111. The Systems and Processes of Running a Podcast and Digital Business
Kate Erickson is the engine of Entrepreneurs on Fire, an award-winning podcast where John Lee Dumas interviews inspiring entrepreneurs. Kate is also the co-author of the podcast journal, Ideas to Launch in 50 Days. Her goal is to help entrepreneurs achieve financial and lifestyle freedom.
Today we’re going to discuss the systems and processes of running a podcast and digital business.
From the beginning, Kate was very passionate about her time. To her, time equaled freedom. While she worked a day job, she applied for time-off for a vacation, but it was denied. And that was a big issue for her. That moment helped her gain a new perspective. She wanted to be in control of her time which meant making a change in her life, and so she quit her day job to help John Lee Dumas, with his podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire.
Starting a digital business isn’t easy. In 2019, the failure rate of startups was about 90%. 21.5% of startups failed in the first year. Of those who make it to their second year, 30% failed. Of those who made it to the fifth year, 50% failed, and finally, 70% of startups that made it to their 10th year failed (Source: Investopedia). John Lee Dumas and Kate Erickson didn’t just stumble upon success, they worked hard for it. Now, John is a multi-million dollar podcaster with 100 million listens.
In episode 81 of the Monetization Nation show, John explained how his podcast started with the goal for him to become a person of value. Albert Einstein said, “Do not try to become a person of success but try to become a person of value.” We need to make sure we are starting a business with the intent to create value for others, not just to be successful. That’s the beginning — find a way to add value to your audience’s lives.
Once we’ve determined a purpose that will add value to our digital business, we need to start creating content. For a podcast, this doesn’t just mean recording, editing, and publishing a podcast episode. It also means writing blog content and creating social media content on every platform.
According to a study done by DemandMetric, content marketing costs about 62% less than traditional marketing tactics, and it generates about three times as many leads (Source: AssetDigitalCom). Content has become an essential part of businesses, even if we’re not a content-based company. For example, a law firm can still create blog posts or an ebook to attract customers.
Since running a podcast relies so heavily on content, it may be a good idea to establish a team to help with everything. Creating content is a process. Whether it’s a blog, podcast, or video, most content undergoes these seven steps:
1. Generate Ideas
3. Content Creation
4. Editing and Review
5. Prepared for Publishing (includes captions, feature photos, keywords, etc.)
6. Scheduled for Publishing
And this same process happens all over again when we repurpose the content.
Entrepreneurs on Fire has a team of five. Each team member helps with a different part of the content creation process. For example, John does all of the recording and editing of the podcast, their team member in Pakistan helps with uploading, and another helps with scheduling, descriptions, and repurposing show notes. Kate manages the blog content and then another team member helps with anything community-related. Having a team to help with the content process makes a digital business run a lot more smoothly compared to doing it all ourselves.
Currently, Kate and John’s main source of content is their podcast and blog. All the content on their other channels is repurposed. Anything that’s on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or email is repurposed from a podcast episode or blog post.
John and Kate post a podcast episode every day with new content, but they don’t have time to create new content for every other platform they are on. It’s impractical. This is where repurposing comes in. Repurposing content is a great way to save time and resources while still providing value to our audience. For example, Kate can take the main idea discussed in their podcast and create a 30-second video clip for Instagram. Or she could take their blog, and create an infographic on the same topic.
Repurposing content not only saves time, but generates more reach, increases online presence, improves SEO, and strengthens our messaging.
Once we’ve produced the content for our digital business, we need to get it published. Here are a few of the digital tools John and Kate use to manage their podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire.
Kate schedules all their blog posts two weeks in advance for publishing on WordPress, a system their website is built through. WordPress is a free website builder and content management system that includes features such as plugin architecture and page templates. It is the most popular website builder with 41% of the web built on WordPress (Source: WordPress).
Kate schedules all their social media content through Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media management platform that allows you to schedule and post content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube all from one place. It also allows you to track and analyze trends, monitor and engage across all social channels, and manage security to reduce digital risk. It currently has 18 million customers (Source: Hootsuite).
John and Kate schedule all of their podcasts 30 days in advance on Libsyn. Libsyn is an official podcast host for many popular podcasts. It allows you to publish your podcast from anywhere to platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pandora, and more (Source: Libsyn).
John and Kate manage all of their YouTube posts through Repurpose.io. This software helps you to automatically get podcast content onto different social media platforms. It allows you to take a single video or audio file and repurpose it on other platforms by publishing it directly to YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter (Source: Repurpose.io).
Google Sheets and Google Docs
John and Kate use Google Sheets and Google Docs to help with the overall system of things. They can create tables that schedule podcast episodes and track what stages content is in. It is easy to share with every team member as they can work on documents at the same time.
John and Kate use Asana for project management. Asana is software designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their workflow. It helps teams create visual maps of projects so they can spot complications easier and track the progress of their goals. Teams have reported they are 45% more efficient using Asana (Source: Asana).
Starting a digital business takes a lot of work, but once we have established processes and systems in place, it can be a lot easier to manage.
“Don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of trying to create systems around everything at the same time,” Kate said. “[Find the] most regular content that you create, or [what] has the highest ROI for the business, and take that one thing, and have your full focus be to create a system around how that content is created, scheduled, published, and shared. Once you have done it with that one thing, then find what that next thing is.”
There are many different systems set up within a business, but we don’t have to try and set it all up at the same time. We first need to focus on creating a system for the most important thing. For example, at Monetization Nation, our most important content is our podcast. Once we set up a system for creating and publishing our podcast content, we move to create a system for our other content such as our blog, video, and social media posts.
“Dive deep into every single step that happens [in your systems] and then you can start to find efficiencies,” Kate said. “That is really helpful.”
At the end of the day, we need to remember that we are responsible for everything that happens within our systems. When something fails within our business process, we need to accept it, learn from it, and move on.
One of the biggest mistakes Kate made happened while changing a business process. When she and John moved to Puerto Rico, they had to change their credit card processing and bank management. While they were switching, their bank merchant failed to let them know they didn’t take American Express.
While Kate was going over their expenses, she found a big disparity in what was actually being deposited into her account, and it was because the American Express payments weren’t coming through. This was a very hard mistake to make, but Kate took responsibility for it.
“The biggest lesson I learned from that [experience] is you have to take full responsibility for everything that happens in your business. We can hope and pray and rely on consultants, companies, services, and software to do certain stuff for us, but we can’t rely on them to be responsible for how our business is running. [My experience] has really taught me to have a closer look at what’s going on, on a day-to-day, month-to-month basis in our business,” Kate said.
Thank you so much Kate for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. When starting a digital business, first find a way to add value to your audience’s lives.
2. Content creation has become an essential part of businesses. We should develop systems to help with the process of creating and publishing content.
3. Repurposing content saves time and resources, generates more reach, increases online presence, improves SEO, and strengthens our messaging.
4. Digital tools are a great way to help with publishing and management and do a lot more with fewer resources.
5. At the end of the day, we need to remember that we are responsible for everything that happens within our systems.
Connect with Kate
If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about Kate or connect with her, you can find her on her LinkedIn. If you want to learn more about Entrepreneurs on Fire, you can visit their website, eofire.com. You can also subscribe to her podcast, Kate’s Take.
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