According to dictionary.com, the word value has a few meanings:
1. relative worth, merit, or importance
2. the worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of some medium of exchange.
I'm Coining a New Term: Casturbation
Word of mouth marketing is the most effective type of marketing. It is not free. It takes time, planning, and effort. To inspire word of mouth marketing, you need to provide value. Something of value (worth, importance), and something that people will use/exchange their precious time-consuming.
So many churches fail because they continue to try to reach audiences doing things, “The way they've always done them.” I am getting ready unsubscribe from a number of podcasts. Many of these are from comedians. These are people that I adore. When their podcasts came on the scene, they interviewed their “A-list” friends and provided great insights. Now they are interviewing not so famous people. Comedians are doing interview shows. Why? Because that's what everybody else is doing. That's the way we've always done it. I noticed something. I rarely laugh listening to a podcast from a comedian. They continue to record so they can say they have a podcast. They casturbate.
1. Verb: Producing content with no real value for your audience. To record for the sake of hearing one's own voice. To record for the sake of keeping with a self-inflicted schedule.
When asked to answer the question, “That episode moved you to ….” your audience will not be able to answer (or answer, “It moved me to go to another podcast).
When Jimmy started the podcast with “Well, I'm not really sure what I'm going to talk about today but I wanted to get an episode out,” I knew I was going to get an earful of casturbation.
When Jimmy spent 25 minutes to get to the point, one could say there was a large amount of casturbation in that 30 minute episode.
2. Verb: Participating in activities that provide no real value to your podcast.
Jimmy's stack of 3 microphones, 4 mixers, 6 portable recorders, and three hosting account leads me to believe he has a serious casturbation problem.
With the success of John Lee Dumas and his Entrepreneur on fire show, everyone started a show that released episodes a minimum of 5 days a week. Why? Because that's what John did. That's the blueprint. When I first got into podcasting, I had seven podcasts going at the same time. This is where I learned that just because you have a passion for a topic, that passion does not alter the laws of time and space. There are still only 24 hours in a day, and my content suffered. Instead of creating one WOW podcast, I had create seven podcasts that were “meh…” I remember listening to Tim Page as he explained that instead of doing a daily show that was mediocre, he changed to a much less stressful schedule that allowed him to create better content.
I help people launch podcasts. I have people who plan on starting a plan, that will outline the plan of their steps to plan. I have other people who are so excited they are looking at software to build a live streaming network when they haven't recorded their first podcast. I think we all continue to look at microphones when the one sitting in front of us works just fine. Unless your audio is absolute garbage (and that's hard to pull off these days), your new microphone will not bring you a larger audience. You are casturbating. When you spend HOURS looking for a new WordPress theme when your website is FINE, you are casturbating. When you are considering revamping your artwork for the 500th time, you are casturbating.
Don't produce an hour long show – unless you have 60 minutes of content. Why do you produce an hour long show? You answer, “Because I've always done it that way.” You have 15 minutes of content and 45 minutes of casturbation.
Don't produce an hour long show talking about how you are not a narcissist. Seriously?
Primary Causes of Casturbation
We all have one. Some of our egos are larger than others. Large egos can lead to thinking that your audience adores every morsel that comes out of your mouth.
The truth is you earn your audience's loyalty every time you press record. (tweet this)
You might say, “I want to launch a daily show.” I STRONGLY urge you to record four shows and get back to me. Another problem is “I do an hourly show.” In her book Beyond Powerful Radio Valeria Geller states that there is no such thing as too long, only too boring. I have consumed 30 minute episodes that really had 12 minutes of material
3. Shiny Objects:
I think most podcasters love technology. Every time a new product comes on the market we all run to check it out. Realize new products come with a learning curve. That learning curve takes time. That is time you could be devoting to making better content. My old church in Akron, Ohio still uses Windows 95. Why? Because they create a bulletin once a week. They could upgrade to Windows 8, but in the end there would be a giant learning curve that wouldn't result in a better bulletin – so they don't upgrade. It works.
Casturbation is Fun
Don't get me wrong. Casturbation is fun. We feel productive. We are ACTUALLY PODCASTING. You are in iTUNES!. We are part of a community. Eventually, you will long for a deeper connection. Casturbation is often about what YOU think, what YOU feel, what YOU want. When all of your efforts are on you, the person you are connecting with is you (not your audience). I do a show called Building a Better Dave. Many times those shows are like therapy. It's me getting things off my chest. It is me venting. It's MY thoughts. While my goals are to make my audience laugh, cry, think, or groan. My goal is to entertain.
I need to honestly step back and say, “Hi, my name is Dave, and I'm a casturbator.” I have to realize if I want to grow my audience, it won't be by turning on the microphone and “winging it.”
Use Your Time Wisely
Your role is to create value. Many times your experience and insights will bring value. When you have zero talent as a graphic artist, and you are creating your artwork in Microsoft Paint you are not utilizing your time well. Please quit casurbating. Adam Carolla (the most downloaded podcast in history at the moment) would not be featured in iTunes until he updated his artwork. Your artwork matters. Quit wasting time and find a graphic person you can afford.
A new mixer will not bring in more listeners. Just because a super popular podcaster uses a $2000 mixer doesn't mean you should. Does your equipment allow you to record your show in a fashion that delivers audio quality in a nondistracting fashion? Is so, put a check mark next to it on your “To Do” list and move on. You are wasting your time.
There are two schools of thought. Yes, its a great idea to have some place for your audience to connect with each other. This is a great idea once you have an audience. When you spend weeks designing the artwork and researching platforms, this is all good. There is one problem. You don't have an audience yet.
If there was a giant switch for 10,000 downloads – don't you think we would've found it by now?
You decide to automate your promotion by scheduling 120 tweets per hour. You spend hours researching the top hashtags. None of this will make your show better. It will only promote your castubating efforts to the world quicker, and they will tune you out. All that time could be better spent with results that last longer than a single click.
Do This Instead
Take the time to get to know your audience. When you are done with that, go back and get to know your audience better. The show is about THEM. It's about what will make THEM go TELL their friends about the CONTENT (not the microphone, not the artwork).
Write content that will inspire your audience to tell their friends.
It Takes Time
It has been reported that the podcast Serial took a year to produce. Their first season was 12 episodes. That is one episode a month. It was also content that had EVERYBODY telling their friends, and it had millions of people CHOMPING AT THE BIT for the next episode. Many people next saw their website. Many people have no idea what microphone they use. Many people cold care less about their album artwork because the CONTENT was phenomenal.
Does this mean you should take a month to produce an episode? No. But it does mean if you want to grow your audience, you need to do more than fire up Skype, pop open a cold one and connect with your buddy and press record and see what happens.
Are You Casturbating?
Look at the goals of your podcast. Look at the content in your episodes?
Are you casturbating?