Matt Johnson is a marketing agency founder, podcaster, and musician. Matt runs a podcast launch & production agency based in San Diego, an international team that helps business coaches, consultants and thought leaders use done-for-you podcasting to attract an audience, build influence & become MicroFamous.
Matt is the author of MicroFamous and currently hosts the MicroFamous podcast. He is a frequent podcast guest and event speaker to audiences around the US, Canada, and Australia.
Intro: Welcome to the Lucky Titan podcast where you will learn how to fill your favorite platform with tons of your dream customers from some of the world's top entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Josh Tapp now let's get started.
Josh: What's up everybody, Josh Tapp here again and welcome back to the lucky Titan and today we're here with Matt Johnson, which you guys will remember came on, well over a year ago at this point, I believe so we were trying to determine that before the call, we can figure it out but it's been a while but as you all know, that's one of the guys I want to bring back in and see, did it work what we talked about last time, did you actually feel like it worked and, you know, you're progressing and what's pivoted, what's changed so Matt, as many of you will know, is an agency owner and author, a speaker, a coach, this guy's done it all but he's from our conversation, I'm finding probably one of the most methodical humans about the way he does what he does and he's very intentional with the people he brings into his world so, Matt, I'm glad you allowed us into your world today to actually share you here with our audience on the show so say what's up, and we'll hop in, man.
Matt: what's up, and I'm honored to be here and I do try to be intentional, and I appreciate that you're in my world so it's gonna be.
Josh: thanks, man, I appreciate that. You know, Matt, you've actually sent me some of the greatest guests we've ever had so it's been fun to to actually say, hey, let's bring you back on. It's a thank you, first off, but I mean, your episodes done so well and I think it's because of the way that you view marketing and and I wouldn't say it's so much of a contrarian opinion, but it's, it's, you have your beliefs, and it's polarizing and I was excited when we were talking in the pre interview about you kind of disagree with what some of the things that we do, and I want to see the why, and then kind of talk through those as well so I want to talk through the state of podcasting with you and the direction of actually leveraging a podcast in a business so give us kind of your opinion of podcasting as a business.
Matt: Okay, well, I think both you and I run across a lot of people that their first thought is monetization and I think that almost immediately leads them away from the thing that they should care about the most, which is to look at what does the audience want and what else could you offer them that you, you already sell because that's the best way to monetize, I think it's pretty quickly people get off the rails of thinking about, okay, how can I start making money off my podcast, they want to zero cost and all this stuff. In terms of where it's at, it's a weird interesting place in podcasting right now, because of a couple of things number one, I would say YouTube is making much better strides and helping creators make better content, Apple has essentially neglected the ecosystem so badly that it took Spotify coming along and doing things like buying anchor and buying chortle, and all the all the moves that Spotify is made, to force Apple to do anything, anything and they immediately went into something that I think is stupid for most business entrepreneurs and influencers, which is the Apple comes out with like paid subscriptions, like for God's sake. Okay, great so now I got another thing that I got to talk my clients out of trying Okay, don't lock your sales letter behind a paywall, and like you, like if you sent a direct mail, a direct response marketing letter, would you make them pay to open it like no, you your podcast is like their best sales message for what you sell, don't lock it behind a paywall so Apple is doing, you know, they're trying to play catch up, but they've done a pretty poor job of helping creators make better content and so I think some of the best lessons for what will work are actually found in watching what YouTube creators are doing and then bringing those lessons over to the podcast world because of how bad apple has been so we've got that going on, we have the the I would say the rise and fall of social media as we knew it, as we were promised it, you know, when crush it came out, I think that was oh, nine and then Grant Cardone’s book 10x came out in 2011. So we're talking about 10 years ago, those methods work, you know that at least they did. Unfortunately, the algorithms have caught up to that and they've realized that hey, surprise, surprise, people like don't like business content as much as they love kitten videos, so we're gonna boost the cat videos at the expense of all the other stuff, we're gonna devalue the business stuff, even if people subscribed, and theoretically, they're there because they actually want your business content but do you know who Jaron Lanier is like the Silicon Valley futurists you know, virtual reality philosopher. Yeah, super interesting guy anyway, so I did an episode of micro famous on like, I think the title was something like why social media has changed so drastically, just in the last couple of years, and I played this clip of Jaron Lanier and hit the point of what he was saying was that the algorithms have become so optimized for extremely fast rising responses, and guess which emotional responses the fastest rising negative, which is why negative, polarizing hate inducing political content gets spread like wildfire from both sides, you know, on platforms like Facebook, that puts all of us that are making business content at a disadvantage I mean, how many how much business content generates fast rising negative emotions, like it's really hard to do, it doesn't come easy and even if you could do it, do you want fast rising negative emotions associated with your offer, probably not so you're Yeah, you're it's social media has really put us in a position where the original promise to us just doesn't it isn't valid anymore, the original promise was, hey, if you put out compelling kind intent the people in your market care about, here's this platform that's going to spread that content way beyond who you can reach personally 1000s and 1000s, maybe millions of people for essentially zero cost to me that promise is done, you know, if you talk to entrepreneurs today, when they tell you about the content that gets the most engagement, it's never anything with business, if they took their dog to the dog park, like, okay, great, that doesn't help sell your offer, if 10,000 people see the see the Instagram reel you did about taking your dog to the dog park and then when you try to put something out, that asks you to hire them that gets 100 views, then guess what your offer only got seen by 100 people so the other 10,000 people who've seen the video of you walking your dog to the park doesn't matter so that's kind of where we're at and it's bleeding over into podcasting because a lot of times, like years ago, it worked to promote podcast on social media. It just doesn't work the same way as it did so yeah, where does that leave us net, when all that stuff is taken to consideration, well, you get back to the fundamentals of marketing, who is your person, what message are they care about, what niches are exploding right now what ideas in the culture are exploding and find a wave in the culture that you can ride so it goes back to our Al Ries stuff from the 80s The 22 Immutable Laws of marketing like, I don't think of myself as a contrarian, I think of myself as someone that was grounded in view of marketing that temporarily got sidetracked all the obsession on social media so anyway, that's my long winded answer where we're at.
Josh: well, I love it. And I want to pick that apart because, I mean, I'm gonna go back to where you said, you know, use YouTube, like mirror what the creators on YouTube are doing, I'm curious about that because most people in the podcasting space right now we're like, oh, I should start having a vodcast, right. I should have a video podcast, I personally don't see that working with any of our clients. First off, but secondarily, I don't see it working simply because nobody goes to YouTube watch business interviews, right?
Matt: not anymore.
Josh: Yeah, not anymore. So that's why I'm curious, what do you mean, like looking at what they're doing? Is it just the way they're producing content, the way they're niching down, dive into that, for me?
Matt: It is the tactical adjustments that they are making in response to better audience information. So for example, if you go into the back end of Apple podcasts, and you look at the consumption numbers, okay, great somebody listened to 77% of this episode, but they only listen to 60% of another episode. Okay, great. Show me the graph, I want to see the graph where did I lose them and Apple doesn't give you that YouTube does so then you've got things like YouTube is starting to cut out, you know, they're cutting out outros, they're cutting out the intro stingers like all these things, it Hey, just get into the content and get out of it quickly, podcasting hasn't really caught up to that yet, we're still doing, you know, long, intros, long outros and, you know, if you've done live podcasting, like I have for years, like you kind of get used to just filling up an hour, right and you tend to just stretch your clothes of the show out for five, seven minutes, just because, hey, we've got, you know, I don't have anything until the top of the hour so let's stretch out the time and so I think it's the tactical adjustments that YouTubers are making that podcasters can learn from, it's not that the stuff is not that you can take your podcast over to YouTube, because you know, that remains to be seen whether that will ever work, it definitely is not working right now. I think like a lot of things Joe Rogan and his clips on YouTube are kind of the exception that prove the rule, not an example to follow, like a lot of stuff that Joe Rogan does is the exception that proves the rule but the people that are doing shorter content, and saying things like, hey, we cut out 70% of the footage that we shot, they were getting into a world where we kind of got diverted into this world where more content was better, I think we're coming back to a place where hey, throw away 70% of what you produce, and only release the best 30% and less content is better, less, but better content is better, if that makes sense.
Josh: Yeah and I love that, I would agree with that and my curiosity is on it is would you recommend throwing away that content, would you recommend holding on to it for the next big platform because I personally think that we're gonna see an ebb and flow are there is they are more interested long form content so you can have it in the library, if that makes sense or would you just say scrap it stick with the short form?
Matt: That is an interesting question. I don't have a strong opinion on that. I would say if you've got the storage space, keep it because you never know but odds are your beliefs and opinions are probably going to evolve and change over time and you'll get clarity on things you probably talk differently two years from now about your business, then you talk about it now. So you know time relatively is for the entrepreneur when it comes to sales, that kind of time spent creating the right kind of content for whatever timeframe you're talking about is one of your most valuable uses of your time so odds are you're better creating something for whatever that next platform is that specialized and tailored to that platform than trying to repackage something even if it is from yesterday or two years ago, podcasting is one of the very very few forms where and YouTube is another one where the content you put out five years ago can still be found and consumed and people still find it valuable and it's still in a format and a packaging that people are willing to consume five years from now.
Josh: Yeah, yeah love it. Well, I am curious because YouTube is actually launching a whole podcasting arm right now they hired I'm they're being really calm about it, but they hired a new director of podcasting, I believe is what they call the title for for YouTube and I'm curious to see if it will, if we'll see a spike in it because I think podcasting was one of those things that they thought was just going to go away 10 years ago, and now it's become mainstream but even though it's growing year over year, I've been curious to see what the trends will continue to do because people get into the hype, right like these like clubhouse right, I predicted the rise and fall that sometimes you do people and everybody's like, Oh, go bet your your things like if you understand business models, man clubhouse literally was built as a way to collect data so they could sell it to somebody and then disappear, that's what they did that's why it was free.
Josh: anyways, I digress but, but that's why I'm just kind of curious, like, what your take is on it and like how people should be building that content, because you talk about doing that micro content and shortening up the episodes and everything and we've I believe that an even an interview shouldn't ever go over 20 minutes, that's why with ours, it's a 20 minute interview so I'm just kind of curious, your take on that?
Matt: Well, I'm not optimistic if I had to, if somebody said like, hey, you've got to bet on YouTube podcasts being big and by the way, the buy in is 50,000, I wouldn't put the money down.
Josh: Right? Yeah.
Matt: So I'd love to see them do something and help us out but I think they're coming from it from the wrong perspective, which is that they spot a business opportunity, as opposed to what the user actually wants, what what users actually want is an app, it's tailored to whatever, you know, specialty part of the ecosystem they want to consume it in, like I have YouTube music on my phone, it's the third app in a row that I go to, I go to, you know, Amazon Music First, because that's my preferred music player, then I'll go to Spotify and then if I can't find what I want, and either of those two platforms, I go, Oh, yeah, I've got YouTube music and I'll just find it on there. So if YouTube podcasts ends up being something like that, it's not going to move the market, it's not going to make a difference, like everything again, it goes back to fundamentals, who is the number one in the category, right and Apple podcast is still the number one in the category of podcast apps, Spotify is trying to give them a run for their money, but odds are, they probably won't dethrone them anytime soon because it all has to do with the way that people's minds work, people can only have one brand in their mind, and one brand has to stand for something, Spotify is trying to go from standing for music to standing for audio, that completely remains to be seen whether that will even be successful but right now Apple podcast stands for podcasts, it is the podcast player until somebody just dethrones them and odds are it's not going to be a YouTube app because what does YouTube mean, means video doesn't mean audio, it doesn't mean podcast, so that just it just doesn't work with the way that human beings minds work so they'd have to build something so radically amazing to overcome that inherent challenge of the way that people's brains work and what YouTube already means, in their mind, what are the odds so they can come out with an app, this is the problem that everybody gets in trouble with Silicon Valley and venture capital and stuff like that is you can build a 10% better mousetrap but if the mousetrap is already branded, and already has the attention and already is linked up in people's minds, you can't build a 10% better mousetrap, you got to build a 500% better mousetrap. Like it has to overcome the inertia of people already associating the brand with the things they care about. So yeah, I'm just not optimistic, it's it would be nice if Apple or if YouTube podcast made, you know, podcasts more searchable, but odds are I bet it'll end up being clips.
Matt: not full full episodes.
Josh: I believe that too, I love your opinion on this because you've put it into words better than I could have but I just love that you're saying don't ride the bandwagon, right or the hype, the bandwagon is because if somebody's telling you, hey, you need to get on this train before it leaves, they're wrong, right and even the whales, right because it's like, if you don't already have an audience, it doesn't matter what which train you're on, it's going nowhere, right, it's building that audience of people that actually care about you, that's why the whales like Gary Vee and Russell Brunson these people who can go out and say you need to be on clubhouse, it's simply because they know they can gain more of your attention in that place but somebody starting new isn't going to be able to ride clubhouse to millions and millions of dollars right now.
Matt: especially not by the time it crashed and burned. Warren Buffett said the hardest thing for just about anyone to do is to stand while the rest of the crowd is running towards the edge of the cliff.
Matt: and that's what it felt like with clubhouse because I knew a bunch of people in podcasting, they were gone, hey, this is the next wave, you better get on it better get on it better, I'm like I jumped on and I tried it and I'm like, I don't think this is going anywhere and you had that same feeling, you were looking at the big business model, I was looking at just the interaction part and looking at who was excited about it, which is all the extroverted people who get shiny object syndrome, and I watch them get excited about it and then next thing I know, they get less and less excited about it, I'm like it's already it's already coming down, right? The hard part about not jumping on the bandwagon is you have to operate from a set of basic principles because the next bandwagon might actually be the next new giant wave, it might be you don't necessarily know, which is why you have a good foundation of principles and just understanding how marketing works and how business works and things like that, to understand, hey, when this wave comes on, hey, I think there might be something to this, as opposed was doing I think this is going to burn out in a few months clubhouse is one of those things where we both looked at it and went, Okay, I think we think this is going to burn out in a few months and we were right, the next thing that comes along may look like that at first but when we look at it deeper, we go, Wait a minute, there's some fundamental stuff here that actually has traction and maybe I do need to get on this. So it's not about not jumping on every bandwagon, it's about having basic principles that you work from so you can understand the way the world works better so that when a wave comes along, you can discern the ones that are, I guess long lasting or have big long term potential, like both of us are paying attention to crypto, because once you learn about it, you realize, wait, and this is not a flash in the pan thing, this is something that's going to legitimately change how the world works and I do want to get on board and I do want to learn about it so I'm all in on learning new stuff but when you do learn about it, if you have that basic set of principles, you'll be able to spot the fads that will pass from the trends that will stay, you'll be able to judge it hopefully, like better and quicker.
Josh: So the question I would have for you then is do you feel like it's something that needs to be a personal education or are there specific people that you could follow and trust their opinions?
Matt: That is a great question, there's a few people that I genuinely trust that are deep thinkers and very principled thinkers so I have found a set of people that I pay attention to, I've tried to absorb as much of those first principles as possible so that I can do the thinking on my own but if that's not your jam, then yeah, find the people to pay attention to I pay attention to Perry Marshall, Richard Koch, who wrote the 80 20 principle, he wrote the star principle, simplify, those are amazing books that really get at the heart of what makes a business succeed, and not Al Ries, which he talked about the 22 Immutable Laws of marketing, and all of his other books are amazing, guys like that, they are fascinated, like intensely fascinated by the way that things fit together and things have to fit together and so they do the deep mental work to figure out how things fit together and then they're able to explain it with their books in a way that makes sense to all the rest of the rest of us, right, who didn't do all the deep thinking but anyway, yeah, once you get a foundation of people that you trust and pay attention to then when they say something, and you're like, that doesn't sound right, I wouldn't have thought that they have an opinion that's different from mine, dig into it and find out why because odds are they maybe they know something you don't maybe they have a better principle, a better model, a better way of looking at the world, like Warren Buffett looks at investing differently than most people look at investing so he gets different results so yeah, and it's because it's not because he does a better job of keeping up on the stock market, it's not because he has CNBC on all day, it's because he operates from a different set of principles and different models that are different from what other investors believe in so it's, yeah, it's finding those people and then trying to absorb as much of it as you can.
Josh: Yeah, and I would agree with that. I think it's so interesting to see, because a lot of people you think you can trust, kind of rephrase this. I mean, when you're following somebody on social media, for example, or you're in this huge community of somebody, they're going to say one thing, but most of the time, if you talk to them behind closed curtains, and you meet them individually, that's why I love podcasting, is a lot of times, it's not that they were lying to the masses, they were trying to tailor it to a general audience but when you actually talk to them individually, like in your situation, I would not follow what I said at all, I would do this, right and that's why to me, I don't really love following and list, taking any real advice from even listening to podcasts a lot of times because I don't go to take and make business changes, from what I hear on a podcast, I go and ask a coach or somebody who I trust their opinion and say, would this change at this person recommended fit within, what I'm doing right?
Matt: Yeah, well, it's yeah, it's definitely have good to have like a board of directors, we all kind of need that, you know. So yes, I would agree with that, it's interesting, I've heard Gary Vee interviewed, or somebody asked him one time he's like, Hey, I'm a financial advisor should I be jumping on Snapchat, I think was the big thing at the time. He's like, honestly, no, I should be doing podcasting and LinkedIn like, okay, great. So at least he told the guy the truth, I'm happy told the guy good, he gave good advice, Gary Vee gave good advice and you're exactly right. What they tell people for a general audience is, like we talked about before we get recorded, it's seldom what they want, and then give them what they need and some people are really okay with that to the point where they do so much selling what people want, that they kind of maybe sometimes maybe eventually get around to giving them what they need and then some people try to give people what they need in the sales process and don't sell anything like there you've got those are the two extreme ends of that spectrum, you have to decide for yourself where you fit along that spectrum and what you're comfortable with but the principle is the same, people buy what they want, and not what they need, not what they should do, somebody said one of my clients told me about this, if people come away from hearing your offer, or reading your sales page, or your website, and they go, I should do that should is the kiss of death, like the if they say to themselves, I should do that you've already lost, they should come away with going where do I sign up, you know, so we all have to try to get closer to that because it's really tempting in this day and age of like going after your passion and everybody wants to make an impact and all this stuff, to try to sell people what they need and what they should do, people don't want to buy what they should do.
Josh: Right? Yeah and in business content in particular, I mean, I love that analogy first off, but in business content we are doing in B2B in particular, that should will never buy, right? That's so I love that because like that's, I knew for us when we were starting to sell our service, we were coming out from a shed model of a Gary Vee model like, this is what Gary Vee does, you should probably do this right and it didn't hit, right, it was like, well, they want to be famous, that's what they want so let's just sell and fame and then we'll show them oh, by the way, being really famous is a small group of people who actually care about actually going to listen to you.
Matt: Yes, that is true yeah and I wanted to cut out the 80% of people who wanted to be famous first and then needed to be taught the lesson later, which is why I wrote the book micro famous because I wanted to cut out those conversations where I had to rein them back in all the time, I still deal with it a little bit but yes, like the messaging of micro famous does help attract more of the people that already catch the vision of yeah, I want a group of like 10,000 people, and I want to dominate that niche so yeah, like in your in the way that you present and position yourself, you can kind of attract the right people who still sell the right people what they want, and then give them what they need but yeah, like I chose to fall somewhere on that continuum closer to eliminating a lot of those people before they crossed my doorstep or something like that and that's a decision that like, as agency owners, as marketers, and salespeople as entrepreneurs, like we all get to make that decision for ourselves.
Josh: Yeah, I love that. I was about to just end the interview there but I have a couple of really quick questions because I'm like, that was a good mic drop so I want to ask you, Matt so first off, where should people reach out to you Man, I know you have that micro famous, excuse me. Micro famous, right, is your podcast and your book, pretty much?
Matt: Yeah, yep. So I would say go to get microfamous.com because that's the best way just to get into the email list and get kind of get into my world, I write about this stuff, this is the stuff that the conversations that we're having is the stuff that I obsess about all day, every day, like this kind of deep thinking long term thinking, you know, first principles kind of marketing so yeah, if anybody is interested in and wants to connect, of course, go there and then there's a little link from my agency from there, which does podcast production for entrepreneurs, speaker, author type so if you want to make an impact, and you're curious about podcasting, you can learn more there, that's the best way to connect, I'm really not active on Facebook and Instagram for all the reasons that we just talked about so I'm there, you can find me, but I'm not there hanging out.
Josh: Yep, yep. People asked me the same thing, last time you log on Facebook, I can't even remember, I have the messenger app, because people seem to want to message me there sometimes so I have about 50 other questions, you've answered some, some really great questions today but I want to ask you, if you were to look at an entrepreneur who's doing 500,000 to a million a year, and they're trying to decide do I pivot or do I scale will be recommendation from abroad, from an overarching perspective?
Matt: I would say, similar to the conversation we had when it was just you and me, before we hit record, I know someone that made the decision to scale, and it is a Rubicon that you cross, and you cannot cross back. It's like take taking venture capital money, like great and have games on, and it becomes your life so if you're like me, and freedom is your number one value, or maybe family or legacy is your number one value, odds are scaling, as at best a short term sacrifice to get a big, big paycheck exit and if you're a serial entrepreneur in the true sense of the word, then go do that but most people aren't true serial entrepreneurs, right, they're not the person that wants to build something as big as possible, and then sell it off exit and go start from scratch and do it over again, that is a particular type of person, if that's not you, I would say if you're already making 500 to a million, start investing your money wisely, keep doing what you're doing, take on the clients that you love, focus on your lifestyle, focus on reducing your working hours like Josh, you know, I are both in that kind of phase of just focusing on lifestyle because I've talked to a whole bunch of people that scaled up and most of them are like, honestly, like, I like your business, your business sounds way better, you know, like just the business of working for four hours a week and the rest of your time is up to you to decide how you want to invest it and doing things that you're excited about, they look at those businesses and go man, I wish I could be satisfied with just doing that and the people that are compulsively growing businesses and just blowing them up as big as they can selling them like they are, there's an element of like OCD, they cannot help it they have to do it so if that's you and you have to do it, go do it but if you don't have to, and you have the choice, I would say don't do it.
Outro: I hope you enjoyed this episode of The lucky Titan podcast. If you've learned anything from this or any other episode, make sure you rate it and share it with another entrepreneur could help. Thanks again and I'll catch you on the flip side.