It’s disappointing for the listener and that’s how you, you’re going to lose listeners. So I think it’s great that, you know, to hear that you really are an advocate for preparing for interviews. And that college radio story, I I just love that because, you know, I’ve met so many people who have volunteered for university radio or high school radio and it’s helped shape their career. It’s given them confidence. So that’s kind of your your secret sauce almost where you develop that knack for the banter that you have going.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah, definitely. When I was in college radio, that actually got me a career in the industry, I wanted to go in initially, which was was radio before I even had a degree. And so I ended up as an intern at like a a local major radio station. And before I knew that I had a weekend show, I was also working for their news department. So I was going around and, you know, I think the guy with a microphone asking questions about about local news and that kind of thing. So I got a lot of experience, even sports, and I don’t I don’t know too much about sports. I’m gonna be honest with you, but it’s, you know, it was part of the the territory there. So before I knew it, yeah, I I had that career in that industry, ultimately didn’t work out just because it it wasn’t quite what I thought it was gonna be. But I’m still so glad I did it because yeah, there’s a lot of just basic social skills and, you know, there’s a there’s an art, a candor to, you know, having a a proper community. I talked with somebody on the air in a right and wrong way to do it that keeps people engaged and also helps with minimalizing the the editing process afterwards, right? If you, if you’ve got that good speaking style, you don’t have to go in and really do surgery to make it sound good.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Nick has been really diligent about Quit The Build on social media, They’re on Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. But how does Nick manage all this? And which platform is producing the best results?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Twitter by far, it’s not even close. Yeah. So when we first had a social media presence, we just had a Facebook. And I guess this is just the millennial and both of us were like, that’s what we thought would be like the place to, you know, grow our listenership was was on Facebook and it just didn’t turn out that way. Facebook really doesn’t have the tools that you need in order to unless you want to advertise with them in order to get your message out there, like they have a hashtag and feature that really isn’t used by anybody. There’s just a lot of bare bones. Whereas when you get into a platform like Twitter which we joined in March, we’ve only been on the platform for about 4 months. Right away, I got it. I didn’t have a Twitter account before getting on Twitter. And that’s where Bruno has been a really great resource because he understands marketing. You know, he does it every day. And so I’ve I’ve got one of the kind of the best coaches in the league really showing me like, hey, you know, this is, this is the best time to post it because there are right and wrong hours. It really is crazy when you look at charts like that and understand like, hey, maybe I should post on 8 pm on a Thursday rather than 7. Those little differences can make all the difference in who sees your content. And hashtags, properly hashtagging, not using too many hashtags. I mean, you can go on and on about the right and wrong way to do it. But with Twitter, we found the most success because it was so easy to get our foot in the door. I will say specifically the reason why that was because there is such a fantastic podcasting community on Twitter. They found us right away, you know, we found one or two people that were big, big influencers in that space who are all about shining a spotlight on other podcasts. And before we knew it, you know, we we had this rapport. We had these relationships established. Now I’m not going to say all that just came to us. It’s work, you know, I I have to put in a lot of of work and time into strategizing when I’m going to post, when I’m going to because look I’m, you know, both Bruno and I we have full-time jobs, we have families, so you know, you can’t be on there all the time. You have to really micromanage when when you have the time and make sure that you’re using your time effectively on social media, but Twitter has been the best, it really has. It’s so easy to reach out to people and how people find your content. Retweets are such a great tool that, you know, if someone else likes your content, you can get exposure from these bigger people with so many more followers than you, right? There’s I’ve I’ve just found the most opportunity through Twitter. Now that being said, yeah, we have it all. We got Instagram, we’ve got even TikTok we started recently. And it’s been great because and this is one of the the best piece of advice that I can give to other podcasts because I know it seems overwhelming when you’re on all these different social media platforms. Don’t overthink it because you can take a single piece of content, right? So every episode we take usually two or three clips highlights, right and we turn them into audiograms. Bruno creates, I I take the clip, I send it to Bruno, Bruno creates that high quality audiogram video file. And that that is in a in a ratio that works for all platforms including Instagram. So then I will take that file, that video and I’ll post it everywhere. You’ll see the same video on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, even YouTube. And each each time that I post it, it’s going to be a little bit different maybe in the title, the description because you have to cater. You know, TikTok only allows for a very limited description size. But you might see different, you know, text in there. You have those limited time formats, right, like Twitter has fleets, Instagram has reels and stories where they’re only available for a limited time. We use those as well, but we use one piece of content and we just spread it out over all these platforms and cast the widest net that we can. And you know, there yeah, there are varying degrees of success. But I’ve definitely found when something that we do or post goes big on Twitter, that’s when we get the most success. We’ve even had some success on Reddit. Reddit is great because we have been able to take our blog articles and post them on Reddit. And then those blog articles often times are intentionally designed because at the end, they’re the the topics usually are about something we’ve already talked about on the podcast. So we’ll always embed that podcast episode at the bottom of the blog article. And we’ve had some crazy success through through Reddit. Some of our viral blog articles that have gotten 1000s of clicks happened because of a combination of both Twitter and Reddit. So I’d say those two platforms have been our most successful.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Wow, that is pretty amazing. It sounds like a masterclass in content repositioning. I think a lot of people don’t think about that, how you can take a podcast episode or a piece of content from it. In your case, it’s an audiogram and share that content across different platforms. And as you’ve described, reposition it or write the the caption whatever that’s suitable for that platform. That’s so cool that you’re doing that. And record regarding Reddit, Nick, are you do you have your own subreddit and what’s what’s the game now, what’s happening with that?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

We don’t. So very early on, we we decided that Facebook and Reddit were gonna be the two things that we would use because that’s what I was what I was comfortable with. I use Reddit a lot on a on a personal account. So I just understand the ins and outs of it. And Reddit is unlike any other other media platform, it’s so unusual especially because the users decide, you know, with literally clicking an upvote and a downvote what is and is not going to be popular. So you’re very much in the court of public opinion with any content that you post. So we have a Quit The Build podcast account, okay, that I will, you know, occasionally post to Reddit. Now you have to be really careful with Reddit because self promotion really is not a thing. Every subreddit has its own set of rules. Okay. For example, you know, if I were to go on the gaming subreddit which would be the most logical place for me to post my content, I would most likely find myself getting, you know, muted or banned because they have rules about self promotion. But whatever I have been able to find subreddits that have rules that are favorable to somebody that does want to occasionally self promote, we’ve had great success. I wrote an article about Google Stadia, which is a game streaming service that Google offers and how, you know, it very much is becoming a a progressively more dominant force in the market. And I posted that blog article that I wrote about it too that the the Stadia which is what it’s called the subreddit there because their their rules allow for it.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Okay.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

And yeah, we got we got so many clicks. I mean, we’re still getting clicks in that article to this day and I wrote it well over a month ago. I think we’re looking at almost 4000 views on that on that blog article alone. Yeah. And it’s been so great. So yeah, Reddit is kind of, it’s kind of a black horse in in social media and one that I think people overlook. It’s just you have to spread very lately and spend some time establishing an account because a lot of subreddits really won’t let you even post content unless you’ve been around for X number of of months or you have X number of upvotes. It’s a different beast. But it’s one, it’s it’s more of a gamble with your time. But if you can get that traction that one time, it’s worth every moment.

Sheelagh Caygill:

And again, as you said that you’d been on Reddit, so you had that experience. And it’s choosing your moment. And I’ve had the similar kind of experience, Nick. Sometimes I’ve shared stuff in the public relations job. And and people have upvoted it, they’ve loved it. And I remember drop dropping a podcast link recently and I got banned from the sub. I was really surprised.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Right.

Sheelagh Caygill:

And I explained why I had done it. Why I hadn’t been around for a while. And whoever it was, the moderator said, okay, fair enough, and they removed the ban. But yeah, you have to be so careful. And you can’t just kind of drop stuff in a sub. You have to engage and be a part of that sub, you know, people can see that you’re giving value. So yeah. Okay, so what’s happening on the TikTok front?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

The TikTok is the most recent social media app that we’ve joined out of everything and this has been one where we’ve we’ve had to kind of go in blind. I think a lot of people our age would will understand that you hear about people making TikToks and being TikTok influencers, and you look at and you’re just like, what is this, like what is happening on this app? And so I but I I thought, you know, I I see a lot of other people repurposing their content in the same way that we were already doing for other platforms. And so I’m like if this is just one more place for me to upload the videos we’re already making, why wouldn’t I do that? So I did, I I jumped in. And TikTok has been an interesting journey. And I will say this about TikTok, we do get views. You know, I uploaded our backlog of content, our our audiogram, like 30 or 40 videos at the time all at once having no idea what was gonna happen. And then I came back like 2 days later and we had like 2000 likes, you know, across all of them. And I’m like, Bruno, this is, this is a slam dunk. Like, this is easy, an easy way to get our name out there.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Wow.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Now, the, the whole idea of TikTok is it’s short form content, right? People are are swiping up and down and just kind of moving on to the next thing. And the algorithm decides what they’re going to see next depending on, you know, what they’re viewing, what what kind of hashtags they’re following, that kind of thing. But it’s so different because we will get minimal engagement on the platform with our reposted content. But if you look at what the big people are doing and that’s what you have to do on these on these platforms, it is to see what the big players are doing to get noticed and what their content looks like and emulate it, right? There’s there’s no shame in that. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel because it’s it’s already been invented. So yeah, what what you have to do is is look and say, okay, well, what is someone on on TikTok doing, they’re using special effects, green screens, often times it’s a live person talking and not just a video of something. And so I’ve looked into it before, you know, what kind of effort is going to go into really making it big on TikTok, and it’s one of those things of you have to measure out the time value of how long is it going to take me to make content for one platform that is exclusive to that platform and won’t really play anywhere else versus the rewards, the return I’m going to get on that because I see a lot of I’ve seen podcasts that get big on TikTok and they don’t really convert those listeners that I can see into any other platforms. They very much are, are stuck in that in that app because they’re very poor about letting you link to outside things unless you’re a really big name, like Instagram, you know, you can’t post links unless you have I think 10,000 followers, that kind of thing. So there’s a lot of challenges I think with with a platform like TikTok where you really, like Reddit, you really have to do your research and understand what does and doesn’t work. We’ve had some TikToks blow up. We’ve had a couple get a couple 1000 views. But like I said, what does that really convert to when people really don’t have a way of getting to our website, you know, through a link format.

Sheelagh Caygill:

So you can’t see what the people have gone from TikTok to your to your website or your podcast host and they’ve listened to your show?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Correct. We would not have a way to offer a link. So we’ll put on all of our videos, you know, I’ll I’ll add specifically for TikTok, you know, listen at quitthebuild.com whereas on other platforms, I wouldn’t do that because there is nothing I can do right now to actually add a link to our website. Even on our bio, at least on Instagram, you can add that one link, right? But on on TikTok, I think it’s only on Apple that you can add a link right now. And I have I’m all Android, so I don’t have access to that. But it’s just interesting how different platforms decide to let you get off of their app and get people into, you know, what you want to be the landing page.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah. Okay. And now let’s talk about monetization in in the time that we have left. You you set up a Patreon page. You’re reaching out to various organizations and businesses for sponsorship. And I must say you’re doing that very well. You you reached out to (inaudible 35:13), which is owned by podmotion and we sponsored you I think for about three months. And the way that was handled and the way you approached us, it was, you know, so professional, informal. But you know, you told us exactly what the cost was, what would be involved, what we had to do, and what you would do for the sponsorship. I believe Bruno sent us the graphics that would be displayed on your website, things like that. So it was like super easy for us to do that. Your your download figures meant it was like, you know, quick win for us, it was a good thing to do. And you just made it a real pleasure to connect with you guys and and have that, you know, business exchange. So let’s talk about how you thought about that, how you approach it, how did you learn those skills, and what kind of success are you having.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah, you know, a lot of that really was was through Bruno. The idea to start seeking out sponsors started on my end and seem to have a whole lot of this goes right, I have an idea, I run it through Bruno, and then Bruno takes care of the backend stuff. And we we had a big advantage there because like I said, he understands marketing, he runs a successful business so he knows what does and doesn’t work. And so, you know, we we started the Patreon, started with the Patreon. We started that about 3 or 4 months ago and we’ve we’ve had some success with it. It’s and and anybody in the podcasting space will tell you, you know, it’s tough to convert your listeners into any kind of paying customer. That because especially on on a platform like Patreon, they know when they’re signing up that they’re probably going to be supporting you for a while. It may sound like, oh, it’s only $5 a month, but that adds up over the course of a year or more. It’s an ongoing thing. And so getting even just one or two Patreons is a major moment I think for any podcast, especially when it’s not friends or family because that means that you converted someone out of the blue that you maybe you haven’t met or you’ve engaged with, but only through the podcast, and convince them to, you know, support you. It’s a really humbling moment I think anytime that we get that notification. It’s been interesting. You know, Patreon is is very unique because you have to figure out how to craft content and tears that make people want to support you and then follow up on it. You know, we have merchandise, so we only offer through this site. Patreon does a lot of cool stuff like if you have a logo, they can make printed merchandise for you, that kind of thing. I haven’t really heard any great things about the quality of it. I like I said, I didn’t really have it specifically a goal of sponsorship in mind until I looked at at the download numbers. And I’m like, you know, I think this is something that we can we can get a sponsor for. And so I talked to Bruno and I’m like, why don’t we why don’t we try this? You know, I think it’d be great to have just just that recognition of being able to show that work. We’re capable of of having a sponsor. And so yeah, we we work together, I did I had to do a lot of research on that because I needed to make sure I understood like what needs to be presented to a company in order to make them understand, you know, why there’s a benefit, right, you have to create kind of a tailored presentation and make sure that the the metrics are clear. And like you said, make sure that there’s a clear pricing model and what you’re going to get from it and that kind of thing.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah, and I think your, you know, your comments on Patreon are are really valid and important because one thing that Patreon creators who are just new to it or thinking about it don’t realize this. You have to create additional content for Patreon (inaudible 38:51). So if you’re working full-time, you have a family, and you know you’re busy with your podcast, you have something else to do to create for Patreon. So it’s it’s something to add to your list. You really need to think about it before you jump in and that kind of leads into my next question, Nick. You guys are married. You have families. At least I know you do. And you love gaming. So how do you find time to focus on with the build in the show?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah, it it’s it’s an ongoing challenge. But one, like I said, time efficiency is very important, right? So since I since I manage all the social media accounts, often times I can take one one video, for example, one of those audiograms and post it across all the different social networks usually within about 20 minutes. I don’t use any of the services that let you pre-post things. That’s just a personal choice because I know that especially when Twitter shows you that it was posted through an app rather than, you know, somebody that that posted it themselves, it can create kind of a disconnect where people feel like it’s it’s something automated instead of a a real interaction.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Okay.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

And so because I’ve been able to pare down the amount of time and I have, you know, all the all the templates for comments and hashtags and that kind of thing already already prepped, I’m able to go through it pretty quickly. And so the social media side doesn’t take all that much time, you know, it’s it’s a matter of just whenever I I have a spare minute or two, hop on and and reply to someone’s post, retweet something, send a few DMs, you know, there’s always time. I I think it’s easy when you get into a career and you have a family to kind of overvalue your spare time and think, well, I’ve got to have, you know, that downtime every day. I think even with all that chaos, you still have those hours that could be spent just doing something else and learning something else.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah. Yeah.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

And that’s been my frame of mind because when we edit the podcast and we record the podcast, even the bonus content for Patreon, it doesn’t feel like work and that is the most important thing for any content creation in the space, whether it be Twitch, podcasting, YouTube, whatever. If it is draining you, you are not going to make it. You have to come out of it feeling energized. And I think it’s it’s such a social experience for me. By the end of an episode, I’ve kind of got a little bit of a of a of a social buzz, you know, because I I enjoy talking to Bruno so much. He’s my friend, you know, there, there isn’t any kind of work that really feels like is going into it. So

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah. You’re loving it. Yeah, I mean, it’s how I feel about these interviews as well. It’s like for my business, podmotion. But I love connecting with you, and I love asking questions and sharing stuff with listeners. So yeah, it doesn’t feel like work, I get that.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Right.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Last question, Nick, what is your advice or what guidance would you offer new independent podcasters?

Nick DiBartolomeo:

The number one thing is you are you are walking into a sea of content, right? So one of the things that the pandemic produced was podcasts. So many people started their show is because they they had the time. And now, especially with with apps like anchor that make it easy and free, you know, Spotify’s acquisition of that was very strategic. But the result of that is it’s it’s flooded the market where right now if if you want to have a show about anything, even if it’s the most niche topic you can think about, there’s a very good chance, there’s a lot of people doing exactly what you’re what you’re thinking of doing already. So it’s really important to go in with a clear business, I’m sorry, clear business plan. And I’ll give an example, you know, Quit The Build. While we already had that name in mind, it was intentional that we did that because we knew that the the search engine optimization was going to be in our favor, right? A name that starts with Q is very unusual. And when you search for that title, not a lot of other things come up. I think a lot of people name their podcasts something that is maybe maybe is already being used, right? There’s not a whole lot of regulation in that space. And when you search for it, a million other things come up before there’s ever does even with good search engine optimization skills. And so it’s important that you you have a topic in mind and that you have a clear business plan to cut through the noise if you want to. I think a lot of people make a podcast for fun and they mean it. They just want to do it for fun and that’s great. But for the people that may say that, but actually want to see how far they can take it or the people that do want to take it as far as they can, it takes so much more in 2021 to have a successful podcast than it did maybe back in 2014, 2015, right? Podcasts have been around forever, but there’s just this audio revolution happening right now. Where? Yeah. You have to cut through the noise somehow. And the only real way to do that is have quality content from episode one, make sure that you do the work because there’s so many great resources out there that are gonna help you set up a logo. You know, Fiverr is a great resource people that may be budget conscious to have somebody produce a podcast intro for them or logo or that kind of thing. Make sure it’s something that you want, you can be proud of day one, so that you can hit the ground running. And really, there’s so many great apps too that will help you with things like audiograms if you can find them that will do so, you know, for for someone that’s that’s budget conscious. But don’t just go on, make a Twitter account, make a make a podcast, and think that with the bare minimum of interaction online that you’re going to be the next Joe Rogan. It’s it’s just not going to happen and and expectations have to be tempered because even with all of the things that we’ve done and the advantages that we have using Pierce Unlimited to create this incredibly looking and sounding content, we still have to cut through that noise. You know, we still have to go through the grind of of developing an audience and getting people to listen to what what I call long form content in a short form world. That’s what podcasting is up against. People want those short sound bits and you’re probably asking them to listen to an hour of podcast. It’s very challenging. So, you know, patience is key, make sure you have a business plan and and really, really fight to cut through the noise and get yourself noticed by just going a step beyond everybody else.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Well, that is just awesome, Nick. You should become a podcast consultant. Yeah, you’ve kind of echoed everything that I think I would probably say. And it’s hard for people to hear that, but it’s true. You have to temper expectations.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah, definitely. And and recently, we actually started offering podcasting consultation services through Pierce Unlimited just because we thought like, hey, we got we got kind of a system down. So. But yeah, thank you so much.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Well, Nick, it’s been an absolute pleasure to connect with you today. And thanks so much for taking time out of your day job and also working on Quit The Build because I’ve got no doubt this will be of value to to listeners. And I think another interesting thing as well talking, just adding to what you said is that so many big platforms are trying to, you know, influence audio. They’re getting into audio. There’s a real tug of war at the moment with the tech giants with Facebook announcing that, you know, it it’s going to get into audio, it will allow people to, you know, at least in the US and Canada, present audio episodes, listener engagement, that kind of thing. And actually, I talked about that in an episode that I just dropped today with Paul Michael Angell so that’s another thing to to think about. It’s an opportunity, but it will, it will also create more noise and all the more reason for your content to be superb.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Definitely, yep.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Yeah. Thank you again, Nick. It’s been such a pleasure speaking with you.

Nick DiBartolomeo:

Yeah, Sheelagh, thanks so much for having me. This has been fun.

Sheelagh Caygill:

Have you ever wondered how to make a podcast out of a roundtable meeting? Want to learn more, then be sure to listen to our next episode. It’s with Rob Finlay, CEO at Thirty Capital and creator and host of the Capital Markets Report podcast. Until then, thanks for listening and head over to your podmotion.co for more podcast episodes about podcasting.

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