Podcasting Luminary: Daniel J. Lewis

Daniel J Lewis

Starting a podcast is a pretty simple. Staying committed, inspired and consistent in publishing your podcast is a whole other matter.

In our Podcasting Luminary Series, we share the voices of podcasters that have been podcasting for 5 or more years and have them impart some of their best podcasting wisdom grounded in experience.

Today we feature the prolific Daniel J Lewis who will make sure you think, laugh and succeed!

How long have you been podcasting? What is your podcast about?

I launched my first podcast, a clean-comedy show (the Ramen Noodle), in 2007. Since then, I have launched and continue to host several other podcasts, covering movie reviews with Christian critical thinking (Are You Just Watching?) in 2009, my now award-winning podcast about podcasting (The Audacity to Podcast) in 2010, our Once Upon a Time TV-show fan podcast (ONCE podcast) in 2012, and our short-term Once Upon a Time in Wonderland TV-show fan podcast (WONDERLAND podcast) in 2013.

The Audacity to PodcastFun, Fame or Profit? Why are you doing the show?

I first started podcasting for the fun of it. Why else would someone try comedy?

Even when I launched The Audacity to Podcast, it was simply for fun and because I felt like I had something to say in the space that wasn’t being said.

It wasn’t until after the launch and initial success that I realized it could be profitable.

When I choose to launch new podcasts, I now only consider something I’ll enjoy, but I also have a plan to make it profitable—even if that just means paying the bills.

What is your most memorable feedback from a listener?

At New Media Expo in 2014, I got to meet Jennifer Briney who said she owed her podcast journey entirely to the information I’ve given in The Audacity to Podcast.

Her show, Congressional Dish, has been an award-finalist, and Jennifer is on her way to replacing her full-time job with her podcast!

What has changed the most in your recording setup since you started?

I started podcasting with one of those cheap Laptec stick microphones that you got free with soundcards ten years ago.

Now, I have professional gear, complete with a camera and lighting for live-streaming. But I think the single biggest change was going from recording offline to live-streaming.

I initially did this with my clean-comedy podcast to help me be consistent. Now, I see so much value in bringing the community together for a live online event that I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.

Once Upon a Time PodcastWhat tools on libsyn have you found most helpful in building your brand/podcast?

I love the simplicity.

I used an FTP program to create a “droplet” app on my computer that I drag and drop a media file onto it and it uploads to LibSyn’s FTP server into the QuickCast folder.

This is then turned into a post with my title and some show notes from my ID3 tags. This makes it fast and easy for me to upload my media and link to it from my website.

Have you found that social media has expanded your listener base/reach? (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, etc)

Social networks are integral to our growth.

I frequently search Twitter for podcasters who need help, Once Upon a Time fans to follow, and online communities where I can hang out.

The benefits to this are earning a reputation in the space and sometimes getting to mention my own podcast(s) for more information, when appropriate.

I’m confident I could not have launched The Audacity to Podcast or ONCE podcast with such success if it wasn’t for social media, especially Twitter.

What is your workflow: include hardware, software, text editing, and services as necessary

Each podcast’s workflow is a little different, so here’s a general glimpse of how it all goes.

  1. Plan and prepare for the episode: research, re-watch, review, collect resources, draft show notes, read feedback using Workflowy, Evernote, or typing directly into WordPress.
  2. Record in-studio with my two Heil PR40 microphones (which I would like to replace with more natural-sounding Electro Voice RE320 mics) on Heil PL2T overhead boom arms, Behringer Xenyx X1832USB mixer plus MDX4600 compressor/limiter/gate, going out to a Zoom H4n for four-channel recording.
  3. Connect with remote co-hosts through Skype or Google+ Hangouts. If they’re regular cohosts, I have them record their own side from an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB for the high quality of a double-ender.
  4. Live-stream through YouTube Live for video and Mixlr for audio-only and monitor the chat room with ChatWING. This is all done through my central Noodle.mx Network live page.
  5. While recording, I press the “REC” button on my H4n to place a marker on problem spots that I know will need editing.
  6. I either edit myself or hand off to my editor to fix the marked problems in Adobe Audition, and then adjust other issues. I have a template in Audition with separate tracks and saved processing for each of my co-hosts, recorded sound clips, and imported clips.
  7. After editing, I export from Audition as an MP3, tag it with ID3 Editor, then upload to Libsyn via FTP to the QuickCast folder.
  8. I think complete the show notes on my WordPress site, attach the MP3 file with PowerPress, and publish.
  9. I schedule the episode or post immediately through Buffer to my personal and podcast Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Google+ profiles, Pinterest boards, and also submit to StumbleUpon—all from my own social-sharing buttons on my website (powered by Shareaholic).
  10. I receive notifications for comments and respond accordingly.
  11. A couple days later, I’ll re-share on Twitter, and sometimes share again many weeks later.

The Ramen Noodle clean comedy podcastDo download numbers matter matter to you? or is audience engagement key?

I look forward to any engagement I receive, but can’t respond to it all.

I check all of my stats every day. The actual numbers aren’t as important to me as directions and patterns.

I want to see that the numbers are slowly growing and also take note of what particular content is well received—according to both numbers and engagement.

But I would rather have a smaller, more engaged audience than a larger, disengaged audience.

How has or has podcasting helped create opportunities for you?

The Audacity to Podcast was the missing piece I needed to help me launch my own business. Now, everything I do is built around podcasting.

I could not be in business today if I didn’t have my podcasts!

Additionally, podcasting has enabled me to build friendships around the world, influence people’s lives for good, equip others to share their passions and find success, meet and interview celebrities (like the cast of Once Upon a Time), and create missing services to help other podcasters.

What advice would you give a new podcaster so that they keep going!

Plan, lower your expectations, and do it! Too many podcasters start with no idea of where they want to go with their show, how they’ll be unique in the market, and what they want their focus to be.

They commonly have high expectations that they’ll get a large audience, they’ll start making money, or that the whole process will be a lot easier than it is.

Or, they spend too much time on trying to perfect things that they never actually launch.

Plan out what you want your podcast to cover. This can be as simple as a bullet point list of rough ideas over the next several episodes. You can develop these ideas later. But at least know what topics you’ll cover or guests you’ll have.

How important is podcasting to the success of other revenue generating opportunities you currently have?

I could not be in business today if I didn’t have my podcasts.

With The Audacity to Podcast, I freely give away information about how to launch or improve your own podcast. I work hard to communicate high-quality content, presented in an easy to understand and applicable way, and ensure that my production enhances and doesn’t distract from the message.

Because my audience can hear and see me speak from my knowledge with confidence and organization, they start to trust my abilities and opinions.

So when they need help, they come to me for one-on-one consulting, group training, or my new premium products and services for podcasters (like My Podcast Reviews).

Did you start off podcasting and that lead into a business or did you see podcasting as a necessary support for an existing business?

When I first started podcasting in 2007, it was purely for fun with no business model.

When I launched The Audacity to Podcast in 2010, I knew that I wanted to leave my full-time job and pursue entrepreneurship, but I couldn’t connect all the dots and I had no business model.

Shortly after launching, The Audacity to Podcast grew a loyal audience that was asking for my help, and I realized it was the missing piece in my plans.

Since 2010, my podcast has become a necessary support to keep my business running and build my authority in the space.

Has podcasting helped you grow your business.

I continue to put out quality content, and people continue to find me new because of it. Each time they find me, they’re also exposed to my other products and services that are ideal for their needs.

Since I have an audience of mostly podcasters and bloggers, I know that if I create a product or service that meets a need they have, they’ll be very likely to support it.

My business growth is entirely tied to my content creation.

What piece of advice would give others looking to generate revenue from podcasting whether directly or indirectly?

Consider how you want to profit from your podcast.

If you want to only host the podcast and work with nothing else, then look at affiliate relationships, growing your audience to get sponsors, or offering a premium podcast where people pay for past episodes or bonus content.

But each of those methods are highly limited by the size of your audience.

The best way to profit from your podcast is to create and sell relevant products or services. Consulting, speaking, training videos, apps or plugins, and membership to a community are just some ways you can build a business supported by your podcast.

This method of monetizing has no limit to how much you can earn!

I’ve worked with a client who has a $7,000 coaching program.

If just one listener buys that, he makes $7,000! With a traditional CPM model where you get paid based on how many thousand downloads you get per sponsored episode, it would take 3 months of weekly episodes and 30,000 unique listeners per episode to earn that same $7,000 from a $20 CPM.

So make something that is highly valuable and relevant to your audience.

Killer insight no?

If you wanna check out some of Daniel’s relevant and highly valuable products and services, consider checking out the below!

  • Podcast Master Class—teaching you how to take your podcast from average to amazing
  • My Podcast Reviews—automatic email notifications of all the international podcast reviews for your podcast
  • Podcast Places—discover everywhere you and your podcast show be
  • Social Subscribe & Follow Icons—premium WordPress plugin to help podcasters grow their audience by placing attractive subscription icons on their website (includes all the popular podcast-related icons)

Extraordinary Podcasting For All

Use code “creator” for up to 2 months free when you start podcasting or move to Libsyn.

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