PC 70 | Go To Where Your Listeners Are with Danny Pena

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Profitcast FeedburnerOne of the most overused film quotes is from Field of Dreams (1989): “If you build it, he will come.” It is whispered to Kevin Costner’s character Ray at the beginning of the film when he’s walking through the cornfield on his farm. In a way similar to Noah of the Bible, Ray acts on the instruction from this mysterious voice, continues with his mission in spite of the ridicule he receives, and the outcome is unlike anything anyone has ever seen.

Have you ever met someone who just seems made to do what they do? I’m sure many of you believe that podcasting is your “calling”. Maybe you heard a mysterious voice that said, “If you talk about this and publish it on the internet, they will come.” I’m not here to judge that! What I am here to do is tell you that building something is only half the story.

Danny Pena’s approach to podcasting is refreshing because it is genuine. He’s one of those rare gems who began podcasting before it was cool, but still has a remarkable passion for it that centers around the interactions he has with his listeners. It’s hard to do anything for fourteen years and still have the same level of enthusiasm for it as you did at the beginning, but if that isn’t a sign of being made to do something…. then I’d like someone to give me a better definition.

-Less is More
Selfless, that is. My takeaway from this interview has to do with being selfless. The way Danny describes his approach to reaching out to his listeners, including them on important milestones, and providing value to them is very inspiring. We talk about the importance of developing a community and how critical it is not to think of your listeners as numbers, but we cannot go wrong in hearing multiple perspectives on building a healthy community.

When Brian and I were in Atlanta for DragonCon, along with our Arrow Squad co-host Kevin Bachelder, we knew only of one event that we’d be attending for sure: The Parsec Awards. Of course we knew we wanted to attend panels for Arrow and The Flash (and Kevin likely has the next 10 years of panels mapped out as he’s had the last 10), but Brian and I only knew of when and where the Parsec Awards would be happening.

My natural tendency is to tell as few people as possible about anything I do. I don’t like the attention and I don’t like the focus to be on me, I don’t like getting my hopes up and I don’t like disappointing people. Excuses, excuses. That’s all they are! As Danny is describing how he invited his listeners to The Podcast Awards when he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I’m reflecting on my approach to the Parsec Awards and mentally kicking myself.

We told our friends, our listeners, not to come. It’d probably be boring, right? And it wouldn’t be that long. It was dinner time, they were hungry, and we didn’t want to make them come sit through a 2 hour ceremony in which our moment in the sun would be less than five minutes.

But that’s not the point, is it? The point is the shared experience! Just like the experience of DragonCon with Brian and several of our listeners was invaluable, the awards ceremony, at whatever level of entertainment it provided, would have been a chance to deepen that experience. Every experience is only what we make of it, right?

I hadn’t been thinking about the awards ceremony as that kind of opportunity, but I sure won’t be making that mistake again. We would not be where we are without our Arrow Squad listeners. Heck, I would not be on Arrow Squad with Kevin and Brian were it not for the listeners! The community of that podcast made the desire and the decision easy. I want to share every success and every shortcoming with them. I think. No, I do.

Takeaways
There were a lot of takeaways from this conversation, one of which is kind of a head-smack: Get OUT of your house! Attend events! Go to where your listeners are! Make interaction happen because it will provide you with opportunities to expand your reach, expand your knowledge, and broaden your perspective.

What did you take away from this episode of Profitcast? I truly want to know! Write something in the comments below!

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