Podcast Like A Pro: How to Effectively Communicate Like a Professional Broadcaster with Mac WatsonJan 19, 2021
Sometimes it feels like you just can't seem to get the words out the right way on your podcast. After you've recorded, you feel like you said something stupid or you just didn't communicate it very well.
Today I talk with a radio friend of mine, Mac Watson, of the Mac Watson Talks Podcast (http://www.macwatsononline.com).
Mac has just as many years in the radio industry as I do, but he's done a fair majority in talk radio.
In this episode, you're going to learn:
- How Mac built his current podcast audience.
- The key differences Mac noticed between radio and podcasting.
- How to learn communication skills for podcasting. What podcasters can do to relate to an audience.
- The secret behind scripting a podcast and when you should really use it.
- A brief understanding of Mac's monetization model.
As always, when you listen to today's episode, give it a listen and try to take notes if you are able to. This is the best way to really grasp some of the concepts mentioned.
======FULL SHOW TRANSCRIPT======
[00:00:00] Shannon: [00:00:00] I'm very excited today to have one of my friends on The Podcast Therapist. His name is Mac Watson. He's a radio personality, still a radio personality, according to my standards. Of course, he's a podcaster who has his own podcast. According to your website, Mac, you say that you are a master communicator, a storyteller relatable, entertaining, you create compelling content, and you have a sharp wit and humor, which I have experienced firsthand by listening to the radio in Phoenix. How are you doing today?
Mac: [00:00:31] Pretty good. I can't complain. Luckily , everything's all wrapped up and we've got Christmas coming around the corner, so I'm doing pretty well.
Shannon: [00:00:37] Good, man. We were talking before the podcast started and COVID-19 has just really put a wrench in everyone's lives these days, so it's been very difficult, I'm sure, for you.
Mac: [00:00:51] Yeah. I am starting to go nuts being quarantined in my house. If we could all do the right thing, [00:01:00] this would all get a lot better, a lot quicker, but we're all not doing the right things. I don't want to be a spokesperson for the CDC or anything, but please, wear a mask. Don't be an ass, wear a mask.
Shannon: [00:01:12] Yeah. You can cuss on this podcast, I promise you that. You can say whatever you feel , Mac.
Mac: [00:01:17] That's great, thank you.
Shannon: [00:01:18] You're very welcome. Today's podcast, of course, is also recorded on StreamYard. You can go ahead and check out StreamYard by creating seamless recordings of your podcast, stream directly to multiple platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and LinkedIn. You can learn more at www.thepodcasttherapist.com/streamyard.
Mac, today, I want to talk to you about the genesis of you and your podcast, because this is something that I think you had in mind when you were in radio, but I really want to start from the very beginning of the catalyst of where this podcast came from. Can you tell me the story leading up to when you decided to go ahead and start that podcast, [00:02:00] including the time that we actually met?
Mac: [00:02:02] Let's see. It goes back to wanting to do something a little different, wanting to do something that had a little bit more "me" in it. By, "me", stuff that I wanted to talk about, stuff that I really thought that was important.
It's like anything, you want to do something, but at the same time your life gets in the way kind of thing, so I kept putting it off. Then I lost my job. Once I lostjob, I figured, you know what? There is no better reason to start a podcast than right now to keep myself fresh, to keep myself engaged and also to create the content that I wanted to create.
What I thought was is that I would just do my own podcast and I started doing my own podcast, just getting ideas from you, getting ideas from my wife, getting ideas from other people. Then my wife started joining me on the podcast and that just changed everything. Because now, it's more of a [00:03:00] conversation between two people. We talk about things that go on in our lives. We're pretty open about what it's like to be a foster and adoptive parent, we're pretty open about our kids. We're pretty open about a lot of things—my struggles, of what I've gone through — we put that all on the podcast, and so far people seem to really resonate with that and we're getting a ton of downloads, which we're really appreciative of.
Shannon: [00:03:23] That is very cool. To give the audience, some context to what we're talking about , about a year ago, I think it was about a year ago, you and I met up at a restaurant and we talked about this development of your podcast. The development of the podcast really was right there, but I wasn't sure how far you were going to take it. I didn't know what the podcast was going to be about. I just knew that you wanted to take it to the next level. It's called Mac Watson Talks. It centers, like you said, around your life. But you incorporate a lot of what you had done on the radio can you go a little more in depth with that?
Mac: [00:03:58] Sure. I talk [00:04:00] about current events. I talk about specifically what's going on in Arizona. It's more of an Arizona-centric podcast. I talk about stuff that's going on, stuff that affects people. But I also talk about myself as well. If you really want to break it down, there's a couple of different benchmarks or a couple of different things that we do: We do current events, I do something called the SmackDown where I take something that I disagree with and basically, just tell you why I disagree with the story or disagree with the premise, and then there's the last word, which is if you're in the business, it's like a kicker story. It's a funny story that you end with.
What we've done is we've broadened it into—now we're behind a paywall—with "This Is Us", which is my wife and I, and what it's like in the household, what it's like to be in the Watson family. We also do "Raised in a Nuthouse,", and I've got the script right here for it, it's "Raised in a Nuthouse" where we tell our nutty stories from our [00:05:00] dysfunctional childhoods or dysfunctional stories from our nutty childhoods, one or the other. We tell these stories and hopefully, people can relate to them or, at least, get some value out of them.
But like you said, I used to do a talk show where it was about current events, it was about things that were in the news. It goes back to, "Does it affect you? Does it affect your wallet? Does it affect the way you want to raise your family? Does it affect your job?" Those are the kinds of stories that I think really people key into. Those are the stories that I try to tell. Whether it be the pandemic, whether it be through a certain bill or a certain law that's been passed, or whether the governor is doing the right thing with this pandemic, or just stuff like that. But then I also give a personal insight into my life with "This Is Us" of the struggles that I've had with COVID, with being unemployed, with trying to navigate being a foster and adoptive parent through this, just the different aspects of my life that people seem to be interested in.
Shannon: [00:05:56] Sure. I could say that [00:06:00] this has been 100% built on the audience that you have grown, that you have learned, or that you have built through your previous career with radio.
Mac: [00:06:10] Yeah. If I didn't have access to some kind of microphone or some kind of broadcast, I wouldn't have the audience that I have now. If I were on a national level, if I was on a national network, it'd probably be even bigger. But I will tell you, we have been downloaded now in everywhere, except three states, and over 16 different countries, and I can understand why.
Yeah, it is. It's amazing, I thought it was going to be everybody in Arizona. No, I'm being downloaded in Charlotte, North Carolina, in Waterloo, Mississippi, in England, in Scotland. There's one country in Africa we're being downloaded and listened to. It's all over. I don't know whether it's word of mouth, whether it's by the hashtag that we use, [00:07:00] or people are looking us up because of the stuff that we put out on social media, but just because you think, "Oh, me and my buddy want to start a podcast," or "My buddy and I want to start something and it's going to be listened to maybe by my mom and my friends," hold on. There are people out there that are willing to listen and willing to download, and some were even willing to do it for a fee because you put something out there, because you have value.
Shannon: [00:07:26] Right. Could you compare, and maybe contrast, the differences between radio and podcasting? Because that is what my YouTube channel is all about, is trying to bridge the gap between radio and podcasting, because each platform has their own benefits, and then, of course—I wouldn't call them downfalls—but there's an another side of that. You, being someone in radio and without my audience having to hear me constantly tell them what I see, what are the those differences with podcasting and radio?
Mac: [00:07:59] If [00:08:00] you really want to get into a PhD kind of discussion, we certainly can. A radio broadcast is meant for a number of people. It is a broad listing of events, broad sense of what is going on in the community. That's what broadcasting is, it's for a lot of different people.
Podcasts are called narrow casting or narrow casts . If you're an expert on 14th century Japanese feudalism, you can start a podcast on that, you are not going to get a radio gig out of that. If you're an expert on Mattel Barbies from the post-war era all the way to the current era of Barbie dolls, you're not going to get a lot of traction in the real world unless you work for Mattel, but you can start a podcast on that. If you like to garden, if you like to do martial arts, if you're a gun collector. It's really about what it used to be. It used to be, you had to have [00:09:00] a broadcast system, you had to have a license, you used to have a little card from the FCC, you used to have all this stuff.
Now, and this is what I used to tell interns when we had interns at the radio station, "You have access to all this technology that we never had. You can pretty much do it yourself, you've just got to start from way down here way below here as a college student and work your audience and work your way up.
Some people can do it and some people can't. It comes down to whether or not you can communicate. Can you communicate effectively to people who, quite frankly, may not know you? If they don't know you, how do you engage them? Because the average person tunes out after about five or six seconds of whatever it is. Whether it's a podcast, whether it's a TV broadcast, whether it's a show, whether it's a movie, if they're not engaged within a couple of seconds, they're on to something else. If you can't engage a listener, then you really can't do a podcast .
[00:10:00] But I will tell you this, there are people who are very learned and very scholarly, but don't know how to communicate it, and have a podcast. Good for them Hopefully you'll get better at it. It's like riding a bike, hopefully you'll get better and better at it as you do it. But there is a process and there is a way to do it effectively. A Lot of people can do it, and the people that can't, you can always learn. That's what I always say, "You can always learn to do this."
Shannon: [00:10:29] came from the music side before you got into radio. You were in music, you're like me. I'm in music right now, but you were in music before you went to talk radio. How did you learn those communication skills and that style for yourself? Are there any specific things that you did? Are there tips that you can share with this audience to help them grow that confidence and communication?
Mac: [00:10:51] Yeah. Way back when , I used to talk to this program director—a guy who ran the radio station at a very successful station—he said, " [00:11:00] When you crack the mic, when you open the mic, have something to say." There's this mantra, especially in Top 40 or CHR radio, which is light, bright, and tight or light, bright and out of sight . You've got to make sure it's condensed, you've got to make sure it's concise, and you've got to make sure you have a point.
I also learned, being an English major, that everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It doesn't matter whether it's a conversation on your smartphone, whether it's a movie, whether it's a book, whether it's a joke, everything has to have a beginning, and then the middle, and then an end. "Tell me what you're going to tell me", that's the beginning, "Tell me," which is the middle, and the end is, "Tell me what you told me and be effective."
I can break it down into very simple points, but it's also hours in the chair. It's that Malcolm Gladwell. 10,000 hours theory, 10,000 hours of doing something right . I couldn't have done a talk show until I was like in my thirties because [00:12:00] I needed that eight to ten years of doing music radio to learn how to sell something—and when I say sell something, learn how to do a break, learn how to turn on the microphone, and actually say something of value in ten seconds or less, because I'd used to do Top 40 radio. You don't have a lot of time, you've got to be concise.
Some of the best communicators have come from the top 40 era or the top 40 world that are now doing talk radio because they understand that you have to sustain your message and sustain the audience. In order to do that, you have to be effective. Again, I can tell you that there are different ways of doing that. Rush Limbaugh does it one way, Glenn Beck does it another way, Sean Hannity does it another way, but they all know the one thing, how to connect with your listener and how to tell them—and don't get me wrong, you don't have to agree or like them, you don't have to like their show or their style—but they know how to communicate effectively enough [00:13:00] that they are the top tiers of talk radio where I was just on the surface of talk radio with my show because I'm in a local market and in Phoenix, Phoenix is a different market than Detroit, it's a different market than Albuquerque, it's a different market than LA, you've got to learn who your audience is. If you can learn who your audience is and talk to them, not at them, I think people will respond to that.
Shannon: [00:13:27] That is huge to say that you have to talk to them. It's almost as though you have to become their friend in order for them to really buy into what you're talking about.
Right. It'sMac: [00:13:38] not only that, it's the sense that you can talk to somebody about something for an extended period of time. Like I said, it's narrow casting. I don't know about you, but I knew a guy in college that as soon as you brought up classic cars, he's gotta go talk your ear off. But try to have a conversation about anything else and he was stuttering and stammering and doing whatever. But if you talk [00:14:00] to him about muscle cars and classic cars, the GTOs, the Camaros, and the Mustangs, he knew every spec, he knew every kind of transmission. That's the way you have to be with certain things in order to get it across, you have to be a master communicator. You have to know something about something to tell people. That's what it basically is.
If you're going to do a show about gardening , you better know about gardening and you better be interesting enough to share with people tips and stuff that you'd know to become a master gardener. I'm not saying you have to have the best, that's the other thing, too, it's a podcast, you don't have to be a horticultural expert, you don't have to be a botanist, you don't have to be some big wig that owns their own nursery, just grow tomatoes and share the experience with people. It's the way you share the experience that will capture people and make sure that they come back for more and listen to you. That's what it is.
Shannon: [00:14:56] Yeah. That's what I think is huge and that's where I think a lot of people [00:15:00] get hung up is that they say, "I don't know what type of content that I need to create. What do I even create?" What you're telling me is that when you hear the experience of one person, you're only hearing the experience of one person, but you might be that one person that lights the fire under someone else who could be listening.
Mac: [00:15:19] That it's the one person that their perspective--and again, we all have perspectives, but it's a way that we tell everybody, it's a way that we communicate. The way I communicate is through language and that my voice is an instrument. I come at it from a very different point of view, say than a sportscaster or a newsperson.
What I'm talking about is I'm talking about effectively communicating with other people. It's kind of tough, but again, a guy long time ago, another program director told me, "Remember that you're talking to one person, you're not talking to an audience." That's television. Television is where you talk to an audience. Radios, you talk to one person, one-on-one. If you can [00:16:00] imagine—or even some people have done this, I've seen it in the studio—they'll take an actual picture of somebody, put it in the studio, and talk to that person. That's the secret to good communication, knowing that you're talking to one person about how you feel about some thing, whatever it is.
Shannon: [00:16:19] I noticed this in my time of doing radio at night and I became unstuck in that process of saying, " Oh my gosh, I'm talking to an audience," versus talking to one person, it was about six years into my career, I had just gotten full time, and one day I was just like, " You know what? What do I have to lose if I'm just talking to one person ? What do I have to lose? It just feels like I'm talking to one person." That's when I started incorporating a lot of what I knew about my audience.
My audience would be rock and roll people. I started using words like bro, dude , and things that really related to them and tried to think as though I was [00:17:00] standing at a concert with them and holding that conversation with them saying, "Dude, did you see the Foo Fighters released a brand new song?" Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That's where a lot of things became unstuck for me. I noticed that my deliveries became a lot shorter and I was more effective in the communication.
Now, does it mean that I was perfect every time? No, I wasn't perfect every time, but I became better and better at that. I think to what you were saying is that the practice and being on the mic and practicing in front of the mic and getting that time in front of the mic really does come with just cutting your teeth on the mic. If you're just starting or you're someone who's maybe two, three years into this and you're still not comfortable, cutting your teeth on the mic is very important.
Mac: [00:17:45] Yeah. Here's another trick though, because you said something very important, it's being relatable. My problem was when I was doing music, I would come out of a break and say, "Mix 106.5, the best mix of the [00:18:00] blah-blah-blah." That was Dave Matthews band, and then I'd transition to something else and I would get lost. I wouldn't know where I was going. So I would start off strong and then I would get lost.
What a program director taught me was to write it down. If you write it down, that is your safety net. What you should do is write it, rewrite it, and then write it again. T hat's where you come up with the "dudes", the "bros", and the, "Oh, man. that's awesome," because you start incorporating your natural speaking pattern, your natural speech patterns and your natural vocabulary, your colloquialisms, that's where you start incorporating it because that's you.
Now I don't have to- -you wake me out of bed at four o'clock in the morning, you give me the temperature, you give me the call letters, you give me the title and artist, I can do a break like that. I don't have to write it down. But there [00:19:00] were times when I had to write everything out. When I found that out, when I figured it out, I got to New York in two years, I went to market one in two years because I knew what the secret was, and the secret was to write it down and have a safety net. It's not that anybody in New York, Chicago, or LA, it's not that they're better than you, it's just, they have more experience than you and they've learned these tricks and tools and I've learned it. It's like a difference between a guy in Triple-A or a Double-A ball versus the majors. The majors guys have learned a little more tricks and a little more how to do it in order to make sure that they understand how to perform their best.
It's the same with anything. This is a performance. You are giving a performance when you do podcast. You may not want to see it that way, but that's what you are doing, you are performing, but to an audience you cannot see. If you just keep in mind that it's just one person that you're talking to --hell, you've done that before; you do it at [00:20:00] work, you do it in your family, you do it wherever. You can talk to one person where you don't get intimidated that thousands of people are listening to me or hundreds of people are listening to me. No, they're not.
They may download, and that's what the meter may say, that's what the metrics may say, but they're not listening to you all at once. You're talking to one person at a time. That way, you don't flip yourself out or freak yourself out. If you write it down, you'll get a natural way of delivering it where it doesn't seem like you're reading it.
Yeah. What you'reShannon: [00:20:32] saying makes complete sense because to me, what it seems is as though every podcaster wants to get these massive downloads right away, but it almost seems as though it's more of a benefit to have those minimal downloads because you can talk naturally to those people. By the time someone becomes acquainted to you when you've gotten your 10,000 download, your audience should know who you are. They should know how you communicate. They should know the personality at that point. It's almost easier as [00:21:00] opposed to guys like us who were just thrown into the fire and had to undo all of what was going on in our head and start back from zero.
Mac: [00:21:06] W hat you need to realize is that the more you do it, the better you'll become. The more you practice, the better you'll become. It's good that you don't have as many downloads in the beginning because you can make as many mistakes as you want. It's your podcast. You don't have a boss. You don't have someone standing over you saying , "You should have done this. It's WNBC." Only a few people will get that reference. If you do, you'll love it.
You don't have anybody telling you that you should do time and temperature every 15 seconds or whatever. If you want to talk about Flintlock guns for two hours, go ahead, but you've got to make it compelling for people. You've got to emotionally relate to the audience and you've got to make it compelling, that's what I try to do. I don't try to talk down to people. I don't try to talk over people's heads, I just try to talk normally. [00:22:00] But if you can have a little fun in there, if you can drop some pop culture references, if you can basically have two guys talking at a bar kind of conversation, then that's good because, at least, you have a back and forth and you have some kind of pro, con --don't get me wrong, it's not CNN, we're not talking about "I'm on the left. I'm on the right," so you know what people are going to say. T hat's tired and old. That's broken down stuff.
But what you should do is be able to have or form an opinion where you can articulate it, and if someone disagrees with you that you can respond to it. If you're doing a double-headed or a triple-headed podcast, or if you just have all these things that you believe in that if somebody were to challenge you, you would be able to confirm your point of view. That takes time, that takes a while for you to do . It takes practice and it takes also focus. But once you get those things, like I said, once I found out my secret was to write it down, I just took off. You couldn't stop me. I was great.
Something thatShannon: [00:22:59] [00:23:00] you said just a few seconds ago that triggered me to remember this, you were an English major in college. You mentioned this idea of beginning, middle and end, but I'm sure you also took rhetoric and the art of persuasion and persuasive talking or persuasive speech. I taught that at one point in time as a high school English teacher, and that is something that I think that a lot of people don't realize that there is an actual philosophy and method that goes behind the delivery of a message where you talk about, "This is the point that I'm trying to make," you talk about the emotion behind a point that you're trying to get across in order to sell the idea or sell the point that this is what you're trying to do.
When it comes down to that , do you have any tips on how to incorporate some type of emotion into the delivery of your content?
Mac: [00:23:49] There are two different types —to me, at least this is just my theory—two different types of selling something: You either [00:24:00] aspire or you identify. When you aspire to something, you want to be that somebody. You want to be that person or you want to be at that level. When you identify, you can look at that and go, "Wow. You know what? I can really relate to that."
I can explain it this way. Tiger Woods, when he's marketed, you aspire to be Tiger Woods. That's why he gets the TAG Heuer things. that's why he gets the Rolls-Royce, stuff. Brett Favre is a guy you can relate to. Brett Favre, in his career, had the Wrangler Jeans.
Do you see what I mean? There's a difference in between aspiring to and identifying with. It depends on you, what you want to do, what point you want to make. I usually go the Brett Favre route of, "Hey, identify with me on this. This is where I'm coming from. This is how I feel about it. This is what I think we should [00:25:00] do," or "This is what I think the way it should be." I don't know really how to aspire—boy, that sounds so bad—I don't know how aspire to any--
Shannon: [00:25:07] Line forms to the left, Mac. I understand.
Mac: [00:25:11] My aspiration is usually something that's so esoteric that people can identify with it. I would rather identify with somebody where somebody would say, "You were talking about this and boy, I could really picture myself doing that," or "I could really identify doing that or being that ", or whatever.
You put it in those terms and then people can really feel comfortable because you're identifying with them on their level. The biggest compliment somebody could give me is, "Boy, you're the same guy on the radio as you are in real life." I hope I am because if I was a caricature or some kind of character , then that's not identifiable.
You want to try to be real. You want to try to be open. Y ou don't want to have diarrhea of the mouth, but you [00:26:00] also want to be a relatable person that somebody can go, "You know what? There's a likability and a quality of that person that I like, and that I can relate to."
Shannon: [00:26:08] I think it's an element of being just human. You gotta be human to relate to the audience. Whether that podcast be about gardening, whether it is about ancient history, something of that nature, you have to be who you are and what you are great at being, and that is just being you. You just maybe happen to have a real pension for doing studies on, I don't know, it could be gangster drug dealers, and that's what your podcast is about in some form, but you are presenting it as yourself. That's where I think the hang ups are. That's where I see the comments come through on my YouTube channel. That's where the emails come in. "I just don't know how to do this." You just got to be you in order to do that.
Mac: [00:26:49] There is a slickness to it though, too. If you listen to certain podcasts, they just sound good. You want to get the right sound as well. That's why, the feedback that I've gotten in one of my [00:27:00] podcasts, "Boy, it sounds so polished. It sounds so good. It moves so quickly."
Yeah, I've been in radio. I know the certain fundamentals, but there are people that don't know the certain fundamentals that I'd rather you leave the audience wanting more. If you can say it with brevity, say it with brevity. You don't want to drag something out too long.
What was that Saturday night live skit where you get caught talking to somebody at the party? That one person you don't want to get talked to, you don't want to get caught talking to at the party. Cecily is her name, and then she does the character. I don't know whether it was the Palestinians or the protozoan, but it's that one that is just, "God, do you know how to shut your mouth?" Not that I would ever tell anybody on a podcast to shut their mouth, but you've got to be able to know pasting, you've got to be able to edit it well, and slickly put it together.
I am no genius at this, you've listened to my podcast. It sounds good. [00:28:00] I'm no genius, but there are some podcasts you're like, "Boy, that's slick." Try to be slick, but don't try to be filler. Don't try to be slick without a purpose, or don't try to be slick without a point, have a point. Some of the best content you can do is from the heart, and if it's just real, raw, and emotional, people will listen.
Shannon: [00:28:18] That's something I want to touch on a couple of things that we talked about or that you mentioned there, I have a list of questions that I've written out. Some of them go in order, but you've already touched on some of them, so I'm allowed to go, "Okay. You talked about that. He talked about that. He talked about that. Now I can move on to this next section that he did not talk about, I want to know more about that."
I think in the preparation, in the show prep, that's another huge thing. Podcasters tend to go, "I need to script it out all in one and that's going to be my podcast." I'm like, "Man, that's entirely way too much if you're trying to just create a podcast."
Mac: [00:28:57] Some people do that though. [00:29:00] T here's this one guy that does it, and don't get me wrong, it's good, but you can tell he's reading. But it's so good that I'm willing to listen to something that I know is being read. Most people would want you to have a conversation with them, not a conversation at them.
Like I said, you can write it down like TV people. TV people write everything down, they put it on the teleprompter. It's right there. Like you said, you can write notes or you can jot down some stuff. But if the more you write down, the more you're going to have to read it —and if you can do it conversationally, that's great—but if not, it's going to come across like you are reading it.
Shannon: [00:29:42] I think that it's good to know both sides of it to learn how to read, but it's also great to have that ability to maneuver in and out of a conversation at will, if you need to break from whatever you're reading. S ome of the people that I see that do this very well [00:30:00] would be news anchors. They're reading from the teleprompter itself and then the teleprompter somehow goes down, and then they have to almost instantly just riff it off, but they have done it so much, they know how to maneuver in and out of that.
I want to switch gears into talking about the elements of a monetization, if you're comfortable talking about that. I want to ask about money or anything like that. I just want to ask you about the idea of building in some type of monetization model, because that is the common question that most podcasters ask is like, "How can I monetize?"
When you and I look at monetization from a radio perspective, I could explain it as saying, "We are going to clients who were local, not necessarily national, even though they're our national clients, but we go to those clients and we talk to them and we say, 'Okay, this is what we want to do for you in terms of the package. You get a certain amount of mentions on the radio. Maybe you get some spots and maybe get some website banner ads or whatnot, and we are going to bill you." Then when you move to [00:31:00] the podcasting structure, I don't know if it was for you, but for me, it almost has been completely on the opposite end. Can you describe to me what you have experienced in setting up a monetization model?
Mac: [00:31:13] The first way was the way that you understood it with radio. I approached a number of people and I gave them a sheet and said, "This is how much it costs to advertise on my podcast." Then COVID hit. When COVID hit, all my sponsors went away. What my wife and I had to do is we had to figure out another stream of income. We decided to go with Patreon.
Now with Patreon, what you do is you set certain levels. If you're $5, $10, $20, if you pay a certain amount of month, then you can charge whatever you want. But what we found is $5, $10, $20 was the sweet spot for a lot of my listeners.
What we decided to do was we decided to give you what we call bonus [00:32:00] content through Patreon. We took the "This Is Us", where we talk about what it's like to be in the Watson household, and we take "Raised in a Nuthouse" and we put those behind the paywall.
The free stuff, you still get current events, you still get the SmackDown, you still get the last story, you still get some other things. But behind the paywall is that more in depth and that more emotional stuff that we go into —how COVID has affected our marriage? How, having a child with an eating disorder, has affected the whole house and how it affects the way we eat? How our four-year-old, how his tantrums affect the house?— that more personal, emotional stuff we put behind a paywall and people seem to respond. We've gotten a pretty good response out of it so far.
What we also do is that we have an AMA, ask me anything session. If you're at a certain level on Patreon, we send you a link, like a Zoom meeting or even a StreamYard, and we actually [00:33:00] allow them to ask me "anything". It's like your own little VIP, it's kind of like your own VIP or backstage getting together a VIP experience thing.
You'd be surprised, there are people that sit there and just stare at you, there are people that want to talk to you for 20 minutes about the same thing, there are other people who want to ask you some really good questions about some of the stuff that you said. People really do listen, and people really have some really good insight, like what you've said, they just want to be heard.
That's the thing. People just want to be heard and they want to feel like they're being a part of something. That's why we give them the AMA or the ask me anything session as part of their VIP experience when they're on Patreon, and we also give away some swag too, some mugs and some stickers and stuff like that. But as far as monetization, you're not going to get rich, you're not going to be able to support yourself [00:34:00] unless you have a national audience and you're like Adam Carolla, Tony Kornheiser, or Joe Rogan where you have so much of a stream coming in that it can support you.
My wife and I aren't at that point yet—and that's why I'm still unemployed, I still need a job— but it's worth it because people listen, people want more, and that then motivates me to do better.
Shannon: [00:34:24] I think the motivation aspect of what you're talking about when it comes down to encouraging podcasters, and people can only see so much when they watch a video of mine or they listen to a podcast, but sharing this experience from someone else saying, "I do this because X, this is what really motivates me to continue to podcast." That is where I would want to encourage a podcaster is to listen to your story, listen to your exact story and say, "Okay, we incorporated this element of Patreon." It doesn't matter if you're using Patreon, you're using [00:35:00] a PayPal, something, I would say, get something started in order to start getting that ball rolling. What would you say to someone and encourage them?
Mac: [00:35:08] Wow. How do you tell somebody to encourage them to do what they want?
Shannon: [00:35:12] Deliver value, suppose, on the podcast.
Mac: [00:35:15] Yeah, but my point is that you've got to want to do it. For me, it's that I want to be heard. For me, it's that I have things that I want to share. I've been like this since I was a little kid. I just fell into radio, I'd never considered radio a life career. But if you're wanting to start a podcast or you're wanting to monetize your podcast, there are plenty of things out there for you to do. There are plenty of websites, plenty of people.
You can talk to Shannon, you can talk to me, you can talk to a lot of people about what they've done. You've just got to want to do it and then take the time to really sit down and just map out, "Okay, I'm going to do this about the insects of Guadalajara," or something like that. "I'm [00:36:00] going to do this," the elevator speech, come up with what you're going to tell somebody in an elevator and you've got 30 seconds until the elevator stops and the doors open, what is your podcast about?
Shannon: [00:36:12] Let's go real quick into the merchandise area, because you did mention bumper stickers, mugs, things like that. Is there anything that is very complicated about doing that? How did you go about that process and has it been easy for you?
Mac: [00:36:29] I would've thought it would be really complicated. My wife handles it and she says, "It's so easy. All you have to do is upload the artwork." You choose what you wanted on, they give you all of these different structures that you can put it on, things that you can put it on. You just upload a really good high quality JPEG file and they take care of the rest.
Shannon: [00:36:48] Do you know which websites that you're using, or is that something that's directly on Patreon, or are you going through a third-party?
Mac: [00:36:55] That's all Patreon. Patreon fulfills the swag orders.
Shannon: [00:36:59] didn't know that. [00:37:00] I honestly did not know that.
Mac: [00:37:01] I didn't either until my wife found that out.
Shannon: [00:37:03] Yeah. We didn't know until just like five seconds ago.
Mac: [00:37:06] Yeah, and it's not as expensive as you think. That's the other part of it too, is that it's not as expensive. Now with Vistaprint and all these other places that you can go to, all these other websites—Shutterfly, Vistaprint— I have business cards made up, I have business cards that I'm never going to use because we have so many of them, it's stuff like that.
It's this stuff that makes you feel like, "Yes, I am a quality valued podcaster. I make myself feel that way because I can see my name on a sticker or I can see m y mug on a mug," kind of thing. That gives it value and that gives it some kind of permanency too, that, "Hey, I do this stuff. You should listen to my podcast," and that comes with confidence.
You've got to have confidence and the confidence in your ability to say, "I should be heard. This is what I should be listened to." Because there's a lot of people that will tell you a lot of stuff and then they'll [00:38:00] say, "Yeah, but I shoulda, woulda, coulda." Don't shoulda, woulda, coulda, go ahead and do it, you've
Shannon: [00:38:04] got nothing to lose.
I've got to remind people like what you're telling me right now is all based on tribe mentality. You have a tribe of your people who love what you do. It doesn't necessarily mean it's what Joe Rogan does, what Marc Maron does, or Adam Carolla, it's what you do and that's what people buy into.
One last question and we'll just make it more about you as the English teacher and books. What book would you recommend to a podcaster if there is any or something that will get their mind thinking on this creativity journey that they're on?
Mac: [00:38:39] The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I read it in high school and I re-read it in college, and it is the one transformative book that a lot of people misunderstand about Malcolm X and a lot of people don't understand about personal freedoms. Then if you read that book, you will understand personal freedom and you'll understand Malcolm [00:39:00] X a whole lot better. You don't have to be an activist, you don't have to be some political whatever, just his journey , his story is so compelling but it's so misunderstood. That's the book that I would recommend.
Another book is any book on advertising like Guerrilla marketing, Guerrilla warfare. Ries and Trout , they're really good at stuff.
Make It Stick, that's another good book. Make your message stick. But as far as transformative, The Autobiography of Malcolm X changed the way I saw a lot of things. It really did.
Shannon: [00:39:29] Okay. Very cool. Mac, Watson, I want to thank you for your time. Thank you so much, and hopefully, we'll be talking to you soon on a future podcast and maybe share some more insights.
Mac: [00:39:38] Absolutely. Check out my stuff at macwatsononline.com. The podcast is there. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter as well, Mac Watson Talks. Thanks so much, Shannon
Shannon: [00:39:48] Yeah, not a problem. Thank you so much.