Podcasting is not always an easy endeavor and it’s not uncommon to encounter problems during the process, especially if you’re just starting out or new to it. Toby Lyles, the owner of TwentyFour Sound, answers some common podcasting problems and questions. With his company, Toby makes content creators sound amazing. He offers some tips and tricks into producing the best sounding podcast and creating one that suits your personality or genre. He advises on using an app like Audacity to help you go through the editing part conveniently, and tackles consistency in putting out episodes which can depend on your purpose, niche, marketing, and traffic market.
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The Answers To Common Podcasting Problems And Questions with Toby Lyles
Our guest is Toby Lyles. Thanks for being on the show.
Thank you so much, Whitney.
At least once a week, I get the question, “How do I go about starting a podcast? I’m thinking about doing a podcast. How did you do this? How did you do that?” If I have talked to you, we’ve probably talked about podcasting. I thought, “Toby would be an excellent guest to have on the show. He helped me get started.” If you’re wondering if you sound good, that’s all Toby does. All he does is make people sound good. He’s the owner of TwentyFourSound. His main gig is working with content creators so they sound amazing. Quality sound frees them up to create clear, concise and compelling audio products that keep attention, create desire and compel action.
He has over thirteen years in the professional audio business. It has taken him around the world and he’s worked with the likes of the Jackson family, Bill Clinton and great podcasters like Pat Flynn. Besides making folks sound good, his greatest joy is spending time laughing with his beautiful wife and three children and climbing mountains with friends. Toby, give the audience a little bit more about who you are and what your focus is. We know it’s podcasting but give us a little more than that. Let’s dive in and help them get their podcasts rolling. We’ll go through some frustrations that I’ve had and I know others have as well.
Thanks again, Whitney. Podcasting is what we do. We’re mostly in that but we got into this business because I had a friend who’s starting in podcasting and had a great message. He was excellent at what he was doing but what he wanted to accomplish wasn’t being accomplished. He had someone and a very famous person on his show, but they had one knob too wrong. Every time the person happened to bump their microphone or say a letter too loud or something, the volume would drop out almost all the way. I was so interested in the content, but I couldn’t hear it because they would go and there’d be these explosions and then I couldn’t hear for the next three words. Those were the most important words in the podcast. It started this journey of how we help people say what they want to say with audio because sometimes they can get in the way.
You had a friend that had a podcast and the audio was bad. You thought, “How can I help this? How can I help them to have the best audio possible?”
It was simply about how you turn the knobs and buttons to make the audio sound good. After that, we’ve been in doing audio with quite a few people and in the process, we’ve learned, what does it take to start podcasts? What are the frustrations to get over? How do you simplify the technology so that it works well for you, that it’s not in the way? What are the things you need to think about when you’re starting a show? Some of that is contents. Where do you host it? What’s the show format? How do I get music? The frustrations that take time to learn and you can spend hours googling and you’ll get no results except for ten different answers. We’re trying to help you get a real solid answer that works.
I know when I got started, most of these things I’ve never heard of. I’ve never imagined I would be doing a podcast. Before I started this, it never crossed my mind. When I decided to start a podcast and somebody, a mutual friend introduced you and me, it was relieving to know that I had somebody in my corner like a consultant. It’s what you do. You’re consulting people and you did me. You helped me get started. It was relieving to know that I had somebody that had the answers to all these questions. That have done it thousands of times and all these questions that I had were nothing new for you.
[bctt tweet=”Podcasting gives you the beautiful ability to connect and say, “This is who I am,” and then people can get to know you and trust you.” username=””]
We get the same question over and over again. Everybody’s got the same frustrations and everybody has the same goals but it’s hard to get through these common questions that are still hard to be answered. It’s the hardest thing to be answered because it’s often customed to the person. One person’s microphone doesn’t work for you. Someone else’s random suggestion about where to host, you and I talked about that, the standard hosting, it wasn’t exactly what you need. How do we custom make things for the actual person? That’s a huge thing because we all wear different clothes.
When I got started, the big frustration, it’s overwhelming. I’ve talked about it. Especially when I decided to do a daily show and that multiplied me being overwhelmed. I knew that’s what I wanted to do, so we stuck it out and it’s been working well at hindsight. Getting started and developing the processes were very difficult and me knowing what needs to be done first, second, third, fourth and how to go through that in making sure everything’s done correctly. Also, on the back end, there are so many different little platforms that I had to have to set up, whether it’s making appointments, doing the Zoom and all these different things. Initially, it’s like, “Where in the world do I even begin?” Could you help us with that a little bit? Help the audience with that process or maybe where do we even start to know what platforms we need to make this a smoother process and as professional as we can make it?
We’ll say you had a lot of major hurdles that you overcame to go. People don’t realize that when they hear your voice, they’re hearing a lot of time and money. You worked day and night to get this done. I don’t think you ever rested. It was eight days a week for you. At least, that was my observation. The first thing you need to look at is what you are trying to accomplish. Just because someone does it one way or someone does it on Zoom or whatever does not mean that that’s how you need to do it. Is that going to be a solo podcast? Is that going to be with other people? Is it an interview podcast? Is it a remote interview podcast? Like you’re doing where people are all over the world. Is it live? You’re walking around different events. That is the critical thing. What are you trying to accomplish? The next part of that is how much do you like knobs, wires and the equipment and how easy that is. Once you answered those two questions, you can start to figure out what equipment and process to work with. It’s not quite the answer but like everything, you need to start with your why and then you need to figure out the how from there.
With me, it was an interview podcast. I’ll do some solo shows but for the most part, I’m interviewing others from anywhere in the world because we can do it remotely. I was not someone that needed more knobs and wires to have to mess with. I feel like in most cases, most podcasters, especially if you’re getting started, you don’t need more knobs and wires. You need a USB mic. Would you agree?
Yeah, get the ball rolling. That is an important thing to say. The only caveat with that is depending on what you’re trying to produce, getting the ball rolling can mess you up a little bit in podcasting. I hate to say that because I always want to say, “Go forward and do it.” Some people will say, “Grab a phone and start podcasting,” which definitely works but it can sometimes sabotage you because the way you sound can make you experienced or inexperienced. If you’re trying to place yourself as an industry leader, if that’s what you’re trying to do, then that raw authentic sound can turn people off sometimes. The trick with that is if you want to be an expert, then grab a USB microphone that sounds good. You’re using an Audio-Technica 2100. That has been an industry leader. I think you like it. How do you like that microphone?
I like it fine. It’s worked great for me. I’ve taken it all over the place when I’m traveling. I’ll record in hotels and wherever I’m traveling, I still get the shows done.
It’s simple. It sounds pretty good. As long as you get close enough to it, it’s not echoey. It’s a clear sound. It’s the perfect way to go and it’s $70 or something like that. That’s a good place to start. You’ve got a good microphone. You can record in any computer and you’ve got sound. You’re using Zoom for most of your recordings, which definitely works. The only trick in that is the Zoom sound for the host side doesn’t always sound that great. You can correct me if I’m wrong, but we’ve talked about how you replace the audio with a good quality recording that you’re making with your microphone instead of that Zoom audio on the host side.
When I hit record on Zoom, I also hit record as quickly as I can at the same time on Audacity. Audacity is recording directly on my computer as opposed to the audio having to go out to the internet and being recorded by Zoom.
That is the simplest way to do it, especially since you have decided to go with a podcast editor afterward, which is a good choice. That helps you because then they can put stuff together and it’s another layer of complexity where you need to send it off to somebody and have them do the work. You get a much more professional product. You get music, you get ads and you can do all of that. That brings us into the next step after you record, what did you do with it next? Most of you will choose an audio editor or you can edit it yourself but usually only if you like knobs and buttons.
What’s going to be the easiest way for me to edit it myself if I chose to do that? Is there a specific type of software that would be even free or inexpensive where I could edit that myself?
Some people do better when they edit it themselves because they know what they’re looking for in their audio. They don’t mind a little bit of technical and sometimes it’s even faster because there is that interchange sometimes between a podcast editor. You’re using Audacity. Some people love Audacity. My thing with Audacity is it’s great and you can do so much with it, but it can take time to learn it and it’s a little bit complex. It’s hard to work with a little bit. Some people love it. Maybe you’ll love it. GarageBand is the Mac favorite. Both of those are free.
This is the free and easy option. Some people will choose to pay for some people call a DAW, which is Audacity or GarageBand Digital Audio Workstation. It’s a software and some people will pay for something like Adobe Audition. You pay a little bit more but it’s a little easy to the workflow. It has some functionality that makes life a lot faster so that you don’t have to be as smart and you can push a couple of buttons. It’ll do it for you and you can produce a pretty good podcast with $20 a month or $200 for some software. You’re making it on your own and you’re publishing to the cloud. Maybe with a little bit of help or some YouTube videos. We help people and push them through the process. It depends on where you’re at and what you need.
If I was editing myself, I could see paying $20 to $50 a month for some software that would make my life easier in the editing process. Personally, I’ve never edited for the show and that’s mostly because I’m doing a daily show. There’s no way that I could spend that much time editing that many shows and it’s a choice I’ve made. I do not want to spend that much time editing podcasts. I found my time is better spent somewhere else in the business and then hiring an editor to do that and he can do it much faster than I can.
I feel like most of our audience are going to be in a similar boat as you. They’re professionals. They’re working in real estate. They have another career and the podcast is going to be a secondary to help build that career. I would imagine they’re not going to be technical, and that’s not going to be their focus. They’re more likely going to hire somebody that’s going to make more sense for their time. They can go do ten deals in the time that it’s going to take them to edit a podcast. It seems like you’ve chosen the right direction.
What about simplifying the tech side? Are there any suggestions that you have? I know we’ve talked about it a little bit, but this is overwhelming for me to get it all set up and get it started. Are there any suggestions that you have for somebody that’s getting their podcasts rolling? All of these applications and the editing software, all these different things, is there any other ways to simplify this madness to creating a method?
Podcasting is super simple. The simplest it’s ever been and easiest to get online. We talked about that microphone. Literally, if you took GarageBand or Audacity and you grabbed the microphone like that and you recorded into that system, you could upload straight to what’s called a host, a media hosting platform like Libsyn. You push a couple of buttons and you’ve got to submit it to iTunes is not hard. There’s plenty of online things on how to do it and then you have published your first episode. It gets a little bit complicated when you’re trying to figure out how to get music but simply interfacing with the audio editor or somebody who’s been in it and then it becomes very simple again.
[bctt tweet=”If you could pitch to a super targeted market, that feels like a hole in one.” username=””]
They have music or they can get music and they know how to put it on easy. They know how to make the levels and how to make it sound good, then you’re up and that’s all you need. Everything else is a bonus. If you can get it on your website, that’s a huge bonus. It takes a little bit of time. That’s computer stuff but you can do that or if you want to, submit it to more podcast things in iTunes or Apple Podcasts, like Google Play, which is a great idea. That takes a little bit of time but a minimum, all you have to do is record into a microphone and you can upload it to Libsyn and push it out to the world and you’re there.
What about show format? What are the different topics maybe that you’ve seen or suggestions that you have?
I feel like the show format always has to follow you, your identity and your personality. It’s like when you’re starting a business. Even in real estate, some people like to do stores, some people like to do multifamily and everybody’s doing something different. It’s still back to this, who are you and what are you doing? If you’re going to do an interview format, what works for you and what works with your time? Are you an easy talker? Can you talk and people love listening to you? A solo show might be a great idea. If you’re the life of the party, everyone’s always engaged. If you’re great in conversation, then maybe consider an interview format. Where are you nationally? Where do you show up in the world and how can you easily move that to the podcast? It gets a little difficult if you try to move outside of that. If you try to be someone that you’re not, obviously we can grow but it creates a tension point with the podcast that you need to overcome and that’s okay but that causes a little bit of time and energy to grow.
You’ve got to think through the format, what type of show you’re going to have and are you going to have guests or maybe you’re going to have guests sometimes. How much talking do you want to do as opposed to having guests? It is very different. How much preparation time do you have to be able to do solo shows as opposed to an interview show, which both take some prep time? I like interview shows, I like being able to ask other people any question I want and they’re experts in this business or they have some expertise that helps the audience that is in this business. I like being able to ask those questions and dig a little bit and get some answers that we all want to know. I would say too, the first many shows are going to stink. I tell people, “You got to get started and you want it to be the best it can be but until you interview so many people and until you’ve spoken into the mic long enough or enough times, it’s not going to be easy in the beginning.” You got to get through many shows and get some experience before it’s going to feel more natural.
You have to have the courage to do that, to mess up, make mistakes and blow up that first handful of podcasts. If you’re not willing to do that, how are you going to grow? You’ve done that. I feel like you’ve done that pretty well on this show. Not that you’ve blown up the first ones but that you showed up pretty fast. You went for it.
I appreciate that. I’m definitely a work in progress. We’re trying to improve all the time but what about frequency? Do you have suggestions? Most people do a weekly show and then I know quite a few that do two, three a week or maybe two a month. Do you have any stance on how many times or a month or how often we should produce a show?
I’m going to give you probably the same lame answer I have the whole time. It has to do with you and who you are but you’ve chosen daily because you can, you’re willing to invest in that and that’s where you’re going to focus. I’ve got somebody who does a ten-minute show twice a month. She’s basically not podcasting. It’s super-fast but it’s a marketing point for the company and that’s all they need. They need to say, “Here’s something you can click on to go deeper with us,” and that’s all they need. They’re not trying to drive tons of traffic with it. It’s almost like, “Look at this. We’ve got a podcast.”
That shows you the value in doing a podcast.
It’s such a good next level to divert off of the value of the podcast, not only for people to get to know you but trust. That’s why I’m talking about how it needs to be you and who you are, how you communicate and how you show up in the world. When you do a podcast, especially when you do it as authentically, people get to know you and they begin to trust you. I would hope like with yours, that people are understanding, “Here’s someone who’s an expert in the industry and it’s worth investing in what you’re doing because here’s a good trustworthy guy and honest person. You can tell and I feel like I can tell in the audio who we can trust. There are even studies. They never pointed the source on some of my favorite stats. They did a study where they tested video, audio and print for trustworthiness.
They lied in it and in each of them it was harder for them to spot the lie in video if I’m correct. It was easiest to lie in video. It’s a little bit harder to lie in print. People get to spot the lie more often but in audio only, they’re able to spot the lie almost all the time. There’s something about audio that brings out authenticity and you could tell if they’re lying. Apparently, if they don’t see us, they can tell if we’re lying. We know that instinctually. When we do podcasts, it can be a problem if you’re not telling the truth. It’s this beautiful ability to connect and say, “This is who I am,” and then people can get to know you and trust you. That’s what business is based around, it’s on trust.
I didn’t know about a study like that. Now that I’ve done this many shows, I’m glad to know that.
Hopefully, you’ve been honest the whole time.
Yes, of course. I liked the point you made also about how people get to know you. I hear it more and more from people. I talked to an investor and he was telling me a bunch of stuff about his experience and whatnot. We were about to have to get off the phone and he apologized. He said, “I’m so sorry. I’ve been talking the whole time.” I said, “No, it’s no problem.” He said, “I feel like I already know you,” and it’s because of the podcast.
Another advantage is you’re meeting people and you’re going to make all these other contacts that you might not have made but that’s fun. Is that good or not good that you don’t have to talk in conversations?
They hear me on many conversations, but it gets us to more conversations. Any other questions or hard spots that people get in that you have to help them through that maybe we haven’t thought of? Some common mistakes that people don’t think of when they’re getting started in podcasting that you have to help a lot of people through.
That technology part, once that is solved, it’s simple but it can mess people up. There’s a bit of the launch problem and this isn’t always the case but launching well, it’s good to have good advice around that to know how to build and launch well. One of the biggest ones though is how to find a podcast. Especially again, we’re talking to investors here and real estate folks, everybody says to me, “You don’t understand the industry. Why would you do a podcast? It’s free. You’re taking your own time and money to build a podcast.” The money thing can trip people up. I would say to that, for one, people don’t understand that it’s marketing for your business. If you already have a business that you can profit from, then it makes sense to do a podcast if that fits in your world. Also, there are a bunch of ways to make money with the podcast, but it does take that time to grow an audience. You got to show up and do well. There’s an initial investment time, like gaining good investment, it takes time up front but on the back end, it pays off. Once you’re there, you can make money by five or ten solid ways depending on what you want to accomplish.
[bctt tweet=”Podcasting is such a personality, and if you’re wrapped up in it, you bring yourself to the table.” username=””]
How long should we be podcasting before we seek out a sponsor to help us pay for the expense of podcasting? When does that normally happen for people? Is it by downloads? Is it per a certain amount of time? What do you see most often?
Often it’s by downloads. The thing I see with downloads most is people frequently devalue their audience. They’ll wait too long to ask for a sponsor if they’re asking for sponsors or they’ll wait too long to offer a product. Some people will say, “I’ve only got 5,000 downloads.” I’m thinking, “If you’re getting 5,000 downloads a show or even 200 downloads a show, if you’re standing in a conference room in front of 200 people, would you not offer something?” Would you not say, “My book’s in the back,” or, “I’ve got this person that’s helping to put this conference together?” We always give credit to the sponsors who are helping us. People do it too late and they wait too long. They don’t feel like the podcast is good enough. I don’t have a hard number but some of the official stats are around 50,000 per episode, which can be intimidating for some of the major advertisers.
I don’t think we need to think that way. You can go and pitch. It’s just business. If a business wants to sponsor you at whatever amount you can get for 200 or 500 people, then why aren’t we talking to other people? Somebody wants that opportunity. Somebody’s looking for a small show that they can throw a few bucks at and then it’ll give them some revenue hopefully. That’s a bit of a roundabout way. As soon as we get enough that would fill a decent room where we would advertise live to those people, I feel like we can start pitching sponsors or we can start making products specifically tailored towards those people. They need the next step and it doesn’t feel right to not offer some sort of next steps of engagement with you.
I know the industry standard or was at one time, somebody is paying per many thousand downloads or something like that. I chose not to go that route. If they want to do 5, 15 or 30 shows a month and there are different things I’ll do to help promote their business or what other product, whatever it is, this is what it costs. That helps me on the back end and maybe you’ll tell me that I’m doing it all wrong if I am, please tell me. What I’ve found though is let’s say that I had a real estate podcast period. I may have a lot of downloads but if you have a product that’s specifically for syndication, not all those listeners are syndicators or in the syndication business. They might be wholesalers and flippers, lots of other people in the industry. Since my show is very focused on the syndication business, even if I have a lot lower amount of downloads and somebody that has a general real estate podcast, then every one of my listeners is in the syndication business. It’s very concentrated as opposed to trying to guess what percentage of the downloads or whatever are for this type of product.
I think you’re doing it right. I feel like you have been a great example of looking at your downloads and saying, “You’ve gotten tons of episodes out. You’re not going to stop doing this.” I don’t see why someone would jump in with you as a sponsor to this podcast because that’s again the beauty of the podcast. It’s not an advertisement for anybody. This is their target market. This is who they need to reach. If you could pitch it to us, super targeted market, that feels like a hole in one.
That made me think of another question. We’re about out of time but I wanted to ask you the focus of the show, not mine specifically but how focused we should be. When I was doing research about podcasting, I read different things that said, “Niche down three times.” Real estate is a niche and then real estate syndication is another niche. Niches inside of niches, I went two times and I felt like I’m pretty niched as far as in the real estate industry, especially doing a daily show. What is your take on how focused should we be? Is it better to be having more of a broad approach or more of a focused?
A little bit about you and your personality who you naturally reach comes in there. I will also say that there is something that’s already niched down. You say you only niche down two times but you also did a podcast and then you’re you, because again, podcasting is such a personality and if you’re wrapped up in it, bringing yourself to the table. People love us or hate us. That also plays into that. I would lean on niching down but it’s important to look at your market, to talk to those people and to do some upfront work in advance. That would be the answer is to essentially presale or try to get some initial market feedback if at all possible, from potential audience to see how that’s going. Doing test podcasts and putting it out there, doing online questionnaires, anything you can do to get information out front before you do a hundred episodes and then wonder why people aren’t listening. Go try to find a little bit of the audience in advance.
What is your biggest pet peeve when listening to shows, considering what you know about editing and producing a quality podcast?
First, probably because I come from a technical background, when it’s so easy to get a good sound, why we’re still spending too much money listening to online reviews. I can’t tell you how many people have not reached out to me purchased a microphone. Even when we’re in the same circle, they purchase a microphone that will only amplify the echo in their room or whatever negative sound is nearby and then try to create a successful brand around it and then fail or get frustrated in the process. To me, we can get a little bit of advice right off the start. People who are trying to rush like a gold rush mentality versus what can I authentically offer. How can I help people? How am I already helping people? Move and put that into the podcast. They don’t take the time to figure that out. Those are two big ones right there.
What’s the number one thing that’s contributed to your success?
I don’t think I would have any success had I not had some divine intervention in my life. I suppose there is luck someone in there, but I’ve had many prayers that have been answered. Every great connection and every good thing that I’ve seen in my life, I would attribute it to God and I’ve got a good wife, too.
She’s only there because of God also. I appreciate you sharing that, and I agree completely. How do you like to give back?
That’s the nature of the podcast industry specifically. We help so many people who are not able to find the money. We’re always trying to find ways to creatively get people moving but sometimes they need some free coaching or free phone call to help them get moving. I try to take the time, make a phone call and that’s satisfying to me. They’re probably helping me as much as I’m helping them, but I get to talk to a lot of good people and help them start podcasts and nobody will ever know we talked.
Toby, you’ve been a great guest and I appreciate you going through some details of podcasting and from your experience. I know podcasting has helped me in the syndication business and I know a lot of audiences are debating about whether they should start a podcast or not. At least, they know about you and tell them how they can get in touch with you and learn more about you.
We’re making some transitions. I don’t even have a website. The best way is to reach me through email, which is Toby@TwentyFourSound.com.
You can also reach out to me. I’ll help you or connect you to Toby in any way. I hope you’ll go to Life Bridge Capital and connect with me and go to our Facebook group, The Real Estate Syndication Show where we can all learn from experts and like Toby even get maybe questions answered about podcasting. Thank you, Toby.
Thank you so much, Whitney.
- The Real Estate Syndication Show – Facebook group
About Toby Lyles
Wondering how to sound good? It’s all Toby Lyles does – he makes people sound good. As owner of TwentyFourSound, his main gig is working with content creators so they sound amazing. Quality sound frees them to create clear, concise and compelling audio products that keep attention, create desire and compel action.
He has over 13 years in the professional audio business. It has taken him around the world and he’s worked with the likes of the Jackson family, Bill Clinton and great podcasters like Pat Flynn.
Besides making folks sound good, his greatest joy is spending time laughing with his beautiful wife and three children, and climbing mountains with friends.
It’s old but I hope it works!
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