Balancing The Steak & The Pepper - Rob Greenlee - Creating The Greatest Show - Episode # 036

CGS - Rob Greenlee


Casey Cheshire: We're doing it. We're doing it, man. I'm excited. Uh, I can't wait to introduce you to, or reintroduce you, probably to the guest today. He is a podcast hall of famer and I say that literally and figuratively. He is, he has been in the podcasting world for such a long time. If you go to a conference, you're, you've probably seen him speak.

If, if not you should after this podcast probably. Uh, I feel super grateful to have him on here. Uh, and, and. Explain this. He's been in [00:01:00] radio since 99, that's 1999 and podcasting since 2004. So let's just put it this way. He's hundreds and thousands of, of interviews and, and episodes across multiple podcasts, even three interviews in one episode, one time.

Uh, co-host of the new media show, svp Senior Vice President of Podcast Content and Partnerships at Podbean. Rob Greenley, welcome.

Rob Greenlee: It's great to be here, Casey. It's, uh, it's always, always fun to talk about podcasting and, and trying to share some, you know, some insights and, uh, some perspectives on the medium. You're, you're right, I've been around this medium a long time.

Casey Cheshire: I'm, I'll just try to make sure that this conversation doesn't blur into the other th couple thousands that you've had.

Rob Greenlee: Yeah, that's always the challenge, right? Yeah.

Casey Cheshire: right. Um, so here, let's kick it off. This is the question where we start this show off. It's a show about podcasting. It's four podcasters. A lot of us have [00:02:00] brands behind us, companies that, that are, that are footing the bill and their time to, to try to get some attention. So, Rob, pull back the curtain for us on your shows, on your experience and share your most important strategy for a great podcast.

Rob Greenlee: Well, I think at the end of the day, I mean, podcasting started in a very, um, kind of its own kind of geeky technical realm, . There's a lot of shows like, like myself that were doing shows about the internet and the web or tech and that kind of stuff. So that's kind of where the medium started. But over the years we've, we've, um, I don't know if the right word is, There's been a lot of new people that have joined the podcasting medium.

So what we've seen is it's, it's expanded, um, and the market for podcasting has grown based on, um, participation and, and contribution from very, uh, large numbers of very creative and. Fun people, um, that have gotten [00:03:00] in and started creating content in this medium. And so we've seen it grow over time and evolve to be, uh, uh, really a fairly, uh, close reflection of our society and our culture.

um, and the diversity of our society and culture on a, on a, uh, US basis where it's, where it started and then then it's been expanding globally for, uh, for most of the life of podcasting. It's, it's been a global medium. Um, and what's been interesting about it is this contrast between, if you think about radio, uh, radio's primarily a local medium and you think.

Podcasting has kind of been seen as kind of like a national and global medium. So, and podcasting has always kind of struggled to play in the local side of things because there's never been enough listeners in any one given place. It was viable. So that always left the door open for, for radio. Now granted that's kind of a [00:04:00] different co conversation here, but the podcasting spaces is definitely grown into something that's uh, significant on a global scale.

And I would say it's growing faster outside of the US than it is in the US right now. I think we've reached a certain kind of. Um, I dunno if the right word is maturity or, um, kind of a level of adoption and acceptance and creation where lots of things have been tried. Lots of people have, uh, listened. Uh, people have decided whether or not they want to stay involved in podcast listening or podcast creation.

So we're kind of at a little bit of an inflection point now with the, with the down economy. And what's happening with that too is kind of, um, kind of flat lined. The medium, which has never been growing really fast anyway. I think there's this perception that podcast grows, has been growing like exponentially or some sort of like a hockey stick or something like that.

But it, it really hasn't. Um, it's been a steady, steady Eddie kind of a thing. It's [00:05:00] been two to three to 4% every year of audience growth. And content growth. So, so, and where we are today is we're a fairly mature market that has opportunities for people to build a career, um, in the podcasting medium, get a job.

Um, that hasn't always been the case. I mean, I was a lucky guy that I was able to build a career for the last 18, 19 years. Working for podcasting related platforms and companies on the listening or the publishing side. So, um, but those opportunities now, um, are just so vast. I mean, you just have to look in LinkedIn and you can see all of the, the people now that have podcasts in their job titles or in their, their.

they're consulting that they do, or whatever business that they do. I mean, there's just so many, whether it's production or or things like that. So this medium has really grown up and I think that it's, it's really, um, a medium that's built on [00:06:00] authentic conversations and, um, and to some degree it's still a fairly safe medium from moderation.

Um, so you can talk a. Different topics in podcasting and not feel like that you're going to get taken down. Now granted, if you publish it over to some of these bigger platforms, that may happen, but I think it's still an open, open, medium.

Casey Cheshire: With all these changes that are happening and, and all the evolution that you've seen, ha has there been a, a thread, has there been, uh, that sort of guiding strategy that separates the success stories from the 12 and out?

Rob Greenlee: Well, I think it is about, um, Commitment. Uh, it's about, um, creating a show that you have a passion for. Um, you know, granted there's kind of two ends of the spectrum. There's the indie producers, and then there's like the [00:07:00] protesters is what I call them, the kind of pro professional podcasters. So you have individuals that want to come in and they have a passion.

Let's say it's about, you know, racing cars or something like that, and they want to create a podcast. Covers racing cars, or let's say they're a football fan and they want to create a sports podcast. Um, that's all terrific and great. Uh, and then there's the major media companies that want to create, you know, it's very formulaic.

It's a little bit more like radio from the standpoint of they, they come up with a show concept and then they find the talent and then they find producers and engineers and stuff, and they build a team to produce. Show. And so that's typically not what happens on the indie side, where, where the independent producer typically, you know, sweeps the floors, does the editing, does the voiceover, voiceover for the, for the podcast, does all the management of the podcast.

Publishing tools and then works with getting it into all the listening. But I mean, they basically do everything right. So [00:08:00] that's kind of how I started in all this, was doing everything. And that's why I still consider myself to be a podcaster is because, um, I've, I think to really think of yourself as a podcaster, you have to think of yourself somewhat as a.

Swiss Army knife, of skills, and, and, um, and, and you do have to be proficient in a lot of different areas in order to be successful in podcasting. And sometimes people come into the medium with those skills and sometimes they have to gain those skills over time. And sometimes that can be a painful and slow process.

So, and that, that limit. Success to some degree. I mean, if you come in with a, a media background and, and know how to create, um, metadata and you know how to create imagery and, and you know how to create a creative kind of experience and you have a big personality and stuff like that, I think you have a little bit of a leg up.

But just because you're a celebrity doesn't guarantee success. So, um, it depends on [00:09:00] personality, it depends on your ability to connect with others. Voice is a very different medium than, uh, a lot of, you know, like TV and film and stuff like that where people play roles, right? People are acting. Um, that kind of popularity is different.

Uh, podcasting is, you got to be who you are and you got to be real and you got to be believable. Um, and you have to be able to build bonds with listeners. And that's a big thing that I'm talking about more and more now when I go out and do presentations, is I talk. As a podcast host, you have a, the role that you need to play in the market now is to build trust.

Uh, trust is the number one thing in our society now that is at the least supply . Um, there's just so many things going on in our world, right, right now from a so sociology perspective and a, and a governance perspective that there's just not a lot of [00:10:00] trust in. our culture and our society more, and it's really challenging.

Um, every aspect of our lives. And so if you can represent that to your community, I think you're creating a compelling experience for people that it was like, wow, somebody can actually be like that and I can, I can really trust what they say and they follow through and what they say they're going to do.

It's all about responsibility and you have a relationship to build with your audience, and that requires attention, focus, and participation. and getting that audience to, to participate with you, um, as much as you can. Sometimes that's hard to get started, so sometimes you got to fake it to win. Sometimes with, uh, getting a podcast started and giving the impression to your audience that you're listening to them and you're hearing from them and things like that, sometimes you kind of have to fake that process to get started.

Um, Come up with a couple of names and come up with a couple of things that they [00:11:00] maybe said about your show or whatever, feedback, whatever, and then just talk about it and then over time, and then give a pathway to that audience to be able to give you that feedback. And then they'll realize that you're open to that kind of feedback and that you are looking for it and you're not going to be, um, you know, shunning it or ignoring it or what, whatever.

And you're going to actually. With your audience, and that will build momentum and you'll, you'll really build that type of relationship with your audience increasingly, but people will come and go. People, I would say the stats that I've seen in, in the past around participation and podcasting is like a, can be as high as a 50% churn.

And people coming in, listening to an episode and then going somewhere else. Um, but so what you want to gain is that a lower churn number, . So you want to retain as many of those listeners as you can. And the biggest way to do that is to. Create an emotional response in them, and [00:12:00] then also, uh, create that connection where they think or they perceive that you are listening to them and you care about what they think and you will talk about what they think.

Now, some podcast formats that doesn't really work. So if you're telling a true crime story or if you're doing a, um, you know, a sitcom, Which is the other hot thing that I'm hearing people talk about in the podcasting space now, just to add a little levity to the conversation. But, um, all sorts of forms of content are coming into this medium.

So, um, this strategy only works with kinda like talk shows kind of thing, co conversational shows, news programs, um, culture and society type programs. Um, but um, but that's kind of how I look at it. It's, it, it's really about building community at the end of.

Casey Cheshire: Can you, before I really want to dive into an audience, but can you talk to me before we do that from the higher level of your, your [00:13:00] responsibilities and your relationship as a host to your guest versus your audience

Rob Greenlee: Ah, yes. Yeah,

Casey Cheshire: the differences there?

Rob Greenlee: that's always, that's an interesting dynamic too, is, is that I think as a podcast host, what you want to create is that audience, like I was just saying, being bonded to you as the host, right? So, and if you want to do a interview show or a conversational show, You know, like a revolving door of new people coming in all the time.

I would get relatively strategic about that. Um, I, I would say who, uh, what are you thinking as a host? What topics do you want to cover as a, as a program? How, what's the story you want to tell to your audience? And then use that guest as like, um, like pepper on your, your eggs, right? It's like add a, add a little more flavor to that conversation.

So as you're building a [00:14:00] conversation with your audience about a particular topic, it can be politics, it can be. Whatever. And, and all you have to do is look at a lot of the big talk show hosts out there, and they, they do this. It's just, it's not always obvious what they're doing, but they're basically telling a, a story to you and then they're filling in experts to add to the story, not to replace you.

I think a lot of, uh, I should say a lot of fair amount of podcasts that are interviewed, formatted, treat their guest as. A hundred percent focus of the show, right? The, that's why your audience is there, is to just hear that guest. And if,

Casey Cheshire: that guest? Yeah,

Rob Greenlee: and if they don't, um, if, if they see the description of that podcast that says that this is the guest and that's all they see, then they may not come back and listen to the next episode.

So how do you build. And on a common theme of this is, is in the marketing [00:15:00] world is called a red thread. So you're basically, that red thread is what the theme of what your show's

Casey Cheshire: red thread.

Rob Greenlee: It's called a red thread, right? That runs through everything that you do. That is like your, your focal point of what you're trying to do in your story. and, and so these people that are coming in, it's a, it's a little bit of like a, like a serialized program in some ways because you're, you're telling a story. Um, but it can be short stories too. Don't, don't get around. That red thread can go through short stories as well as longer threads. So you can have multiple, multiple episode.

Threaded stories, right? If you want to, or you can have one, or you can just have a segment, but tell that story and then complete it, and then move on to the next thing, right? Um, or, or you have an overriding story that you're trying to tell across your whole series of your show. So let's say you're a themed show about, um, , um, underwater basket weaving.

[00:16:00] So how can you layer in all these different people that have done that? Right. Um, , that's always the classic example, right? Of a, um, of a perfect podcast. It's an underwater basket weaving podcast. So, so you

Casey Cheshire: you know, if you really think about it, underwater basket weaving it, it's off to a great start because when the, the reeds are wet right, they'll, they'll bend more easily. The challenge though is you're going to constantly have a soggy basket, but you have to

Rob Greenlee: Yeah. And then, and then another ex example, this is a, this is a real world podcast too. It's, it's the, uh, I think it's the Spark Full podcast, I think is the name of it. And I've been a fan of this show for a long time. But, but the example that, that kind of plays out here, that's, that's interesting is that they will do an episode on food, right?

So they'll take. A, the concept of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and they'll basically analyze it, you know, how [00:17:00] to do it, how to spread, how, you know, what type of jelly, what type of peanut butter is best, what's the best type of bread to have on there, how to toast the bread, you know, get into the, the details of this.

And they're basically telling the story from gathering the ingredients to moving through. The actual production of the Pier Jelly sandwich, and it'll be like a multi episode track here. So, so it's, it's just an interesting way of thinking about it. I think, you know, podcasting is like a blank canvas. You can do whatever you want to do.

Actually, I'm just trying to tell you how, how you can play in emotional storytelling,

Casey Cheshire: Yeah.

Rob Greenlee: bonding, building. I know I'm lots of throwing lots of stuff in here. To create a audience that will follow you to the ends of the earth because they're just, you know, fascinated by how you present various topics.

Right. And [00:18:00] that's the, that's the magic of this stuff. And, and another example is like the show that I do, the new media show, which is basically, it's a live show. You just show up. We, my host and I, we just show up, we drop our microphones down. and we start talking about podcasting, right? And whatever comes to mind, if I can pull it up in my browser while I'm doing the show, that's what we talk about.

And there's no editing, there's no post-production. When it's done, it's done. So that can't be any more. I guess authentic and real, right? Because that is real life experience. The challenge that you have is, is being able to do that off the cuff and be able to bring in compelling things every week. It's a 90 minute show, so you have to be able to talk for 90 minutes, about a particular topic, and that's where the passion comes from, and that's where the experience comes from, and that's where the, the ability [00:19:00] to understand.

To not get flustered and stuff. And I, I learned that very early in my, my stage type of, uh, presentations that I do too is, is sometimes I don't prepare a lot. Um, I just get up and have a theme and want to talk about it. And it's kinda like what we're doing here. I don't really have an outline or what I'm trying to talk about here.

These are just coming out of the top of my head and it comes across as very real because I'm, I'm talking about experiences and that's, that's what, this is really all.

Casey Cheshire: Yeah. People can hear if you're scripted, it's the, it's the biggest cringe moment for me. If I hear someone sound too, too perfect with that three or four sentence burst of what the hell, like and I have to ask them about their favorite ice cream flavor to kind of shake things up. I, you know, it was so telling when you.

Describe the guest as pepper, right. Pepper or salt on the food as opposed to being the food itself. And the question in my mind was like, [00:20:00] is the guest pepper or are they the steak? Right.

Rob Greenlee: Well, that's, that, that's the, that's the decision that you need to make. I'm also a big fan of guest co-hosts. So

Casey Cheshire: Guest co-hosts. Okay.

Rob Greenlee: where you have, and I did this with my radio show for many years. I, I had like three or four folks that would come in every couple weeks and do a segment on my show. Right. So, or they would just come into the studio and they would do the whole show with.

So it, so there would be this kind of, this regular, um, alternative personality on the show. So it adds a little bit of flavor to the show. It's not really a, a guest really. It's, it's somebody that the audience is already. Familiar with because it's been on the show many times, right? That takes a little bit of time to build that chemistry.

But um, that's the other part of it too. Co-hosts and guest co-host chemistry is very powerful. Um, as you think about personalities and you think about [00:21:00] voice types of voices, because you don't want really want to get. A co-host for your show that has the same sounding voices you have or, uh, speaks in the same kind of cadence or, um, where they could easily be confused.

So, because I'm not constantly saying, you know, Joe, tell us about this and Steve, tell us about that, you know, That audience has to, has to be able to distinguish and associate, uh, that voice to who that person is over time, if you, and it's especially effective with guest co-hosts because people get accustomed to them, and especially if they're regular listeners, uh, granted a new listener, you, you still have to say who that person is on occasion, just so.

You know, it's kinda like what you have to do in radio. We have to reintroduce your guests on a regular basis because people are tuning in and tuning out, um, on radio more than they are on podcasting. But I think you just have to do it [00:22:00] like maybe once or twice, uh, at the beginning. Uh, and then you can just ride it out the rest of the way bar on the radio.

You're constantly doing it after every break, right? That kind of thing. So it's. That's what makes podcasting and radio a little different is because it's, it's more bite-size. Our radio's really bite-size content. Podcasting is more like, um, continuous stream of conversation.

Casey Cheshire: Gosh, you, you just present me with all sorts of pathways to take. So I was going to take us back, but then you brought up that, the concept of, of the short versus tell me about short versus long podcast. Is, is there a too short? Does it

Rob Greenlee: Yeah, I think there is a too short podcast. Yeah. I think, well, I think it's challenging to drive a lot of value in a, in a audio podcast that's short. I think it's, it can be done and I've seen shows that have probably about the shortest that I've seen that have been successful. I've been in [00:23:00] the, the four to five minute range.

Um, once you get much below that, there's not a lot of value to all the effort that it takes to get. Connected to a podcast and get it downloaded and you know, I mean, it's getting easier because people are just clicking play. Um, but, and I know that there are some podcasts, like a horoscope podcast, that kind of thing that maybe gives you your daily horoscope that's maybe two and a half minutes long or something like that.

Um, or, uh, Like a daily Bible verse podcast or things like that where there's little content, bits and bites, but those are not really, those are like a, a little bit like a, uh, habitual type of consumption type of a thing. Uh, it could be a news update to, you know, two or three to four minute news update podcasts, which has been, been done a lot.

But I wouldn't say that those shows typically are huge. [00:24:00] Um, in. , uh, and they definitely don't have a lot of economic opportunity in them. , I'll just put it that way, either from the standpoint of being able to get sponsors and things like that. So usually in those type of formats, you're probably looking at maybe one pre-roll or one mid-roll some somewhere, and that that's about it.

And then as far as on the advertising side, and be able to generate revenue from that, um, So what you see with the, like the top 200, the top 300 podcasts in the world, they, they typically have a duration of somewhere between. 30 and 45 minutes is the typical range of the most popular podcasts in the world.

Now granted, there's other ones like the Joe Rogan experience that are like two or three hours long, and there are other ones, like Dan Carlin has a podcast about, you know, hardcore history. Um, that's like a four hour podcast.

Casey Cheshire: Yeah. And it's, and it's freaking

Rob Greenlee: Yeah. Right. And it's, and, and so the spectrum is pretty [00:25:00] wide Right. On what you can do.

And th that's the bigger theme that, that I have, is that I'm not going to sit here and say, don't do short podcasts because there has been successful ones. But I'm just saying, if you want to live in the sweet spot of where success typically happens, uh, it's usually at. 30 to 40 ranges typically because then you're giving enough value in there.

Um, and then it's also a benefit to the podcaster too, because you can, that's a, that's a duration that's, um, monetizable in a reasonable way for your effort

Casey Cheshire: what makes that duration more easily? Monet.

Rob Greenlee: because there, there's more space in the content for, for putting sponsor messages and things like.

Casey Cheshire: dropping ad after ad after ad for five minutes

Rob Greenlee: Yeah, you don't really want to do that. I, my recommendation, I mean, one of the reasons podcasting exists is a reaction to over commercialization of radio. So, so you got to keep that in [00:26:00] mind that the expectation of a podcast listener is, is less tolerance for over commercialization.

Um, I think there's a tension in the medium now that's kind. . I think as more radio people get into podcasting, they, they want to make it more like radio. Um, and, and I think that's, that's a tension that existed, but fortunately we've been able to mostly resist that and keep that from happening. Um, because I would hate for a, a po a new podcasting to start because the existing podcasting we.

Is over commercialized, so you can see this domino. We go from radio to podcast and then what's the next thing that doesn't have ads in it?

Casey Cheshire: Right. YouTube

Rob Greenlee: right. Yeah, yeah, that's right. That's a, that's a paid subscription, I think is what they call that, right?

Casey Cheshire: right. Pay to make it go

Rob Greenlee: Right.

Casey Cheshire: You know, back in the day, I remember Tim Ferris having a post or a thought about, you know, don't look for [00:27:00] sponsorships until you've got a million listens, an episode or something like that. Uh, would you, would you correct him on that or is

Rob Greenlee: A little bit, I mean, I don't think you have to hit a million before you can monetize. I'll just put you that way. Um, I think that it's possible, especially more than ever now, um, on smaller shows that you can get involved in what's called programmatic advertising, which is automatic advertising, um, that you set insertion points in your audio and, and the.

The servers or the technology or the host that you're working with, um, has this ability to dynamically insert, um, sponsor messages into your show. They can either be recorded by you as the host, so they could be host reads that are dynamically inserted into certain spots in your show. It can be pre-roll, postal, mid-roll.

Um, there's increasingly the understanding that if we want to get sponsorship across larger numbers of shows, As opposed [00:28:00] to like maybe the top four to 5% of the podcasting market. Um, as far as on shows that have enough scale, like you were just saying, um, to get ads, um, holstered ads typically is what those are, um, which usually have the highest, um, payouts on advertising campaigns.

But the programmatic side opens the door to a lot of smaller shows to be monetized, more niche shows, and I think it's, if you think about it logically, that makes sense, right? I mean, you can, there's not a lot of duplicated audience across large numbers of podcasts, so there's a lot of splintering that goes on of audience amongst large numbers of shows in the podcasting space.

So if you're a brand, you can certainly buy. Larger numbers of show through programmatic and have your ad go to lots of different shows. Um, or you can buy a host read, pay a little higher CPM and buy only against a couple of shows, so that have really big [00:29:00] audiences, right? So that they have more than 50,000 downloads per per episode.

Um, you know, that's considered a. Decent size show in podcasting. That's not a million

Casey Cheshire: Right.

Rob Greenlee: Of course you say a million and it over what time Spann is the, is the question. I know plenty of shows that are moderate size, that have had 5 million downloads in their lifespan, but you know, how many per episode is the

Casey Cheshire: fair to Tim, I think he, he said that long before there was a pod bean, and shout out the pod bean because they do have that programmatic advertise.

Rob Greenlee: Yeah. Yeah. Well, Podbean has been around since 2006, so it's been around a long time, but Right. But, but dynamic ad insertion has, hasn't, has been around for quite a while, but, uh, it's only been probably in the last, I'd say probably in the last 10 years, nine years or so, that it's really been utilized by, [00:30:00] by many in the industry.


Casey Cheshire: Got it.

Rob Greenlee: I, I was working on dynamic ad insertion when I was working at Podcast one down in Los Angeles back in 2014. Um, and I know that Lipson had the technology for, for, for dynamic ad insertion back in like 2006 or seven. Um, but people just weren't, So, you know, it's, it's a fairly recent thing that people have used automatic insertion of advertising into podcasts.

That's a fairly recent development. Um, and it seems to be picking up steam. People are using it all the time now.

Casey Cheshire: You know, and, and I do, I want to talk more about pod being in, in, in a second. There, there's this, let's go back to pepper and steak, uh, because even as we were talking about the chemistry voices or we. The style of the show when it beat, when it's four to five minutes, you don't have enough time. And in my mind, because [00:31:00] I'm so obsessed with the guest, right?

So in my mind I'm like four to five minutes. You're not creating a relationship, you're not creating a good connection with your guest. And you said you're not really creating enough. , you don't have enough time to create value for your audience and, and we both agree and revenue for either of those situations, but I just, I love that your approach and even your vocabulary, even the way you're phrasing things.

It's audience, audience, audience, h d and it sounds like these decisions need to be made early on in the show design, but how does someone who has been just obsessed with the guest work more of that relationship in with the audience? You've, you've mentioned a few things here and there, but I just wanted to kinda like. Set that up and pass it over to you, because knowing where I'm at, right? Just guest obsessed. What do you do to sort of think a little bit more about your audience?

Rob Greenlee: I think it's really to think more about your audiences. To get, get a little selfish. Um, as the host, right? Right. [00:32:00] Um, because at the end of the day, the audience is there to listen to you, um, and you want them to come back because they want to listen to you. So in order to really achieve that, you have to be selfish about that relationship that you have, um, and, and feeling a responsibility to your audience to, to deliver on who you are.

And then that guest be selfish. , um, what you need from your guest I, I think is really important. Um, because then the, it's almost like bringing in, you know, you know, it's like, um, it's like adopting a brother or something like that. You, you're basically bringing somebody into the fold that fits into your path, right, into what you're trying to do, versus having them come in and interrupt your.

So that's, that's the idea behind it. So you're building, you're kind of building a team [00:33:00] that's trying to drive a mission, right? So any input that comes into this needs to drive that agenda. Um, it can be a very high level agenda. It doesn't have to be, uh, topic specific, but it, it, it just needs to drive. Your focus and that, that's what I mean about being selfish. I mean, being selfish about what you need to either get from the show and what you need to deliver on the show to your audience and to what you also need as a, as a human being yourself. What does me, as a host, need to get out of this, right?

What do I need to learn? What do I need to improve? What do I need to, um, be able to, to network, to develop a network that that can further my expertise and my career and my reputation in a particular area. Um, so these are [00:34:00] complicated relationships, but we're all humans and we're all focused on trying to build relationships.

And I think some people are good at doing that and some people are less good at. partnerships. If you look at my job title, I'm, and it, it really is a, a good encapsulation of my career and, and it's translated into a job over many different companies is content and partnerships, right? So that's basically what I do.

Um, I mean, a lot of people don't necessarily understand how that, the dynamic of that, but I've always looked at. The online world as a, a amazing content marketing opportunity, right? It's, it's like using content as a trust building, as a relationship building, as a customer building, uh, pathway. Uh, and that's why I got sucked into it a long time ago.

I mean, I was like doing a lot of billboards and radio and television and [00:35:00] all this kind of stuff, and I. , wow. This internet thing w can, can get us connected directly to the consumer or the business customer, or whoever that is. And how can I foster that relationship? I mean, I was a sales guy too for many years too.

I'd go in, I was selling like, you know, truckloads of, um, sliced bacon to a grocery chain. Um, you know, how can I build that type of relationship, right? Um, but using the internet to do it.

Casey Cheshire: Yeah.

Rob Greenlee: right.

Casey Cheshire: So I, I hear you on being selfish and I, I feel like it's, I'm glad to hear you say that. I feel like a lot of us probably need to hear it. Uh, and as, as I was taking Indi, I was sort of taking inventory of myself as you were saying that, and I feel like I have achieved a somewhat, I'll call it selfish.

in a good way, level with questions. Right. I'm asking you questions that I'm dying to know the

Rob Greenlee: Yeah, yeah. You want to know so you can [00:36:00] be a, you know, better at what you're doing, better at your career. Um, but it also builds a bond with that guest too. And that will translate into maybe some other opportunities of partnership and doing things, um, together in the future too. because you've created that connection where you're interested in this other person and this other person has been able to share and everybody wants to.

Casey Cheshire: right. So the follow on question that as I, I'm able to be selfish with questions. Does that also extend into being selfish with the dialogue and how much time someone's talking? Because I've definitely heard the best practices and the, I probably have even said it, of, you know, if the hosts, I've had guests come in here and say, look, if the host is talking more than 30% of the show, It's a di it's a different show.

It's not an interview. Right. It's Or, or, and I have had like maybe two selfish of hosts that are just like, Hey, it's the me show and hi guest or whatnot, but maybe they're doing what you're describing. So help me understand. [00:37:00] How much do you monopolize of the actual conversation?

Rob Greenlee: I think the ideal way of doing it is to keep it almost 50 50 if you can. Um, I mean, I wouldn't, um, I, I wouldn't give the mic. It's the same thing. It's like what you did at the beginning. Um, you introduced me, um, in the way that you wanted to introduce me versus saying, you know, I've got Rob Greenley here.

Rob, go ahead and introduce yourself.

Casey Cheshire: us about yourself. Yeah. I

Rob Greenlee: So, yeah, so I would say don't do that. Um, don't introdu, don't have the guest take over the microphone. You have to be in control of the show as much as you can. Um, and the guest has the responsibility too, and maybe this is in the prep, um, to keep answers relatively short and, and sweet.

Um, and. But also it's, it's a tricky thing if [00:38:00] you come into a interview with a bunch of questions, um, that can also, um, you can miss opportunities, um, by doing that too. Uh, I think it's okay to send like maybe a topic theme, um, to a guest. I'm not a huge fan of, well, I have a mixed feelings about pre-interviews.

Um, you know, I think they can be helpful. I think they can be. I think they can be helpful in building a bond in a, in a pre pre relationship before the interview. Um, and I think we're, both parties feel a little more comfortable with each other. Um, but I wouldn't, I wouldn't do the interview in the pre in the pre interview, because that may change the dynamic of your actual final product.


Casey Cheshire: yeah, you can let the cat outta the bag, right? And you have a guest. Just answer the question. And I've all, I've often had this theory that if they [00:39:00] answer a question, too. Well on the prep, then they're not going to, that magic will never come back the second time, unless they're a very rehearsed professional speaker.

It just won't come back. Whatever thing they created on that prep, it was for you and you alone, and it would've been great if you could have

Rob Greenlee: Yeah. As I say, if only I'd push the record button over here, right?

Casey Cheshire: Yeah. Hey, we should record our prep calls and not our

Rob Greenlee: Right. There you go. Yeah. Well that just tells you exactly what we're trying to say here, right? Is is that, you know, I've, I have mixed feelings about pre-calls, but, um, I think they can be helpful in building a bond between two people. So, and that couldn't come across in the interview too, which is a good thing.

I don't think it's a big, bad.

Casey Cheshire: and that 50 50 ratio you've described? Yeah, I would say even for this show, it was kind of fun cause it's meta as, as it's happening. You can talk about it, you know, it's probably been [00:40:00] 30, 70, if I'm generous, maybe lately after you've described that. I'm, I'm, I'm sharing more, uh, is it, Does this tie into the design of your show where your guest is more of a co-host in the journey, uh, where it's not, there's not that implication that you're going to be just extracting their knowledge.

You know, like if I were to start teaching something right now, in my mind it is almost seems like that might be a little weird unless it kind of like adds to the conversation. Because aren't we here to learn from like the great and powerful Rob Greenley, or are we here to learn from Casey the ringmaster?

Rob Greenlee: Well keep, keep in mind what the audience want, the audience wants to learn from both of us. So, so if I'm here, I'm sharing my perspective on these topics, you're, you're here be because you're the host and you have a perception and hopefully an understanding with your audience that y you are an expert in [00:41:00] the, the area that you're trying to focus on here.

So, So I think that's the, that's why I say 50 50 is, is it doesn't always have to be exactly that, um, but it, it needs to follow

Casey Cheshire: eats your

Rob Greenlee: what seems natural and what seems. To flow, um, with the conversation. I mean, like what we're doing here, I mean, you're asking a lot of questions, but I do want to hear what your thoughts are.

I mean, I'm, I'm always selfish in the interviews that I do too, because I want to learn from the person that I'm on the show about. And then I also want to be able to deliver, uh, what that show needs too. So I feel that responsibility as well to, to um, not do the same interview that I do. 10 other shows. Cause I do probably, uh, two to three shows a week, um, all over the world.

Like I did a show, you know, last night in Australia and, and so it's, well from, I mean, here [00:42:00] going down, down to Australia. Um, so I'll do shows like at 10, 11 o'clock at night or what, whatever in different time zones around the world. So it just, um, it just depends on, um, You know, on the, the flow of the show and what you're wanting to, to get out of it.

And I'd definitely like you, um, like we're talking about here. I think, you know, sometimes doing an interview. , um, about doing interviews can be extremely meta. Um, but I also can give you an example too. This, this show that I do, the, the new Media show, which is, I, it's been a show I've been doing for about 12 years now, and it's, um, every, every Wednesday, uh, live and it's done, done live.

And the feedback that we get from our audience, because I, I will bring on a guest occasionally on that show. It's not a. , it is definitely a host, co-host, co-host kind of show, [00:43:00] right? It's myself and Todd Cochran, who's, um, the c e o of Blueberry, which is a competitor of Podbean. So we've been doing that show for a long time.

Uh, regardless of where I work, I mean, we just keep doing the show every week. Um, but it's the feedback that we get from the audience is the audience enjoys just Todd and I. Our, our ratings go down when we bring a guest in

Casey Cheshire: Hmm.

Rob Greenlee: because that audience is going there because they want to hear Todd and I talk.

Casey Cheshire: Right.

Rob Greenlee: that's, that's at the end of the day, that's kind of what's going on. And if I, I'm kind of in charge of the guest flow into that show. If I bring on a guest, it's going to be like a product manager from Facebook, or it's going to be somebody from Google or it's going to be somebody from, you know, um, the podcast, conference, podcast movement, the.

The head guy, a podcast movement or something like that, because that's what we're talking about. Then we're talking about a particular thing that's happening in the market, [00:44:00] um, that is appropriate to, to the topic in the podcasting space. Um, so like, you know, if YouTube gets into podcasting, I'll hopefully be able to bring on somebody from YouTube to talk about, um, their entry into the podcast market.

So that's kind of how I think about, um, guests on the, on the show and all the other episodes are. Me and the co-host,

Casey Cheshire: Mm.

Rob Greenlee: that's it. So.

Casey Cheshire: and they come to hear the two of you,

Rob Greenlee: Yep.

Casey Cheshire: and you're sharing much more on that because there is, there is no interview occurring. It's not Yeah. That's very interesting.

Rob Greenlee: right. And it's, I mean, if we had a guest every, every week, I think some people would be turned off by that because they're actually here to listen to either Todd or I. So, because oftentimes in the episodes where we have a guest, um, Todd and I don't talk very much

Casey Cheshire: Right,

Rob Greenlee: so

Casey Cheshire: Because the [00:45:00] guest, the guest is there to talk if, if you don't regulate them like you've described, you've described, I mean, give them guidelines and

Rob Greenlee: Yeah.

Casey Cheshire: it's almost, there's things in bowling that come up out of the gutter, you know, give them some sort of

Rob Greenlee: Right.

Casey Cheshire: thing so they stay in line

Rob Greenlee: And they crash to the side, right? Yeah.

Casey Cheshire: Yeah. And, and then to your point, they add to the direction you're going. They don't interrupt the direction. You're going to take you in a random tangent

Rob Greenlee: Yeah. It's almost like a journalist will bring in a, a guest to, to talk, you know, in, in greater depth about a particular hot topic that's going on, or a news story or something like that. It's, it, it's a little bit of, a little bit like a. A little bit of journalism that goes on with that show too. So I'm trying to walk that line.

Um, and that keeps people interested. Coming back every week, it's like, well, what are they going to talk about? What's the hot thing this week?

Casey Cheshire: Yeah. Yeah. And then you, you're doing a show about [00:46:00] something that, you know, I guess that's another difference too. You're doing a show that's not so much about your guest, but it's about a topic that you know and love, so you're able to talk about it and. with no end. Whereas sometimes we're hosting shows where we've, by design, made it so much about our guests that we take a backseat to them.

Yeah. It's very, very interesting. You know, it's sort of challenging to me and I, I think I'll have to chew on it and figure out, but I definitely have, have sort of received the message.

Rob Greenlee: Well, and I mean, another great example is like a Joe Rogan podcast. I mean, I, I, I think most people tune into the Joe Rogan podcast because they're interested in hearing it from Joe. It just so happens because most Joe's actually probably a bigger name, uh, and more, more popular and more, uh, prominent than any of his guests.

So, you know, I mean, I mean, how do you. , you know, so that's the dynamic of that one that really kind of exemplifies what I'm trying to say is that, is [00:47:00] that the, the host should be the, the focus, right? Um, the guests just add to that credibility.

Casey Cheshire: know, it's so true because if Joe has a guest that stinks, then I'm literally out of that

Rob Greenlee: I don't really care because I got a chance to listen to Joe for, for a couple of hours, right? So,

Casey Cheshire: Yeah, like I, I'm either not even clicking on that episode cause like, who wants to hear from that person? Uh, that sounds boring. Or if you're into it and then you get in there, you, and they're a terrible speaker or so, they're just not good, you're not interested, then you tuning out.

Whereas if it was like you're describing you and a co-host or whatnot, They're in there for you. And so if, but you get what you get. So like, it's not like it's going to change that much if you, if they like what you and your co-host are doing, they can get that every episode. The topics may come and go and change, but that's what they're going to

Rob Greenlee: Yeah. Right. And, and, and it's not always the same quality of show every week too. So sometimes we have audio [00:48:00] problems and sometimes we , we, um, have a problem with something, you know? Um, so we're not perfect either. And that's that, that's part of the. The charm of the show maybe might be

Casey Cheshire: Yeah.

Rob Greenlee: is that we're, we're considered to be kind of pros in this business, but we're not perfect either.

So, and that's, that's actually, that's actually a solid thing to, to do especially, um, in, in a medium where people feel like, you know, they have to be perfect. And, uh, and I, I don't necessarily, um, agree with that viewpoint. I went, I spent a lot of years doing a lot of heavy editing and post-production with my radio show.

Um, and I think I've learned over the years that heavy editing is, is, uh, is not always the best time spent. Um, so

Casey Cheshire: that, that time would get spent too. I mean, you, [00:49:00] you open an editing window and then you look up and then it's the next day

Rob Greenlee: Yeah, it can take a long time to do detailed editing like that. Um, when I'm not sure that the audience really cares as much as maybe we think they do. So,

Casey Cheshire: Right, right. Maybe the artwork, we're putting the artwork in front of the audience. Maybe. Uh, Rob, last question for you, because I literally could pick your brain all day. I'd love to just sort of throw something out into the future. WeChat, again, 50 episodes from now. Um, for, um, you're in like leap years, right?

So you'll have like nine different shows going on. So you'll have a thousand new episodes. I'll have 50 50 more, you know, roughly a year's worth of podcasting. What, what does this industry look like? What do podcasts look like a year from now?

Rob Greenlee: I think the same way they looked probably five years ago. Um, it's, it it'll start growing again. Um, we're kind of flatlined right now, um, in most [00:50:00] metrics. So what I don't know yet is what's happening with the. The listening side of podcasting. Um, that data usually comes out once a year from the Edison folks.

Um, so I just have, haven't seen a current update on. What the audience levels are. Um, I do know that the amount of new content that's being created in the medium is flat. Um, there's, there's shows, you know, pod fading and then there's new shows starting. So it, there's a regular flow of new shows, but it's not, it's not growing much beyond the pod fading number.

So we're kind of like, if you think about it, the growth is relatively flat on the content creation side. Um, people are still creating new episodes. What I have seen some data showing is that there's, there's more and more shows creating multiple episodes a week, um, so that that percentage of, um, [00:51:00] of episodes per week is, is exceeding the number of shows.

So, so you're, you're starting to see more shows creating, let's say, maybe two episodes. Uh, versus just doing once a week, uh, or, or more, more shows are doing three episodes a week instead of one or two. So I think that there's, there's a little bit of a recognition if you have an audience, you're, you know, you're, you're more likely to retain that audience, uh, if you're a little more frequent.

Um, but that's the trade off, right? Of duration versus frequency, right? So what is that sweet spot is. It's kind of something you have to play around with. I mean, if you create 3, 3, 3 hour episodes a week, that may be too much content. Um, but if you create, you know, like three 40 minute shows or 30 minute shows a week, that may be just right.

You know? So finding that balance is, is. [00:52:00] is where I think the market is right now. And then if, if we can still keep growing steadily, the, the listening side, um, since it is a typically a free medium, you would think that we'd be able to continue to grow the listening side. Um, but I haven't seen numbers on that yet.

Casey Cheshire: Okay, well we will keep track of that and hopefully we talk before 50 episodes from now. Uh, man, give a shout out. Uh, where can people connect with you? Pod Bean, all the things.

Rob Greenlee: Well, it's pretty, pretty straightforward. I'm on all the social platforms, so my, I, I would say my primary is probably LinkedIn and, um, and Twitter. Um, so at Rob Greenley on, on Twitter. And then it's just my name, Rob Greenley on LinkedIn. Um, so you can find me over there. I've been active in both of those for a long time.

And then I have a website, rob I also have a new show that I'm working on called Spoken Life. Um, so it's, [00:53:00] it's not really got a lot of new episodes yet, but it's something that's coming for me and, um, I can, and Podbean is just My, my podcast that I do is called the. The new new media show and it's at new media

Uh, so you can get all the archives right, right there. Um, and then it's also live on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, um, and YouTube. Um, we're not yet on Rumble yet, so, but , it seems like everybody's moving to moving over to Rumble these days, but, . But yeah, tho those are the best ways. And if you wanted to send me an email, you're certainly welcome to do that to rob g

Would love to hear from you. And, and I, I take emails from people, uh, if they have podcasting questions or if they want to get started, happy to, to help.

Casey Cheshire: And a shout out to Pot Bean. We've hosted, you know, many of my shows on it. And, uh, easy to use, easy [00:54:00] for, you know, agencies to use. And so I, I'm, I'm excited. Obviously, they've dropped in the ads. They're, they're adding new things, so I, I'm

Rob Greenlee: Oh yeah. We're constantly working on new stuff all the time. Yeah.

Casey Cheshire: Yeah. Yeah. Well, dude, thank you so much for coming on here.

Thank you for just sharing this thing that you've been so passionate about for decades with me and, and letting me pick your brain about some challenging topics. I just, I really appreciate it.

Rob Greenlee: yeah. Well, thank you. I mean, it's a, it, podcasting is an art, you know, it's, it's, it's more art than science. Um, , especially in the psychology side of things. I mean, I think it, you know, it's, it's an exciting medium. It's kept me energized for many years, as you can tell, um, trying to push this medium forward.

So I'm, I'm still engaged and still, um, excited about what the future looks like and, and how this medium can keep getting better and, and hopefully it doesn't get sucked into the, to the madness of the world. Too much

Casey Cheshire: If it does, we'll be right

Rob Greenlee: [00:55:00] Right. Right, right. It'll always be interesting. Right? Yeah. Thank you for

Casey Cheshire: crash of the

Rob Greenlee: Yeah. Well, thank you for having me on the show, and I appreciate your efforts in, in trying to create the greatest show,

Casey Cheshire: That's it, man. That's what, that's what we're trying to do. And for those listening, if you learn something and I freaking know you did, because I literally have two pages of notes over here, front and back. Then, uh, then share. I got to go like, absorb these now. Uh, but then share this episode. One person, nine people, 3000, whatever.

Let's just get a good information into other people's hands. Rob, thank you again for being on here. I really appreci.

Rob Greenlee: Yeah. Well, thank you and good luck to you and, you know, with all your content creation efforts too. And, and I'll, I'm, I'm here to help win in, in any way I can, so.

Casey Cheshire: Yeah, I appreciate that. I really do. I will definitely be hitting you up a long before 50 episodes from

Rob Greenlee: Okay.

Casey Cheshire: Uh, and with that, thanks again man, and this has been a crazy episode of creating the Greatest Show. We will see you all next [00:56:00] time.

Creators and Guests

Rob Greenlee
Rob Greenlee
SVP, Content and Partnerships at @podbeancom, Co-host, Podcaster since 2004, Podcast Hall of Fame -
Balancing The Steak & The Pepper - Rob Greenlee - Creating The Greatest Show - Episode # 036
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