Evo Terra | Podcast Lessons from an Early Podcaster

Evo Terra 9:21

Well, at that time, there had been one other book that came out before ours, Todd Cochrane, who runs Blubrry had put out his book on podcasting essentials with the name of it way way way early. Ours came out right after that. Rob Walch. Rob works for Libsyn they released a book from another podcasting book so there was a flurry of activity around the selling of these how-to podcast books, but of course, as I said, we had an unfair advantage. Ours was yellow and black and had the for dummies logo on it. So it sold really well. We learned our advance really quickly. They reached out and said, Hey, we want you to do a fall. And we’re going to actually do a new book in a new series. And we were able to ask for more money and they gave it to us. So it was extremely positive. Everybody loved it. The books are now still being produced. I’m no longer writing them. But it’s on its fourth edition now, just came out, I think last November was the newest one. So there’s still a great hunger and talking to the two guys to my original authors still writing it and another friend of mine, Chuck, according to these guys, it earned that advance even faster, this new version. So there’s a great hunger in the market for the one-on-one level, how to get started in the podcast.

John Corcoran 10:30

I could see that because there’s more awareness now what podcasting is 15 years ago? I mean, when I started in 2010, no one knew what it was and 2004 you know, yeah, way more obscurity, you know, at that point. What are you excited about with podcasting today, as we, you know, march through 2021?

Evo Terra 10:52

You know, podcasting has been through a variety of different inflection points, if you will, but starting in 2019, it’s just been insane. I mean, the amount of Interest and Money pouring into podcasting, you know, how much money did Spotify spend 2019, some, almost a billion dollars, right? They spent a fortune buying up companies right and left in 2019. That continued to 2020. Now, or you’re in 2021, I hear the media is making huge expenses and pushes. So the money continues to pour into podcasting. And if you look back at 2020, do you realize we’ve doubled the amount of podcasts available in 2020, over a million shows were added in 2020. There are 2 million podcasts, 1 million of them were created in 2020. So that’s what excites me that the nonstop interest, the excitement, the money that the brains now looking at this and the cool startups that are jumping in place going, how can we take what podcasting is and turn it into something else, and continue to modify and change and build on that every day, there’s something new,

John Corcoran 11:58

and talk a little bit about the impact it’s had on you, both personally and professionally. Just doing it over the years. I know personally, for me, you know, my business partner, and I connected through it, I’ve been to people’s weddings, just been an amazing gift for my life. I’ve interviewed you name it every different business book, there’s almost, there’s virtually, it’s almost like no business book, you can’t just reach out, you can reach out to anyone and say, Hey, I’d love to feature you on my podcast to talk about your book, he’s not going to take you up on that offer.

Evo Terra 12:29

And almost always, they will say yes, and it’s always been that way. You know, my life changed. With podcasting, pretty much from the time I got started. In 2005, I decided to launch a company that is no longer available, but it was called podiobooks.com. And the concept was we would take the authors, again, these under published authors that I knew and say, why don’t you release your book that’s not selling very well, because this is again, pre Kindle days. released. That book is a free podcast, you narrate the book, one chapter at a time, and we’ll release it on our own feeds and put it out there and maybe some build some buzz around that. So we did that on a lark in 2005. I say we met my partner and I, Chris Miller, who I didn’t meet for five years. I never met him, because he was a listener on my podcast. And I said, Hey, I want to do this. And he emailed me and said, I think I can build that. So we launched a business, never having met each other for five years. And doing that. And so and that was great, because that led to all sorts of things. We had 700 titles, pushing out a couple of million episodes of downloads every month. Really amazing. But from there I made such friends that I was able to do a lot of crazy things like one of the authors on that site offered for me to stay for free. In her house, her second home she has in Spain, when my wife and I were doing some traveling in Europe. So I still have the keys to her house in Spain where I got to live for free, because I helped her release some books of hers out to the world. And that’s just the beginning of it. You know, I’ve met so many people, got to speak at so many places, traveled around and had amazing interaction with people. I started a business which became my only full-time job back in 2016. While I was living abroad, I started a podcasting company. And it’s afforded me to be able to do what I love and what I’m good at when I’m on the forefront of every single day. So I couldn’t be happier.

John Corcoran 14:25

What are some mistakes you see new people that are getting started in podcasting? What do you see the common mistakes you see people continue to make again and again?

Evo Terra 14:36

Yeah, unfortunately, there are a lot of common missteps, myths, misconceptions that people continue to fall into. And I think that’s the nature of the internet. It’s hard to squash misinformation, as we all learned in the recent election cycle, but regardless of that, there’s just a lot of bad information out there which people keep falling prey to because they’re looking back looking at YouTube. audios or other sorts of unvetted materials, or they’re looking at a course somebody threw together six years ago that’s still out there. And it’s just not really good stuff. It’s hard to find. What are the solid best practices of podcasting? So Mistake number one is continuing to make the same mistakes without knowing the right stuff. But the flip side of that is unfortunate. And that is that sometimes, and this is being spoken from the point of view of an old man, sometimes the opinions of old men are prized over all new things. And that’s a real problem. That’s a real problem, because I can prove that podcasting in 2004, and 2005. And six is vastly different than it is today. And there are a lot of, let’s call them gatekeepers out there who have a vested interest in keeping podcasting, the way that it was perfect. If they would ask if they would answer that question, honestly, in 2006, but it’s not. It’s a vastly different thing. So the second mistake is not taking risks, not taking a step forward and doing something that is vastly different from what’s come before and ignoring what the old dude said, just because he’s been doing it for 15 years.

John Corcoran 16:08

Mm hmm. That’s great. Any final thoughts? Before I have two questions, I don’t want to wrap things up. I wrap every interview up with but before we get to those any final thoughts for anyone listening to this? Who listens to podcasts, but hasn’t started one themselves? Some little bit of inspiration?

Evo Terra 16:26

Yeah, yeah. So first off, are you sure you want to do this? I mean, really, honestly, it is a lot of fun. It is a lot of fun. But one of the things that all of my clients learn and all of them to a tee learn this, even though I’ve told it to them dozens of times is podcasting is a lot harder than you think. And whatever amount of time you’ve set aside to do podcasting, triple it, then you might be getting closer. But it is extremely rewarding. If you really want to do it for all the right reasons, then absolutely. jump in, don’t be afraid to do it. But I guess the last thing I will thank you, I’ll leave you with is this, um, it’s not 2004 anymore. You can’t get away. With a less than professional effort. People aren’t going to give you a pass. If you just want to make podcasts for your friends and your buddies and sit downstairs and just have a gabfest on the weekend. Knock yourself out, just realize No one’s going to listen to it. If you really want to get serious about it, then you need to make a serious investment. That means a serious investment in time, serious investment in equipment to make sure that your stuff sounds good. People have an extremely discerning ear. Of those 2 million podcasts. Most of them are terrible, and that’s okay. So make sure you’re making one that can rise above the fray.

John Corcoran 17:40

Alright, so wrapping things up. Last two questions. First of all, as you look at, you know, I’m a big fan of gratitude. So if you look at your peers, your contemporaries, maybe you mentioned a few names already. Todd Cochrane, Rob Walch, Rob Greenlee I had on the podcast a while back, he was a very early podcaster. You know, are there any peers or contemporaries that you respect and admire the work that they’re doing?

Evo Terra 18:03

Absolutely. You know, I live by like most podcasters. I live by the words of James Cridland. Every day, he runs Podnews, and is archiving what’s happening in the world. So no doubt James is great. Another person that I look up to and work with on a regular basis is a gentleman by the name of Bryan Barletta. Bryan runs Sounds Profitable, the podcast ad tech newsletter. A wicked smart guy really has his pulse on how we’re going to grow the revenue side of podcasting through great, fantastic technology. But then, you know, I would, I would look at other people who aren’t necessarily looking at podcasts from a business point of view, and are looking at it more from a good content creation. You know, people like Wil Williams from Hug House Productions. They’re doing an amazing job of bringing the community together and making content that you just wouldn’t get in any other way. And that’s just the beginning right? There are so many names, I can rattle off that make podcasting better,

John Corcoran 19:00

that’s great. And then, you know, let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, like the Oscars or the Emmys and you’re receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done up until this point, but we all want to know is who do you think in addition of family and friends, of course, you know, who are the mentors? Who are the investors with the business partners? Who are the people that you would acknowledge in your remarks?

Evo Terra 19:22

Yeah, mean, I owe most of who I am today, primarily to my grandfather, who was a fantastic gentleman. I mean, he could tell a story and I called Mike like no other and definitely left me with my gift for making the truth better. Isn’t that right honey, making the truth better, he says looking at his wife who continues that they make stuff up all the time. But beyond that, you know, there I’ve done a lot of interesting things, largely thanks to the people that I’ve been surrounded with my lovely wife, Sheila de definitely one of them. But also, you know, back in my days of working in agencies, you know, I’m sorry. so thankful that people like Matt Green, and Brett Giles that are random two agencies that I worked at gave me enough space to really explore new ideas and build new things. And of course, I couldn’t have done that without, you know, an amazing group of people working alongside of me like the Jeff Moriarty is of the world and, and then so many others who have been able to, you know, take some of the ideas and make those ideas better and work more and do more. It’s just amazing that I’ve been surrounded by the right people for most of my life.

John Corcoran 20:34

It’s an exciting time to be involved in this emerging medium. And it’s gonna be interesting to see how things change a lot. It’s amazing, as you pointed out, doubling the number of podcasts in 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, who would have thought that would happen. Yeah, absolutely crazy. But it’s exciting. So it’s really cool. Evo, where can people go to learn more about you?

Evo Terra 20:56

Well, you can go to a couple of spots. My social hangout of choice is Twitter, where I’m simply at Evo Terra, if you want more insight into the future of podcasting and the ways we’re gonna make podcasting better. I talk about that every single day on Podcast Pontifications, my daily podcast short form seven, 9-10 minutes, max. So you’ll get a lot of info about the future of podcasting, and then my company website if you’re interested in someone making a podcast for your business or brand, simpler.media.

John Corcoran 21:26

And I think I saw you in Clubhouse, which all the kids are doing these days, right?

Evo Terra 21:32

Yeah, Clubhouse is an interesting medium. I’m occasionally there. I do a couple of different things. On Fridays, I turn the microphone around, and we do a version of Podcast Pontifications on Clubhouse, but it’s not me talking the whole time. It’s people sharing some of the ideas and thoughts I brought up during the week. That’s every Friday. And then on Sundays, I lead a discussion around fiction podcasting. You know, what’s exciting. What’s interesting, what are you listening to this week, and that’s always fun. You know, we generate 20 to 30 different new shows every week that someone’s excited about and so we get to share that on Clubhouse. Who knows how much longer that’s going to last right? Because now we have Twitter spaces coming along and Cuban with fireside. Yeah, who knows but the social audio dropping audio space is definitely something that we podcasters should pay attention to and everybody else but definitely us in the future.

John Corcoran 22:20

For sure. Smart speakers, all that kind of stuff. integration into cars, more smartphones, you name it, right. Yeah. one more comment. Evo, a pleasure talking to you. Thanks so much.

Evo Terra 22:28

Thanks, John. Take care.

Outro 22:30

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