For over 20 years, my primarily work has been within the entertainment business. Rarely ever am I in an "office" or do I have interactions with people working those type of jobs. I'm not against these people – I simply live in a world of creatives, such as musicians, authors, and entrepreneurs who work in non-traditional environments.
An exception to this was when I recently attended a "training" event. It was sponsored by a well-known professional organization and the audience was mostly corporate people, many of whom were there because their companies offered bonuses for attending.
I walked in excited. With dozens of people attending, I looked forward to connecting with somebody who had achieved a type of success that I'd failed miserably at (like the kind within a company, for example).
Within 20 minutes of my arrival, my excitement quickly changed to shock and annoyance as it was obvious that I was playing with the "B Team" that day. The good news for you is that it was a perfect case study on what not to do if you want to make impact with your podcast.
5 Reasons Why You'll Never Make Impact With Your Podcast
1. You Want Results Just For Showing Up
There's something to be said for showing up. You're not going to have an audience without first putting in the effort that it takes to attract an audience. Same for money.
Nobody is going to take a risk on your podcast before you do. However, when you show what you have it worth investing in, because you're doing it yourself, others will come along to invest with you.
2. You "Force" Your Podcast On People
Benjamin Franklin once said, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
As a podcaster, you can't force people to do something. Unlike a corporation making its employees attend a training, you can't make it "mandatory" that people listen to your podcast.
Maybe you could bribe people with food? I once saw this happen in a "Christian" homeless shelter where they wanted people to sit through a worship service before being fed. And I can't tell you how many music acts I've seen offer free (or reduced priced) drinks to people as an incentive to stay at the venue just a little bit longer.
Force doesn't work. Food and other bribes only gets asses in chairs. A hungry person will do anything for a bite to eat, including "find Jesus." That doesn't mean his belief system has changed though.
You might be able to get "more listeners" by bribing people with giveaways or encouraging them via the shear force of a huge marketing campaign, but when it comes to having impact, the quality of the people you're reaching trumps quantity every time.
3. Your Main Focus Is Credit (Or Attention)
Impact is its own reward. Credit (or attention) stands in the way of impact.
My job are a marketing guy is to make the product stand out. Sometimes the product is somebody else.
"Credit" is like wearing a Rolex watch – you don't need to announce it. People who actually know what a Rolex looks like will know without you announcing it. And those who don't know it's a Rolex won't understand why it matters.
Sure, you couldn't go around announcing your involvement in a project (or the Rolex on your wrist) to everybody in the room, but that kills the coolness factor, which, at least for the Rolex, is probably one of the reasons you're wearing it in the first place.
As for attention, don't let your need for it overshadow the message you're trying to spread and another person's experience.
Imagine being a songwriter when you walk in a store and a song you wrote is on the radio. The guy behind the counter is singing along. A mother is clapping along with her young child.
You came up with this song in your living room and now it's a hit, being played not only in this store, but throughout the country – there are covers of it on YouTube, DJs play it at wedding receptions, and people dance to it in clubs.
Does it matter that nobody knows you wrote it? Would you rather have people know, like the answer to a trivia question, of the kind of impact and experiences mentioned above?
If you're involved in something significant, people who need to know about your contribution will know. And those who don't know this will still be affected by you, because they'll feel the results of your involvement.
4. You Can't Handle Critics
This was part of the "training" where my head almost exploded...
A woman mentioned having asked for feedback on her group's performance. Then she got pissed because the guy she asked gave her "seven minutes of negative comments." So now she has a "no feedback policy."
This is the kind of thing that blows my mind. Instead of asking herself if there was any truth to what was said or even disputing it, she simply ignored it and, going even further, has done everything she can to make sure similar messages never see the light of day.
This is playing small. It's playing not to lose rather than playing to win and there's a huge difference in the results you get.
When it comes to your podcast, I believe if you've got 100% satisfied listeners, you're not reaching enough people. It's easy to keep 10 people happy, but how about 1000? How about 10,000?
It's impossible and here's why...
What you do is not for everybody.
This lady might not have been the right match for the guy who gave her bad feedback. Or maybe she was a total idiot and he was right on the money. Who knows?
The issue is not being open to criticism. You don't have to agree with your critics, but if you want to play big, don't totally shut them out either. When you do, you'll never take things as far as you can, because you start playing a different game – you do things to avoid criticism entirely rather than do what you do and worry about the criticism as it comes.
5. You Don't Care
Small things mean a lot. And there is value in everything.
If there's one thing I regret during the time when I was working dayjobs, it's not taking advantage of the opportunities I had to care. I was so pissed off about having to work for somebody else that I overlooked all the good things about it. Rather than use my employment as a learning experience, I looked at my time on the job as total misery and, because of this, did my best to make everybody around me miserable as well.
So I get that sometimes a situation isn't what you want it to be and the related things that can happen because of this...
But when you're playing a bigger game, like the kind you must play in order to have great impact, the little things that are seemingly standing in the way of what you ultimately want to do, have value. Why not make the best of the situation you're in?
If you can't learn to take care of the little things that come up around your podcast, you're not going to be able to take care of the big things.
Trust more. Trust the any criticism you get will be helpful, even if it stings a bit. Trust that the money and listeners will be there, you won't be left behind, and that everything will be ok. You don't need to force your podcast on people or change what you do in an inauthentic way in order to get them to love you.