How to Grow a Top 10 Podcast + Impatience with Action, Patience with Results [Sam Parr, Shaan Puri]

The MFM guys talk about their stats, and reflect on what it takes to grow.

Listen to MFM (1hr in

how to grow podcasts
  • big guest
  • "how to" episode
  • buy ads on niche audience - eg podcast junkie types - castbox, overcast
  • be consistent and at least ok
  • treat side hustle like a job -> grind at it
  • maintain and improve an existing winner instead of constantly jumping around "there are no silver bullets, only lead bullets"
  • impatience with action, patience with results


uh in 3-1 so what was that march march 
we did 338 
000 downloads in april we did 436 000 
downloads so 
uh that's a 30 game about in may 
it's tracking towards around 520 000 
which is another 
20 20 increase i think we can keep going 
and i want to tell you what i think is 
is causing all this 
the first is 
the biology episode so guests 
typically we have found don't work that 
well but a really 
big name guest or someone that has a 
cult following 
like a tie or biology um that works 
who's ty lopez oh tai lopez okay gotcha 
uh when we did that one because he's 
like cult following 
and a cult unfollowing he's got both 
yeah so that that worked so the 
biology's episode is probably gonna be 
the most listened 
one ever um so that worked out 
how much more is it than the usual is 
like 20 more 50 
more than a typical episode it got to 30 
like in the first week typically our 
episodes get to 30 000 over like 
two months gotcha okay so it it did that 
in like a week or whenever it was when 
did it get released a week 
days five days wednesday i talked to him 
on the phone and he said yeah 
a good episode i shared it so hopefully 
that helps 
and then uh he's down to share more but 
we only tweeted out i think one clip 
from it so he's down to share more clips 
and he liked the 
animation he was like oh like looks like 
production value's going up 
i was like sweet yes it is yeah uh 
so that worked out well and then do you 
want to announce what's working really 
well is how to's 
so any time a title is called how to 
build a paid community 
how to build paid events how to whatever 
we've done 
those rank the highest no matter what or 
not no matter what but more often than 
not so like in our top 10 most 
downloaded stuff 
it's either an interview with a huge a 
well-known person 
um which like an andrew would be a 
well-known person or a how-to 
blank so we have to do some more almost 
they don't care about us and our great 
ideas they care about themselves 
learning something and being able to do 
something they want to do 
i think that's exactly what it is and 
then it's ourselves peppered in there we 
are the spice but 
the meat is the how-to right and then 
finally i got a last update um we're 
running some ads on 
do you know this thing called the 
billionaire investors podcast 
what's it called it's like a famous 
thing is it we study billionaires is it 
that one yeah i love that podcast if 
you're looking to do it 
yeah so we're running an ad on their net 
on their network on that podcast i think 
uh we bought it last week i think it's 
gonna go live this week 
then so there's two types of podcast 
advertising that i'm learning about the 
is what we do is people advertise now 
hubspot advertises on our podcast 
and people go to mfm 
the other one is podcast platform so 
like overcast have you heard of 
overcast yeah like these clients these 
apps you can use to listen to podcasts 
yes and on those clients those uh users 
click subscribe 
and the strategy that i'm doing is what 
we're doing is we are going towards 
niche ones because those niche ones 
typically have a far loyal following 
and you could get low cost per click to 
download and subscribe 
and it makes sense because those people 
if you are 
you got to be a real podcast junkie to 
go get like a new podcast app because it 
has these extra five features about 
podcasts so it's actually a really good 
that's probably really cheap because 
nobody else really goes for them so i i 
like the strategy a lot 
and they're like they're techie they're 
like tech they're early doctors 
yeah and so we're running ads currently 
on cast box 
i've never even heard of them but it 
looks cool and then overcast and so 
those are some of the updates uh it's 
going well okay what about the 
so the ad on the we study billionaires 
podcast what is it because i'm always 
if i'm listening to a podcast what's 
actually going to make me 
go subscribe one is a guy comes on or a 
girl comes on and they're a guest 
like this happened with elaine elaine 
came on our podcast she did ideas 
and she said it was like i don't know 
one of her biggest uh her newsletter got 
like a huge spike in subscribers like 
her next email send was 
welcome all my new subscribers this is 
amazing and she said she got you know 
thousands of new subscribers from her 
appearance on the pod which is great 
and so that one makes sense because if i 
go and guest on somebody's podcast 
you listen to it for 45 minutes or an 
hour because that's your favorite 
podcast or that's what you listen to 
and you might be like oh that guess was 
cool they said they have a pod i'll go 
check it out 
i like that method and i'm i've said it 
i got to do this i still have to go do 
it which is 
i want to go guest on as many podcasts 
as i can that would be part my 
contribution to this growth strategy 
but this ad is a little bit different 
it's just like a 30 second 
sound clip what are we saying in that 30 
second sound clip that's going to make 
somebody want to subscribe 
unfortunately it's not a clip i think 
it's going to be stig the main guy 
reading but frankly i don't know we just 
closed the deal on friday 
okay fair enough uh so i have to figure 
it out but 
we have our guys so we we got this team 
uh henry and dylan 
they're making like a height like a 
sizzle reel right um and we might be 
able to use that 
but i don't know but i agree with you 
like in theory i agree with you i just 
don't know what's 
what's available at the moment and we're 
doing some other stuff to make it easier 
to follow 
so i'm emailing i've grown my email list 
and this year 
from zero to twenty six thousand 
subscribers now 
and at twenty six thousand i just sent 
it out the first time last week 
so just uh it's uh just so 
if you go subscribe there you get all my 
emails but one of the weekly emails i 
send now 
is a podcast recap so if you don't have 
time or you 
listen to the pod while you're on the go 
i basically take the best three bits 
from that lat from the last uh the last 
week of episodes and i say 
this was the best idea this was kind of 
the second most interesting idea here 
was the third one 
and so sent that out for the first time 
and i think that will also make it 
easier for people to like 
follow along and if you were kind of on 
the fence or you were 
you're in and out you listen sometimes 
you don't listen other times i think 
that'll keep you on the hook 
because and then i copied your email 
from sean and i sent it to like 30 000 
hustle people who clicked on a 
my first million link in the past like 
two weeks and we're actually gonna 
increase that so it's like 100 000 
people and my takeaway so far is 
it actually might be good for the user 
but shitty for our numbers 
because you just get the information 
without having to listen which kind of 
sucks that that like has to be the case 
yeah i thought about that but i don't 
think that's actually how the world 
works i think if you keep giving people 
in every form that they want it short 
form text long form 
clips on twitter clips on youtube video 
on youtube podcast audio 
if you just keep giving people value 
they will learn that 
oh and whenever i want ideas whenever i 
want to feel that 
my wheels turning if i want to get that 
juice that energy 
um shawn and sam are the place to go to 
get it and our 
best raw the raw source the real 
deal is in the podcast and so i 
think over time those clips 
they just bring people who are on the 
fringes closer to the core 
i hope that's the case and i'm betting 
that's the case i'm putting my money on 
that but 
yeah yeah but it's a fear i and and i 
want to bring this back to one thing 
which is a lot of times we talk about 
this inside stuff and hopefully it's not 
like a circle jerk like oh we're awesome 
yada yada 
uh i'm revealing this because a lot of 
people people like this i like it when i 
hear other people say the numbers 
but also i want to point that 
i think we're doing really good but i 
actually don't think 
that we are good i think persistence is 
and the reason why this is working is 
persistence works quite well so we're 
actually on we're 
close to episode 200. we've been doing 
this for uh 
is it going to be two years two years 
two years maybe in september or 
august july something like that july and 
i would say that we miss i i get sick 
sometimes i miss stuff sean will miss 
stuff because he had 
a baby but we're pretty much always on 
and at worst we're mostly at least 
good uh like we're like it's typically 
always at least 
okay sometimes it sucks sometimes it's 
really good 
mostly it's okay and like 
sorry mostly it's good i would say but 
that consistency 
is actually really important and we're 
going to appsumo um 
and i guess now in three weeks and 
there's a great story 
that noah told me or and basically no 
kagan runs this company called appsumo 
um it's a it's a weekly email where you 
get deals on software 
this year they're going to do 100 
million in gross revenue 
of which like 50 50 million is their 
revenue it's a great business it's 10 
years old 
and he was like you know i realized 
something that 
this business that we're running it's 
done really well but it didn't do well 
at first 
but everyone wants to know like why is 
this doing so well and he goes 
i really just put in 40 hours a week but 
i just did it for 
10 years and it has finally started to 
pay off and turn out 
and done really well and it's just like 
it's just a job and i just but i do it 
all the time and i treat it like a job 
and that has paid dividends 
and i think that more people who listen 
to us 
could kick ass a lot harder if they 
treated their side hustle like a job 
yeah i i would uh i agree with you 
persistence is great the one thing um 
that this reminds me of is 
i got some advice from the ceo of twitch 
emmett and um we so so when i got 
uh when our team got acquired our 
company got acquired we were put on a 
special project 
inside twitch and it was kind of like 
one of the like 
uh most people at twitch are working on 
something that already exists hey this 
you know people already use us 
we're already the category leader you've 
got to make it better make it more 
profitable make it smoother make it 
whatever it's more like maintaining and 
an existing winner and we were put on 
this little 
we're on the edge of the island and 
we're the only team in the company 
basically or 
one or one of three teams that was 
working on something that where we 
weren't the winner wasn't proven 
and so we uh it was considered like a 
kind of a top priority so we did this 
uh every week the top my team would 
present to the ceo the ceo and the chief 
product officer 
we had an hour with them every week and 
in a big company you don't really get an 
hour with those three people 
every week that's like a very expensive 
meeting as they say 
and um because it was important and i 
used to 
go in and i would try to basically every 
i feel like every two weeks i was 
pulling a 
a rabbit out of my hat trying to be like 
and here's the new genius tactic that 
we're gonna do and 
this one is gonna be the one that works 
and like 
some of them did make an impact but 
emmett had this observation where 
he was like you know i feel like you um 
have a lot of good ideas 
and then every month we're we're 
like sort of like on a weekly or monthly 
basis when we sit here 
it's always like yeah it's good but it's 
not as good as we want it to be we're 
still like 
we're so small we want to be so huge um 
and he's like you're impatient with the 
and so i so i change one thing at the 
top of every 
um every update that you have to bring 
in a memo 
at the top of every memo um i was the 
only person in the company that was 
doing this everybody else their memo 
goes straight into like 
here's the weekly update here's how it's 
going here's what here's what 
we're doing next at the top i wrote in 
impatience with action patience with 
i said that's our team motto i'm putting 
it up here mostly for myself to remember 
impatience with action that's what 
impatience is good is when it's 
you're being impatient by taking action 
but impatience is bad when you're 
impatient about results so i'm putting 
at the top of this paper every 
so we're all going to see it so that was 
cool then the second 
the second lesson came like six months 
later nine months later when he was like 
by the way you guys notice like we got 
the results like 
it's actually coming to fruition now and 
if we look back 
we can't say which one thing we did was 
the big growth mover and he goes because 
there's this uh phrase that i think 
andreessen horowitz uses which is 
or they made it more popular i guess i 
don't know if they invented it but ben 
horowitz has it in his book which is 
there's no silver bullet there's only 
lead bullets 
and this is about this is basically 
what that means is there's no silver 
bullet strategy there's no one thing 
you're gonna go do 
that's just gonna magically like make 
everything okay 
make everything work um the only growth 
strategy that 
truly works over time is a 
many lead bullet strategy which means 
you fire you do a bunch of things 
and you keep firing keep firing keep 
firing until the you know 
the thing falls over and finally finally 
you break through and so i would say 
this is a good and so that became the 
second motto which is 
remember only lead bullets and so that 
that was those were the top of 
every weekly update was those two that's 
pretty good to catch myself 
because i'm good but my what's my leak 
my leak was 
impatience my leak was looking for the 
genius tactics 
when all it took was lead bullets and 
and uh and so you know if you take away 
one thing you know us talking about our 
growth numbers 
i think some people will like it because 
they like hearing the actual numbers 
it's great when somebody's like 
transparent about things 
cool we're at over half a million 
downloads this month like monthly now 
and we're trying to get to a million 
some people will be like why do they 
talk about their podcast number so much 
but i hope the takeaway is forget about 
how our podcast is growing that's 
probably irrelevant to you 
but you probably have a project you're 
trying to grow and hearing how sam 
thinks and talks about how he's growing 
this podcast is gonna be 
beneficial for how you do it okay how to 
grow a thing 
uh yeah back to our how to's i think 
that um 
and we'll move on but the last the 
phrase that i've been thinking about 
a lot lately is people overestimate 
what they can accomplish in a year but 
they underestimate what they can 
accomplish in 10 years and decades 
right absolutely and and that's kind of 
an example here like we've been 
frustrated on some month-to-month basis 
or a week-to-week basis but like 
it's kind of cool seeing these numbers 
uh like really start pale
2021 Swyx