It was a couple of months ago that I had the pleasure of sitting down with Andrew Ferebee, the Founder and Host of Knowledge for Men, to chat with him about his journey to launching a podcast.
Behind the Scenes of Launching A Podcast With Andrew Ferebee
About a week prior, Andrew had sent us an email expressing his gratitude for the lessons and inspiration John and EntrepreneurOnFire had provided him on his journey. He said it was thanks to John that he even launched his podcast, which is all about men’s lifestyle and personal development, including self-actualization and even dating tips for men.
In his email, Andrew laid out his timeline starting with hearing John speak for the first time all the way to launching his podcast and beyond. He included some pretty staggering numbers, like how he had launched in mid-November and by the end of the month had over 4,700 downloads from a twice-a-week show.
He also managed to hit #1 in iTunes New & Noteworthy in three different categories his 2nd week: Business, Health and Education.
What made Andrew’s story different from others?
Well, his aggressive timeline for launching a podcast, for one. But also, and more importantly, after talking with Andrew it was clear that he understood very intimately the importance of creating valuable content on a topic that he was:
1) Knowledgeable about,
2) Passionate about, and
3) Positive there was a need for.
Before I dive into my conversation with Andrew, where he reveals exactly how he created and launched Knowledge for Men, I want to share his timeline with you to show you what taking massive action looks like visually:
What about the numbers?
Check out the incredible growth Andrew saw in just the first 3 months after his launch: he went from 4,727 downloads in November to over 135,000 in January! Talk about momentum…
How did Andrew do it?
What made his idea for a podcast, and the way he approach his launch, different from the other thousands of podcasts that are in iTunes?
Well, because I know every great business starts with your “first why”, I asked Andrew straight up: Why did you start a podcast about men’s lifestyle and personal development when there are already hundreds of resources on this topic out there?
His response didn’t surprise me in the least, because I knew that with the success Andrew has seen thus far, he had a good reason. Here’s what he said:
“There are several other sites out there where men can go, like AskMen or Maxim, but those are just men’s entertainment sites; none of them actually provide valuable, actionable content you can use and apply to improve your life.”
Andrew saw a need, and he set out to create a solution. He knew exactly who his avatar was before he started, and as a result, he was able to plan out targeted content he knew would provide his soon-to-be audience with a solution to the problems, annoyances and frustrations they face on a daily basis.
What specific steps did he take to turn his idea into a successful podcast?
I was wondering the same thing, which is exactly why I was excited to get on the line and chat with Andrew one-on-one.
We’ve shared exactly what John did once he came up with the idea for a 7-day a week podcast, and also the steps he took to launch EntrepreneurOnFire. But what steps have others taken to get to a successful launch? Let’s find out…
Kate: I know there is a lot that goes into building and nurturing the skills necessary to run a successful online business. So tell us a little bit about your background.
Andrew: I graduated from San Diego State in 2012, and I learned a lot of leadership skills and a lot about relationship building through joining a fraternity, Sigma Chi. I also worked as a representative at Apple for 3 years, which gave me a lot of knowledge about the tech space.
Andrew told me about each of his experiences one by one, but perhaps the one that stood out to me the most was him being EVP of the Entrepreneurs Society at San Diego State, which consisted of just 8 people when he joined, but that grew to over 100 by the time he graduated.
When I asked Andrew more about the Society, he went into detail about the structure: how they would reach out to high-end entrepreneurs and ask them to come speak at their events to help teach college students who were interested in Entrepreneurship what it was like to create and grow a wildly successful business – and brand. Andrew was responsible for locking in several high level local entrepreneurs.
Andrew’s ability to reach out to and lock down speakers for the Entrepreneurs Society proved to be great practice for when he started researching out to guests for his podcast, not to mention the amazing knowledge he gained from listening to and engaging with these entrepreneurs.
Kate: Okay, let’s take it way back to the beginning: first off, how did you even hear about the Co-merge event John was speaking at, and what did John say specifically at the event that got you interested in podcasting?
Andrew: I’m big into Meetup.com, where you can go to find out about local Internet marketing and entrepreneur events. I just knew I wanted to build something, and I wanted to get out there and learn and meet people who were in the same boat as me.
Listening to John tell his story at Co-merge really resonated with me because he didn’t have any experience when he started his entrepreneurial journey, and neither did I. At the time, I was a manager at Target and had no idea where I was going to go from there.
I also had no idea what podcasting was when I saw John speak at Co-merge. What flipped the switch for me was John’s passion for what he was doing. I was feeling a lack of passion for my job at Target, and I remember part of John’s speech focusing on finding what that thing is that you get excited about doing when you wake up in the morning.
Kate: How long after Co-merge until you started focusing on creating your own podcast?
Andrew: After Co-merge, podcasting sort of went into the idea box – I drew out my business plan and a podcast was there, but I didn’t start working on the podcast itself immediately after. But that is when I decided to revamp my site, which I had started back in 2011 when I was experimenting with Internet marketing.
I had tons of ideas for generating traffic, but again, I was working for Target, and I knew I had to focus on paying off my student loans. Having insurance was nice, too. But I knew if I was going to leave Target, then I needed to start taking it seriously.
By the end of July 2013 – not even eight weeks after Co-merge – I had quit my job at Target.
Kate: Okay, so you’ve taken the leap and quit your job at Target. What was the first thing you did after you left?
Andrew: Well, I knew I had to fully focus on building a platform, and so I started blogging like crazy once my site was revamped.
In fact, I was blogging so much that I got burnt out because I wasn’t sure what to say any more. That’s when I looked at podcasting – in October 2013 – to try and create new content. In less than 10 days I had 6 guests lined up, including Robert Greene and Ross Jeffries.
Kate: Did you hire a coach, or join some type of online community to help surround yourself with like-minded people, or did you just continue attending these in-person, local events to keep you motivated?
Andrew: My brother had a huge part in helping me get started. He was my mentor and was very supportive of me starting a podcast because he listened to them all the time. He helped me decide how I was going to present myself as the Host, how to record an actual show (he had a bunch of equipment I just borrowed in the beginning), and he showed me some editing techniques.
Also, just by reading and following Pat Flynn and John online – they were just like coaches to me because I consumed everything they put out. I also did a ton of searching and studying content on YouTube, in addition to some good old trial and error.
There was definitely lot of fear in putting my voice and content out there – but I made a conscious decision to not let negativity hold me back. I committed to just keep on moving forward, and luckily, I had enough support around me to be able to do just that.
Kate: What about online communities? You mentioned joining Podcasters’ Paradise (PP) – how did that help you on your journey?
Andrew: Yep, I joined PP before you guys even launched, and that was a goldmine. I sat down and went through all the videos and found everything I needed to grow my platform and launch the podcast.
I also utilized the amazing benefit of having a community of podcasters right there. I sent out a bunch of private messages to others in PP and I asked how I could help them. I knew that through providing value to others in the community, and building a lot of solid relationships, I would have people I could rely on to do the same for me.
Having that type of support is priceless.
Kate: That’s awesome – I couldn’t agree with you more regarding the importance of having a community and building relationships with like-minded people who you can provide support to, and conversely, who you can rely on for support. So you’re working on the podcast and you have a plan in place – sort of. How did you go about finding your guests?
Andrew: Well, I had zero podcasting experience, but as I said earlier, I did have a blog that I’d been creating content for related to the same niche, so I already had a following from that. I was able to get some of my bigger name guests on the show because of the traffic on my site (I had 100,000 views on the site from June – October just from writing consistent content that I knew could help my target audience.)
Each article I wrote was like a mini product launch – I spent a lot of time marketing my content, and therefore, I was able to grow a big following.
I also did a fair amount of cold emails to people who I wanted on the show, and I found great success by closing out my interviews with something like, “Thank you so much for your time and for sharing so much amazing value; if you know anyone who would be a good fit for the podcast, I would love an introduction.”
Kate: How long did it take you to prep your podcast for launch – between the time you started working on it and the time you actually launched?
Andrew: I launched the podcast on November 18 – so that was about 6 weeks of prep for me to put the podcast together: doing interviews, editing, and then publishing.
Kate: What were some of the strategies you used when you launched the podcast to get your name out there? Even though you already had a following on your blog, I’m sure you saw the potential to grow your reach even more.
Andrew: Absolutely. So I was actually ready to launch the podcast in early November, but I waited 2 weeks purposely so I could be in New & Noteworthy for the New Year. I strategically made this decision because I know personal development is huge around that time of year. Everyone is really into goal setting and change is a big topic in peoples’ lives; I knew the podcast content aligned with that.
Plus, a lot of people get iPads and iPods for Christmas, so I figured there would be an influx of traffic to iTunes, thus more people looking at the New & Noteworthy section for content to download. I thought this was a good strategy for maximizing my time in New & Noteworthy, and thus getting my name out there beyond just using my website.
Kate: What’s the format of your show: Interviews? Length? Guest type? Do you always keep it the same?
Andrew: Yep, so I do interviews, and each episode runs about 30 – 45 minutes. I have a sheet of questions, and I try to follow a similar flow with each guest, but if it goes somewhere else then I will follow it if I know my listener will be interested in hearing about it.
Kate: How do you promote your podcast now?
Andrew: Because I already have traffic coming to the blog, I will mention it there and I include links to the podcast so my readers know it exists.
I also have an email subscriber list, so my auto-responder is set up to deliver consistent, valuable content. I’ll talk about the podcast in my weekly newsletters when the topics align.
On social media I concentrate on giving value, value, value. Before, I was just asking for favors all the time. When I realized how valuable it was to provide others with answers and information that can help, I started seeing so much more coming back to me.
I find a lot of traction on my personal Facebook profile – I’m grateful that my friends really support me and I think people are very engaged with my personal profile because I always keep them updated. My personal brand is very responsive, and I think it was very important for me to recognize this so I could leverage it instead of wasting time in other areas.
Kate: What are some other ways you’ve found to get the word out?
Andrew: After I quit Target (back in July/August), I starting reaching out and pursuing a lot of speaking opportunities at high schools and colleges, where I would talk about my own college experience and focus on teaching the importance of being involved.
I really wanted to share that with college students so they understood that they’re wasting a golden ticket if they’re not involved in college. Then I would talk about Knowledge for Men. It was a pretty simple process: I would just reach out to schools and ask if I could share my story.
I think this lesson from Andrew is incredible. He pro-actively found a creative way to get the word out to a wider audience using his skills as a speaker to spread valuable knowledge to an audience who cared. He didn’t wait for the speaking opportunity to present itself to him – he went out and found it.
Kate: How do you plan to grow your audience from here?
Andrew: The best thing I’ve found, and that I’ll continue to do, is to stay consistent – every Monday and every Wednesday I publish an episode, without fail. The momentum this creates in really powerful.
Also, instead of always trying to get high profile people on the show, I’m starting to go after more of the “average guy” who just has a great story to share. People resonate with that more, and I think the more personal connections I can make on the podcast, and the more comfortable my listeners feel when they’re listening, then the more I’ll grow my audience.
I’m also really trying to engage with my audience more and focus on my writing.
Kate: John loves to talk about the podcasting “Secret Sauce” – what’s your secret sauce?
Andrew: Leveraging New & Noteworthy is huge, and I would recommend that every podcaster take advantage of that when they’re first launching their podcast.
Kate: What happened after you dropped off New & Noteworthy?
Andrew: I definitely took a hit with downloads, which is common since you’re suddenly getting zero organic traffic from iTunes visitors. But my numbers have kept steady thanks to the other tactics and strategies I’ve use to grow my audience, which I just mentioned above.
Kate: Any other incredible advice you’d like to share for anyone out there who might be stuck with their podcast, who is trying to grow their audience, or who doesn’t know what steps to take next?
For anyone who might be stuck with their podcast: Relationship building should be first and foremost – if you don’t have connections in your industry or niche, then stop what you’re doing and start asking people to grab a coffee with you, or ask people to join you on a Google Hangout. Exchanging ideas and advice with like-minded people goes a long way and could be the difference between you being stuck and unstuck.
For anyone struggling with growing their audience: If you don’t have a following when you’re first starting out, leverage your friends, family and co-workers. You already have a list, and it’s in your phone.
Also, if you’re doing an interview-based show, then leverage your guests and ask them to share. But I definitely recommend that you think of them sharing as a bonus, not a given.
For anyone who doesn’t know what steps to take next: You can do so much offline – check out Meetup.com and get yourself out there. I’ve been to in-person niche meet up groups that sometimes have over 100 people in attendance. If you don’t know what to do next, then start with the basics: it’s all about building relationships.
That’s a wrap!
Andrew went on to share how he’s interviewed some of his favorite authors, life coaches and entrepreneurs through podcasting. Most recently, he interviewed Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street, and Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank.
Hearing Andrew talk about how he never thought any of this would be possible, and how he couldn’t be more excited about the direction his business – and his podcast – are headed in, was powerful. It made me realize how true “the sky is the limit” is for people who are willing to take a chance and work hard to create the life they want to live.
“Sometimes I look at what I’m doing, and I can’t believe this is actually what I do!” – Andrew Ferebee
Andrew Ferebee is the Founder of Knowledge For Men, and is passionate about empowering men to live better in all aspects of live through health, wealth, relationships and growth. For the rest of his life, he wants to push the boundaries of what is possible, and he hopes to inspire you to do the same. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde