Matt first began podcasting about 4 or 5 years ago. It began a few years before that, when he’d first started running his WordPress agency and went to an event and saw the potential for people to be talking with each other in the WordPress space. He was starting his agency and had other colleagues doing the same, growing fast and putting a lot of stock into their relationships in the space. At the time there were maybe 2 other WordPress podcasts, whereas now there are at least 15. It all started with the idea of getting connected in the community and growing his business, which for Matt, it has.
Matt’s podcast is the Matt Report. It’s an interview podcast that is basically a breakdown of what’s happening in the WordPress space. The interviews are with people in the space—developers and agency owners, as well as general tech and business owners—to help his audience learn from a variety of different perspectives. His audience ranges from people running small software startups doing anywhere from a few hundred dollars per month to $5000-$50,000 per month in sales of digital products.
The changing way Matt has published the last season
Like everybody else, Matt started doing his show every week. He did that for nearly 100 episodes, but without a hard schedule or plan on how he approached it. After a while that becomes a lot of work, and becomes a little stale, for the host but possibly even for the listeners. So Matt decided to change things up a little bit. He decided to release a whole season onto the website and Soundcloud ‘Netflix style’. However, they’re still released through iTunes once per week. That way, superfans can listen to them all at once on the side, but the normal cadence still happens every week.
This has been a benefit for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it allowed Matt to really focus and spend a month or so preparing the season. It also allowed him to dedicate an entire landing page to his season’s sponsors. It’s great for Matt because it’s easier to pitch sponsors that way, it’s great for the sponsors because they have more focused attention for a whole season and it’s great for listeners who aren’t getting hit with new sponsors every week.
More podcasting experiments
In Season 5, Matt also introduced 2 new co-hosts of the show, so he only hosted half the season. The other half was co-hosted by 2 other gentlemen who took the lead talking about software as a service. That was an experiment to get some new voices and a new perspective.
In Season 6, which is due in August, the podcast will go audio and video and feature an educational component. Everybody who was on the show was interviewed for 15 minutes and then presented some form of topic for 15 minutes. There will also be slides people can download so it will be a more value-based season for the audience.
The power of video
When Matt first started the show, 4-5 years ago, he did it on YouTube as well as audio. However, it was a lot more work back then. Now, the software is getting better, live streaming is more accessible and editing software is much more powerful so it’s easier to produce video and audio on the post-production side.
Matt has three YouTube channels and he knows there’s a huge connection for audiences with video. It’s the personal effect and that’s what makes some people tune in. There’s a stronger audience on the audio side because it’s so much more portable than video. However, video is very powerful for growing audience retention so he recommends it.
How Matt is approaching sponsorship
WordPress is an interesting space because although there are a lot of products and services, the everyday consumer doesn’t know about them and isn’t going to sign up. It has a lot to do with trust and referrals. Those pockets of companies that have something to sell—products, themes, hosting—do recognize authority in the space is valuable, so Matt is able to position his show quite well, even with numbers of listeners that are nowhere near like a mainstream podcast, or a tech podcasts and YouTube channels. For those mainstream channels, it’s a big ocean to swim in so they have to get big numbers to make it work. WordPress isn’t a big ocean but you can get big numbers when you have the trust and authority both of companies willing to sponsor you and of your listenership.
Matt is a trusted voice in the community, which means he can command a little bit more in sponsorship dollars. He has one of the most popular and certainly the highest rated WordPress podcast, so he is that authority. There’s no magic to his strategy: he simply goes to popular companies that he knows have advertising money to spend and pitches them to sponsor the show. He also limits the sponsorships to two per season so they don’t get drowned out, and that also makes it more attractive to sponsors.
The next steps for Matt and his advice to other podcasters
Season 6 is going to be a continuation of the experiment theme in terms of structure. Matt is also considering going outside the WordPress pocket, and expanding the show topic a little. He also plans to be more consistent with live shows. His advice to people questioning whether or not to start a podcast is to just start, but don’t worry about going the full monty right away. You can just dip your toe in the water with some consistent kind of audio or video content. It could be on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or even Twitter. Find the platform you are most comfortable with right now and just start with getting your message out. Don’t worry about subscribers or microphones going into Skype going into a recorder. Just dip your toe in the water and start.
Where to find more from Matt
Check out the podcast at https://mattreport.com/
Matt’s fulltime job is representing Pagely at https://pagely.com/ which is Enterprise WordPress hosting. The agency he cofounded helps a lot of higer end and larger implementation of WordPress for startups that are using it in different ways, not just as a website.
He also has a YouTube channel that covers tutorials for WordPress: www.YouTube.com/plugintut
Or to have Matt review your website at a very affordable price, go to www.UserFeedbackVideos.com