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Center Of Influence: Hustle & Flowchart Podcast with Joe Fier
That’s our umbrella company. All of our fun stuff, we have a whole blog and affiliate stuff. We do a lot, but The Hustle and Flowchart show is our big baby.
Joe and Matt Wolfe, his cohost, are the Cofounders of Evergreen Profits and it’s an online education hub with podcast training and community. You’ve got a lot of digital marketing support there in helping leaders to ramp up those digital marketing results and I’m all about results here. You also host the fast-growing The Hustle and Flowchart Podcast where you’ve interviewed over 200 worldwide renowned business influencers and bestselling authors. You guys are really fun. You have lots of practical conversations. I like that you’re always looking for effective growth strategies where you can do the least amount of work because I’m a big fan of that. You guys proclaim yourself digital marketing generalist. You have a unique perspective on the latest digital marketing trends, the growth, the monetization strategies, but you’re starting from this generalist view. Let’s talk about that first. What does that mean?
We came into our own within the last few years because we used to think that was a bad thing. With the podcast, we’ve always been content creators starting with the blog and all other ways. We go on Medium and all these other places to put content, but then the podcast came around, we’re like, “We’ve gone a lot about enough to talk the talk with the best of the best out there.” It allows us to actually ask better questions to get the best meat out of these people to then educate our audience. We go and experiment with the stuff that resonates with our own self. We always present our results. It’s an interesting thing that it allows us to spot gaps with opportunities. We do a lot of advising and partnerships with people. Instead of trying to niche down, super focused, it’s allowed us to expand our network really wide and create these interesting partnerships that allow us to do a lot more than we ever thought we could.
I’ve heard that a lot lately. I was interviewing Chris Denson for Innovation Crush. He’s taken the broad innovation look. I have four podcasts. One of my podcasts is the opposite of that. Two of them are deep dive into these very niche sections of innovation, yet both have been working for us. We have both going on. I have two that are generalists and two that are niche. I love that it’s working in both ways for people so that they can do both. I really liked the angle that you’re taking on that.
We started back in 2012 with our first podcast. We had some iterations and we had some downfalls. The podfade is what it’s called.
Especially the early people, I find that they really had some fade in there. They had a lot of retooling of their show or as you politely put it before, “We’re in season two.” It was meant to be.
That’s what’s happened. We had a few shows and started back in 2012. I can only wish I stayed with it back then because we’d probably be way higher on the charts, but that’s fine. My partner Matt Wolfe then started another podcast called Authority Insider. That morphed into our current show where I cohost it along with him. Since then, now it’s been a few years on the show. It’s two times a week. It’s cranking content. It’s a lot of interviews out there.
I love your process because you guys do a couple of dates a week like we do. I don’t think I could’ve ever tackled podcasting. It was 2014 when we started recording. 2013 is when we set ourselves up. We were doing five days a week. I would’ve lost my mind if we hadn’t at least set it down to two. Back then it was three days because five days a week takes a lot more time. I would’ve lost my mind that way. I don’t think people realize that you can just do that. You can set it up.
The biggest thing and difference that we weren’t doing back then that caused that show to fail and multiple shows are batching, which is batch recording everything. We usually record two times a month and here and there for guests that have a tighter schedule sprinkled in here and there, but that’s fine. Matt, he’s a systems guy. I’m not so much, so it’s a good balance.
It probably drives him crazy when they go outside of the two days.
He’s getting better at it though. That’s The Hustle and Flowchart thing. I’m more of the hustle, he’s the flow.
I’m the systems and organized one, so I can totally relate to that. It’s blowing my schedule here. I get that. What were some of the interesting things you had happened to you when you set up and got yourself going? Maybe some funny stories about what went wrong?
The stories would probably pop up organically in my brain, but I would say for the first six months, we were trying to find our voice again. Even though we did this so many times, each show has its own voice. You’re attracting a certain audience. It took us a few months and then we stopped caring what other people thought to a point. We’re not going to go crazy, but we’re not going to try to have a different voice compared to us talking with our friends or us chatting on a call. It was weird, but people picked up on that. We never said it specifically like, “There’s a big change.” We’re now talking about whatever. At first we were over-prepared, I would say, and a little bit more like, “We want to hit all these bullet points,” but now we have a handful of things we’d love to talk about. It branches out organically with getting better at asking questions than being just genuinely curious in every person that we bring in.
Isn’t that a great thing about podcasts? All of a sudden, 200 guests later, you’re an expert interviewer. It really is a crash course into your 10,000 hours.
That’s what happened. It took a few months to then finally get that groove. Still to this day, we’re always playing around with different structures. We’re always trying to improve.
Try something new. You’ve got to keep it fresh for yourselves. You guys cohost, so you have to be more organized. Are you in the same room? Do you cohost separately? How does that work for you? That’s a complication that most people don’t have to take on. Those that do, it can become cumbersome and they don’t get started because of it.
It’s not required for a cohost, but I prefer it. I know Matt does as well. We go to his house. He has an in-home studio. We’re looking to build out something a little bit more elaborate, like a dedicated place where you don’t have kids and all that stuff. Nothing’s in the background. We have great mics and all. He lives five minutes from me. What we do is when we batch, usually it starts around 10:00 AM is our earliest call. Sometimes we’ve done as many as four in a day, which is an hour on average per episode. The organization is Matt. We have spreadsheets that have all this stuff lined out. We use Zoom to coordinate all the guests and that’s synced up with Calendly. We have a lot of those luckily tie in together really well. They integrate. All of the reminder emails to the guests are going out without us having to touch anything. We basically show up at Matt’s house. We have a little Zoom recorder and a couple of Shure SM58 mics. We use handheld mics and we have a little stand. It almost looks like we’re on a stage or something, like we’re at a rock concert.
You’ve got the boom mics. I’m at the desk because it’s all hooked up through the system. This is what most people don’t realize. When you cohost, you do have to have an external device. You have to run it through some equalizer because I’m loud and Tom’s not, and I’m fast and he’s not. Our editors need an ability to adjust it. If you don’t run it through that because you don’t have the two separate tracks, you’re bleeding over into each other anyway. You have to have a little bit more equipment and that can be problematic. Tom got the boom mics because I knock things over with my hands when I talk. We got the boom mic and it still didn’t work. I still managed to hit the thing. Your equipment’s not outrageous. Those are not expensive microphones and that’s not a whole expensive system in the scope of things. That’s really interesting that you’ve decided to stick with that model that’s working for you.
We do everything on Zoom. Most of our guests are in other locations around the world. It’s super simple to bring everybody with the Zoom link and the audio quality is good. I knew it could be better. There are more elaborate things out there, but with our editors, we have an editor we’ll send it to. It sounds great for being a remote location 100%.It's hard to prepare for all your guests when you have to do everything in your podcast. Click To Tweet
Your sound is really good. Tom did a huge mic study and the Shure mics and we’ve used the ATRs. All of them, because they’re the dynamic microphones, they’re better for non-controlled environments. If you’re not in a sound booth, they make it easier and they make the editing smooth. They can do a better job of cutting out all those excess sounds. It’s good for you. What number of the show are you at now? Have you done over a couple of hundred?
We’re almost at 200. We are right there at the cusp.
You’re really more than that. You’re a 200 in the current.
This is the most consistent. When we hit the 100 mark, that’s when we finally were like, “We did it. Thank God,” most shows don’t. I’ve read some crazy stat that I think it’s 20%.
It’s less than 20%. It’s 18%. We saw that too. It’s like 140,000 or so pod-faded podcast. Some of those are truly meant to be seasons so they’re not in that number. My estimate has always been somewhere around 250,000 where I think that’s intentional like you’ve taken intentional seasons on it or you’ve got volumes on it, but they would be by then the statistics. The way they calculated it, they would be considered podfaded, which isn’t the case. They’re just an old volume. We did 560 episodes of 3D printing podcast. They ended up in multiple volumes. It did podfade. Eventually, I couldn’t talk about 3D printing anymore. Knowing what you know now, getting really close to the 200, what would you do differently in your setup? What would you do differently starting out?
Honestly, our setup has worked well and it hasn’t really changed from the beginning. It’s interesting. If we were trying to do all the editing and all that stuff, production, that wasn’t going to happen. Definitely have a good setup. I know you guys are amazing. If you could show up and the mic is there, ideally we would have a studio and we were so close to doing that. This whole thing of working out of our homes and we’re only five minutes away. There’s not a huge benefit. At the same time if we could have the studio, have the mics, have the tech, someone there to do all that stuff and we just show up and we can focus on our guests 100%. That allows us to do a little bit more research prior to each show. That helps a ton. Even if we’re not going to bullet point, we still have a lot of little mental things we can think and then pull out in conversation.
It’s really hard to prepare for all your guests when you have to do all of that. It’s hard to read up, listen to their shows if they’ve got shows or watch some of their videos that they’ve got those.
We love to prepare and then we love to at least give it 30 to an hour for each guest, but you can’t always do that if you’re trying to do everything yourself.
What makes your podcast unique from the others? There’s a lot of digital marketing and success tips on podcasts in that category out there. What makes yours unique? What makes it binge-listenable?
We have a unique voice. We have that generalist approach and that is definitely unique because a lot of these marketing or business podcasts are very focused. They’re also shorter typically, other shows compared to ours. We have a longer form, ours is average. It usually goes even longer. If we can get on a good vein with someone and riff, like we are all about a good conversation, not just tactic because we’ll get bored with that after a while. I think a lot of business shows do that.
I think they’re tapping into the digital marketers who have no attention span so they think they have to be short. You have both because you repurpose into shorts.
We do. You did the research there. We have a second spinoff show called Hustle and Flow Shorts. Instead of Hustle and Flowchart, Hustle and Flow Shorts. That is typically ten to fifteen minute-long episodes. They’re like the best of clips from our main show. We have an intern. He does the voiceover in the beginning, so he preps the episode, the big takeaways. There’s always a call to action to go join our membership free trial in there. I think that’s unique too. We monetize in very different ways than those shows would do. Those Flow Shorts episodes, it’s only been around a few months. It’s a newer concept that we came up with.
You don’t have to do anything. That’s awesome. Let’s repurpose content.
That’s five days a week. That’s Monday through Friday. The intern, we’re going to hire him pretty soon because he’s rocking.
I’ve heard some of them. They’re really good. When you find your show, that’s the hard part for me. I’m so busy. When I find a show that I like, the idea of binge listening, it’s great but I can’t do it. I don’t have that much time. Your shorts are wonderful because I can skip through a lot fast too. It caught my attention there. You probably have made some mistakes, though. You probably had some screw ups go on. Maybe it didn’t air them, but some funny things happened along the way. What has gone on with Joe and Matt? Has the Joe and Matt show always been smooth?
No. We like to have these therapy sessions. That’s maybe once a month we’ll release these. That’s just Matt and me on the mic. We’re airing everything literally. We have no filter. This was part of our catalyst to moving into our own voice because like on that show, we’ll talk about the biggest failures, the screw-ups that we’ve done. Those have been the best episodes, the most liked and well-received episodes that people actually looked out.
I push my clients all the time to do some solo shows and see what happens, and the people want more. Their feedback when they hear it the first time and they’re like, “That’s what we’ve been looking for. That’s what we’ve been waiting for.”
I thought of a story, because I figured it would pop up. There was one podcast day and this was before we had redundancies in our recording. You can see where this is going. We had, I forget who it was, but very high level. I think three shows that day that we lost all of them.
That’s the problem with batch recording. There you go.
It’s a blessing and a curse. The redundancies, now we have three or four or something like that. One was the New York Times bestselling author. Luckily, she was a friend of mine. The interesting thing is every single one of them agreed to it. We owned it, of course. We were like, “We’re only human. Tech failed us. We learned our lesson.” We recorded the next sessions with all three of them and they came out better. I feel like they were a little bit more comfortable. We knew where to take the conversation and no one would have known any different. We have great relationships with them still.You're only one or two steps from someone amazing you can interview. Click To Tweet
For some people who are new to podcasting, they probably thought it was a relief because I’ve had a few guests go like, “That was terrible. I was so nervous,” but if you read it, they’d be like, “I’m okay with that. That was better. Now, I can do it a second time.” That’s probably worked out all for you. Let’s get to our big tips and lessons section. On your way to becoming a Center of Influence in podcasting, what have been some of the best ways you have found to book great guests?
We have a strategy. We have a dream 100 list. It’s a spreadsheet. It’s a Google doc. This is actually something Roland Frasier told us to do in a mastermind. I was like, “Yes sir, will do.”
Dream 100, I like that. It’s better than a bucket list because that doesn’t sound good.
He suggested we make this list and what we did is we made 50/50. We have some moonshots like Elon Musk on there or Mars shots. We have those, because you never know who you’re connected with. You’re only usually one or two steps from someone amazing that you’re like, “I can interview that person?” “Yes, you can.” The other 50% were people in our industry and people that we knew are like, “This is a shoo-in if we show this list to the right person.” What we do is we put that into our email signature, that Google doc link, and I didn’t know this at the time, but if you have Gmail, that thing’s going to attach to your email. Every single person we email, they’re going to see that and they’re going like, “What’s this thing?” We’ve had so many crazy connections from that strategy alone and it’s completely automated.
That is such a novel tip right there. Linking your Dream 100 lists to your email footer so that other people who you’re connected to go, “I’m going to see who I can hook Joe and Matt up with.” I love that. That’s an awesome strategy.
We put that in all of our follow-ups too. For every guest we show up, we always follow up. We are huge on follow up. That links in there. It’s another automated way to get referred to someone else that’s amazing. If they’re not on the list, they’re like, “This person’s similar. Go talk to them.”
What have been some of the best ways to increase listeners for you?
We have started to pay for traffic lately, so there are a lot of podcast players out there. Sometimes you have to reach out to them and they have open markets, but we like to invest in the show now that we know how to make money from the show and monetize. Podcast listeners want to listen to other shows typically. That’s usually the best market to advertise to. We do a lot of Facebook Ads as well. We’ll run $1 a day Facebook Ad strategy to targets. If someone on our show is a target, like Roland Frasier or Dennis Yu and Tucker Max. There are all sorts of interesting people that if they’re a Facebook target, you could just run $1 a day branding ad to show up in front of their audience. That’s how we perpetually run those every single day. You’ll see your podcast everywhere. I’m like, “That’s what happens.”
We hear that a lot more. We hear that as a launch strategy a lot more. We’ve been working on some strategies with our clients to make sure that they can get the visibility they need at the beginning with the right audience. We hear a lot more about paid ads. Good for you to keep them moving.
The free strategy is going on other shows. It’s as simple as that. They go to similar shows. It’s tried and true and just be consistent and it works for sure.
You guys produce in a professional way, but is there anything special that you do that you think makes it just a little more pro?
The preparation, we go further than most I feel like. The fact we’re not only preparing for the guests but the topic as a whole, just so we’re knowledgeable. Like you are right here asking questions that are very strategic and specific to that topic. I’ve definitely been on shows where it was no preparation and they lean on you to drive the thing where you’re like, “No, that’s not how it works typically.”
I noticed you do have a prep sheet for those interviewing you. You have an Evergreen note sheet you guys sent me. Do you send that to everyone you interview with because you know that they may not be prepped?
That was special for me? That’s awesome.
Some people prefer it. We don’t send it to everybody because it depends. That was me because we went onto a few shows and they were not too prepared and I’m like, “Okay.” That resonates back to us and it makes us look a little bit uncomfortable or the conversation is not flowing right. We’re always trying to get a good conversation going, like this. I love how you’re going back and forth and interjecting your own thoughts. That’s exactly what we do. If it’s just questions, it’s like, “This gets boring.”
Do you have a specific question or things that you’d like to start out in?
Our goal is to relate to them somehow. It’s not really a question, but right when we start every episode, we always bring up some story of how we met and some related person that might be in the mix there or location. There’s some bond there, that’s what we’re always trying to shoot for ASAP in the interview because we want to get them out of that whole sound bite thing.
It puts them at ease if they feel you’re building a relationship with them instead. I like that. That’s a really good way to start going about it. How do you get your audience to engage back with you? I find encouraging engagement a difficulty among a lot of podcasters.
It starts with follow up with the guest and so they could share the show around to their people. They do almost every single time, even the big name people, which is great. It’s all about follow-ups. You’ve got to do follow up. We also post in all of our groups. We have Facebook Groups, we have the pages, we have the ads. We’re retargeting all of these things. We’re big on Facebook and Google retargeting. If they landed on our show notes page, which we direct people to from our show. We’re always trying to get them to download the cheat sheet. We take notes on every podcast. Our idea is to get them onto our own webpage so we can retarget them with a freebie or something of value. Maybe it’s a video of us talking about some topic. That’s the way that we’re always trying to stay in front of people after they get off the episode with us. It works.
You said you found some good ways to monetize your show. What have been the best ways for you?
100% of affiliate marketing is in the follow-up sequence, not directly on the show typically. We don’t take any sponsorship. We closed our first sponsorship, but it was a custom deal. The CPM model, to be honest, you’re not going to get rich. You’re not going to make a lot of money and it’s going down. If you don’t know what that is, just Google it, podcast CPM rates. We ran the math and what typical, you would probably know better than I, it’s about $20 for a CPM.
It used to be $60 when I was taking ad dollars. We could command $100 because we had a real niche show, so there wasn’t a lot of competition. It’s gone way down. That’s why we Podetize. No plug here, but that’s why we’ve developed it, was because I thought no one’s ever going to make money doing that.
You’re right and I’m happy that you guys created that. Everybody needs it, seriously. We spoke in some podcast stages because we ran the numbers. It’s not just on the show, it’s follow-ups and affiliate marketing and selling related products. We’re right around the $2,000 CPM if we ran the math and compared were like, “That’s way sexier.” It’s all about follow up. We tried to get them on an email list with some freebie. We take notes. We actually have someone who takes about three or four pages of notes for every episode. We’re like, “Save some time, join our email list.” They see that. From there it’s follow-ups.
Are you guys everywhere on social media? This is hard with cohosts. Do you have a social just for the show itself so you guys can be together in your social? Tom and I are married. It’s a little bit easier because I handle all the social media and make it look like it’s both of us but for you, that’s not so easy.Figure out a way to give value to expand your network. Click To Tweet
We don’t have a show Instagram or all that stuff. It’s all under Evergreen Profits, which has worked out because we hashtag and make sure the branding is there. It’s pretty obvious. I know it’s so integrated, the show and the brand. No one really questions it too much. We have our personal accounts. Matt runs his own and I run my own and then there’s the brand. The brand is managed mainly with our intern, the same guy that is doing the short show. Every time an episode goes live that’s getting all over the interwebs and plastered everywhere in our groups and all that stuff on Facebook as well. We try to separate the personal because we asked a ton of people and that’s the personal brand. That’s where people are going to relate to you a lot more. Our whole thing is to bring them over to the show after that and dive deep into some topics with us.
You mentioned before that you have this dream 100 lists. Who’s some of the big asks on there? Maybe they’ll read my blog. Maybe they’ll read my article on Authority Magazine. You never know.
Elon Musk was one of them. These are Jeff Bezos. Those are some of the long shots. We have people like Ray Dalio, who is still a very big name, but I spoke to a guy who has a connection with him. Rachel Hollis is very popular these days. Robert Cialdini and all the Sharks.
I can connect you to him. Pre-Suasion is one of my favorite books. It’s a great book. Do you have a criterion that makes someone really a great guest for you?
We love people who have done something amazing and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the business space. I think Shaquille O’ Neal is even on our list. They have a business sense to them. There’s always something we can relate to in terms of a great story. They’re capable, they have great results. We’re trying to up-level the show more and more. They’re going to have a known name or an audience that we can leverage a little bit with our ads and our sharing and all that. Ideally, it’s that and we want to see that they could have a great conversation and they’re open and not going to be a stick in the mud in the interview. We’ll do our research, we’ll go to ListenNotes.com, which is almost like a little Google for podcasts. We’ll do a lot of research there and see if it looks interesting then it’s checking the boxes for us.
I call it vetting people because the columnist in me comes out and you have to vet someone and make sure they’re worth writing about. It used to be like, “Did they have a bestselling book? Have they been on TV shows?” Now it’s like, “Do they have a good digital footprint?” There’s more of that you have to care about. I joke that my worst interview was John Travolta. He is a great celebrity, but terrible digital footprint. His team had no follow-up. It sounds great, but you have to have a criteria that fit what you want to do with it. I love that you guys have a methodology behind everything. Do you have any tips that you have for someone starting out on how they can become a more successful Center of Influence? Not just become a podcast but become an influencer with podcasting.
You’ve got to have a genuine interest in people for one and for whatever topic you’re really trying to be that influencer in. Understand enough, maybe do some generalist approach and stay tapped in. With podcasting, we’re always tapped in with the latest news every morning, as is Matt, so we know what we’re talking about with stats, as you guys are as well. Figure out a way to give value to expand your network as well. From there, referrals will happen. That digital footprint gets a little larger. If you go on other shows or get interviewed by others, maybe you’re featured with some PR in a column and things like that. You’ll probably correct me if I’m wrong, but if someone’s there to help you to make your job an easier thing in writing a piece or producing a podcast or some kind of feature anywhere, try to give value. If you can do that and then select a few people to give this value to and if that’s going to respond and reciprocate a little bit somehow in your business and where you’re trying to go.
A value in service first mentality because you’re influencing from the right place.
That’s all we’re trying to do with our podcast. Make it a win for us, win for the guest and then the listener.
What’s in the future for The Hustle and Flowchart?
We want to keep growing that show, we want to keep up leveling the guests and the conversations. Ideally, we want that thing to be the number one focus of what we’re doing. Right now, we can’t, but we’re getting close. It started off as one day a week, now it’s two. We have seven more days to fill in.
You’re getting it up there. I love it. Joe, it’s been a pleasure having you. I can’t wait for our readers to listen to your show because there are really great broad digital marketing tools, tips and ideas that are out there. We’re all for broadening the perspective because you can’t just podcast alone. You’ve got to do all these other things to support it as well. You guys have a lot of value that you add there. Thank you for bringing The Hustle and Flowchart and you and Joe into the digital marketing sphere through podcasting.
Thank you, Tracy. It’s been fun.
We’ll be back again with a new influencer next time. Thanks for reading.
About Joe Fier
Joe Fier and Matt Wolfe are the co-founders of EvergreenProfits.com – an online education hub with podcasts, trainings, community, and more to support entrepreneurs and business leaders to ramp up their digital marketing results.
They also host the fast-growing Hustle and Flowchart podcast, where they have interviewed over 200 world-renowned business influencers and bestselling authors. They’re fun and practical conversations pull out some of the most effective growth strategies listeners can try for themselves.
As self-proclaimed digital marketing generalists, they have a unique perspective on the latest digital marketing trends, growth, and monetization strategies. By sharing their best content freely, their mission is to influence as many business owners as possible so they, too, can experience their greatest growth.
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