Episode 320

Mastering Multimedia with Matt Medeiros

Learn about mastering multimedia with Matt Medeiros in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. Matt is a fellow podcaster. Chris used to listen to his show called The Matt Report when he was living back in Montana, and that helped Chris learn a lot about the WordPress community and ecosystem.

Mastering multimedia with Matt Medeiros

Chris and Matt dive into what makes the WordPress community and tech different from the typical Silicon Valley or Boston MIT SaaS companies. Typical investment firms discount the value of WordPress-based products, since it’s an open source platform and they could pivot at any time. But if you focus on building your product for the customer and owning the experience, it doesn’t matter what platform you’re on, whether it’s WordPress or a custom coded solution.

There has been a movement over the last 20 years with online tools surrounding democratizing creation. Platforms like YouTube allow you to create your own TV show by uploading videos and creating your own channel. WordPress incorporates democratization of website building with a tool people can use to create blog websites without having coding knowledge. And the WordPress plugin ecosystem extends the functionality of WordPress to add more flexibility to what you can create.

Matt shares a quote from Gary Vaynerchuck around how everyone working online should think of themselves as a media company. For $50-$100 you can pick up a good microphone and connect with others for peer-to-peer interviews, which builds connections, a network, and experience. And that translates to a compounding effect on your ability to produce content and add value to the world.

Check out more about Matt Medeiros and his Matt Report at MattReport.com. You can also learn more about what Matt does at the Castos podcasting platform at Castos.com/PodcastGrader. That survey will give you a grade on where you’re at in your podcasting journey and give you a free checklist for running an interview show. And it will also show how you can actually opt into a private podcast to get a feel of what the world of private podcasting is like to see if that’s a possible media format you can use in your online course or membership platform.

At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Thank you for joining us!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris:

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful Learning Management System for WordPress. Stay to the end. I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Chris:

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m joined by a special guest, a podcaster friend of mine. I used to listen to Matt’s show, which is called The Matt Report, back in the day when I was living in Montana, riding around, learning about this thing called the WordPress community and learning about these entrepreneurs in there and this thing going on, and luckily I was able to meet you one day and just been on the journey with you over the years, and I’m excited to have a conversation with you, Matt, around just digital.

Chris:

Digital today, in 2020, post-pandemic world. There’s a lot of areas where we overlap. So, we are like sales and marketing people, we’re into entrepreneurship, we’re in WordPress, we’re into community building, which I’ve seen you do both locally in your community in Massachusetts and globally just around WordPress and podcasting. Podcasting is another thing you do, audio’s a thing you do, YouTube’s a thing you do, Video’s a thing you do. You’ve run a agency. You’re a sales guy but you can get a little nerdy like me and you’re like a remote working boss. These are all areas where you and I overlap. So, we just keep running into each other and first, thanks for coming on this show; Matt is also at castos.com, which is an awesome podcasting platform. He’s the director of podcasting success over there. Welcome to the show Matt.

Matt:

Hey Chris. What an intro. What an intro. I’m glad we overlap but you far outpace me in many, many other areas but I’m happy to be here. When was the first time we met? Was it at the Drift conference, in person? Or was it at a Word Camp? I remember meeting you at the Drift conference in Boston.

Chris:

I think that was after I met you at a PressNomics-

Matt:

Oh, that’s right. PressNomics.

Chris:

-when it was in-

Matt:

Phoenix.

Chris:

-Arizona… Or Phoenix. Phoenix, yeah. Yeah, yeah. But that Drift conference wasn’t long after that, I think.

Matt:

Yeah. Man, I tell you… I mean, obviously Drift has been a success as a company but if you’ve ever dipped your toe into venture capital or just looked at investment, when you walked into that room, which was atop the, I think it was John Hancock Building, right, in Boston? You were just like, “Wait a minute. This company hasn’t even rolled out a product yet. How do they afford this space, this many people and this line-up of speakers?” It still today blows my mind but obviously for, I guess, good reason they’re doing really well, so…

Chris:

Let’s start with that actually. When I went down there to that, a friend of mine in the ecosystem of LifterLMS actually invited me to go because they got a free bring-a-buddy ticket kind of thing or something and I was like, “All right,” and I’ll go into this Boston startup thing, which I’ve literally been a tech entrepreneur but I’d never been inside my closest tech hub, which is the Boston area, for the mainstream tech and I walk in there and I meet you and I’m like, “Oh sweet. There’s another WordPress person here. This is cool.” I don’t think we saw another one but I was like, “Wow, this SaaS thing is huge.” And I’m sitting there in the audience and I’m listening to David Cancel on stage talk about how long the products existed, how long he’s been in business, or whatever and I’m like, “Dude, I have the same number of customers than you and I have a team that’s 5% the size,” and I’m like, “This is a completely different world,” and it was cool and I loved it and I really look up to David and the Drift team and how they run SaaS. I’m like, “This is cool, this whole VC back thing. We can learn from that, but how do we make that possible or how do we take the best ideas out of here and apply it as a bootstrap?”

Chris:

It’s really fascinating to me but how do you think about the differences between WordPress tech and the whole WordPress community, all the agencies and the product people and the freelancers and the hosting companies and stuff compared to traditional SaaS, whether that’s Silicon Valley or Boston MIT SaaS and other just like real, more mainstream venture back SaaS. What’s the difference?

Matt:

Yeah, I mean, so for full transparency, I’ve never done a VC deal. I’ve never been part of an investment team, though I do mentor a local accelerator, so I do see this stuff happen and of course I’ve been covering WordPress for quite some time. Look, I think from the business owners’ perspective, the only thing that separates the WordPress business owner to that typical SaaS, VC play, is themselves. It’s the confidence in that person. It’s the way they market it. It’s the way they brand it and it’s what their vision is. I think a lot of people… Like if you looked at David Cancel at the time, not that I know where he was in his back story at that time but look, he knows VC. He knows the network, he knows the players in the field, he has connections and he grew up in that space. So, he knew, “I’m going to build a business and I’m going to go after money and I’m going to make this a real thing and then I’m going to take this investment and hopefully turn it into revenue,” whereas I think a lot of WordPress products start with, “I’m a happy developer. I fell upon selling product,” like so many WordPress people did and then it’s like they wake up one day, five years later and like, “Oh, we got a business. People are buying things from me.” But they never went into it with that forward thinking.

Matt:

Now, there’s a handful of people that we could site, like a Syed, who is definitely somebody who is very business focused. You can look at their former team collectively from Copyblogger and that whole sphere of superheroes that put together Brian Clark, Brian Gardner and everyone else… iThemes, Cory Miller, but I think what differentiates the value in it and this is just me theory crafting, is the ownership of the software and that point of view from real investors, they go, “Oh, it’s WordPress.”

Matt:

“Oh, it’s open source. You don’t really own this, this can pivot at any time,” which is true, I guess, to a degree. So, if you’re building your product for owning the customer, owning the experience, again, you could site Syed in this, is like, “Hey, I started with an open source plugin but by the way, I’m building this big SaaS over here and I own this section over here. This is mine. WordPress, if it pivots, it doesn’t matter for me and my business because I have this [inaudible 00:07:04],” and I’m sure there would be a big thing he’d have to do to ride that tidal wave if it ever changed but I think it’s that.

Matt:

I think from the venture capitalist perspective, they look at it and go, “Open source, too much of a risk.” I don’t think they look at it as a bad thing but they don’t look at it as you own this code. It’s not an asset, I guess. It might be a more technical point of view from it and I’ve had Jason Calacanis, who’s I guess a prolific angel investor on my show before and he heard of Copyblogger. As a matter of fact, I made the connection to get Brian Clark on Jason Calacanis’s show in passing on Twitter once. I just said, “You should really have Copyblogger on. They’re a big business.” This is years ago and he’s heard of that. Of course, he’s heard of [inaudible 00:07:49]. He’s had [inaudible 00:07:50] on his show… But even him, he’s not looking at it like, “Wow. Themes are making tens of millions of dollars a year.” Nobody knows. It’s still a hidden thing… And plugins too.

Matt:

I kind of just went off on a tangent there but I think there’s just this miscommunication of how the WordPress product owner perceives herself to the vast majority of people and then how maybe investors look at it and go, “I don’t even think there’s a real business over here,” until they actually discover it and they go, “Oh my God. There is a business here.” Let’s do these things, right?

Matt:

[inaudible 00:08:21] might be an example of people that invest in our world.

Chris:

Yeah, there is some white space for that type of investment, the non-unicorn portfolio investment but it’s a different tribe and in the vein of tribes, you and I exist in this digital tribe. We’ve been here for a long time but with COVID and the pandemic, as I see all these things where, okay, everybody’s trying to figure out Zoom, people are hitting me up, like teachers that I know from way back are like, “Hey, how do I use this? How do I run a webinar? How do I do all this stuff?” Like simple podcasting equipment, like the Cam Link 3X [inaudible 00:09:03] price on Amazon-

Matt:

Microphones.

Chris:

These podcast boom arm mics are flying off the shelves. The ATR2100 is sold out, supply chain… There’s like a huge digital transformation happening, not just in my niche, education and teaching, but just in all categories just dealing with the situation. I’m trying to think of where to bring this is in. WordPress is a little different, like you said, in that there’s a lot of democratization going on. The asset is in the hands of the people. We at Lifter, we want to be a model of how to do freemium in WordPress. We give away most of our value for free, which is very different but if you look at democratization, whether that’s YouTube like, “Hey, you can have your own channel, your own TV show. Just press upload on your phone and start,” or, “You can have your own radio show.” There’s this mass democratization that’s been happening for a long time but it’s really coming into focus. What are your thoughts on just that trend in general and what’s happening right now in terms of the long tail of niches and democratization of media?

Matt:

So, I think that there’s lots of threads here that I want to touch upon. I will try to do it in a succinct fashion. So, Gary Vee… Let’s start with him. Everyone probably knows of Gary Vee, rightfully so. A really big name in marketing and technology and things like that and of course YouTube in creating content. Our perfect play on this, right? And he says everyone should be a media company, everybody should be thinking about being a media company and I 100% agree. I remember when I started my agency, what is now 12 years ago, and I met with a local… They used to run an agency. There were these guys down here and they actually now have a small little angel investment firm and they said to me, “What’s the future?” Now this is back in 2007, 2008. They were like, “Where do you think it’s going?” And I was like, “I think it’s really going to go…” This is actually before I even knew who Gary Vee was. I was like, “I think it’s going to go more like television on the internet.” That’s the way I phrase it. It’s the only way I knew of it. I didn’t know of streaming, I didn’t know of live streaming, Instagram Stories didn’t even exist. I was like, I thought that was the thing and they looked at me like, “Yeah, no, that’s not it.”

Matt:

But here we are in 2020 and it couldn’t be anymore right in that but Gary Vee says things like, “Everybody should be thinking of as a media company,” which is the allure. It’s fascinating, but I’m at the point where now it’s like, “All right, if you don’t have a decent microphone, hurry the hell up. Get a microphone. It’s 50 bucks or a 100 bucks.” When you can find them 50 to a $100 because I’m at the point now where look, you’re going to be on a podcast. You’re going to do a livestream. It’s not even like you think about it anymore, “Maybe I should do this media thing?” No, you have to and if you don’t do it, you might have a peer who interviews you and I see these two worlds collide with my local podcast down here about an hour south of Boston, compared to the Matt report, which is WordPress in literally global, where I can send you a Zoom link, you can schedule a call, you hop on, you’ve got lighting, you’ve got a microphone, you’ve got a camera and in the Matt Report world I don’t have to wrangle anyone to get on a podcast. I mean sometimes, but for the most part everyone is good quality.

Matt:

But when I do it in my local community, people are like, “Wait a minute. Dude, should I just stand right in the sun? While the sun hits me and they’re using their laptop microphones and it sounds like trash?” And I see these two worlds colliding and slowly catching up but you’re not going to have a choice anymore. I implore a lot of people to start local podcasts and start locally because it’s an easier way to win and yeah, someone’s going to eventually knock on your cupcake door and say, “Hey, do you want to be on my cupcake show?” And you have to invest in something. At the minimum, you get a good audio because I can’t stand listening to podcasts that just sound terrible. I just don’t have the time for it. You have to at least get to the bar these days.

Matt:

So, I don’t know if that answers the question directly but I see these two worlds colliding and what I think what has happened is this is thrusting people to be better. There’s no more choice anymore. If you don’t do the livestream, if you don’t do some kind of content marketing and you’re not doing this stuff in public, you’re doing your brand, your product or your community a disservice. Eventually you become irrelevant unfortunately… And maybe not for everyone and I’m not saying it happens immediately but over the next couple of years, people who are really investing in this medium are going to shine. So, you definitely want to keep up and at least get the minimum requirements to sound good. Just sound good. You don’t have to look good, right? You don’t have to buy a camera like Chris and I. You don’t have to get lighting. You just got to get at least a good microphone. That’s it and sound good during these calls.

Chris:

As you were talking, I thought of another aspect that you and I share, which is consistency. This is somewhere around episode 300 of LMScast.

Matt:

I’m like, you’re a lot more consistent than I am but go ahead.

Chris:

Well, I mean, you do different projects but you are consistently creating digital content, digital media. Where does that consistency come from for you?

Matt:

So 500 podcasts, audio podcasts, probably 400 YouTube video’s over eight years, which is really small at least in my point of view in the world of content creators and I probably lost a few episodes in there but a lot of this stuff… Like you said, we’re out there, we’re doing many projects. Like you said at the top of the show, we’re not afraid to start something new. This is what I am… I don’t even want to say that I’m good at. It’s the thing that I can do with the least amount of stress. Creating a podcast, creating a video, is something that I can do. Now, I hear other people say that and they say it because it’s something they can do quickly and just ship it and I try not to approach it that way. When I say it that way, yeah, it’s fairly quick for me, yeah it’s fairly efficient for me but if I’m doing, let’s say, a tutorial on my PluginTut channel on YouTube, I mean, depending on what I’m covering, even a 10 minute video might take me two hours, three hours.

Matt:

If I start doing any kind of B-roll and I’m trying to get creative with it, it’s going to take me longer and I don’t like, and I don’t mean to make this a soap box rant on your show but I don’t like it when I hear marketers… Again, back to the no podcasters, “I’m not even going to buy a podcast. I can just create this is my 12 foot ceiling room and just have echoes while I do this podcast and how awesome is that, how quickly I ship this?” After a while you can start that way because that’s the way I started but I looked at it as, “I want to get better.” I look at this as an art form, which I laughed at when I would tell myself that. I was afraid to say, “I feel like I’m creating art,” and now I’m confident in it, five years later, when I started thinking of this concept, I feel like I am creating art. This is my art and it might not look good to you, it might not be your taste but I feel like I’m always working to get better at it.

Matt:

So, I keep showing up and I keep doing it because I feel like it’s what comes most natural to me and as I get older and have a million kids running around the house, it is something where it’s like, “I’m trying to limit my chasing the shiny object thing,” and just saying, “Podcasting and video production; this is what I’m going to do.” I’m going to stop trying to tinker with a whole bunch of other things and really just commit to this source because it’s so much that I can still do with this. I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface yet.

Chris:

You mentioned tutorials. What are your tips for making great tutorials? And I just want to preface that by saying, I know I’m kind of a online course geek, so I happen to know that at least a little while a go, the most popular multi-million, maybe tens of million dollar creator on Udemy, teaches people how to use Excel. It’s a tutorial course for a product they didn’t make. What’s your advice for people creating tutorials for people?

Matt:

Oh man, this one strikes a chord in my soul, Chris, and I-

Chris:

And by the way, you have Matt Report but you also have PluginTut on YouTube. Can you describe the difference?

Matt:

Yeah, so Matt Report is much more audio podcasts and blog, when I do have the time to do that, really covering the entrepreneurship side of WordPress but really anybody who’s building an online business their way and YouTube.com/plugintut is where I create tutorials for WordPress and that really started… I’ll try to give you the quick genesis of it. That really started as just a complimentary thing to Matt Report. I was looking at all the stuff I was doing with Matt Report and for example, if I had you on the show, I would say, “Well boy, he obviously he has a plugin. This obviously makes sense. I could interview Chris, the business owner and perhaps maybe the developer and then showcase his plugin on a tutorial.” So, it started that way to build this portfolio of content.

Matt:

Why I say this strikes a chord with me is because creating tutorials is a difficult task. If you care about it, it is difficult and it is not for the faint of heart. I will wake up to comments on tutorials that I created four years ago and I’ll have the YouTube trolls coming out saying, “This software, this doesn’t even exist anymore.” They’re getting angry at me because things changed four years later. I mean, what do you want me to do about that? Others say I talk too fast; others say I don’t cover enough. Most recently, I just saw some comments the other day on the Ninja Form plugin. I did a 30 minute video on it and you have some people saying, “This is way too long. What you covered took too long.” Others say, “You didn’t cover enough.” It’s just like you can’t strike a balance.

Matt:

So, what I say is if you’re going to go into the tutorial route, you have to be able to put your blinders on to all of those comments and maybe you’re just a unicorn, an awesome personality and you’re a great teacher and you just knock it out of the park and that’s awesome. Sadly I’m not for, I guess, for whatever reason, yet I continue to show up because I’m still trying to improve but I’m trying to get in some personality into these tutorials and into the content I make. If you’re coming to PluginTut, the content that I put out is much more, “Let’s check out this new plugin, Let’s highlight this new plugin and let’s talk about some use cases and how I might use this plugin.”

Matt:

WPTuts… Who, I’m forgetting his name. It’s not [David Foy 00:20:38] that’s another channel… He does a lot of deep dive stuff into Elementor, Advanced Custom Fields. He uses this other one, WP Jet, I think it’s called but he goes really deep and you know when you’re getting content from him. It’s really deep content, specifically to these dozen or so plugins that he always highlights. At my channel, I just like to bounce around. I like to highlight new stuff that interest me, that I think is really cool and it’s like a preview of plugins with some of my personality in it. At least that’s the angle I like to take. So the advice is, don’t listen to the comments. Don’t let that bring you down. Don’t let that stop you and try to find your own unique angle on it. That’s what I try to do. I get very envious of… And I’m sure you’re seen this Chris, when you were researching cameras for your show, camera reviewers. I mean, the content and the opportunity is endless. There’re massive markets, the’re massive companies, Sony, Fuji, Nikon, Panasonic. You can cover this stuff and talk smack about a camera and be like, “This is the best camera,” and “Sony doesn’t know what they’re doing. Their auto focus is terrible,” and you can do fun things with it… B-roll outside. Crazy things.

Matt:

And then you get to WordPress software and you’re just like, “Shit. All I can do is record a screen, right?” And then I try to do some elements of B-roll with a laptop and iPad and try to make it enjoyable and then you’ll get people who are like, “Just show us though how to do the tutorial.” I’m like, “Okay, I’m sorry.” But this is how I’m going to create the content. This is how I’m going to do it. This is my art.

Matt:

So, again, long-winded answer. I don’t know if that hit all the right things but I look at it as art. It’s my way or the high way.

Chris:

That’s awesome. And you mentioned camera reviewers. We interviewed one of those on this podcast, LMScast. Just do a search for LMScast and [Sean Connell 00:22:37]. He’s a YouTube superstar. He wrote a book, I think called YouTube secrets or whatever. It’s quite good.

Matt:

I watched that show.

Chris:

I have a question for you, related to what you talked about, about these different markets and it’s really around niching. So, I have a similar thing. One of my first online course projects before I built a agency, before I got really into WordPress, before I built this software, LifterLMS, I did courses around the organic gardening niche and I partnered with experts and I made it happen and some of the free YouTube videos that I put up around that project, last I looked, some of them had 70,000 views, 100 000 views, like huge views. If I do a YouTube video on my personal channel or about WordPress, it’s like hundreds, it’s small. There’s a lot I’m doing besides YouTube but not all niches are created equal. You mentioned the camera review videos and stuff, that just pop from somebody who’s like, “I’m a full-time YouTuber. This is everything.” There’s all these different…

Chris:

But without talking about the platform like YouTube versus podcasting versus all this stuff, just the concept of niching. I see a lot of people get hung up on, “I need to be the expert. The show’s about me. I’m an influencer. I want to be the influencer in this niche,” or whatever but they just have a hard time really getting niched on the audience and really, I don’t know, digging in.

Chris:

Can you just speak to… in this age where all these digital creation tools are all around us, how do we niche well and who’s an example of a great niche? And could you also speak to niche size and how the giant niche isn’t necessarily what you want or whatever, but just talk about niching.

Matt:

So, let me try to frame this with what I think a lot of people, myself included… When we’re creating content, if we’re just going out to be that content creator. Let’s say that YouTuber or that podcaster, what kind of money can we make in it? So, when I’m giving advice for starting a podcast or starting a YouTube channel, really anything, it’s like, “So, what’s the goal? Why do you want to do this?” Where at Castos, when I’m talking to people about the success of their podcast, people just say, “Well, I think I want to monetize it.” Well, do you need to monetize it? Do you need to do sponsorships in your podcast or can we turn this goal into something else? Because that’s a tough road to climb. So, I’ve never talked about this on a podcast before, though it’s something that I am thinking about, just doing more on it or disclosing it but I average between 15 and $20,000 a year in revenue for the podcast and the YouTube channel.

Chris:

Affiliate revenue you mean?

Matt:

So, I do a mix of direct sponsorship sales for Matt Report.

Chris:

Okay.

Matt:

I do YouTube ads and then the affiliate revenue is the icing on the cake. So, that’s what I’ve been averaging over the last two years. So, you just have to look at my numbers. I am not a big creator, in the sense of YouTube and numbers. I have 12,000ish YouTube subscribers, I have the Matt Report podcast and I do $100 sponsorship spots and I make $200 an episode and then I make the affiliate revenue, which I barely even really put energy into because I literally have no time at the end of the day to even focus on becoming a good affiliate marketer. It’s just I do a video. I highlighted Elementor. Here’s the affiliate link. I do a tutorial on LifterLMS, here is the affiliate link. I don’t do any other affiliate plays other than just putting the link in the YouTube description and all of that combined works out to about 15 to $20,000 a year depending on how much affiliate sales I make but the YouTube ads is steadily growing consistently and obviously the podcast sponsorships are consistent.

Matt:

So, when people look at this stuff in niching down, again, it took me eight years to get to this point. It’s not [Pat Flynn 00:27:07] level but I think for some people who put in the effort and can really focus in on this stuff, I mean, 15 to 20 is a good goalpost especially if you have another job. If I just focused on that, how long would it take me to double that? And we’re getting closer to a more full-time salary, to get those levels up. So, it’s definitely doable and more obtainable than I think people want to admit to. I think a lot of people look at it and like, “Well, how do I get Mailchimp to sponsor my show or PayPal?” It’s like, “You don’t need to go that route. You find a niche like WordPress and you build up the trust and…” And I’ll take a step back. How do I so sponsorships for the Matt Report? I don’t disclose how many downloads I get. I don’t send sponsors an advertisement breakdown. There’s no contracts. I did that in the past and it was painful. It was painful.

Chris:

Overhead.

Matt:

It’s just the overheads, the time. It’s the thinking and when I first monetized Matt Report, which started four years ago, I was getting… I did one full season, 12 episodes, $12,000. It was $500 an episode for each sponsor, two sponsors per episode. So 12 grand is what it came out to and I did some bonus livestreams and things like that but it was the direct sales, it was a song and dance, it was what’s the legal agreement. I had some big hosting companies… At the time I wasn’t working for Pagely, come to me and say, “Hey, here’s our marketing contract. There’s an SLA here. You have to say these here. We have to be placed here. We have to listen to it. We have to do all this stuff. How many downloads you were getting.” And I was just like… Okay, I entertained, I made some good money and I was like, “This is awesome.” And then I was like, “This is draining.” Got a full-time job, whatever, worked at Pagely and now I’ve restarted the sponsorship stuff to give myself a goal post to keep going.

Matt:

It’s a goal for me to continue to create shows, so I can get some revenue in. That’s the goal but now it’s just $100 and I post it out on Twitter and I say, “Four sponsor available,” and I do it in this lottery fashion so that one person doesn’t come in and buy up the whole show. It’s just like a little fun thing that I’m doing and then I donate 20% of that to Big Orange Heart, which is an organization which helps with mental health and physical health in the WordPress space. Used to be… What was it? WP&UP. It used to be WP&UP. So, I’m also trying to give back with this stuff. So, all of that, as I say, people don’t ask questions. It’s a measly $100 to support one of the highest rated WordPress podcasts on iTunes and 20% of it goes to GiveWP and then I post my receipt when I donate.

Matt:

So, there is profitability in niches. I couldn’t speak to how you identify the size but WordPress was always something that I loved and even in my local market, my next goal post for my local podcast is to monetize that show, which is infinitely smaller than the Matt Report audience but I’m like the only local entrepreneurship podcast in town. Quite literally, I can say those words and I’m going to start with $25 an episode. I’m going to do it the same way. I’m going to say, “Two sponsorships per episode. Lock it in for a hundred bucks for four episodes,” and I’m going to make a few hundred bucks a month there and it’s just going to start to slowly increment the growth of revenue there and then I can pay for my podcast hosting. I can pay for my website, maybe pay for editors and really start to scale that up. So, I guess what I’m saying is, is you don’t have to go Joe Rogan level. People are like, “How do I make a million dollars.” Get that out of your head. Get that out of your head. It’s not going to work for everyone and you can win in other areas.

Chris:

So, speaking of those other areas in the context of niching, what are some of the benefits beyond monetization by developing a digital presence in a niche?

Matt:

Oh God, there’re so many.

Chris:

Yeah, like what?

Matt:

So, number one. It’s like, “Do I have a service that I can filter people to?” That’s the obvious win, right? And it’s like, what do I do? What’s my practice? What’s my career? Am I developer, designer, or am I consultant? Am I helping people build courses? It’s that, right? When I was running my agency day-to-day, I could attribute… When I first started Matt Report in the early days, I could attribute hundreds of thousands of dollars of agency business because of that podcast, from partnerships that I made, relationships that I made. I would use it as a selling advantage.

Matt:

You know, and maybe some of your listeners do know, the agency 10up, in the early days, when we were all really small, all of us… Not the size of 10up now, but people would knock on the door and say, “Hey, we’re also talking to 10up. Why would we pick you over 10up? Look, 10up worked with AOL at the time.” And be like, “Hey, look. That’s awesome. They have a great team. I can’t compete against on the portfolio piece but what I can tell you is,” at the time, “I have 75 episodes in iTunes. It’s a highly rated show and here’s how I do business with people, these episodes here. Here’s all the social proof of me putting everything out there.” And that’s that other win, is if you’re putting everything out there when you’re podcasting or creating YouTube content, even blog content, it’s the act of just doing things in the open, which you and I have talked about before, which creates opportunity for us. It’s a hard thing to just say, “What’s the return on investment in this?” It’s just you’re constantly putting yourself out there, which is creating opportunity for you in areas you have no idea about that.

Matt:

If I never created the Matt Report, I never get the job, I never run my agency for 8 years, I never get my job at Pagely, I never end up here at castos.com, right?

Matt:

Being the director of podcasters success and I attribute all of that to the relationships in the work I put into the podcasts throughout all of the revenue stuff. That just pays for my car and groceries for my kids. It’s the jobs and the opportunities I’ve created from just putting myself out there and that’s why I do what I do. Why do I do the local podcasts? What a useless waste of time, people might say. You get 50 downloads per episode but what it’s doing is strengthening the roots in my local community because I grew up in a local car dealership that ran for nearly 50 years and I am just drawn to that attraction to grow a community locally, not just online. I want to be able to leverage community here in my home and not even for me anymore. The local podcast is for my kids, which is hilarious to say but it’s the only reason why I continue to do it because 18 years from now, when I’m still podcasting locally and my kids need jobs, I-

Chris:

Join the radio.

Matt:

-am going to know somebody, right? I’m going to know somebody that I’ve interviewed and I can say, “Hey, [Brock 00:34:38] needs a job. [Gunner 00:34:40] needs a job. [Jet 00:34:41] needs a job.” And hopefully, that’s going to pay off literally, 18 years from now. That’s the kind of investment I’m looking at with this local podcast, so that I can maybe make connections for them that will give them a leg up. That’s it. Those are the things that immediately come to me for value.

Chris:

Any other thoughts just to help people get over themselves when it comes to free… For example, free software, that you’ve been around WordPress for a while, you’ve seen free services. For example, we’ll do a strategy call for free maybe and then build the relationship or a free content. I see a lot of people in the early days, they’re just really reticent to do so much for free. So, what does it take to get that flywheel of free going and then realize all these other benefits because it’s never right away.

Matt:

Yeah. Well, obviously you have a great tool for this and it’s funny that you bring this up because I was just getting off… I know you have your company meeting. I just got off my company meeting and we’re using LifterLMS in the same capacity that I use LifterLMS for my local podcast, as a lead generation educational tool and you start to build the small building blocks of a community. It starts off with the first six months where 20 people register, yay, but then that compounds over time and then you have hundreds, if not thousands in the long term. Yeah… Free. You have to give away as much as you possibly can. I had this discussion with Craig, who doesn’t come natively from this world. Craig, the owner of Castos, who doesn’t come natively from the content marketing and this educational world, where he just wants to… “Hey, I only want to give this to our customers.”

Chris:

And by the way, we’ve interviewed Craig on this podcast.

Matt:

Oh yeah.

Chris:

He’s from Castos. Craig Hewitt. So, just Google LMScast Craig. He came from a sales background, right?

Matt:

Yeah, hospital and medical sales.

Chris:

Okay.

Matt:

So, he’s very much of the mindset, “Man, we’re going to put a lot of work into this educational content. I only want to really give this to our customers,” which is fine. That’s a natural-

Chris:

That’s what I’m talking about. That thing right there.

Matt:

Yeah. It’s that natural thing. I’m coming from a place that says, “Look, we monetize on somebody creating a podcast with us. You sign up with an account. It’s 190 bucks for the year.” That’s where we need to win. That’s what I want to charge people for. I want to charge people for that value, that connection and we’re going to make that connection through giving away as much stuff as possible. That’s my role as podcaster success. I tell him in these meetings. I hope you’re not listening Craig. I tell him, “You hired me to be the success role for [inaudible 00:37:30] creating a podcast.” And the only way I know how to make people successful is to just give them all of the knowledge, all of the resources, all of the tools that I can possibly put together for podcasting the way that we do podcasting and then hopefully you see that, “Okay, you’ve made this easy. You’ve made podcasting onboarding easy for me. Now we’ll sign up to create a podcast account.”

Matt:

I created a seven minute video the other day for a customer who wrote in. He signed up for an account and he said, “Maybe I signed up too soon for my 14 day trial. I’m in intimidation mode. I’m looking at this stuff. I’m afraid to launch. I don’t feel like I’m ready and I feel like…” And he wants to do an interview show and he said, “I think what I’m going to do is create 10 episodes solo first, get those out and then I’ll use that as a foundation to ask other people to be on the show.” Hey, that’s fine. That’s a fine way to do it but 10 episodes is a lot of work. To hell with that. Do one or two maybe, introducing your show. Let’s just get right out there and have these conversations with people because believe me, podcasters love nothing than being interviewed. So, let’s get people on the show, man. Let’s not wait. And the great thing is, so what if you have to change the name in a year. Who cares?

Matt:

Let’s define the goal, let’s get the process moving, let’s get these connections being made because what people forget in content creation is that it’s going to change. You are literally going to get better every episode or every video or every blog that you put out and you’re going to find yourself in six months to a year in a totally different direction, much more confidant but you’re going to find what you really like. You start broad and then you start to funnel in on things that you’re really, really good at and you don’t know that yet. You simply don’t know what that path is yet and you’re not going to know if you never launch. So, send out seven minute Loom video and then we’re going to schedule a call and help him out and just talk over some of those key points. So, yeah.

Chris:

That’s awesome.

Matt:

I don’t know if that answers the question either. I don’t if I’m answering any of your questions.

Chris:

You are. And just to give you more ammunition for Craig. I’ve listened to his podcast. What’s it called? Is it Rogue Entrepreneur?

Matt:

Yeah, Rogue Startups and then Castos podcast his audience.

Chris:

Okay. So, I’ve been listening to Rogue Startups for years. When I think about podcasting… I mean, I didn’t even choose SoundCloud when we first got on but when I think of new school podcasting… Sometimes a software comes around and you’re like, “All right, yeah, that’s the new school way to do it. I need to switch. I got this technical [inaudible 00:40:20] or whatever, but once I get around to it, this is what I’m going to switch to.” I’ve been listening to Craig and my earbuds talk to the other software entrepreneur… I can’t remember that guys name-

Matt:

Dave.

Chris:

-for years… Dave… And so top of mine, top of mine. So, all that free content just listening to them, work through their SaaS business challenges, it’s huge but it’s very tangential to Castos being top mind for me. I’m mostly as a not Boston or San Francisco or New York based entrepreneur, I listen to these conversations as a way of having some community around entrepreneurship when I don’t live in a tech hub. So, that’s just been super helpful, that content.

Chris:

Another great one is [Brian Casel 00:41:09] and [Jordan Gall 00:41:11], their podcast, where they’re chatting. They’re just having a conversation; I’m just listening. It feels like you’re eavesdropping or whatever but I’ve learned a lot. I mean, for example on that one, one of them was talking about using your documentation as part of the content funnel and focusing on that and I made a pivot to that a long time ago. It really paid off. I just got that by listening to a podcast, whatever.

Chris:

One more thing I wanted to get your comment on. I was listening to… By the way, if you’re watching this on YouTube, go to the LifterLMS YouTube channel and you can see this conversation or if you’re just listening, there’s another big tech podcast called Startups For the Rest of Us by Jason Calacanis that you’ve mentioned. I was recently listening to him talk about this exploding software called Substack, which is like a software for paid newsletter but at the end of the episode I was gearing up and then he was like, “Yeah, I’m not going to do it. There’s a lot of problems with the model.” Tim Ferris tried to make his podcast paid for an experiment, then he want back to free and Jason’s like, “I’m always going to keep it free because every time I try to do Patreon or something else, I dilute the value of free.” So, I just found that interesting, especially coming from more traditional SaaS, let’s make some money kind of area.

Matt:

Yeah, so Jason’s an interesting guy. So, he runs inside.com, which literally started as a single email newsletter and for those of you that have never seen it before you can go and subscribe to different categories of news and it’s actually, literally the place I go to get my news the most consistently because it comes to my inbox and I can subscribe to the things that interest me the most and he’s got a cool model where you can get three free categories and if you need more, you pay whatever the small fee is to subscribe for the year. So, the Substack conversation was interesting. I know the episode you listened to. I actually talked about it with Craig because we have private podcasting at Castos and that’s where an individual user can subscribe to a private podcast that you create on an individual email basis and they get a unique RSS feed that they subscribe to. So, what that means is for you as a content creator, you can remove that access at any point. So, this is perfect for Lifter… And this is not a segue into anything we even planned to talk about but good on you, if you did weave this in.

Matt:

So, if you’re a Lifter, you can connect up your private podcast on Castos and a user comes in, they subscribe to your Lifter course, LMS course and then they get, oh boom, they get this private RSS feed that they can listen to a private podcast on and then if that user no longer gets value from you anymore and they cancel their education subscription with you or you move on with something else, they get that feed taken away from them and they no longer get the new content in a podcast and that’s like Substack but for podcasting and when he was talking about it… I thought it was an amazing conversation… but what he was highlighting is that you get to this point where if there’s a creator on Substack making a $100,000 a month, a million bucks a year roughly, they would say, “Well, why am I paying Substack 10% of this? Why am I paying 150 grand a year when I can probably build it myself for 150 grand a year.” So, definitely interesting conversations from the contents space, which obviously your audience is in. You’re creating this content to educate people.

Matt:

I would definitely implore people, listen to that episode for sure. What really got me at the end of the day is he said, “You can just turn to something like Ghost and do it that way,” and I was like, “Goddamn Jason, why didn’t you say WordPress?” And I think I went into the stream, the Twitter stream, afterwards because he actually posted a screenshot of Ghost and Substack alongside of each other because Ghost doesn’t take the revenue share, or whatever. I was like, “But you can also do this with WordPress,” and WordPress also has tons of plugins to monetize this stuff too, right? So…

Matt:

Newsletter Glue is one that I interviewed, Lesley Sim, on my podcast [inaudible 00:45:29] is actually building a Substack alternative on WordPress. So, yeah, lots of choices. That was a great discussion though.

Chris:

That’s awesome and another WordPress solution out there, I just want to mention, is Groundhogg with two G’s. They have a newsletter. You can do broadcast emails all from your WordPress site. They even have a payments module. So, you could literally instead of paying Substack $150,000 a month, you can sign up for Groundhogg and you’re good to go there.

Chris:

Awesome Matt. Well, this has been a awesome conversation. I love digging into this stuff with you and I’m glad you brought up private podcast. That wasn’t on my list to talk to you about today but I know Castos has been working on this so I’m super excited for the course creator and the membership site builder… And by the way, my strategy for that, do both. Have a free podcast and then have a premium, it’s not like you got to go all in on one site or the other and the cool thing about podcasts and especially a private, exclusive podcast is this whole concept of portable content where on YouTube or on your desk top there’s all this noise and whatever but when it comes to audio only, you’ve got podcast, you have audio books and you have music and it’s portable, meaning you can wash the dishes, you can go for a run, you can commute. There’s a lot more white space and room for that and more and more people I find, are becoming these auditory learners or whatever, so it’s a great thing to check out. So, head over-

Matt:

I thought I knew everything about podcasting before I started my role here at Castos and then I uncovered just the million ways that people are using podcasts and organizations, non-profits, big brands, are using podcasting to educate their company, right? So, look, we can’t get in person anymore and people are burned out from Zoom, there’s a lot of people turning to private podcasting and delivering internal education to their sales teams, globally. Big companies are using it to educate many departments. So, we were talking to a big brand the other day. Many departments, they have 50 internal podcasts.

Chris:

Wow.

Matt:

They’re using it for all aspects of education because it’s portable. It’s not like, “Show up at 9 a.m. on Monday and get all into a Zoom room and listen to this stuff.” It’s like, “Hey, this podcast episode’s going out. Please listen to it over the week. You have a week to listen to this and then next Monday, or next second Monday of every month there’s going to be another podcast.” So, they’re giving their staff the way that they want to be educated. It’s though their podcast and from a marketing perspective, I love it because it is literally, like you said, we have podcasts, music and audio books. I love it because it’s like audio messaging. Once you get somebody into your private podcast, they’re subscribed to it like any other podcast and you upload another podcast and it goes right into it. So, if it’s a course, it’s just boom, delivered right there. There’s not friction once they’re a member. That’s what I love about-

Chris:

The future is here folks.

Matt:

[crosstalk 00:48:35].

Chris:

The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed. Matt and I are early adopters to all those digital, audio, video tech. We’ve been in this for a while but still, this is the early days. I remember going through Seth Godin’s… There was this series on Earwolf, something or other, about startups where it really helped me learn a lot in my early days of becoming a digital entrepreneur and marketer. It’s here but it’s still early days. That’s why I wanted to have this conversation with you so that people can see some power media users that are independent creators but still, there’s so much opportunity especially in your local community like you were talking about but there’s so much out there. How can the good people of the web best connect with you Matt?

Matt:

Well, if you’re interested in the Matt Report stuff, it’s mattreport.com. If you want to check out the Castos stuff, I recently put together castos.com/podcastgrader; castos.com/podcastgrader and you can go and get a little grade on where you’re at in your podcasting journey and then that will give you a whole free checklist of running an interview show and then you can actually opt into a private podcast. So, you can get a whole feel of what the whole private podcast technology is like. So, castos.com/podcastgrader.

Chris:

Awesome, Matt. Well, thanks for coming on this show. We’ll have to do this again down the road.

Matt:

Yeah, man.

Chris:

And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for your over at LifterLMS.com/gift. Go to LifterLMS.com/gift. Keep learning. Keep taking action. And I’ll see you in the next episode.

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