Last summer I was at a crossroads with WP in One Month. In-person courses didn’t work, the webinars were running their course but that wasn’t a sustainable business model. I started having conversations with some great folks in the community – Matt Medeiros, Cory Miller, and Shawn Hesketh just to name a few. These conversations taught me a lot about what I should do, how I should position myself, and potential partnerships. If only they could tell me exactly how their built their business or product…
Those conversations are what gave me the idea for the podcast. When I started How I Built It, it was going to be a way for me to funnel people to my online courses (the new direction for WP in One Month); something like, “You learned how X was built, now take my courses to build it yourself.” But a funny thing happened: the podcast became popular. More popular than I imagined in the first few month. I started getting sponsors and people were asking to come on the show. Last month, I hit 50K downloads in less than 9 months.
This sincerely excites me. I thought at best it would be a fun side project (and I do have lots of fun doing it – new gear post coming soon). At this point it’s a considerable source of my income on top of a fun project. Lots of folks have asked me how I got to 50K in a short amount of time, and honestly, I think it comes down to 3 things.
Content, Consistency, and Keeping Focus
In the above video I talk a bit about content, consistency, and keeping focus. I’m not that great of a marketer, so I can’t speak to my extraordinary promoting acumen or my ability to quickly build an audience. What I can say is that I made sure to put out great content in the form of short conversations, and do it on a consistent basis. I also make sure to prevent tangents from going too long. That was a mistake (one of many) I made with my first podcast – too many tangents.
I also talk about getting good guests for the sake of the content, not as some cheap way to get fast promotion. I’m lucky that all of my guests have given me at least a retweet to their networks, but if the content is good, it will get shared over and over again. Drive a good conversation and don’t view your guests as a marketing tool!
What’s Next for How I Built It?
Season 3 starts on June 13th, and I couldn’t be more excited to start it. I have 24 episodes planned (many recorded already) and at least 2 shows recorded live, on-location. I also have some incredible sponsors lined up, including Liquid Web, who’s sponsoring every episode in Season 3. But I want to take the show a step further.
Patreon, Micro Sponsors, and How You Can Help
There’s a lot of stuff in store for the show that go beyond the 30-minute format. I want to tell deeper stories about products and go beyond the digital landscape to how things in the real world were built. I want to give you live shows, b-roll, bloopers, transcripts, swag, and more.
The problem is I can’t do that without your help. So I’ve decided to start a Patreon where you can make small monthly pledges to support the show and lots of great new content. I’ve set some goals and create some rewards; I’m also totally open to feedback. So if you’re one of the first 20 people to pledge at $5 or higher, I’m going to reach out personally and ask what you want to hear/see/learn/get. You get to shape the kind of bonus content that comes from the podcast. Let’s talk researched stories, longer interviews, revisiting older episodes, or whatever else you can think of!
I want to thank everyone who’s listened to the show. Everyone involved (guests, sponsors, listeners) have made the show successful and I couldn’t be more grateful. I can’t wait to see what Season 3 and Patreon hold for it.