Buzzcast

Proven Growth Tactics with Jordan Harbinger

December 25, 2020
Buzzcast
Proven Growth Tactics with Jordan Harbinger
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Buzzcast
Proven Growth Tactics with Jordan Harbinger
Dec 25, 2020

In this bonus episode, Jordan Harbinger shares his top tips for interviewing guests, growing your podcast, and turning your show into a meaningful side hustle.

Links:

Show Notes Transcript

In this bonus episode, Jordan Harbinger shares his top tips for interviewing guests, growing your podcast, and turning your show into a meaningful side hustle.

Links:

Travis:

So we hope you're having a great time with your family celebrating the holidays together, and looking forward to the end of this year and the beginning of the next year. And we wanted to drop this special bonus episode into the Buzzcast podcast feed. So you could hear this really phenomenal interview that Alvin did recently with Jordan Harbinger. If you don't know Jordan, Harbinger is one of the top podcasters in the world. And Alvin got to sit down and pick his brain for close to an hour about podcast growth tactics, how to monetize and really how to be a phenomenal interviewer. We also posted a video version of this interview on our YouTube channel. And so if you want to see Alvin and Jordan interact, and you want to check out the other videos that we have there as well, then you can click the link in the show notes to watch the video version of this conversation. We hope you enjoy this bonus episode of Buzzcast. Enjoy the holidays and we see you next Friday for the first episode in 2021. All right, I'm

Alban:

here with Jordan Harbinger Jordan, you are the host of the Jordan Harbinger show. Your podcast was best of 2018 by Apple. And you've quickly grown to over 6 million downloads per month while interviewing people like Coby Bryan. Malcolm Gladwell, Chelsea Handler Neil deGrasse Tyson, you are at least like sometimes I go to podcasts. Maybe you're like podcast royalty, you are the podcaster Oh, geez.

Jordan:

Yeah, it's kind of funny. I mean, there was no such thing as the podcasting industry. When I started really, you know, there was like a couple of small, small, small, basically hobby businesses that later evolved into hosting companies. But there were no networks to be had. There was nothing like that there wasn't even YouTube. So nobody was thinking about repurposing content where for what Twitter, I mean, there was nothing that was going to happen. And for a lot of people who were podcasting, called the internet, radio, and other people who were podcasting. Were just like, this is where I upload my talks from my journalism course, or whatever, right? Or buy it course. So there wasn't the concept that you would have a show like a radio show that was designed to be downloaded later, and never live stream that was kind of brand new back then.

Alban:

Yeah, you actually started podcasting in 2005. So depending on when you started in the year, that might mean that you actually were podcasting before iTunes even had podcasts? Right.

Unknown:

I think when we started it was it did have podcasts as far as I know. But it was all a text navigating It was a text directory, you couldn't just like type in something into the search bar, at least I don't think so. And you you if you did hit you to match, like an exact title. And then all there was no cover art or anything like that, like album art that you would you wouldn't see that for podcasts. So it would be like you click on podcasts, and it would open up this little sheet. That'd be like arts, entertainment, news, whatever. And then you'd click on that, and then it would sort of like, go into the next thing, it was really just a text based, it was just a summary where you kind of run through a tree, that was the word I was looking for, as a tree. And you'd have to dig seven categories deep in the tree. And then I don't even know if there were rankings or anything like that. Back then there was just a list of available shows. And there were like five in the category that I was in five.

Alban:

That's incredible. And you've actually got some super interesting stories of when you launched, you were like you weren't on a hosting platform, because there was pretty much nobody around you were doing this all yourself on like FTP server.

Unknown:

Yeah, we had a shared GoDaddy server that was like a virtual server, which is probably, you know, like a 486, or something like that. Or quad core or whatever it was back then. And I remember, like, the downloads were slow, because the internet was slow. And most people still had dial up anyway. And, you know, we, we just put our files up there on what was essentially a web server that we didn't have CDN hosting platforms or anything like that, we would just put it up on the same server where we'd be running. I guess it was WordPress, even back then. Or whatever the cat wasn't WordPress, whatever it was back then. And then you just link the mp3 and the mp3 files would be in the same directory as like all the images for your website.

Alban:

That's easy.

Unknown:

Yeah, it was wild. And people would be like, Hey, this is going really slow for me like, Oh, I'm kind of out of bandwidth. It's the end of the month, try trend three days.

Alban:

Oh, my gosh, that's awesome. I definitely remember there's old days of downloading podcasts, and you're putting them onto your iPod. And then you go out and you listen to him for a while. And it was definitely just a different world. Because if people listen to podcasts, which almost nobody did, it was like the same three podcasts that you are listening to at the same time.

Unknown:

Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, there were so many people that told us well, first of all, nobody knew what podcasts were and then it was like, people listen to something with tech. And then they'd have like one or two other shows. And there were a lot of like, gimmicky video podcasts back now to with people making drinks or like ask a ninja where there's like you're some guy in a ninja suit, just filming himself in his garage or whatever. And he would give ninja answers to whatever question. And it was just bizarre because like, that was huge, right? And I remember hearing that that guy had gotten like, 1000s of downloads, and I was like mind blowing, oh my gosh, that's amazing. But like, I don't think anybody sponsored it or anything, it just kind of slowly died, you know?

Alban:

Yeah, I've totally forgot the days of where it was, like cool to talk about ninjas, and pirates and the early 2000s. So you've seen podcasting grow from when you started, like, 1000 podcasts to now we're at like 1.5 million. And I know a lot of our audience are new podcasters or people who are just about to launch a podcast? Is there still space for these people?

Unknown:

Yeah, I think that there is because look, everything starts off hyper niche. The Jordan Harbinger show is not very niche anymore. One week, I have like a mafia enforcer. And the next week, I've got some retired general who's talking about cyber security and cyber warfare. And then the week after that, I've got somebody talking about election interference. And then the week after that, I've got a celebrity honor of some kind. So it's very much a variety show. I don't necessarily recommend people do that. That's too general. That's a personality driven show which you you get you kind of build the ability to do that over time. Right. So like, that's the same reason I named it the Jordan Harbinger show people go, Oh, you should have named it something descriptive. People are actually doing enough searching for Jordan Harbinger in iTunes, or in podcast directories that it makes sense. But if you're just starting out, you shouldn't have the john doe show because no one's really searching for that you should have the indoor interior decorator show or whatever it is that it's about, because and that's what you should generally stick to doing. So yeah, there's a million and a half podcasts. But there's probably only a handful about pickling vegetables, or beekeeping or what actly. And you can compete in those niches.

Alban:

So how would you tell people to pick a topic because you started out in a nice way you were kind of doing just like relationship advice. And you were kind of talking about psychology and talking to people and networking. And then you rebranded from the old show to the Jordan Harbinger show. How did you decide to make that move? And like, how can people kind of follow that when they are trying to pick their own topic?

Unknown:

Yeah, picking a topic was tough. Early on, I was actually teaching a course about networking. And I kept having new people show up. And I was like, Alright, I need a way to get them the old lectures, basically. But I'm not in a classroom with these can be filmed. I don't have any resources for that. Why don't I record them, so I was recording them. But there was no way to distribute them. So there was nothing really for me to do. So I burn them to CD, I was giving away the CDs asking for the CDs back. People weren't giving me the dang CDs back. So then I was like, fine, they're five bucks, and you get your money back if you bring it back. And then people were like, great, I need seven, then what do you need seven, four, I want to give them to my brother, my roommate did. So then I was like, Okay, I'm onto something here. So I raised the price to 20 bucks, people kept buying him and I thought, I'm not going to get rich, 20 bucks at a time. What I need to actually do is give this stuff away for free, and then charge for more advanced coaching and things like that. So I I started uploading the files to create what became the podcast. And that was the beginning. And then that was like the very, very start of what became a lead generator for my business. And then I became essentially a coach for dating and relationships and networking and things like that. And then as the show evolved, and I got sick of that stuff, because I was engaged or whatever, or dating somebody for years on end, or just sick of it. Because you know, you grow out of that stuff. When you're in your mid to late 30s or early 30s. Whatever it was, I just started getting other opportunities where people would go, you know, it'd be cool. My friend does this really cool thing. You should try to test a new episode like that. And I remember interviewing this guy that I knew, who was a drug dealer, former drug smoker, not smuggler, but he grew marijuana, and then he got caught with like a huge amount of marijuana. And then he told the story. And people were like Mind blown, they'd never heard anything like that, because you didn't put stuff like that on TV was too racy, certainly wasn't on the radio, there was kind of no place for people to tell those kinds of stories. So I was having them on my podcast. And then I quickly found when I asked people what they loved about the show, they like I like episode this this this and oh my god, that woman, a guy who grew marijuana and then barely got away with that was so interesting. So then every month or so, I would have one of these sort of offbeat shows, and with a gang member or something like this, and people were like, these are so cool. And then I sort of lost interest in all the dating and relationship stuff. And I just became more interested in talking about what whatever it was that I wanted to discuss with the guests that I wanted to have in the audience started to grow. And I started to get a nice diverse group of people and I could Kind of last 10 or 15% of people to because they were like, Oh, this used to be about dating. And now it's like kind of a potpourri. And I'm not really into that. But I noticed that far more people were like, Hey, this is really interesting now that you have just more going on, because sometimes I don't want to hear about dating, relationships, networking, I'm just kind of in for whatever you want to do. You no surprise me, Jordan. And then it was like, Okay, now I've earned the right I've got enough interview skill after at that point, you know, a few years in, where I can make a lot of interesting, I can find interesting people using the networking skills that I'm teaching, like, I still teach them the Jordan Harbinger show. So finding people, and then getting them to open up and tell their story, that alone was a skill. So I was like, this is a perfect medium for this. And now we find that to be true with podcasts in general, right? People love telling stories and getting stories out there. Back then there just kind of wasn't a place where you could hear a drug dealer, candidly tell his story. Because you'd, you might get something on TV, and then they black out their face. But with podcasting, I'm like, I'm just recording your voice. And they're like, Well, in that case, let me tell you about being a cartel Hitman, you're never gonna find me. I'm not even telling you my real name. So I get stories like that. And people would just share them. And I realized my audience was going way up. And then when I would hit those same new people with dating and relationships, advice, they were like, Whoa, that's really interesting. How do I buy your products and services. So that became a really good lead gen source. And I did that for years and made a lot of money doing it. But then I kind of realized, I'm not just doing this for lead gen. lead gen is like the least favorite part sales, marketing these courses, doing all these workshops. That's actually the part that I like the least. I really like doing the lead gen. And then my partners and I slowly grew apart, up and until I was like, Hey, I really just want to leave. And then we had a split. And I started the Jordan Harbinger show, basically from scratch, but not really because I had my network my skills, my guest roster, you know, things like that. So now I I'm unchained, I'm unplugged, no strings attached.

Alban:

I love where you're talking about. It was always to serve a purpose that you got into podcasting, you were trying to figure out a way to get a message out to the world that people are obviously already interested in, they wanted to buy the CDC went, Okay, it's easier to get this up on a website, maybe it's kind of like it was what became podcasting. And then you're like, Oh, I'm just testing out new guests. And then eventually that turns into the Jordan Harbinger show. I think one of the red flags we see a lot, and I want to hear if this is what you think is a red flag is people go, I'm gonna do a show like Joe Rogan, or Tim Ferriss, or Jordan Harbinger. And I interview the world's most interesting people. I mean, what Who are the people who shouldn't be starting a podcast? Maybe that's what I should ask.

Unknown:

Yeah, that's really not a great idea. Because that's kind of like saying, I just want to hear my own voice or use this as a conduit to talk to interesting people. That is fair, in a way, but it's not a good way to set yourself apart, it's not a good way to build value for your audience. You know, when I first started, if I wanted to use my podcast for networking purposes, which I did all the time, great, but most people didn't know what podcasts were, they'd never gotten invited onto a podcast before. It was a good audience for them to talk to. Now you got people with 19 downloads an episode and you know, bless them, you got to start somewhere. But they're going and trying to pitch celebrities and authors. And they're like, I have 4000 downloads, you know, or 30,000 downloads, and they don't tell you, it's 30,000 downloads over three years, right? They tell you, so there's all this sort of misleading data, and they're not thinking my listeners are gonna love this, they're thinking, I'm going to get a killer selfie for the gram. Yep. When I meet up with some sort of, you know, Dwayne, Wade, or whatever. And that wastes a lot of people's time, and sours them on this. And it also doesn't really do anything for you, because people think I'm doing great networking with my podcast. But if people don't have a good experience with you, or have a mediocre experience, or you commoditize yourself by asking all the same questions they've heard everywhere else, that person doesn't remember you, they don't have a great experience. So if you don't have a good show idea, and your show ideas, just this vague, I'm going to talk to interesting people, because it's fun for me, go ahead and do it. But don't trick yourself. Don't delude yourself into thinking, I'm going to monetize this and then I'm going to be able to quit my job. You may do that, but it will take you seven or eight years, at least. The first seven years that I did the podcast, I don't think we had any ads. Really, in fact, I think the first eight years and some of that was a function of there just not being any money in podcast ads, period. Now, though, you still need something like 5000 to 10,000 downloads an episode before even the even those like automated platforms will really put an ad on your show because it's just too much work for them to monitor any other way. And bear in mind, you know, this is no secret to your audience, probably. But you're getting 25 bucks CPM. And that's great. That's gross. So that's like what you share with the person who sold the ad, right. So if you're getting 25 bucks, let's call it, you're probably getting 15. So you're getting 15 bucks, you need 10,000 listeners to get 150 bucks for that ad, you're not quitting. First of all, 10,000 is a lot more people than it sounds like it's not like getting 10,000 Instagram followers, this is that that could take you years, most people never even come close to that. The top 1% have 30,000 listener downloads per episode I think is the top 1%. And so let's say you have 30,000 here in the top 1%. Now you're getting 450 bucks and add, if you're releasing a weekly show, you're not even probably paying your mortgage depends on where you live, you're probably paying your mortgage, that's great, but you're in the top 1% imagine being in the top 1% of basketball players, you're making millions of dollars in the NBA, you're in the top 1% of attorneys, you're making a huge amount of money as a partner in a major firm, you know, so you have to be in the top 1% of podcasting to like breakeven,

Alban:

break over your hosting gas,

Unknown:

cover the hosting fees to in forget about having a co host, you know and forget about like going out to eat more than once in a blue moon like this is not a way to make a living very much in the beginning. And I don't get I don't want to discourage people. I just want people to be realistic. Because I think a lot of people look at Joe Rogan and go oh my god $100 million Spotify deal. How hard can it be? He just smokes pot and talks to people I can do that. I smoke. That's not quite. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Like that's not quite what's going on there. You know?

Alban:

Alright, so I love You're already starting to kind of hint towards this. Growing a podcast to the level that you're at, is remarkable. Most people are not even within two standard deviations of this. I mean, you are with this tip. And you're 6 million downloads a month. What should people be thinking about? I mean, I'd love to hear like, what are your growth strategies? What have you done to grow the Jordan Harbinger show.

Unknown:

So I've done everything that you can possibly imagine I tried social ads, they don't convert very well, you end up paying a lot for like a click that maybe the person subscribes. Or maybe they don't even download anything, they just go, oh, that tried to open. I don't know, this podcasting app on my phone. Close, right. That's not what you want. I've tried going on a bunch of other shows, that works, you know, going on as many shows as possible. But it's also not scalable, right. Like, if I'm going on a show, let's say I get 100 new listeners, every time I go on a show that has over 10,000 new listeners, I've got to go on a show that's in the top, let's say 5% of podcasts. In terms of size, I've got to do that how often to get 100 new listeners, I'd have to do that like twice a day, to get reasonable growth of my show that's really, really, really, really tough. It's not possible period, it's just not you. And also you run out of shows that are willing to interview people after a couple of weeks at that rate, because you know, the logistics of hiring. So the thing I've really settled on right now, and this is not for necessarily like beginners. The thing I've settled on right now is advertising on other podcasts. That's what I've been doing. I actually I wouldn't say I started an agency, but I have a couple of big clients that are interested in growing their show. But you do need a budget of like $10,000 a month to really move the needle in a way that makes sense to have somebody like me help you. But I use products like chargeable to track attribution, I buy and I negotiate bulk rates on networks for my clients. Because if everybody spends big, then you can get the cpms down really low. That's how agencies work. So I've started doing that. And at large scale, I realized, oh my gosh, if you get the CPM down low enough, you can get 300 400 new listeners per day. And if you get enough impressions going, then you start to see a real snowball effect. And nobody else is really doing this right. Like that's some of the ways that I do that is quote unquote, trade secret. But it's not rocket science, I'll tell you, it's been very tough to get it going. The tools are really rudimentary. Even things like that I'm using to to buy or track the ads are not necessarily finished products yet. But that's the stuff that really works. And again, not for beginners. But for companies and individuals who happen to just want to grow their show. Like if you're, if you own a solar company, and you do lead gen with your podcast, and you can afford to make it a loss leader than growing with ads don't the whole like repurpose content and post it on LinkedIn. That it's a really small game. It sort of works but it kind of doesn't you know, you pay 1500 bucks a month to get everything repurposed to Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, tik tok, you get a couple 100 listeners for it, just by ads, you're gonna get twice as much ROI it's all trackable, and you don't have to have six interns in Malaysia posting things and making noise on social media. Right. So it's, it's a messy situation right now for that landscape.

Alban:

I so I actually went and I went was doing much of research across social media, you are not doing a ton you're most active on Instagram. But since like last few months, you haven't been posting almost at all. Is that intentional that you're just like, this social stuff doesn't get a good ROI in my life for for my podcast or any of my stuff. So you just taking a step back?

Unknown:

Yeah, I find social media to largely be a waste of time. I like social media for the one way communication, I guess it's two way communication that I get with show fans. But I'm not trying to be an influencer, because I know a lot of broke ass influencers, you know, and I know a lot of them that are making good money. But every day, every moment of their life is trying to figure out how to monetize them going to the freaking dentist, you know, and it's a game that you lose as you get older, or you can't scale or the algorithm Gods go, they look left instead of right. And now suddenly, you're de prioritized. Or you're demonetised, because you said one thing that a bunch of people didn't like about something, and it doesn't have to be anything serious. or Google just says, you know, we don't really like people that do selfie videos too much. Let's try people who are driving this week. And then suddenly, you're like, why is my youtube channel basically dead? I don't get it. So with podcasting, since it's an open ecosystem, and there is no algorithm, yes, there's nothing that goes viral. But there's also no, there's no like, hey, the wind changed. And now your entire business is completely broken, useless. And there's nothing you can do about it, which is what I see with people on YouTube, or tik tok. The algorithm changes or their audience just migrates to the next, like, funny guy who jumps on tables full of food as a hilarious prank. And now you're just a nobody again, and nobody's sponsoring your stuff. And look, if social media ads were really that valuable, the cpms wouldn't be like three or four bucks, right? podcast. cpms are like 30 bucks. I'm getting $30 2530 bucks CPM, you know, then you get to give a cut to the salespeople. Like I mentioned before, if you got Google ads running and stuff like that you're getting You're lucky if you get three or four bucks, you need to have a YouTube channel, or sorry, not even a channel because subscribers don't matter. Right with with YouTube, right? with YouTube, you have to have millions of people watch every single one of your videos to get even remotely within the realm of the amount of profit that a decent sized podcast makes with like three people working on it.

Alban:

Yeah, I like to, I really push this point all the time, because we do YouTube, we do podcasts, we do blog, we do a course everything on the same stuff. But I go to podcast movement. And the only people who come up and say, I'm so excited to meet you. You taught me how to podcast. They all listen to our podcast episodes. Almost none of the people who've ever watched our YouTube videos, come up and talk to me even though those have 10 times the place that the podcast has the level of engagement there is a total nother level. I mean, it is something totally different when someone listens to you for 1020 episodes, that versus they were drunk on a Saturday and so they just decided to scroll through YouTube for an hour. Exactly like like Tick Tock and these I know these people go dude, you got to get on Tick tock, you

Unknown:

got to get on Tick tock, I have 300,000 plays on my last few videos, and I go great. How do you reach those people? Oh, I just make another video. And they'll make a course or something. And they'll put it out in the video. And they're like, Dude, it's just like, no one cares. And of course, they don't care. They're they're on the toilet scrolling. They're not fans of yours. They're literally the algorithm put your crap in front of them because you said something funny in a video once or because like you had your cute puppy in the video. No one cares about you on here. But then you go to the podcast and you put up your first 10 episodes. And you find people that have listened to you for 10 hours. And they feel like they've known you for that long and they've got this parasocial relationship with you. That's sort of like a one way friendship and they're really excited to meet you to be to do that on YouTube. Not only do you have millions of people literally competing with you for that, but you've also got a much shorter attention span you've got a younger and less sophisticated audience with social media and YouTube and for a show like the Jordan Harbinger show that Yeah, broke broker audience for show like the Jordan Harbinger show I've got educated affluent professionals, you know, talk about global affairs, world events. I've got great stories on there. I've got neuro scientists and psychologists, those are usually like educated, affluent professionals, generally, you know, not everyone but generally, and those that's a much more desirable audience, then casting is widen it as possible. Also, there's something called that I've called the Jerry Springer effect, where, when you're on YouTube, and you're really sub, you're sort of subject to the algorithm and not YouTube but social media in general. I always use YouTube as the example social media in general. You have the the Jerry Springer effect, which is back in the 90s. I don't expect you to remember this. Jerry Springer was actually like a really serious talk show host. He was really, really smart. He is like, well spoken, he still is well spoken when he wants to be. And he had intelligent discussions on a show. And his daytime talk competitor was this guy, Geraldo Rivera, who's just a Yahoo, who is on fox news all the time making up, you know, baloney, generally all the time. And he's just kind of like a professional wrestler of journalism. He's not like a good journalist, in my opinion. And so what Geraldo did was, he had white supremacists on and Black Panthers at the same time, and he got hit in the face with a chair, and his ratings went through the roof. And it was totally unplanned, supposedly. And then everyone watched Geraldo Rivera, and then he was like, Oh, I'm only going to have a circus on my show, because that's how you get ratings. And then Jenny Jones and Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake, they went from like serious like, Good talk shows to crap guess I got to act like an idiot and have dumb people on here who throw chairs and like, say you're not the father, or you are the father and do paternity test live. Maury Povich, like, all those people used to be serious. That's because they have to follow the algorithm, which were the Nielsen ratings on TV. So they all ruined their brand. And now I think like Jerry Springer was like, I'm gonna run for governor and everyone's like, bro, sit down. No way. Sit down. Yeah, sit down there, buddy. Not gonna happen. So that's a huge problem for your brand. And unless you are willing to do the professional wrestler thing and be be subject to the Jerry Springer effect, then you should not be trying to compete on a lot of these social media platforms. That's why you see people who have really good start off really good on social media. Suddenly, you're like, why are you just filming Funny, funny and air quotes things now? or Why are you trying to do shows, used to do shows with scientists and great thinkers. And now it's like, out of work actor that's still good looking next week on whatever talk show that I have on YouTube, or like next week, another influencer, who has a lot of followers who they will send to my channel, cool. No one cares. Like people care for a second. But you have to constantly be adding fuel and throwing gasoline on that fire. Otherwise, you crash. Or as a podcast, you can say, this is what I talked about. It's smart stuff, share it with people who like smart stuff. If you don't like smart stuff, you're going to be bored leave. And over time you build very slowly, a really good audience. And then when you're like, hey, if you want me to keep doing this, you got to buy a freakin mattress, or I'm gonna go broke, people are like, give me a mattress. Right? So they want that stuff because they want to support you. But if I see an ad on YouTube, I'm usually like a. And it's not that they don't work. It's just that you need a hell of a lot more volume. And look

Alban:

all the way. Volume is to be crazy. It is to be crazy, to put up the next politics thing or go and be as edgy as possible. And I mean, you hit on this earlier, if there is an algorithm between you and your audience, that is not your audience. That is YouTube's audience that is Twitter's audience, that's Facebook's audience that's snapchats audience or that, actually the Chinese government's audience, but all of those are not yours, the minute that it's not good for them to have you be the person in front of this audience, they will just switch it and they will de monetize you or they will move on. And it doesn't mean you did something terrible. It could just be your interests are no longer aligned. And I think that's like one of the incredible things you're kind of talking about for podcasting.

Unknown:

Yeah, that's a really good point that if there's an algorithm between you and your audience, it's not your audience. And people go, Oh, no, well, they can subscribe to my YouTube channel. Man. I know a lot of people that have 4 million YouTube subscribers, and they get like 6500 views per video, because now they're just filming themselves breakdancing or something because they're just out of ideas. Or they get 6500 views per video because their audience subscribed once when they had a go, let's go back to Dwight. They had Dwayne Wade on once, three years ago, they got a bunch of subscribers, then people went, yeah, I don't care about this guy's content at all. You don't really have that with podcasting, because nothing goes viral in the first place. People have to share via word of mouth or via social media and they go Look, listen to the Jordan Harbinger show really good stuff. Here's a really good guest start with that. And then people go, Oh, that's cool. And then it comes in their feed later, oh, this person looks cool. This person looks cool. with YouTube. It just doesn't really work like that. Right? It doesn't really work like that. People subscribe to 500 different channels, they go to their homepage and they pick the thing on the top row. And that's it. That's they just eat their cereal. And then they close it and go on with their day, if not a whole lot following.

Alban:

Yeah, much more opting in for podcasting to I'm going, Hey, I'm going to go for a run. I mean, I did this today. I'm going to go for a run. So I'm going to listen to the Jordan Harbinger show and I download a specific episode. I'm excited about it and I go for the run. I listen to the whole thing, versus the alternative which is like I'm just sitting around and I have nothing to do I guess whatever YouTube sticks in front of my face is what I will get into

Unknown:

Mm hmm. Exactly, exactly. And it's the same thing with tik tok is the same thing with Instagram. That's why I don't really mess with it. Like, I don't read my Twitter feed. I read my DMS. I don't look at my Instagram feed. I read my DMS, I don't look at my LinkedIn feed. I read my DMS, there are places where fans can reach me. And people go, Oh, you're missing out and I go, look, man, show me the top of your funnel. Okay, you have 10 million followers on all these platforms. Great. Why is your show smaller than mine? Oh, because they don't want to go and listen to your podcast. Why? Because they don't really care enough to consume it. Right? They don't. You have like a very shallow audience, that what these people won't go and buy your book when you release it. They're not going to buy your course in high numbers Anyway, when you release it because they're casual followers.

Alban:

Mm hmm. Yeah, there's that great. Kevin Kelly, Article 1000, true fans, right? All about all you need online is truly 1000 people who truly care about you. And just take those people and if you can monetize them well, and they actually care a lot. You actually have a career. And it's just a totally different world. When you go Hey, let's go on social media. I'll get millions on monetize people to the tune of point oh, one cent? And then maybe I'll have a career. And it really the math doesn't work out as well.

Unknown:

No, it doesn't. And additionally, event look at look at how many times social media platforms have changed. Since podcasting started which podcast builds brick by brick, year by year. Okay, Instagram took over from what I don't even know Facebook, which took over from Friendster, which took over from I was on my MySpace or MySpace, not not Friendster. Friendster came before MySpace, right? So people migrate. And then those things die. And now you've got all these other now you've got Tick Tock. And so they're trying to compete with them. But like these things sort of come and go podcasting doesn't do that. And people might be going, Oh, it's only a matter of time. No, not really. It's an open ecosystem. It's not an app. So people can't some rich billionaire can't make one decision that screws the whole thing up or change the UI for everyone. And people go and really like this. And like, remember, when everyone's like, you better be on Snapchat, there were Snapchat influencers, literally, no one talks about it anymore. If it even exists, still, no one talks about it. So if you spent three years building your snapchat following, you're totally screwed right now. If you'd spent that time building your podcast, and that's why only focus on the podcast. I just focus on there. Yes, if I hired 20 people, I could hit every channel. Cool, then my run rates to $200,000 a month because I've got to buy ads and have managers on each channel. Cool to then do what monetize it 1% of the amount that podcasting can be monetized no focus on podcasting. When you're digging for gold in the mountainside, and you find a bunch of like, other rocks, you don't go Hey, dude, I found a whole lot of quartz down here. We should grab it. No, you just get the freakin gold and the other stuff. You throw it down the side of the mountain. Right? Like you don't grab that other stuff. So I'm only going for the gold. podcasting is where the money is. I'm not trying to get more tik tok followers. It's a vanity metric. And I don't care.

Alban:

One of the other things that you have done, and I wonder if this is like an intentional growth strategy, or if you even think this works. A lot of times people say the way to grow is by getting big guests on your podcast. And so they kind of just shoot their shot and they send out emails because they know that like Seth Godin reads all his email, so they're like send it like spam everybody. Have you seen like you've landed guests like Kobe Bryant? Malcolm Gladwell, Chelsea Handler near the grass. Tyson, you just had general HR McMaster on the show. All of them like do you? Do you see them bringing in a new audience? And then if they do to the audience day?

Unknown:

No, they don't bring in a new audience and with certain types of people, they might bring in somebody else. But no, they generally don't stay like when I had Kobe Bryant on I got a whole spike. But it's only like a 10 or 15% spike. But a lot of those people that's the only thing they ever listened to and they did it because they love Kobe and somebody's like Dude, really good Kobe interview on the Jordan Harbinger show you got to check it out. Right? Or it comes up in some search for something else because they're like, Oh my God, this guy interviewed Kobe. I was just doing a report on him or whatever, that audience, very few stick around. So whenever I see people go like, oh, stand on the shoulders of giants. Bring in all these great people and then people will see you and then you'll have credibility, and then they'll stick with your show. It's just not really realistic. You can do that on other forms of social media. Like if you're a YouTuber, and you do a collab, you show up in search results and things like that. And you've got all these other people that like they promote you. Kobe Bryant's not going to share your crap general McMaster is not going to share your crap. Howie Mendell is not going to share your crap. It's not it's pointless. Plus, you can so tell when podcasters are doing something where they're like, okay, just got to kind of like crap out this interview with I don't even know if Chelsea Handler, right, because then I'll get all these followers. They're not interested, they don't know much about her, they just googled some stuff they're mailing it in, you have to go with what you're interested in and what your audience is interested in. The idea that you're going to have all these high end people on and they're gonna grow your show is delusional. It really is. The only time that would work is if you are exceptionally well connected, like Dax Shepard is a good talk show host, he runs a good show, but also all his friends on his show are like these a list. Amazing folks. So he's got millions of people or whatever it is listening to his podcast. But that's because he can call Elon degenerates. He can call Michelle Obama, he can call all these super famous people to be on his show. Okay, fine. They're probably getting a bunch of search traffic, they're probably maybe even sharing it. That's great. I'm sure he's building his audience that way. That's not going to happen for you Don't count on that. You're not even going to have you could interview a dentist in your area. And they'd be like, I guess I'll tweet it. But it's annoying, right? Yeah, it's not really going to grow your show. And even when it does, the vast majority of those people who listen for one particular guest, they don't care about you, they're going to bounce.

Alban:

So I feel like I know the answer. But for you going ahead and putting together like a headliner, or a wave or a Buzzsprout visual soundbite that's not even worth that you wouldn't put that together and send it to them, you just say they're probably not going to share it and just move on.

Unknown:

I if I posted on like LinkedIn, which is the only platform that we've just started testing recently, just posting stuff on there, because it does get decent engagement, because people are willing to sit down and listen to something because it's LinkedIn, it's more professional than just Doom scrolling. That's doing okay. But I tagged them in that, and then people will comment, or they'll try and reshare it on LinkedIn or something like that. But at the end of the day, even if something gets an amazing amount of play, like I posted a clip from my Coby interview, and it got like 130,000 plays, very few of them went, Oh, my gosh, I have to open up my podcast app, and subscribe to this. They listened to that clip, or they may be listened to that whole episode, very few of them went and subscribed to the actual show. On the other hand, when I go on another podcast, people go and find the show, they download five episodes that they're into, and then they listen, and they go, Oh, god, I'm so glad I found this. This is really great. You've got to find people who are already in the habit of listening to podcasts, there are millions of people listening to podcasts, why am I gonna go out and try and educate these randos? on the internet? Who don't already have the habit? Why am I trying to educate the market, it's completely pointless. So

Alban:

you're gonna let everybody else get their friends say, hey, the purple app, you've not been paying attention to it. That's actually podcasts, you can download these shows. Once that happens, then you're happy to go, Hey, I'll pay you for a little time on the show. And now you might come over and you're now subscribed to to shows.

Unknown:

Exactly, that's why that's why I'm appearing on other shows. And people go, will you be on my YouTube channel or whatever? And it's like, I don't really need to do that for the business. Right? Because if a bunch of people go and subscribe to the Jordan Harbinger YouTube, I'll save you the Google, it's pretty small, because people go, why doesn't this have more views? And I go, because I don't care. Yeah, you know, like, I want you to find the content. I'm glad that people are watching. But at the end of the day, for me to produce video is 10 times harder and more costly than producing audio, first of all. Second of all, if you put one ad in a YouTube video, people are like, I so annoying. This ad is a bunch of a holes, you put four ads and an hour long podcast, and people are like, great, whatever. This is the this is the price I pay for great content. You know, it's a completely different mindset when it comes to the content. And you look at watch time versus listen time, like you see, listen times, like 86% of your podcasts are finished completely by something like 86% of people listen to the whole podcast, you look at YouTube. I mean, good watch time is like two and a half minutes or something like that, I think. And I remember seeing my stats from my channel manager. He goes, you're listening time or your watch time is 18 minutes. And I was like, Oh, that's awful. My videos are like 40 minutes long. And he goes, are you kidding? That's like, nine times the average watch time of a YouTube video. And I went Oh, so this is good. And he's like, yeah, it's really good. It means a lot of people are watching the whole thing. Some people only watch a few seconds and skip and I go well, that's normal. Right? But most YouTube YouTubers, like even friends of mine that make their whole living on YouTube. They see my watch time and they're like, holy crap, how is that even possible? Their average watch time, which is really good is like two minutes and 50 seconds.

Alban:

Yeah, I think that's such a good metric. Because like we're we really need to be optimizing for attention and engagement. And I mean, true engagement. like somebody's actually paying attention to you. They would actually remember listening to your show, versus on a lot of channels and people are probably watching this on YouTube right now. So you're kind of looking at us the last scan, but that like on YouTube early. It is you get on you bounce. There's 12 things in the sidebar always asking for your attention. And it's very hard to keep someone for a long time. If I can't, can I shift gears for a second and just kind of pick your brain about interview skills? You've done something like 1000 interviews between your old show and the Jordan Harbinger show, and you've done a ton of incredible interviews. I mean, first off, who is the your most favorite interview? Who are you most like nervous to interview?

Unknown:

It's always really tough. I mean, I'm, I've never really nervous like beforehand. I shouldn't say never. Rarely am I nervous about the person. I'm always nervous about the tech. Right? It's always like, Oh, is this gonna crash? Is this gonna be unstable? Did they remember to bring their microphone? Why aren't their headphones working? That's the stuff that makes me nervous. But you know, if I got Malcolm Gladwell on there, I'm not nervous during really, I mean, I'm ready. So it's hard to say. I've had Mark Cuban Kevin systrom, founder of Instagram, Coby Ray Dalio. I just interviewed Stephen Schwarzman, from Blackstone, I've got a lot of really amazing folks coming up. I've had a lot of really amazing folks in the past. I think one of the things that that maybe makes me okay at interviews is that I don't really get nervous because I don't care about celebrities at all. They're interesting people, but I'm not under the delusion that I'm going to be homeboys with Dwayne Wade, or Dennis Rodman after the show. So if I say and do all the right things, he's going to be like, bro, we need to hang out more. That's not really in my list of things that I care about. I want my audience to have a good listening experience. So that's why I'm never really that worried about the guest liking me at the end. It's just like journalism, they're not going to call me and invite me to a party. It does happen. But it's pretty rare. So I don't focus. They're optimized for that. And I think influencers who try to do podcasts, they optimized for that, because they want those validation. Once we part ways in the podcast, yeah, I want to be able to call you next year when your new book comes out. But that's pretty much it.

Alban:

Right now. That's

Unknown:

pretty much the only thing. So it's better to optimize for the listening experience of your listener than to optimize for whether or not the guest really enjoys being with you in that particular moment. Yeah, you want them to be comfortable. You want them to think you're professional. But beyond that, that's it. You just want them to go away, gone. That was pretty good. You don't want them to you're not trying to impress them. You're trying to get them to like you. You know, you're there every week. your listeners are there every week. This guest is there once who's more important, right?

Alban:

Yeah, I think Kara Swisher puts a really well, she says, You should be mean to your guests a little bit. She's like, ask them the toughest questions. And you know what, they're probably gonna if they want to sell their next book, they'll probably come back and talk to me because I'm Kara Swisher. And she's always optimizing for her own shows, which I think is really good. One of the reason things I heard you talk about on another podcast was not feeling nervous because of the prep you do for all of your interviews. So can you kind of dive into what it looks like for you to prep for an interview?

Unknown:

Yeah, so I will, of course, read the Wikipedia, I read the entire book that the person has read that alone, put that already puts you in the 95th 96 whatever percentile of all journalists or interviewers, nobody reads the book, even even the journalists, you think sound awesome. They're reading a synopsis of the book, they're reading highlights that they got sent by a publicist, rarely do they actually read the book. If you read the book, and you study up on the person, you are already going to jump nine out of 10 interviewers, additionally, you know, I look at the Wikipedia page. I look at their Amazon reviews, the negative ones, especially, I look at controversy that they've had in their life, you know, news results, especially old news results, not just the latest craze, whatever. That's the kind of thing that really gets down to brass tacks, if you can find their friends. That's really great. You know, I did a whole course on this actually. It's relatively affordable. It's on. It's on Himalaya, I can bump it up unless you don't want me to. It's a if you go to Jordan Harbinger slash Jordan Harbinger comm slash how to interview it'll forward you to whatever page it's on, because it's got one of those complicated URLs. But it's really affordable. And it goes through all my prep process, how to do it, how to conduct the interview, I did a bunch of stuff on there several hours on this, but I look up as many info sources as I can I spend 10 to 20 hours prepping for each guest. That's what keeps me up there. It's not like, Oh, this guy's so talented, I would say very little of what I'm doing his talent. Most of what I'm doing is out working everyone else because everyone else is thinking they're so talented, or they're going I don't have time to read the whole book. I'm gonna read one of the chapters or two of the chapters, the intro and the clothes, and I'll be able to fake it. Well, maybe you can fake it for some of your audience but you definitely aren't going to be as well prepared as me and it's really going to show it won't show if they don't listen to an interview that I do with the same person. But it will show you will show your as if you do listen to an interview with that I do with somebody and then an interview that somebody else does with that person. You will be Be able to tell. And I'm not saying that that's better or worse, you got your own audience, maybe you're funnier than me whatever it is. But I'm not naturally funny. I'm not naturally talented. All I can do is at work, everyone. But honestly, what is the audience want, maybe they want to laugh, maybe they want to chuckle, but they kind of want to get out of reading the whole book, or they want to get such a good taste of the book, that they want to know that it's definitely worth their time to go and buy it and then read it and spend 10 hours reading it themselves. So if they listen to me for an hour, they know I've read it. And if that content is interesting, there's more to be had in the book. And if it's like, that was okay, then you've had your fill. But we can always sort of tell when somebody is faking their way through it. If you don't really know what it looks like when somebody fakes their way through an interview, watch a journalist on TV who has like 10 minutes, interview somebody, they have no clue what they're talking about. They're super general questions. Why now could tell him to write your book? Why is this book? Why was this the book you needed to write? That's what they asked, because they can ask that of anybody who's ever written any book ever. And then the person tells two stories that they tell on every show. And those are the sound bites. If you want to get a real interview with somebody, you have to go beyond the sound bites.

Alban:

I love when I hear you talk about that. To me, that's Depo prep, you're a still an attorney, and you're preparing for it sounds like you prepare for a deposition, you've got one chance to get the record straight with somebody. And he goes 20 hours in learning everything. So that I mean, this is this thing we always say when you're doing cross examination on trial, you say don't ask a question you don't know the answer to exactly does that feel like how you're conducting interviews?

Unknown:

Definitely. Yeah. I rarely ask a question where I don't know what they're gonna say. And sometimes, you know, look, I haven't heard them tell the whole story or other times, they'll give me a different answer. And there are some times even in the interview I did today with Stephen Schwarzman, from Blackstone. I'll ask him something and he'll go, Oh, well, I don't know anything about that. And I'll go Okay. Here's a little aside. On page something, something in your book, you talked about this, and this, and he goes, Oh, yeah. Okay. Now I know what you mean. Yes. Okay. And then I go and keep going, you know, in my editor will snippet, because I had to remind him about something that happened in his own life. Now, that doesn't mean he forgot, it just means that I didn't cue him up well enough for whatever it was. But sometimes I'll there are times where I'll ask somebody something. And they'll say, oh, man, I wrote that book, like two years ago. Um, remind me again, what that is. And I'll go, that's the time you went to the bus depot, and you met the guy who dressed in the clown suit, and then they'll go Right, right. And then so we'll have to pick it up from there, you have to know their content better than they do. It doesn't mean you have to have a PhD in molecular cellular biology like they do, it just means you should be damn sure that you know what's going to come out of their mouth. If the stakes aren't as high. If they say something totally different. And it's good, keep it in the show. But I know what the audience is gonna want. So I'm going to go and fish that out, I'm going to go and get that out. Again, if I'm mining for gold, I'm not just digging in the side of a mountain going, gee, I hope I find something in here. I know that there's stuff in there. I'm trying to find it. I'm looking for a very specific thing that is going to make this interview worth my audience's time to listen to in the first place. I'm not just fishing around hoping that something happens. We know what those podcasts are like. They're three hours long. There's 18 minutes of content interspersed with a bunch of tangents and nonchalant banter. That is not really a good use of your time. Even when professional comedians do it in the banter is funny. It's like, how much of this do I need? You know?

Alban:

Yeah, that that's when that becomes filler content that you're putting on in the background while you're doing your main, your manual labor job and you want something to listen to, very accurately content you're seeking out, you're actually kind of happy. It's three hours long, because you're like, I'm gonna be here for eight. So I might as well listen couple episodes of this super long podcast. Exactly.

Unknown:

Yeah. And like that has its place. But if you think you're just going to go ahead and do that, great. Now you're competing against people. Now you're competing against Joe Rogan. Okay? When you can do a better job than him then you can do a three hour long show about nothing. You but until then you're going to play second fiddle. And you're, you're always going to you're a commodity. How many? How many ways are there to fill three hours of your day? infinite? How many ways are there to learn from ti or Mark Cuban or Malcolm Gladwell or Ray Dalio in a very concentrated format? That's QA, not many men, not many. And of those, mine will be the best prepared and executed.

Alban:

I love it. If you were to give anyone like, maybe a final interview tip. I mean, you asked me these questions. I know you don't really care if the guest is going to be a little bit annoyed. So you asked Dennis Rodman like, what's up with all the crazy man and actually got like a good response out of it? Yeah. How do you how do you prep those questions? Like Do you ever feel nervous that you're gonna like annoy a guest enough that it's over?

Unknown:

Not really because again, I don't care if they like me. And also it looks so bad when somebody walks out of an interview. Also, I do plan those questions in so right, yes, maybe the first thing I thought of when I was going to interview, Dennis Rodman was what's up with all the crazy man. But I probably didn't start there. And if it was, even if that question was early on in the interview, I probably like went downstairs had lunch with the guy first chatted about nothing, chopped it up with his team a little bit, got an introduction in the first place through a buddy, and then sat him down, had a diet coke and then said, Alright, let's roll and then went. Okay, so the question that's on everybody's mind, what's up with all the crazy man and he probably just start I don't remember it, but he probably just started laughing or something like that. Exactly. That's because I didn't he didn't step off the elevator, sit down and go, Okay, are we doing this? And then I go, Why are you such a weirdo? Right? That's not a good way I built rapport with him. First. There's other things where I'll ask a guest. And it might be the first question I thought of, but I put it towards the end of the show, because I go, I need him to sort of like trust me, before asking him this, or I'm going to get a garbage blow off answer, or they're just going to go, Oh, is it gonna be one of those? You don't want that. So it's, it's it's all in how you structure the interview. But you develop rapport with the guests, they trust you to do the right thing, again, being trusted and liked not the same thing. Being trusted to do your job, well be professional, represent them? Well, that's one thing that is completely independent of whether or not they like you, and you shouldn't care if they like you, you should care if they trust you.

Alban:

Man, I think that's a really good example, though from your Dennis Rodman interview, you started out by asking him, Hey, you're a unique person, I see a lot of people are trying to be more true to themselves. You were doing this in the 90s, though, and it was not as common. And you brought it out as a very like you are true to yourself. That's a positive. got that going? And then ask the question everyone wants to ask in the way everyone wants to ask it. And so with that context, he knew you weren't just hating on him. You were saying you're actually interesting.

Unknown:

Exactly. Yeah. Like you have to, there are ways to massage questions that are more awkward into something that is more palatable. You have to be careful. Like, you don't want to turn it up too much. I heard an interview with Matthew McConaughey. And this woman was like, You're so beautiful. Oh, my God. And I just thought you're, I turned it off. Because I go, you have no idea what you're doing. You've alienated him. He already feels weird. You're making it weird. You're just kissing his ass. There's never going to be any content in here. You're not going to challenge him on anything. All you know is that he's hot. And you can't control yourself. I'm out. Click Delete.

Alban:

Oh, man, well, I want to be respectful of your time, because I know we only had you for an hour. Can I ask one final question? Um, if somebody was a new podcaster, what is the one piece of advice you want to give them? If they're starting a podcast today, they're not already famous, they're not gonna have access to big guests. They don't have a big budget. What would you tell them about starting a podcast,

Unknown:

just work on your skills for the first few years. Don't try and look at it as a business. Don't try and worry about monetizing it. That all comes years later, you need a huge audience to be able to do that treat this as a hobby, the best way to ruin a hobby is to try and monetize it and turn it into a job or a career or a side hustle. Just do this, if you enjoy doing it, and work on your skills for the sake of getting better at your craft, then you will find yourself in a position to monetize it. Everybody who tries to monetize early ends up figuring out trying to figure out hacks, and they end up monetizing too early, ruining the product, getting sick of not making any progress and not making any money and they quit. A lot of people won't listen to this advice, that's fine. Those are the people that are going to quit. But the people who are really going to stick with this, that you start off just doing it because you like it. And then one day somebody says, Hey, you know, you could probably get an advertiser, and it would pay for your hosting bill. And maybe the drinks you have every week on your show. And you go, Oh, that's cool. And then your show grows and grows and grows. And then you go, Hey, you know, like, this kind of pays for my vacation money now. And then you go, you know, maybe I'll do this other and then it grows slowly. People who try and do it, turn it into a business right away. It's pretty much universally a disaster.

Alban:

One of the stats I pulled for earlier in this interview was only 23% of all podcasts that are out there, there's 1.5 million, but only 23% have 10 episodes, and have released something in the last three months. So, you know, we think of this massive world of podcasting was actually a ton smaller when you get people who are willing to stick with this for two and a half months and just consistently put out episodes. If you do that you're in the top quarter of people. And if you do that for a few years, a lot of great things can come your way.

Unknown:

Yeah, think about how low that bar is just not quitting, you know, 90 days, or whatever it is right? When you're releasing one a week. Just don't quit within the first three months of doing something. If you tell somebody that's advice for any other thing, they're like, I want my money back How do I get better at soccer just don't quit within the first three months. Okay, dude, I'm out. Give me my money. Jordan,

Alban:

thank you so much. I really appreciate you being on the show. I'm excited to share all of these growth tips and all of your thoughts on podcasting with our audience. Hopefully we'll maybe get to catch up with you again sometime when this COVID thing is over and we're back in person.

Jordan:

Looking forward to it. Thanks for the opportunity.