Go with your gut, ignore the noise. When I first started, everyone had an opinion on what I should and should not do (they still do). It wasn’t until I stopped listening to everyone that my show actually took off. You can’t please everyone. Produce a show that you’re proud of, and don’t worry about the rest.
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 Michael Elkins, Esq.
Michael Elkins, Esq., founder and partner of Fort Lauderdale-based MLE Law, is an 18-year litigation attorney who focuses on labor and employment law, assists clients with their day-to-day legal needs, administrative claims, matters pending in courts at any level, and employer/employee specific issues. Elkins founded MLE Law to among other things, modernize the business of law by providing alternative fee structures wherein clients are not charge for phoning, emailing or texting about their matters. The firm allows for modern, efficient and global representation while only charging clients for actual legal work produced.
Elkins is also changing the way lawyers grow their business. He is the founder, producer and host of Game 7: The Sports, Business & Lifestyle Podcast. Elkins’ podcast has grown from a local to national show, where he now interviews some of the top people concerning the intersection between business and sports.
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 practicing law for almost 20 years, the majority of that time being spent at large, institutional law firms. Most large law firms are woefully behind the times when it comes to marketing, let alone creating and producing great content.
I went down the podcasting path while still practicing law, because not only is it a great way to differentiate myself, but it’s also a great way to improve my craft. By producing and editing my own episodes, I have been able to improve my speaking skills.
Also, in terms of producing content and being top of mind, I have an advantage over the majority of my contemporaries.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
My podcast journey has put me in the room with some of the most dynamic people in the sports world, people I never would have met if it wasn’t for podcasting. One of my favorites was meeting and podcasting with Michael Lombardi. Michael is a 30-year NFL Front-Office veteran who worked with Bill Belichick, Bill Walsh and Al Davis to name a few. It was great to meet him and get his thoughts on leadership and business culture.
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?
The first episode of my first podcast was an audio DISASTER. The lesson, equipment matters!
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
I’ve been podcasting for a little over 3 years.
Approximately 100 episodes spanned over 2 different shows.
What are the main takeaways, lessons or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?
I hope that they learn some of the tools from the successful people that I interview, and their minds are broadened into alternative ways of thinking and doing things.
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?
The concept itself makes it binge-listenable (the intersection between business and sports). My litigation background makes my show unique insofar as I’m able to use my deposition and witness questioning skills to really get the most out of my guests.
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?
Make sure it’s fun, if it’s not fun, you won’t do it.
What resources do you get your inspiration for materials from?
Fellow podcasters. I am always borrowing from other shows and learning what works and what doesn’t for my show.
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?
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?
Great guests, conversational format, unique topics, well produced (but not overproduced), fun
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.)
- Spend on equipment. You get what you pay for, crappy microphones create crappy sounds, and people don’t listen when your audio doesn’t sound good.
- What’s the show about? If the show isn’t clear, the audience tunes out.
- Go with your gut, ignore the noise. When I first started, everyone had an opinion on what I should and should not do (they still do). It wasn’t until I stopped listening to everyone that my show actually took off. You can’t please everyone. Produce a show that you’re proud of, and don’t worry about the rest.
- Tell people about it. Your show doesn’t magically get listeners. Unless you’re already famous, you’re going to have to hustle to get listeners. If you don’t tell people about your show, no one else will.
- Have fun. If you’re not having fun, it will show, and people will tune out.
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.)
- I didn’t start hunting great nationally recognized guests until I had a consistent track record of producing shows. So, I focused on local guests, built a show library, and when I went after national guests, they could see that I was serious. I am also not shy about hitting up people I don’t know. I mostly use Twitter and for the most part it has worked, I make it a point to tell guests that my show is not “gotcha” journalism and I include a very specific reason why I think they’re unique and fit into my show.
- SOCIAL MEDIA, SOCIAL MEDIA and… SOCIAL MEDIA.
- I use the software Audacity. I recommend recording some fun audio and taking a weekend to play with the software. Editing audio is quite easy if you spend a little time with it. I’m grateful that I know the production side, it’s much more cost effective and I have total control.
- I’ve found that social media is the best way to encourage engagement.
- I don’t monetize my podcast, I use it as a marketing arm of my law firm.
For someone looking to start their own podcast, which equipment would you recommend that they start with?
H6N Zoom Recorder
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. 🙂
Given what’s happening in the world now, telling everyone to STAY HOME! ☺
How can our readers follow you online?
Instagram: @melkins1; @mle_law
Thank you so much for sharing your time and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.