Rockin’ Libsyn Podcasts: Make Shift Happen

This series is all about libsyn’s newest podcasters. Its sole purpose is to introduce these awesome podcasts to the world as well as share their podcasting insight to empower the community!

Q & A with Dean Dwyer from Make Shift Happen

When did you start podcasting?

In my head I started about 6 months ago, but to be honest, I found it very hard to find the information needed to get up and started. I eventually bit the bullet and spent the better part of day getting all my podcast ducks in a row and finally got my first podcast out there May 18th, 2012.

Why did you start podcasting?

Well, why I started and why I plan to continue are very different.

The reason I started was because of Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, who also hosts his podcast with Libsyn. He did a podcast (of which I am subscribed) on the effectiveness of his podcast. One of the things he mentioned was that it had become the largest driver of traffic to his site.

From a platform building standpoint, I was stunned by his statement. I was clearly missing out on an opportunity to build my platform.

I realized that a blog in and of itself is too uni-dimensional. To have the greatest impact possible on people I needed to be everywhere that people consume information and podcasts are a massive way that people do just that.

So that is the reason I started, but that is not the reason I plan to continue.

A funny thing happened after I did my first podcast.

I LOVED IT! As I thought more about it, I realized something rather profound.

Podcasting is essentially a speaking gig, and I have always wanted to be a speaker. The problem was I never knew how to launch my career.

I now consider each and every podcast I do my own little TEDX talk knowing that one day that will propel me into the world of speaking of which I am hugely passionate about.

What’s your show about?

My show is an extension of my book of the same name (Make Shift Happen).

The book teaches people who to change how they look (lose weight) by changing how they think.

But the show looks at all aspects of our life because the truth is weight gain is a symptom of how we lead our life NOT simply a result of the foods we stuff into our mouths (contrary to what conventional wisdom may tell us).

In the show I talk about shift in general and how all play a role in changing how we look, BUT more importantly, how we LIVE.

What’s your podcasting set-up? Hardware, software, CMS, etc.

I have a pretty simple system at this point with the idea that as I learn more I will slowly build my own kick ass studio.

Right now I use a MacBook and record using Garage Band. The only major investment I made last year was to buy an awesome microphone.

I use the Yeti Blue Microphone. The price was steep ($200,) but aside from content the second most important thing I am delivering is sound quality so I want to produce something that is as crisp and clear as possible.

I post each of my podcasts on my blog which is hosted on WordPress and of course, I host each podcast on Libsyn.

How have you promoted your podcast?

Right now I have an email list of about 5000 people and that is primarily how I promote it. I also use my Facebook fanpage and twitter to provide some social proof that the podcast has some traction.

For instance, early on I was fortunate to discover that my podcast was appearing on iTunes top 10 charts in their major category of Health in a few different countries.

I now check that chart everyday and when there is something significant I share it with my peeps. As an example, last week I was ranked number 2 behind Jillian Michaels in the US.

So I post that to let people know the podcast has substance and is providing value to people.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

The biggest thing is something I eluded to above. Podcasting is a POWERFUL medium. I had no clue just how powerful it was when I launched.

But more importantly, I now realize it is training for the speaking career that has been trying to get out for the past 20 years.

The other thing I have discovered is that it is easy to put this off because it takes a bit of work to figure everything out.

What I should have done is found someone who had a podcast up and running and pick their brain about everything needed to get started and then set a deadline for myself as to when I would have my first podcast launched.

The final thing I just learned is how to set up my notes so I can remain organized and yet not come off like I am reading a script.

My first few podcasts were done using queue cards, but I did not find that strategy allowed my podcast to flow.

I want to have a conversational tone to my podcasts and the cards would block that at times. Ironically, I discovered this when I made my biggest boo boo.

During my third podcast, I spoke for 65 minutes using my cards. When I finished I discovered to my horror that I forgot to hit the record button on Garage Band (I clicked near it but not ON it!)

While I was kicking myself for that, I realized it was a blessing in disguise because that particular podcast really lacked flow with my card system.

It was through that mishap that I discovered Free Mind, which is a free mind-mapping software. I used that instead to map out my ideas and my podcasts have been 100 times better as a result.

Advice for future podcasters?

For those who are still not sure what kind of podcast they want to produce I would suggest the following.

First, decide on the major category you will fall into on iTunes. Mine was health. That clearly defines the type of message you will be delivering. To see a list of their major categories head here and scroll through the drop-down menu on the right.

Then decide on your sub-category. While I initially started in Fitness and Nutrition I did not feel I could compete there because their were A LOT of people who knew far more about both then I did.

But I felt there was an opportunity to combine that with the mindset aspect of weight loss because NO ONE else was doing that.

I chose self-help (although I prefer the term self-empowerment) and discovered that no one was combining my ideas in that particular niche.

I knew I could dominant if I did things correctly.

My final piece of advice is to study podcasts in your niche to see what they are doing and look for ways to distinguish yourself. I would also recommend that you study other podcasts you like and see what they do that you might be able to “steal” and what you would improve on in yours.

For instance, I noticed most podcasters DO NOT give any kind of specific call to action to their listeners. I stress a few times during my podcast that change does not happen by listening alone. I also make a point of give them a few shifts to act on.

What could you do in your space to really engage your audience?

So how about it people? What could you do in your space to help your audience? Let him know in the comments below.

If you want more inspiration and great advice to make shift happen in your life go on and Subscribe, and if you have any questions or feedback for Dean, you can reach him at dean (at) makeshift happen (dot) com.

And with that, it’s time for you to start podcasting




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