With nearly a decade of experience in the podcast world, Jason has built his brand around the consumptive power of storytelling and simplifying podcast initiatives. He helps results-driven business leaders and professionals create engaging, impactful solo podcasts – hosting, producing, or guesting on more than 1000 episodes.
Jason shares his favorite mistake story about engaging too much with a Twitter troll when he had launched a craft beer blog… and why it was a mistake to start a podcast just to compete with this troll.
In this episode, Jason also shares his unique journey – from an infatuation with radio broadcasting to his emergence as a podcast consultant, intent on helping business professionals capitalize on the power of solo podcasting. The episode uncovers Jason's first steps into the world of podcasting, characterized by critical learning experiences and a zeal that spiraled into a flourishing podcasting venture. Despite initial struggles and self-doubt, Jason's approach to convert every misstep into a solid stepping stone is remarkably inspiring.
Venturing into the second half of our podcast, we gain a deep understanding of the holistic elements of creating a successful podcast. With lessons learned from a journey that began at the barstool of a noisy tavern, Jason emphasizes building podcasts with a purpose, concentrating on the value it delivers to listeners rather than chasing high download numbers. His unparalleled journey will certainly inspire you to consider looking beyond the vanity metrics and developing a value-driven content delivery approach in the dynamic world of podcasting.
Listeners can join Jason on his website and set up a free 30-minute Discovery Session to learn more about how he can help them create and grow an engaging, impactful solo podcast. Please visit jasoncercone.com/workwithme.
Questions and Topics:
- Learning the things you’d advise people NOT to do now?
- How many people just wing it instead of researching or even getting help?
- Or expect overnight success?
- Why are download numbers a “skewed vanity metric?”
- Podcasting mistakes? Format choice?
- Why should new, aspiring podcasters start by launching a solo podcast?
- Kristen Carder – I Have ADHD Podcast
- Being flexible with your format? Having some guests?
- New podcast coming soon? Re-branding a show
Scroll down to find:
- Video version of the episode
- How to subscribe
- Full transcript
Find Jason on social media:
Video of the Episode:
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Harnessing the Power of Solo Podcasting: Decoding Jason Cercone's Journey
Podcast enthusiast Jason Cercone brings nearly a decade of experience in the burgeoning world of podcasting. Having built his personal brand around the impactful aspect of storytelling and the simplification of podcast marketing strategies, his mission as a podcast consultant is to help business leaders and other professionals harness the power of the solo podcast.
Solo podcasts offer a more personal, exclusive experience to listeners compared to guest or co-hosted formats. The value in these solo podcasts is the direct connection between the host and their audience, creating a space for deeper insights, discussions, and impact.
Cercone's journey into podcasting began during his years as a University of Pittsburgh student in Bradford, Pennsylvania. There, he stumbled upon a love for radio broadcasting, which later became the foundation of his podcasting career. In 2015, Cercone bravely pivoted from his communications journey into the beer industry, supporting the groundswell movement of small breweries through a craft beer advocacy blog.
As an initiative to better connect beer consumers to local events, Cercone launched a mobile app, only to be met with criticism from a troll on Twitter. This adversarial interaction fueled him to step further into the podcast world, vowing to create a beer podcast superior to that of his online detractor. His first podcast attempt was held in a noisy bar during trivia night, with minimal preparation, planning or editing in place. As he admits, this was a misstep and did not immediately fulfill his objective of creating a standout podcast, yet it reignited his passion for audio content creation.
Cercone's introduction to the podcast world was a steep learning curve, and he decided to take a break after a few episodes in order to develop his skills. With a focused goal to improve his podcasting skills, he spent a year and a half studying radio and television personalities, learning how to engage and connect with an audience effectively.
Building a Podcast with Purpose: Moving Beyond the Vanity Metrics
Upon his return to the podcasting world, Cercone was better prepared to create impactful content and help others navigate the realm of podcasting. A major factor he highlights when starting a podcast is understanding the why behind it. Rather than being lured by the allure of a high download count or focusing on swift monetization, the primary objective should be based on the value the podcast provides to its listeners.
For business owners and professionals, podcasting facilitates direct communication with their audience. The power of the podcast is not necessarily in the number of downloads but in its ability to attract potential and support existing clients. A successful podcast is one that caters to its specific audience, maintaining a consistent delivery of valuable content. This nurtures a loyal listenership and can lead to broader customer attraction and brand advocacy.
According to Cercone, there's no specific rule set or rigid format to podcasting. A podcast can feature guests if they bring value to the audience, even in a solo podcast format. He advises thinking outside the box when devising a podcast strategy, understanding that time constraints and download numbers should not be the ultimate measure of a podcast’s success. The ultimate goal, he shares, is to focus on delivering value to the listeners and ensuring they walk away satisfied from each episode.
The Mantra of Consistency: The Key Component of Successful Podcasting
Expounding on Jason Cercone's insights into successful podcasting, one of the most critical aspects he highlighted was the importance of consistency. A podcast, irrespective of its format, should maintain regularity in the release of its episodes; a critical expectation from its audience. Listeners tend to form a routine around their favorite shows, usually fitting in the episodes into their day-to-day activities. Consuming podcast content becomes a ritual, whether during the morning workout, the drive to work, or even on daily walks.
Cercone argues that consistency in episode release is everything, yet, it shouldn't stress out the podcaster. Determining a release frequency that aligns with available time and resources is crucial. Weekly, biweekly, or, in some cases, monthly releases can all work to create regularity for the audience. Going beyond a monthly release cycle could risk losing audience engagement, due to lack of enough content to keep them invested.
The podcaster, according to Cercone, carries a responsibility to the audience. If they need a break, whether to revamp the content, refresh their creativity, or deal with other priorities, they should communicate this to their listeners candidly. Informing the audience about the hiatus and when they should expect new episodes helps ensure listeners continue anticipating new content. In the meantime, podcasters can encourage their listeners to explore previous unlistened episodes in the catalog.
Speaking Directly to the Listener: Building Intimacy and Growth
The power of podcasting lies in its personal and intimate approach to communication. When a podcast is streamed, it often finds its way directly to the listener's ear, establishing an intimate connection between the content creator and the listener. This level of engagement is significant in a world marked by fleeting attention spans, with listeners dedicating a portion of their time exclusively to the content of the podcast.
Consequently, podcasters ought to understand that they communicate directly to one person- the listener. The primary focus should always be on enhancing the listener's experience. When the content resonates with individual listeners, the chances are that the podcast will begin to attract listeners with similar interests or challenges, thereby fostering growth.
In his journey, Cercone also experienced a phase of rebranding his podcast to better align with his mission and the audience he intended to serve. This shift illustrates the need for flexibility and evolution to ensure the podcast remains valuable and relevant to a changing audience demographic or evolving mission themes.
In the end, the primary determinants of a podcast's success go beyond download numbers or financial gains. The unique value it delivers to its audience, the intimate relationships it maintains with its listeners, and the consistency in delivering insightful content determine its ultimate success.
Automated Transcript (May Contain Mistakes)
Mark Graban: Welcome back to my favorite mistake. I'm Mark Graban. Our guest today is Jason Cercone. He has nearly a decade of experience in the podcast world. Jason's built his brand around the consumptive power of storytelling and simplifying podcast initiatives.
Mark Graban: So he helps results driven business leaders and professionals create engaging, impactful solo podcasts. Not interviews like this, but solo a podcast. We'll talk about that and more today. He has hosted, produced or guested on more than 1000 episodes. So Jason with that and with my stumble, welcome to the podcast.
Jason Cercone: How are you, Mark? It's a pleasure to be here with you. I'm doing great other than allergy season sneaking up on me a little later than it normally does and having its way with me today, I'm doing very so all things considered.
Mark Graban: All right, well good. These things happen. It's either allergies or smoke in the air, depending on what part of the country that you're in. Itchy eyes sneezing. Hopefully we'll get through this.
Mark Graban: We'll give it a try.
Jason Cercone: I think we'll be okay.
Mark Graban: Maybe it's a solo podcast. It's easier to stop, pause, edit, right?
Jason Cercone: Yeah, well, I think honestly you can do that in this type of environment as well. As long as you're not live streaming and you do some editing on the back end, anything like that, no one really needs to hear about it when it goes live. Fair enough.
Mark Graban: So people may or may not detect an edit if there is the need for it. So if there's a sneezing fit, I'm not one on editing out mistakes, but a sneezing fit or something or a cough, we won't subject people to that.
Jason Cercone: Fair enough. I'll do my best to keep it all inside.
Mark Graban: Me too. Me too. So there's a lot we can talk about here today, Jason, about podcasting. I'm certainly as a podcaster and a podcast guest, curious to pick your brain on all of that. But as we do here, I'm not going to let you off the hook with the question that we always get into first with different things you've done in your career.
Mark Graban: What would you say is your favorite mistake?
Jason Cercone: My favorite mistake is what brings me to what I do today. So I think I would have probably landed in this space in some way, shape or form if this hadn't happened. But it was absolutely a mistake and it all has worked out for the best. So let me take you back in time. Picture it.
Jason Cercone: 1998, University of Pittsburgh in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Little Branch campus. It's in the town where I grew up. So that was where I attended college and I got into the communications program and they had a radio station and I got into radio at that point and absolutely loved it and did my show for pretty sure it went through the full four years and different iterations but nevertheless thought about pursuing radio as a career, but it never really panned out. So fast forward after taking a number of different paths in my career, I was working in the beer space, and this is now 2015.
Jason Cercone: I had moved from Bradford, PA to Pittsburgh, PA, where I'm located now, and launched a craft beer advocacy blog. And the idea was at the time to give some notoriety and just respect to these little tiny breweries that were just starting to make some noise. There was this groundswell of all of these little independent businesses starting to rise up and take over the drinking culture. And I was encountering a lot of people that were not so much against it. They just didn't know, they didn't understand what was going on and what these businesses were trying to do.
Jason Cercone: So started this blog, and from that I also decided to launch an app. The app was designed to connect drinkers in Pittsburgh to all these different events and happenings and beer releases and ultimately just give them one destination on their phone where they could find out what was going on and get out of the house and go have some fun. And the idea got some momentum and I had some partners join me. A lot of the breweries and restaurants and bars got into it, and we're having a great time. And I did this obnoxious three week countdown to when the launch of the app was coming.
Jason Cercone: And the day the app goes live, I get a troll on Twitter just absolutely tearing me down for everything that I was.
Mark Graban: Troll, I'm guessing, right?
Jason Cercone: Well, not so much anonymous. He was out mean. This guy had a presence, but I did not know who he was, okay? And having never dealt with a troll before, I probably engaged with him way too much. So conversation was breaking out and going back and forth and he's telling me all these things that I'm doing wrong and I need to be thinking about this.
Jason Cercone: And I'm sitting here, dude, you're not on my board. But nevertheless, I appreciate the feedback even though you're being a jerk about it. And as I was conversing with him, what does this guy do? Went to his profile and he hosted a beer podcast. And it just so happened that a friend of mine and I had been kicking around ideas for a podcast, we just couldn't figure out what direction we wanted to go.
Jason Cercone: And when I saw this guy was continuing to tear me down and he hosted a beer podcast, I called my friend and I said, I've got our idea. We are going to start a beer podcast and we are going to do it better than this guy.
Mark Graban: Yeah.
Jason Cercone: And my friend said, great. He loved beer too. He was on board and we got equipment off of Amazon. We did no planning. I talked to one of my partners that I had through my business and asked if we could record at their bar.
Jason Cercone: They said, sure, come on up. So now we're set up to do our very first episode in a noisy bar. And it was trivia night, so it made even Noisier and just all the things that I would advise anybody not to do. Now we did it. Guns ablazing and sat down, did our recording, did no editing, really, so green and naive to the process, and threw this out on the internet and said we had a podcast.
Jason Cercone: And immediately I knew I had made a mistake in saying I was going to do it better than that guy because he was experienced. He had been doing it for a long time. But it all worked out because what that experience did was rekindle that passion for audio that I had when I did Radio in college. And I knew podcasting was the next chapter in that journey. So I knew that that first episode was nothing to write home about.
Jason Cercone: Mom was not going to hang that on the fridge. But I needed to continue to work at this because it lit me up. I knew I wanted to be a part of this world and I continued to just work at it. We did that podcast as long as we could. I launched a second show on my own.
Jason Cercone: And after just a few episodes, I decided to take some time off and really focus on just getting better, studying what other podcasters are doing, listening to radio personalities, television personalities, just hearing how they communicate, tell stories, connect with their audience. I wanted to try to encapsulate as much of that as I could and develop my own voice from that. And that's what I did. And I put my attention on just learning for about a year and a half. Jumped back in.
Jason Cercone: I was much more successful with everything I did. And that morphed into me being able to help others leverage this platform in a positive way and get good results from it. So that mistake, if he hadn't have trolled me, maybe I wouldn't have gotten the ambition to start my own podcast. Like I said, probably at some point I would have caught onto this trend.
Mark Graban: Right.
Jason Cercone: But it happened for a reason and it's all panned out very well.
Mark Graban: Wow, that's a great example of kind of in that category and we can unpack. I mean, there were some it sounds like some little mistakes within that that you learned from, but in the category of a mistake opening a new door or leading to a positive outcome, that's great to hear when that happens.
Jason Cercone: Absolutely. Yeah. Again, it wasn't that we started off thinking, oh yeah, we're going to have the greatest show in the world. But it was also one of those things that we didn't know what we didn't know. And I think a lot of it, I think back on 2015, podcasting was not as evolved and advanced as it is today.
Jason Cercone: And we were a beer podcast so in my mind, I think that we believed that we were getting a little bit of a pass for having these somewhat shit show type experiences for people because you're drinking, you're enjoying life, you're having beers and talking about those things. Again, all of this, I look back on and say, had I had it to do all over again, I'd probably change that because I didn't keep the listeners experience in mind.
Mark Graban: Yeah. So it's interesting that it all started with the mistake of engaging a troll. And I can think back to this is probably, for me, 2010 of having a troll and not anonymous, but like a professional circles kind of troll. Not somebody I knew, not somebody I wanted to get to know based on just kind of their attacking, insulting kind of style and some of their compatriots. And I remember now of some heated exchanges.
Mark Graban: And I'm trying to remember, I don't think 2010 Twitter that you could mute or block somebody. I don't think blocking someone who disagrees with you jumping to that could be a mistake. But if someone's just being abusive, you don't need to be subjected to that. Or like you said, there's that choice of engaging or not. I think anyone who's been online enough has hopefully learned from their mistakes of feeding the trolls, as they say.
Mark Graban: Right?
Jason Cercone: Yeah. And I think it's only escalated to a much larger degree in 2023. As we sit and chat today, you think of what happens when you throw fuel on those types of flames. It just goes nuts. And then anybody that supports that troll, they're piling on, and it just leads to this nonstop spiral of nonsense.
Mark Graban: That's a good phrase, a non stop spiral of nonsense. Somebody did early reviews of your Beer podcasts use that phrase.
Jason Cercone: Honestly, thinking back on that show, I don't even know if we got reviews, because I would have to imagine it's not that it was bad. Again, we were very inexperienced. We weren't sure about editing. We hadn't really dove into the technical side of it. And again, these are things that, as I look back on it, knowing what I know now, I would have taken much more time to cultivate an idea, make sure that we had a targeted listener, that we were speaking.
Jason Cercone: To make sure that we had some basic editing skills so we could put something together that was easily listenable, there's a lot of things again, I don't regret the experience because not only did it introduce me to a lot of great people and helped me make some just amazing connections and friends that I have to this day. But you have to start somewhere. And when you make those types of mistakes, you can let them beat you into the ground and just stay there and never get up. Or you can evaluate them and say, what are the positives within this mistake? So I can get back up tomorrow and attack with a little bit more knowledge, just a little bit wiser, a little bit smarter.
Jason Cercone: And that was how I looked at it. I knew that I hadn't created anything magnificent, but it was the starting point. It was the first building block in what was to be a very long journey.
Mark Graban: Yeah. And it seems like it might have been a mistake for you to give up after one episode of saying I don't know if it would have been a reasonable prediction of I'm going to be better than that guy right at the beginning, because I know, like, my first podcast that I ever did, this is going back to 2006. The sound quality is bad and there's a lot that I would like. Some of it was the technology, some of it was how I was doing it. But at least I'll give you credit for not giving up and then going and digging in, doing the work, figuring it out, getting better.
Mark Graban: That's good.
Jason Cercone: Well, I will say too, I know full well and can say with complete confidence today, that was my mindset. I was going to be better than that guy on the first try. That's just how full of piss and vinegar I was. And the fact that this guy had decided to jump on me, I was going to show him. Right.
Jason Cercone: I was humbled within the first half hour and I realized immediately, okay, no, you're nowhere near this guy with years of experience. You're going to have to take some time to get better at this. If you do want to achieve that goal, you're going to have to keep working at this. But then eventually, that became such a distant thought that I was podcasting for all the right reasons. And all of that became a memory.
Mark Graban: Yeah.
Jason Cercone: What a good story to tell on podcasts.
Mark Graban: Yeah. Maybe we can start talking about some of the services and coaching that you provide to other podcasters. How often do you think a podcaster these days is making the mistake of kind of just winging it without doing the research, asking for help or up front? I wonder how often that happens. There's a lot of podcasts that die for one reason or another after one or two or three episodes.
Jason Cercone: Yeah. Unfortunately, the numbers don't lie. And I feel that way too many people go into this very blind and that's where someone like me who's been doing this for nearly a decade and has the story I just told to fall back on and say, listen, this is where I screwed up in the beginning. Let me flatten that learning curve for you a little bit and help you realize what you need to have in place in order to start off strong and then remain consistent so you can keep growing. A lot of it comes down to mindset if you are going into this thinking that the whole world is going to show up at your doorstep because you launched a podcast, you're going to be sadly mistaken, right?
Mark Graban: Probably. Unless you're already a celebrity if it's one of those guests, right?
Jason Cercone: Well, that's the exception. Everyday independent podcaster, small business owner has a brand, wants to use podcasting to communicate with their audience, maybe attract new clients, attract new people into their ecosystem. They're starting from ground zero. Even if they've established an audience through social media or an email list, doesn't mean every single one of them is a podcast listener. So you can't look at those metrics and say, oh, okay, I've got 20,000 Facebook people, 15,000 people on my email list.
Jason Cercone: That's how many podcast listeners I'll have.
Mark Graban: Yeah.
Jason Cercone: You're only going to get a small fraction of those numbers and it takes time for your podcast to grow because you have to prove yourself. So if you get hung up on that download metric, which is the one that stares you in the face when you log into your host platform, more than likely every single one of them. I've used two in my podcasting career. That number is the first one you see. I don't like it.
Jason Cercone: I wish they'd moved that to where it's not so visible. Because I think for the new podcaster that comes into this, they get fixated on that number and they instantly think it's not big enough. All this work that they're putting into building this show isn't paying off because that download number doesn't reflect it. Have to block that out and you have to remember why you started your show. And that's the first question you have to ask yourself, why am I starting this podcast?
Jason Cercone: What do I want to achieve? I guarantee you not one podcaster will answer you if you ask them that question. They don't answer. I want downloads.
Mark Graban: Right.
Jason Cercone: That's nobody's objective on the front end yet. It's the one that throws so many people off course. You have to focus on why you're building this show and be willing to commit the time that's necessary to grow. And like you said, Mark, many podcasters do walk away far too soon. The numbers support that.
Jason Cercone: My objective with everything I do, whether it's coaching or being a guest on podcasts and having great conversations with you about the subject, is to help people realize that this is a long game.
Mark Graban: Yeah.
Jason Cercone: You're not Sprinting when it comes to building a podcast. You want to make sure that you are set for the long term growth that your show needs that's going to keep you passionate about it and ultimately take you to where you want to go with your podcast efforts.
Mark Graban: Yeah. And I love that you use some of the stuff you put out there calling, download numbers, quote a skewed vanity metric. And that phrase vanity metric comes from the Lean Startup methodology, entrepreneurship circles, or maybe it's also a general kind of general phrase, but in the Lean Startup movement, eric Reese what they refer to as a vanity metric is like something easily measurable. That's not really your business model, right? So you're not getting paid per.
Mark Graban: Like maybe you have advertising where you have to be big enough to a point where downloads equals business model. I'll share for my example, I started my favorite mistake as a podcast, a, it was a pandemic project, something I thought good to do, great opportunity to meet people like you and others and my other guests and to learn. And then for me that turned into a book and there's a better business model around, something like that my reminder of the learning, the networking, the connections, and then a book or speaking for me, that's my reminder.
Jason Cercone: Yeah, there's a lot of ways that you can monetize a podcast, but so many people, they want to do it immediately and I get it. I mean, that's how we're driven, right? Yeah, I had conversations with my dad many times. How did you monetize it? He's like the first question, I haven't got to that point yet.
Jason Cercone: And you have to do it in steps. And the goal is you're going to get there eventually, and with your podcast, yeah, you can monetize it before the first episode, get some affiliates, have that type of advertising in place versus just inserting a Geico ad that's going to pay you pennies on the dollar, if anything, because in the beginning, you don't have enough listeners to support having ads. And if you pepper your listeners with ads, they're probably not coming back for the next episode. So you've got to be incredibly strategic with how you do that. But if you're building content around your brand and you're using it as a method of communicating with your audience and potentially attracting new clients and supporting existing ones, that's monetization right there because that brings them into your circle to where you can provide the value of what you're really doing in your business.
Jason Cercone: That's the biggest way to monetize and that's probably the most in regards to a financial gain that you're going to see because advertisements, sponsorships, yeah, you might get something from that, but not as much as bringing somebody into your circle that becomes a loyal customer and then a loyal brand advocate who potentially refers you more business. That's what this platform is all about. If you truly leverage it the right way, it can bring you some tremendous gains.
Mark Graban: Yeah. So to that professional end of a business owner or somebody who, let's say a speaker, or somebody who's trying to establish or build exposure, credibility, what have you, it seems like of the different mistakes, and there are many and I've made a lot of them, different podcasting mistakes. It sounds like you're bringing up this question of format choice. Is the default then that people think, I enjoy interviewing people, but does that seem sort of more like a default of people say, well, if I start a podcast, I need to find guests, I need to interview people. It seems like you're kind of pointing to there could be a better option, I think.
Jason Cercone: Yes, there is. That mindset of not being able to carry the conversation for the period of time that you want to hit. So you don't go the solo route, you go to the guest route to where you can have that conversation and by definition, you're splitting the workload. Somebody else is going to come on and they're going to help you carry on a good conversation and this is going to create content and it can be impactful and it can change the world, there's no doubt about that. So many podcasts are built this way.
Jason Cercone: So I'm absolutely not breaking any ground in what I'm saying, nor am I saying that the model is broken. It really comes down to how do you want to position yourself if you're bringing guests onto your show, more than likely you're positioning that guest to be the expert on the subject that you're talking about. If you do a solo podcast and it's just you, who else is the expert? You're the only one in the room. So as listeners tune into that type of content and they get invested in what you're giving them, you are positioning yourself as the thought leader on that subject.
Jason Cercone: And that can make people more attracted to you and your brand and how you can bring transformation to their life. And I think back to my own experience. I remember when I sat down to do my first solo podcast recording, I had done a few episodes with guests, I had my friend as a co host, so I was never alone until that moment. And I was a little intimidated because for one, I wasn't confident in my editing skills. So I wasn't sure how I would fix a screw up, fix a mistake.
Jason Cercone: But I also wondered if I had enough time or enough subject matter in front of me to hit this arbitrary time that I had in my mind. And once I did it, and to say the mistake I made is I got 15 minutes in and I started to flub a line, I couldn't figure it out and for whatever reason, I just decided the whole thing was garbage and I stopped and I started over. Stupid. But it is what it is, a good learning experience. But once you get into it and you start realizing that, like I said, time is arbitrary, you don't have to hit a certain number.
Jason Cercone: As long as you're bringing value to your audience, that's what they show up for. So if you do that in ten minutes, if you do that in 20, whatever, give people the reason they showed up and give them the information they want to hear, they're not looking at the exact time, so you don't need to worry about that. But you also have to sit down and get comfortable with being confident. And the way that I do that is I pretend I have one of my listeners in the room with me. I'm not talking to myself, I'm not talking to a little circle on my computer.
Jason Cercone: I'm not talking just into my microphone. I'm at a table with a buddy. I'm talking about something that we're both passionate about. And if I do make a mistake, that's what editing is for, right? And that's something yeah, I don't think a lot of people think on that level, so they go the guest route.
Jason Cercone: And it's just so commonly accepted as the way to make a podcast that the solo episodes sometimes get lost. But as I've started this initiative, as I'm building my mastermind and I've talked to people that are in the solo space, the people that are doing it and excelling at it, they get it, they love it, and they say this is probably better because I'm positioning myself as the resource my audience is looking for.
Mark Graban: Yeah, that's an interesting point. Nothing for me to reflect on. When I started this podcast, my favorite mistake, I certainly wasn't doing it as, quote, unquote, an expert on mistakes and come listen to me as the thought leader on learning from mistakes. Interviewing people was research and an opportunity to learn in a lot of ways and I think there's reasons to keep doing it that way. But I think of some of the podcasts I listen to and she's been a guest on here, Kristen Carter.
Mark Graban: She hosts a show called the I Have ADHD podcast and it's almost always her monologue speaking, talking and a she carries an episode. Well, it's interesting, it's engaging, but you're right then she is positioning herself as a thought leader in that space. But she does have episodes now where she brings on a guest. So I was going to ask you about that. Like, one thing you teach people is that you don't have to be locked in to a rigid format any more than you would have to say, well, hey, 20 minutes, time is up, I have to end my podcast.
Mark Graban: No, you don't. You're right. So there's flexibility around format also, though.
Jason Cercone: Oh, absolutely. If you want to bring a thought leader on the show to talk with and have a conversation from time to time. Absolutely. One of the beautiful things about podcasting is, yes, there are some rules, but overall it's still a little wild, wild west. No one's telling you you have to be on the air for half an hour.
Jason Cercone: No one's telling you you can't bring this person on your show if you think they're going to bring value to your audience and you can create a captivating piece of content together, by all means bring them on the show and let that conversation unfold my show. Solo podcasting simplified, I have guests on that can provide information that I feel listeners are going to get great value from in regards to helping them with solo podcasting. I'm not naive. I know I'm not the only person that knows how to solo podcast. And I want to have that expertise featured because I want my listeners to get the best experience when they tune into the show.
Jason Cercone: So whether that knowledge is coming from me or whether it's coming from my guest or a combination of the two of us having a great conversation, I want listeners walking away satisfied and knowing that when they come back, they're going to continue to get value from each and every episode. So, yeah, if it fits your dynamic and if you feel it's going to be impactful for what you're doing, absolutely shake things up and bring somebody on from time to time.
Mark Graban: Yeah, and I've talked to people who want just friends, colleagues who had questions about they were thinking about. A lot of people started a podcast during pandemic times. There's room for more. And some people are still doing their podcast now, and that's great. But I know one fear people expressed was about being able to keep on a certain tempo.
Mark Graban: So I was going to ask you, they're like, oh, I don't know if I can do an episode every month. But how important is consistency? Whether you're doing, let's say, a monthly podcast, this one is weekly. How important is that? Consistency or frequency?
Mark Graban: How important is it to be consistent in when you release the episodes?
Jason Cercone: Consistency is everything. But I will add a caveat to that. Communication is just as important. Yeah, and if you are putting out a podcast once a week, let's say it goes live every Thursday, you have to think about what your listener is doing to consume that content. If they're accustomed to listening to your podcast on their drive to work or maybe during their morning workout or on a walk before they go to work, you have a responsibility to continue to be there for them.
Jason Cercone: So if they hear you and get invested in what you're producing, they're going to work you into their life. If you stop showing up consistently, they're going to find somebody else to replace you. And then it becomes hard to get worked back into the rotation. So you have to be consistent in whatever you're doing and you don't need to stress yourself out to make consistency work. You just have to look at the time you have available and understand weekly is going to work for me.
Jason Cercone: Maybe biweekly fits your schedule better. Monthly is probably the max I would ever go. If I'm going to go any further than a month, I'd probably start to rethink how I'm doing podcasting because it's just not enough information to truly get a listener invested right. So if you start doing that weekly production and you feel yourself starting to slip a bit, maybe other priorities are taking over. You want to take a break.
Jason Cercone: You feel yourself needing to take a step back to recharge, that's okay too. But you just have to communicate it to your audience and say we're going to wrap up here, this is going to be the last show for a month. Whatever your time period is, we'll be back at this point with new episodes. In the meantime, use this downtime to catch up on what you've missed in the catalog. Give them something to do while you take a break.
Jason Cercone: But you're doing your part to communicate because so many podcasts and you can find a lot of them that have pod faded, we'll see you next week, right? And then they never hear from them again. And that's the unfortunate part because they just felt like it wasn't doing what they needed it to do. And again, that's one of many reasons that they may have walked away. But if you've got a listener that is fully entrenched in what you're doing and then you stop showing up for them, watch how fast they go.
Jason Cercone: Find another podcast.
Mark Graban: Yeah, I think when your voice, whether you're solo podcasting, you're interviewing people, it's quite often being pumped directly into people's ears. That's a really intimate connection and relationship. And at one point I remember somebody recommending because of that for one, that's why this consistency don't let them down, maybe is important, but something you kind of alluded to of never refer to the listeners that the only thing that matters is the listener. You the one with the earbuds or the headphones on and I slip up. Is that good advice or it's just a way to think about it or a way to speak to hey listener.
Jason Cercone: That's as good of advice as I've heard in regards to how you communicate with a podcast audience because it is probably the most rare of cases or scenarios that a group of people are gathering together to listen to a podcast. The majority of people consume this content on the go. And on the go could mean a number of different things. Public transit, in the car, on a plane, waiting at the airport, on a walk, at the gym, the list goes on and on. And like you said, Mark, you're in their ear.
Jason Cercone: That is an intimate period of time that they are listening to just you. Or if you have a show with a guest to you and your guest, but ultimately they have you in their ear for an extended period of time. In a short form driven world that we live in with attention spans being almost to goldfish level at this point, if you've got somebody captivated for that period of time, magic can happen. So you want to make sure that your content is delivering. So they keep coming back and they start binging that catalog and they start telling others that they need to do the same.
Jason Cercone: But when you are communicating with your audience, you're speaking to one person. And if you can get yourself dialed in to just speak to that one person, what's going to happen is your content is going to start attracting listeners just like that one person. And that's how you grow.
Mark Graban: Yeah. So as you've grown and evolved and again, our guest is Jason Sir Cone. Part of the Evolution includes a rebranding of a podcast. I'm kind of curious to hear your story about what and how and why this has become solo podcasting simplified.
Jason Cercone: So it started with Pod Theory for me because when I was getting into this space full time in 2021, I was going to have two podcasts. And the idea was Pod Theory was designed to help podcasters do better at podcasting daily tips, strategies, commentary, things of that nature. And then I was going to start a second show and I wanted that. It was originally going to be called and you'll like this because it's very similar to what you do. It was going to be called Forged by Failure.
Jason Cercone: And for whatever reason, as I just kept saying that, I felt like maybe it was too negative. Looking back, I think it would have worked. But the idea was to tell the stories of success from the failures that it took to get there, right? But in cultivating that idea, I came up with another name. I can't even remember what it was.
Jason Cercone: Wired differently or wired perfectly. Something like that. The more I said it, that's kind of how I am with things. The more I say it out loud, if it starts to sound, I'm like, okay, that's not it. If it's not continuing to roll off the tongue, we're moving on, right?
Jason Cercone: And that's where Evolution of Brand was the name that it hit me. I'm like, oh, evolution of man. Evolution of brand. This works. And that's what I ran with.
Jason Cercone: But I also, in the creation phase, realized that I only had time to do one show and I had enough demand from people that liked the concept of Evolution of Brand that I wanted to run with it. And that's what I did. So I put pod theory on the shelf. And then as I was going through Evolution of Brand, I started looking at clients that it was attracting. I don't think enough people were making the connection because I'm a podcast guy helping people develop podcasts.
Jason Cercone: This is more dedicated to how people have built their brands. I had some people come in from it, but for the most part, it wasn't doing what I needed it to do.
Mark Graban: Right?
Jason Cercone: And when I decided to make this shift into Niching down to solo podcasting specifically, I knew my podcast needed to speak to that. So I had pod theory already developed. It was on the shelf, it was still getting listeners. So I felt like it made no sense to start a third podcast that would be hanging out there while the other two sat on the shelf. Why not?
Jason Cercone: Rebrand pod theory? Because there's 136 episodes of good podcast content already built. Now we'll just add on to this and keep the focus on the solo side of things. So that was the direction I went with it and put a bow on Evolution of Brand. And I'm so happy that I did that show.
Jason Cercone: I even got a little emotional when I wrapped that one up because I made so many connections, so much good came from it. But I knew for my mission I needed to be speaking to that solo podcaster and that's what the new show allows me to do.
Mark Graban: And it sounds like with your situation, a it's, it's close enough in the ballpark that there could know you maintain your current subscribers or followers. But people like some might say, okay, well, I'm not a solo podcaster, so thanks Jason, that was great. But I'm out. It's not for me. And you're going to bring some people in who are looking for something more specific.
Mark Graban: But it's probably in the same ballpark where people wouldn't get mad at you. Like if you took that feed and turned it into a Bourbon podcast, people might say, hey, wait a minute, how to get subscribed to this?
Jason Cercone: Yeah, while it could be fun to produce again, I always think back to that listener experience to stick to the same theme. What if I had rebranded Evolution of Brand as that? It wouldn't have made sense, right? Because you hear those 1st 100 some episodes or 160 plus episodes and you're like, wait a minute, this is a weird transition. But Pod Theory having all this information about podcasting, this is more smooth and starting the third season and just running with it from here and all about solo.
Jason Cercone: Yeah, it made more sense to go that way.
Mark Graban: Yeah, forged by failure. Just back to that for a minute. That's a good name. And it's positive. The forged part, right?
Mark Graban: To me that's positive. It's not just hearing failure sob stories, right? I mean, there's sort of that twist, I think the phrase My favorite mistake born from a Cheryl Crowe song. There's sort of that twist where it makes people pause. Like, that's interesting to think about a favorite mistake as you and other guests have done.
Mark Graban: But I'll tell you my mistake. I think like the one thing I've reflected on my favorite mistake is a good phrase. But when people go and try to search for it, it's an SEO nightmare because the Cheryl Crow song dominates. Now, if you search Apple podcast as a separate platform than Apple Music, okay, you can find it spotify, which has everything kind of all jammed together. Somebody would have to search my Favorite Mistake podcast to find me.
Mark Graban: But then there's a question of are they really searching that or are they searching phrases where I would come up with like, business mistakes, business failures. Well, then maybe the name's really not that terrible.
Jason Cercone: Well, you have one of two options. You could potentially rebrand and add in My Favorite Business Mistake or maybe reach out to Cheryl Crowe and see if you can license the music as your theme song. At least leverage it in that mean again, I mean, when you're looking to rebrand, it isn't an easy decision because you put a lot of sweat equity and a lot of sometimes financial equity as well into building that show into what it is. It has to make total sense. And sometimes it does make more sense to start a separate show if you're going to make that transition.
Mark Graban: And there's ways of trying to bridge it. Right. You tell your existing guests, hey, I'm starting a new show. Please come and find it. And some of those people may relocate themselves.
Mark Graban: Right?
Jason Cercone: That's right. Absolutely right.
Mark Graban: And at least I didn't make a mistake of I didn't have to put legal equity into that because, again, not a lawyer, but my understanding is you cannot copyright or trademark or limit use of a song title, a book title. Somebody else can write a song called My Favorite Mistake. Someone else can go write a book thing of a celebrity podcaster, I think. Now, Prince Harry, I think, started a podcast, right. So he's in that rare category.
Mark Graban: But someone else what's his book called?
Jason Cercone: Spare.
Mark Graban: Someone could write a bowling book called The League. I wouldn't get into legal trouble with the title. Where I would have gotten in trouble, though, was using any of the music. That would be a different level mistake because the law is different there.
Jason Cercone: Yeah. And that's a dangerous one because that could lead to your entire podcast getting ripped down. And if it gets it's, I don't think you can get it that think of years of work and all that effort and one push of a it's.
Mark Graban: Not it's not so, you know, jason Sir Cone, again, our guest today, a great example of positive things sometimes coming out of a mistake. And then I think powerfully being able to build upon the lessons you've learned through mistakes and turning that into advice and coaching and support for other podcasters. So to that, tell people before we wrap up, here how people can find you and how they can sign up for a free discovery session with you.
Jason Cercone: Jump over Jason Cercone.com. That's the best place to visit. You can connect with me. You can check out my podcast. You can check out my Mastermind or like Mark Alluded to set up a free discovery session.
Jason Cercone: I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas on starting a solo podcast or if you already have one in the works or it's out there living and breathing. If you're looking to make improvements, maybe there's some ways that we could work together to make that happen. Jason Cercone.com is the best place to start.
Mark Graban: Great. And people can find a link in the show notes so we don't have to play the spelling game. And I hope people will come and go find you through the website here. So we got through it not to jinx it at the end. No sneezes, no coughs.
Jason Cercone: I knew once again, it's typically when I start talking and my mind's not on it that it does not come up. So praise the Lord, we got another clean recording out of the world.
Mark Graban: Well, I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful you could be the guest here and share with us today. Jason, this has been fun, so thank you. I appreciate it.
Jason Cercone: Thank you, Mark. I appreciate the opportunity to join you. And as your listeners may or may not know, our pre call that set this up all started with a mistake. So it was kismet that we come together for today's conversation.
Mark Graban: So I wasn't going to rub that in your face. It wasn't a major mistake. I'll put a link because we had a good exchange on LinkedIn, where I should put a link to this in the show notes. I should have asked you about this, actually. So here bonus content.
Mark Graban: We don't have the time constraint, right?
Jason Cercone: That's right, your show, Mark, you run that time to wherever you want it to go. Okay?
Mark Graban: So I'm going to tell part of the story from my perspective, then I'll have you jump in and share from your perspective, Jason. So we had a pre call scheduled at 1245 or 1145. I'm going to say 1245.
Jason Cercone: Let's think it was 1145 my time.
Mark Graban: Which is 1145 my time. So my mistake. So it's scheduled for 1145. And I got on and no, Jason, it was getting to be 510 minutes later and I asked for people's cell phone numbers. Like, I should have texted you, I should have reached out.
Mark Graban: And I thought, well, something comes up, right? This happens. Did I email you? You had sent me a message?
Jason Cercone: Well, that was the thing. You had sent me a message on LinkedIn earlier in the morning saying, looking forward to chatting with you about the show, and I responded likewise, and not realizing that the time for our call was 1145 or 1245, whichever it was not top of the hour, right? I thought it was for noon. And it's funny, you said you should have texted me. I had my phone turned off because I was shooting a video, okay?
Jason Cercone: And when I do that, I turn off all the distractions. And I just remember I was getting frustrated because there's this one part of my video that I could not get right. And I kept looking at the clock, I'm never going to get this done. I'm at the start over because I got this call with Mark at noon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I got it done in the nick of time, got it saved.
Jason Cercone: It was like 1159. And then I looked at my phone and it said the meeting had been canceled.
Mark Graban: Right? Yeah, right. So I canceled it. And then I think, actually, here's what I remember. You reached out to me before I sent the message out to you.
Mark Graban: I was going to say, well, hey, if something came up, we'll reschedule schedule. Like, I wasn't mad at you.
Jason Cercone: Well, guys, I shot you a message on LinkedIn and said, hey, did this get canceled? And then I went, looked at my calendar and like, okay, I screwed up here. And that was I responded to you saying, yes, this is on me. Thought the meeting was at noon, not at 1145. And thankfully you were gracious enough to realize that it was a mistake and we were able to connect and have a good talk.
Jason Cercone: And here we are today creating a good podcast. So it all worked out, but it did.
Mark Graban: And then part of how it worked out, and I wrote a blog post about this and again, not ripping Jason because he was a no show, that was not the thing. But as I shared in the blog post and then we had some exchange about you were not the first person to be tripped up by a time. Like, my scheduling system allows something to start at 15 or 45 past an hour, and that system sends reminders, it sends a calendar invite. But I've been tripped up by meetings that don't start at the top or bottom of the hour because I misread the Crammed together calendar on my phone.
Jason Cercone: Right.
Mark Graban: So you weren't the first. I have made that mistake more than once where I either showed up early or even worse, showed up late. So the action for me then was like, I could go change the calendar settings to only allow meetings to start at an hour or 30. That's going to eliminate that problem, I think, from happening again in the future. Maybe I should have had that reaction sooner.
Mark Graban: But finally something clicked in, like, I can prevent that mistake and we're better off for it.
Jason Cercone: I'm glad I was able to help. And today I was early, so it all worked out.
Mark Graban: Well. This has been a lot of fun. So, okay, little bonus chat. Thank you for bringing that up. That's a miss on my part.
Mark Graban: No problem. I think there's a good lesson there. So again, Jason. Good lesson. Good story.
Mark Graban: Thank you for that. So, Jason Cercone, you can learn more jasonsircone.com, you can find him on LinkedIn. Check out Solo Boy. There's a mistake. I'm going to limp to a close here.
Mark Graban: Not solo pasta, solo podcasting simplified.
Jason Cercone: I am Italian, so I have had my fair share of solo pastas. So that works too. It all tracks.
Mark Graban: Thanks again, Jason.
Jason Cercone: Thanks, Mark.