Have a unique idea: Search for other podcasts that do the same thing you’re trying to do. Is your podcast recapping various grisly murders? Does your show help breakdown what’s going on with the WWE this week? Maybe there’s a better use of your time than starting another one of those podcasts. Find a niche! It’s getting harder and harder to stand out.
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 Nick Turner.
Nick Turner, a comedian, and podcaster, has performed stand-up comedy on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, and Comedy Central’s The Half Hour (to name a few). His debut album, “Yelling” was released in 2016 through Comedy Central Records. He was a regular cast member on VH1’s Best Week Ever and I Love the 2000’s. Recently he created and starred in a Comedy Central digital series called Ya Killin’ Me! He is currently the host of two popular podcasts, Get Rich Nick (Earwolf Network) and Deckheads (iHeartRadio).
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’ve been a stand-up comedian for the last 17 years. Stand-up comedy is a great because you’re always spinning out into different directions. Stand up has led to acting roles, writing jobs, network deals, television pilots, and, sometimes even more stand-up comedy. Podcasts are a natural extension of the many armed beast that is a stand-up comedy career because it’s the best way to grow your fan base.
Gone are the days when you can just get three comedians in a basement and flip on a microphone and instantly make a ton of money. Now you have to really make a compelling, well-produced podcast to break through. During a financially difficult period a couple of years ago I started doing Task Rabbit and Rover. I instantly fell in love with the freedom and ease of making real money on Task Rabbit and HATED Rover. When Nick Vatterott and I were brainstorming different ideas for our podcast, the idea of rating these side hustles was born.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
I walked a dog for a woman on heroin and spent an hour convincing her to take back her dog! However, that pales in comparison to the MOST interesting thing that has happened. We interviewed Nick Vatterott’s college roommate about the time he won a car on The Price is Right and got some tips about how to get picked to compete on the show. This was a more tongue in cheek episode because winning a car on The Price is Right isn’t the most practical way to earn a living. However, when we went, I was immediately selected, won the first One Bid, won the first game, and won a dang car. (A 2020 Honda HRV-LX, because I know you’re going to ask.)
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’ve only ever had ideas for podcasts that are incredibly difficult. My first podcast was called Recently Added that I hosted with fellow comedian Will Miles. The concept of the show was that we would watch every single Netflix Original release the weekend it aired and then review them all. Sounds easy enough, but sometimes Netflix will release about fourteen shows in a week. They make shows for every market in the world and since they own the rights to them all, they release them everywhere. 80% of Netflix shows are never intended to be seen by everyone. Anyway, we watched them all! Every week our guest would tell us how insane we are and how torturous their one week was watching Netflix Originals. In spite of that, we did Recently Added every week for a year! My only hope to have made that year worth it is to sell a book called What I Learned from My Year of Watching Every Netflix Original, And Why I’ll Never Do That Again. We made it too hard. Find a niche that lets you breathe.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
I’ve been podcasting for a little over a year and have created three different shows. In addition to the failed Recently Added, I have a Below Deck after show on iHeartRadio called Deckheads and Get Rich Nick on Earwolf. Deckheads has only been out for a month; Get Rich Nick is on its 30th episode even though it seems like we’ve done 300.
What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
I want our podcast to make people’s faces hurt from laughing of course, but I also want people to be educated in a real way. I was in the same place as our listeners. Look, I have a career doing something I’m very passionate about and sometimes it affords me a very good living; sometimes I really need some help. I can’t go out and get a nine-to-five job because I couldn’t be a comedian anymore. What do I do when I just need an extra few hundred dollars a week? People will pitch you one hundred things you could be doing to make money, but not every side hustle is right for every person. There is really no database that exists that puts all of these jobs next to each other and compares them… UNTIL NOW.
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?
It’s binge-listenable because it’s so much fun! We follow a specific formula. We introduce an idea, talk to an expert, perform the job, and do a recap. Sometimes there are more steps, but we always give our audience a full, complete, hour-long show. Each episode is about a different side hustle so you can really start anywhere and listen to episodes out of order. If start at Episode One, I really think the whole journey becomes that much more exciting. You really see that we are starting from absolute square one, and if we do ever get rich, the whole story will be there in these episodes. Get Rich Nick is a fun ride.
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?
You have to make sure the subject matter is something you are passionate about. Or someone has to pay you. That’s it. I’m super passionate about finding a side hustle that works for me. I’m super passionate about not having a boss. I don’t work well with a boss. Not having to have a single person to answer to everyday makes me happier than anything. Also, we get paid a good amount. I love it.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
Wherever I go, people pitch me episode ideas. Friends, listeners, signs on the street, targeted Instagram ads, my parents. Other comics are a big inspiration. So many people I know are trying out all of this stuff on their own. It’s pretty easy to find an expert guest for each of our episodes.
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?
Reply All. They basically solve internet mysteries, but they go so deep in every episode. Just when you think the story is done, they put in more work, send a reporter to a different city to track down a new person and a new lead. It’s an absolute roller coaster ride.
I think about it every time we are about to put a bow on a new episode. Is there more to this story? If we spent one more night charging e-scooters would we finally find the best hack? That’s why we end up doing so many two-part episodes. I really want to turn over every rock because you never know which rock is going to win you a freaking car on The Price is Right.
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?
Reply All is actual journalists doing actual journalism. They have a budget to have an entire office full of people put out maybe two or three episodes a month. The bigger the team and the more time you have, gives you all the more chances to make something really special. PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman are affable hosts who are able to tell every story using humor. They’re continually pushing the story to the absolute edge, yet they have the ability to scrap a story when it isn’t panning out. When you have a strict deadline, every story you start has to get produced.
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.)
Have a unique idea:
Search for other podcasts that do the same thing you’re trying to do. Is your podcast recapping various grisly murders? Does your show help breakdown what’s going on with the WWE this week? Maybe there’s a better use of your time than starting another one of those podcasts. Find a niche! It’s getting harder and harder to stand out.
Build a good team.
Lyra Smith is a world class producer. My co-host, Nick Vatterott, is absolutely one of the funniest people I have ever met and I have met MANY of the funniest people alive! I feel like cheating by getting to work with them.
Stay on topic.
We way over record for every episode and it is up to our absolutely brilliant producer/editor Lyra Smith to cut out the fat. It’s hard as a comedian who’s used to riffing to stay on topic all the time, but at the end of
the day, this show needs to be about the subject at hand and not an excuse to make jokes and funny voices, although we do plenty of that, too.
Marketing is SO important.
There really are too many podcasts. We have the luck of being on Earwolf, a cool comedy network, and we have a lot of friends with big podcasts where we can guest on. After making a killer show, you need to make the marketing another giant part of your routine. Regular posting, doing other podcasts, getting articles in Authority Magazine. You need to be hustling long after you’ve recorded an episode.
Don’t be afraid to work hard on your podcast.
“Podcasts are supposed to be fun! We don’t edit we just turn the mic on and let her rip!” More likely, you’re lazy. We are well into the era of overly produced podcasts which you have to meet them on their level. You have to treat it like a job and unfortunately, most parts won’t be that fun. That’s okay! It’s still fun if you surround yourself with good people and are proud of your product.
Can you share some insight from your experience about the best ways to:
- book great guests; Be a professional stand-up comedian for over a decade and you’ll be fine.
- increase listeners; Go on other podcasts and promote the hell out yours every chance you get.
- produce it in a professional way; Try to be in a 7 year-long romantic relationship with one of the best, most accomplished producers in podcasting. Lyra Smith is our producer who just so happens to have worked at this American Life, S-Town, The Dream and it is currently a story editor at Crooked Media. Thankfully, Earwolf, our podcast network, does a lot of the work for us.
- encourage engagement; Ask your audience for suggestions. Start a dialogue. I ask our listeners to give us suggestions, but I will only read them if they are written in five-star reviews on Apple Podcast. We get more engagement as a result while getting a ton of ratings than we would otherwise.
- the best way to monetize it? (Please share a story or example for each, if you can.)
Use those referral codes, baby. If you aren’t selling advertisements yet, you can always do it DIY style with referral codes. Luckily our show lends itself to the use of many apps that give us a little kickback when our listeners sign up with our code. I recommend for as many of these opportunities as possible. From the HealthyWage app, we’ve made over $1,000 from referral codes.
For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?
Get Zoom, okay microphones, and the biggest SD card you can find. Do NOT overthink this part.
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 want the people who report the unemployment rates to be more honest about the gig economy. When people have a terrible side job that doesn’t earn them a living wage, the government should not be credited with employing someone. For the most part, these aren’t real jobs and they shouldn’t be counted as such. Every time I see the unemployment rate go down I cringe because every year people struggle to string work together to keep from falling further behind.
Hopefully, our show could shed some light on this.
How can our readers follow you online?
@nicksturners on Twitter and Instagram @GetRichNickPod on Twitter @GetRichNickPodcast on Instagram
Thank you so much for sharing your time and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.