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Align Content with Curiosity: Elevate Your Podcasting Game | Rich Brooks

Today’s Guest Rich Brooks

In the ever-evolving world of podcasting, the line between a passable podcast and an exceptional one is often drawn by how well a podcaster can align their content with the innate curiosity of their audience. It's a craft that demands not just a fleeting interest in the medium but a passionate commitment to it.

Our recent tête-à-tête with Richard Brooks on Podjunction unravelled some intriguing insights about using podcasts to grow businesses. Brooks, a connoisseur of the podcasting world, shared pearls of wisdom that every budding podcaster should string into their strategy. Here’s a distilled essence of our conversation that underlines two pivotal takeaways: strategic content alignment and gradual investment in quality.

Strategic Content Alignment: A Symphony of Interests

The essence of creating a podcast that resonates lies in finding a sweet spot between what you're passionate about and what intrigues your audience. It's akin to conducting a symphony where your interests and your audience's curiosity harmonise to create a captivating auditory experience. This alignment, as Brooks aptly points out, is not a given; it demands an inventive approach to content creation.

Gradual Investment in Quality: The Art of Sound Evolution

Brooks’s journey through the podcasting equipment landscape offers a sage lesson in prudent investment. Starting with the basics and progressively moving towards higher quality as your podcast grows is a strategy that balances ambition with sensibility. It's about letting your podcast's success dictate the pace of your investment in equipment, ensuring that every pound spent is a step towards enhancing your podcast's quality and appeal.

This approach not only mitigates the risk of premature expenditure but also aligns with a growth mindset that values evolution over revolution. It’s about understanding that the quality of your content, buoyed by the quality of sound, is a gradual climb rather than a swift escalator ride.

The Path Forward: Curiosity Meets Content

The dialogue with Brooks unveils a universal truth about podcasting: it’s a medium where curiosity reigns supreme. Whether it's the podcaster’s curiosity about the world, their passion for the subject matter, or the audience’s thirst for knowledge, curiosity is the compass that guides the journey.

"Align Content with Curiosity: Elevate Your Podcasting Game" is not just a call to action; it's an invitation to embark on a podcasting journey that’s as enriching for you as it is for your listeners. It encourages you to explore, experiment, and engage in a way that leaves your audience not just satisfied but eagerly anticipating what’s next.

As we navigate the podcasting landscape, let us remember that at the heart of every successful podcast is a story fuelled by curiosity, crafted with care, and delivered with passion. So, here’s to elevating your podcasting game, one curious step at a time.

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Sadaf Beynon: [00:00:00] Welcome to Podjunction, where business meets podcasting. Whether you're on a morning jog, driving to work, whipping up a meal, or just taking a moment for yourself, our weekly bite sized episodes promise fresh insights from successful podcasters who have cracked the code of using podcasts to grow their business.

So whether you're a podcasting newbie or seasoned podcaster, grab your notebooks and get ready.

Matt Edmundson: Wow. Hello. Welcome to Podjunction. My name is Matt Edmundson. Beside me is are you warm yet? You were cold.

Sadaf Beynon: I'm much better. Thank you.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. We're recording this on a very actually we're saying it's cold. It's cold inside, but actually outside it's really warm now. Very nice outside. Yeah. The sun is shining.

We should do an outdoor broadcast. So yeah, well, [00:01:00] actually I should say, if you're listening to the audio, this is Sadaf next to me. I know you can see it on the screen if you're watching the video but yes, welcome to Podjunction. You know what I'm going to do, true podcasting legend that I am, I'm actually going to put my phone on do not disturb because I realized I'd not done it before we started.

We should probably do a whole episode on that. And that whole thing. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway, welcome. Welcome to the show. How was your weekend, by the way? Was it a long time ago?

Sadaf Beynon: It feels like a long time ago.

Matt Edmundson: Or did something so bad happen that it required that serious intake of breath? Honestly, I

Sadaf Beynon: can't remember it.

Matt Edmundson: Always bring your attention to detail.

Sadaf Beynon: I got to sleep in, I think,

Matt Edmundson: which actually, I can't remember it. That's a big deal with your kids. Yes. Yes. Yes. Cause I can't imagine they're one for letting you sleep in. Hudson,

Sadaf Beynon: he's feels, seems like a teenager actually. He wakes up at like midday. Oh, wow.

Lincoln's more like 7,

Matt Edmundson: [00:02:00] 6. 30. Yeah. It's more what I'd expect really. Yeah. It's Lincoln. It's Lincoln. Hey Lincoln, how you doing? What a legend. What a legend. What we got coming up today, apart from talking about your lying habits. Anybody else got a lie in this weekend? No.

Sadaf Beynon: You like how we stopped just in case someone was going to respond.

Matt Edmundson: People listening to the show are going yeah, no, no one else got a line.

Sadaf Beynon: Okay. So today we are back with Richard Brooks, part two. The legend. And he is talking about how actually podcasting isn't for everyone and it requires a passion. Ooh, controversial. For the medium. Yeah. That's. In essence

Matt Edmundson: what it is about.

Okay. So do we not need to listen to the interview?

Sadaf Beynon: No, you got it all Moving on.

Matt Edmundson: No, it should be great. Okay. Cool. So shall we run that? No, I got a

Sadaf Beynon: question for you first. You okay there?

Matt Edmundson: Just smack the microphone into my chin. We've got [00:03:00] the We've got these new mic stands. So the mic stands don't come across your face when you're talking on camera and I just for whatever reason just decided to knock this one so the mic just punched me right in the chin.

You just have to watch the video as Matt's teeth fall out.

Sadaf Beynon: I

Matt Edmundson: really need to get used to these. Wow, that's awkward. Okay.

Sadaf Beynon: For once, it's you and the microphone, not me. Yeah. I've got mic issues. Okay, so Matt, if you had to describe your podcasting style. In three adjectives, what would they be?

Matt Edmundson: Oh, I hate these kinds of questions.

Three, what's an adjective?

Sadaf Beynon: It describes a. You don't know, do you? No, hold on. It's coming.

Matt Edmundson: English 101. A noun.

Sadaf Beynon: No? Or is it a verb? Adverb is a, describes a verb. So adjective describes [00:04:00] a noun.

Matt Edmundson: How would I describe my podcast? What was my podcast style? Your style. My podcasting style. Hopefully curious. Does that work? Does that work as a word? Yeah, curious. I like to be curious friendly, hopefully, try and be a little bit friendly I don't know if I'd use the word entertaining because I don't It's not what I would call a traditional form of entertainment, but I'm hoping that it does entertain.

It's actually enjoyable. Maybe that's a better word. I want it to be enjoyable. Nice. So I don't know if that's actually reality or just what it is in my head. No, this is my podcast is enjoyable. It's curious and it's friendly and everyone else listening to it going, Matt, no, not on any kind of level.

I should ask you the question, how would you describe my podcast style? You don't have to use adjectives, by the way, you can use

Sadaf Beynon: whatever word you like. No, I definitely think it's entertaining. Okay. Because you do [00:05:00] listening in, I do laugh. Okay. Along with the jokes that you guys are making, even though I'm not there.

And I definitely agree with you that you have an inquisitive mind, so you do dig. And yeah, and you just keep digging until you've had your fill and then you move

Matt Edmundson: on. Yeah, that's true. In England, we just call that being nosy. Yeah. You can use words like inquisitive and curious, because it just makes it sound better.

But he's just nosy. Yeah, I'm just like, I'm just

Sadaf Beynon: nosy, nosy, so and what was the other one you used, friendly, yeah, I think you definitely disarm your your guests.

Matt Edmundson: One would hope so. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So you basically have just used the same three words I did. I was

Sadaf Beynon: just qualifying your I didn't actually pay any attention to your question.

I went with my own. Okay, I'll just

Matt Edmundson: give you the same answer. Very good. Ladies and gentlemen listening in, how would you describe your podcast in style? Use adjectives, add nouns, adverbs, verbs, [00:06:00] whatever language you want to use to describe your podcasting style. It's an interesting thought though.

Well done, I like that question. You're welcome. Let's play the video. Obviously podcasting's been good for you and your business, and I would say it's been good for me and mine, definitely. Do you think podcasting is right for everybody?

Rich Brooks: Absolutely not. You mentioned, you made the joke about having a face for radio.

Some people have a voice for newspaper, right? That's my joke, by the way.

Matt Edmundson: I need that joke. Yeah, I like that. That's very good. I'm going to use that one. Please go.

Rich Brooks: No, first of all I don't think it's for every ind first, I don't think it's for every person because you really have to enjoy the platform.

And I'm not just saying about being a consumer because I probably podcast produce more than I podcast consume. And to be honest, when I consume audio, like I'm driving down to pick up my daughter from college tomorrow, I'm going to be listening to the latest Jack Reacher book. That's generally how I like to consume.

Audio is through stories and stuff like that, but the other [00:07:00] piece of it is, Does your audience want to learn that way? And that becomes the trickier piece. So if you, there are industries where it's natural for somebody to listen to audio, to learn, to become informed, but there are other ones where it's a little bit of a tougher sell.

For example my girlfriend's brother is a real estate, successful real estate agent down in Nashville. Tennessee. And he wanted to start a podcast. Now, if you think about a real estate podcast that's geared towards consumers, like that is not the customer journey, right? No one's like I'm looking for a new home.

I'll go listen to an audio podcast like there's, that's not something that people do. But what he decided to do is he created a podcast with a friend of his that talks about food and nightlife. in Nashville Now, that's an interesting podcast, and that's something that a lot of people would want to tune into. All of a sudden, he becomes the go to guy for that nightlife, for the [00:08:00] restaurants, for the lifestyle of Nashville, even though he's only been there for a few years, but now he's establishing his credibility.

Some of that's going to spill over into people who are looking for homes, or maybe during their journey to find out more about Nashville, is this where I want to move, suddenly they're like, they discover this podcast. They find out that it's done by a local real estate agent who must know the area because he's literally doing a podcast on it.

So if you love the idea of podcasting and you're like I don't know if it will work for my industry, you may have to get creative on the exact content that you're going to be talking about. I don't know that he's ever saying oh, I've got a great new house in a quiet neighborhood just outside of Nashville.

He's just talking about the experience of living in Nashville. Yeah, which is a great positioning, I think, for his podcast.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, it's very clever, actually a good way to make it accessible, I think. What sort of equipment have you invested in? Have you spent a small fortune or is it all fairly standard?


Rich Brooks: not spent a small fortune and I started with a much, much [00:09:00] smaller fortune. I think when I first started, I bought like a 30, headset USB plugged into my computer. I've always been a Mac guy, so I've always had GarageBand for the last 15, 20 years. So I just used that and I put it all together and I discovered Libsyn through my podcasting friends and that was a platform I used.

So at the beginning, it was an investment of about 35 plus about 10 to 15 a month in hosting fees. Now over time, and this is how I've always lived my life, like when I wondered if I wanted a road bike, I didn't go out and buy a 3, 000 road bike. I went down to the bike store, I found 100 bike that was 20 years old and I just started riding that to see if this was something I yeah.

Absolutely. Clever, yeah. Now I have, off to my right, I've got a Roadmaster mixing board, which I literally never touch except to turn on because I don't know how to use it, and I've got a nice microphone here. I had my, I had a guy who no longer works here, but used to work in radio, and I'm like, set this up for me so I never have to think about it again, and he did, and I've got a nice boom mic just off the side [00:10:00] those kind of things.

Usually I have earbuds in, but I apparently left them at home today,so I'm using my old school. So I've invested more in overtimeabd obviously, using a service like Barevalue, even when I do think they very affordable, cost money. Having my team members, who could be doing billable work, work on my podcast costs money, all those things cost money but as far as like physical equipment goes, I moved from 35 for a microphone to about 115 for the Blue Yeti or whatever it was at the time.

And now up to the Rodecaster where I think I spent close to 1, 000 on my current setup, but again, I didn't do that until I was like at episode 400. I think the thing is, you can get really good quality sound out of a 35 headset that you plug into your computer. Find out if you like this. Yeah. Find out if you've got the long term commitment for this before dropping a thousand, $1,500 or more on a true setup.

Sadaf Beynon: If you're [00:11:00] intrigued and want to dive deeper into this conversation, check out Pod Junction cohort where you can listen to the complete interview and much more. Simply visit the podjunction.com for more information about how to join.

Matt Edmundson: Welcome back. Great conversation there from Rich. You know what? I really enjoyed talking to Rich.

Such a legend. He keeps threatening to come over and we go for a pint. Yeah. We're talking and I should take some video cameras and microphones when we do it, cause it'll just be a great conversation. But Rich is another guy that I met through podcasting. Just you meet some really cool people and Rich is one of them with a podcasting.

So yeah. What'd you think? Yeah. Oops. Sorry. I see now you're smacking the name. That's the problem, isn't it? Once you've got your pen

Sadaf Beynon: in it. What do I think? Okay. I liked what he said about positioning your or understanding how to position your podcast. Yeah. And rather than, every like podcasting is fun instead of just jumping in though, like aligning [00:12:00] your, what you enjoy with what your listeners actually want to hear.

And then how do you position that so that you know you're getting value content that's value, that adds value Plus, yeah, you're enjoying

Matt Edmundson: the process. Yeah, that's very true. And he gave that example, didn't he? Of a friend that was a real estate. Broker in, was it Nashville? Nashville, yeah. And doing a podcast that wasn't about houses in Nashville.

, because he, you're right. Understanding the customer journey was what he talked about, wasn't it? . And it's just that's not what people want. Positioning it in a way that made sense for. I hope that was helpful. It's

Sadaf Beynon: It's

Matt Edmundson: an interesting idea. And I love what he said about that, actually.

I thought that was really good, but it's still a slightly controversial comment. Yeah. Was that actually podcasting is not for everybody. What did you think to that? [00:13:00]

Sadaf Beynon: I thought that was great, actually. It's nice to hear something, so direct.

Matt Edmundson: Because you're quite a black and white type person, aren't you?

You like yes and no's.

Sadaf Beynon: Yeah, for the most part. I like some grey areas too. I like I like ambiguity as well. Do you? Yeah.

Matt Edmundson: On any kind of level. That's the end of the story. We're going to get your husband on this podcast one day. Spill the beans. So yeah you, so you like it. Very definite. I'm hitting the desk, by the way. That's what that loud bang is in there. Very professional. Hit the desk. Near your microphone.

Why, yes, apart from the fact

Sadaf Beynon: it's black and white. Yeah, I think I like, again, going back to what he said, why you should why you shouldn't, not everyone should have it because you've got to have a passion for what you're doing. And I think that's when you go the distance. Yeah.

And sometimes you can jump into stuff and it can be fun for a bit. But if you don't have, you don't know what you're doing or where you're heading you're, it's going to fall flat. And then, what

Matt Edmundson: then? [00:14:00] Exactly. Because podcasting excuse me, podcasting is all about longevity, isn't it?

And I think if you don't enjoy what you do, that's going to come across through the microphone because you'll hear it. I've listened to the podcast. I was watching this Instagram video. It's not podcast, but I was watching this guy, a tax accountant the other day on Instagram came up and was just literally reading a script and you could see his eyes going across in a very monotone voice.

Just reading a script about how directors should pay themselves. And I was just laughing to myself, I thought, how in the world does this guy think this is a good idea? Because there was just no engagement. It's just how you stereotypically perceived an accountant to be. He was being on camera, no.

Tonality in his voice. No, just boring on camera. And you know what? I made all kinds of judgments about this. I thought this is not going to work for this guy, surely. And then I saw that he'd had 15, 000 likes. [00:15:00]

Sadaf Beynon: That's other accountants. Yeah. That's

Matt Edmundson: the other accountants going, yes. We finally got one of us on TV.

It's brilliant. And you're doing a great job. So it shows you what I know really, but I think that it does come across in your voice. And I think if you, unless you are an accountant or maybe, any other profession that doesn't need to be interesting, I'm really sorry if you're an accountant listening to this show, and I don't mean to offend you.

The only reason I can make fun of accountants is I technically am one. Oh, you are? Little known fact by Matt. Yeah, I went and did accountancy at uni, got qualified, I didn't do all my qualifications because after uni, doing it for three years at degree level, I was like, I've had enough, never want to be an accountant really, but I will say this, it did teach me everything I needed to know about money and figures, very useful degree, very happy I did it, but that's an aside so yeah, unless you really, I don't know, I don't know. Occasionally, it is going to work if you are boring and monotone, but I think if you have a passion that comes through on the microphone and it just makes the show much more interesting.[00:16:00]

Does that make sense? It does. Very good. What about you? In

Sadaf Beynon: what sense? What

Matt Edmundson: did you think? About what Richard? Yeah. I thought it was all nonsense.

Sadaf Beynon: Especially that part about just, investing slowly in equipment.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, especially that part, because that was the bit where I was like, whatever, I just did not do that at all. That's not actually true. When we did our first podcast, you can see it in the behind us, we've mentioned this before, the sound desk, the little sound desk we started out with, and I borrowed some microphones from our local church.

Connected into that and thought let's have a go and then I bought some microphones. But yeah, when you're in the studio with sound, it's not cheap. But it is good. But you have been

Sadaf Beynon: doing this for a fair while

Matt Edmundson: now. Yeah. I've definitely gone through the cycle. But yeah, it was funny. And it is, if you're like me and I totally get this.

If you're like me, when you start something new, you're like, I am going to go all [00:17:00] out. I am going to, I have a budget, whatever the budget is, I'm going to blow it because there's tech, right? And there's tech and tech is shiny and tech is wonderful. And that means I can do some really cool things. And yeah, if you're like me with that sort of shiny object syndrome, podcasting is one of those things where you can get utterly carried away.

It's funny the amount of conversations I have with people who are thinking of starting podcasts saying, you don't need that, you don't need that, you don't need that. But they're like, but Matt, you've got it. And I'm like, yeah, but you

Sadaf Beynon: don't need it.

Matt Edmundson: So yeah, especially his part where he said, but I agree with him actually. The one thing that I would say is if you do start a podcast with something like Apple AirPods and Zoom, which I've seen a lot of people do. That I don't think is particularly great. I think the one thing that I think you have to invest in, even from day one, [00:18:00] is a good quality USB microphone, right now because audio is everything.

It's better, it's more important, we've got a nice camera with a nice lens. We've got nice lighting. We're in a studio. We've got the backdrop. More important than all of that are the microphones that we use. And without good audio, people just don't listen. And I think you can get a good USB mic for 20, 30 bucks.

I don't think you need to necessarily spend more than that. You can, Rode do a really nice microphone, the pod mic, which is now USB. That's 200 bucks. That's quite a bit of a leap. But we got one of those for Jen. Oh, yeah, the Rooted Podcast and stuff like that, beautiful microphone.

So if you've got a few quid and you want to invest, that is just a great mic to get. But the rest of it, I agree with, I think you don't need to rush in, but don't just do them on airpods because the sound gets compressed and it doesn't sound too great. But that would be my only thing. Use a USB mic.

Honestly, top tips but no, I loved what he said about passion. I love what he said about how podcasting is [00:19:00] not right for everybody. I think you've got to enjoy it. It's a complex medium in some ways. It's a unique medium. I think it's got some great opportunities, but it's not difficult. I just think, I think you've got to be comfortable sitting in a room by yourself talking a camera.

With a microphone as though you're talking to a crowd of 5, 000 people now, I don't think you get that straight away does that make sense? I think that's part of the craft which you hone So I don't think you need to be there before you start Yeah, but you do have to get used to the idea the fact that you are going to be talking to yourself Yeah, and some people call that crazy

Sadaf Beynon: Yeah

Matt Edmundson: I just want to point that out.

So you're crazy if you talk to yourself. But if you put a microphone in front of your mouth and talk to yourself, people call you a podcaster. Ladies and gentlemen, I'll leave you to make your own conclusions.

Sadaf Beynon: I like that. And on that note.

Matt Edmundson: I should, we should if I haven't got it on, I haven't got a button to do it. No. [00:20:00] I want to play Seal's Crazy. The song by Seal. Crazy.

Sorry, I just put that song in everyone's head and I apologize for my really awful singing. But yeah, have the passion. So I like what Rich said, I thought, coming back to your original question, I like what he said. I didn't like what he said about not going to town on tech, that's just me.

But the rest of it, I thought was great. I thought I, I just really enjoyed that whole interview. If you've not joined the Podjunction Cohort, go check it out, go check out the full interview and really have a listen to it. It's. It's just utterly insightful, the stuff that comes from Rich and do connect with him because he's such a legend.

And if you haven't done so already, check out his podcast, Agents of Change. It's a great marketing book. I really enjoy listening to it. So, yeah. Yeah. Anything else on that? Nope. Not for me. Not for me. Okay. What's coming up next week?

Sadaf Beynon: In the next episode, I think it's Nick Trueman. It's going to be Nick Trueman.

Matt Edmundson: Oh, it's going to be Nick Trueman , isn't it? [00:21:00] Another legend. Another legend. He messaged me a little while ago. He said, Matt, I'm in Liverpool. Do you fancy going and getting a pizza? Yeah. So we went and grabbed a pizza. Oh, cool.

And we just chatted for an hour and a half, I wish I'd recorded that as well, such a legend that guy, really enjoyed that, learned a lot about him, which was cool. So do tune in for the conversation with Nick Trueman next week as we carry on our conversation around podcasting, how to use it to grow your business and all of that sort of good stuff.

But yeah, on that bombshell, is there anything else to add? All right, we'll end it there. We'll see you next week. Bye for now.

Sadaf Beynon: And that brings us to the end of today's episode at Podjunction, where business meets podcasting. If you enjoyed the insights from today and wish to hear the full conversation with today's special guest, don't forget to visit thepodjunction. com where you'll find more information about how you can join today.

Whether you listen while on the go or in a quiet moment, thank you for letting us be a part of your day. Remember, [00:22:00] every episode is a chance to gain insights and to transform your business with podcasting. So keep tuning in, keep learning, and until next time, happy podcasting.