If you’re really passionate about what you’re podcasting about then success is just a matter of time. Plus it lowers your chances of burnout. If you’re not enjoying what you’re podcasting about then it’s time to make a change. Your audience will only like your content if you’re enjoying creating it. Of course you need discipline and consistency too. Many new podcasters set their initial goals too high and then burnout. It’s safer to do less with more consistency.
As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a very successful podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexander Riesenkampff, Founder of GetVokl, the interactive podcasting platform.
Alex Riesenkampff is a serial entrepreneur from Europe and currently lives in the States. He’s helped several businesses get off the ground including SumUp and also co-founded PrestaCap. His latest venture is GetVokl, the first platform for interactive podcasting. He believes that podcasters are the most loved digital content creators and hold the key to creating more meaningful and rewarding online communities. When Alex is not working on GetVokl, he loves to trail run, DJ electronic music and think about politics and society.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?
I grew up in Frankurt, Germany. My dad is from the Baltic States and my mom is American so my 5 siblings and I grew up bilingual and international. My dad started a law firm and worked very hard to run a successful business so I learned from the best. By watching my Dad, I was inspired to follow in his tracks. That’s why I studied business. Today, I know that anyone can be an entrepreneur and what you go to school for (if at all) is secondary. After working for a large international bank I realized that the corporate world was not for me. So I joined SumUp at the beginning. Today it’s a rapidly growing international company with more than 2,000 employees worldwide. I was part of the first three years of that success story. Back then it was a struggle but that experience taught me some of the most important lessons of being an entrepreneur. After that I started an online lending company that was eventually sold to an Italian bank. All along I had the dream of starting GetVokl, I envisioned it as a place where people could come together online to have better conversations and build healthier and stronger communities.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
I’ve appeared on many podcasts and we’re building GetVokl specifically for podcasters so I am not an actual podcaster in the traditional sense. The most interesting thing that’s happened to me since I’ve been part of the podcasting world was when I went to a podcast convention and realized how incredible the community was and supportive. These are the creators that are making our world a better place and I want to build a platform that leverages their power to inspire people and build online communities.
Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?
I think we all have made mistakes along the way but it’s how you grow from them that makes all the difference. Overall it was really about learning what motivates podcasters to do what they do and support them with sharing their message.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
As I mentioned, I’m not a podcaster in the traditional sense. Although, we do a show on GetVokl for all of the podcasters that are using GetVokl. We’ve probably done around 50 episodes to date. Also, I’ve probably appeared on about 50 plus episodes hosted by other podcasters.
What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
The community show for our GetVokl podcasters is really all about empowering them to get the most out of the platform and to give them transparency about what we’re doing and why. We’re really motivated by empowering podcasters to create better online relationships and communities. That really seems to resonate within the podcaster community.
In your opinion what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?
This question makes more sense for a more traditional podcaster.
Doing something on a consistent basis is not easy. Podcasting every work-day, or even every week can be monotonous. What would you recommend to others about how to maintain discipline and consistency? What would you recommend to others about how to avoid burnout?
I think the motivation to start a podcast in the first place is key. If you’re really passionate about what you’re podcasting about then success is just a matter of time. Plus it lowers your chances of burnout. If you’re not enjoying what you’re podcasting about then it’s time to make a change. Your audience will only like your content if you’re enjoying creating it. Of course you need discipline and consistency too. Many new podcasters set their initial goals too high and then burnout. It’s safer to do less with more consistency.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
I try to catch as many of the shows happening on GetVokl as possible. This really gives me the insights into what works and what we need to do to improve the platform.
Ok fantastic. Let’s now shift to the main questions of our discussion. Is there someone in the podcasting world who you think is a great model for how to run a really fantastic podcast?
There’s really so many podcasts that do a great job, it’s hard to pick out one in particular. I tend to follow and appreciate those that do something unique with their podcast which is the best way to build a loyal audience.
What are the ingredients that make that podcast so successful? If you could break that down into a blueprint, what would that blueprint look like?
There are so many different podcasters that are successful and do things very differently. I think there are some general rules though that successful podcasters follow:
1. Create an avatar! Who’s that one person that best represents your audience? Really imagine that person. What do they need? What do they care about? What do they worry about? Then create your podcast with that one person in mind.
2. Be authentic! We frequently hear from listeners that they’d like to be friends with the podcasters they love. Open up and let your audience get an idea of who you really are.
3. Engage! There are so many podcasts out there it’s hard to stand out. One of the main ways to attract new listeners is by word of mouth. Engaging engage with your listeners increases their loyalty and the probability that they’ll tell their friends about your podcast. GetVokl is a great way to do just that.
You are a very successful podcaster yourself. Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)
In terms of creating interactive podcasts on GetVokl these are the 5 dimensions for success:
- Content & show format: This is all about the formatting of your show. How long will it be. What recurring segments do you have; Are you going to invite guests and interact with your listeners? What’s the theme of your show? What topics do you choose for each episode?
- Production value: Obviously the microphone is key, but a good camera and especially a solid internet connection are important too. In addition to these basics, what else will you do to spice up your show? Maybe screen share and give visual aids to what your talking about. Maybe you get fancy and use 3rd party software to insert video and audio assets, create overlays etc.
- Promotion: This is all about putting in the work. After seeding your audience with your most loyal fans (and yes, this can include family and friends), make sure to leverage social media. Cross promote by guesting on other podcasts and invite guests who will promote your show to their own audience. GetVokl helps podcasters by letting their audience subscribe to their channel. Subscribers get push notifications when a new show is about to go live.
- Community: As I’ve said before, word of mouth is one of the most common and effective ways to grow your audience. Creating shows on GetVokl that actively give the audience an opportunity to be part of the experience go a long way in creating that community
- Monetization: Let’s be honest. Almost all of the most successful podcasters do it professionally and full time. Unless you have a some huge pile of cash stashed away, that means you have to monetize your podcast. There are many ways for podcasters to do that. On GetVokl, we currently support virtual tipping and will be rolling out other monetization methods soon.
Can you share some insight from your experience about the best ways to: 1) book great guests; 2) increase listeners; 3) produce it in a professional way; 4) encourage engagement; and 5) the best way to monetize it? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)
- Getting great guests is a function of hard work and reputation. Joe Rogan has the reputation to get Elon Musk onto his show. But getting there really takes a lot of hard work and persistence. Other podcasters are usually pretty willing to guest on your show. But get creative and think outside of the box who your audience might be interested in. Most importantly, prepare for your guests. Nothing turns off a potential guest more than listening to one of your past shows and realizing that your interviews are poorly prepared and you’re asking your guests boring questions.
- There are many ways to increase listenership but I think engaging with your core audience and building loyalty is the most effective way to kick-off the word of mouth engine. The goal is to grow to a point where you start charting.
- The production value is important in terms of getting the basics right but it’s really the content that makes your show stand out. Having all the bells and whistles doesn’t really matter if your content isn’t interesting.
- Traditional podcasts are asynchronous and audio only. We’ve build GetVokl especially for the purpose to engage with your audience via interactive live shows. This is more powerful than any form of engagement on traditional social media.
- Podcaster monetization is still small compared to what other digital creators are making. That’s mostly because advertising does not really work that well for podcasting. To provide perspective here: online video creators make between 10–20 times the ad revenue per viewer compared to podcasters and their listeners. I see that alternative revenue streams like Patreon are getting more lucrative for podcasters. That’s why GetVokl not only let’s you engage with your audience but gets you paid as well.
For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?
I really believe that getting the show format and content right first is much more important. Purchasing decent equipment is pretty easy in comparison.
Ok. We are almost done. 🙂 Because of your position and work, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’m blessed that my work at GetVokl is already inspiring a movement. It’s the interactive podcasting movement. Essentially it’s about unlocking the potential that podcasters have to build better online communities and uplift the lives of their listeners even more by connecting them with kindred spirits. Social media has created a lot of toxicity and rewards superficiality. It’s time that we empower podcasters to be the agents of change for better communities, deeper relationships and overall time well spent.
How can our readers follow you online?
Folks can check us out at www.getvokl.com, download our mobile app or check our socials @getvokl
Thank you so much for sharing your time and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.