The Profitable Podcaster

Coaching Call: Improving Your Production Process with Aaron Lee

Today’s episode is the first in a new series of coaching calls I’m doing for the show. I’m talking to Aaron Lee, who got his start in radio before pivoting to podcasting in late 2020. He’s seeking advice on how to improve his process, how to turn his podcast into lead gen for consulting, and get an answer to the question, “do I need transcripts?”

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Hey, everybody. Joe Casabona here and welcome to another episode of The Profitable Podcaster. Today’s episode is the first in a series of episodes throughout the year where I’m doing a coaching call.

I’m doing coaching calls with podcasters who want to become profitable. And today, I’m talking to Aaron Lee. Aaron got his start in radio and then pivoted to podcasting in 2020. We discuss a few things, but we focus around how to improve your podcast process, how to improve the show notes page, whether we should have full transcripts, and the all-important question: How do we turn our podcast into lead generation for consulting? 

So, listen in. I think this is a great conversation between Aaron and me. I hope that you enjoy it.

Having a profitable podcast is like having any other profitable business. You need to make money. Sure, but you also need to grow. You need to spend your time wisely, and you need predictability. A couple of sponsors won’t make you a profitable podcaster, but having systems to stay consistent, create steady growth, and generate predictable income will. That’s what you’ll get with this show.

Joe Casabona: Hi, I’m your host, Joe Casabona. And my podcasts have been profitable from Day 1. I’ll share everything I know with you here on The Profitable Podcaster.  

All right. I’m here with Aaron Lee. He is the owner of New Generation Leader, which is also the name of his podcast.

Aaron, how are you today? 

Aaron Lee: I’m doing great, Joe. How are you? 

Joe Casabona:  I am doing very well. Thanks. Thanks for coming on The profitable podcaster.

So, for those of you listening who are new to The Profitable Podcaster, I do some coaching calls with podcasters to try to solve their biggest problem facing them in podcasting right now. And, maybe their biggest hurdle to becoming a profitable podcaster.

So, Aaron, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your podcast, and where you are in your podcast journey? And then we can get into the biggest problem you’re facing with your podcast right now.

Aaron Lee: Yeah. That’s great. So my podcast is the New Generation Leader. It’s got the same name as the brand name of my company, a consulting company, and leadership development. it’s also the title of my book.  

Joe Casabona:  Nice.

Aaron Lee: So, around the time I was working on the book, developing the book, I was also invited to a launch right in the midst of Covid, a new online international business radio station was getting started really spearheaded by two folks here locally in the mid-Atlantic. And so I jumped in early on and had a weekly one-hour radio show on their platform. 

Joe Casabona:  Nice.

Aaron Lee: And as I dove into that, I loved it. I loved getting on the…It’s kind of the best of both worlds. I’ve always worked a lot in media, mostly behind the camera or behind the scenes, but it was fun to bring my voice into the radio station, helping get launched. I was in…It was my domain to figure out what the radio show was about every week to come up with themes. 

And after each quarter was a season. After about three seasons, I realized the timing when my show was slotted in the day having to be on specifically, you know, there’s no editing after the fact because you’re going live on air. I thought, “You know what? I think I should shift gears into podcasting.” And so I did that. Flipped the switch. 

I’m about 30…I’ve recorded 30 episodes I think of the podcast post the radio show, and I started off individually just talking myself solo about issues that were coming up in leadership, things that I was discussing with clients and problems, challenges, and things that were making the headlines.

And over the last, probably three or four months, have started inviting guests on and having conversations. And the last five, or six interviews that I’ve done have all been actually with other coaches. So in essence, with my competitors in some way, shape, or form. 

Joe Casabona:  Yeah.

Aaron Lee: But also, hopefully potentially some of them will turn into collaborators.

Joe Casabona:  Yeah. 

Aaron Lee: As opposed to competitors.

Joe Casabona:  Yeah. Yeah. Sure.  

Aaron Lee: I think just recorded episode 29 the other day. And so we’re in this midst of what I’m calling the season of the coach as I noticed that nice trend coming to light. And so hoping to shift gears in a new direction in 2023. But that’s kind of where things are today.

Joe Casabona: Awesome. That’s great. Yeah. I love the transition from the kind of radio to podcast. A little bit more control, like you said. I don’t do live shows. I do a live stream, but like, that’s very different and the energy’s different. And how you handle things is different.  

That’s awesome. And so, it sounds like you’ve been…how long have you been podcasting? I’m sorry.  Several seasons now, you said, right? 

Aaron Lee: Yeah. So I think I shifted over to the podcast summer late 2021.

Joe Casabona:  Okay. So, okay. Cool. 

Aaron Lee: Coming up on two years, I think. 

Joe Casabona:  Nice. And so I don’t intend to ask like, download numbers or anything like that. It’s all different. I don’t like to put focus on that, but I do wanna ask you, what is the biggest, what’s the biggest problem you’re facing right now? 

Aaron Lee: I think as I really get my rhythm down. and one of the things I identified, I think actually how I found you was looking at putting more structure into place.

Joe Casabona:  Mm-hmm.

Aaron Lee: And so in terms of my business, I know I have some followers listening to the podcast as they tell me.

Joe Casabona:  Yeah.

Aaron Lee: And they say, “Oh! I’ve binged your podcast, or I’ve been listening to all of your recent episodes”, but I want to better build that bridge from new listeners over into consulting. And so, that whole kind of post-recording, I’ve got the recording down. I think I’ve got the content down. I think I’ve got a good, good plan of action for some new guests in the next 10-20 episodes.

Joe Casabona:  Nice. 

Aaron Lee: But it’s what happens after that from show notes to call to action, inserting ads, and figuring out the best rhythm and consistency, and coming up with that plan now. So, that once it’s time to pull the trigger episode after episode. I’m just into a rhythm with some consistency. 

Joe Casabona: Yeah. That’s super important, right? That’s like, I mean, I’ve been with my editor with the same process for so long that he actually noticed that I forgot to include a cold open file. And like he told me. So the way…I’ll just tell you the way I format my other show How I Built It is we record via Riverside. 

Editing is like my least favorite part of the game. So, I hired an editor as soon as I could. And he gets the… he gets my track. He gets the guest track, and then he gets the intro as SEP so like the intro with music so people telling people about the show. 

But then I also record a cold open where I don’t like grabbing a clip from the episode, but I will basically talk about the episode and give them the hook that way. right. And so he knows to do like my pre-roll, ad spot, which is for my membership. And then the cold open, and then the introduction with music, and then the episode. And so like having that process in place is really important. I have a really clear way of doing that now, like an SOP.

And that has allowed me to batch 5-6 episodes at a time. So like, I’ll spend a week recording interviews, and then I can just kind of process them. So, I think that’s really important and smart that you wanna do that.  

Two follow-up questions. Who is your audio host, and do you have a plan for making money? Because you mentioned ad spots there. 

Aaron Lee: Yeah. So, the podcast host is podcast.co. 

Joe Casabona:  Okay.

Aaron Lee: And I got onto them because the radio station was hosted or being broadcast through Radio.co. So, I just bumped my…actually had my podcast technically during the radio show to archive some of those episodes.

In terms of profit, I’m thinking. I think my primary ads will be kind of internal focus like you just mentioned for your membership. I think the ad will be…and I want to figure out the best rhythm. Do I do the same one consistently for a certain period of time? Having a natural next step? What is that first offering? And I’ve thought, and I’ve sketched out on my whiteboard for the year, you know, on a quarterly basis or a monthly basis. Here’s my focus on social media. Here’s my focus on podcast. Call to action. What…I’m inviting people to make sure because I know personally I have the tendency to shoot from the hip and go all over the place.

Joe Casabona:  Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. 

Aaron Lee: And not having consistency and knowing that, that confuses people. 

Joe Casabona: Yeah. I totally get that. 

So, I’m looking at podcast.co. Right now at the features, one of the features they have is, they’re calling it intro and outro placement. I call it…I use Buzzsprout. They call it dynamic content there. But you can record your intro and outro separately, and then have it automatically – they say stitched. So I’ll use that word stitched to every episode, right? 

So, as far as your call to action goes, I definitely would try to make it consistent, but like if you do have like a course launch or a webinar coming up, right, and you take advantage of the fact that these are dynamically inserted intros and outros, that’s always good, right? So, for this show, now this is gonna be a little bit meta because people are listening and they’ve already heard the pre-roll, and I don’t know what the pre-roll is. it’s possible. I don’t know what the pre-roll is, but usually it’s for my Podcast Booster Blueprint, right? That’s like the main driver of my mailing list. I wanna get people on my mailing list. When they sign up to my mailing list, they get put into a funnel, a welcome sequence, followed by a soft cell, followed by an educational sequence, followed by the hard sell. 

So, I guess anybody who listened to the call to action signed up. That’s what you can expect. But that I think is if you are using your podcast to build your authority and your business. I believe that’s the best way to go because you’re getting people onto a mailing list, which is more your platform than any other platform out there. Right. And now you have a direct line to people on your mailing list as opposed to like a kind of hoping they listen and then write in or like tweet you or whatever social platform is in vogue when this episode comes out, right?

Aaron Lee: Sure.  

Joe Casabona:  It really could be anything at this point. So I think that your…as far as call to action goes, I would say, you can do intro and outro, right? I say, “Real quick before we get started…” I always say that so I can’t make it the outro. I could stop saying real quick before we get started, but I really…It feels like a little like, “Hey, I want you to know that I got you and I’m not gonna take a lot of your time.”  I usually script out about five sentences. “Hey, real quick before we get started, I wanna tell you about the Podcast Booster Blueprint. You are listening to this podcast because you wanna become a profitable podcaster. Let me give you the tools I use to be a profitable podcaster. Here’s what you’ll get. You can sign up at [profitablepodcaster.fm/blueprint” or whatever, or “the link is in your show notes.”

And so that’s what I would recommend. And again, since it’s dynamically inserted, it’s gonna be added to every episode of your podcast – past, present, and future. And if you ever change it because you are doing a webinar and you think that that’s going to be a good lead generator, you can change it and it’ll change on every episode – past, present, and future. So I think if you’re gonna do the call, like obviously, it changes every week. But, you know, keep one for a month. See how it does. And then mix it up a little bit. 

But the dynamic content, or the fresh intro and outro is a big feature. I would love to see more podcast hosts do that. I’m glad yours does. So does that make sense for a call to action? 

Aaron Lee: Absolutely. And I like things that are simple, nibble, lightweight. You just use that feature. And being able to keep it fresh and not go all the way back through and do these things manually. I’ve always said, let technology do the work for you. So this is a great way to do that. 

Joe Casabona:  Yeah. And like, I mean, as we record this, it’s easier than ever. When I started, I started like 10 years ago, like none of that existed. So like my call to action in Episode 1 of my podcast is super outdated.  

Aaron Lee: Yeah.

Joe Casabona:  I also felt like since I had sponsors, I didn’t promote my own stuff for a long time. I think that’s also a mistake. I think it’s okay for you to promote your own stuff as well as sponsors.

Aaron Lee: Yeah.

Joe Casabona:  But I think that that’s a smart move for your call to action.

Show notes. So I’ll tell you kind of what I do for show notes. I have a VA who gathers them all, but I wanna make sure the links are right or like my affiliate links are being used when appropriate. but I’ll just… as I’m taking notes, if there’s something I wanna include in the show notes, I’ll do like parentheses and then link in all caps, and then I or my VA know to look for that link.

Aaron Lee: Yeah.  

Joe Casabona:  More and more show notes should be more than just links. So what I’ll do right after an interview is, I’ll do it with this interview. I do it with every interview.  I actually get a text reminder. Thanks to Calendly to do this. Like, because I wanna make sure I do it immediately is, I’ll write a summary of what we just talked about and the top takeaways. And that provides my cold open for me, and it provides copy for the show notes. So if you go to How I Built It and you look at any of the show notes, it’s the summary. It’s the three top takeaways, and then it’s pertinent links. 

And I think having an accompanying blog post is best. I recognize that as solo podcaster. That’s a lot of work for us to do. And I had a service doing it for a while, but I stopped that. I loved it. I just…I wasn’t seeing a return on the investment. And that was probably more strategy for me. But I think having a blog post is best in lieu of a blog post. I think 500 words with a summary and top takeaways is good to have for the show notes. People can read that, see if they’re interested, and then keep going.  

So, that’s show notes. Any questions there before we get to the big question about the process? 

Aaron Lee: So, do you…what’s your take on including the full transcript? 

Joe Casabona:  Yeah. That’s a great question. 

I strongly recommend it. When I added transcripts to my show, I saw an appreciable increase in downloads and traffic to my website. so that’s like the personal benefit. 

Obviously,, the other benefit is more accessibility as far as including it. Again, it’s like, it’s great these days because like with podcasting 2.0 and hosts, realizing the importance of transcripts, there’s probably a way to include it when you upload your podcast.

Oh! Podcast transcripts right here for podcast.co. Great. I don’t know if it has…do you know if it has a descript integration? Do you know if podcast.co has Descript integration? I guess. I don’t know how you record your podcast, but…

Aaron Lee: Yeah. That’s a good question. I don’t remember.

Joe Casabona: Becausze another thing that I like, what I really like about Buzzsprout too is the direct integration with Descript. And so you can publish and Buzzsprout will grab the automatically generated transcript and include that in the podcast episode. 

Hmm. So again, really nice. Yeah. [podcast.co] right here. Nice. I’m gonna have to check out the podcast.co. It looks like a really good host.  

So, yeah. What you could do again, I, for my main show, I do pay a transcriber to do the transcripts. She does a phenomenal job with formatting. She includes inline links. I don’t even have to review them anymore like I just…I take what she gives me and I put it on my website.

Aaron Lee: Yep.  

Joe Casabona:  Now, for How I Built It, I don’t include it in the feed. I include it on the website because I use WordPress for the website. And so, but you know, your host supports it. I would at least do the auto-generated ones and include that. But if, you know, if it’s part of your budget, or, you know, you can take the auto-generated one and then have a virtual assistant or someone you work with kind of like edit for content, right?

Aaron Lee: Yeah. They…Again, they usually spell my name wrong.

Joe Casabona:  Oh yeah. I bet. You know, that’s funny because when I talk into my phone, well for a while it’s learned now, but, whenever I would say like, my wife’s name is Erin, so I would say like, call Erin. Or I would be talking to my mom and be like, oh, Erin’s on her way. It would always convert it to Erin, your name. 

Aaron Lee: That’s funny because mine always goes the other way. 

Joe Casabona:  That’s so funny.

Aaron Lee: iPhone. Yeah.

Joe Casabona:  Yeah. The great Aaron-Aaron debate. 

Aaron Lee: Yes. 

Joe Casabona:  Anyway, I guess the short answer is, Yes. I would include transcripts in some way, shape, or form.

Aaron Lee: Okay. 

Joe Casabona:  I think auto-generated transcripts are better than nothing. But if you can afford it or it’s part of your budget,  then having somebody actually transcribe them is the best way to go.

Aaron Lee: Perfect. 

Joe Casabona:  And then for process,  so how do you record your podcast, I guess first of all?

Aaron Lee: At the moment, I’m recording in Streamyard. so, okay. Very similar to Riverside. It’s recording audio video locally. Then at the moment, I’m sending them off to an editor to put those together. Depending on the episode, I go back and forth with the pre-roll, the ending, outro, and how I do the open. But send some combination of those files to the editor. They put it together and then I’m working on streamlining the process. 

Joe Casabona: Yeah. 

Aaron Lee: How it goes from there forward.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. So this is something I’ve spent a lot of time on. And I cover this pretty at length in the playbook, The Podcast Liftoff playbook in the automation section. But, yeah. Once I record my podcast, I get the files from Riverside. I put them in Dropbox, and I always label the folder as episode number, dash guest name.

Aaron Lee: Correct.

Joe Casabona: so I put…And then for each of the files, I do episode number, dash host, episode number dash guest. That makes it easier for my editor to see like which one is me and which one is just not me.

Aaron Lee: Yep. 

Joe Casabona: And then, like I said, I record a cold open based on that summary that I write. So, I record that, I put it in there. And then I have a Textexpander snippet that is the instructions because the instructions by and large are gonna be the same. It’s just the sponsor spots might change. And then like how much editing we need to do. 

So, usually as we’re recording, I’ll make notes. Cut out the middle three minutes, or like cutout a minute two through five because they told a really long story about their dog that is irrelevant. And I don’t know, maybe people like hearing about dogs. But, so I’ll do that. I put it all in Dropbox and then I moved that folder to the needs editing folder. 

Aaron Lee: Okay. 

Joe Casabona:  I lean on Zapier and Airtable pretty heavily here. when I do that, Airtable gets updated to a status for the episode. This is why the episode number’s really important because in Zapier, I match the episode number in the folder to the episode number in Airtable, and updates the status to needs editing. And then my editor gets an email with the Dropbox folder. So, he does that. He edits it all. 

Again, we’ve been together for a long time, so I don’t even, like, I don’t check his work, right. He uploads it back to a folder called Needs Transcript, and from there, both my transcriber and my VA get an email saying, “Hey, this episode is edited and ready to go.” My VA will upload it to my website, and then my transcriber will transcribe it and send over a Word doc, which in my VA updates. 

Aaron Lee: Okay.

Joe Casabona: And so it’s pretty hands-off for me. But it’s a combination of Dropbox and emails and Zapier

So, I think that if we’re talking about it and this is something I built over years. So if, I’m telling you like what’s your next step as we come up on time here? I would probably…what I did was write down the things I was doing, everything I was doing. And then I would mark them like somebody else can do it or a robot needs to do it. I have a very techy developer background. So that was like an easy switch for me. I kind of knew like what could be automated. But for you, if you don’t have that background, you or people listening, I would say just like something I don’t need to do, just mark, this is something I don’t need to do. And then I would see what’s taking me the most time. And then I would start to put together a process where I either automate or hire out based on that.

So like number one for me was editing. 40-minute episodes would take me like three hours to edit. And so I’m like, I will easily pay someone like 50 bucks to combine these. Right? They probably have like, probably takes them 10 minutes and I don’t care. So that’s what I would recommend. Right. 

And then again with like emails or passing things off, I would say like, is this something that I really need to do or can I hire a VA and say, every morning just check the Dropbox folder and if there’s something in there, do something with it. Or if you are comfortable with Zapier or make or whatever, say like, oh yeah. I’ll just tell Zapier to watch this folder and send off an email if something changes. So I know that’s a really high level, but I think the big takeaways right, are make a list of everything you do for your podcast, and mark I don’t need to do, I personally don’t need to do this. I think you’ll find that aside from talking. Most of it you don’t need to do. Right? So then pick the one or two most time-consuming things and see how you can offload them within budget and other constraints that you have. 

Aaron Lee: Yeah. I think that’s very helpful. And I did…I had kind of 1.0 of that. What am I doing to post a podcast? I worked the other day on version 2.0.

Joe Casabona:  Nice.

Aaron Lee: And I like that there’s an X factor priority and important tool that I use with leaders to help. 

Joe Casabona: Yeah.

Aaron Lee: Them know what to delegate. 

Joe Casabona: Yeah. 

Aaron Lee: And it’s always important to use the same things I’m teaching leaders on myself, and that applying it to this very issue right here is the perfect application for that.

Joe Casabona:  Awesome. Yeah. That sounds great. So, you know, I hope that next time we talk, you’ll be able to say like, “Joe, I was able to automate these two or three things and now I’m saving buckets of hours.”

Aaron Lee: Yes.

Joe Casabona:  Awesome. Well, Aaron, this has been great. Do you have any other questions as we wrap up here?

Aaron Lee: No. Thanks so much for the conversation and the insights. I appreciate everything that I’ve learned from you along the way so far and look forward to continuing to always found it helpful in leadership, in any passion, interest, or hobby we have what we can learn from people who are a few steps ahead of us. So, I appreciate that you’re a few steps ahead and passing that on. 

Joe Casabona:  My pleasure. Thanks so much for taking the time. I love teaching and so I’m happy with this opportunity.  if people want to listen to your podcast, where can they find it?

Aaron Lee: The podcast is [newgenerationleader.com/podcast] or on any of the major streaming platforms, New Generation Leader. Sometimes it takes putting my name in there to actually get to the podcast. Aaron, A-A-R-O-N 

Joe Casabona: All right. A-A RON.  I’m sure you probably get that a lot. I’m really sorry. 

Aaron Lee: Never. 

Joe Casabona:  Never get no.  

Aaron Lee: All the time. 

Joe Casabona: Yeah. It’s definitely not in a new commercial I just saw recently. I will link that in the show notes. You can find all the show notes in your podcast player right now or over at [profitablepodcaster.fm.]

Aaron, thanks so much for spending some time with us today. I appreciate it. 

Aaron Lee: Thanks, Joe. Have a good day. 

Joe Casabona:  All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Aaron. I hope you learned something.

Now, if you want to participate in one of these coaching calls, I am looking for guests. So, you can head over to [profitablepodcaster.fm/ask]. Send me a message. Let me know what is your podcast. What is the biggest problem facing you with your podcast. And your path to becoming a profitable podcaster. So again, that URL is [profitablepodcaster.fm/ask].

I hope you enjoyed this episode. Head on over to [profitablepodcaster.fm] for the show notes, to join the mailing list, and subscribe to the show, that would be super swell. 

And until next time. I can’t wait to see what you make.

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